> Gosh, that must have made the victims feel so much better :-P
I think "Gosh" is a euphemism for "God" isn't it? Actually, what made the
victims feel better was their belief that they would go to their mythical
heaven after death.
> Religion models certain non-theistic belief sets, including Communism and
> certain extreme environmentalist sects, very nicely. Similarities
> include rejection of factual evidence, belief in some goal which is higher
> than human well-being, factionalism, and intolerance of dissent.
That's for sure. True believers exhibit identical symptoms of irrationalism
regardless of the flavor of their belief system. One might also include
atheists in this category if their belief in the non-existence of God reaches
the adamant stage. For this reason, I like to call myself a "non-theist"
rather than an atheist. It's not that I believe there is no God, it's that I
reject belief itself. I'm a non-believer.
> The misdeeds of communists and suggestions of certain environmentalists
> (AIDS as a good thing, etc.) support my opinion that the problem is the
> religious *style* of epistemology and ethics, not the specific beliefs.
> The specific beliefs may be more or less harmful; it's the approach
> that turns bad beliefs into atrocities.
Eric Hoffer has referred to the religious style as the "true believer" mode.
True believers exhibit certain kinds of behavior that demonstrate a need for
certainty and purpose in their lives. They want everyone to enjoy the benefits
of their belief system, and they work hard to convince the whole world of
their particular view. If other people don't believe as they do, they perceive
this as a threat, because it means that there may be some doubt that their
belief is true. That's why objective and dispassionate observers don't trust
zealots who work too hard to prove that they are right. After all, if
something's true, why get yourself in a tizzy about it. It will be true no
matter who believes or disbelieves it.
--- --- --- --- ---
Useless hypotheses, etc.:
consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI
We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.
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