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Dogma
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★ Dogma

Dogma: see Doctrine & Scripture & Faith & Bible & Old Testament & New Testament & Manuscript & Koran & Religion & Belief & Opinion & Cults

John Henry Newman - Sam Harris - Anais Nin - J Robert Oppenheimer - Richard Dawkins - Robert Graves - Bertrand Russell - Christopher Hitchens TV - Howard Thurman - Samuel Butler - Umberto Eco - Robert Anton Wilson - George Eliot - Anthony Burgess - Gilbert K Chesterton - E O Wilson - Carl Jung - Freeman Dyson - Alfred North Whitehead - Isaac Asimov - Immanuel Kant - Thomas Henry Huxley - Robert Ingersoll -         

 

 

 

It’s important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world.  My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything.  If one can only see things according to one’s own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind.  Robert Anton Wilson

 

 

From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.  John Henry Newman, Apologia pro Vita Sua, 1864

 

 

This is not (as you have charged) to paint religion with a broad brush.  I am very quick to distinguish gradations of bad ideas; some clearly have no consequences at all (or at least not yet); some put civilization itself in peril.  The problem with dogmatism, however, is that one can never quite predict how terrible its costs will be.  To use one of my favourite examples, consider the Christian dogma that human life begins at the moment of conception: On its face, this belief seems likely to only improve our world.  After all, it is the very quintessence of a life-affirming doctrine.  Sam Harris

 

cf.

 

Enter embryonic stem-cell research.  Suddenly, this ‘life begins at the moment of conception’ business becomes the chief impediment to medical progress.  Who would have thought that such an innocuous idea could unnecessarily prolong the agony of tens of millions of people?  This is the problem with dogmatism, no matter how seemingly benign: it is unresponsive to reality.  Dogmatism is a failure of cognition (as well as a commitment to such failure); it is the state of being closed to new evidence and new arguments.  And this frame of mind is rightly despised in every area of culture, on every subject, except where it goes by the name of ‘religious faith’.  In this guise, parading its most grotesque faults as virtues, it is granted a special dispensation, even in the pages of Nature.  Sam Harris

 

 

When we blindly accept a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons.  We cease to grow.  Anais Nin

 

 

There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science.  The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.  J Robert Oppenheimer

 

 

2Science frees us from superstition and dogma, and enables us to base our knowledge on evidence.  Richard Dawkins, Enemies of Reason: Slaves to Superstition, Channel 4 2007

 

 

Science has lost its virgin purity, has become dogmatic instead of seeking for enlightenment and has gradually fallen into the hands of the traders.  Robert Graves

 

 

Dogmatism and scepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing.  What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.  Bertrand Russell   

 

 

The Pope says AIDS may be bad but condoms are worse.  What kind of moral teaching is this?  And how many people are going to die for such dogma?  Christopher Hitchens v Reverend Al Sharpton

 

 

Dogma in power does have a unique chilling ingredient not exhibited by power, however ghastly, wielded for its own traditional sake.  Christopher Hitchens, Unacknowledged Legislation: Writers in the Public Sphere

 

 

To ‘choose’ dogma and faith over doubt and experience is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.  Christopher Hitchens

 

 

I say that creeds, dogmas, and theologies are inventions of the mind.  It is the nature of the mind to make sense out of experience, to reduce the conglomerates of experience to units of comprehension which we call principles, or ideologies, or concepts.  Religious experience is dynamic, fluid, effervescent, yeasty.  But the mind can’t handle these so it has to imprison religious experience in some way, get it bottled up.  Then, when the experience quiets down, the mind draws a bead on it and extracts concepts, notions, dogmas, so that religious experience can make sense to the mind.  Meanwhile religious experience goes on experiencing, so that by the time I get my dogma stated so that I can think about it, the religious experience becomes an object of thought.  Howard Thurman, interview BBC

 

 

It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma, or want of dogma, that the danger lies.  Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh                               

 

 

People are never so completely and enthusiastically evil as when they act out of religious conviction.  Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery

 

 

Belief in the traditional sense, or certitude, or dogma, amounts to the grandiose delusion, ‘My current model’ – or grid, or map, or reality-tunnel – ‘contains the whole universe and will never need to be revised’.  In terms of the history of science and knowledge in general, this appears absurd and arrogant to me, and I am perpetually astonished that so many people still manage to live with such a medieval attitude.  Robert Anton Wilson  

 

 

Dogma gives a charter to mistake, but the very breath of science is a contest with mistake, and must keep the conscience alive.  George Eliot, Middlemarch

 

 

Every dogma has its day.  Anthony Burgess 

 

 

We call a man a bigot or a slave of dogma because he is a thinker who has thought thoroughly and to a definite end.  Gilbert K Chesterton

 

 

I tend to believe that religious dogma is a consequence of evolution.  E O Wilson

 

 

I can still recall vividly how Freud said to me, ‘My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory.  That is the most essential thing of all.  You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark’ ... In some astonishment I asked him, ‘A bulwark-against what?’  To which he replied, ‘Against the black tide of mud’ – and here he hesitated for a moment, then added — ‘of occultism.’  Carl Jung

 

 

In the modern world, science and society often interact in a perverse way.  We live in a technological society, and technology causes political problems.  The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems.  Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers.  The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, ‘Sorry, but we don’t know.’  The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities.  So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think.  They make confident predictions about the future, and end up believing their own predictions.  Their predictions become dogmas which they do not question.  The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong.  That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed.  Freeman Dyson     

 

 

It is rigid dogma that destroys truth; and, please notice, my emphasis is not on the dogma, but on the rigidity.  When men say of any question, ‘This is all there is to be known or said of the subject; investigation ends here,’ that is death.  It may be that the mischief comes not from the thinker but for the use made of his thinking by late-comers.  Aristotle, for example, gave us out scientific technique ... yet his logical propositions, his instruction in sound reasoning which was bequeathed to Europe, are valid only within the limited framework of formal logic, and, as used in Europe, they stultified the minds of whole generations of mediaeval Schoolmen.  Aristotle invented science, but destroyed philosophy.  Alfred North Whitehead

 

 

Now any dogma, based primarily on faith and emotionalism, is a dangerous weapon to use on others, since it is almost impossible to guarantee that the weapon will never be turned on the user.  Isaac Asimov  

 

 

The death of dogma is the birth of morality.  Immanuel Kant

 

 

The dogma of the infallibility of the Bible is no more self-evident than is that of the infallibility of the popes.  Thomas Henry Huxley

 

 

What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or by a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer.  Bertrand Russell

 

 

The Declaration of Independence was a denial, and the first denial of a nation, of the infamous dogma that God confers the right upon one man to govern others.  Robert Green Ingersoll