Saturday, July 19, 2014

Religion and Incarceration

A critique of a popular atheist claim. Here


Hugo said...

It's silly if an Atheist talks about these statistics; it's equally silly to link to a critique.

Unknown said...

These sorts of stats are often used by atheists to show the bad moral influence of religion. Honestly.

Hemant Mehta, for example, has brought this up.

Ilíon said...

VR, Hugo is playing one of the little games so belovéd of God-haters (and DarwinDefenders, and leftists).

Hugo said...

Yes, some people bring up these stats and I said it's silly to do so imo, which means that it's also silly to bring up a critique, again imo.

However, something interesting here is that you claim that the point Atheists are trying to make is "to show the bad moral influence of religion. Honestly." I doubt this is the case. Though I am sure it does happen. But what I did hear is Atheists using these stats as a counter example to Theists claiming that Atheists are immoral scumbags that do whatever they want.

In other words, it's not that Atheists want to make the point that Atheists are better people; they are merely replying to Theists who claim that Atheists are worst people by pointing out the fact that the prison population does not seem to support the Theists' point.

So, if you do have some quotes of an Atheist saying exactly what you wrote, I would agree with you that they are jumping to an invalid conclusion. Please, do share such quotes; that would be interesting to read. Honestly. Where does it show up on Hemant's blog for example? (sorry I have almost never read anything on his blog; just when others link to it...)

But even then, either way it does not matter, as the prison population is no indication of the truth of the position. Atheists could indeed be the worst people ever and it would not prove their claims, and vice versa if Theists were found to be committing the most number of crimes. Isn't it obvious?

If yes, why do you bother addressing such points? They are plain silly as I said... the only useful response is to point out how irrelevant these stats are. And I honestly think that this is actually the point Atheists are trying to make when they mention these stats; they show why the Theists are wrong with their view that Atheism is a bad moral influence...

Hugo said...

Ilíon, I thought you were a man, a real man. You got nothing more to say than suck up to Victor and calling me names? 3 names actually; good job sir... Seriously, how childish and weak of you, though I am not surprised after reading some of your comments here.

B. Prokop said...


Don't pay too much attention to Ilion's name calling. Once you get past it, what he has to say is usually worth paying attention to.

(He still calls me a bloody-minded leftist, a year or more after I swore off all politics on the internet.)

Papalinton said...

It's par for the course with Illion.
But I do enjoy his commentary for its acerbic nature.

Steven Jake said...

This is off topic Vic, of which I apologize. I thought you might enjoy this formulation of the AfR:

Hugo said...

@ Mr. Prokop and Papalinton
There is a saying stating 'stupid question, stupid answer'. This is what my reply to Ilíon's comment was; just some quick reply for the fun of it.

@ Steven Jake
I really like the way you put forward this simple version of the AfR because it clearly shows where the problem is. As I pointed out a couple of times here in my discussions with others, the problem always falls back to the underlining 'Primacy of consciousness' assumption, where the defender of the AfR accepts the notion that minds can, and do, exist as independent entity without the need for the real material world to necessarily exist.

This is pretty much what the commenter named 'Ray' told you in his very first comment: "Remove the question begging assumptions (1. that reasons, meanings and semantics are irreducible to the physical, and 2. that all electrochemical processes are mindless) and your argument collapses." I would add: remove the assumption that minds are more than the product of material human brains and your argument collapses.

Steven Jake said...


Actually, nowhere did I ever make an assumption that the mind can exist without the material world. The argument only demonstrates that what constitutes reasoning is completely absent from mental processes on naturalism. Nowehere did I ever make claims regarding disembodied minds.

Hugo said...

@ Steven Jake
I know you did not explicitly state the primacy of consciousness assumption; that's what defenders of the AfR and other similar arguments always say... However, it is implied in several of the ideas you put forward. For example, you said: "The brain state is just what is happening electrochemically in my brain when I uphold a certain proposition or thought, and the mental state is the associated with the actual mental apprehension of said proposition or thought."

But how can you have any mental state without being a living human being with a brain? It's clear that you think this works because you already accept the notion that your mental state does not require a body; hence you imply it could work on its own. That's assuming the primacy of consciousness.

Victor Reppert said...

Actually, I ran across this in a student paper I graded, so that is an indication of what ideas are out there.

Apparently this stat was quoted in Stenger's book, and Darrel Ray's, and in a book by Kimberly Blaker.

Actually, Mehta has not quoted the stat uncritically.

Ilíon said...

B.Hypocrite: "Don't pay too much attention to Ilion's name calling."

Ilíon didn't call anyone any name; he named teh fact that Hugo was playing a game.

Here is another example of the game, this time from a leftist

The Disavowal Game -- "A common theme is the usual liberal revisionism:

Oh, please. We all KNEW John Lennon was a jerk. That’s not the point.

No, you didn’t. You are the same people who insisted he was a living god, until butt-pains (like me) kept hammering away at his unearned saintly reputation.

Same thing with Michael Moore. Having beaten her down with a list of his lies and ethical lapses, a now ex-friend insisted, “But we never thought he was THAT important anyhow.”

She said this while standing in front of a TV stand piled with DVDs of every movie and TV show Michael Moore ever made.

B.Hypocrite: "He still calls me a bloody-minded leftist, ...."

You're such a shameless -- and whining -- hypocrite. I point out that you're a bloody-minded leftist after you falsely accuse me of being demonicbecause I reject leftism root and branch.

B.Hypocrite: ".... a year or more after I swore off all politics on the internet.)"

Of course, you never did *discuss* politics -- hell! if you did that, you'd get the floor wiped with your leftist ass -- but you did, and do, make politicized accusations.

Hugo said...

@ Victor
"Actually, I ran across this in a student paper I graded, so that is an indication of what ideas are out there."

Do you remember what the point the student was making was? It's quite different if the student argues that 'Atheists are better people' versus 'Atheists are not worse people'.

"Actually, Mehta has not quoted the stat uncritically. "

I like Mehta's post you linked too. He does a good job at trying to clarify the validity of these statistics. Obviously, I still think it's a moot point since it had nothing to do with the veracity of the claims or religions... At least you Victor just linked to a critique, you did not spend time like him going around trying to find all the relevant facts about something which in the end does not really matter ;)

"Ilíon didn't call anyone any name; he named teh fact that Hugo was playing a game."

What game I asked?

Regarding name calling, you said: "God-haters (and DarwinDefenders, and leftists"

1) God-haters is certainly name calling. Nobody (or very few people, certainly not me) hates God. You believe or your don't. But you don't care about that; it's just your way to insult people who don't follow 'your' God.

2) You would never say EinsteinDefender or AtomicTheorist because these would not be insults according to you. So yes, definitely name calling.

3) Leftists is in a grayer area... it can be an adequate label. However, since you mentioned my name right before and have absolutely no clue how I would vote or what my political opinions are, you clearly just used that word as nothing more than name calling in order to lump all these 'evil' people together: the God Haters, the Evolutionist and the Leftists...

Isn't it interesting how the self-labeled 'real' man Ilíon cannot even take responsibility for his own name calling? On top of it, he lumps together 3 completely different groups of people. They are all part of the "others" in his brain I suppose. The world must be very black & white from Ilíon's vantage point.

B. Prokop said...

B.Hypocrite: ".... a year or more after I swore off all politics on the internet.)"

But that wasn't "politics" - it was just speaking the unembellished truth.