Can a question be dangerous?

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LogicFTW's picture
Can a question be dangerous?

If this is to long to read for someone, I ask for folks to at least read the bolded parts and respond to that.

There is quite a few ideas and concepts that I want to bounce off fellow atheists here. Are these ideas just a conspiracy theory? Quack science? Unevidenced or evidenced? Or is there something there, new (to me,) ideas that people generally just do not talk about out of lack of awareness or perhaps even fear?

A lot of the ones I want to ask or talk about are centered around the base concept of: if so many people have gotten something so wrong as god and the major religions, what other commonly held beliefs, ideas, cultural rules etc that are completely wrong that I am not even aware of, or just beginning to suspect?

When I first started on these boards and other discussion groups like it, I already knew god/religion was very likely not real. I have since learned with the help of people here that believing in god is a lot like believing in santa Claus, but only for adults. I have even begun to understand the why and how this mass delusion occurs and continues to perpetuate, why even fact, logic, sound reasoning cannot penetrate the "armor" built up to protect these, obvious to me now, insane and unworkable ideas like the various bibles. I have even begun to understand the underlying human psychology upon which these false ideas perpetuate and rely upon.

Back to my original question: much like how various very powerful religious entities work (often times very effectively) to keep people blind to the truth of the utter nonsense that is most all major organized religions, are their possibly even greater ones at work, perhaps even more insidious workings most of us (including me) are not even aware of? If I ask the wrong questions or have the wrong debate will these controlling powers that be notice? It is so easy to index the written word on the web. Could asking the wrong questions or bring up the wrong topic actually bring harm to me or others that participate?

Obviously this is a case by case basis based on the question, (if my thought or question is truly nonsense, obviously no harm will come to me or others.) Others may be a truth but no controlling organization that would care about a discussion taking place in some tiny corner in the almost endless internet discussing it.

Another way a question can be dangerous, we may already know the answer, but considering the answer could perhaps lead to madness? Sort of like nihilism but times 1000? Could a thought be so dangerous a person ceases to be same, to change in ways that can be very negative? Perhaps even overwhelm the fundamental drive to live and survive?

A benign example of some of what I am talking about:

There are quite a few security apparatus (this is my professional industry now for the most part,) that rely on large scale ignorance.

A more well known one in security, thus making it more benign, (I think?!?) is the example of: the many issues around public airport security. (I won't go into details, but I think most folks here are aware of this on at least some level.)

Any and all input from you guys would be most welcome. Thanks in advance.

I finish with a favorite quote of mine: "Question everything."

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
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Rohan M.'s picture
Interesting question...

Interesting question... crackpot Illuminati/NWO/Flat Earth non-examples aside, I can't really think of any other than religion, as they do the willful-ignorance thing the best... however, I do think that the Flat Earth Society might just be people trying to brainwash people to make money- often by pandering to their religion-based fears (see attached picture).

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LogicFTW's picture
@Rohan M.

@Rohan M.

Have not considered the possible flat earth society link to religion. Certainly the religious folks represent a large pool of people that are suggestible to ideas even if they have no evidence or even logical/reason merit making them an ideal large self identified pool of people for scam artist and otherwise (if said scam artist come to the same conclusion many atheist do about religion.)

Makes you wonder though, perhaps people a little smarter came up with something a bit less obvious.

An example that comes to mind that is fairly easy/benign is the automobile industry. Lots of people buy much, much more car then they need and can really afford to be a status symbol, not for utility reasons or investment but for mostly just aesthetic reasons or "badge."

Some people could almost be described as religious about their cars. Sometimes even dressing up their cars with aftermarket modifications that even makes a cars less reliable and safe. Like boosting their trucks at great expense with very high suspension and extra large tires even though 95+ percent of the time they are driving them on perfectly smooth flat roads.

Rohan M.'s picture
Excellent example. I never

Excellent example. I never considered such a thing, as when I saw the OP question I was thinking "religion-scale maliciousness, deceit, and menace to rationality".

Nyarlathotep's picture
There is a lot of non-sense

There is a lot of non-sense floating around out there about weight loss; stuff that violates the 1st law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy).

Rohan M.'s picture
@Nyar You just gave me a

@Nyar You just gave me a brainwave... all of those Alt-Med con artists who promise you free stuff and a too-good-to-be-true non-solution to a deadly health issue while bemoaning a certain "Big Pharma"... you'd be surprised by how many folks fall for it; take my grandfather- a college professor, mind you (who is convinced that the "unnatural" substances in his cholesterol pills are bad for him after watching one such video) and my brother (who thinks that the ADHD pills that our parents give us before we go to school or do a long homework sabbatical during the weekend are intentionally designed to somehow poison people's bodies), for example. >:(

Cognostic's picture
@LogicFTW: Try asking why

@LogicFTW: Try asking why Muhammad was such an murderous asshole in down town Mecca.

WHAT OTHER IDEAS?
The list is endless. Things as simple as "If you go out in the cold without a jacket or with wet hair you can catch a cold." (Viruses cause colds, not getting cold.) To... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49NOyJ8fNA We are fed jingoistic lies from the time we are born until we develop critical thinking skills and begin questioning. If one never develops those skills, they live in ignorance forever. Great Question - and an extremely fruitful area of inquiry. Keep it up and your world will never be the same. Question everything and when someone says something about which you know nothing.... LOOK IT UP!

Sapporo's picture
In my view, the truth is

In my view, the truth is preferable to falsehood. But of course always being truthful, "true to yourself" etc. can on the face of things lead to harm being caused to yourself and others. I say on the face of things: in reality, it is not being truthful that causes harm - it is others being false.

arakish's picture
I think the biggest fear

I think the biggest fear people have about discussing a subject is to open their religion clouded minds to the possibility that they have been fooled for their entire lives.

It is easier to fool a person, than to tell that person they have been fooled.” — Mark Twain

I listen to all these complaints about rudeness and intemperateness, and the opinion that I come to is that there is no polite way of asking somebody: “Have you considered the possibility that your entire life has been devoted to a delusion?” But that’s a good question to ask. Of course we should ask that question. Of course it’s going to offend people. Tough.” — Daniel Dennett

rmfr

NeverHappened's picture
(hope this is not duplicated,

(hope this is not duplicated, had trouble with the connection again)

There is a real danger in attempting to block 'dangerous ideas' because that is the universal tool of authoritarian censorship. China has a large number of history revisers constantly revewing books, newspapers, movies, even music for 'dangerous ideas'. Most Chinese don't even know about Tiananmen square. It has been completely sent down the memory hole.

A lesser thing is even happening here, where politically incorrect art, historic monuments, even movies are being pulled out of public sight. Children in school now have a very ideologically limited understanding of Western or US history.

The risk of leaving 'dangerous ideas' in the open is far less than that of suppressing them.

Matt Fulkerson's picture
So read Sapiens by Yuval Noah

So read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I'm about 40% of the way in, and a large emphasis thus far is how Homo Sapiens invents shared beliefs which enable cooperation. Examples are beliefs in God and beliefs in more wordly things such as currency. You don't personally have to believe in the inherent value of currency to understand what such a shared belief enables (exchanging currency for goods and services). Likewise, you don't have to believe in God to understand what this shared belief enables (pick and choose your favorites: maybe love your neighbor as yourself).

By understanding the essence of what a shared belief entails, one can evaluate the pros/cons of the shared belief. Suddenly removing a bunch of shared beliefs will result in chaos. On the other hand, gradual moves that replace flawed shared beliefs with a more robust belief system can be achieved.

Matt Fulkerson's picture
In the US, I don't think

In the US, I don't think there is much danger of getting the attention of sinister powers regarding religion. However, if you oppose the state, that is another thing.

LogicFTW's picture
@Matt Fulkerson

@Matt Fulkerson

In the US, I don't think there is much danger of getting the attention of sinister powers regarding religion. However, if you oppose the state, that is another thing.

This is more of the vein of what I am talking about. We talk about religion and its issues pretty openly here. Sort of the core of what we do here. But like my original post stated, if something as large as the many religions in the world are patently wrong then what else is also like this?

Some examples that I think are safe have mostly been discussed here already. I was just discussing in the debate forums earlier today the incredible divide income inequality makes. Beyond have and have not. For instance the entire criminal justice system is heavily skewed to favor the rich and penalize the poor. In the US being rich means you are far less likely to ever be convicted by a crime or even accused of crime. Additionally the number one most powerful predictor of life span is actually wealth, not obesity, not smoking, not drugs, genetics etc. (Except in extreme individual cases,) but when talking about when a child is born, the greatest single data point predictor of the child's longevity is how rich the child's parents are and grandparents/rest of the family, especially in the U.S.

You also mentioned money, and how it depends on faith on it. One of my more possibly "dangerous" ideas is that money is actually a form of enslavement. Especially how it plays out currently in the U.S. and one of the most powerful "fear" sticks that the powers that be employ is: "communist/socialism = evil and does not work!" To help keep people "enslaved" to money in this capitalism system that ultimately is unsustainable, not for just us, but for the entire planet and all life on it.

"Look! Look! Look at evil Russia!" While I am not saying we just abandon capitalism and go for utopia, or try to adopt russia's old way of doing things, we have all seen how that has failed. (Capitalism if anything is always going to be dominant over socialism as capitalism feeds on itself and grows stronger, where socialism would have to be carefully protected.)

The idea to reward hard labor with more "wealth" is a good idea, but at this point in the US especially those on the very top has gotten so far away from any sort of hard work = wealth it is comical to think that the Jeff Bezos of the world really earned their 100 billion dollar + fortunes via just working very very hard. And those are only the people of incredible wealth that we KNOW about.

Get much past 100 million US these days and money in many ways pretty quickly becomes mostly meaningless to the person that holds it in terms of relative value. A rich person's life is not going to change much in a meaningful way going from 100 million to 100 billion unless they really like to waste money simply for the sake of wasting money. (Instead of buying your own large private jet plane, just rent one from a service when you actually need it save 80+ million!) Planes like cars, (especially in this high end of a market,) lose value instead of gain value so they make terrible investments simply for the sake of always having a giant plane on standby ready to take off a moments notice for large distance transportation.

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
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Diotrephes's picture
LogicFTW,

LogicFTW,

You also mentioned money, and how it depends on faith on it. One of my more possibly "dangerous" ideas is that money is actually a form of enslavement. Especially how it plays out currently in the U.S. and one of the most powerful "fear" sticks that the powers that be employ is: "communist/socialism = evil and does not work!" To help keep people "enslaved" to money in this capitalism system that ultimately is unsustainable, not for just us, but for the entire planet and all life on it.

The accumulation of money is one of the main drivers of social and technological advancements. In socities where money has no meaningful role people live primitive lives. There is no incentive for anyone to do extraordinary things.

Money makes things happen because people are willing to do and make things to get some of it. That allows the society to move into more advanced stages of development. If everyone had his basic needs met without any effort no one would do anything to move above that level.

LogicFTW's picture
@Diotrephes

@Diotrephes
Not saying pure socialism and or perfect equality is better.

Capitalism may yet still be the best system we know of, but it does have some major, MAJOR drawbacks. I would love to see money go back to its roots and at the very least go back to a gold backed standard. As it is now governments, (especially the US,) can make unlimited amounts of it. But I do get the sense and I imagine you share it as well.

Another major problem is capitalism requires endless growth, we are using 2-3 earths worth of resources these days and are likely to continue to increasingly use yet more resources. Barring major technical innovation capitalism is setting itself up, eventually, for a massive, MASSIVE crash far beyond any recession in the last century or 2. And since everything is global these days pretty much no one would escape.

It is just talk though, I certainly have no idea for a replacement system. And besides I have done quite well for myself in the current setup of capitalism as it heavily favors those that already are already doing well.

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
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Meepwned's picture
I'll point out some instances

I'll point out some instances where I suspect that things are not as they seem and their is often intense vitriol thrown at people that ask questions of substance.

1) Gender equality
2) Racial equality
3) Morality of *insert perceived good country* actions
4) Mental health and it's implications on religion
5) Current witch hunt mentality and where it manifests
6) Unusual sexual fetishes (necrophilia, pedophilia, etc.)
7) Cult mentality in certain atheist groups
8) Impact of racial discrimination in the past on current racial minority cultures
9) Impact of affirmative action

These are all topics that we occasionally discuss, but do we truly make progress? There are questions that I have refrained from asking due to a fear of quick and brutal dismissal/ ad hominen attacks.

LogicFTW's picture
@Meepwned

@Meepwned

I fully agree Meepwned. We should be able to discuss anything without fear of reprisal, especially from our own peers. It is just talk here, just discussion, not like we are going to pass laws, we are not SCOTUS here.

And I would like to think for atheist we tend to demand for any argument to be taken seriously that they have facts, solid data, testing, evidence etc for us to take any conversation seriously.

I think especially in the HUB, ad hominem attacks should not be tolerated. People can dismiss ideas, that is their right, but hopefully if someone is very dismissive they just keep that to themselves instead of stating they dismiss the idea, here in the hub anyways. (The debate forums is for exactly that, debating!)

I will throw in another one to add to that list to make it to 10.

Incest. (I am not saying I am for or against this!) I just know it is a very controversial subject thin on facts and thick on emotion for most people.

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

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