[LMB] Religion question

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Thu Jul 15 02:05:12 BST 2021

On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 6:12 AM Peter Hews via Lois-Bujold <
lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk> wrote:

> How many would you like?  Every one of them has an explanation for where
> the world came from, an explanation for unexplained phenomena like weather
> and volcanoes, an explanation for why bad things happen to good people, and
> all the other questions every growing child asks.[/quote]

And none of them lead to understanding the nature of the world.  Again:
produce a single example of an offered explanation that makes the truth
easier to understand.  Just one!  We'll wait.

 That's a long and detailed way of saying what she said in half a sentence,
> so why "Nope"?

No, it's not.  *whoosh*

> She didn't say it was the only way.  You can tell people "Do this because
> X," but if you don't have a practical argument but feel it's a good thing,
> "because God says so" works.  In the absence of knowledge of bacterial
> infection, belief that God wants you to wash your hands several times a day
> can materially improve a group's survival.

If you manage to pick a behavior that actually improves a group's
survival.  And you ignore the cost of making such a powerful prohibition
instead of a guideline that can be adjusted as further information is
gained.  If you forbid the eating of shellfish, you avoid poisoning as a
result of 'red tide' organisms, but you also cut yourself off from a
valuable food source that might be exploitable with more knowledge.

> Marvin argues differently.  Yes, the cargo cult leaders had solid social
> reasons for their revolts, but they still led their followers to disaster
> and death because - so far as one can tell at this distance - they really
> believed the cargo would come.

The modern-day people who perpetuate 'cargo' rituals know perfectly well
they do not result in cargo.  Although they do attract journalists
somewhat...  I suspect lots of people make money as a result of Lourdes,
although I doubt the legend began as a way to make money.

Matt "born every minute" G.

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