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ETpro's avatar

Does dogma deserve debate?

Asked by ETpro (34217 points ) June 23rd, 2011

Britain’s “Aggressive Atheist” doesn’t think so. In this video rant Pat Condell explains why. What do you think of the points he makes? Does dogma deserve debate? What do you think of moves in the UN to institute an international blasphemy law making it illegal to speak out against religious dogma? Can dogma really even be debated, or must it either be accepted sheepishly or actively opposed?

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18 Answers

josie's avatar

Dogma is an invitation to debate. That is why debate was invented.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I would not take Pat Condell too seriously, he is not exactly great at making points or being consisten with his arguments.

Dogma does deserve debate, simply because you need to address all sides of the coin when it comes to any religious debate. Any time you debate anything regarding religion, dogma from that religion will come in to play. How can you discuss for example gay rights, when over half the argument against it is dogma.

As for blasphemy laws, if I am ever subject to them, I will go out of my way to infringe them, and I’ll do a damn good job of it too.

If laws are passed that make it illegal to talk out against dogma, I’ll start a new religion with it’s own dogma that demands it’s followers to talk out against other religions dogma, lets see the courts sort that one out.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Dogma may be as @josie said, an invitation to debate, it is not amenable to intelligent and polite argument nor can resolution be achieved when arguments are based on untestable a priori assumptions.

lillycoyote's avatar

@ETpro That link you provided to support the idea that there are“moves in the UN to institute an international blasphemy law making it illegal to speak out against religious dogma” is from November of 2009 and in a cursory search I couldn’t find anything more recent or what happened. I have a feeling it didn’t work out for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the organization of predominately Muslim nations who were lobbying for it.

And I have yet to be able to make it through an entire, if even more than a few moments, of Pat Condell video rant. I have a feeling I’m not missing much. I’ve never gotten the impression that is exactly a visionary atheist thinker and has much to add to the world of ideas. What does he say in this one? I’ve gotten the impression that he’s pretty fucking dogmatic himself and his videos don’t seem to be much more than intellectual masturbation on his part.

wundayatta's avatar

Does philosophy facilitate fallacies?

lillycoyote's avatar

@wundayatta A fancy, but facile, phrase fair friend.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Religious dogma should ALWAYS be open to being debated. I am not one of the ‘faithful’, although I tried for years to find something in religion to which I could cling. No matter how hard I tried, logic & reality would eventually assert themselves & I could not continue to fool myself. I have friends that are ‘faithful’ & I generally do not deliberately try to damage their faith by encouraging them to really think about what they believe. However, I am more than ready to enter into discussions about religion & explain where I stand. Religion has been used as a tool over the centuries to control both the poor & women. The bible is full of contradictory statements & verses that demonstrate that “god” is both vengeful & murderous. After all, why would a “loving god” allow the mass starvation of so many people in the world? You cannot justify starvation by saying that we have ‘freewill’ – if there was a loving “god” that cared about the people that he supposedly created, how could he allow them to suffer hunger?

ETpro's avatar

@josie Dogma based on blind faith and the claim that the believer has “revealed knowledge” that needs no evidentiary support, and in fact can’t even be subject to the test of evidence, is pretty hard to debate. You can supply evidence till hell freezes over, but the dogma is not subject to evidence, so it makes no difference how logical your argement is, A priori, you lose.

@poisonedantidote I don’t know the gentleman and his other work well enough to decide that issue, but it is off-topic of the OP, which only considers the posted link. I find no logical fallacies in his statements in the linked video. And to dismiss it without rebutting a single statement of his, but instead diving to an ad hominem attack is to rebut it as fallacious by resorting to a famous logical fallacy yourself.

@Dr_Lawrence That is true, and I believe it is the point that Mr. Condell was making in his video.

@lillycoyote The attempt failed. That does not mean that fundamentalist religious leaders will just give up, though. While it was radical Islamists that were pushing the idea at the UN, there have been powerfully politically connected religious right leaders here suggesting the same for US law. The only difference would be what constituted blasphemy. Drawings of Muhammad would be OK, AOK if they made light of him.

@wundayatta Would it be possible to identify fallacies without philosophy?

@Linda_Owl Thanks. I suspect if a parent let their children starve, and at trail claimed they were a loving parent, but the child had free will, that would not stand up as a defense to negligent homicide.

basstrom188's avatar

Good old Pat good to see him stirring things up a bit.

mattbrowne's avatar

Define dogma. The meaning does vary.

markylit's avatar

I would rather ignore Dogma.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne For the sake of discussion here, let’s work with the Wikipedia definition as it is rather complete. I believe what Mr. Condel is challenging is strongly held beliefs that are hald to be beyond the question of resason and not subject to any proof man can ever approach, but that the believer expects others to adhere to because “It is written.” or because “It has been revealed to me.” He’s pretty clear that he’s willing to tolerate anyone’s beliefs, however much he may personally disagree, if only they will respect his right to believe otherwise.

lillycoyote's avatar

You mention “powerfully politically connected religious right leaders here suggesting the same for US law.” Are talking about Muslim religious leaders who are “powerfully politically connected”? Who might they be? And enacting legislation that would make illegal to make light of or mock Muhammad in the U.S. Ain’t gonna happen, not a chance. Because, first it just isn’t going to happen and secondly a law like that would be unconstitutional, in a big way. I would worry more about powerfully politically connected leaders of the Christian right. There are a good number of them and a fair number of Christian fundamentalists who would be perfectly happy to see the U.S. become a theocracy.

ETpro's avatar

@lillycoyote No, of course not. I am talking about people like John Ashcroft, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the shadowy figures behind the religious cult called The Family(Christian_organization), who have the ears of, and rent ultra cheap rooms to, many members of Congress.and world leaders including brutal African dictators. They lobby for stiffer penalties for homosexuality, against any equality for gays, for prison sentences for abortion, for enforced prayer in schools and public meetings, for the teaching of creationism in public schools and universities, and for an interpretation of the first Amendment that makes Christianity the state religion. The Family appears to have been behind the Kill the Gays law that Uganda is instituting. If they thought thay had any chance of passing it, they would do the same here.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ETpro – Written text is always subject to interpretation.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne Happy to provide clarification as needed.

I see the link above got messed up by Wikipedia’s parenthesis. Here’s a corrected version:
The Family

If interested in them, you might alos read up on a former member who’s gone public with his knowledge of their intentions and operations here.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Everything deserves debate as far as I’m concerned, and I’m not sure in what way Mr. Condell disagrees. When he finally gets to the point, here is what he says: “Believe whatever you want; but if you want me to believe it, then provide evidence or expect mockery and ridicule. Do not expect polite debate.”

This begets the question: what does Mr. Condell think debate is? Until someone is providing reasons to believe something, there can be no debate. There are merely assertions. Is he saying he isn’t going to debate people who don’t want to debate? Okay… but so what?

It seems that Mr. Condell’s real target is not dogma (what is believed) but dogmatism (an attitude toward what is believed). Yes, there are people who simply assert themselves and will not respond to reason. You cannot know who is like that, however, until you try offering some sort of argument and see what the reaction to it is. I see no reason not to be polite until it becomes clear that there is nothing left but to laugh.

@wundayatta Philosophy facilitates finding and fixing fallacies. Rhetoric revels in repeating ridiculousness.

wundayatta's avatar

And the Orange Tree Award goes to…..
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@SavoirFaire!!!!!

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