Fundamentalism

Long Blue Oxen thread on Fundamentalism.

  • for reference, In comparative Religion, fundamentalism can refer to anti-modernist movements of various religions... "FundamentalIst" describes a movement to return to what it considers the defining or founding principles of the religion... Fundamentalist movements are founded upon the same religious principles as the larger group, but the fundamentalists attempt to more self-consciously build an entire approach to the modern world based on strict fidelity to those principles, to preserve a distinctness both of doctrine and of life.

    • To me this describes fundamentalism as (a) picking a single Model as providing answers to all questions, and (b) isolating oneself from other models. Model Theism vs Model Agnosticism.
  • John Sechrest started the thread in reference to "Waldorf fundamentalists" based on discussions about Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf schooling model - I helps me to understand that any set of beliefs can have this form.

  • He later said you also see fundamentalism as a negative. However, fundamentalists don't feel that way. They are getting some value out of what they are doing. What is it that they get from what they are doing?

  • Chris Dent later said I'd like to claim that fundamentalism is a form of external cognition that allows for some automation that enables higher (perceived) performance or greater (perceived) flexibility in other areas... Many people who complain about fundamentalist thinking have problems with it because they (the complainers) have the mistaken belief that there is a form of thought that is not based on faith and that that form is closer to some absolute form of correct. That belief is fundamentalism in a nutshell. It's faith All The Way Down, whether your god is Science or Shiva.

  • John Sechrest said What happens to reason when you don't have anything to work with? Everyone has to at least start with some assumptions. At even if you use reason 100%, (which I doubt), that set of assumptions is in itself an act of faith. (with Kurt Godel reference)

  • Ted Kahn said I think it would be useful to unpack and distinguish between "fundamentalism" and "fanaticism"--both regarding beliefs and related actions which are fueled by and enacted in the name of belief.

So, does putting your foot on the ground without questioning whether gravity and friction will still be in force make you a fundamentalist? I think there's a silly slippery-slope argument being made. Perhaps fundamentalism can be framed as a continuous variable, but that doesn't make it a single value shared by equally by all people. It's about a willingness to consider alternative Model-s at least occasionally.


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