On Sat, May 11, 2013 at 9:07 AM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, May 10, 2013  Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Religion is a set of beliefs which cannot be proved.
> Not only can strongly held religious beliefs not be proven to be correct
> they can often be proven to be incorrect,

Here you are using the word "prove" in a different sense than I was.
Nothing can truly be proven nor disproven, but we can adapt our world
beliefs in accordance with rationality or not.

> of course that fact doesn't make the slightest difference to the devout.
> Also making no difference to the religious

I don't think "religious" is the right term to use here.  The people you
are describing are those that hold the constancy of their beliefs in higher
regard than the truth of their beliefs.  This is just traditionalism, and
it is not rational.  The reason there are so many people in this world who
subscribe to such beliefs is explained by the evolution of memes.  Meme's
which hold self-preservation and constancy above all else, are those that
will persist through time.  Many systems of belief are rigid in this way,
but not all systems of belief (religions) are this way.  For instance, if
you are willing to change your world views, values, axiomatic beliefs in
response to new evidence, then you still have a belief system (a religion),
it just happens to be more mutable than others who are more stubborn and
less adaptive in their belief system.  This is not religion vs. science,
but close-mindedness vs. open-mindedness.   There have been many so called
scientists who are equally stubborn and dead set in their beliefs, which is
no different from some devout, traditionalist, or fundamentalist who
refuses to change their world view in response to new evidence.

> is the fact that religions contradict each other and worse are all riddled
> with self contradictions, except perhaps for pure Buddhism and Taoism which
> aren't really religions because they have no dogma and God plays no
> important part.
>> > science never provides 100% certainty on any idea,
> True, I think.  Science is never certain but is usually correct,

I don't know that science is usually correct.  Of all scientific theories
ever proposed or at one time believed how many of them are still considered
correct as originally formulated?  Even our leading theories, QM and GR, we
feel are not fully correct since they don't work well together.  They will
no doubt be replaced by a "less wrong" theory in the future, but neither
our current theories or the new one will be correct.

> and that contrasts with religion which is always 100% certain but is
> almost never correct.

Here you are lumping all religious belief together with beliefs that
immutable traditions.  I think there are religions which are not immutable

>>  > science can never tell us what course of action is correct.
> But religion can and does tell us what is moral, and that's why people
> burned witches.

Our beliefs guide us on what is moral.  Of course there is never any
guarantee whether one's beliefs are correct or incorrect, which some
immutable traditions like to deny.


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