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  1. #71
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    1. I cant believe you are quoting the Pope
    I'm Catholic, so why shouldn't I? You're not resorting to a genetic fallacy are you?


    ... another imperfect human being...the popes have changed their minds many many many times...yet they claim to be infallible. its laughable.
    You expose your ignorance of the concept of Papal infallibility. It does not mean that the Pope can say whatever he wants and it's infallible. Furthermore, the power of Papal infallibility has only been used twice in the entire 2000 year history of the Church.

    2. unless your a deist then I would have to argue that religion, including Chirstianity, is most certainly superstition.
    That is incorrect.

    man says something and knocks on wood to protect himself
    man says something and then quickly prays aloud to God for forgiveness
    This doesn't follow.

    3. Its only different from superstition TO YOU, because you assume that God is real. So of course its not superstition TO YOU. Because TO YOU its real.
    God is not a superstition per se, otherwise we'd have to classify much of philosophy - especially metaphysics - as superstition. Not to mention that much of philosophy relies on rational explainations about God.

    its no different than a chinese medicine man claiming dragon bones is not superstition...because TO HIM, the dragon bones ARE REAL.
    God is a metaphysical entity; while dragons would in theory be physical entities. Big difference.

    4. Anything that occurs in the real world of perception, that is explained without a naturalistic explanation is inherently superstition or psudo-science.
    Then by this definition, miracles are not superstitions.


    If God acts on the world through some mechanism other than light, gravity, electromagnetism and matter etc than its by definition not of naturalism and therefore SUPERnatural.
    You are aware that the Bible clearly states that God works with nature in order to bring about the occurance of miracles? Thus, miracles are not contrary to the laws of nature. An analogy would be you catching an apple as it falls from a tree. The fact you catched the apple does not invalidate the laws of gravity. So God's special intervention at particular times does not invalidate the laws of nature, especially since he works with nature to bring them about.

    Miracles are by their very nature extraordinary events, and thus are not explainations of the normal course of events in nature. And of course not all extraordinary events are miracles either. Catholicism at least has a very strict criteria as to determining what is actually a miracle.


    5. You cant really claim anything on a study of atheists because atheism is a LACK OF BELIEF. There is no unifying world view apart from a lack of belief in God.
    Where did I say otherwise? In fact the major argument here to begin with is that there is no unifying belief among atheists.

    there are naturalists atheists and non naturalists atheists.
    Yes I know. Where did I say otherwise?

    I would argue that your comment on the no true scottsman is invalid because if someone has rejected Magic enough to reject a belief in God, I cannot for the life of me see why they would still hold onto OTHER just as unfounded supernatural beliefs....but believe me, some actually DO.
    You're not making any sense here. I made the statement about the no true scotsman against the argument that only real atheists rely on reason and science. That's not true, as was shown here by the one study, and as you yourself just stated above.

    You claim that's invalid, yet oddly you just validated my argument!

  2. #72
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Peguy,

    The way that you approach religion, or what religion is, does not mean that the average person with average religious belief does. More percisely, religion can still be used as superstition by the average person, and if the definition doesn't include many religious superstitions, then the correlation will strongly show that religious people are not as superstitious.

    In that context, the study is not measuring the degree of susceptibility to superstition and the correlation is engineered by defining non-religious superstition stronger than religious superstition.

    You would have to come up with a definition that would put them on equal level. For instance, seeing God's hand in one's personal life is superstition, while believing in a creator (ie: deistic views) might not be.

    Unless an objective view of what counts as superstition is used, the study and all conclusions are inherently useless.

    (Please note that this has nothing to do with religion directly, for there are many ways to be religious. It is only pointing out that by isolating the definition to non-religious superstitions, you will invariably get the conclusions in the study. You could easily do the reverse - define rational as the lack of belief in a creator, then say that religious people are not rational.)

  3. #73
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Peguy,

    The way that you approach religion, or what religion is, does not mean that the average person with average religious belief does. More percisely, religion can still be used as superstition by the average person, and if the definition doesn't include many religious superstitions, then the correlation will strongly show that religious people are not as superstitious.
    Im well aware that my approach to religion is different than the average person's. In fact one of my major arguments against atheists is that religion by its nature is very complex and varied.

    Can religion be used as a superstition? Yes, but that's still different then saying they're the same - as many are trying to argue here.


    In that context, the study is not measuring the degree of susceptibility to superstition and the correlation is engineered by defining non-religious superstition stronger than religious superstition.
    Here's an excerpt of a summary of the report's findings from Baylor University:
    Christianity and Superstition


    The Baylor Survey found that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases credulity, as measured by beliefs in such things as dreams, Bigfoot, UFOs, haunted houses, communicating with the dead and astrology (Ch. 15, "Credulity: Who Believes in Bigfoot"). Still, it remains widely believed that religious people are especially credulous, particularly those who identify themselves as Evangelicals, born again, Bible believers and fundamentalists. However, the ISR researchers found that conservative religious Americans are far less likely to believe in the occult and paranormal than are other Americans, with self-identified theological liberals and the irreligious far more likely than other Americans to believe. The researchers say this shows that it is not religion in general that suppresses such beliefs, but conservative religion.


    "There's an old saying that a man who no longer believes in God is ready to believe in just about anything, and it turns out our data suggests it's true. That is to say, religious people don't believe this stuff, but there's no education effect," Stark said.


    Among other interesting findings on paranormal or occult beliefs: People who have read The Purpose-Driven Life or any book in the Left Behind series are less likely to believe in the occult and paranormal, while those who have read any book on dianetics or The Da Vinci Code are more likely to believe.

    Baylor University || Marketing & Communications || News
    Now I'll remind you this is just a summary of an entire chapter of a larger study concerning religious beliefs in America. The examples given above are very often considered superstitious beliefs, by both religious and especially atheists-skeptics. The latter group actually spends more time debunking these types of beliefs than the former even. So I doubt the study was stacking the deck in favor of religion.

    If we go by the tone of most skeptical-atheist polemics: belief in God is no different than belief in astrology. If so, then there should be a correlation between the two. This and other studies say otherwise. And again, this is in regards to beliefs and practices that are commonly labelled superstitious by both believers and non-believers alike.

    Now the question becomes, why does this correlation exist? Many are arguing because the study is too biased in favor of religion. Well exactly how? And the only answer I've seen so far basically amounts to labelling any remote religious belief as "superstitious"; which of course stacks the deck against religion in favor of irreligion.

  4. #74
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Can religion be used as a superstition? Yes, but that's still different then saying they're the same - as many are trying to argue here.
    Yup, just want to be clear that I am not picking up the torch of what others are arguing. I meant it only as far as the studies go - it's a study in definitions that loses too much context when reduced to 'superstition'.


    So I doubt the study was stacking the deck in favor of religion.
    I've read most of it, I believe - I'm not defending or attacking it, just saying that the reduction to simple explanations loses a lot of context. As I said in my initial post, all people are wired in a similar way. Religion does fill the metaphysical gap for many people, just as other superstitions will.

    That doesn't make the superstitions or the religion irrational, in similar ways. A police officer is wrong when he notices that crime rises with a full moon, but he can feel it. We all have these kinds of biases in us.

    I'd argue that the problems comes when we act on them, but that's not really important to this conversation.

    If we go by the tone of most skeptical-atheist polemics: belief in God is no different than belief in astrology. If so, then there should be a correlation between the two. This and other studies say otherwise. And again, this is in regards to beliefs and practices that are commonly labelled superstitious by both believers and non-believers alike.
    That doesn't follow. The "correlation" would be derived from the mental process that causes belief in a broad category of superstition. It would essentially show that all people believe in something fanciful that defies evidence, but do so differently. There is no tangible difference between claiming that stars influence us anymore than gods influence us (removing the social context of religion, of course). I'm framing it in the context of gods to include eastern and past religions as well.

    Now the question becomes, why does this correlation exist?
    Because the need a guiding force, meaning and so forth, and they are present in both astrology and religion. Having one means you no longer need to seek the other.

    (An example, I am not positively claiming this.)

    Many are arguing because the study is too biased in favor of religion. Well exactly how? And the only answer I've seen so far basically amounts to labelling any remote religious belief as "superstitious"; which of course stacks the deck against religion in favor of irreligion.
    That is exactly why we need a definition that equalizes the two. I fully agree that atheists are more superstitious in the general sense. However, the price to religion to realise this does not bring atheists 'down a notch'. It really shows that, humans being human and generally equal, casts religion as the superstition filler for a great many of humans.

  5. #75
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    If we go by the tone of most skeptical-atheist polemics: belief in God is no different than belief in astrology. If so, then there should be a correlation between the two. This and other studies say otherwise. And again, this is in regards to beliefs and practices that are commonly labelled superstitious by both believers and non-believers alike.

    Now the question becomes, why does this correlation exist? Many are arguing because the study is too biased in favor of religion. Well exactly how? And the only answer I've seen so far basically amounts to labelling any remote religious belief as "superstitious"; which of course stacks the deck against religion in favor of irreligion.
    look i am aware of what a "no true scottsman" argument says I am not allowed to bring up in an argument... But im questioning the litmus test they used to ascertain Atheist.... I really cannot for the life of me understand superstition. I mean here these atheists have convinced themselves against one of the most convincing religions and yet instead of taking that as a "ya magic and fairies and bad luck probably do not exist" how do they then suddenly resume being religious under a different guise?

    here's what I mean about religion being superstitious. I recently had a christain try and tell me that the Roman Empire fell because God made them fall. ...he would hear none of the various explanations. in his mind, God did it. Why is _____ person decide to call _____ on the day that allowed other chance event to happen? God did it. To me, assigning meaning to coincidence kind of sounds like supersition to me. This may not be your brand of Christianity Peguy, but its what I am often confronted with.

  6. #76
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Well well well.....so much for the argument that religion is only for savage idiots!
    Hmm. I was arguing this whole time that savage idiots are only for religion and superstition.

    Either way the point is moot. Substitute one irrational belief with another. Tomayto, tomahto.
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  7. #77
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    here's what I mean about religion being superstitious. I recently had a christain try and tell me that the Roman Empire fell because God made them fall. ...he would hear none of the various explanations. in his mind, God did it. Why is _____ person decide to call _____ on the day that allowed other chance event to happen? God did it. To me, assigning meaning to coincidence kind of sounds like supersition to me. This may not be your brand of Christianity Peguy, but its what I am often confronted with.
    I'll agree with that person's argument, but I think your reaction to it is rather simplistic. The aim that person is going towards is a theological understanding of history. Probably a more articulate version of this perspective is City of God by St. Augustine, where he did address the historical fall of Rome from a theological perspective.

    Assigning meaning to certain events is not superstition. Otherwise, taken to its logical conclusion, you could say that the whole concept of philosophy of history is superstitious.

    If he thinks God directly caused the fall of the Roman Empire, then that's a clear case of Occasionalism, which is actually an Islamic, not a Christian, perspective. A Christian perspective would be more that God operates within history through particular agents.

  8. #78
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Too funny - I read the OP as Athletes more likely to believe in superstitions.
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  9. #79
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Hmm. I was arguing this whole time that savage idiots are only for religion and superstition.
    Don't flatter yourself, I was referring to Bluewing's remarks on the matter.

    Either way the point is moot. Substitute one irrational belief with another. Tomayto, tomahto.
    Yes that's it, keep proving Francis Bacon correct.

  10. #80
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    I'll agree with that person's argument, but I think your reaction to it is rather simplistic. The aim that person is going towards is a theological understanding of history. Probably a more articulate version of this perspective is City of God by St. Augustine, where he did address the historical fall of Rome from a theological perspective.

    Assigning meaning to certain events is not superstition. Otherwise, taken to its logical conclusion, you could say that the whole concept of philosophy of history is superstitious.

    If he thinks God directly caused the fall of the Roman Empire, then that's a clear case of Occasionalism, which is actually an Islamic, not a Christian, perspective. A Christian perspective would be more that God operates within history through particular agents.
    Oh; so that's what that doctrine is called!
    Problem is, the line between God "working through" circumstances, and "causing" them often becomes fuzzy; especially in the retrospective interpretations of events (such as conservative Christians, who would profess the "working through" concept, but then go on saying disasters are God's "judgments"; suggesting He caused them in retribution, Also; the even more widespread belief and million-selling teaching "God is testing you to make you grow" said to those suffering some other misfortune).

    This was driving me up the wall until I realized it was groundless speculation and the proof-texts used to teach it were being taken out of context.
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