Class Warfare Blog

February 15, 2020

The Transactional Idea of Gods

Filed under: History,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:36 am
Tags: , , , ,

I am currently reading a wonderful book, An Atheist’s History of Belief: Understanding Our Most Extraordinary Invention by Matthew Kneale. The author paints a picture of how religion came to be that is quite compelling. He starts with a chapter entitles “Inventing Gods” which begins with a purpose for religion and that is keeping a primitive people’s worst nightmares at bay. He points out that widely dispersed cultures, which didn’t interact had a great deal in common. The commonality involved going into trance states and seeing or becoming spirit animals. In all of these cultures, these spirit animals had three basic abilities: the ability to help you when you got sick, the could also control the movement of prey animals, and they could improve the weather.

He argues that many of the cave paintings which typically are claimed to describe hunting scenes actually represent spirit animals.

The commonality of these things bears upon his claim that primitive peoples could be terrified by the three occurrences and the reassurances offered were welcomed everywhere.

The next stage in the development of gods is based upon the Theory of Mind, which is rooted in the human ability to winkle out what others are thinking without having to have them tell you that. This is a survival skill every mother taught every child when I was growing up: how to tell when an adult was being nice and how to recognize danger. Of course, having no cable TV or Internet meant our minds were busy imparting human feelings and thoughts to not just people, but other animals and even inanimate objects. We saw human points of view in anything that was important to our survival. These spirits were entities from which we could seek help just as we sought help from people. Ta da, animism!

Humans, of course, operated as many social cultures do, on a basis of reciprocity. If you do something nice for me, I will do something nice for you. Grooming is one such thing, another is a clever way to store food. When a hunter came back to camp with an antelope, the meat was often shared out with the whole tribe. If one tried to keep it, it more often than not spoiled, so sharing it out converted that meat into obligations of the other members of the tribe to share their finds when they harvested and hunted.

And, if these “spirits” or “deities” they saw all around them were helpers in case of illness, etc. then if they were going to do something for us, we needed to do something for them (reciprocity) and thus was born the idea of sacrifice.

How important people thought such sacrifices were is shown in places like Göbekli Tepe. As long ago as ten thousand years or so, maybe twelve, gigantic stone obelisks were dressed, carved and placed in a “high place” for reasons we do not fully understand, but were clearly not related to quotidian needs, but some sort of “spiritual need.” The amount of hard labor involved was immense, which is testimony to how important they thought this activity was. It apparently also took place over centuries.

The idea behind sacrifice seems clear but the manifestations of it are wide and bizarre: burying human children under the walls of a building, cutting living people’s hearts out to appease a sun god, etc.

And all of this existed and happened before there were systems for writing things down (paintings and carvings, yes, but writing, no).

Once writing came into the picture, after accounting, religious topics were most popular. And one thing is clear. In early religions, morality was not the coin with which gods were paid, it was ritual. The early religions had no heavens, no hells, pissed off gods extracted their revenge and provided rewards in the here and now. If there was an afterlife is was a gray, shambling kind of existence in a grey underworld. So, appeasing gods with sacrifices and rituals was the name of the game for a very long time.

This is about as far as I have gotten, but I didn’t want to wait to recommend this book to you. It is quite fascinating and well written and paced.

 

56 Comments »

  1. If there is evidence for a god, it’s not evidence for the god of Abraham. These different peoples developing core shamanistic principles and practices, even in the remotest regions and separated oceans apart, developed many things in common or, universal truths which sprang from utility. It didn’t require missionaries and explainers.
    Sounds like a book I wools like to read.

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    Comment by jim- — February 15, 2020 @ 9:31 am | Reply

    • He’s getting into some of the innovations of Judaism next. Highly recommended so far.

      On Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 9:31 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 15, 2020 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  2. Sounds good. I will check it out

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    Comment by maryplumbago — February 15, 2020 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  3. This sounds like something I should check out. From the creation of the supernatural with its zillions of immaterial entities, and the evolution of ancestor worship into the death cults of Christianity and Islam.. Is that about it? Thanks for the heads up. GROG

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    Comment by grogalot — February 15, 2020 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  4. I keep reading this book and it keeps making sense all around. It is not unkind to theists but it does explain where religion comes from and why it is the way it is. Add on top of that the nature of a social species and each member wanting to fit in explains a lot of the rest. I read just last night of how heaven was a Zoroastrian invention (based upon some Egyptian beliefs, too) which was originally reserved for the elites (surprise, surprise) but every time the elites got their asses handed to them the hoi polloi horned in on their perquisites. I will keep reading as there is plenty of meat on this bone.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Steve Ruis — February 15, 2020 @ 10:52 am | Reply

  5. This has been my position for a very, very long time — a purpose for religion … is keeping a primitive people’s worst nightmares at bay.

    It has obviously “evolved,” but essentially religion still holds this same place in the human psyche.

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    Comment by Nan — February 15, 2020 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

    • I found their ideas of what a worst nightmare was more understandable that the current “fear of death.” I can imagine primitive peoples contracting serious diseases and feeling totally helpless and being unable to move the family group because someone can’t even walk to be very terrifying, in your face not terrifying, not some abstracted fear. Going hungry because of bad weather and no prey animals around are right here, right now kinds of fears, that they will have experienced sometime already.

      I think the casual attitude the Brits have toward religion is a logical consequence of not taking the fear of death too seriously. Everyone dies, right? In the U.S. the drive for power and riches have fueled the religification of our society. The likes of the Billy Grahams types makes me queasy with regard to how much power they help over the political process.

      On Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 1:02 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 15, 2020 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  6. How does a history of the origins of religion strengthen the case for atheism?

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    Comment by John Branyan — February 15, 2020 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

    • You mean that there are perfectly logical reasons for why spirits and deities have been made up. It supplies a justification for not believing in other people’s fantasies, no?

      The author, is not making a case against religion, he is making a case for understanding it. He does not in any way denigrate believers (at least so far, I haven’t finished the book, but he does state that as one of his goals in the introduction).

      I have always been fascinated how we got to here and now, and religion is a big part of the picture in the U.S.

      On Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 1:29 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 15, 2020 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

      • The perfectly logical reason for why spirits and deities have been made up does not prove that spirits and deities HAVE been made up.

        Atheism assumes that “how we got to here and now” is via “other people’s fantasies”. You start from the position that all religion is false.

        Recounting the history of religious beliefs does not demonstrate that those beliefs are “made up” any more than recounting the history of secular thought demonstrates atheism is “made up”.

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        Comment by John Branyan — February 15, 2020 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

        • So you are implying that the religious beliefs of people have some truth behind them, yes? Which ones? All of them? And, really, the making up of gods and spirits has been observed and is a well documented process. (Consider the Cargo Cults that formed post WW2.) So, we are not saying this based upon conjecture alone. And, it comes down to you have a choice of things to believe: you can believe that supernatural events occurred as described or you can recognize perfectly natural processes in human thinking as the cause.

          The history of Judaism and Christianity clearly show the influence of other religions. The Jews brought back monotheism from their stay in Babylon. Prior to that point they were quite comfortable being polytheists (in fact for quite some time after the sixth century BCE they were quite comfortable being monotheists. The Bible even describes many of the efforts taken to stamp out the polytheistic practices of the people. So, people who think that monotheism was given to the Hebrews by Moses are quite mistaken. Judaism and Christianity were cobbled together from quite a different number of religions and heresies.

          So, are we to ignore all of the church history we have in hand and believe that those religions have only supernatural motivations?

          On Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 10:17 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — February 16, 2020 @ 7:48 am | Reply

          • Yes. There is truth behind religious beliefs. I am open minded enough that I can affirm the truth in some religious beliefs without affirming ALL of them. Atheism does not allow that. It’s all or nothing.

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            Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 8:02 am | Reply

            • Okay, I accept that. This seems to be a common situation amongst believers. How do you tell which of your beliefs are true and which are false? (In science we ask nature and nature does not hesitate to bitch slap us when we are wrong.)

              On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 8:02 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — February 16, 2020 @ 8:15 am | Reply

              • Figuring out truth takes effort. The first step is acknowledging that truth exists. If truth is relative, then it doesn’t matter what you believe.

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                Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 8:38 am | Reply

                • Acknowledging that truth exists? This sounds like a presupposition to me. Truth is where you find it, no? If you go looking for truth and you find none, either you struck out and missed it or it was not there. So, you share your success or failure to find the truth and keep looking. It doesn’t seem that assuming that the truth exists helps at all. This seems a bit like prospecting for gold in the old days of California. People swarmed to the places in which others found some gold and looked and looked and looked. Some found more, others found none. You look for it where it is likely to be and hope to find it by using methods that have proven to work, but no guarantees are provided.

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                  Comment by Steve Ruis — February 16, 2020 @ 8:52 am | Reply

                  • I agree with your illustration.

                    Atheism takes the failed attempts to find gold and concludes there is no gold.

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                    Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 10:06 am | Reply

                    • You overstate your case. Atheists take the slack of gold being found at a particular site and say “I am unconvinced that there is gold to be found here.”

                      Most atheists simply do not believe the statements claiming a god or gods exist. They don’t believe the *claims*. Your statement, which implies that some atheists believe that gods do not exist, is correct, but only for a minority of atheists … of which I am one! (Aren’t you lucky!)

                      Yes, I am one of those atheists who boldly states “Your god does not exist.” I am in a minority of atheists, though. In my analogy, your people are prospecting for Unobtanium. They claim that it exists and they can prove it, they say, but no one has ever produced even a smidgen of Unobtanium. Oh it is there, just look around you, they say. I have and so have many others and it just isn’t there. Unobtainium is a stand-in for the supernatural which includes as a small subset, the supernatural actions of gods and goddesses. I do not see any of it, not even a whiff. Consequently, since so many people have looked for so long, you can (a) choose to continue to look or (b) conclude there is nothing to fin so stop looking. Now, if someone actually does prove that supernatural occurrences can happen (which unfortunately makes them natural but …) I will indeed have egg on my face and will admit I was wrong (part of my scientific training).

                      On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 10:06 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 16, 2020 @ 10:29 am

                    • We were talking about the existence of objective truth. Is that Unobtainium or do you believe it exists somewhere?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 10:39 am

                    • I wasn’t talking about truth per se. I was talking about a much smaller subject. Just as some people compound religious belief with belief in general. I do not want to compound religious beliefs with beliefs in general. What is “true” in a religious context is not necessarily true outside of it. Does that make any sense at all to you?

                      PS I find myself enjoying this conversation. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that in that while I don’t believe in absolute hubris, I do believe in relative hubris. :o)

                      On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 10:39 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 16, 2020 @ 11:17 am

                    • Why are you finding it so difficult to answer the question? Do you believe the truth objectively exist or not?

                      Because if truth is relative to us as individuals then neither one of us is right or wrong.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 11:35 am

                    • You asked if we were talking about objective truth and I answered no. You did not ask if I believed there was such a thing. Since You seem to think this is important, allow me to answer this question.

                      No.

                      Allow me to explain. In the near future a bizarre happening occurs. All of the people on the earth disappear. There is no one left to figure out where they went, if they are still alive, whether they are coming back. (I have to hurry before Netflix picks up the rights!) If there were objective truths, what happens to them in the absence of human beings to express them or propound them? Would alien archaeologists finding out planet be able to determine whether we believed in objective truths and if so, what they were from what we leave behind?

                      Setting aside my little Gedankenexperiment if we use a simple definition of objective truth, namely “A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject,” since neither of us can be considered to be “without bias” how could we come to any agreement?

                      On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 11:35 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 16, 2020 @ 12:47 pm

                    • Thank you for answering.

                      Refusing to acknowledge the existence of objective truth undermines every aspect of human intellect. You have given yourself no foundation to make any knowledge claims.

                      Allow me to illustrate the problem. You gave a simple definition of objective truth. Since you do not believe objective truth exists, your definition is not true. It is merely an expression of your personal bias.

                      I’m doubtful that you sincerely believe that nothing you say is true. I think you believe Atheism is true not only for you but for me as well. I think you believe religious beliefs are wrong for everyone. Am I right?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 1:17 pm

                    • If I may … there is no “objective” truth in atheism OR religion. Both are simply tenets (key principles, beliefs or assumptions) that individuals have chosen to adhere to based on their examination of life and what that means to them.

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                      Comment by Nan — February 16, 2020 @ 1:24 pm

                    • Wait…Didn’t you leave Christianity because your research lead you to believe it isn’t true? Are you suggesting that your new beliefs are no more true than the faith you abandoned?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 1:31 pm

                    • No. That’s not what I’m saying. Read my response again and try to take off your Christian reading glasses.

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                      Comment by Nan — February 16, 2020 @ 1:36 pm

                    • Why did you leave Christianity?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 1:52 pm

                    • Referencing my earlier comment … I left because based on my personal examination of life and what it means to me, I discovered Christianity did not represent, the “key principles, beliefs or assumptions” that I chose to live by.

                      What you fail to understand is whether you or I believe Christianity is “true” has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Our decisions related to religion or any other facet of life are based on the core aspects of how we choose to live — and enjoy — our lives.

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                      Comment by Nan — February 16, 2020 @ 2:08 pm

                    • “Our decisions related to religion or any other facet of life are based on the core aspects of how we choose to live — and enjoy — our lives.”

                      Is that a true statement?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 2:12 pm

                    • A worldview that requires you to deny the existence of truth is self-defeating. The cognitive dissonance necessary to prop up beliefs that God doesn’t exist is truly impressive.

                      What you fail to understand is whether you or I believe anything is “true” has no bearing on the existence of truth itself. If your “key principles, beliefs or assumptions” that you chose to live by do not reflect truth, then you’re a fool to base your life on them.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 16, 2020 @ 10:18 pm

                    • A worldview that requires you to deny the existence of truth is self-defeating. The cognitive dissonance necessary to prop up beliefs that God doesn’t exist is truly impressive.

                      LOL!

                      Better back up a few steps there, Einstein, and perhaps begin with first trying to move your enormous *presupposition* from the, you know, “enormous presupposition with no supporting evidence column,” into the, you know, “actual column.”

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                      Comment by john zande — February 17, 2020 @ 3:36 am

                    • If there is no objective truth, presuppositions are as valid as claims supported with evidence.

                      Are you gonna be brave and admit you believe in objective truth, JZ?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 5:19 am

                    • To be perfectly honest, I don’t even understand what the hell you’re blabbering on about. It is an objective truth that I love cheesecake. Should I die, the fact that I loved cheesecake will remain objectively true for ever and ever.

                      Now, how about some effort in moving that enormous *presupposition* (your god exists) from the “enormous presupposition with no supporting evidence column,” into the “actual column.”

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                      Comment by john zande — February 17, 2020 @ 6:39 am

                    • Steve and Nan don’t believe objective truth exists. It will be interesting to see if they comment about your cheesecake claim. I’m betting they’ll just ignore it.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 6:55 am

                    • So, no effort in moving that enormous *presupposition* (your god exists) from the “enormous presupposition with no supporting evidence column,” into the “actual column.”

                      That was so predictable it was… wait for it… an objective truth!

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                      Comment by john zande — February 17, 2020 @ 7:02 am

                    • This isn’t my blog. As you know, my blog contains extensive explanations of my “enormous presupposition”.

                      Why don’t you ask Steve to explain his position? Too awkward?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 7:06 am

                    • You, John Branyan, do not have the right, authority, or knowledge to determine what I believe or do not believe. So bug off and go work on your comedy (?) routines.

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                      Comment by Nan — February 17, 2020 @ 11:49 am

                    • You, do not have the right, authority, or knowledge to say what rights, authority, or knowledge I have.

                      Your every comment is a comedy routine.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 12:00 pm

                    • Correct, my belief that there are no gods is similar to your belief that there is one. My atheism isn’t founded completely upon that “fact” however. My atheism is also rooted in a rejection of your claims that a god exists. (I do not believe your claims, you do not believe mine.) Just as you cannot prove the existence of your god, I cannot disprove it. I can, however, point to the complete and utter lack of tangible evidence for the existence of not only gods but anything supernatural. Proponents of the supernatural have pushed it so far away from something that could be detected (“Our god exists beyond time and space,” whatever that means.) so that even if it did exist, its existence would be irrelevant because of its lack of footprints in nature. If it can affect things in nature, then it can be detected, so there is nowhere to hide, but hiding is what all of these gods are doing.

                      On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 1:31 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2020 @ 8:04 am

                    • Your belief that there are no gods in not true unless I agree with you.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 8:07 am

                    • I am losing track of who is saying what to whom. But if you, John, are asking me, Steve, this question, here is my answer: No, if you believe something I do not Or I believe something you do not, it is a truth we do not share. Allow me to assume that we both believe the sun will come up tomorrow (an ordinary, that is non-religious belief). Since we both share that belief, it is an agreed upon truth, one we share. If I were to state that I believe the Earth is flat and you would say, no it is ball-shaped, then what may be a truth for me is in conflict quit a truth of yours and is an example of a truth we do not share. My beliefs and your beliefs require no one else’s agreement.

                      But if I want to make a philosophical argument, I would state first my premises and ask you to accept them as being true because if they are not, any argument based upon them will not yield things in agreement. A standard method to deceive is to slip a falsehood into one’s premises hoping that the other doesn’t notice. Thus an argument, to be convincing, requires an agreement upon the truths of the premises. If you or I do not like the conclusion of the argument, the first step in trying to debunk the argument is to carefully re-examine the premises to see whether they are true and applicable.

                      On Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 8:07 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2020 @ 8:15 am

                    • Now you are saying that truth exists whether we agree about it or not. Is that right?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 8:25 am

                    • For me and for you … not some objective truth that everyone can agree upon. If we all agree upon some truth, then that would be indeed an objective truth. You might actually be able to come up with one from mathematics by carefully setting the boundary conditions, but that hardly is a basis for human interactions about non-mathematical topic discussions.

                      Consider politics in the U.S. we have at least two (actually more) major divisions in the body politic over what the “truth” is and one of those divisions regularly says things that most people think are not only untrue but possibly crazy. Still, there are others who think those utterances are, indeed, true.

                      On Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 8:25 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2020 @ 8:32 am

                    • Do you realize you have contradicted yourself again?

                      The objective truth exists regardless of our agreement about it. There is no “my truth” and “your truth”. I agree that personal opinion is not objective truth. But it is an error to conclude that objective truth doesn’t exist because we have different opinions about politics.

                      Either God exists or He does not. You say he does not. I say he does. Only one of us is correct. Whichever one of us is correct possesses the objective truth.

                      Again, by denying the existence of objective truth, atheism is irrational right out of the gate.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 8:51 am

                    • You seem to assume that repeating your opinion makes it true.

                      Why are you so hell-bent on having me acknowledge the existence of objective truth?

                      Let’s try something. I will, for the sake of this discussion, accept your premise, that there is such a thing as objective truth. Now what, what do you do with that?

                      On Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 8:51 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2020 @ 9:09 am

                    • LOL
                      I know repeating my opinion will not make it true “for you”. You’ve explained that truth doesn’t exist unless we agree.

                      It makes no difference to me whether or not you acknowledge objective truth. I’ve explained (twice now) that everything you say is undermined by your “truth is subjective” philosophy. If being irrational doesn’t bother you, it certainly doesn’t bother me.

                      I’ll bet that when you taught Chemistry, you didn’t allow the students to answer questions with “their truth”. I’ll bet you made “your truth” the objective standard for test scores.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 9:23 am

                    • As I told you. I didn’t get to declare what was true or not in my courses. The curriculum was determined by others. I taught the curriculum which my contract required me to do and I tested the students on objectives that were shared with them. I even shared previous test questions and answers that receive high scores with them. All of these had nothing to do with what I perceived as being true or not. Can you get that through your truth meter?

                      While teaching, I spent most of my time on misconceptions, e.g. where the textbook said A and the student thought it meant B. I had to clarify what the words in the text meant and didn’t mean to the people who wrote them. (Definitions are agreed upon things, by the way. There are no “true” and “false” definitions, just accepted ones and unaccepted ones. If you don’t believe this find a person deep into woo and ask them about energy or vibrations, either one is good. I suspect you would not recognize what they were talking about. They have co-opted the words that mean something quiet different from waht they are talking about, and if enough people use those definitions, they will appear in dictionaries, because the compilers of dictionaries make their decisions upon the frequencies of word uses.)

                      On Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 9:23 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 18, 2020 @ 1:02 pm

                    • So you simply recited whatever was in the curriculum with no regard for substance. This is consistent with your belief that truth doesn’t exist.

                      Students were graded on their ability to repeat the “curriculum’s truth” which demonstrated the effectiveness of your indoctrination.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 18, 2020 @ 1:22 pm

                    • Are you really that venal, that vile or do you just act that way for Jesus. Teachers no longer decide what they are to teach. The good teachers teach with joy and passion, sharing the knowledge and perspectives their subject provides and you have to denigrate that? Do you really think that teaching Christian Chemistry is superior to teaching Secular Chemistry? (It certainly would have made the answer book for the end-of-chapter problems simpler, page after page of “God did it.”)

                      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 1:22 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 20, 2020 @ 7:47 am

                    • Are you really that venal, that vile or do you just act that way because you’ve realized your self contradiction?

                      You’re going to have to pick a side, Steve. Either you taught what you sincerely believed was truth OR you simply recited whatever was in the curriculum.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 20, 2020 @ 8:43 am

                    • Ah, Nan, you may … and I think you have the essence of both. As W.C. Fields once said (actually many times) “Everybody ought to believe in something. I believe I will have another drink.” And while he was gliding along the line between religious beliefs and ordinary beliefs, that just adds to the humor. And to an alcoholic, which he portrayed and probably was not (at least through much of his life), having a drink may have been a religious affair.

                      On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 1:24 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2020 @ 7:58 am

                    • In response I respond by saying I took a course in logic in college where it was established that an argument’s validity had nothing to do with the truth. The truth of an argument was based upon premises which were “obviously” or “assumed” to be true or false. Opinions as to the “truth” of premises varies, if Chrisitian apologetics is any example.

                      In mathematics we can say things like 45 + 45 = 90 and declare that to be an objective truth, but really it is an agreement upon a set of rules and is not objectively true. If those numbers were Base 11, they would not be true. If those numbers were angles in a triangle on a curved surface, they would not be true.

                      So, “objective truth” as it is defined requires agreement between the people discussing it that the rules are in effect or even what rules are in effect.

                      Please note that humans can agree what “truth” is but it cannot be imposed from the outside.

                      Your belief in objective truth has led you to an absurdity (that I believe might believe that nothing I say is true). That should be a tip-off as to there being something wrong. Words are also problematic because many have many, many definitions and sometimes these conflict with one another. Like in the game of Scrabble, we have to agree on the dictionary we are using before the game starts to avoid fights over what isn’t and what is true.

                      On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 1:17 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2020 @ 7:53 am

                    • To be clear, the truthfulness of your response is contingent on my agreement? Is that right?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — February 17, 2020 @ 7:58 am

          • Consider the Cargo Cults that formed post WW2

            And dozens of UFO religions that have popped into existence like mushrooms following Kenneth Arnold’s famed 1947 spotting of “flying disks” over the Cascade Mountains.

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            Comment by john zande — February 16, 2020 @ 8:46 am | Reply

  7. A wonderful pacifier.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by john zande — February 15, 2020 @ 6:18 pm | Reply


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