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When will skeptics' work be done?

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Description: Should skeptical groups aim to go out of business?
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Sentinel
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« on: March 03, 2010, 21:04:40 PM »

In an article on CSI, the following question was posed: When will our work be done?

  • When homeopathic products are no longer sold on pharmacy shelves?
  • When astrology columns are no longer published in newspapers?
  • When the crystal ball becomes a desk weight?
  • When the “Going out of Business” sign appears on the Church door?

That lead me to think about what we are actually trying to achieve and if we are going about it the right way.

What is your opinion?
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Faerie
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 08:32:53 AM »

The S/O and I had a chat about this the other night (there was wine involved), he is of the opinion that religion will "die" within the next 50 odd years or so. I disagreed. It lead to a heavy debate, the problem with people in general is that they NEED that crutch. People want to be led, its easier when someone else make the decisions, because it absolves you from the responsibilities of the possible outcome. Its also easier to ignore your own stupidity when finding yourself in a mess and blame it on god - "God is testing me" - utter bullshit, but an excuse all the same.  The same goes for death/illness/place your scenario here - its easier to look at an invisible pink spaghetti monster than to acknowledge that life just sucks sometimes.

The other issue that will keep the sheep nicely in their pen, is the lack of proper education, not just schooling, but worldliness, speak with authority to the masses (think Malema), and they will follow, simply because they are not capable of thinking further/rationally/logically.

So in short, our jobs will never be done, and whether we're going about it the right way? - Well, what we're really doing is stomping on little fires, trying to convince one person here, get legislation to prevent advertising for woo there, and its tough, my Mom goes to a psycic every second month, I have to live with that, she's my MOM.

*sigh* I just posted myself into a depressed mood....
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Sentinel
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 09:12:18 AM »

*sigh* I just posted myself into a depressed mood....
The last thing I wanted to do was to cause depression...  Embarrassed

I agree that superstition/religion will never be eradicated, but it can become less intrusive on society.

The solution that comes to mind is to promote the scientific method, rational thinking and logic - Present it in such a way that everybody can adopt it in their day to day lives. But how? I think people are conditioned to think a certain way. Perhaps we need to be taught to think correctly, so that it becomes second nature.

So... is it any different for me to want people to think like me, when the very thing I am resisting is not to be forced to think like others?
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Faerie
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 10:04:30 AM »

Unfortunately, in this country, with its colourful cultures, I think it will be an almost impossible task to eliminate said intrusiveness in our daily lives.  Our pressie is a polygamist who supports the slaughter of bulls?  If we had a truly secular leadership, the possibilities would become endless, but we dont, and its unlikely we ever will.

Add to this the colourful "Sun" newspaper - have you seen the headlines?  This morning's was something to the effect of:  "My TV tortured me", last week there was one "Tokolosh does not see colour" or something whacky like that. Instead of reading something uplifiting and educational, the masses are reading about cultural and mythical crap.

So... is it any different for me to want people to think like me, when the very thing I am resisting is not to be forced to think like others?
I understand, and this is what make our lives so hard simply because we think in the manner that we do. We resist the "sheep syndrome" and are generally casted out and labled as godless and rebellious.
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Mefiante
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In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 10:10:14 AM »

I think sceptics’ work will be mostly done when there is a strong general tendency towards a habitual “will to find out,” instead of the currently prevalent “will to believe,” to borrow Russell’s phrases.  That is mostly a function of upbringing from earliest childhood.  Schooling also plays a role, albeit a somewhat smaller one, but the habit of asking probing questions needs to be inculcated as early as possible in a person’s life.  At the same time, the ability to recognise trustworthy sources of information is crucial.

When, or rather, if we ever get to that point with a sufficient proportion of humanity for it to become self-sustaining I simply can’t guess.  Part of the problem is that interference in the upbringing of others’ children is a taboo, except in the most egregious cases, and by the time children start attending school, much of the damage has already been done.

'Luthon64
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mdg
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 10:17:26 AM »

Quote from: Sentinel
So... is it any different for me to want people to think like me, when the very thing I am resisting is not to be forced to think like others?

I don't want to try and make people think like me, I want them to understand WHY I don't think like them and WHY I shouldn't be faced with their way of thinking in every aspect of my life.

The only way to perhaps start changing the way people think is to get religion out of schools altogether and to teach children critical thinking. Also, critical thinking begins with the parents and should be taught at home too.
 
Religion should only be permitted in churches, period.

But I don't think that a sceptic's job will ever be done, people are still far too gullible and willing to believe silly things.
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Sentinel
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2010, 10:36:24 AM »

I think sceptics’ work will be mostly done when there is a strong general tendency towards a habitual “will to find out,” ...  That is mostly a function of upbringing from earliest childhood  ... but the habit of asking probing questions needs to be inculcated as early as possible in a person’s life.
That reminds me of the little boy that was at the age where children ask hundreds of questions. As Parents sometimes do, the Father ignored most of the annoying questions and answered with "I don't know" each time.

After a while, the boy got a bit worried and asked his Father if he minds all the questions.

The Father replied: "No, not at all, how else are you going to learn!"

Part of the problem is that interference in the upbringing of others’ children is a taboo, except in the most egregious cases, and by the time children start attending school, much of the damage has already been done.
So we need to target Parents to be? Sounds like a difficult cycle to break then.

We resist the "sheep syndrome" and are generally casted out and labled as godless and rebellious.
Or an........ ATHEIST!

An acquaintance of mine met a woman and told me that it didn't work out, because it turned out that she was a lesbian, bipolar, vegetarian and an atheist. In jest, I asked which one of the four was the worst deal breaker. He thought about it for a while, but didn't answer me.
I bet he couldn't decide between the fact that she's not attracted to men and the fact that she doesn't believe in God.

To get back on track... Is there some way we could unite likeminded people and come up with a plan of action? I know forums like this one is a great start, but in my experience, if something does not gel with a person's already established belief system, they wont read it or want to understand it properly. It's the same as my inability to read countless Bible verses regurgitated or copy/pasted during discussions.
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2010, 13:34:01 PM »

Is there some way we could unite likeminded people and come up with a plan of action? I know forums like this one is a great start, but in my experience, if something does not gel with a person's already established belief system, they wont read it or want to understand it properly. It's the same as my inability to read countless Bible verses regurgitated or copy/pasted during discussions.
This is why I started Religion-Free Africa. Once it's established I intend to send letters in to newspapers and other media, giving rational comment on some of the credulous crap being published. For example: after our discussion here regarding this farce of a Moral Code for SA, I wanted to put something together (with many of the comments from this forum included) and send a letter to the Sunday Times. It's a small thing, but it's a start. Maybe this kind of thing will spark debate. Who knows? All I know is that if I (or anyone else for that matter) write to a newspaper as a representative of RFA it gives more credibility to the letter.

Any more ideas?
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