Nassim Nicholas Taleb: About Role of Religion

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: About Role of Religion
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mr. till have you mentioned in that anti fragile that you're concerned with the hard dismantling of organized religion and that the the collateral damage that could be done taking an institution that's been around for so long and removing it and there's things that we don't know but it seems there's another concern and that is with technology especially weapons of destruction type of technology growing that you're we're creating a very fragile of a situation where you have people who believe in afterlife and so on and if play a mind game that if we had a bomb or some kind of weapon that could blow up the whole earth and just destroy everything how many people would actually do it out of kindness and that's very nice in question is good the first so let me take the parts the first one is that I believe that attacking religion is dangerous because the mind affords a vacuum and we lost religion what did you replace it place you know think about it rationalism Russia Soviet Russia and effectively I'm going to give you a statistic the first suicide bombers or not in the Near East or not this longing for the necklace there were a Greek Orthodox my tribe communist communism in Lebanon all right so it's not like suicide by me it's not venture enough Islam that's the first of all effectively people who are religious so no I don't believe you know the to use a Greek word it be stable beast a mistake all right religion isn't quite about belief it's about some ritual it has worked except that in modern world we have too many religions and contact with each other they should not be in contact with each other and it causes you know intolerance I mean it's not like I'm saying religion is good I'm saying that the absence of religion we know is in a vacuum that easily replaced by all kind of crazy beliefs like they don't believe in a religion but they believe in the economic predictions anyone who isn't the minimum standards of rationality that you apply for eight years and then you apply it or on mr. Dawkins was an atheist like the use of probability theory you realize that there's no religious fundamentalism that is more irrational and hates it you know alternatives in this use of probability you see all uses of rationality like I was arguing with with mr. dennit was a gentleman all these atheistic sayings you say oh yeah no we have science or what do you mean by science he says science can put this building says it's exactly the problem look over science does it Simon it puts up Euclidean structures all right this is Mother mystic there's this modernistic viewer the science of placing religion if you understand science it's all come from non scientists scientists understand how little we know about the world that is scientific how many decisions we take every day that are probabilistic okay you how little compared to and and and that's why the scientists would say so this is why it's rarely we find the scientist okay who the tech coalition all right on the grounds that is harmless belief in the stock market or believed in communism or some topped out states it's not more harmful that's the first one the second point every attempt at eradicating religion makes it come back with a vengeance and this is you think if we decide to remove harmful religion on grounds that makes people blow up makes them more intolerant and we know from the places words are very religious today our places were take Russia Soviet Union you know try to get into the nowis West first every night for trying to get into a church in Russia okay it's finding room one of courses or a standing room with this you can't get close to a church on Sundays especially that's so filthy okay so religion to come back with a vengeance when I try to repress a man we saw that after the French Revolution or so that we see that a lot of places and we see it in Syria which was a issue that were an Iraq there were states there were secular states on a top-down nation-state and and how he had a religious boost after you know try to move it so if you cannot be eradicated religion from a top-down way all right and in effect his Dawkins himself who complains that they seem to hold beliefs and the more evidence you give them the stronger their beliefs whether the mechanism that's anti fragile we try to bang on something gets stronger all right this is outrageous their planes exactly but the point is that religion their third one is more philosophical and comes back to now understand that from you know what writing the book someone corresponding with me a lot of it toes Wittgenstein in and for me in the saying exactly auntie you know the journeys in fact these represent that that way of thinking and and is as follows when I go to a movie all right if I took talkin stop moving you know Dawkins is a guide like Steven Pinker one of yours simple minds but you know write books sermon you put them in a smoothie theater and you make them watch a movie all right he would interrupt the movie by saying this is nonsense this is not one all right this is not blood this is tomato juice no what would he do that no you go for the right why you make believe for the purposes it's called trust the word belief in English is not epistemic its beloved has love in it you stick its cradle a or or be stable it's trust and the word belief has beloved this I trust something for the story I go for the story and in fact if you think that religion has anything to do with God you're completely missing the point start by the rituals and develop day it is later okay to consolidate the rather start with the deity and flows to development rituals okay this is what you realize so religion is something that makes people do things and effectively I'm going to give you some of the things that you get out of a legend it's a via negativa what not to do there's no way irrational Stickley you could enforce interdict on debt and the minute catholic country is lost well the catholic catholicism – in europe sex and debt and they want white on both and look at the countries today that has most financial problems Italy Portugal sorry Spain and Ireland alright the ladies because Catholicism has a fatwa on on lending that was stronger than Islam if you lead a kimmel if you if you're proper Catholic you know neither borrower nor a lender shall be alright so if you realize when once you remove religion you're removing some stuff that come with religion that in physics on that alright via negativa III I like the via negativa don't do some things they only be enforced via religion all right initially because people are smart enough to you see to do it and reason and because to transmit the will of the wisdom of the ages okay so this is what comes with it the idea of a God is so minor in religion but not even funny you say this is what people don't get it I mean I'm offending a lot of people but by saying God doesn't exist it came usually comes last in the whole deal of religion alright and and all kind of formation of beliefs so this is a criteria but versus credere means I trust credit letter credit I give credit so you go for a story and who Wittgenstein gets it by saying our language is important enough to express what we do so let's not focus on linguistic things called belief you say that's that's what I'm have to say about religion so I'm not the support of religion if something has survived for so many millennium alright don't approve it okay unless you better be certain that you're replacing of something better and so far we've been fooled

He mentioned Aquinas but I think the quote is from Shakespeare: "Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be"… or from the Deuteronomy: "and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow". .. anyway, I can't confirm Shakespeare was a Catholic.

Spain was heavily indebt during the XVI and XVII century when Catholicism was at its peak. It even declared bankruptcy a few times.

And by the way: "most religions start…" really. It is not historically correct. It is just a statement and bs. I like mr Taleb but I think he likes himaelf too much.

The absence of religion is good, unless you feel a need for spirituality like Mr Taleb does. He should have a conversation with Sean Carroll.

"Religion makes people do things", yeah and that's why we can blame all those ridiculous or Horrific acts on religion. And I won't go into the debate "communism is an atheist thingy", because if you can't see the link between an ideology and a religion, then you're either biased or a moron. Also "religion are rituals first and lastly about god(s)", well great, then nobody gets religion, even believers.

replace religion with philosophy. No one will kill for Socrates or circumcise their children for Plato or burn you to the stake because you believe in another philosopher or stone the women or kill an apostate because he/she left stoicism for Epicureanism. We won't go and murder 6 million people because they have the wrong religion. No Mr Taleb, we won't do all those things. We will respect every person's right and dignity which is something religious people don't afford others. Religion is exclusive and discriminatory. It makes good people do horrible things, like in the Lebanese civil war.

I did a few takes of this video. At first, I though it was gibberish. Then next couple of times i sort of understood. And now I completely understand what he was saying. It does make sense but not all people will be willing to accept it.

Everyone seem to lose the whole point. Oh, yes and – by the way – they do it not plainly directly, but hidind their true identity!
I'm very sorry for it!

What a stupid point of view, that the harder you crack on religion, the stronger it becomes. What happened to all the polytheists in the Middle east? What happened to the all the Hindus and buddhists in Afganistan and all the tans in that area. What happened to Zeus worshippers? They all got destroyed and done with. It did not get stronger, did it? If religions are put under the scientific inquiry without the repercussion of being killed or ostracized, it will die a natural death. It persists because they are willing to kill others for criticizing the stupidity and the barbarity of it all.

Yeah, cause that's why chimpanzees, elephants, lions don't kill and rape each other, cause they have religions to tell them not to. What a moron

It's a shame that the only time he debated the great Christopher Hitchens (who seems a natural adversary for him, an antitheist, journalist, pro-Iraq-war, marxist) they didn't get to have a direct exchange (they mostly went after the points of the other's lower-weight partners Dinesh D'Souza and Boateng for NNT or Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett for the Hitch). I'd have traveled far and paid much to watch such an encounter live. 

I can only imagine that Hitchens would've argued that the Stalinist, Syrian and Iraqi regimes were by no means secular (dictatorships never are). He might have also said that his anti-theistic crusade was one against totalitarianism and "final solutions", rather than the heuristical and moral (when applicable) aspect of religion (he once wrote a beautiful essay defending the literary value of King Jame's version of the Bible, and he proposed an amended version of the Commandments, rather than getting rid of them). To this he might have added that if abandoned, the heuristic vacuum left by religion can be filled by the Classics and the philosophy of Spinoza (Hitchens never fully fell for the information trap of "knowledge will always triumph" that Taleb advises against). Furthermore, he belongs to the few in the Left that abandoned Socialism the moment they perceived as dogmatic. Taleb believes that Atheism is as bad as fundamentalism minus the aesthetics, but to read Hitchens and say that the man lacked an aesthetic quality would be beyond ridiculous.

In any case they are both among the ballsiest and intellectually honest essayists in modern times. Again, what a debate that would've made.

I don't quite get why he had to mock Steven Pinker. He is a nice, educated and very intelligent gentleman, who deserves lot of respect (he gives respect and credit also to ideas he personally doesn't necessarily hold important and tries to understand them first before he discards them – but he never feels need to ridicule them as general atheist fundie crowd does). For example Pinker never allows himself go that far into strawman arguments and reductions of religions into FSM myths. Pinker, (in contrast with Dawkinses, Krausses, Hitchenses and many other fundamentalist ideological hate-inspiring atheists) does know the evolutionary and socio-cultural value of religion, mysticism and spirituality and seeks their origins as a true scientist in fact indeed ought to. Dawkins may be very educated on the matters, relations and implications of evolution in human society. I totally support his fight against irrationality when it comes to falsifiable subjects – all good till he starts talking religion, then it becomes a stupid circus and mockery of somehting he never understood in its propper contexts. I have yet to see Pinker indulge in such naive bahviour and I really doubt he ever will. I dare you, anyone, find me one instance where he reduces the possibility of transcendence (an unfalsifiable matter in fact btw.) or where he reduces this idea into naive, self-debunking strawman arguments the way Dawkinses, Hitchenses and Krausses do/did.  So, I would never place Pinker into the same category with Dawkins or Krauss. Pinker as far as I know doesn't cash on propagating non-scientific ideologies such as atheism or anti-theism or ontological naturalism. I'm all fine with someone being materialist if he's keeping an open mind and searches further. 

Taleb's views on religion are very fascinating but I wish that he would develop them more thoroughly. You can find bits and pieces on the subject in each of his last three books and in a few videos, but that's about it. Is anyone aware of a more complete treatment of the question of religion?

It is true that officially non-theistic states such as the USSR were abysmal, but there are two problems: (1) the state was worshipped as god and (2) all states demand worship to some degree, or else. Thus, the problem may be statism rather than the absence of theism per se. Or to put it differently, man without the state may be better behaved; man with religion at least has a code of conduct to follow, apparently as an option.

It is not only religion that people like Dawkins are against. It is against all forms of dogma and unquestioning attitudes and for the promotion of science, skepticism and critical thinking. Most of the time religion is mentioned because it is prevalent and common. Dawkins, Sagan, Shermer, Harris have all spoken about other kinds of irrationality like astrology, psychics and fortune telling. Hitchens himself denounced communism and rejected socialism after looking at Soviet. Atheism != Communism. Whether the theories of communism were sound, the implementations were disastrous. It has been tested. It fails. So Hitchens changed his mind. Communist regimes are exactly what skeptics are against. This is a fine example of limiting free speech and imposing force on those who do not agree with authority. And it is also true that communism was something crazy that replaced religion. This can be said if religion only consists of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and the likes. But they have much in common. Followers hold certain dogmas and have ultimate conviction that they are true and have intolerance for people who don't. This intolerance does not express itself as merely pen and paper. It is usually manifested in the form of guns and bombs. 

He said religion has been replaced by other crazy ideas. That may be true but it can also be replaced by saner ideas. US is an example of an effort to separate the church and state so as to allow freedom of expression and conscience. Religion was substituted for the constitution. And it is obvious the US constitution is less crazy then the Bible. Also, all matured forms of religion is already a crazy idea that replaced previous crazy ideas. So is it that religion is false but

Taleb said religion is not epistemic but ritualistic. This is undoubtedly false. Claims are made in religions. The truth value of these claims can be subjected to scrutiny and epistemic duty. Religion is so ritualistic it can spin off a spectrum of behaviors quite arbitrarily. Nassim has said something like frauds should be exposed. In the case of religion it is certainly a fraud. The people who advance religion do so spreading their beliefs without any justification and the gullible follow. And also if only religion was purely ritualistic. Not just ritualistic, but voluntary. Secularists won't give a damn. The problems come when religious leaders say 'God wants us to this'. Maybe it's not epistemic but the mechanisms in religion allow such that followers will have more motivation after hearing that. When God wants you to vote or act as your pastor says, we'll be thrown back into the Dark Ages where fevers were caused by the devil.

We need religion because people are too dumb to behave if left to their own ability to reason. Interesting…

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