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I vent some rage
So the other day I was having a nice chat with my sibling, which wandered over into general ranting. Here's the good bit:

Sibling: I've never understood why it has to be science vs. religion. Real science isn't even remotely trying to answer the question of Godlyness in our universe, it's just stating observable phenomenon
Sibling: It's not witchcraft (like spelling)
Tiger Spot: Well, there are two views on that. There is the 'separate realms' view, which says that anything you can observe about the real world (what *is*) is science, and anything about morals (what *should be*) is religion.
Tiger Spot: That's what reasonable people think.
Tiger Spot: The other view is known as the 'mouth-breathing dumbass fundamentalist' view, and it goes "All y'all women and animals and differnt colored folks are supposed to work for me because this book says I am of the chosen people, and no I haven't read it but that's what my preacher says and he is RIGHT, and everything in this book is literally true even though the first two chapters contradict each other in several different ways and ALL Y'ALL ARE GOING TO HELL and I'M GLAD but YOU AIN'T TAKIN' MY POOR SWEET INNOCENT CHILDREN (who don't know anything about sex and will therefore be knocked up within a year because they have no idea how not to be) WITH YOU BY SHOWIN' THEM ANYTHING THAT MIGHT MAKE THEM THINK!"
Tiger Spot: Or something along those lines; I'm a little fuzzy on the details.

It was awfully cathartic.

And then andres_s_p_b read it over my shoulder and laughed and said "You should put that on your LiveJournal!"

So I did.

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There is the 'separate realms' view, which says that anything you can observe about the real world (what *is*) is science, and anything about morals (what *should be*) is religion. . . . That's what reasonable people think.

I'm not sure I'm reasonable, but I think that sounds like a too-narrow definition of religion. I think of science essentially as a process or method by which one can obtain information about the world, and religions as sets of beliefs about the world (or as sets of beliefs having certain specific characteristics--some definitions of religion require things like deities, and/or creation myths, and/or moral codes). Some religions do limit themselves to beliefs in a separate realm from scientific knowledge (possibly by focusing on what should be rather than what is, or possibly by focusing on things that "are" but are by definition outside of what can be observed and analyzed scientifically), but I don't think there's anything wrong with a religion's incorporating beliefs that are subject to scientific analysis--although I vastly prefer the ones that are open to adapting said beliefs when said analysis suggests problems with them.

It is a little simplistic.

I think what's happening is that we're in the last stages of a separation between religion and science, and the boundaries are still fuzzy in spots. Philosophy used to cover everything there is to know about everything -- religion, science, what we mean when we say "know", does the color blue really exist when we can't be sure we're seeing the same colors, all of that. And then science popped up as a way of collecting information about the physical world, and has sort of fissioned off from philosophy. There's still a little overlap of philosophy and science, and a lot of overlap of philosophy and religion, but I think they fill very different roles these days and it's dangerous to use one where the other is more appropriate.

What I notice most, because it comes and annoys me frequently, is when a religion refuses to let go of some belief about the world that's been disproved. For instance, what kicked off the conversation that the quoted bit's from was the Kansas school board deciding that the state science achievement test will include "intelligent design". The thought tends to propel me into raging incoherence, because that is not science, it does not belong in a science classroom, it is profoundly bad for all the innocent Kansas schoolchildren who will now be terribly confused about what science is and will be at a disadvantage in a great many careers.

It's also possible for people to use science where they should be using religion or philosophy, or to fail to consider the moral implications of an action at all and use science as a cover. That's also bad, but it's rarer. (Or at least it gets less publicity.)

I don't really object if some individual wants to believe something contrary to fact. I think it's silly, but if they're happy that way then that's their own lookout. What I object to is when an organized group starts teaching those beliefs as fact, or starts trying to prevent scientific inquiry into related subjects. I do think there's space for things like creation myths to exist alongside actual investigation into the physical world, but I think that space is in the realm of metaphor, story, and moral. If an individual moves their creation myths over into the realm of fact, if he or she believes they really happened, then it's none of my business. But when he or she starts telling my kids (or other people's kids) that that creation myth is really how the world began, then I have a problem with that.

To sum: Proselytizing bad! Metaphor good! And I tend to set my destructo-zapper on "wide" when irritated.

For what they're worth.

Religion is often codified belief that is transmitted from person to person often for the purpose of reinforcing a group structure. thus christianity, islam, libertarianism, open source software... all of them can become religions.

I have no problem with Person A deciding to believe Proposition X. Where I draw the line is when Person A tries to foist the belief of Proposition X onto others non-consensually and coercively, or as you ably summarize "Prosthelytizing bad!"

My views on religion are similar to what I've been musing about as regards gossip on alt.poly. One phrase that I just stumbled into is the concept of "social credence" or "if more people say it's true, then it must be true." Icky thing, but it exists.

Re: My own thoughts

Well, I think you're familiar with mine. Being religious and all I have a hearty respect for all those who believe in a sincere relgion, which automatically debunks your kind generalization of Christians. Unfortunately, your rant also adds to one of my own, and most of that's about aetheists and agnostics.

"OMFG you said something about faith you must be trying to force your dirty, unscientific, idiot-inducing RELIGION on me!! I will now take anything and everything you have to say as an attack and will in pretentious terms blame you and all YOUR KIND for every social ill that exists and lots of things you weren't alive to be blamed for! Bad religious people doing nothing but killing people who don't agree with you and bein all PREDJUDICED and VOTIN NOTHING BUT REPUBLICAN and all!! Bad!"

*rolls eyes*

But that's just my experience.

Re: My own thoughts

I'm sorry; were you replying to something I posted? Because I'm not seeing the connection between what I posted and your claim of "debunking my generalization."

To clarify: I said "Religion is often codified belief" and that many things "can become religions" not that they must.

Further your leap from what you thought I was supposedly ranting (your word, not mine) about and what you went on to rant about seems entirely based upon your projection of people giving you crap about being Christian onto my paragrpah wherein I did no such thing.

Your experience may be exactly what you describe it to be, but I'm not seeing any connection between that and what I wrote here. I'd greatly appreciate it if you left my words out of your straw man pas de deux.

Re: My own thoughts

My bad. Totally hit the wrong reply to link. Meant to reply to original post, not yours.

I didn't generalize about Christians. Most Christians are reasonable people who don't think religion should be taught in science classes. I only object to the crazy sort of fundamentalists who do try to get their own particular view of the world taught as straight-up truth.

I put this right at the top, because the last time I expressed a poorly-phrased philosophical thought you didn't read my follow-up e-mail with the details and explanations, and refused to speak to me for a month, so please at least read the bit above even if you'd rather not hear the rest, okay?

There are plenty of sincerely religious people who are "reasonable people" according to the definition above. Most Christians fall into this category -- they'll let other people go about their business without praying at them; they'll leave people who are doing something their holy book says is not okay (like wearing mixed fibers, or eating lobster) alone as long as those other people aren't trying to force them to do something they don't think is okay; and they'll teach their kids actual science. Most Muslims are reasonable people etc. Most other religious folks are reasonable people etc.

What I object to are, specifically, fundamentalists who think everyone else should be forced to follow their belief system. That goes for Christian fundamentalists exactly as strongly as it does for any other fundamentalists. Since I live in the United States, I mostly notice Christian fundamentalists since they're the ones that are trying to destroy my public education system, require me to say things I don't believe, and prevent me and my friends from doing things they think are immoral but which do not in fact harm anyone.

I also get annoyed, in an eye-rolling sort of way, when fundamentalists think that not requiring everyone to do the same thing is somehow oppression. For instance, if you want to pray in school you can go right ahead and do that (quietly, in a non-disruptive way). Making everyone else pray along with you is not necessary. Somehow that doesn't seem to register with certain of the irritating people.

I don't have a problem with religion. I have a problem with religion spilling over into science classes, sex education classes (Now, there's plenty of room for argument about whether sex ed should be taught in public schools at all. I think it should, but I think some of the arguments against it are sort of reasonable. But "abstinence-only education" involves lying to children, and I am opposed to lying.), law, and other places where it should not be.

Re: My own thoughts

The most disturbing part of your post was actually where you said I'd gotten huffy and not spoken to you for a month. I'm trying to remember this, but I hope I wasn't so immature. Not that I like the alternative of me having just simply forgetting to answer an email. -_-;; Totally my bad there.

Much like I don't have a sincere dislike of those who chose to have no faith at all. Then again, I've made such a peace with my faith as to be a minority among them. From this side of the fence I can tell you the grass isn't that much greener sometimes. I'm working on delving into scripture in an effort to understand, but I see a lot of people who know only bits and pieces using those few out-of-context quotes to justify their actions. Sorry, there's nowhere I've found that says faith should be in the courtroom, or the classroom, or just about anywhere but in one's own heart. It should be spread among the masses through example, and when you set a poor example you make your faith look bad. That's actually IN the bible. As opposed to "Being angry at someone who doesn't believe is the easiest way to get them converted! Try it at home!"

The kinds that you're describing aslo fail to remember the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon). Hey, guess what it's about here people!! SEX!! IF SEX WAS THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD WHY WOULD AN ENTIRE BOOK OF THE OLD TESTIMENT BE RESERVED SOLEY FOR A MARRIED COUPLE HAVING SEX?!!

My head asplode.

Really it's all about a large group of people. Get a big enough group, you end up with stupid people seeping in, and you get people who lie to further their own agendas. That happens to just about everything. I sincerely wish I could do something more about it being in my own faith than sighing and shaking my head when I see it ... But as you're well aware, reason doesn't work with some people. Trying to tell them the highest commandments are the furthering of the self ("Love Thy God" "Love Thy Neighbor"), rather than changing other people, or that God never intended for there to be a religious government ("Give Caesar what is Caesar's and give God what is God's"), and that the most important thing we are here on Earth to do is love God and each other ... You know, sometimes they don't listen.

But if you want the best defense against those kinds of people, grab a copy of the bible and hunt for the "fruits of the spirit." Just memorize what those are (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), because reminding someone they lack those things will make them stop for at least a moment. They may be pissed off, but so long as you learn their language, then there's nothing they can say against you.

And again, I apologie I lacked them myself years ago, but gimme a break. I was in middle school or something. Few people have them then.

Yeah, that was somewhere between '97 and '99. Last century! No big deal at all. It's just the ranty bit looked awfully familiar, so I wanted to make sure I hadn't driven you away again.

I'm glad I haven't.

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