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  1. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Religion: The Peasant's Science?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Duchess-Yukine-Suoh, Nov 9, 2013.

    I was thinking to myself this morning, and, in a way, isn't religion "the peasant's science"?

    I may seem to be implying that religious people are less intelligent than atheists. I'm not, but I'm suggesting a demographic thing. I started doing some research and came up with this theory:

    It's not that belief in God makes people poor. Being poor makes people believe in God.

    My theory kind of explains why all different religions still exist, in so many parts of the world, with so many people believing in them.

    I'm not trying to dis-validate science here (My life was saved multiple times because of it!) nor am I trying to dis-validate atheists. But, isn't any religion a bit easier to learn than having to get a college degree just to understand quantum physics?

    Religion has its uses. It's nice knowing that someone's looking out for you, especially when you're impoverished and trying to feed your kids by working 3 jobs.

    But it makes sense because when we think about it, 90% of americans believe in some sort of god-figure. Now, 17% of all Americans live in poverty, millions more are lower-middle class, and only 1/3 of all americans get at least a bachelors degree. And that's America. Look at 3rd world countries!

    Anyway, "the peasant's science" in all forms will be around for a good while, working class or none.
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I am an Evangelical Christian myself, and I understand your questions and theories. I do, however, disagree with this: "isn't any religion a bit easier to learn than having to get a college degree just to understand quantum physics?"

    Yes, it's easier in terms of the basics i.e. what you need to know to be saved, but when someone wants to learn more about their faith, it becomes complicated, at least for the average person. There are theology degrees and so forth; my Pastor has two doctorates. But when yo have a faith, you don't worry about degrees and so on. You worry about understanding the book that you believe, in my case, the Bible. Christians (I'm not sure about other faiths) will say that they will never stop learning things from the Bible, and I agree.

    Okay, religion (although I personally don't like that word) may not need to have clever people involved, but that's not the point of it. The point of it is so you will be saved.

    Anyway, I'm rambling. Sorry. :D
     
  3. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I don't really like the word religion either. As my theology teacher said "God is perfect. Religion is not."

    You could go to college to learn more about faith, but you don't have to. Technically, even an illiterate person could be a Christian. (not sure about other religions.)

    It's fine. :D
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The issue with this premise, Duchess, is that it assumes that both epistemologies, Religion and Science, exist to answer the same kinds of questions. There may have been a time in the past when this was true, and for many it still is, but most people today who give equal coin to both know that they each answer different kinds of questions and to mix the two is the very holotype of the fallacy of the mixed epistemology, of which there are many:

    You cannot use a ruler to measure Deity (Science v. Religion)
    Religious texts and prayer do not help you to learn your trig & analit. (Religion v. Science)
    Neither Science nor Religion explain the beauty an individual does or does not find in a Monet (Science or Religion v. Aesthetics)

    The list goes on...
     
  5. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    No, that's not what I meant at all. Yeah, I couldn't find a better title. But many do treat science akin to a religion.

    *Note that I have no clue what half the words you used there even are, so I'm just guessing as to what you mean, lol.
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    An epistemology is a way or theory of knowing something, in a broad sense. Science is not a religion (though that's an oft tossed about phrase) it's an epistemology. It has defined parameters concerning how it goes about answering the questions it tries to answer. Religion is also an epistemology. It also has defined parameters as to how it functions and the answers it seeks to give. There are many epistemologies.

    When people say things like But many do treat science akin to a religion, what they really mean to say is that many take what science says on faith alone in the word. Taking things on blind, unquestioning faith is a facet of the epistemology of Religion, not of Science. I know it seems like I'm splitting pedantic hairs here, but these are hairs that need splitting because when we muddle the meanings of certain words, we lose capacity to express concepts in meaningful ways.

    No one treats Science as a religion, and no one treats Religion as a science. People simply chose an epistemology that makes more sense to the questions they need answering, and then defend it. Some rare few manage to straddle the line between both.
     
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  7. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    This makes sense. See, I learn when I'm not in school! :)
     
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  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And if holotype stumped you, that word means the example to which all other like or similar things are compared. There are many examples of all different kinds of mixed epistemologies, but when people want to talk about the concept of mixed epistemology itself, Rel. v. Sci. is always the example that's used because it's the most well known and familiar to the average Joe/Jane; hence, it is the holotype. ;)
     
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  9. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Look, new words! I also figured out pedantic, which I figured out because of "ped", which is a prefix meaning "child", I think.

    My school only makes me learn words like banter and vie, which I already knew.
     
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  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hm.. in a very round about way, but it doesn't relate to child or children. It comes from pédent, with is a c. 1500's French word for schoolmaster. It means to speak in the stuffy, nit-picky way of an uptight teacher. ;)
     
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  11. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Oh, so a pedent is a pedagogue.
     
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  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The two words are etymologically related.
     
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  13. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    :confused:
    How does that have anything to do with etymologies?
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    We're getting really far off of your original topic, but they are etymologically related in that pédent and pedagogue share a common word root and origin, but do not have the exact same meaning. Pédent was just the regular word for schoolmaster at the time of its use. No other layered connotations. Pedagogue has a similar meaning, but unquestioningly carries a connotation of stuffy, prim, uptightness. It has a judgement that comes with it other than the flat fact meaning. And if you're wondering, yes, I'm being ironically pedantic about the source and use of the word pedantic and its related terms. ;)
     
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  15. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I get it now! lol and thanks. ;)
     
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  16. Wreybies
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    Back to your topic...

    Another issue that often arrises in these kinds of comparisons is when one epistemology argues that it comes prior in the order condescendi, which is just a fancy schmancy way of saying other epistemologies are just portions of my greater epistemology; thus, anything they answer is just part of my greater whole. This is a train of argument that has little meaningful output since it tends to serve to suppress the value of the parameters of other epistemologies for being simple subsets subject to filtering through the parameters of the epistemology being held as a higher order, or "one level up".

    This "prior in the order condescendi" argument is not unique to any one epistemology. You will find examples in most.
     
  17. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think believing in religion has all that much to do with poverty. Perhaps poverty leads to more suffering and less education, although this isn't a rule. Religion, just like science, is most often picked up in childhood. Impressionable minds learn everything from their parents, including how to interpret the world around them, and then they learn more from school, church and society as a whole. So in my opinion, religion and science, as ways of understanding the world around us, are learned, by both children, and their parents before them, first and foremost.

    Some people discover religion or science in later life, ie. grow up without any specific instruction sand they make up their minds without pre-existing bias, but I am dubious whether it is at all possible to be entirely uninfluenced if so, it's very rare. But there are people who become religious later in life and for some, this is a choice, because it fulfils a psychological or spiritual need, some people are simply drawn to the esoteric, and some people find place for both science and religion into their lives. Religion and science aren't mutually exclusive. Science can't exclude the possibility that God indeed exists, although it can say with high degree of confidence that there is no scientific evidence to support it. But lack of scientific evidence doesn't equate to lack of existence. Religion-wise, there are various degrees of faith, with some people having absolute certainty about their faith, and others keep a degree of reserve the way science does. Religion is much more individual then science, since everyone can believe whatever they want, if it makes sense to them, in this day and age there is no legal body to regulate people's spiritual beliefs, while science is quite strict on what is and isn't 'science'.

    There are many things in this experience we call life, and in this Universe, which science hasn't answered fully yet. Biggest one of all being the meaning of all the suffering we experience, and what happens to our sense of self after we die. Beliefs come in all shapes and sizes, and when we are trying to answer questions that nobody has any scientifically verifiable definite answers to offer, people find meaning on their own. It's only logical to seek external support, and various philosophies, including science and religion, all serve a purpose to help us understand.
     
  18. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    There are numerous studies showing that poverty and religiosity are correlated. Why I think they are correlated is something I don't really want to get into. But I will say that some studies have argued that religion provides an emotional benefit to poorer people, which is great if true.
     
  19. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I love how science and religion are always compared as polar opposites, that one cannot exist without the other. Faith is an interesting thing. As @jazzabel said, "Science can't exclude the possibility that God indeed exists, although it can say with high degree of confidence that there is no scientific evidence to support it." Science is not a religion; it is simply a way to observe the world - to test theories with replicable and predictable results. Scientists are not creators; they are discoverers. The universe has existed the same since the beginning of time. Just because man found a way to observe quantum particles does not mean the universe used to be made out of legos. However, positivists look down upon those with religion as less informed (stupid). Who could possibly have faith in some invisible, magical sky wizard? Faith? That's stupid as well, right? Well, we all have some sort of faith. Is the universe saddle shaped? Donut Shaped? Expanding infinitely? You don't know and probably never will, but you will take a stance behind one and have faith that your beliefs are correct
     
  20. jazzabel
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    @thirdwind: Correlation doesn't imply causation, and there are many studies that managed to show positive (or negative) correlation between religion, poverty, educational level, IQ, cognitive styles etc, but those results have been variously interpreted due to complex confounding factors associated with such research. To begin with, what is 'religiosity'? Religious beliefs of a of Westboro Baptist Church member will differ greatly to the beliefs of a non-practicing Anglican scientist.

    @Garball: Research examining the relationship between cognitive styles and religion has found that intuitive thinking increases religious belief, whilst analytic thinking decreases it. But that's only one aspect of a person's experience, which can change depending on a situation.
     
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  21. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The way I see it, there is more causation than we realize. In addition to explaining things we couldn't understand, I would argue that religion was used to even the playing field between the strong and the weak (be it physical strength or fiscal strength). If the weak could somehow convince the strong that everyone has to answer to a higher power, it would restore the power balance. I actually think it was pretty effective. History shows us that the church was pretty powerful during Medieval times. Over time, people came to realize that religion can be used for control. There's that famous quote from Karl Marx about religion being an opiate. The whole argument there is that the rich use religion to keep the poor from rising up against their oppressors. Religion forces people to be content with what they have. It's a fairly moving argument, and I'm inclined to believe it. You see this in Hinduism, too. The whole notion of reincarnation is based on control. So for me at least, it's very easy to see how poverty would cause someone to gravitate towards religion.
     
  22. jazzabel
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    @thirdwind: That certainly is quite a pragmatic way of looking at it, and with a phenomenon as complex as organised religion, I am sure there are all kinds of practical benefits in convincing the population to follow religious dogma. However, church used extremely violent methods for millennia, to enforce compliance in general population, so any possibility that people found their needs met in religious dogma is tainted by them risking death if they refused to believe. Also, it seems to me that the rich profited a lot more from organised religion, since the church itself amassed incredible wealth and power, which is contrary to most religious teachings.

    But I think there's a big difference between a man/woman's natural instinct to look up at the sky and wonder if anyone's listening to their plight, and organised religion with its power and hierarchies and dogma that's been edited and recorded by various Popes and Kings over the centuries.

    With poverty, it's only been shown that religion seems to play greater significance in daily lives of people in poor countries, but that can be explained by church's greater involvement in daily life, rather than inner religiosity of people themselves.

    The way I always interpreted Marx is from a psychological standpoint. Mass prayer has been shown to have a calming effect similar to a trance-like state of deep meditation coupled by an endorphin release and heightened sense of well-being. In that sense, physiologically speaking, it could be said that joint prayer, as practiced in churches all over the world, is 'opium for the masses'. Socio-political reasoning notwithstanding.
     
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  23. Robert_S
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    I think this is a terrible thing. It breeds a complacency derived from the idea that you only gain a good existence once you're dead. In the mean time, bad people continue to inflict on good. If you wanted to spin it another way, for people to remain complacent during times where evil leads, then good is contributing to the rise of evil.
     
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  24. 123456789
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    Hey Duchess, a degree in QM or any STEM science is no reason in and of itself to become an athiest. A lot of surveys show that about 50% of scientists are atheists.

    Second off, I can assure you most atheists are no more educated in science (or anything, for that matter) than most Muslims, Christians, Hindus, etc. They simply chose to believe a different set of people.
     
  25. Wreybies
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    Or to believe no one at all. ;)
     
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