Nathan Bond's TART Remarks

Religion: Respect? Ridicule!

Talking Tolerance

with 24 comments

In the essay Tolerance I argue that religion should not be tolerated. In discussion with dokseblok I state: “I wonder… by ‘tolerating’ believers, the religious, are we not in fact harming them?”

dokseblok suggested that this should make for an interesting discussion. I agree.

Written by Nathan Bond

December 12, 2007 at 14:28

24 Responses

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  1. S-T-E
    Your posts are striking in its honesty. Long, short… this is the place to say what you have to say and what you say is relevant and insightful.

    Nathan Bond

    January 4, 2010 at 07:41

  2. Patrick, I know what you are saying and we see it every day. Not only are children the product of a parent’s (both most of the time) insecurities, but they get into contact with insecure people as they go along in life – at school, their friends, etc. Insecure people that use the crutch of religion (as Con-Tester likes to depict it) to keep them propped up.

    I think the most valuable/important thing we can ever do for our children is to give them unshakable self esteem (hopefully arrogance free). With all the pain and difficulties they encounter or may encounter (like you said: right for conception), they should at least have the solid base of a well defined self worth. If not, they are then open to all those ‘predators’ that seek out gullible victims for their selfish course.

    Looking for a safe haven from pain in the sphere of delusional comfort can be ‘safe’ only as long as you keep the mind closed to reality and truth. Taking their believe systems away, should not be by force or coercion, like you rightly say Patrick.

    Coming to your senses all by yourself can be a very liberating experience. It will/may take away the feeling of inadequacy (part of the low self esteem) based on a believe system that instilled a fear of being judged and the unnatural pressure to fit into a religious life style that only gives rise to more questions than answers.

    Taking those believes away by gently leading someone along a path of discovery, by applying common sense. In this way they come to see the world realistically and that pain and suffering should be approached in the same way. Once they realize that there is no god up in the sky that is going to help and that they must endeavour to find it in themselves to address this, they will be able to use their own strength to survive in life. Maybe too simplistic, but doable I think.

    Could one also postulate, that if a child (however insecure) could let go of Santa and the Tooth fairy, be able to rationally let go of God, albeit at an adult stage. I would say yes. I can say I did.
    Your question: With what are you going to replace it?
    Let me start with saying that one would not rob them of a support system and neither is it as powerful as we are made to believe. I know – I just let it go.
    We have (always had) a social order, community life, family, that is our support system. This system is part of our heritage. I am saying it’s in our genes – I am not a biologist, so my terminology might be lacking, but I will stick to genes.

    Many other mammals have this support system and we know they don’t have religion or a god they believe in to help them out when they have pain. I am not thinking of physical pain, but pain that comes with the loss of a mate or a young or any other emotional pain they may endure. Look at whales, dolphins, chimpanzees, etc.

    The question arises if this system (God then) took the pain away, or is it a perception that it did? I would say the latter. So as soon as they see they have the mental ability to deal with pain within them (and it’s not god within them), they should take the next logical step and rely on their own strength in future.

    (Psychologist and psychiatrist hopefully don’t use religion to try and cure their patients. I have never been to one and have no experience in this regard. It would shock me to my foundation if I heard that they suggest to patients to pray or to go to church to help them).

    I do think the time has come to let go of delusions and false systems of support. Rather evolve to the more humanistic solution that we are capable of. Virtues and values are human traits and need to be seen as that. They are not ‘given’ to us by any god.
    This is one of the last bastions (claiming love, empathy, altruism, etc. as their own) that religions cling to, to keep their sinking ship afloat. To claim that there is nothing to replace it is short sighted and unrealistic.

    Here is something else that bothers me. Lots of children going hungry, being abused, dying or being sick, don’t even know about a god. They live in places where they are not exposed to this ‘support’ system that we are talking about here. So, they rely on community, humanity, etc. like it should be.

    Sorry, it’s a long post. More eloquent writers would have been able to do it shorter I am sure.


    January 3, 2010 at 14:56

  3. The most important thing I wanted to say was that people who are lucky enough to have excellent and real therapy that works well and cures them, get rid of their beliefs in gods without a word ever having been spoken about it during therapy. A good therapist does not advise or explain or preach or lecture, and also does not tell anyone how to live their lives or what or when, and does not ‘analyze’
    at all.

    A good therapist creates a safe place for someone to ‘go crazy’ i.e to connect with painful feelings,
    express them through the emotions such as deep crying, anger, etc. What comes up in therapy are feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, loneliness,
    sadness, rejection, hate, misery, even suicidal feelings. By being allowed to connect and feel and express these horrible feelings, one slowly becomes more in touch with the real self.

    The real self can live quite happily without the need for any gods. The real self has a basic sense of general well-being, unhampered by fears, thoughts, or eternal questions about where we come from and where we are going, or whether there are gods or not. It becomes just a pleasure or a special interest to read about evolution, the big bang, science or quantum mechanics without having been driven to it, as many neurotics usually are.


    December 16, 2009 at 18:49

  4. To Nathan and Dokseblok:
    One philosopher will always find it easier to explain his/her philosophies to another philosopher, than to a child. The reason: The child will always ask the real questions.

    As screw-tin-eyes said, yes, it was great reading. As
    when reading Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion”,
    I was then and still am waiting to hear any one of you and/or them to talk about the simple fact that humans are victims of untold personal suffering, that could occur anytime from within a few weeks of conception, right through gestation, during birth and as a baby, a toddler and a young child onwards to adulthood.

    This suffering becomes imprinted in the psyche and soma of the individual. It is Pain, both from emotional and physical injury(ies). The child becomes neurotic. Neurotic adults will behave in a neurotic manner towards their offspring. They will try to mould their children, ‘discipline’ them, e.g. physical punishment. They will scold them, confuse them, berate them, control them, restrict them, silence them, rob them of their feelings, neglect them by not meeting their needs from day one, not listen to them, abuse them in many different ways.

    Then will come the indoctrinations, the ideologies, the philosophies, the ‘education’ and the belief systems. Faced with all of this, the brain will do what it can to save the little girl from feeling all of that Pain at once, lest it kill her…..

    It will split. It will disconnect. It will render her unaware and unconscious. Once so affected she will have no choice but to believe anything and everything that anyone tells her, because she will not have her real self to guide her. She will become easy prey to any slick bible-thumping evangelist or happy-clappy church, or even a moderate mainstream one. But believe in something she will.

    Rescinding his believe, the young man will now have to face his entire Painful history. His marvellous evolution-created being, will gladly want to restore him back to homeostasis, but can do so only when the conditions are right. And those conditions are simple: (Read the works of Dr. Arthur Janov)

    Crying and expressing other emotions ensures our sanity. However, neurotic individuals were not allowed to do so. The cure is to create an environment in which the patient feels safe to ‘let go’ of his defenses and to weep, get angry, talk, express his feelings and act-outs. In this, mainstream psychology/psychiatry has failed us miserably, as shown by Arthur Janov. (

    Even “average”, “ordinary” everyday folks who seem ‘OK” to us, walk around with a lot of Pain in them. We are all ‘stressed’. How many are on medications of all sorts, i.e. anti-depressants, pain-killers, cigarettes, alcohol?


    Their belief system(s) help them to cope with this incredible Pain overload. Is it so difficult to understand why you cannot take away someone’s belief by force or coercion, words or any rationale or explanation? By doing that, you have robbed her of her only or perhaps most powerful defense system.

    With what are you going to replace it?

    Please reply.


    December 15, 2009 at 18:42

  5. This was great reading. Thank you both.


    December 12, 2009 at 20:04

  6. dokseblok

    In March this year I wrote an article entitled I’m done talking(1). I’ll be speaking(2) from now on(3). It was met with outrage and obloquy. This is a summary of what I said:

    I have often said – in fact, it is the marrow of my argument – that the rational achieves little, if anything, by engaging believers, but to afford a undeserving credibility to the God conjecture… and the God conjecture is not a legitimate alternative weltanschauung worthy of consideration and respect! It simply is not.

    Whenever a rational person engages a believer on equal terms, belief is afforded credibility it does not deserve.
    I’m done talking…

    When University of Texas, Austin, cosmologist Steven Weinberg recently admitted (to enthusiastic applause, even from his scientist audience) that he would miss religion once it was gone, Richard Dawkins hastened to indicate that Weinberg was inexplicably conciliatory and “scraping the barrel” to have something nice to say about religion. “I am utterly fed up with the respect we have been brainwashed into bestowing upon religion,” Dawkins told the assembly(4).

    I completely concur.

    What can possibly be discussed with millions upon millions of believers who still regard homosexuality a “sin” – a sin! – in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is a biological given?

    What can possibly be discussed with believers who content that spirits – both good and bad spirits – are all around us an influence people, even “possess” individuals?

    What ludicrous folly is religion!

    I, for one, do no longer talk to people who accept the God conjecture as a legitimate alternative weltanschauung worthy of consideration and respect. I’ll speak. People may either listen, or they may choose not to listen. But I’m done talking!

    I shall endeavour – especially with level-headed people of your ilk, dokseblok, to establish a society where tolerance is… not needed? Until that eluding day, however, the time is now for rational people to be intolerant.

    (1) An exchange of ideas via conversation.
    (2) The utterance of intelligible speech; delivering an address.
    (3) View Richard Dawkins speaking to the challenge of undermining the power of influence through harsh words.
    (4) Michael Brooks and Helen Phillips. 18 November 2006. Beyond belief: In place of God. New Scientist. 2578: 8-11. Reporting on a symposium entitled “Beyond belief: Science, religion, reason and survival” ( in La Jolla, early November 2006) hosted by the Science Network, a science-promoting coalition of scientists and media professionals convening at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

    Nathan Bond

    December 15, 2007 at 18:15

  7. It is so unfortunate that sometimes “pain” is the only and very last avenue that FORCES people to change their standing. SO unfortunate!!!

    However, if people are not prepared to take the painful route, the first thing I would say we need to look at is basic respect:

    1. Respect that we are all humans with different viewpoints on this earth.

    2. Respect that none of us have a right to break down anyone’s viewpoint.

    3. Respect that none of us has a right and should not ridicule another’s viewpoint.

    4. Respect that anyone’s viewpoint is precious to him/her.

    5. Respect that everyone has a history that led to his/her viewpoint.

    6. Respect that I do not have the right to turn another from his/her viewpoint.

    We should then take time to LISTEN to another’s viewpoint, no matter how it conflicts with mine and he/she should reciprocate, without turning it into an argument or cause conflict.

    You know, Nathan…humans are the most interesting subjects. I can spend hours and hours listening to other’s viewpoints, seeing their faces light up, seeing the joy in them, sharing with me and seeing real relationships form, because I listened and validated, yet maybe never agreeing, but not arguing or breaking them or their viewpoints down or trying to turn them to mine.

    And…in it all, should the stalwarts persist in ways that PROVE to be harmful, that is PROVEN to have a motive to hurt and damage, that is PROVEN to be “self”-driven, that is PROVEN to cause pain and not alleviate it, that is PROVEN to result in putting a person in a worse-off position, and they do not want to heed our advising that these are causing harm and hurting, they should be stopped, at all cost and by a method legally empowered. It has happened before and it can happen again. Nazism, Stalinism and Apartheid were eradicated by Christian, Jew, Muslim and Atheist standing together. It can happen again…

    As to American politicians (specifically), they say what their constituents want to hear, Nathan. I have had many scraps with them before and on many issues and ALWAYS found that their words and actions differ remarkably.


    December 15, 2007 at 16:05

  8. dokseblok

    Well said, sir!

    We come now to the crux of the matter: “Be open to change and pursue understanding.”

    People are not open to change and do not pursue understanding. People must be taught this skill.

    People must be seduced into a desire for understanding. Although I was not really surprised, I was still discomforted by Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s dramatic rise in the Iowa (Corn, Churches & Conservatives) polls subsequent to his statement that he does not “believe” in evolution. Such occurrences make me weep. (You’ll realise that the veracity of evolution is not the issue here.)

    So, dokseblok, before we can even begin to hope for a future society where tolerance is no longer an issue, we need to address ways and means of educating people to think!

    Education. Don’t get me started. I concur with Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell: “Ignorance is like a delicate fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”

    Thoreau, in a journal entry for October 1850, noted: “What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.”

    Let me say this to you. If someone can sit down with me and put evidence for her belief in “God” on the table for common scrutiny and be prepared, as I will be, to go where the evidence leads, I shall be tolerant, nay, I shall enthusiastically accept, her position as a valid one deserving of respect.

    Some months ago I did an interview on “the Atheist world view” and a listener asked me afterwards what I would do if proof of God’s existence is presented.

    “Why”, said I, “I’ll renounce my position and accept God immediately.”

    The lady was astounded. And then she said, as I remember it: “If only all of us could have that attitude. I listened to you with prejudice and anger, but it changed as the interview progressed. You were willing to answer honestly in the face of a very prejudiced audience, and I have to respect that.”

    Can we “change the world”?

    Of course we can! Stakes. Slavery. Stalinism. Nazism. Apartheid. Of course we can!

    We both of us know what needs doing, dokseblok. But how to do it? How to generate desire for understanding with people?

    Nathan Bond

    December 15, 2007 at 13:24

  9. BRAVO, Nathan, BRAVO!!! ABSOLUTELY!!! What you say should be heeded by many!!!

    I want to add to what you say, regarding the “religious” issue, as this is actually the pinnacle of our debates here, not so?

    Causes of “religious” intolerance:

    1. LACK OF DOUBT – The World Christian Encyclopedia has identified 270 large religious groups, and many more smaller ones in the world. These religions teach an AMAZING variety of conflicting beliefs concerning deity, humanity, morality, and the rest of the universe. If we assume that ABSOLUTE truth exists in theological matters, then the chances of one religion picked at random having the whole “truth” is much less than 1%. Yet, for many people, religion is an accident of birth. In spite of these facts, many, perhaps most, people hold tenaciously to their unique religious beliefs, having zero doubt that they are true. A little doubt would go a long way towards alleviating religious intolerance in the world.

    2. TOP-DOWN vs. BOTTOM-UP RELIGIONS – Top-down religions are grounded on a deity revealing truth to humanity, typically through prophets. Bottom-up religions involve humans struggling to understand what a deity is like and what expectations deity have of humans. The God(s) and/or Goddess(es) are created by humans rather than vice-versa. Many, perhaps most, people regard THEIR own religion as the ONLY top-down faith in existence. Being “revealed” by God, it is thought to be true. The holy book is thought to be “God’s word”. All of the other religions in the world are seen as bottom-up faiths, and are thus severely limited by cultural factors, lack of knowledge of the social and natural sciences, etc. Given that their own religion is seen to be the “only one revealed by God”, some find it difficult to tolerate other religions who only have part of “the truth”, particularly when they think they “know” that they have the “full truth”.

    3. THE EXISTENCE OF HELL – Most monotheistic religions have historically taught that God will judge people after death and send them either to Heaven or Hell. Many, perhaps most, people believe that they and their fellow believers will end up in Heaven, and that most or all followers of other religions will go to Hell. That is, God has such a low opinion of other religions that he will have their followers tortured for all eternity without hope of mercy or relief. If God hates followers of other religions so intensely, then it may well be difficult for true believers to love and value them, which actually puts them in a quandry, as they are taught by their Bible to “love thy neighbor”.

    4. DUALISTIC THINKING – In religion, dualism is the “concept that the world is ruled by the antagonistic forces of good and evil.” Many individuals have “us vs. them” beliefs. They regard their own religion (or race, or sex, or nationality, or skin color, etc.) as the “good side” and others as representing the “evil side.” Much of this thinking is based on a lack of knowledge of other religions, races, genders, etc.

    5. THEORY OF RECIPROCITY – This is sometimes called the “Golden Rule” i.e. to do onto others as you would have them do onto you. ALL of the major religions have their own version. Unfortunately, organized religions seem to have miscommunicated their “Theory of Reciprocity” to their own members. The “do onto others” is supposed to refer to all human beings. Many religious folk interpret this to mean ONLY their fellow believers.

    6. LINKING RELIGION AND NATIONALISM – Many people have closely linked their religion and their nationality. We see this with George H.W. Bush, where he denied citizenship and patriot status to those who do not believe in the existence of his God. We saw it also in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s when the Serbs fused their Serbian Orthodox Christian faith with their Serbian nationality. The result was the genocide of Muslims and others involving the deaths of about 200,000 victims.

    7. COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY – This is the concept that the responsibility for the actions of one person or a small group of people can be transferred to all humans who happen to belong to the same race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, etc. And so, some people held all Muslims, and people who merely looked as if they might be Muslims, equally responsible for the terrorist attack on 9/11 by 19 real perpetrators.

    8. RESPONSIBILITY ACROSS GENERATIONS – This is a variation of collective responsibility where an entire group, a race, religion, gender, sexual orientation etc. is considered responsible for the actions of one person. Here, an entire group is held responsible for an event that happened generations, centuries or even millennia ago. Until the mid-20th century, some Christian denominations taught that every modern-day Jew bears responsibility for the execution of Jesus by the occupying Roman Army in the 1st century CE. This happened almost two millennia ago!!!

    9. FEAR OF THE OTHER – Humans seem programmed to be cautious towards people who are different from themselves. For example, most men entering a meeting room filled with women will feel a little uneasy and vice-versa. Feeling uncomfortable towards persons of different religions is a natural extension of this fear. Fear can lead to rejection and worse.

    10. PASSAGES IN A “HOLY” TEXT – Not too many decades ago, it was common for Protestants to be instructed to not enter a Catholic cathedral, and vice-versa. Some Protestant pastors are required by their churches to never attend inter-faith gatherings. In the past, many faith groups taught that only their members would attain Heaven and that the followers of other denominations in the same religion, and followers of other religions, would all go to Hell. Hatred and animosity by some believers are thus merely extensions of church teachings.

    I agree with you that intolerance can be overcome, to a large extent, by presenting the evidence but one factor MUST then play a very big role…BE OPEN TO CHANGE AND PURSUE UNDERSTANDING!!!!


    December 15, 2007 at 12:14

  10. What causes intolerance?

    1. Individual arrogance – “I am superior…”
    2. Group arrogance – “We are superior…”
    3. Individual suppression – “I do not have enough…” or, even worse, “I don’t have as much…”
    4. Group suppression – “We do not have enough…” or, even worse, “We don’t have as much…”

    In short: Inequality, real or surmised, is at the core of intolerance.

    What are the root causes for this arrogance and suppression?

    My “God” is better than yours. My ethic is better than yours. My countrymen are (… family is) better than yours – as in “I am an American” and “I am a Capulet”. I know better.

    I suspect that intolerance is linked to issues not based in evidence. A scientist may be intolerant with a colleague for rejecting the existence of, say, to refer to an earlier example of mine, the Roman civilization. Yet such intolerance can reasonably be overcome by presenting the evidence. Continued intolerance may arise from bloodymindedness – simply rejecting proof. (I know better.)

    Bear in mind, dokseblok, that I have never denied the existence of numerous manifestations of evil. I have elected, though, to address religion. But I think religion and patriotism – both the result of being born into a particular community – are the main sources of intolerance.

    Nathan Bond

    December 15, 2007 at 09:53

  11. Nah, we’ve never met nor have we communicated before the previous debate. But, I’m sure we might meet one day! Just feel it in my bones!!!

    Your quote: “I hope this particular discussion can continue for some time yet. Why, if we can identify the problem, surely we can come up with practical solution possibilities?”

    ABSOLUTELY!!!! I agree more than 100%!!!! I believe there is a solution for EVERY problem, if only people will take the time and have perseverance to keep at it!!!

    Regarding “middle ground”…let’s take the drug issues you mention…

    The “middle road” should be for you and I and everyone out there, who abhor such practices, to AGREE on what should happen to those making themselves guilty of such practices. We are NOT required to include anyone that breaks a law in the decisions. They have forfeited the right to be part, as they chose to break the law. The law is there to be respected. The tolerance should be between us to find a plau

    You see, even in a subject such as “religion”, the REAL problem that needs to be addressed first, is the misinterpretation, manipulation, control and greed that are being used therein. THAT is what is causing the problem!!! If they manipulate the people to give up their hard-earned savings, suffering in the process, so that the leader can drive a million dollar vehicle, they should be taken to task i.e. their PRACTICES should not be tolerated. If they instill fear, they should be taken to task i.e. their PRACTICES should not be tolerated. And so it can go on and on….

    I tell you what, Nathan. Why don’t we do a proper exercise here…Let’s put everything aside…wit, blame, standup, etc. Lets’ FIRSTLY identify the problems that are causing intolerance, strife, etc. Let’s then explore them, each and every one. Once we have identified the ROOT cause, we then come up with an agreed and a mutually acceptable solution, that could foster and enhance tolerance.

    What do you say? Deal?


    December 14, 2007 at 21:55

  12. Certainly, my idea of legislating aspects of “knowledge” is extraordinary! Grotesque, even.

    Business thinkers Michael Hammer and James Champy suggest that in considering solutions for modern traffic problems one should include a Star Trek type teleportation device too. The true power of technology, they argue, is to offer answers to problems we do not know we have – how, for example, to eliminate air travel completely.

    I am at two (not at one) with “middle ground”. It’s the narcotics analogy again: Does one accommodate drug lords and allow trafficking on Wednesdays and Saturdays only, in order for all parties to be “tolerated”?

    And why are drugs like cocaine banned in any event? Because they harm individuals, Families, communities and economies? More so, or less so, than, for instance, nonsense myth about eschatological Middle East geography and demographics?

    Would teenagers be willing to blast themselves, and any number of “infidels” to smithereens had they not been exposed to the ridiculous and dangerous nonsense that death is not the end? (See 72 Virgins.)

    Intolerance is a problem of annihilative proportions. The solution is probably equally grotesque.

    I hope this particular discussion can continue for some time yet. Why, if we can identify the problem, surely we can come up with practical solution possibilities?

    “Popper”, “Suffer little children”, “noesis”… and “evolution” must keep for separate future threads? (The question mark indicates a suggestion, neither a question or…)

    By the way, dokseblok, if you are not the individual I think you are, you’ll get along famously with the individual I thought you were.

    Nathan Bond

    December 14, 2007 at 17:11

  13. Unfortunately, “black and white” thinking never won the day, Nathan; it only feeds the depression and instability bugs even more and more. It causes people to see things in the extreme, with no middle ground, good or bad, perfect versus useless, success or failure, right against wrong, moral versus immoral, and so on.

    By doing this, they miss the reality that things rarely are one way or the other but usually somewhere in-between. In other words, there are shades of gray.

    A new generation will only follow what we teach them, Nathan. Both you and I project traits of our parents, as do others. And, unfortunately, some out there are not equipped or just don’t care two hoots about anything vital to future generational growth and change! They spend their entire existence on just surviving the day! The “a new generation will change things” argument is older than Santa Claus and never worked.

    Tolerance is getting less and less. The crime, violence and statistics of war show it. Should you backtrack through the ages, you will see how man’s lust after power has eradicated tolerance. It thus follows that this trend will not stop and we and the generations following, will become less and less tolerant, ultimately destroying itself and everything around it.

    The “not hurt” policy I advocate includes the proper application of justice, in a legal and acceptable way. If the drug-pusher gets caught, justice must punish him.

    Yes, a difference between evidence and opinion should, at all times, be appreciated but, above all, respected and not ridiculed, broken down or belittled. It serves no purpose to do so but creates enemies, which further feeds intolerance.

    Your quote: “An hypothesis can only be collapsed when the evidence is definitively falsified, and in order to falsify the evidence, evidence has to be available and has to be considered.”

    I disagree.

    The basis of a hypothesis is inference and implies insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation i.e. no evidence as yet. A hypothesis collapses when there is NO evidence and in the face of no relevant evidence being found. The word “hypothesis” derives its meaning from the Greek word “hypotithenai”, which means ‘to suppose”. It still needs proof i.e. no evidence as yet.

    If you ever want to see a hypothesis collapse BIG TIME, you only have to do what Freud did; heavy-­handed pressuring to come up with salacious material, to fit preconceived theory.

    Evolution is a hypothesis. Do debate this with me one day, please?

    Your quote: “I think there are two categories of “knowledge”: Knowledge based in evidence and knowledge not based in evidence.”

    There is much more to what you say i.e. declarative knowledge (knowledge about something; a shared understanding of concepts, categories); procedural knowledge ( knowledge of how something happens); and causal knowledge (knowledge of why something happens and can thus enable strategy formulation). It can also be “general” i.e. a broad type of knowledge that is publicly available and independent of events, or it can be considered specific, which is context related and which must have focal knowledge in order to be described and meaningful. One only has to study Lazear, Badaracco, Bloom and Blumentitt.

    You are quoting from Arthur Danto’s thesis on Analytical Philosophy of Knowledge, not so?

    As to Popper’s theories, I cannot understand how you connect yours with it, as Popper held that “knowledge is objective, both in the sense that it is objectively true (or truthlike), and also in the sense that knowledge has an ontological status i.e., knowledge as object, independent of the knowing subject”. Popper also said that “the growth of scientific knowledge begins with an “imaginative proposal of hypotheses”, then the scientist must search for illustrations or situations that falsify or negate the hypothesis.” Popper is discriminating in his definition of an “imaginative” hypothesis. He intends that a hypothesis must predict a phenomenon or behavior and not just offer to explain it.

    What is interesting about Popper is that he claims that real scientific theories can explain even the unobservable!!! How does this tie in with your statement “teaching knowledge not based in evidence should be banned.”?

    Oh, I definitely would love to debate “Suffer little children with you” at some stage!

    Shall we debate Popper at some stage?

    Have a good evening, Nathan!


    December 13, 2007 at 21:47

  14. dokseblok

    Only a new generation, uncontaminated by nonsense – knowledge not based in evidence – will be tolerant. Current generations will never be tolerant. We can communicate all we want, for eternity, but we’ll not win the day.

    I detest “middle ground”. Huge articulated tanker trucks roam the “middle of the road”. I don’t want to be in “middle ground”.

    “Not hurt ’em”? How is that possible? What to do with the Mafia killers? What to do with the drug pushers?

    If people are to treat each other with respect, an appreciation for the difference between evidence and opinion is vital. An appreciation for the difference between evidence and opinion is a critical part of ethics. (See the section Morality in the essay Dealing with reality.)

    For the interim, while we engineer that new generation, we need to “Shelley and Huxley” them! And then we need to “Popper” them.

    Let me explain.

    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) stepped lightly over religious, political, social and moral boundaries, as if unaware of their existence. He got into trouble at Eton, and was expelled from Oxford for publishing a pamphlet entitled The Necessity of Atheism. Shelley was full of schemes for reforming the world, and quite prepared to go it alone, if necessary. He was labeled “impractical” and “fanatical” – labels that never stuck to his armor of indifference.

    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) was known as “Darwin’s bulldog”. I state this not in defence of Darwinism, but to indicate that Darwin’s views, in the latter part of the 19th century, represented a revolution in thought as radical and far-reaching as that of Galileo and Newton before him. It had the effect of throwing individuals into doubts about their religious beliefs. And Huxley propounded this new revolution in thought – in public debate and publication.

    Let’s “Shelley” them – rough ’em up! Let’s too ridicule them!

    Let’s “Huxley” them – overwhelm ’em with evidence! Let’s too write and speak eloquently and copiously in favour of reason.

    And then… Let’s “Popper” them!

    I think there are two categories of “knowledge”: Knowledge based in evidence and knowledge not based in evidence.

    As Karl Popper so clearly indicated, progress – growth of knowledge – is only ever made when an hypothesis is collapsed, and not when it is confirmed. An hypothesis can only be collapsed when the evidence is definitively falsified, and in order to falsify the evidence, evidence has to be available and has to be considered.

    Knowledge not based on evidence – the existence of “God”; creation, eternal life and the like is unworthy of consideration. Reflect on it, by all means, as a part of literature; as a part of history to indicate progress from a flat earth to modern cosmology. But do not ever treat Bronze Age lores as a knowledge base.

    A week or two of “Popper 101” even in primary school, probably in high school and certainly as a freshman course at tertiary level will have the enormous advantage of creating respect for evidence.

    I now come to the engineering of a New Tolerant Generation.

    Teaching knowledge not based in evidence should be banned. Even by legislation.

    The new South African Children’s Act criminalised corporal punishment. (I am unsure as to the current status, I think the Christians got child beating back in.) Likewise, teaching mythology as fact should be criminalised.

    Come to think about it, dokseblok, what is religion but the elevation of mindless myth to inerrant fact? It is morally repulsive to expose children to religion. (See Suffer little children.)

    Respect for evidence is the key to a better world, a more rational world. Respect for evidence will make for a tolerant world. All else is violence.

    Nathan Bond

    December 13, 2007 at 18:00

  15. Good Morning, Nathan!

    No Noddy-badges for anyone, as we are working with people on this earth that want to push their own agendas, when it comes to finding solutions to any problems, instead of being open to listening to and adopting another’s suggestions/solutions and integrate it with our own. You see, there are NO selfless people on this earth and anyone who even says that he/she is selfless and would never look at Moi first, is a fool and suffers from denial.

    Your statement: “I think, dokseblok, that all we can do is speak up and write constantly against the gods and their disciples. And hope for the best. If but one, or two minds can be changed”. Let me give my views on this…

    The “one or two minds” that might be changed, is quickly replaced by the hundreds and thousands that attend mass meetings of deception, which we all know are piped through to millions of couch potatoes via the airwaves. This reduces the effect of your actions, almost on a daily basis!

    What to do?

    The first thing that needs to be done is to remove the “ambiguity” in the interpretation of any matter of interest. There are too many “meanings” ascribed to vital concepts today. If you remember and you can look back, I made sure that I understand the meaning you ascribe to certain terms and I gave mine, in order to find “common ground”. Without this, we will continue to play “ring-a-ring-a-rosy” until we are blue in the face, not finding any solutions.

    Once “common ground” of “UNDERSTANDING” has been established, i.e. once I understand your viewpoint and have taken enough time to UNDERSTAND what led you to believe in it, one can start debating and finding a solution or, at least, a genre in which we both can operate (middle road).

    In this, we both have to be open to change. If we are not, it would be a futile exercise and conflict will result. We both have to lay down our perceived solutions and work towards a joint solution, that will benefit us both i.e. look at it with a symbiotic view.

    The objective should be to unite, not to divide. In this, if I ridicule you, slander you, attack you or your values or beliefs, by trying to show to you how clever, intelligent, eloquent or learned I am, I would be dividing us and only end up with a quick “Red Bull” high for a few moments, which will quickly dissipate after a few hours, until I sprout poison again, in order to feed my low self-esteem or unconscious recall of incidents of the past, which led to my desire to “get back at anyone resembling the object of my ridicule or slander” i.e. projection and transference.

    The solution is to communicate and communicate and communicate, UNTIL we find the middle road. If we are not prepared to do so, we will eradicate all the beauty we have on this earth, of which there is enough for us to share.

    As Leo said: “Our quest in life should be to help others, but if we cannot help them, would at least not hurt them”.

    I change that today to: “Our quest in life should be to UNDERSTAND AND LIVE with others, but if we cannot understand or live with them, would we at least not HURT them”.


    December 13, 2007 at 09:56

  16. I suspect, dokseblok, that we’ll be sharing a Nobel Prize if we can come up with a solution for “harmless intolerance”, or “salutary intolerance”.

    The term “intolerance” implies some violence, I suspect. At best verbal violence, but violence nonetheless.

    I have often though about the so called “Cold Turkey” strategy for addicts. I suspect it must be a bitter experience – for the patient; for those dear to the patient. Terms like “tough love” haunt me. I suspect I would not have the guts to subject my children to “tough love”.

    Yet sentient individuals can not stand by and condone, by inactivity and indifference, suicide bombings in the name of some god; “preventative war” to discourage “terrorism” in the names of different gods.

    Some time ago a Christian told me that she was no longer able to participate in Communion like she used to do, because she could not but think about my ridicule of the sacrament. She does not realise it, of course, but she owes me a debt of gratitude!

    I think, dokseblok, that all we can do is speak up and write constantly against the gods and their disciples. And hope for the best. If but one, or two minds can be changed…

    Nathan Bond

    December 12, 2007 at 22:04

  17. Sure, Nathan, let’s keep the other stuff for another debate.

    BRAVO, BRAVO, ENCORE, ENCORE!!!! Drugs and the drug trade should not be tolerated!!!!!! I cannot agree or emphasize this more!! The same with Manto’s “veggie cocktail” for AIDS!!!

    The question: “How does one react/respond to situations like this? How do you see it?”

    I have some more for you…

    There are many Christian movements today, whose teachings result in its followers being impoverished, live in fear, live under virtual tyrants, being taught falsehoods, are not allowed to think for themselves but follow slavishly and without question, result in their children growing up controlled and unable to have the freedom of choice, etc., etc.

    There are other religions using their followers to hurt others, kill others and lay down their lives, all for the sake of their “faith”.

    NONE of this should be tolerated!!!

    Now…how does one address this? Some more wars? Someone required to lay down their lives to eradicate it? Kill them? Hurt them?


    December 12, 2007 at 21:47

  18. Perhaps, dokseblok, we should discuss your “many who believe in the existence of a deity AND embraces science and its outcome” when we are through with tolerance. The topic “Tolerance”, not tolerance…

    In which way is tolerance often disadvantageous, inexpedient?

    Why, I am certain that no mother on the drug infested Cape Flats near Cape Town would consider sitting down with the vendors of Tik and debate their right to sell the drug to children. Drugs and the drug trade should not be tolerated. Even though the drug industry supports entire South American communities.

    I suggest rather strongly that the South African Health Minister’s Garlic and Beetroot contribution to the war on HIV/AIDS be not tolerated.

    Nathan Bond

    December 12, 2007 at 21:26

  19. I think you did that on purpose, so that I could reveal my “intolerance”…hahaha!!! Nah, I’m a tolerant person, don’t worry. Good standup though!! I always enjoy it when you do that!!

    Quick reply on some statements:

    “Someone who subscribes to “God” is either too lazy, too scared, or too dumb to continue to consider the evidence and accept where it may lead.” – WRONG!! There are many who believe in the existence of a deity AND embraces science and its outcome and are prepared to be open to change in belief. Know which group I am talking about? A person that is featuring very prominently at the moment? Glasses? Wears robes?

    “Who can look reason in the eye and deny the Big Bang, deny evolution… accept “God”?” – Wanna debate evolution? Hmmm, Nathan?

    Hey, you are good on the hymns, Bro!!! Did you do this before? (just asking out of interest)

    Nathan, in your definition of a believer it might seem that there might be someone who has given up on the pursuit, as you say, but I don’t think you have made a thorough study of the different “religious” (deity-based) groups out there!!

    OK, to our discussion…

    In which way is tolerance often disadvantageous, inexpedient, in your view?


    December 12, 2007 at 20:37

  20. dokseblog

    There is plenty we do not know. There is a lot we do know.

    Someone who subscribes to “God” has clearly capitulated. Someone who subscribes to “God” has ceased to consider evidence – for there is none indicating “God” – for some reason or other. Someone who subscribes to “God” is either too lazy, too scared, or too dumb to continue to consider the evidence and accept where it may lead. It’s got little to do with being generally slothful or fainéant, or consternated or panicky, or intellectually challenged.

    Who can look reason in the eye and deny the Big Bang, deny evolution… accept “God”? Only the “Surrendered”. How does the hymn go again: “Aaaaai surrender ALL, Aaaaaai surrender ALL. ALL to thee, my precious Saviour, Aaaaai surrender ALL.”

    No, dokseblok, a “believer” is no more than someone who has given up on the pursuit of evolving understanding – a responsibility that comes with Life!

    Yet, we need to get on with our discussion, and redefining words is a tedious and inhibiting process… Let’s work with “a believer is someone who ‘believes’ in the existence of a deity and practices his/her ‘belief’ accordingly”. Let’s see where this may lead us? (Somewhat exasperated.)

    And hey, you must tolerate my stand-up religion!

    Nathan Bond

    December 12, 2007 at 19:17

  21. Sorry, the last para should read: “Shall we just agree, as your definition of “religion” refers to a movement WITH a deity, that a “believer” is someone who “believes” in the existence of a deity and practices his/her “belief” accordingly?


    December 12, 2007 at 18:34

  22. AAARRRGGGHH!!! Here we go again…the standup theology…

    Nathan, saying “a “believer” is someone who is too lazy, too scared, or too dumb to pursue evolving understanding by considering evidence – all the means by which any alleged matter of fact whose truth is investigated by scientific process is established or disproved”, carries the same value as saying “an atheist is someone who forces his head up his behind and whistles Dixie through the hole where the pipe leading to his colostomy bag enters”!

    One doesn’t get an “alleged” matter of fact! If it is “alleged” it isn’t fact yet, it is still in limbo or in the process of being established or proven! It cannot be “fact”, whilst it is being investigated…it stays “theory” until proven!!!

    My housekeeper would then be a “believer”, as she is lazy (she sits on her fundamentals all day!), scared (because she is superstitious) and dumb (because she STILL cannot follow a simple request!) and she most certainly declines to pursue understanding, whilst the evidence of the cobwebs scream out at her from its perch, science having proven that it is BAD for us to have cobwebs in the house, as their inhabitants bite the shi’ite out of the kids and spiderman allegedly having the propensity to come and roost there, leaving me with a huge legal bill, trying to evict him, not being able to, as the Government is still in the process of disproving the plight of the establishment regarding illegal squatting!!! OK…OK…I’m calming down…breathe in…breathe out…OK…OK…I needed that…

    Shall we just agree, as your definition of “religion” refers to a movement sans a deity, that a “believer” is someone who “believes” in the existence of a deity and practices his/her “belief” accordingly?

    In which way is tolerance often disadvantageous, inexpedient, in your view?


    December 12, 2007 at 18:30

  23. dokseblok

    I think defining “the religious” as “those who are part of a system of belief where a deity is present, by whatever name called” will do for now.

    A “believer” is someone who is too lazy, too scared, or too dumb to pursue evolving understanding by considering evidence – all the means by which any alleged matter of fact whose truth is investigated by scientific process is established or disproved.

    “Tolerance” is a willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others; a disposition to allow freedom of choice and behaviour. This is the lexicon definition.

    But I think that tolerance can be harmful, as I indicate in the essay Tolerance: “Should disease be tolerated? War? ‘Terrorism’ – the war waged by the enemy? Crime? Racism? Sexism? Pollution? Drugs? Unsafe sex?”

    I do not want to redefine tolerance. I want to indicate that tolerance is often disadvantageous; inexpedient.

    Nathan Bond

    December 12, 2007 at 17:40

  24. Thank you, Nathan. I think we must first form a base of understanding here, as to the use of certain words and the meanings you ascribe to them.

    Please define the word “believer” and the word “tolerance”, as you see it.

    In the previous discussion, you saw “religion” as being “religion with a deity present, by whatever name called” and “godless religions” not as religions at all. I disagreed with you and held that “religion does not always have a deity as basis”. But for the purpose of debating your writings, we will take your viewpoint as the focal point.

    Can we thus agree that “the religious” in your statement above, means “those who are part of a system of belief where a deity is present, by whatever name called”?


    December 12, 2007 at 15:24

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