religion vs common sense

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religion vs common sense

Drealm
Is it easier to push religious people towards common sense (science), or to push liberal scientists towards conservative values (religion)?

This is the question we've more or less been struggling with all along. We can join a religion and try pushing it towards common sense. Or we can push atheists towards religiously inspired conservative values.

This is the spectrum:

Religion-----> <Both> <-----Common Sense

I don't have an answer. But I think this question identifies the options.
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
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What percentage of the population really understands science?  To understand science, you need a solid understanding of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology.  To apply this knowledge to the real world, you need a fairly high IQ.  How many qualify?  I say that the number is so low as to be irrelevant.

My view is that religion is the best answer for most people.  What is needed is a way to allow religion and science to co-exist.  God is never defined in the Old Testament.  If I define God as the laws of nature, then I can stop calling myself and atheist and instead say that I believe in God but I define him somewhat differently than most people.  Defining God as the laws of nature doesn't contradict anything in the Old Testament and allows for the integration of science and religion.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

Drealm
fschmidt wrote
What percentage of the population really understands science?  To understand science, you need a solid understanding of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology.  To apply this knowledge to the real world, you need a fairly high IQ.  How many qualify?  I say that the number is so low as to be irrelevant.
A large percentage understands segments. Few understand whole concepts. Those who understand whole concepts are specialists. I do think high IQ is required to become a specialist. I don't think a high IQ is required to understand segments. The question isn't whether specialists approve of science or not - they always will. The question is whether a non-specialist will be enabled to learn segments of science. This is important, because if a non-specialist understands segments of science and see's the value in those segments, they can extrapolate those values to science as a whole. And if they see the value in science as a whole, they'll enable specialists to operate without persecution, even if non-specialists see their scientific contributions as a black box.

The problem is religion often conflicts with the general population learning segments. So while neither your average religious or irreligious person will be a great mind contributing to science, only religious people will blockade or persecute those great minds whom do contribute to science. No society will be completely made up of specialists. There's never been a time in history when the majority of society qualified for mensa. The question of creating a better society has never been how to handle the brightest people in society, but how to tame the stupidest.
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
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Drealm wrote
The problem is religion often conflicts with the general population learning segments. So while neither your average religious or irreligious person will be a great mind contributing to science, only religious people will blockade or persecute those great minds whom do contribute to science.
It has been a long time since this was a problem, and I think it was only a problem under Christianity, not under any other religion.  I don't see how this is an issue today.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

Drealm
fschmidt wrote
and I think it was only a problem under Christianity, not under any other religion
This may be true. An example I'm thinking of are the Amish.
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
In reply to this post by fschmidt
fschmidt wrote
What percentage of the population really understands science?  To understand
science, you need a solid understanding of mathematics, physics, chemistry,
and biology.  To apply this knowledge to the real world, you need a fairly
high IQ.  How many qualify?  I say that the number is so low as to be
irrelevant.
Quoted from:
http://www.coalpha.org/religion-vs-common-sense-tp6647172p6653568.html

I think you're disregarding the reason why the majority of people become irreligious: they've adopted opinions from their most intelligent friends and family.

Also, the percent of people intelligent and educated enough capable of realizing the irrationality of religion has increased. I postulate that this is probably what led to its demise in the West and I suspect will lead to Islam's demise as their overall IQ's and educational level rise as well. We can only expect this trend to continue as intelligence and education matter more than they ever have.
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
In reply to this post by Drealm
Drealm wrote
fschmidt wrote
and I think it was only a problem under Christianity, not under any other religion
This may be true. An example I'm thinking of are the Amish.
There's a deep rift between secular (more educated) Jews and the orthodox (less educated) in Israel.
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
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In reply to this post by next step
next step wrote
I think you're disregarding the reason why the majority of people become irreligious: they've adopted opinions from their most intelligent friends and family.

Also, the percent of people intelligent and educated enough capable of realizing the irrationality of religion has increased.
Which is it?  If the main factor is the first, then you are agreeing with me because this means the majority will simply follow whoever they respect.  In this case, religion can work for most people.  If you are saying that the main factor is the second, then I simply disagree.  Most people do not have enough intelligence to figure things like this out.  Some of the beliefs of feminism are as absurd as anything that can be found in religion, yet modern people believe this nonsense.  Your use of the word "educated" really means indoctrinated into modern liberal thought.  Orthodox Jews are also well educate about the Talmud and other such things, and so are likewise indoctrinated into their thought patterns.  Liberalism and Orthodox Judaism are basically just 2 competing religions.

I postulate that this is probably what led to its demise in the West and I suspect will lead to Islam's demise as their overall IQ's and educational level rise as well. We can only expect this trend to continue as intelligence and education matter more than they ever have.
Why do you think IQs are rising?  IQ test score may have risen in the last few decades as more children are exposed to the skill of standardized test taking, but I believe IQ test scores have leveled out.  I seriously doubt real intelligence has risen as much as IQ scores would indicate.  Intelligence does change over time based in evolutionary pressure.  In general, monogamy and Malthusian scarcity causes evolutionary pressures that raise IQ, while promiscuity and low mortality rates cause pressures that lower IQ.  Given this, I would expect a relatively rapid drop in intelligence in the modern world over the next century.  I am not familiar enough with Islam to comment, but I expect that several major economic disasters in the next few decades in the Western world will eliminate admiration for Western culture in the Islamic world and elsewhere, and that we will see a sharp rise in religion.  This has been the pattern after the collapse of most major cultures in history.  Traditional religion is often not taken seriously after a culture has peaked and begins to decay.  But once that culture collapses, people become desperate and turn to religion.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
fschmidt wrote
next step wrote
I think you're disregarding the reason why the majority of people become irreligious: they've adopted opinions from their most intelligent friends and family.

Also, the percent of people intelligent and educated enough capable of realizing the irrationality of religion has increased.
Which is it?  If the main factor is the first, then you are agreeing with me because this means the majority will simply follow whoever they respect.  In this case, religion can work for most people.  If you are saying that the main factor is the second, then I simply disagree.  Most people do not have enough intelligence to figure things like this out.  Some of the beliefs of feminism are as absurd as anything that can be found in religion, yet modern people believe this nonsense.  Your use of the word "educated" really means indoctrinated into modern liberal thought.  Orthodox Jews are also well educate about the Talmud and other such things, and so are likewise indoctrinated into their thought patterns.  Liberalism and Orthodox Judaism are basically just 2 competing religions.
All of these are factors in the decline of religion:

1. Intelligence has risen.
2. People have more access to books, etc. that criticize religion (Education).
3. Intelligence and an mind matters more for gaining status in today's world (more complicated world).

The first 2 lead to more people abandoning religion on logical grounds. The third leads to a higher multiplier effect (irreligious people converting religious people). Finally, while more and more people become irreligious, it becomes harder for religious people to protect their "flock."

The result is that the amount of people who turn away from religion is far, far more than the few who will meticulously reason out of it.

There are definitely some smart, educated people who adopt it pragmatically but they are quite few and tend to be older.

I think we both agree that religions with their current logical flaws just can't stand up to your smart teenage, 20 something year old questioning it and mocking it. He'll eventually convert a couple of his friends.

 
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
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Again I ask, why do you think intelligence has risen?

How familiar are you with history?  During the height of Rome, Judaism and Christianity were considered absurdly backwards.  There were many options and many Romans weren't religious at all.  Religion revived in Rome as it fell into poverty.  This pattern is discussed in The Fate of Empires.

I don't know where you live, but here in America most people believe in a personal God.  There are few real atheists here.  This is cultural.  In Europe, there are more atheists for cultural reasons.  I think you are overestimating average human intelligence and underestimating the effect of culture.  Even though I don't believe in a personal God, I feel confident that I could defend religion against your typical (somewhat) smart 20 something year old.  It is only at the very top of the intelligence spectrum that it becomes a problem.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
In reply to this post by fschmidt

Why do you think IQs are rising?  IQ test score may have risen in the last few decades as more children are exposed to the skill of standardized test taking, but I believe IQ test scores have leveled out.  I seriously doubt real intelligence has risen as much as IQ scores would indicate.  Intelligence does change over time based in evolutionary pressure.  In general, monogamy and Malthusian scarcity causes evolutionary pressures that raise IQ, while promiscuity and low mortality rates cause pressures that lower IQ.  Given this, I would expect a relatively rapid drop in intelligence in the modern world over the next century.  I am not familiar enough with Islam to comment, but I expect that several major economic disasters in the next few decades in the Western world will eliminate admiration for Western culture in the Islamic world and elsewhere, and that we will see a sharp rise in religion.  This has been the pattern after the collapse of most major cultures in history.  Traditional religion is often not taken seriously after a culture has peaked and begins to decay.  But once that culture collapses, people become desperate and turn to religion.


I agree with your views on factors that have pressured IQ changes in the past and will continue to do so for the next century or so. But this is a temporary phase.  As long as our society doesn't get knocked back to the stone age, in a few generations we're going to see a giant shift in behavior.

The first step will be a a shift in key traits from libido to propagation drive. Sex drive will be all but eliminated. It's now become a hugely wasteful and even risky trait. While anyone who doesn't actively want to breed is utterly unfit.

As a propagation drive becomes the norm, families will become larger and larger causing a boom in worldwide population which will create scarcity. As long as reliance on technology has not decreased, the battle for resources will go disproportionately to the intelligent. IQ will now become the key trait.
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
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fschmidt wrote
Again I ask, why do you think intelligence has risen?
I've read about several studies (e.g. Flynn effect) that indicate intelligence has risen since the industrial revolution. They do tend to say that the effect has leveled off but as discussed above, I think it's just a temporary phase.

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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
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fschmidt wrote
Even though I don't believe in a personal God, I feel confident that I could defend religion against your typical (somewhat) smart 20 something year old.  It is only at the very top of the intelligence spectrum that it becomes a problem.
Okay, so let's say that you have a son who's as intelligent as yourself. Are you going to spend your time trying to prove that religion is logical or will you explain to him that even though it's BS, it's a useful tool for "coalpha" reasons?
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
Administrator
next step wrote
Okay, so let's say that you have a son who's as intelligent as yourself. Are you going to spend your time trying to prove that religion is logical or will you explain to him that even though it's BS, it's a useful tool for "coalpha" reasons?
I am in this situation because I homeschool my kids.  We do Bible study together.  We don't even bother discussing whether or not the stories are literally true because it is irrelevant.  The question we discuss is what we think of what the people did, whether or not they did the right thing.  And we discuss what we think of the various laws.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
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next step wrote
I agree with your views on factors that have pressured IQ changes in the past and will continue to do so for the next century or so. But this is a temporary phase.  As long as our society doesn't get knocked back to the stone age, in a few generations we're going to see a giant shift in behavior.

The first step will be a a shift in key traits from libido to propagation drive. Sex drive will be all but eliminated. It's now become a hugely wasteful and even risky trait. While anyone who doesn't actively want to breed is utterly unfit.

As a propagation drive becomes the norm, families will become larger and larger causing a boom in worldwide population which will create scarcity. As long as reliance on technology has not decreased, the battle for resources will go disproportionately to the intelligent. IQ will now become the key trait.
I don't understand where you think the evolutionary pressure for these changes will come from.  To start with, as long as adultery isn't punished in such a way that the guilty man will be prevented from ever again reproducing, the best strategy for men is to impregnate other men's wives.  And the main traits that this requires are immorality, irresponsibility, and a high libido.  So this is what I would expect to be selected for in the foreseeable future.  In order to have the type of change you are suggesting, some kind of co-alpha society would have to develop.  And unfortunately, I don't see that happening on a large scale anytime soon.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
fschmidt wrote
next step wrote
I agree with your views on factors that have pressured IQ changes in the past and will continue to do so for the next century or so. But this is a temporary phase.  As long as our society doesn't get knocked back to the stone age, in a few generations we're going to see a giant shift in behavior.

The first step will be a a shift in key traits from libido to propagation drive. Sex drive will be all but eliminated. It's now become a hugely wasteful and even risky trait. While anyone who doesn't actively want to breed is utterly unfit.

As a propagation drive becomes the norm, families will become larger and larger causing a boom in worldwide population which will create scarcity. As long as reliance on technology has not decreased, the battle for resources will go disproportionately to the intelligent. IQ will now become the key trait.
I don't understand where you think the evolutionary pressure for these changes will come from.  To start with, as long as adultery isn't punished in such a way that the guilty man will be prevented from ever again reproducing, the best strategy for men is to impregnate other men's wives.  And the main traits that this requires are immorality, irresponsibility, and a high libido.  So this is what I would expect to be selected for in the foreseeable future.  In order to have the type of change you are suggesting, some kind of co-alpha society would have to develop.  And unfortunately, I don't see that happening on a large scale anytime soon.

Drive to breed will replace drive to have sex.

The pressure comes from the sex drive being incredibly inefficient and actually unnecessary. Soon it might even become sub-optimal.

It's inefficient because the vast majority of women now choose when they will breed. Sex is almost completely divorced from breeding. Despite of this, most men will spend >50% of their resources on this useless activity. Sex is the new masturbation but costs 100x more. In reality all you need to do is have sex a couple times to breed.

Furthermore, with IVF, it's actually unnecessary (though IVF is currently quite expensive).

Soon, it might be sub-optimal because advances in biotech will allow doctors to select optimal sperm. IVF will yield better specimens.

The ideal woman in this world is one who refrains from sex (or only does it when necessary). The ideal man is one who expends no resources on pointless sex but uses them to convince woman into bearing his offspring and later to support them.

Sure, there might be other benefits of sex, like social bonds or something, but they're very minor.

Cheating is losing it's advantage because of DNA tests. They're getting easier and cheaper to do and men are becoming more aware of their necessity. Those who don't perform DNA tests, are unfit and will be gone.

The next trait, high IQ, I think follows logically. I'm just casually speculating. Of course it's tough to predict.

With modern sexual liberation + biotech, we're living in a totally different era. The past few hundred generations of history have little bearing on ours. In a dramatically new environment, there will be dramatic changes in selection.
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
Administrator
Just because something is inefficient and unnecessary doesn't mean that it will be bred out.  Male peacock's feathers come to mind as an example.

The male sex drive has several evolutionary benefits.  First, as I mentioned, it promotes adultery.  And second, even for moral guys, it adds an incentive to pursue marriage.  Without a sex drive, many men may be content to spend their lives playing video games.  And even within marriage, a sex drive encourages the husband to have regular sex with his wife which I am sure is helpful for a stable marriage.

Evolution will select irresponsible women who do not consciously choose when they will breed.  You can find many such women today in the slums and they are breeding far faster than those women who carefully use birth control.  So such women will dominate in the future.  And so those men who are driven by their sex drive to pursue these women will also be the evolutionary winners.

DNA paternity tests are so rarely used as to be irrelevant.  I see no reason why this will change.  The evolutionary benefit of paternity testing is rather low.

Just curious, have you seen the movie Idiocracy.  I think it provides a realistic picture of the future.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
fschmidt wrote
Just because something is inefficient and unnecessary doesn't mean that it will be bred out.  Male peacock's feathers come to mind as an example.

The male sex drive has several evolutionary benefits.  First, as I mentioned, it promotes adultery.  And second, even for moral guys, it adds an incentive to pursue marriage.  Without a sex drive, many men may be content to spend their lives playing video games.  And even within marriage, a sex drive encourages the husband to have regular sex with his wife which I am sure is helpful for a stable marriage.

Evolution will select irresponsible women who do not consciously choose when they will breed.  You can find many such women today in the slums and they are breeding far faster than those women who carefully use birth control.  So such women will dominate in the future.  And so those men who are driven by their sex drive to pursue these women will also be the evolutionary winners.

DNA paternity tests are so rarely used as to be irrelevant.  I see no reason why this will change.  The evolutionary benefit of paternity testing is rather low.

Just curious, have you seen the movie Idiocracy.  I think it provides a realistic picture of the future.

If something is so horribly inefficient that it consumes 50% of your resources and time it will be bred out. There are a few examples in the animal kingdom of traits which have no utility, like the peacock feathers. Those are explained by the sexy son hypothesis. None of them cost a fraction of what modern people spend on sex. I'm not really interested in getting into a long discussion about it, but even "sexy son hypothesis traits" should eventually be bred out.

Adultery is not nearly as advantageous as it once was because of DNA tests, as discussed above.  They're not used much right now but they've only been around for a couple generations. DNA tests will become extremely easy and cheap to use (surreptitiously) such that almost everyone will use them (they might even be required for healthcare reasons). Those who don't will be bred out.  

The evolutionary benefit of not raising another man's child is huge. An average child can cost $200k to raise. That's 4 years of labor for an average man. Possibly an even greater burden than expending resources on another man's offspring is how it lowers the likelihood you will have your own children. Furthermore, knowledge of widespread paternity testing use will reduce women's purposeful cheating in order to breed.

The men who are content to spend their lives playing video games will be bred out. The women content to spend their lives shopping will be bred out. Obviously the ideal man must not only have a highly reduced sex drive but also a highly increased drive to breed.

Sex to strengthen a pair bond is a minor advantage. It is cheap so it might continue to exist.

As far as the irresponsible women breeding and populating the world with low IQ progeny ala Idiocracy, I agree with it. But it's only a temporary phase while we adjust to the dramatic changes in environment. Once the accidental breeding and the drive to breed strains have taken off, population is going to boom and we're going to face scarcity. That's when the high IQ's will replace the low IQ's. As discussed earlier, it could take several generations. The future human (low sex drive, high drive to breed, and high IQ combo) is the long term adaption.

Nobody can deny our environment has completely changed. An organism will necessarily adapt. The strain which prospered in a radically different environment will not be the same as the one who prospers now. We're living in an age of punctuated equilibrium which is why the society seems so bizarre these days.
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Re: religion vs common sense

fschmidt
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It seems the main thing that you are counting on is the effect of paternity testing.  Please explain how this makes such a difference.  By the time the man does the paternity test, it is already too late because the child has been born.  So the only way this can have an impact is if the man leaves the women and there is no child support and so the child dies from lack of support.  This would require an extreme drop in standard of living and in the power of government.  After such a drop, I am not sure paternity tests would even be widely available since they are a high-tech luxury.

Scarcity by itself isn't enough to drive up IQs.  If it was, we would see rising IQs in Africa where there is scarcity.  I believe that monogamy, backed by harsh punishment for adultery, is required to drive up IQs.

The best solution is to combine monogamy with paternity testing in a co-alpha culture.  This can be done today, no need to wait for the distant future.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: religion vs common sense

next step
fschmidt wrote
It seems the main thing that you are counting on is the effect of paternity testing.  Please explain how this makes such a difference.  By the time the man does the paternity test, it is already too late because the child has been born.  So the only way this can have an impact is if the man leaves the women and there is no child support and so the child dies from lack of support.  This would require an extreme drop in standard of living and in the power of government.  After such a drop, I am not sure paternity tests would even be widely available since they are a high-tech luxury.

Scarcity by itself isn't enough to drive up IQs.  If it was, we would see rising IQs in Africa where there is scarcity.  I believe that monogamy, backed by harsh punishment for adultery, is required to drive up IQs.

The best solution is to combine monogamy with paternity testing in a co-alpha culture.  This can be done today, no need to wait for the distant future.
The main thing I'm counting on is that people spend a ridiculous amount of resources on an activity which has little to no negative utility.

You said that rampant sex drive would still have utility cause of adultery. It doesn't matter if the child has been born. The other man won't support it with paternity tests. The mother will still support it but that's not any more advantageous than breeding with an unwed woman (Okay, maybe the father supports it for the gestation period but that's minor (and they now can run paternity tests before birth)). The huge benefit and conversely harm of adultery is checked.

More fundamentally though, even if breeding with a married woman was still advantageous, it would still be totally inefficient for super horny men to be running around having sex which married or unmarried women which aren't going to breed and it would be a horrible (fitness-wise) trait for a married woman to have. The smart play would be for her to simply decide she wanted to breed with a man not her husband and do it efficiently. Sex is still the new masturbation but 100x costlier.

It's not just scarcity. It's scarcity + an environment that demands a high IQ to succeed. That's the case because of technology. I contend that Africa IQ is rising although there are other traits of course. Acquiring resources in Africa is not as IQ-dependent as it is in the developed world and nowhere near what it will be in a couple generations.

Also, the world in Idiocracy would never exist. Those people are not intelligent to provide for themselves. Society would collapse and they'd starve. The few that do have intelligence would breed far more. It's a negative feedback loop.

The only way for a world similar to Idiocracy to exist would be if there was a vast underclass of low IQ, fast breeders with a upper class of high IQ providers who subsidized them. This is in fact what I think will happen in the short term and is what we have now to a certain extent. In the long term, the upper class will simply stop providing for the underclass because the only utility in doing so is appeasement. The gulf in power between the classes will widen to the point where the underclass is no longer a threat.  Something like Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

I agree with you on the benefits of a monogamous society. The current state is a disaster and is only going to get scarier.