Study Says Videogames "Problematize" Religion as Violent

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Wow, well that's oversimplified to hell. It's not just "one religion causes a bunch of problems", while it does, in most games it's good side is also shown off, and it's never black or white "religion is violent" or "religion is peaceful"

Why do people still believe that religion causes violence? Humans cause violence because of our natural tendency to form groups and our greed. Those who are not within the groups are the enemies, and when the enemy has something a group wants, fighting breaks out. It just so happens that religion is often one of those groups that gets formed, but it's at least as often nationality or ethnicity or pretty much anything. Nobody has ever fought a war because the enemies had a different religion; they fought because the enemy, who happened to be defined on that occasion by a different religion, had something they wanted. Even the Crusades, which were divided among religious lines, were really fought because both groups wanted territory. That specific battle might not have happened without religion, but it just would have been replaced with a different one. If anyone remembers the South Park episodes "Go God Go", it works pretty much like that in real life. So can people stop with the religion bashing already? I know it's popular, but it's a terrible argument and I cringe every time I hear people repeat this nonsense without looking further into the matter. Disclosure: I am not a member of any organized religion.

soren7550:

TheFPSisDead:
Who is the violent religious sect in Mass Effect 2???

The closest I can think of is Samara. "Find peace in the embrace of the Goddess *bust head open like a melon*"

That's about all I can think of. Oh, and "Dead Gods still dream" (something like that).

One could reference the extreme devotion to the Reapers as religion, especially considering they are referred to as "gods" at several points.

Also, Samara is a champ. Don't dis her.

Andy Chalk:

A University of Missouri doctoral student says many modern videogames "problematize" organized religion by equating it with violence in their stories.

Eh, in all of these examples, what I see associated with violence is extremism, which actually is associated with violence. Religion itself isn't presented as inherently bad, except when presented in an extreme form.

If someone has already made any of these points, message me and I'll edit the post. This thread is getting kinda long.

Kimarous:

Treblaine:
Homeopathy isn't religion. It IS bullshit, though.

I was not trying to say anything about homeopathy. I agree that it's crap.

Treblaine:
Why are you trying to force this clearly false claim of universe-creation with actual science, it won't fit. And the time-scales set by scientists are based not on the earth being creased by a giant creator but by natural scientific forces.

I'm not "trying to force" anything. I was just proving that not all religious people are creationists.

BTW, love how you're like to say "clearly false" and "won't fit" without providing a specific rebuttal. Once again you're just shoving your fingers in your ears and going "la la la" without actually giving it consideration.

Treblaine:
Right, and Eve being made from Adam's rib and just two breeding pairs repopulating the earth in a few thousands years without being crippled by inbreeding. Not to mention how this DOES contradict both science and the "theistic evolution" as mentioned.

I'm not arguing the semantics of Adam and Eve. I was just presenting a different viewpoint of creation in general.

Treblaine:
This is unbearable. I never thought I'd see someone try to scientifically defend genesis on Escapist forums.

Yay, I got under your skin! ^_^

Are you admitting to trolling?

No one is arguing semantics on Adam and Eve, the bible's depictions of the origin of humanity explicitly and fundamentally contradicts the proven and tested scientific discovery of evolution.

Of course it doesn't fit. This unscrupulously changes the definition of "day" because god hadn't made day and night yet, so the earth formed when it wasn't rotating? Why should I have to rebut such ridiculous claims. Actually I don't. The onus is on you and your website has FAILED in that regard.

In fact your "proof" of age-day genesis is a clear example of creationism, it tries to state that God CREATED the Earth and the universe, the only variation is unscrupulous fiddling of time-scales to somehow state the bible was accurate.

Heaven forbid he should read up on The History of the Church.

The Crusades? Salem Witch trials?

RaNDM G:

Andy Chalk:
A University of Missouri doctoral student says many modern videogames "problematize" organized religion by equating it with violence in their stories.

Nevermind the centuries of warfare, racism, intolerance, and bigotry spurred on by religious leaders. Videogames are the real problem.

I can kinda get where this guy is coming from, but his theory doesn't just pertain to games. All forms of media (comics, film, novels, tall tales, whatever) have themes of violence that take inspiration from historical conflicts. And it just so happens that faith and religion played a huge role in some of the biggest (the Crusades, the Catholic/Protestant War).

There's some pretty fucked up stuff in history. That's what makes these stories compelling.

Good sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

Plus, as the guy said, religion has been responsible for a lot of violence and violence over the years. It's not a lot of a stretch to make your villains religious and evil. Plus, evil religions can be written rather well at times.

Krion_Vark:

Treblaine:

Right, and Eve being made from Adam's rib and just two breeding pairs repopulating the earth in a few thousands years without being crippled by inbreeding. Not to mention how this DOES contradict both science and the "theistic evolution" as mentioned.

So the Bible stating that Adam and Eve are THE FIRST humans created and doesn't mention God making any other humans automatically means that God didn't make any other humans after Adam and Eve?
You have to take Religion with a HUGE bag of salt 90% of the time but you also have to put some thought behind what some things in the bible state.

The bible said mankind were created from Adam and Eve. That in itself is nonsense and contradicts the archaeological record of ape-like creatures gradual evolution into modern humans.

Sorry, grain of salt or bag of salt, there is no excusing how the Bible is full of false claims, as has been proven by science. The bible's word has about as much weight as Aesop's Fables and other stories.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure religion does a pretty good job as portraying religion as violent. Video games haven't ever started a war. Yet...

I would be a bit concerned if this conversation hadn't gotten this far, but I just want to throw in my two-bits:

Someone didn't read his Old Testament.

Funny how everyone is saying that religion is responsible for most of the violence in the World (This is true), but weren't Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot (to name a few) all atheists? Weren't they all responsible for millions of deaths? It's not just that they were atheists, but they all followed the doctrine of communism, which has significant elements of atheism in it.

Did World War 1 or 2 (Which both killed far, far more than all religious wars combined) have anything to do with religion?

Ah well, don't mind me. I've probably stirred up a shitstorm anyway.

Treblaine:
snip

You said yourself that you haven't read the bible, so you cannot accurately denounce everything as lies.

You also apparently failed to read the article, since THE ORIGINAL HEBREW WORD has three different meanings: morning-through-evening, a full 24 hours, and an indeterminate amount of time. Most English translations simply say "day" for simplicity's sake. Which context of the word is correct? Who can say for sure? All I can say is that you automatically asserting "it HAS to be a 24 hour day, therefore you think like shit" just makes YOU sound like a troll.

But I digress; what does your constant ranting about "whys Christianity is wrong (in your narrow-minded eyes)" have to do with "why religion as a whole shouldn't be portrayed positively at all"?

Come on, Greg Perreault. Books have been doing this for ever, since the first of the Old Wizards used their magicks to create A4 lined paper and those neat clicky pens from Smiggle. I'll bet plenty of cave paintings depicted that religious violence, as well.

Know what else puts organized religion on the forefront of violence? HISTORY! LEARN ABOUT IT! As you see i have no quarrels about offending any sensibilities. Games, books, movies, reality, they all bash organized religion and all get flak for it. Pretty reasonable in his statement but weather it is purposeful or not doesn't matter because everything else does without trying. Games are no different. Books have done it since the church ceased to be able to stop them from doing so, movies did so whenever they could, table top games do it so often it seems like all they do, and games are no different than any other form of media when it comes to making organized religion to be the villain. A logically thinking person would tie most holy books themselves to religion but we are talking about outside sources. Religion is a large bugbear in this generation of Americans(no need to say why) so it makes sense for any perceived criticism to stand out.

Interesting study. I don't think that he was trying to say video games are evil because of this. It's just worth noting that video games often portray religion in a rather negative way, just like other forms of media do.

Two reasons for that. First, organized religion has historically done some fucked up stuff. Whether the fucked up stuff they did was solely religion's fault or that religion was just the excuse to go through with it is up for debate.

The other reason is that evil religion is much more entertaining to make a story about. For example: the church I attend is really really chill. About everything. It's the only church I know of where you'll hear an 80-year-old lady proclaim that the apostle Paul was "talking out of his ass" when it comes to the role of women in society. We don't care what religion you are, and we'd gladly marry gays if our stupid state would let us. We just wanna love people like that Jesus fella loved people, because God loves everyone.

My church doesn't make headlines for being full of kind-hearted, open-minded religious people. Westboro makes headlines every other day for being the exact opposite.

Organized religions have inspired nations to start wars and commit genocides. Religion laws are responsible for executions, tortures, etc. This is the real violence. Video games violence is imaginary, none gets hurt and its effect is minimal, compared to other forms of human behaviour.

Yeah because religion is pure video games shouldn't depict it as violence I mean what violent acts have been started out of religion... the Spanish inquisition,the holocaust, the crusades, Salem witch trails, etc., etc. Listen I have no problem with those who believe in religion but religion ruined its own reputation long before video games.

Videogames show that religion is violent?

HISTORY shows that religion is violent

Kimarous:

Treblaine:
snip

You said yourself that you haven't read the bible, so you cannot accurately denounce everything as lies.

You also apparently failed to read the article, since THE ORIGINAL HEBREW WORD has three different meanings: morning-through-evening, a full 24 hours, and an indeterminate amount of time. Most English translations simply say "day" for simplicity's sake. Which context of the word is correct? Who can say for sure? All I can say is that you automatically asserting "it HAS to be a 24 hour day, therefore you think like shit" just makes YOU sound like a troll.

But I digress; what does your constant ranting about "whys Christianity is wrong (in your narrow-minded eyes)" have to do with "why religion as a whole shouldn't be portrayed positively at all"?

Well, what I have read of the Bible, and compared with science, I have found to be false claims. Are you saying I must find and denounce ALL the false claims in the bible at once before I can denounce any of them? Is there anything else in the bible that excuses it giving god credit for creating humanity, in the face of the evidence that apes created humanity by evolution? This attempt to excuse genesis by obscure poetic use of ancient Hebrew where apparently the term for day is interchangeable with billions of years is just desperate.

This is all relevant to just how ridiculous religion is and how a main character in a modern work of media being religious hugely damages their credibility. In a modern world post-enlightenment of pervasive scientific education, being religious and treating genesis as anything other than a fairy tale marks them out as a fool.

I've said before, a character can only be religious and credible in a work of fiction if their religion is REAL. Like in the Star Wars universe, Jedi is called a religion but (in that universe) The Force is real and as described. And in fiction based on our universe, theistic characters are indulged by directly showing the presence of God with His angels and also antagonism with the demons of hell, such as in Hellblazer. These are positive religious characters.

In a fiction where he writer can have ANYTHING happen, having a religious character believe in something that still remains unseen and without any evidence is just tragic.

Oh, for fuck's sake.

1. The study is not singling out video games because he thinks they're brainwashing children, despite the somewhat deceptive wording of the article's title (thanks for that, OP. Very professional). It sounds like he's doing the study for some conference about religion and digital media, so my guess is that he did the study for the sole purpose of finding out how religion is portrayed in games. No agenda, just a straight-forward question-and-answer.

2. He's not even saying it's a problem. He's just like "So religion is portrayed as an instigator of violence in games. The more you know!" and just leaves it at that. He's pretty much completely neutral about the actual implications.

But no, you know what? Just ignore all those plainly obvious facts because someone somewhere suggested that videogames are not completely perfect, and he must be FUCKING DESTROYED. Ever stop to think that maybe some people have a problem with games (not this guy, but some people) because of irrational behavior like this? You know, the kind the Escapist exhibits ALL THE TIME?

This is where I'd normally make a crack about being thankful that organized religion has never been responsible for any real-world violence

This.

Hypocrite "researchers" these days, well I guess he chose to make a living out of publishing bullcrap :P

Darth_Dude:
Funny how everyone is saying that religion is responsible for most of the violence in the World (This is true), but weren't Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot (to name a few) all atheists? Weren't they all responsible for millions of deaths? It's not just that they were atheists, but they all followed the doctrine of communism, which has significant elements of atheism in it.

Did World War 1 or 2 (Which both killed far, far more than all religious wars combined) have anything to do with religion?

Ah well, don't mind me. I've probably stirred up a shitstorm anyway.

They sure were.

But atheism isn't an ideology. Just like not-collecting-stamps isn't a hobby.

Stalin to Pol Pot exercised hierarchical dogma with zealous and extreme enforcement, not in following religious scripture, but the new infallible document of revolutionary party policy. It wasn't founded under superstitious belief in a god-creator, but in the ideals of socialism to create an intangible utopia that they are indoctrinated to believe they must fight and kill for.

Under this, a crime against a person was irrelevant to them of a crime against "the people". Only it was a fallacious comparison, as if killed off people people one by one by saying each was less important than the whole, till the whole was in the hole!

Their objective was not atheism, that was just one aspect to ensure total party loyalty. The objective was absolute revolution. Challenging everything to fit some ideals and to enact them regardless of their negative consequences in practice and with utter bloodthirsty ruthlessness.

World War 1 and 2 didn't really have anything to do with religion. I suppose Imperial Japan did treat their emperor as a deity, but the emperor of Japan actually existed, so that distinguishes it from all other religions (zing!). Thing was, by the 20th century most countries were so diversified and secularised that religion played second fiddle to ideals of race and nationality. But there has of course been millenia of history BEFORE the World Wars. History did not begin in 1914.

And of course today. The ongoing conflict with Al Qaeda, Usama Bin Laden declaring a religious war on america, not for one nation but an entire religion to attack a country. Most Muslims rejected the siren call, but enough were seduced to conduct attacks. And those attacks to be founded on the delusion of an afterlife in paradise for the perpetrators and eternal hellfire for their victims, you can see some aspects of religion causing problems in this day and age.

Treblaine:

ReiverCorrupter:

Ermm... You do realize that all subjective consciousness in undetectable, right? Prove to me that you're conscious and not merely a complex bundle of matter and energy that behaves in certain ways.

There are plenty of problems with the idea of God and creationism, but scientific inquiry hasn't disproved these ideas outright. It has effectively disproved the doctrine that the world was created in seven days etc. But someone could still say that God created the big bang, etc. They can't be disproved in the strongest sense, but their story is so arbitrary and needlessly anthropocentric that there's no reason to accept it.

It's pretty clear that consciousness exists in the brain. Studies of people with brain injuries and how people recollect consciousness with varying measured brain activity have confirmed this. It is a well established science of studying if someone is brain dead or if they have "locked in syndrome", mainly advising on whether life support should be removed. That is consciousness right there, that brain activity.

If you grant that other people are in fact conscious and not philosophical zombies (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zombies/), then it makes more sense to say consciousness has its seat in the brain than any sort of dualist explanation. But that's precisely my point, you've already presumed that people have subjective awareness, which is by its very nature unobservable. We can observe the behavior of a person's brain, but there's nothing in the action of neurons that necessarily suggests someone has conscious awareness. You could describe physical reality completely without any reference to consciousness. I'm not advocating any sort of substance dualism, i.e. saying that consciousness is immaterial. I'm just saying that we can't observe it.

Treblaine:

"But someone could still say that God created the big bang"
snip

Just because science hasn't answered a question doesn't mean ANYTHING is possible or plausible.

Yeah I completely agree that it's implausible and arbitrary and there's no real reason to accept it. Pascal's wager doesn't work because there are multiple, mutually exclusive religions that promise you salvation/damnation, so there's a lot to lose by believing in the wrong one.

Believe me, I'm not a theist or a creationist. I was just making the point that scientific inquiry hasn't disproved every version of creationism because scientific inquiry is limited to the empirical. That, in and of itself is an argument against creationism: it goes beyond what we can verify, i.e., it's baseless metaphysical speculation. I'm just nitpicking.

Videogames trying to bring out actual history?! BAN ALL THE GAMES!

Admit it, religions. You've had a fuckton of "holy wars" and witch burnings.

Blind Sight:

ReiverCorrupter:

Well, you're still defining things as rational and irrational, so you haven't evaded my point entirely. The question remains as to whether the "rational atheists" necessarily live up to their namesake. You can have the abstract notion of rational atheism, but by calling yourself a rational atheist you seem to be making the same sort of pretentious presumption to which I was originally objecting.

Another worry occurs: someone could arrive at the doctrine of atheism rationally, i.e. through well supported empirical arguments, and still be completely irrational when it comes to politics. So yes, if 'rational atheism' is defined by using rational methods to arrive at atheism, then it is, by definition, incompatible with fanaticism regarding atheism. (Putting aside the question as to whether anyone actually lives up to the ideal of rational atheism.) But this doesn't preclude it from being compatible with fanaticism in other regards.

You seemed to be asserting that anyone who is a fanatic in regard to non-religious subject matter cannot be a rational atheist.

Like I said, I didn't invent the terms or their definition. If you want to ask someone why they went for the rational/irrational definition, ask Daniel Guerin (well unfortunately he's dead, but he popularized the dichotomy) or Daniel Dennett. Modernist atheism has also been deemed 'new atheism' which serves to complicate things even more considering the movement is made up of both groups. I'm using these terms because they're deemed the norm in secularist history, I'm not arguing that either is rational or irrational, just that those are what the terms are called. You wouldn't ask me to explain how a realist is a realist or if a constructivist is constructive if we were talking about international relations.

Fair enough. As long as we're admitting that even rational atheism does not preclude political fanaticism. I agree that it's highly doubtful whether atheism itself could be said to be the direct cause of any atrocities. Certainly some communist movements were both atheist and committed anti-religious persecution, but atheism is just the doctrine that deities don't exist, it isn't the doctrine that you should persecute religious people and force them to recant their beliefs, the latter view would belong to communism, not atheism.

However, the New Atheist movement does at least include the idea that one should try to convince religious people that their beliefs are wrong, which is a new commitment. But at most that constitutes an annoyance or an invasion of privacy.

whether it is a direct confrontation with religious zealots or being haunted by religious guilt."

should the last word be "cult"? or am i misreading.

well games probably show organized religion as violent because it is so. people dont jut come up with stuff (ok soemtimes they do) but they use historical data to make plots. and what side of religion is more discussed than crusades? so lets go on a crusade in game (aka Assasins Creed)

Heaven's Guardian:
Why do people still believe that religion causes violence? Humans cause violence because of our natural tendency to form groups and our greed. Those who are not within the groups are the enemies, and when the enemy has something a group wants, fighting breaks out. It just so happens that religion is often one of those groups that gets formed, but it's at least as often nationality or ethnicity or pretty much anything. Nobody has ever fought a war because the enemies had a different religion; they fought because the enemy, who happened to be defined on that occasion by a different religion, had something they wanted. Even the Crusades, which were divided among religious lines, were really fought because both groups wanted territory. That specific battle might not have happened without religion, but it just would have been replaced with a different one. If anyone remembers the South Park episodes "Go God Go", it works pretty much like that in real life. So can people stop with the religion bashing already? I know it's popular, but it's a terrible argument and I cringe every time I hear people repeat this nonsense without looking further into the matter. Disclosure: I am not a member of any organized religion.

Agreed. Religion as a whole might have provided a few more excuses for war, but it certainly isn't its primary cause. Look at Buddhism. There have been a few Buddhist wars, believe it or not, but they are very few and far between. Plus Buddhist doctrine is about as explicitly anti-violence as one can get. Except perhaps for the Jains, who are so hardcore that they don't go out in the rain because they are afraid of killing microscopic life. As a rule I don't think it's terribly controversial to say that Buddhism as a whole has served more as an agent of peace than war.

Lot of over the top reactions here. What this guy is saying is completely legit, as far as I'm concerned. Religion can make a compelling narrative, and so does conflict, so they're often paired in games, is what he's saying.

yes because every religion is a religion of peace and happiness!
as far as I know some religious people in TES universe are pacifists like Martin Septim and in reality allot of people get killed over religion.

Andy Chalk:
As improving technology has allowed videogames to evolve over the years, their narratives have become more detailed and nuanced as well, according to Greg Perreault, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. That increased sophistication has led to a growing incorporation of religion into various storylines, and that in turn has led religion to be "problematized" in videogames by way of strong narrative connections with violence.

I read this paragraph over and over trying to get an idea behind this lunacy. It seems to me he is trying to say that as technology and quality increase, the amount of religious overtones in video games increase. With that increase in religion, vilification of said religion increases. I may have only played two of the games on his list (FF13/ME2), but I fail to see his point.

I mean, I wasn't looking for religious persecution in either title, I was looking for a compelling story and good gameplay, which I found both (screw you haters, I liked FF13!). But I kind of found the opposite of what he found, in the case of FF13, the characters were vilified and not the religion. While one could say this is problematizing religion, it's really not. While yes, religion was a problem that the main characters had to overcome, it wasn't religion that was the enemy, you were.

In this case you could say that religion was praised and not vilified, contrary to Perreault is wanting us to believe. But hey, pointing out something like this only hurts his entire article, right?

Now I admit, I've only played through Mass Effect 2 one time, and I spent roughly the same amount of time that he did on it, but I kind of fail to see how religion is a problem for characters in that game. Religion is used by Samara to show her resolve in upholding Asari law. This shows her religion in a positive light. Her faith does not a pose a problem for any of the characters.

Thane Krios could be another example of religion within ME2, but once again, also positive, or at least as positive as you can get with an assassin. He prayed for success and subsequently forgiveness afterwards. This upholds religion alongside of honor. His faith does not prove to be a roadblock for any of the characters.

You could attempt to lump the heretic Geth as a religion and claim that they are a problem for the characters, but that's just silly.

I can't really speak for the other games, other than citing what I know about them. The Castlevania series is normally about vampire hunters, I'm not sure if the one referenced here is any different, but I'll assume it's about a Belmont. I think religion is on the winning side. From what little I know about Oblivion (I can't stand Elder Scrolls games, haven't since ES2), but I think relgion is displayed as both positive and negative. As for Assassin's Creed, I think history ruined this for everyone, not Ubisoft.

Like any journalist on a slow news day, he's looking for a story where there isn't one. Religion isn't being incorporated into games due to increased sophistication and better narratives, it's being added due to writers running out of ideas. They use religion because everyone can relate to it in some way. Whether you're a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Athiest, etc, you know a little about religion. Once people run out of good stories for religion, they'll move onto politics. Once politics are done, they'll move back to Pacman. It's all one big cycle.

Now if he really wanted to show religion as a problem to the main characters, why didn't he pick up Xenosaga (1, 2, and 3) or Final Fantasy Tactics?

Bara_no_Hime:

dagens24:
I'm not fan of religion, I recognize it as probably the greatest catalyst for violence in human history.

Bzzt, wrong. Sorry. You've got an error there. Religion isn't the greatest catalyst for violence in human history.

HUMANS are the greatest catalyst for violence in human history.

In evolutionary terms, violence = survival. We're the top of the food chain because we learned how to kill anything and everything on the planet, including ourselves. Religion is just an excuse - just like race, territory, resources, laws, and patterns on flags. Oh, and cause it's fun.

Which is why we have violent video games - because killing is fun. Evolution made it so.

soren7550:

TheFPSisDead:
Who is the violent religious sect in Mass Effect 2???

The closest I can think of is Samara. "Find peace in the embrace of the Goddess *bust head open like a melon*"

What a self evident statement; humans commit human violence. Thank you for the enlightment. Also, what silly deductive reasoning. 'I didn't kill her officer! It was Joe! He made the gun I used down at the gun factory so he's responsible!' We can zoom out to look at the larger picture over and over and over until the issue becomes so abstact that it's non-sensical but that doesn't do anything to address the initial issue. The issue of billions of people beleving that they KNOW the will and desires of a divine lord that must be followed or suffer eternal agony combined with a believe that one of those desires is the murder of apostates and infidels is a very dangerous belief that leads to a lot of violence globally and historically. Is all of this rooted in our Darwinian evolutionary past and our selfish genes' struggle for survival? Sure. Does that change anything? No.

That's about all I can think of. Oh, and "Dead Gods still dream" (something like that).

Yeah, I was wondering that myself. I got the impression that the article author was talking about religious groups being enemies, and I can't think of any... except maybe the Geth Heretics? Sort of?

ReiverCorrupter:

Treblaine:

ReiverCorrupter:

Ermm... You do realize that all subjective consciousness in undetectable, right? Prove to me that you're conscious and not merely a complex bundle of matter and energy that behaves in certain ways.

There are plenty of problems with the idea of God and creationism, but scientific inquiry hasn't disproved these ideas outright. It has effectively disproved the doctrine that the world was created in seven days etc. But someone could still say that God created the big bang, etc. They can't be disproved in the strongest sense, but their story is so arbitrary and needlessly anthropocentric that there's no reason to accept it.

It's pretty clear that consciousness exists in the brain. Studies of people with brain injuries and how people recollect consciousness with varying measured brain activity have confirmed this. It is a well established science of studying if someone is brain dead or if they have "locked in syndrome", mainly advising on whether life support should be removed. That is consciousness right there, that brain activity.

If you grant that other people are in fact conscious and not philosophical zombies (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zombies/), then it makes more sense to say consciousness has its seat in the brain than any sort of dualist explanation. But that's precisely my point, you've already presumed that people have subjective awareness, which is by its very nature unobservable. We can observe the behavior of a person's brain, but there's nothing in the action of neurons that necessarily suggests someone has conscious awareness. You could describe physical reality completely without any reference to consciousness. I'm not advocating any sort of substance dualism, i.e. saying that consciousness is immaterial. I'm just saying that we can't observe it.

Treblaine:

"But someone could still say that God created the big bang"
snip

Just because science hasn't answered a question doesn't mean ANYTHING is possible or plausible.

Yeah I completely agree that it's implausible and arbitrary and there's no real reason to accept it. Pascal's wager doesn't work because there are multiple, mutually exclusive religions that promise you salvation/damnation, so there's a lot to lose by believing in the wrong one.

Believe me, I'm not a theist or a creationist. I was just making the point that scientific inquiry hasn't disproved every version of creationism because scientific inquiry is limited to the empirical. That, in and of itself is an argument against creationism: it goes beyond what we can verify, i.e., it's baseless metaphysical speculation. I'm just nitpicking.

Well, I think, therefore I am. I don't see why I have to look into it more than that. There is no need to pin down neurone-X for feeling-y. Especially as it would go too far off topic.

-Dragmire-:
... New Study Says History "Problematize" Religion as Violent.

That was much better than the short response I was going for. I was just gonna say "Truth hurts doesn't it?"

-Dragmire-:

Hmmm... random thought, can anyone remember a jrpg for the ps2 that had the main cast attack the Vatican? I can't remember it's name.

Shadow Hearts II maybe? I never played it, but I heard that it has you travelling all around Europe.

Religion - the worst thing we ever created.

The worst offender is a little known series started in the 11th Century called The Crusades.
The development time made Valve look speedy though. They took nearly 100 years to produce the sequels.

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