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Sandpit

January 23rd, 2012

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on.

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  1. Mark
    January 25th, 2012 at 10:40 | #1

    Get a better name for your book and stop stealing other people’s ideas. Tool.

    Sorry, even with the Jack/Mark double act, this trolling is too low grade even for amusement value. Watch that the door doesn’t hit you on the way out – JQ

  2. Ikonoclast
    January 25th, 2012 at 10:58 | #2

    Well, the above doesn’t qualify as a long discussion but I guess it is an idee fixe. I would suggest to Mark, make better critiques or stop wasting space. You need to retool your own ideas because currently you are far from the sharpest tool in the shed.

  3. Dan
    January 25th, 2012 at 11:05 | #3

    Do Not Feed The Trolls.

  4. Mark
    January 25th, 2012 at 11:33 | #4

    Hint to sockpuppet trolls. Wait a day or two before putting the second sock on – JQ

  5. February 2nd, 2012 at 22:26 | #5

    Having worn out my welcome on Crooked Timber I am now reduced to cross-commenting:

    Pr Q @ #49 said:

    Actually, the data shows that

    Frequent participants in nonreligious organizations (blue) contributed more of their household income to nonreligious charities than those in religious organizations (red) – 0.9% compared to 0.5%.

    “Actually the data shows” nothing of the sort. The Yashwata article acknowledges that the data also shows:

    Frequent participants in religious organizations…contributed more of their household income than did those in nonreligious organizations…– 2.3% compared to 1.3%.

    Yashawata (Sablonsky) then tries a crude sleight of hand to define donations to religious charitable organizations as not charitable because…they are giving to rotten self-absorbed religions! As if religious organizations are not in the business of helping others. This may come as news to all the beneficiaries of religious charities, hospitals and schools. Not to mention those receiving succour from spiritual ministration, although I suppose its a bit much to expect atheists to empathise with the “man does not live by bread alone” line.

    Pr Q said:

    The results showing that participants in religious organizations are more generous than others are (more than) fully explained by the fact that they are participants in an organization. That’s consistent with the general Putnam line about social capital, but not with any beneficial effect of religiosity.

    Of course, thats why all the cities of the world are dotted by Bowling Club hospitals, and Masonic Lodge Secondary Colleges and the Film Appreciation Society Missions to Africa. Because everyone knows that any old secular organization is as good as another as an inspirer and sponsor of “good works”.

    Oh wait a minute, thats in the bizarro world of devout Crooked Timber-ites and asperg-y economists. Back in the real world its been obvious to competent social scientists from Durkheim through to Putnam that religion occupies a special place in the social organizational hierarchy, as a sanctifier and socialiser of morality, a spiritual meta-team that applies the moral glue that holds together all the various secular teams (from families through to states) that compose civil society. In fact religious organizations acts as a catalyst to “nomic” behaviour, seeding and stimulating the development of secular organizations. Which is why a fairly religious society like the US is always sprouting civil organizations and a has a “joiner” mentality.

    Thats not to say that society falls apart when religion loses its moral primacy, only that it suffers a slow demoralisation where anomie is staved off by the rule of bureaucracy and the lure of plutography. Officials and lawyers take the place of sages and priests. That bit is covered by Weber in his “iron cage” period, although nowadays it would be called the “tender trap”.

    Pr Q said:

    If anything, it seems that religious organizations divert energies that might otherwise go to helping people.

    So we would expect that as society’s become less religious it tends to become more altruistic and devoted to helping people. Well how has that worked out over the past two decades of religious un-enthusiasm? Since the end of the Cold War religion has certainly lost some of its primary social status, especially amongst under-class dregs and over-class elites of society. And so we would expect the “energies” of dregs and elites to be “diverted” to “helping people”.

    In fact the exact opposite has happened, the irreligious at the bottom and top-end of society have embarked on massive crime waves on the street and in the office, typified by extreme self-seeking behaviour and indifference to the concerns of others. You only have to look at the difficulty of selling a straightforward carbon tax to see how the decline in religion has shortened time horizons.

    More generally, right now religious people, outside the jaded and burnt-out case of the Occident, seem to be the movers and shakers who are helping people to make the world over. We have religious organizations (Muslim Brotherhood) leading a massive democratic revolution of the Middle East that is completely overhauling the secular (Baathist) governments. And the fastest growing organizations in China are the (mainly Christian) churches who, I predict, will take a leading role in guiding the state towards a more humane path of industrial development.

    Meanwhile, in the midst of the GFC, it seems that non-religious people have suddenly developed short arms and long pockets. Putnam “Religion’s Charitable Edge” (WSJ 10 DEC 2010) reports that:

    America’s charities report an 11% drop in contributions in the past year alone. There’s one big exception: Charitable contributions to religious groups dropped by only 0.1% from 2007 to 2009.

    Hmmm…what ever happened to all that secular a;truistic helping people?. Seems that secular charity slows down when the good times stop rolling. Fair-weather friends, these atheists!

    All this is missed by the so-called “New Atheists” who have convinced themselves that rehashing the dog-eared screeds and thread-bare cliches that were grist to the mill of their sophomore bull-sessions represents a philosophical great leap forward.

  6. John Quiggin
    February 3rd, 2012 at 07:06 | #6

    Give it a break, Jack. A church member giving to their own church is no more or less charitable than a social drinker buying a round for their friends. The only difference is that (unless they can write it off as a business expense), drinkers don’t receive public charity in the form of a tax deduction.

  7. Dan
    February 3rd, 2012 at 09:31 | #7

    @Jack Strocchi

    If you have a properly-functioning social democracy, charity is a mere bauble.

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