• In total there are 0 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 0 guests (based on users active over the past 60 minutes)
    Most users ever online was 616 on Thu Jan 18, 2024 7:47 pm

But will anyone buy it?

#29: July - Sept. 2006 (Non-Fiction)
User avatar
Chris OConnor

1A - OWNER
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 17002
Joined: Sun May 05, 2002 2:43 pm
21
Location: Florida
Has thanked: 3502 times
Been thanked: 1307 times
Gender:
Contact:
United States of America

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

I should have your address in the Mod forum. I'll check now.Hey, if I send you a BookTalk thong will you wear that on stage too!?
User avatar
Mr. P

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3826
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
19
Location: NJ
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 137 times
Gender:
United States of America

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

Quote:Do you think Dennett would agree with Dissident, that participation in a religious tradition should be one of the criteria that we demand before making judgements about that tradition?I think Dennett sees the blind devotion to religion as a danger and wants to "Break the Spell" a bit. But I also think he sees that religion may have played/still plays an important role in people's lives.I also think Dennett, and I agree with him, feels that educating people about what religion is, myths with no real basis in reality save for that which comes from the human mind and it's lack of certainty about what is around us, is an important step for humanity to take. For it will lead to a better understanding of reality.Quote:but most major traditions are based around claims which you'd look pretty silly trying to contrast with natural explanation.I just think they are pretty silly and obviously made up stories. If believers would just admit that and not kill or otherwise badger people who do NOT fall for the sham, I would be fine. But people are ostracized, marginalized and killed over religious beliefs. So it has to be scrutinzed IMO. It has to be shown to be the bullshit that it is. Or at least, taken OUT of the political spectrum and kept in the pants! Quote:what natural explanation would you give for the claim that prayer brings a person closer to God, regardless of whether or not that prayer results in some material benefit?The natural explanation that the person is under some delusion.Mr. P. Mr. P's place. I warned you!!!The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
User avatar
Mr. P

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3826
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
19
Location: NJ
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 137 times
Gender:
United States of America

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

Mad:Quote:I don't think that's necessarily a bad idea, but it's misguided to think that you can reconcile it to a proposal to the effect that scientific method should be the only means of understanding the worth of religion, which is what Dennett implies in his book.Did you read the "New Replicators". If you did, I think this phrase by Dennett sums up his position nicely:"We should also remind ourselves that, just as population genetics is no substitute for ecology...no one should anticipate that a new science of memetics would overturn or replace all the existing models and explanations of cultural phenomena developed by the social sciences.So Dennett is not as hardlined in the direction of memes as you like to imply. Dennett has been careful to say that he is just proposing ideas that may do good with further investigations. He is not asserting a thing here, save maybe the validity of the meme idea, which as I read more about, becomes a compelling idea indeed.I know you do not like or accept the idea of memes, and that you also hold religion to be an ultra valuable asset to humanity. I also think you realize that it is generally simple mythology with no supernatural underpinnings...but for those very same reasons, people want to NOT break the spell. You prove to people like me WHY Dennett is on to something here...Mr. P. Mr. P's place. I warned you!!!The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
MadArchitect

1E - BANNED
The Pope of Literature
Posts: 2553
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 4:24 am
19
Location: decentralized

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

misterpessimistic: But people are ostracized, marginalized and killed over religious beliefs. So it has to be scrutinzed IMO.I agree. I've agreed all along. I'm not trying to shield religion from scrutiny. What I'm trying to say is that the tool Dennett proposes is really only qualified to assess certain parts of religion, certain claims made about religion. In as much as we want or need to subject those particular claims and parts to scrutiny, science is useful. But there are other claims more central to religion that science, for better or worse, simply does not have the apparatus to engage. If you want to show religion up as bullshit (and I think that Dennett wants the same thing, but has diplomatically refrained from saying so), then science is going to disappoint you there.The natural explanation that the person is under some delusion.Only if you assume as a matter of course that the claim is false. But I can't see any way for science to actually test the religious claim. That the person is delusional is a conclusion you've drawn because you reject the claim out of hand, not because science has demonstrated it to be false.Dennett has been careful to say...Dennett has been careful to say a lot of things. I don't take all of them at face value. The reason for this is that he says a lot of things throughout that seem inconsistent with some of his stated goals in writing the book. In particular, his attitude towards the Christian audience he invites to the discussion seems variable and tenuous at best. And that's a feature of the book's tone that others have, in this thread, recognized as well.I know you do not like or accept the idea of memes, and that you also hold religion to be an ultra valuable asset to humanity.Whether or not I like the idea of memes is beside the point. My criticism of the meme model is grounded in the same sort of skepticism and critical reasoning that is routinely applied to religion on this site; I don't think it's out of place here. My concern about the meme model is that it appears to have been conceived in large part to make it possible to level critiques against religion in biological terms -- as such, it's far more politically loaded a term than most in science, and I think it's being used by some writers as a way to levy attacks against something that they dislike on a personal level rather than as a tool of politically disinterested scientific inquiry.As for religion, my opinion of its social value is more moderate than you'd imagine. If we didn't have religion, we'd have to find something to replace it, but that doesn't necessarily mean we'd be worse off as a society. That said, I think that there are other worthwhile reasons for defending the possibility of religion.You prove to people like me WHY Dennett is on to something here...Is it always personal with you?
User avatar
Mr. P

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3826
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
19
Location: NJ
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 137 times
Gender:
United States of America

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

Quote:Is it always personal with you? You bet yer bippy it is!Mr. P. Mr. P's place. I warned you!!!The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
GOD defiles Reason

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

MadArchitect: I think it's being used by some writers as a way to levy attacks against something that they dislike on a personal level rather than as a tool of politically disinterested scientific inquiry.What level of success do you think they'll have with these attacks using memes?
MadArchitect

1E - BANNED
The Pope of Literature
Posts: 2553
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 4:24 am
19
Location: decentralized

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

GOD defiles Reason: What level of success do you think they'll have with these attacks using memes?That's really hard to guage. Obviously, it's had some early success along those lines -- the mere fact that the meme model has some currency in popular science is a kind of victory.But there are too many possibilities. The meme model might eventually run up against counter-arguments that are persuasive enough to halt its development in the mainstream. A more functional biological unit for understanding cultural development, one unconnected to the anti-religious arguments, might displace it (something similar happened when a more rigorously scientific anthropology overturned the atheistic theories of Feuerbach et al). Or proponents of the meme model might realize that it has unintended logical consequences -- eg. that in addition to weakening certain arguments for religion, it also weakens certain arguments for, say, democratic society -- which makes them less willing to support the theory. Or someone within the evo-psych community mind find that the meme model can be just as reasonably used to support religion.For that matter, the meme model might continue to develop along its current lines until it becomes as standard as, say, Mendeleyan genetics. Who knows? It's too early to tell.That said, I do think that there are good non-polemical reasons to subject the meme model to more rational scrutiny, and there is good reason to doubt some of the assumptions that went into crafting the model. I've pointed to a lot of those in the thread on "The New Replicators", and I think that's probably the best place to continue this conversation.
GOD defiles Reason

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

MadArchitect: Or someone within the evo-psych community mind find that the meme model can be just as reasonably used to support religion.Can you think of an example of how that argument might go?That said, I do think that there are good non-polemical reasons to subject the meme model to more rational scrutiny, and there is good reason to doubt some of the assumptions that went into crafting the model. I've pointed to a lot of those in the thread on "The New Replicators", and I think that's probably the best place to continue this conversation. I don't know that I'm ready to argue the merits of memes, until I have a better understanding of what there are -- or what people like Dennett and Dawkins mean by them.
MadArchitect

1E - BANNED
The Pope of Literature
Posts: 2553
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 4:24 am
19
Location: decentralized

Re: But will anyone buy it?

Unread post

GOD defiles Reason: Can you think of an example of how that argument might go?Maybe, but a practicing evolutionary biologist would almost certainly do a better job.I don't know that I'm ready to argue the merits of memes, until I have a better understanding of what there are -- or what people like Dennett and Dawkins mean by them.Dennett's "New Replicators" Appendix is a good starting point. A better starting point would be to read Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene", although only the last chapter is specifically about memes. That said, memes are an analogy to genes as described by Dawkins so to fully understand what he means by memes you also have to understand his take on genes. It's a well-received interpretation, but that doesn't necessarily recommend memes.
Post Reply

Return to “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon - by Daniel Dennett”