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Magic is a sort of religion in WoT. That's where all of the supernatural power lies and the very political, and hierarchical, Aes Sedai, wield a power mimicking the clerical authority found in a lot of super-state religions from Earth's antiquity.

 

The notion that gods and religion must be present for a setting to be considered "fantastical" seems awfully thin to me.

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Magic is a sort of religion in WoT. That's where all of the supernatural power lies and the very political, and hierarchical, Aes Sedai, wield a power mimicking the clerical authority found in a lot of super-state religions from Earth's antiquity.

 

The notion that gods and religion must be present for a setting to be considered "fantastical" seems awfully thin to me.

 

You could make that argument I suppose.  It certainly wouldn't be the most substantive religion around.  But in any case, why then is there only one?

 

it's not that a setting requires gods and religion to be fantastical.  It's that religion has been an integral part of the human experience in almost all times and places.  And when there's a setting, like that of PoE, where people behave more or less like people do in reality, it would be very very odd for there to be no religion, or only perfunctory systems of belief.

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Magic is a sort of religion in WoT. That's where all of the supernatural power lies and the very political, and hierarchical, Aes Sedai, wield a power mimicking the clerical authority found in a lot of super-state religions from Earth's antiquity.

 

The notion that gods and religion must be present for a setting to be considered "fantastical" seems awfully thin to me.

 

You could make that argument I suppose.  It certainly wouldn't be the most substantive religion around.  But in any case, why then is there only one?

Technically there are 2 (the Black Ajah worships the other guy) ;)

I'd say in WOT there is faith (in the Creator) but no religion to framework it.  (though there are pseudo-religious customs - marking the dragon's fang on the door of one who is supposedly cursed, some prescripted prayers to the Creator).

The dual salvation and destruction prophecies of the Dragon are bound into that.

 

I don't think the books missed anything by not tackling religion as well.  Though I agree that religion is a big part of human history and society, I think that dealing with 'beliefs' is not necessarily tied to dealing with religion.  It could be argued that some people would always try to gather that belief into a framework.  But the books were long enough as it is :lol:

 

There were different societies with different ways of dealing with their beliefs (though the main continent tended to have just the one - largely due to the Aes Sedai).  The Aiel, the Sharans, the Ogier, they had others.

I think RJ successfully made different societies and cultures without including religious organisations, but then, I'm not a religion major so I might not be looking for what's not there in that regard.  Had there been no faith at all, I might have considered it flat.

Edited by Silent Winter

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There's a thread in my sig which I wonder what you guys would think of.  In my posts there I've done my best to treat religion more as a cultural phenomenon with no judgement on the religion itself.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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That said, a world without major religions falls very flat indeed, of which fantasy's most egregious example would be the Wheel of Time series.

 

I would argue that the wheel of time was ripe with religions.  You had the Aes Saidi who believed in the creator and the wheel of time controlling all events.  You also had the dark friends who worshiped the dark one as if he was a god. Additionally you had the Whitecloaks who seemed inspired by both the Christian crusaders and the Christian inquisition and they were heavily religious and powerful to have rule over Arcadia much in the same way as the church ruled Britain at some points of history.  You also had the Maesma's Prophet of the Dragon cult who worshiped the dragon reborn as a god.  Finally you had the Senchan who seemed very inspired by the old Japanese God-Emperor model.

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There's a thread in my sig which I wonder what you guys would think of.  In my posts there I've done my best to treat religion more as a cultural phenomenon with no judgement on the religion itself.

 

That's the way to do it.

 

 

 

That said, a world without major religions falls very flat indeed, of which fantasy's most egregious example would be the Wheel of Time series.

 

I would argue that the wheel of time was ripe with religions.  You had the Aes Saidi who believed in the creator and the wheel of time controlling all events.  You also had the dark friends who worshiped the dark one as if he was a god. Additionally you had the Whitecloaks who seemed inspired by both the Christian crusaders and the Christian inquisition and they were heavily religious and powerful to have rule over Arcadia much in the same way as the church ruled Britain at some points of history.  You also had the Maesma's Prophet of the Dragon cult who worshiped the dragon reborn as a god.  Finally you had the Senchan who seemed very inspired by the old Japanese God-Emperor model.

 

 

There were definitely systems of belief and culture that verged on the religious, without a doubt.  But there wasn't much of, if any, what I'd call communal worship, sacrificial devotion, prayer, preaching, or scriptural tradition.  Each of those things have been critical to multiple major real world religions, and I can't think of any religion in history that was without all of them.

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Ill be honest the last game I played that I role played anything religious was in morrowind as part of the temple. From the pilgrimage to become part of the temple to the seeing the golden masked guys to the principles they venerated and the background. Granted it wasn't perfect but it added a very nice layer that could be easily dismissed or delved into per players choice. Now granted quite a few of the core elements (aka dandruff princes) were already established and brought up, but the religion gave more depth to them and to the tribunal. And the lore around it as well.

Now I would love to ha e that quality of religion in this game but I would also love to have the same option to delve or ignore them and not feel like I am purposely evading something if that makes any sense.

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Some of OP can well expand and add depth on previous, pretty stale mechanics that were in infinity engine games. Tempels in BG series felt more like glorified shops.

 

I am just not sure about your take on "higher entities". I feel you have certain arrogance going on about it. Here is a scene from Babylon 5  to sum how I usually feel about these entities, whatever franchise tends to call them, aliens, gods, demons, angeles, fairies etc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLZW8Deq8vE.  Loved that show, G'Kar and ants analogy is pretty awsome. 


magic021.jpg

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Some of OP can well expand and add depth on previous, pretty stale mechanics that were in infinity engine games. Tempels in BG series felt more like glorified shops.

 

I am just not sure about your take on "higher entities". I feel you have certain arrogance going on about it. Here is a scene from Babylon 5  to sum how I usually feel about these entities, whatever franchise tends to call them, aliens, gods, demons, angeles, fairies etc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLZW8Deq8vE.  Loved that show, G'Kar and ants analogy is pretty awsome. 

Is it really wrong to feel important? I think that everyone should feel himself/herself the most important thing in the universe. What is there to gain from feeling like an ant? As far as i see it, the culture that promotes low self-respect is exactly the reason why things such as the bystander effect can be expected.

Edited by Naesh

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Some of OP can well expand and add depth on previous, pretty stale mechanics that were in infinity engine games. Tempels in BG series felt more like glorified shops.

 

I am just not sure about your take on "higher entities". I feel you have certain arrogance going on about it. Here is a scene from Babylon 5 to sum how I usually feel about these entities, whatever franchise tends to call them, aliens, gods, demons, angeles, fairies etc

. Loved that show, G'Kar and ants analogy is pretty awsome.
Is it really wrong to feel important? I think that everyone should feel himself/herself the most important thing in the universe. What is there to gain from feeling like an ant? As far as i see it, the culture that promotes low self-respect is exactly the reason why things such as the bystander effect can be expected.

An old bible verse came to mind "pride cometh before the fall". The video that way posted, I didn't get the vibe that it was promoting low self respect, but saying that their are things out there beyond our comprehension even if its staring us in the face....and its okay that we cant unravel every mystery. That's its okay for their to be things out there we cannot ever understand, because isn't that an important and exciting part of life knowing their are unknowns out there waiting to be discovered or experienced? The guy even said that they have tried to reason with it or communicate with it but cannot and hes fine with that.

Its saying that no matter how big or important we think we are, there are things out there that we are ants to. In size and in how much we are recognized and noticed.

 

Very good video by the way, never saw that episode, I need to go look it up.

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The problem with religions in fantasy RPGs is that gods exist and we have two paradigms of how that intereaction goes i.e. fending machine, worship/reward, sacrifice/reward, charity/reward and "mysterious ways". In reality gods do not exist, we only have superstition as a basis for gods interacting with the world, and that's basically people believing what's convenient or flattering to them most of the time.

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The problem with religions in fantasy RPGs is that gods exist and we have two paradigms of how that intereaction goes i.e. fending machine, worship/reward, sacrifice/reward, charity/reward and "mysterious ways". In reality gods do not exist, we only have superstition as a basis for gods interacting with the world, and that's basically people believing what's convenient or flattering to them most of the time.

 

Yes, in fantasy, such things are pretty much straight forward. There is little room for questioning "supernatural" ...it is present visually and can be exprienced by all most basic senses, there is little room for doubt and philosophy.

 

 

Is it really wrong to feel important? I think that everyone should feel himself/herself the most important thing in the universe. What is there to gain from feeling like an ant? As far as i see it, the culture that promotes low self-respect is exactly the reason why things such as the bystander effect can be expected.

 

 

It depends, what means important to you? One defines it by ones collective experience, perception of reality and such blah blah, yes?  To feel important...hmmm sure, but that depends on context...whn I read your post most important in all universe, this type of attitude first came to my mind 

Maybe that says more about me than you haha.

 

Hmm...maybe if ant knew how you viewed him, he might feel offended that you put so little value in his existance? hehe, maybe that ant feels very important! He can lift 20 times his own weight, has millions of siblings and has never ever had feelings of disconnection within his family/society. His purpose clear and valued from before hatching, his passing away will be noticed, someone else will take his place. Doesnt mean he wont be mourned or missed.  As for bystander effect, that might be very alien and disturbing to an ant as well. Whn one of them is in danger, they are all in danger. Like cells in the body. They are aware, they are many but like one or form one larger entity. What some cells do whn others are in danger, they do assigned role to them. And thats for that kind of ant.

 

If  you think of an ant as oppressed creature slaving to feed Queen who keeps all enthralled within hivemind where her Will is absolute. Somewhere within confines of that drone's mind lies his own self locked away, yet apathic to do anything. Aware that IT IS at all times, yet cant do anything to break Queens will or something like that. Somewhere within lies promise of greater things, yet it was programmed as drone, it cant override its genetic code, its nature. It can think itself to what if I wasnt drone but a soldier or if I was a queen, etc. Persepctive or perception I guess. I dont know. One can build on tons of diff scenarios and take parallells from world if one is creative in such.

 

Maybe we have to assume that humanity is meant to be "flawed" in certain way, at least for now. Or maybe it is gift that we just yet dont appreciate. Becouse it also kind of sucks, becouse to know we are "designed" or evolved in manner to know about more than we can do or have tools to accomplish. I think that idea is what has always fascinated me about sci-fi and fantasy really. We are 3D creatures with most of us apparantly day to day 2D mind set, living possibly in 9-10D reality, yet we sense up to 4D, if 4D is like time, which there seem to be discussion about. I have no idea really. So there is like no way for most of us simple mortals to like PICTURE how 5th demension work. You can say how it supposedly behaves at times based on some equations. But you cant PICTURE that really, becouse our brain just isnt wired that way yet. We cant really see it. Physicist can tell us how it is supposedly working. So lets say a godlike/demonic/fairy entitty is something betwean 5 and 10D. Paint me how according to those numbers it may look in it original form!? One cant, becouse we could at best see only up to 3D of it. So whatever we would be seeing is only part of it, not it. But for some fkup reason your mind just CANT PAINT IT! Becouse of that I think many 5D creatures are drawn in metaphorical sense, not what they are but becouse of what they instill in us. World of symbolism. Amazing isnt it. I have no idea what it even means. I liked that explanation about physics few posts above. I have no intelligent comprehension for how all the small details work to paint the bigger picture...it all sounds ughhh..umm..wow...but I can probably appreciate some of the bigger picture or practical application of that understanding.

 

I have no clue why i am trying to communicate about something I dont fully understand, but here is guy who explains it hehe..awsome isnt it! :D


magic021.jpg

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Considering the more mysterious nature of the gods, I think it would be more feasible to explore the idea of religions/myths/gods being used for political manipulation and cultural exploitation.

 

People have always used religion and mythology as a way of gaining influence. For example, the reason why Zeus has so many children is because rulers of nations would claim themselves to be the descendents of the gods and use the power of myth to give themselves more power. When small cities or villages get conquered by more powerful nations, the folk heroes/spirits/gods of local cultures would get integrated into the myths of the conquering nation. So the heroes and gods of myth are often times amalgamations of a dozen different folk heroes/spirits/gods.

 

It would be interesting to see priests and religions change based on the demands of politics and culture. So priests wouldn't just be there to dispense advice or talk about their religion, they would actually modify their message based on your responses and the demands of the current political/cultural climate.

 

In fact, you can add another layer so that where there's a reciprocal relationship between the gods and their followers where the gods can actually change based on what people believe about them and how they're worshiped. So a god who allows their believers to use religion as a tool of political and cultural manipulation/expansion gains more power but at the same time, they're more subject to the beliefs of their followers. On the other hand, if a god holds to their own beliefs and doesn't allow their followers to change their religion to gain greater influence, they're less powerful but they have greater freedom and will of their own.

Edited by Giantevilhead
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The problem with religions in fantasy RPGs is that gods exist and we have two paradigms of how that intereaction goes i.e. fending machine, worship/reward, sacrifice/reward, charity/reward and "mysterious ways". In reality gods do not exist, we only have superstition as a basis for gods interacting with the world, and that's basically people believing what's convenient or flattering to them most of the time.

Gods do not exists? That depends on your definition of the word 'god'.

 

As i see it, people created gods because they needed them. The great bull aided the hunters, the sun god watched over the crops and the wind god brought luck to the explorers. (i made these up)

 

God, in this sense, is actually the real face of the person who called him or her into existence. Of course god exists. Just look into the mirror if you want to see him or her. God is the externalization of the deepest wishes of humans onto the forces of nature. And it's not hard to see why people *needed* the gods in the age of pestilence. And if you look at the right places it's not hard to see why people *need* the gods in the modern world, today. And will keep needing them.

 

So what is the definition of self-respect then? What is self-worth? I dont know exactly. But i know that it depends on the feedback of your own actions and it depends on the feedback you get from others - the opinion of the group you feel you belong to. Self-worth is kind of an 'average rank' in the pecking order, based on 'overall usefulness' from your own perspective, or rather, your control over reality.

 

So, why do i think that low-self-respect is an unhealthy state of mind? Why am i against the subtle messages that promote low-self-respect? (for example, the popular message that self-sacrifice is a virtue - now this can be found in lots of places in the popular media.... and it's really saying that being useful to others even at the cost of your own peril is a virtue)

 

Some time ago an experiment was conducted at an american university (if i remember correctly -- perhaps i could find the original article if anyone is interested). During the experiment a couple of rats were periodically subjected to a small dosage of electric shock. They felt the pain, but they didn't suffer any major damage. What do you think happened after a while?

 

The rats ganged on one of their own and tore it to pieces.

 

You see, they were protecting themselves from getting shocked. They protected their own self-respect, their illusion of control. That's why it had to be this one rats fault.

 

History provides plenty of evidence of similar behavioral patterns from humans. The nazis, the commies, etc. It's also not hard to see why evolution could be the real culprit behind this behavioral pattern: like rats, humans are social animals.

Let me explain that a bit more.

If you are practically useless to *your* group, your self-worth goes down. Then you feel that self-sacrifice is a virtue and this feeling is the product of both the culture you live in and your genetics. You will want to sacrifice *for others* to show *to others* that you are a good person. And because of this, the effectivity, the chance of survival of the group might increase, since the resources are going to the more successful members. Of course, nobody wants to be the omega dog or the kid who is being bullied, so eventually you will try to fight to restore your self-worth and become the bully in some form or other. That's why you really can't blame the rats for ripping one of their own into pieces.

 

Because, if you think about it, a small burst of gamma ray radiation from a nearby star could sterilize the planet without causing any ruckus in the galaxy whatsoever. Everything that matters to you could be gone in a small puff, in the blink of an eye. This is the insane reality that completely undermines your self-worth, that takes control away from you. The a-bombs have the same effect on your ego.... just knowing about the threat causes damage.

 

If you think about it a little bit more, you might find it strange that despite the impossible odds, the huge amount of time that was needed for life to emerge on this planet, there actually *is* life on Earth. This evidence suggests that life is a very potent natural force. But you yourself are connected to this mysterious, hidden natural force in a very personal way, since you live. This connection is the real reson for the need for gods. This is the reality that gives your self-worth, your control back to you.

 

So, i'm against rubbing it into the peoples faces that "there are things out there far-far-far greater and more powerful than us". Of course there are. A waterfall, a whirlwind, a lightning is much more powerful than you. Even a gorilla is much stronger than you will ever be.

I would have said to G'Kar that perhaps we are ants now, but guess what, we lived in caves once. In time, we will get there, buddy. And i'm against thinking that humanity is "flawed" in any way for reasons mentioned above. Anyway, i just wanted to shed some more light on what i wrote in the opening post. And of course it's just how i see it, an opinion, my opinion, and i borrowed it from various books and articles refining bits and pieces.   

Edited by Naesh

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You could make that argument I suppose.  It certainly wouldn't be the most substantive religion around.  But in any case, why then is there only one?

In the WOT, it's almost as if there's only one religion, but a plethora of various denominations. Or... *shrug*, I dare say it's almost like Christianity and Islam. I mean, the Seanchan basically had Artur Hawkwing as their liaison figure between the Creator and the created, with all their own views on how and why to go about life and what the goals in life should be. The Whitecloaks, while obviously pretty corrupted, were still very much founded on the whole "WWJD" aspect of how to live, in regard to the Creator and the Light, etc. Then you had, what, the Way of the Leaf? And the Aiel, with their way of doing things. You even had the creation of the Dragonsworn within the book series, itself, and its development throughout. AND, the Ogier, with their reverence and revolvement around the groves.

 

I know it's not quite all different religions, but, you've gotta also consider that they all lived in a world where certain stuff undeniably happened. Even in the real world, religion and philosophy are a bit intertwined, with many religions/denominations simply being various interpretations of the same general path/goal.

 

I don't really think the WOT was devoid of religion. I just think it was all a bit more intertwined with culture, is all. Which is a little weird, because there weren't like... oodles of various temples and organizations and such. But, the individual cultures were already separated in the same way that organizations are, so it wasn't such a big deal. The Ogier, for example, almost never mingled with people anymore, so it wasn't like they had to say "okay, since we're all just people and live in this country together, we're going to have to distinguish ourselves by saying that we're such-and-such religion, whilst you guys are something-or-another religion, u_u."


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Concepts like self-respect and self-worth are not things in and of themselves, they are definitions or descriptions of certain sets of behaviors, thoughts, or traits. It's like how colors are not actual things, they're just labels of certain spectrum of wavelengths that we use as an effective method of conveying information. To say that someone does something because they have low self-respect is to confuse definitions with causes. It's like saying that a beam of light has a wavelength of 440 nm because it's purple when in actuality, the reason why we call this beam of light purple is because it falls within a spectrum that we've arbitrarily decided should be labeled "purple."

 

Also, the experiment with the rats being shocked was an experiment on aggression. It's basically just a survival instinct and has nothing to do with self-worth. It's kind of like animals will avoid a certain food if they're subjected to radiation that causes nausea after they're given the food, even though there's no natural connection between the food and the cause of the nausea.

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You could make that argument I suppose.  It certainly wouldn't be the most substantive religion around.  But in any case, why then is there only one?

I don't really think the WOT was devoid of religion. I just think it was all a bit more intertwined with culture, is all. Which is a little weird, because there weren't like... oodles of various temples and organizations and such. But, the individual cultures were already separated in the same way that organizations are, so it wasn't such a big deal. The Ogier, for example, almost never mingled with people anymore, so it wasn't like they had to say "okay, since we're all just people and live in this country together, we're going to have to distinguish ourselves by saying that we're such-and-such religion, whilst you guys are something-or-another religion, u_u."

 

 

Well, religion in all human societies has been a major component of culture, so that's not really an excuse for WOT.  For example, the various peoples of the former Yugoslavia, who are not enormously different from one another in language and custom (some different, but not as much as say, Turks and Kenyans), nonetheless all have very distinct cultural identities, and a major part of that is their differences in prevailing religious belief.

 

Mostly my beef was that, as is the danger in almost all fantasy universes, there are ideas for religions/belief systems, but they never get the substantiation of doctrine, custom, and practice that any real religion/belief system would get.

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Concepts like self-respect and self-worth are not things in and of themselves, they are definitions or descriptions of certain sets of behaviors, thoughts, or traits. It's like how colors are not actual things, they're just labels of certain spectrum of wavelengths that we use as an effective method of conveying information. To say that someone does something because they have low self-respect is to confuse definitions with causes. It's like saying that a beam of light has a wavelength of 440 nm because it's purple when in actuality, the reason why we call this beam of light purple is because it falls within a spectrum that we've arbitrarily decided should be labeled "purple."

 

Also, the experiment with the rats being shocked was an experiment on aggression. It's basically just a survival instinct and has nothing to do with self-worth. It's kind of like animals will avoid a certain food if they're subjected to radiation that causes nausea after they're given the food, even though there's no natural connection between the food and the cause of the nausea.

Yes, but you see we can only talk about models of reality. We cannot say anything about reality itself. Models are built up from concepts, that have to be defined and we have to be precise. Yet, when i ask someone what time it is, i never get "state your definition of time" or "depends on the location of measurement" as the answer. Judging from your response what i wrote was good enough to come across and that's good enough for me. 

 

I don't agree with you on the explanation of the behaviour of the rats though. But, just out of curiosity, how would you explain the bystander effect?   

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And the problem with ideas like "self-worth" and "self-respect" is that they're very vague and poorly operationalized. Concepts like color are reasonably well defined so that when I say that a color is purple, you might think that it's actually neon or light purple, but it's not going to be that far off. When talking about concepts like "self-worth," my definition may have entire sets of traits or behaviors that are missing from your definition.

 

As for the bystander effect, it depends on how in-depth an explanation you want. It can be explained on a higher level of abstraction as simply a result of behaviors that people learned throughout their lives, socially conditioned behaviors, like most of our conscious behaviors. However, we don't have enough information to explain it on a much lower level of abstraction.

 

It's like if you saw a car for the first time in your life and you're trying to explain works, but you can't look inside the car or take it apart to examine the relationship between the individual pieces. You can explain things on a higher level of abstraction like how turning the key causes the engine to turn on, stepping on the accelerator makes the car go forward, turning the wheel changes the direction of the car, etc. However, if you can't open the car up and take it apart, then you can't really explain how the steering wheel causes the car's wheels to turn or what chemical reactions are going on inside a car's engine.

 

That's the problem with a lot of psychological and sociological sciences, they can explain things on a very high level of abstraction but they can't explain things on a lower level of abstraction. So all the explanations involving things you can directly observe are reasonably good like all the stuff with classical conditioning and some of the more basic stuff with social psych but when they get down and try to explain things that they have no way of observing like consciousness or self-respect, then there's a ton of vague assumptions and poorly operationalized terms, and it's not very scientific.

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There is so much ignorance in this thread that I have to resist writing a long ranty post correcting EVERYONE.

 

Someone is wrong on the internet, but I'm going to bed.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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There is so much ignorance in this thread that I have to resist writing a long ranty post correcting EVERYONE.

 

Someone is wrong on the internet, but I'm going to bed.

Then please correct only what i wrote, mr JFSOCC. I am always happy to get some critics that can possibly enrich me. Especially when we disagree and i get to see the reasons why. I won't get into a petty argument, that's a promise.

Edited by Naesh

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Alright I'll try to address some of it when I get home tonight


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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That's the problem with a lot of psychological and sociological sciences, they can explain things on a very high level of abstraction but they can't explain things on a lower level of abstraction. So all the explanations involving things you can directly observe are reasonably good like all the stuff with classical conditioning and some of the more basic stuff with social psych but when they get down and try to explain things that they have no way of observing like consciousness or self-respect, then there's a ton of vague assumptions and poorly operationalized terms, and it's not very scientific.

This is just not true.  Psychology and Sociology have advanced quite far as sciences, and cults and religion are extensively studied subjects in the field of behavioural sciences.

Group psychology, cultural and learned behaviour, and human psychology are all aspects important for the advent of religion.

 

My second part was going to be about the rat experiment, but I just learned that I was wrong. So the ignoramus is me.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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That's the problem with a lot of psychological and sociological sciences, they can explain things on a very high level of abstraction but they can't explain things on a lower level of abstraction. So all the explanations involving things you can directly observe are reasonably good like all the stuff with classical conditioning and some of the more basic stuff with social psych but when they get down and try to explain things that they have no way of observing like consciousness or self-respect, then there's a ton of vague assumptions and poorly operationalized terms, and it's not very scientific.

This is just not true.  Psychology and Sociology have advanced quite far as sciences, and cults and religion are extensively studied subjects in the field of behavioural sciences.

Group psychology, cultural and learned behaviour, and human psychology are all aspects important for the advent of religion.

 

 

The only part of this I would contest is that psychology (as a historian I don't even want to talk about sociology) is still going a bit back to front.  It's still almost entirely reasoning from symptoms to causes.  Reasoning from cause to symptom is in most cases nearly impossible, because we don't know enough about the brain to make it a two-way street.

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That's the problem with a lot of psychological and sociological sciences, they can explain things on a very high level of abstraction but they can't explain things on a lower level of abstraction. So all the explanations involving things you can directly observe are reasonably good like all the stuff with classical conditioning and some of the more basic stuff with social psych but when they get down and try to explain things that they have no way of observing like consciousness or self-respect, then there's a ton of vague assumptions and poorly operationalized terms, and it's not very scientific.

This is just not true.  Psychology and Sociology have advanced quite far as sciences, and cults and religion are extensively studied subjects in the field of behavioural sciences.

Group psychology, cultural and learned behaviour, and human psychology are all aspects important for the advent of religion.

 

My second part was going to be about the rat experiment, but I just learned that I was wrong. So the ignoramus is me.

 

 

No, psychology and sociology have not advanced nearly as far as they'd like us to think. Do you know how many psychologists still follow the teachings of people like Freud, Jung, Adler, etc.? Despite the fact that those branches of psychology don't have any real science at all. Heck, there's plenty of experiments that show therapies derived from psychoanalysis are only as effective as placebos.

 

Just because something is studied extensively doesn't make it science. Historians study mythologies and legends very extensively, does that make it science? Much of psychology is basically philosophy, or art, and I have no problem with that. However, they shouldn't be calling it science.

 

Even the more scientific branches of psychology overextend themselves and try to explain things that they have no way of doing. They lack very basic standards of operationalization and they're not able to adequately establish models to explain phenomenons. And as I've stated before, often times, they mistake definition for explanation. A lot of times, they would simply describe a phenomenon and put a label on that description, which is very useful, but then they would turn around and use that label as the explanation for that phenomenon.

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