All of yters's Comments + Replies

Religion is rapidly on the rise around the world. See Algeria and France for an example of what happens to a secularized society when resisting religious extremists.

So, if an extremist is both stronger and reproduces better than a non-extremist, I'm pretty sure the extremist will win.

Hmmm. My impression is that religion is on the rise in some places, and declining in other places. And that a generation from now, it is likely that religion will be in decline where it is rising now, and on the rise where it now declines. Two excellent examples supporting my fluctuation viewpoint. Two hundred twenty years ago in France, the 'extremists' were the secularists. Algeria's first post-revolutionary government was ultra-secularist, a la Ataturk. Of course that led to a religious reaction. Raw reproduction rate is relatively unimportant in cultural evolution. You need to not only reproduce, but reproduce "in kind". Rapidly reproducing subcultures tend to have high attrition rates. Orthodox Jews tend to become secular rather than the reverse. Amish children leave the farm and the faith. It is starting to happen to the Hutterites [] too. And it is definitely happening to Muslim immigrant populations in Europe. In fact, the universality of this phenomenon is almost spooky. Maybe it is a side-effect of large family sizes. Kids can't wait to grow up and try out something totally different. By a simple evolutionary psychology argument, we might expect this to be a universal human characteristic. PS. I realize this comment is long on assertion, but short on documentation. But then, so was yours. If we continue the conversation, we should both try to do better. :)
Reproduces better, sure, but stronger in what sense?
(blink) Religion is a more powerful force in today's world than, say, five hundred years ago? Secularism has lost ground relative to then? Really? That's a surprising claim; I'd like to see it backed up with an argument. Conversely, if you aren't claiming that, I'd recommend thinking about why it isn't true, as it suggests that theorizing that religion will always win out over secularism is missing something critical.

Why would the apostles all die martyrs deaths for someone who didn't live up to his promises? Especially since the gospels show they weren't of the most courageous character either. That is pretty convincing to me, I don't know of a good counter.

Also, if there were so many Christian communities so soon after Jesus' death, then there would be a good community of knowledge to filter false and true accounts of Jesus life.

Finally, why didn't any of the other unorthodox accounts start similar communities? Why are the communities so similar in their beliefs about Jesus, if it is quite likely to have been made up, as you suggest?

Even if we take as given that the apostles died bravely defending the resurrection, you can't take people dying martyr's death as evidence for their beliefs, only for their level of belief. People have martyred themselves for many CONFLICTING ideologies. Islam and Christianity to pick 2 of the most obvious examples, can't both be correct.

Finally, why didn't any of the other unorthodox accounts start similar communities? Why are the communities so similar in their beliefs about Jesus, if it is quite likely to have been made up, as you suggest?

Paul's letters explain this. The communities were so similar because they were all so strongly influenced by Paul.

Finally, why didn't any of the other unorthodox accounts start similar communities? Why are the communities so similar in their beliefs about Jesus, if it is quite likely to have been made up, as you suggest?

They did. There were plenty of wildly disparate sects of Christianity early on, out of whose beliefs the gospels that were declared noncanonical rose up in the first place. Most of these communities died out over time, although some lasted for centuries, and Gnostics, who existed in several branches and were the most significant competitors for what... (read more)

It's coherent to say de-ontological ethics are hierarchical, and higher goods take precedence over lower goods. So, the lower good of sacrificing one person to save a greater good does not entail sacrificing the person is good. It is just necessary.

Saying the ends justify the means entails the means become good if they achieve a good.

That is, you can't take the precedent of killing one person to save five, and use that to kill another person on a whim. I have mainly heard the phrase used to ignore the consequences of your actions because your goal is a good one. It's obviously wrong to suggest that a type of behavior is universally justified if it is justified in one set of circumstances in which the sum of its effects is positive.

The problem with evolving evolution is that the search space becomes exponentially larger every time you go up a level of evolution.

I agree. See my comment for this post. My position is controversial, but pretty coherent. At least, no one came up with a counter argument, I was just downvoted alot. So, my opinion is a pretty good example of what the poster is looking for, yet such opinions inherently will not do well. Really, this forum is antithetical to this post.

A... let's say, close friend of mine, has extremists among her immediate family. They are poor, because any accumulated surplus is flushed down the religion-hole, and live in filth because they sincerely believe that the cockroaches will kneel and obey, or stop existing, if only their delusions could be sufficiently purified. They have produced several offspring, but no loyal heirs, no descendants. Look at these people, and then tell me with a straight face that they'll rule the world someday. The question, if you ask me, is not how to deal with that demographic, or the demagogues who exploit them, but how to prevent some spilled coffee from staining the countertop. Metaphorically speaking.


I said that just incase they had any empathetic qualms. I know they don't really need my permission.

Argh, it seems to be not possible to write about ID without coming across as an ideologue. This is a good blog and I do not want to pollute it. Before anyone complains about those comments, I give the mods full permission to delete them if they don't pass the well written/interesting threshold.

Now that I've made this argument, some probably have the nagging suspicion that the argument is just more intellectual obscurantism and I'm trying to muddy a clear choice between Creationism and Darwinism. To counteract your nagging suspicion here is a series of links to show you that while many experts claim Dembski is wrong, when you only accept their claims in their areas of expertise and aggregate them, they actually agree with Dembski:

  1. Demski is a good mathematician, but doesn't use the No Free Lunch Theory (NFLT) correctly

Good math bad math http:... (read more)

That's why in the old days gentlemen were financially independent. If you are financially independent then there is little material incentive to compromise one's principles. Today, we're taught to become heavily financially dependent, and so people don't take hard stands.

Ha, I get it now, FAI is about creating god.

Anyways, no matter what you do, mind annihilation is certain in our universe, i.e. 2nd law of thermodynamics.

Along the lines of a rationality competition and why rationalists don't seem to do all that much better, is there a criteria for rationality? In the fields where lots of work results in maximizing gain, there are quantitative criteria for what counts as good and bad. I don't know of any such criteria for rationality.