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joe4 comments on The Third Alternative - Less Wrong

55 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 06 May 2007 11:47PM

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Comment author: joe4 07 May 2007 05:04:16PM 1 point [-]

"Nick - the claim is that they make you believe that you are always being watched by a moral judge, not that you behave morally when noone is watching you. I'm not sure how you'd distinguish the two in practice, however."

This is perhaps true in the beginning. But what happens once they figure out that Santa isn't real and that there are times when no one is watching them. I suppose this is why religion tries to pound it into your heads that there is a god, and judgment leading to either heaven or hell. I can't think of a better way to try to coerce people into following your morals. If you think about it, it really is a brilliant method of social control if you can scare your followers enough.

Many children are taught that god exists and they have to accept that at faith. It doesn't take long for a kid to figure out that Santa doesn't exist; it is nearly impossible to indefinitely perpetuate that lie. Religion on the other hand... how do you disprove something that MUST be taken completely on faith.

I hope we can someday find a better way to instill morals into kids other than to tell them they are going to be punished by a moral judge at the end of their lives if they are bad.