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Old 1st January 2019, 01:12 PM   #161
Thor 2
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Then it seems to me that the world is full of madmen who believe in a thousand illusory fantasies. Negationists, racists, Stalinists, neofascists, trumpists and a lot of "ists". Whichever one of you has no false illusions... may throw the first stone. Even the belief that oneself is free of false illusions is a dellusion. Schopenhauer included.

Yes I suppose we can throw in a lot of "ists" to point at and illustrate that religion is not unique in it's ability to render folks crazy, but the thread is about the effects of religion in this area.

Just to return to arth's proviso that belief in woo must cause you harm if it's insanity, reminds me of an incident in Ireland almost 10 years ago, when around 10,000 Catholics came to the Knock Shrine in North-West Ireland.

A "spiritual healer" had convinced them that if they looked at the Sun they would see a vision of Mary. An ophthalmologist who treated many of the people afterwards for damage to the macula (centre of the retina of the eye), said that it is the burning of this part of the eye that causes the bizarre visions. Were these people nuts?
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Old 1st January 2019, 02:09 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Yes I suppose we can throw in a lot of "ists" to point at and illustrate that religion is not unique in it's ability to render folks crazy, but the thread is about the effects of religion in this area.

Just to return to arth's proviso that belief in woo must cause you harm if it's insanity, reminds me of an incident in Ireland almost 10 years ago, when around 10,000 Catholics came to the Knock Shrine in North-West Ireland.

A "spiritual healer" had convinced them that if they looked at the Sun they would see a vision of Mary. An ophthalmologist who treated many of the people afterwards for damage to the macula (centre of the retina of the eye), said that it is the burning of this part of the eye that causes the bizarre visions.Were these people nuts?
Yes. Every one of them.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 12:20 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Yes. Every one of them.
What is the division line between insanity and stupidity?
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Old 2nd January 2019, 12:27 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
What is the division line between insanity and stupidity?
In the context of reigion - Education. Stupid people can be taught. Insane people cannot.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 01:02 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
In the context of reigion - Education. Stupid people can be taught. Insane people cannot.
If insane people cannot be taught then I guess that means there has never been anybody with mental illness achieving an academic degree, or demonstrating acquisition of knowledge. Is that what you're claiming?

I realize the temptation to make snappy antireligious epigrams must be overwhelming, but you should resist the urge. It makes you sound crazy, or the other thing, or both.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 01:25 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
What is the division line between insanity and stupidity?

You want a serious answer to this stupid question?

Just to digress a little the question of stupidity versus mental impairment (not insanity TragicMonkey) is interesting. We tend to be kind to those who are afflicted with say Downs Syndrome, and other medical disorders that retard a person's mental capacity, but if a person is just plain stupid, he becomes the object of ridicule. Interesting?
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Old 2nd January 2019, 02:09 PM   #167
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Hi All. Happy new year and if you had any holidays/celebrations over the last few weeks I hope they were enjoyable.

I still don't think we can get away from the association of "madness" and societal context. If someone insulted you today and you thought it would be reasonable for the two of you to walk ten paces away from each other, turn, and try to shoot each other, that would seem mad. I think some here are expressing a yearning for a day when societal norms will render religious thinking "mad". Careful though, if you let yourself get too annoyed at the disparity between scientific understanding and religious doctrine/practice, it can drive you crazy.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 02:13 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
You want a serious answer to this stupid question?

Just to digress a little the question of stupidity versus mental impairment (not insanity TragicMonkey) is interesting. We tend to be kind to those who are afflicted with say Downs Syndrome, and other medical disorders that retard a person's mental capacity, but if a person is just plain stupid, he becomes the object of ridicule. Interesting?
Good thought ynot. Where is the line where compassion sometimes switches to derision? There are a lot of different contexts to consider, including that of this thread.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 02:31 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
You want a serious answer to this stupid question?
How is that a stupid question?

Quote:
Just to digress a little the question of stupidity versus mental impairment (not insanity TragicMonkey)
I'm not the one who brought up insanity vs stupidity. That was Steve, when he said "In the context of reigion - Education. Stupid people can be taught. Insane people cannot. "

Quote:
is interesting. We tend to be kind to those who are afflicted with say Downs Syndrome, and other medical disorders that retard a person's mental capacity, but if a person is just plain stupid, he becomes the object of ridicule. Interesting?
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Old 2nd January 2019, 02:34 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Good thought ynot. Where is the line where compassion sometimes switches to derision? There are a lot of different contexts to consider, including that of this thread.

Wellcome back attempt5001 and hope you had an enjoyable Juletide and New Year celebration.

It was my post you responded to not ynot's (something poetic in there).

Compassion and derision is very much a part of this discussion. Iv'e been trying to stress I don't deride anyone afflicted with a disorder whether it be physical or mental (I draw the line at stupidity however ).
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Old 2nd January 2019, 02:40 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post

A "spiritual healer" had convinced them that if they looked at the Sun they would see a vision of Mary. An ophthalmologist who treated many of the people afterwards for damage to the macula (centre of the retina of the eye), said that it is the burning of this part of the eye that causes the bizarre visions. Were these people nuts?
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Yes. Every one of them.
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
What is the division line between insanity and stupidity?
Originally Posted by Steve
In the context of reigion - Education. Stupid people can be taught. Insane people cannot.
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post

I'm not the one who brought up insanity vs stupidity. That was Steve, when he said "In the context of reigion - Education. Stupid people can be taught. Insane people cannot. "

This is the sequence of posts. Nuff said?
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Old 2nd January 2019, 03:01 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
It was my post you responded to not ynot's (something poetic in there).
I guess all atheists must look alike to theists (and vice versa of course)
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Old 2nd January 2019, 03:16 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
This is the sequence of posts. Nuff said?
Um, no. I was responding to Steve. I'm sorry if you think I'm arguing with you, but I'm not. I'm arguing with Steve that he can tell between stupidity and insanity in such a glib epigram.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 04:02 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Um, no. I was responding to Steve. I'm sorry if you think I'm arguing with you, but I'm not. I'm arguing with Steve that he can tell between stupidity and insanity in such a glib epigram.

OK go to it. I'll sit on the sidelines and cheer.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 05:48 PM   #175
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People who stare into the sun because someone told them they would see an imaginary figure are nuts. Not stupid, nuts.

Stupid people can be taught that staring into the sun will damage their eyes and consequently not do it. Insane people will do it anyway.

TragicMonkey asked a question with no nuance only marginally connected to my comment on the sungazers. I provided an answer with no nuance knowing full well that TM would then add nuance that would drift further away from the topic of my comment, the sungazers. I had already decided not to follow him down that path.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 05:57 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
How is that a stupid question?



I'm not the one who brought up insanity vs stupidity. That was Steve, when he said "In the context of reigion - Education. Stupid people can be taught. Insane people cannot. "
Actually you are the one who brought it up. Thor 2 asked if the sungazers were insane. I said they were. You then asked me to compare insanity to stupidity.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 07:45 PM   #177
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Sigh. Fine, let's argue about who said what. That's much more interesting than figuring out if a given behavior can only be crazy and not stupid, or vice versa.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 07:54 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Sigh. Fine, let's argue about who said what. That's much more interesting than figuring out if a given behavior can only be crazy and not stupid, or vice versa.
Sure, it's a lot less important now than when you thought you were correct.

As I said, staring at the sun hoping to see an imaginary being is nuts. Some of those people may also be stupid. So what?
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Old 2nd January 2019, 07:59 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
As I said, staring at the sun hoping to see an imaginary being is nuts. Some of those people may also be stupid. So what?
So is there a difference between stupidity and insanity? Is a given behavior, in this case staring at the sun, stupid if done for non-religious reasons but insane if done for religious reasons? If someone stares into the sun because they think they'll be able to see the International Space Station cross in front of it stupid, while another person doing the exact same thing to see a vision of the Virgin Mary crazy instead?
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Old 2nd January 2019, 08:05 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Wellcome back attempt5001 and hope you had an enjoyable Juletide and New Year celebration.

It was my post you responded to not ynot's (something poetic in there).

Compassion and derision is very much a part of this discussion. Iv'e been trying to stress I don't deride anyone afflicted with a disorder whether it be physical or mental (I draw the line at stupidity however ).
Originally Posted by ynot View Post
I guess all atheists must look alike to theists (and vice versa of course)
Oops! Laugh, sorry fellas. Ya' got me

Thanks for the welcome back Thor 2.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 08:28 PM   #181
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Been thinking. I would say that ignorance is lacking information, stupidity is not processing the information you have well, and insanity is having some barrier to being able to process information correctly. So the person who doesn't know milk comes from cows is ignorant, the person who thinks chocolate milk comes from brown cows is being stupid, and the person who hears the cows talking to him is crazy. Which would make most religious beliefs stupid, not crazy, in my assessment. In the sun example they stupidly thought they'd be spared negative effects due to the divine nature of the event. That's mistaken handling of information, but not necessarily indicative they cannot process information correctly on other fronts.

And stupidity, of course, is just a relative term. I'm smarter than some, stupider than others, based on our abilities to process information relative to each other.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 08:32 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
So is there a difference between stupidity and insanity? Is a given behavior, in this case staring at the sun, stupid if done for non-religious reasons but insane if done for religious reasons? If someone stares into the sun because they think they'll be able to see the International Space Station cross in front of it stupid, while another person doing the exact same thing to see a vision of the Virgin Mary crazy instead?
I suspect you already knew that.

As for the rest of your questions: Anybody who stares at the sun to the point of damaging their eyes because some ******* told them they would see something is nuts. Doing that is way beyond stupid.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 08:47 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I suspect you already knew that.

As for the rest of your questions: Anybody who stares at the sun to the point of damaging their eyes because some ******* told them they would see something is nuts. Doing that is way beyond stupid.
So all of the people mentioned here are insane?

https://link.springer.com/article/10...184094?LI=true
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Old 2nd January 2019, 09:22 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
So all of the people mentioned here are insane?

https://link.springer.com/article/10...184094?LI=true
I can't say. There is nothing in the short paragraph that provides any detail on the moon/sun positions when they looked/stared at the sun or their reasons for doing so. Every eclipse there are people who think the standard warnings don't apply to them. If they thought they were immune to eye damage then that was not sane thinking.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:00 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I suspect you already knew that.

As for the rest of your questions: Anybody who stares at the sun to the point of damaging their eyes because some ******* told them they would see something is nuts. Doing that is way beyond stupid.
I expect you would re-categorize that if it was, say, a young student who was mislead by a teacher though right? Trusting a source, against reason, who turns out not to be trustworthy (or is themselves misled), is foolish in retrospect, and a huge potential pitfall of religion and other forms of influential group affiliations, but is very typical human behaviour, even in adulthood. Categorizing that as "insane" is overly broad and insufficiently nuanced.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:16 PM   #186
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Huuummmm....... Lots of talk about the insanity/stupidity of looking at the Sun.

I would say the difference is in the reason they were looking at the Sun.

If you are looking because of an eclipse I would say stupidity (Trump is numbered in this lot as I recall), but if you are doing it because you might see a holy vision, your sanity has to be in question. A small step from here to drinking the Cool Aid methinks.

In India today a battle rages between women and men in Kerala, because the women are being denied admission to the Sabarimala temple, which is devoted to the deity Lord Ayappa, who according to legend was born from a union between two male gods. Some opponents to women entering the temple say it insults the wishes of that deity, who was a celibate bachelor.

If I were a woman there I think I would say you can shove your temple, but hundreds of thousands of women have linked arms across the southern Indian state, in a show of defiance against moves to keep women away from a famous Hindu temple.

Clearly nuts, all of them.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:17 PM   #187
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If acting counterfactually is madness, everyone is a lunatic. If you think of your casual behavior as pristinely reasonable, you need to spend time getting to know your amygdala.

Science is a map of reality. I have no objection to anyone using maps of {mythical|supernatural} domains and subscribing to them as being accurate or indicative of something. What I do have a problem with is when someone thinks some such map supersedes the validity and reliability of the maps made with science. Case in point: there is no "controversy" to teach with respect to evolution, as faith does not employ reality-based mapping, and thus inevitably has no valid, repeatable results to share. They are not competing narratives, because they map different domains.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:59 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
If acting counter-factually is madness, everyone is a lunatic. If you think of your casual behavior as pristinely reasonable, you need to spend time getting to know your amygdala.
We arenít talking about acting counter-factually or being pristinely reasonable in relation to mere casual behavior, far from it.

Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
Science is a map of reality. I have no objection to anyone using maps of {mythical|supernatural} domains and subscribing to them as being accurate or indicative of something. What I do have a problem with is when someone thinks some such map supersedes the validity and reliability of the maps made with science. Case in point: there is no "controversy" to teach with respect to evolution, as faith does not employ reality-based mapping, and thus inevitably has no valid, repeatable results to share. They are not competing narratives, because they map different domains.
One maps the knowledge domain of reality and the other maps the belief domain of fantasy. They are competing narratives when one is claimed to be the other.
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Old 4th January 2019, 08:03 AM   #189
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It occurs to me that believing what almost everyone around you believes even if its wrong is neither insane nor stupid. It probably a positive trait really.
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Old 4th January 2019, 08:25 AM   #190
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
It occurs to me that believing what almost everyone around you believes even if its wrong is neither insane nor stupid. It probably a positive trait really.
Depends. If everyone else believes that the volcano will stop rumbling if you placate the volcano god with enough sacrifices, believing likewise might be extremely dangerous.
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Old 4th January 2019, 11:18 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
It occurs to me that believing what almost everyone around you believes even if its wrong is neither insane nor stupid. It probably a positive trait really.
And science, knowledge, etc, would continue to advance because.......?
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Old 4th January 2019, 01:20 PM   #192
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
It occurs to me that believing what almost everyone around you believes even if its wrong is neither insane nor stupid. It probably a positive trait really.
A social adaptation that is potentially survival-threatening. Quick, phone up some geneticists, neurologists, evolutionary biologists, and cognitive psychologists and... call for papers.

I love science. It's funny from the outside, though.
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Old 4th January 2019, 01:32 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
We arenít talking about acting counter-factually or being pristinely reasonable in relation to mere casual behavior, far from it.


One maps the knowledge domain of reality and the other maps the belief domain of fantasy. They are competing narratives when one is claimed to be the other.
I get what you are saying. What I meant was that there can be no competition, as faith lacks grounds in this domain [reality] and speaks of another [fake] domain, so no crossing boundaries is even possible in principle. In short, I never let that statement; i.e., that they compete, to stand unchallenged... 'cuz it bugs me. Otherwise, if there is no trespassing, people are welcome to their myths (a formality: there is always trespassing).

tl;dr: I'm willing to concede faith a tiny little conceptual space no more than a Planck length cubed. Helps with the "fair-minded" mojo on occasion.
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Old 4th January 2019, 01:33 PM   #194
Thor 2
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Depends. If everyone else believes that the volcano will stop rumbling if you placate the volcano god with enough sacrifices, believing likewise might be extremely dangerous.

Yes a good example, similar to the real event I reported on before, where hundreds of children where sacrificed to appease a god.
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Old 4th January 2019, 03:55 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Depends. If everyone else believes that the volcano will stop rumbling if you placate the volcano god with enough sacrifices, believing likewise might be extremely dangerous.
So might piping up about your doubts, might move you to the top of the list.

Originally Posted by Steve View Post
And science, knowledge, etc, would continue to advance because.......?
No reason but that doesn't really matter as long as you survive long enough to have kids. Which is probably a lot easier if you don't call everyone in your society stupid and or crazy.

Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
A social adaptation that is potentially survival-threatening. Quick, phone up some geneticists, neurologists, evolutionary biologists, and cognitive psychologists and... call for papers.

I love science. It's funny from the outside, though.
Potentially survival threatening but not so bad if it provides more potential for survival than not. I suspect there are lots of papers on this subject, didn't Dawkins write a whole book on the subject?

Any rate, going along to get along is rarely maladaptive and its notable that the examples presented are fairly extreme. Sure, with modern knowledge its crazy and stupid to jump into a volcanoe to appease the gods, on they other hand, it doesn't matter that much if you don't have the benefit of modern science. And even now, believing in some god that will provide you a nice warm cloud upon death if you are a nice enough person, that's not exactly maladaptive either and is probably prosocial if that's what most everyone else believes. Being an atheist in much of the world is far worse and perhaps a little crazy too.

Last edited by ahhell; 4th January 2019 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 4th January 2019, 04:49 PM   #196
Thor 2
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
So might piping up about your doubts, might move you to the top of the list.

No reason but that doesn't really matter as long as you survive long enough to have kids. Which is probably a lot easier if you don't call everyone in your society stupid and or crazy.

Potentially survival threatening but not so bad if it provides more potential for survival than not. I suspect there are lots of papers on this subject, didn't Dawkins write a whole book on the subject?

Any rate, going along to get along is rarely maladaptive and its notable that the examples presented are fairly extreme. Sure, with modern knowledge its crazy and stupid to jump into a volcanoe to appease the gods, on they other hand, it doesn't matter that much if you don't have the benefit of modern science. And even now, believing in some god that will provide you a nice warm cloud upon death if you are a nice enough person, that's not exactly maladaptive either and is probably prosocial if that's what most everyone else believes. Being an atheist in much of the world is far worse and perhaps a little crazy too.

So this is what amounts to a good argument from you?

Not whether believing in gods is crazy, but whether it is advantageous to be numbered among among the crazies, in order to survive. There is a difference between being an atheist (how is that in any way crazy?) and being loud about it in crazy places.
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Old 4th January 2019, 08:09 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
So this is what amounts to a good argument from you?

Not whether believing in gods is crazy, but whether it is advantageous to be numbered among among the crazies, in order to survive. There is a difference between being an atheist (how is that in any way crazy?) and being loud about it in crazy places.
In the country of the blind, it may be better not to criticize the blind or make much of an issue of their blindness, but I damned well am not going to gouge my own eyes out.

The topic of the thread is the question is Theistic belief a mental impairment?
I can certainly agree that it's a delusion. And a delusion is a mild to fatal mental impairment depending on the delusion.

I agree that there's a time and place to nudge people toward the light. And that its better to be honest with the significant people in your life about your beliefs and the lack thereof.

It's probably better to not tell your God believer that ze's deluded, just mistaken. It falls on the toes as the same led bucket of "You're insecure!" "You're needy!"
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Old 5th January 2019, 06:52 AM   #198
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Religion can provide benifits such a community and ritual. It is not just about literalism.
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Old 5th January 2019, 09:51 AM   #199
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To paraphrase Matt Dillahunty, "There is no benefit that religion can provide that can't be provided equally well without religion." The benefit doesn't come from religion, but from the people involved in the activity.


Community can be established in many non-religious ways. If you want to be helpful, you could join an organization like the Red Cross, or one of the cancer societies, or the volunteer group at your local hospital. If you want to meet like-minded people, you could join a group that has the same interests you do, for instance, a book club, or a singing society, or a community orchestra. If you want to help young people, you could get involved in teaching adults to read, helping teenagers with homework, or something similar.


For ritual, there are lots of possibilities, such as Elks, or Moose lodges. (It is possible that some might have a "belief in god" requirement, but there will be others that don't.)
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Old 5th January 2019, 10:57 AM   #200
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Those are all good points xterra, but I think for some (many actually), religion can supply peace and hope, particularly in difficult times, as well as a sense of belonging that is not the same as that found in non-religious groups. Many are also looking for leadership, direction and counsel, that are provided in a unique way in a religious setting. There is, of course, tremendous opportunity for taking advantage of / manipulating people in that sort of situation, but many choose to engage nonetheless.

Last edited by attempt5001; 5th January 2019 at 11:01 AM. Reason: added an extra thought.
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