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Zanthius
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2018, 11:54:35 am »

Magic may very well have meant technology, just of varieties that seemed quite advanced to the pre-industrial masses but would seem quite primitive to us today.

For most of the people living today, cryptocurrencies might also seem like magic. Unless you have a deep understanding of cryptocurrencies they might seem very much like spells to make yourself rich. And even for people that have a deep understanding of cryptocurrencies, the distinction between science and magic might seem to become somewhat blurred.



You can certainly also generate "magic-like" experiences in people, by activating some of these receptor systems:



Personally, I am interested in activating the 5HT-2A receptor system with animations.

My point is. Going back to the past is not going to help you get more magic in your life. Learning more science might.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 02:37:14 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2018, 03:53:32 pm »

I'm reminded of a bit in A Deepness in the Sky - you can tell if a populated planet used to have a more advanced civilization by looking at the status of its archaeologists. If they're rich, rockstars, a focus of intense funding… then it had an ancient advanced civilization.
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Deus Siddis
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2018, 04:31:16 pm »

Hah, that's clever!  Was it a good read overall?
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ArilouSkuff
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2018, 05:14:18 pm »

Ok, but what about the reversed. Wouldn't the Scientific Method or Bayesian Inference be applicable in any of the fantasy worlds you describe?  No matter how many fantastical elements you introduce, I still believe it wouldn't be able to compete with science because science isn't just a tool. Casting a spell to heal yourself is fine, but it doesn't explain why and/or how the spell is able to heal you. Science doesn't just give us medicines to heal ourselves, it also explains how the medicines are working.

Not all fantasy explains how the magic works, but some does using their own internal logic and that "logic" can defy scientific explanation (or not, depending on the writer's wishes). The rule for writers is that anything is possible as long as it is internally consistent. For example, a spell may heal someone because a god wills it (healing spells can be the purview of clerics who gets magic from their patron god). That god may be willing to communicate with its worshipers from time to time to explain what it expects out of them in order to continue to be granted such gifts, but it (the god) wouldn't be available to have the scientific method applied to it. Similarly, magic may be an unseen source of power that people with special skills can mentally tap into and shape into different spells. A writer can make this source of power detectable by advanced scientific instruments if the writer so desires, but a writer can also simply say that it's not. In the latter case, that means that while we can observe the effects that come out of people manipulating this power, the power itself is independently unobservable.

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This is not a trivial difference. The vast majority of humans already believe in religious fairy tales. I suspect that many humans might believe that the "fantastical" or "magical" elements can be reintroduced to our society simply by getting rid of science. This is exactly why I am skeptical of retro fiction.

From a writer's perspective it is as they are both tools that can be used interchangeably to tell stories that have the same meaning. That people have difficulty distinguishing between fiction and reality is a separate issue that is not a problem caused by fiction but by inadequate education. Well written fiction can and does, in many cases, help people develop those skills on their own. When, for example, you're introduced to these concepts in obviously manufactured settings it can be easier to see how the thread is weaved, so to speak. This would give you a point of comparison when you're told fantastical stories that people expect you to believe as real. Unfortunately, not everyone is at the same level, so some may be able to figure this out just from reading fiction, while others are predisposed to engage in more superficial readings and therefore need additional help from a third party to introduce them to thinking critically and analyzing fiction.

By the way, difficulty distinguishing between fiction and reality is not limited to fantasy; it's also a problem that people have with science fiction. Alien conspiracies, for example, are simply modern day mythological stories. That doesn't mean that intelligent life does not exist in the universe, but the stories that people tell about them interacting with people on Earth very obviously (to someone who studies this) have the same foundations that inspired people to create folktales about the monsters just over the mountains or in caves or in sparsely populated forests. Similarly, if you explore conspiracy websites (or search through sci fi forums where this ignorance will occasionally bleed over), you'll find a host of people talking about how they think things like "Stargate" and the "X-files" are real. Those are set in modern day and the general public in those universes are kept in the dark by conspiracies, so they connect easily with the conspiracy oriented who like to think that similar coverups exist in the real world. Nevertheless, futuristic stories are not insulated from this type of thinking as there are people who like to believe that we know about such stories because of time travel. The simply reality of our world is that people prone to magical thinking will find a way to make fiction "real" regardless of whether it is fantasy of technology based.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 07:25:15 pm by ArilouSkuff » Logged
Death 999
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2018, 06:51:05 pm »

Hah, that's clever!  Was it a good read overall?

It was odd. Several large parts were really, really dark, and others seemed a little bit under-explained. The good parts were really good. Lots of good ideas, and IIRC some good characters (it's been a while).

I got one of my Syreen names in Peeru from that book.
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2018, 06:49:22 am »

I got one of my Syreen names in Peeru from that book.

What's that?
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Zanthius
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2018, 11:45:07 am »

For example, a spell may heal someone because a god wills it (healing spells can be the purview of clerics who gets magic from their patron god).

This could, of course, be true in an alternate reality, but the problem is that most humans actually believe something similar to be true for our reality. I fear that retro fiction promoting such ideas could impede the transition to a more scientific understanding of medicine and biology.

I also suspect that writers promoting such ideas are doing it mostly because they know that societies that have similar traditional explanations have an inclination for such explanations.

The rule for writers is that anything is possible as long as it is internally consistent.

Lots of things could be true in alternate realities, but it sounds a lot like the Ptolemaic geocentric system, the caloric theory of heat, or the phlogiston theory of combustion.
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Death 999
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2018, 05:49:05 pm »

I got one of my Syreen names in Peeru from that book.

What's that?

The name I used was Trixia. She was one of the Syreen who needed her ship repaired.
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ArilouSkuff
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2018, 05:35:16 am »

I also suspect that writers promoting such ideas are doing it mostly because they know that societies that have similar traditional explanations have an inclination for such explanations.

How many fantasy authors do you know who go around promoting fantastical elements in their stories as having a basis in reality? There are a few who seem to have legitimate beliefs in the paranormal (see Dan Akyrod's belief in ghosts and how that influenced his creation of "Ghostbusters"), but most of the ones I know of regularly talk about their creative process and how they're engineering worlds where fantastical things are real only for the purpose of their narratives. An unfortunate number of them have also had to come out and directly explain  that their work is simply fiction in response to people accusing them of promoting the occult.

In an earlier post I mentioned having to explain to a ~15 year old that dragons, while likely inspired by real things, are not and were never real. This conversation was between myself and a player of a fantasy game that I worked on where I created area and plot lines involving dragons, magic, wizards, and so on. It's also only one of many conversations that I had with young people who were still in their magical thinking phase where I broke down the origin of our fictional ideas and why science disproves X, Y, or Z. In another instance a kid asked that we remove all demons from the game because he was a Christian, and when I calmly attempted to explained to him, in detail, that it's just fiction, he had a massive meltdown before never being heard from again. The problem in the latter's case is that he came into a fantasy world with religious inspired magical thinking. The problem with the kid who believed in actual dragons was, it appeared, that his interest in magic lead to him looking up dragons on the Internet where he encountered a website that propagated that talking point about how dragons existed in too many cultures for them not to be real (it's not all too different than the "every culture had a global flood" story falsehood). Clearly, he had not yet learned how to discern what is or is not a reliable source as seems to be the case for every single person I've encountered like him. Fortunately, though, he was willing to listen to what I had to say and agreed that it made sense.

There are a lot of people trying to make money with videos/websites on topics including ancient aliens, crystal magic, astronomy, spell casting, the moon landing "hoax" and other conspiracy theories, etc. They make professional looking content and sometimes try to tie their nonsense into popular entertainment, so it has a sense of authority that fool people. Go on Youtube, search "Stargate Real," and see how many videos you can find that promote the idea that Stargates exist in the real world.

While you're at it do some research and let me know if you can find substantial evidence of there being a significant portion of professional writers promoting their fictional fantasy stories as being more than just fiction to play on the ignorance of some readers (please be aware that marketing arms of publishers and studios do play to people prone to magical thinking, but the material they put out [including descriptions on back covers] trying to promote a product should not be confused with the words of individual authors). You say science is important to you, but you're putting forth ideas you have on a subject that you clearly have very little experience in and you don't back up these claims with sources that support what you're arguing. You'll post graphic after graphic having to do with scientific models, but the core issues of your argument you do not try to support with outside data despite magical thinking in people being a well researched and written about topic.

I'll start you off.

Here's an article about a study where children presented with the same type of reading materials were shown to have different levels of magical thinking based on their religious background:

Although this might be unsurprising, secular and religious children also differed in their interpretation of fantasy narratives where there was a supernatural or magical storyline.

"Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional," wrote the researchers.

"The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories."


Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-28537149

Basically, how they were taught influenced whether they were more or less likely to believe fantasy characters were real. Mind you, it's a rudimentary study, so I'm not saying this proves my point by any means.
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Zanthius
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2018, 10:12:55 am »

You'll post graphic after graphic having to do with scientific models, but the core issues of your argument you do not try to support with outside data despite magical thinking in people being a well researched and written about topic.

I found this article, which might be of interest:

Contemporary fantasy fiction and representations of religion: playing with reality, myth and magic in His Dark Materials and Harry Potter

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Fantasy fiction and religious narratives are also related through commonalities of world construction. The underlying world model used in most modern fantasy fiction encompasses an implicit cosmology and anthropology which is purposeful and teleological. The genre of fantasy fiction thus presents a world in which an invisible power reigns and operates from behind the scenes, as suggested by Senior. It does not operate on a mechanical cause-and-effect structure or on an idea of blind chance, but on a providential world structure entailing that actions, events and decisions partake in a higher order, suggesting that there is a supernatural power or force behind the scenes. This set-up lends the typical fantasy hero or heroine a cosmic responsibility, as it were, which explains the strong focus, in fantasy, on the importance of the choices of the hero. It is easy to see this general trait at work in His Dark Materials and in the Harry Potter novels. In both cases, the hero is elected and aided by a providential force or power, and succeeds because of his or her moral strength.

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So, while any text can in principle be used by religious groups, I argue – as outlined in the above discussion of the fantasy genre – that narratives which prominently feature communication gathered from the field of religion, communication with and about superhuman agents, magic, myths, enchanted forests, and so on, may be said to form part of the category of religion – some at the borders, some more centrally.

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The concrete, literary similarities between religious narratives and fantasy fiction make it highly likely that fantasy literature would attract religious attention and use to a greater degree than other types of literature.

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Today, the multi-media predominance of religious communication, in popular culture, is probably diminishing the authority of traditional, organised religions, as well as reinforcing unofficial, heterodox and personalised forms in ways which make ‘serious’, absolute-truth-claim-religion less attractive and less cool.

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The literariness and fictionality of narratives do not necessarily disavow the superhuman agents and forces to the recipients, but may indeed re-assert their interest all the more by creating a fascinatory pull.

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They explicitly draw on phenomena and expressions from the broad category of religion, and they stimulate their readers to see the everyday, reality plane through a double lens. Myth, magic and religious phenomena are framed in new ways, as cool, exciting, fascinating and thrilling elements, and these elements are mixed with commerce and consumerism.

Here is another atricle, which might be of interest:

Fiction and religion: how narratives about the supernatural inspire religious belief – introducing the thematic issue

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What is more, by inviting readers and viewers to immerse themselves in story-worlds in which supernatural beings and powers are evidently real, supernatural fiction constitutes a ‘plausibility structure’ for religious belief. Spokespersons for alternative religions, including Brian Bates and James Redfield, have recognised this and have strategically used fiction to spread their message.

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As Petersen sees it, no boundary can be drawn on the basis of content, for both religious and fictional narratives can tell of gods, rituals, and ethics. A border can also not be drawn on the basis of the text’s claim to tell either a fictional or a factual story, for claims to factuality can be absent, ambiguous, or faked.

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First, as Johannsen and Feldt demonstrate, narratives can provide inspiration and plausibility for religious beliefs if they present supernatural beings and powers as real within the story-world, from the point of view of either the narrator, an authoritative teacher figure, or the protagonist. Importantly, for a narrative to afford a religious reading, it is not necessary for the text to anchor its story-world in the actual world; demonstrating the reality of the supernatural within the story-world is sufficient.

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All in all, we have thus established a hierarchy of three ‘levels of religious affordance’:

  • level 1, affording cosmological belief (i.e., the belief that some of the supernatural beings or powers are real but that the story-line is fictional), requires that supernatural beings or powers are presented as real within the story-world;
  • level 2, affording ritual use, requires the addition of model rituals and reader inscription;
  • level 3, affording historical belief, requires the addition of anchoring mechanisms.

Here is another article that might be of interest, but it is behind a paywall:

Medieval Literature and Modern Fantasy: Toward a Common Metaphysic

Basically, how they were taught influenced whether they were more or less likely to believe fantasy characters were real.

Yes, but fictional entertainment is also a part of how children are taught today. Many kids today spend more time immersed in fictional entertainment, than with their parents. So they might acquire their worldview just as much from fictional entertainment as from their parents.

For example. I know a girl that started to speak a different dialect than her parents because they spoke a different dialect in the cartoons. She would even tell her parents that they didn't pronounce the words correctly. Only later, when she started school, did she start to speak the same dialect as her parents and the other kids.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 07:12:13 pm by Zanthius » Logged
Zanthius
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2018, 11:12:54 pm »

I found exactly the article we are looking for, but unfortunately, it is behind a paywall:

Conceptual Similarities Among Fantasy and Religious Orientations: A Developmental Perspective

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Often in conservative religious populations, fantastical thoughts, interests, and beliefs
are discouraged because fantastical beliefs are thought to contradict religious doctrine.
However, beliefs in invisible, omnipotent entities such as God and Santa Claus likely
rely on similar conceptual abilities that might complement rather than contradict
religiosity. Therefore, the present study examined how one’s current and retrospective
fantasy orientation together are associated with religious orientation. Data from a
sample of 150 adults demonstrated that propensity toward fantasy predicted degree of
religious orientation in adulthood, even after controlling for an individual’s openness
to experience. Specifically, individuals who reported higher fantastical cognitions and
behaviors (currently and retrospectively) reported higher religious orientations. These
data are counter to cultural concerns that fantastical play and thinking in childhood
might undermine or contradict religious doctrine. This finding has important implications
for our understanding of how religiosity and fantasy are related conceptually, as
well as how cultural practices may impact conceptual development.

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In conclusion, the data from the present study suggest that fantasy orientation
may lead to increased religious orientation because engaging in fantastical
behaviors and cognitions may allow individuals to exercise the conceptual
abilities needed to engage in religious thinking. This notion is counter to cultural
concerns that fantasy might undermine or contradict religious doctrine.

Unfortunately, it seems like the authors of this article are heavily into religious superstition themselves....

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These data, in addition to those from studies showing the related benefits of
fantastical play to both cognitive and social development (Carlson et al., 2014;
Gilpin et al., 2015, Pierucci et al., 2014, Thibodeau et al., 2016), highlight the importance
of encouraging, rather than discouraging, fantastical play in order to
potentially promote religious beliefs, commitment, and behaviors.

But it doesn't change the fact that immersion in fantasy seems to promote religiosity.

No wonder all the kids are falling for Jordan Peterson's Bible series. They have all read Harry Potter and played Skyrim.

I have now added this to my page about cognitive biases:



https://www.archania.org/biases/#The_danger_of_stories_glamorizing_the_past
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 09:55:46 pm by Zanthius » Logged
Zanthius
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2018, 03:44:08 pm »

Get your campus ready for Generation Z

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Religion.
Gen Zers’ participation in religion is up compared with previous generations. When asked about spirituality, 47 percent said they were religious, and an additional 31 percent said they were spiritual but not religious. Church attendance is also up during  young  adulthood,  with  41  percent  saying  they attend weekly religious services, compared with 18 percent of millennials at the same ages, 21 percent of Generation X, and 26 percent of baby boomers.
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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2018, 09:04:49 pm »

The argument you are making can be applied to just about anything

Enjoying too much sports can lead to being over competitive
Enjoying too much paintball might lead to violent behavior
Enjoying too much alcohol can lead to additcion

However
Moderate sports interest can lead to good sportsmanship
Moderate paintball play can lead to good leadership and problem solving skills
Moderate Alcohol can actually have medical advantages
Even basic instinctual behaviors like eating can be bad if you eat too often.........


Anything can be bad if its excessive and anything can be good in moderation.
Reading Fantasy books based in the past or the present can stimulate creativity, and imagination, which can lead to future innovation. But over stimulation can have negative effects.





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Re: Game of Thrones sucks
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2018, 08:11:23 pm »


To be clear, this is a paper that performs an argumentative literary analysis. It does not cite any scientific studies to back up its argument. I read a fair bit of these and have written a number myself. They provide a useful insight into how people are interpreting literature and can offer a reader either a new way of looking at texts or provide arguments for readers to pick apart... and not just fellow academics. If you take college English courses you will very quickly encounter professors who bring up papers like this to highlight counter arguments and eventually you will be asked to make your own arguments against those made in published papers.

The point is that there are tons of papers offering new or fringe ideas (in this case, the author clearly states that this is a new-ish idea and her goal is to encourage more people to take a look at the issue), and students are expected to learn not to blindly believe whatever an author of a paper tells them, but to independently analyze these ideas for themselves. Look and you will probably find a paper by an accomplished professor with a long C.V. arguing that Mary Shelley did not write "Frankenstein;" her husband did. Practically any way you can think of looking at literature will be reflected in literary criticism, so if you want to support your own criticism, by all means find someone with a title who has a published paper that supports your idea to cite, but I wouldn't use them if asked to provide outside scientific data. This is an interesting argument, it's definitely worth reading, but it doesn't prove anything.

As to the substance of the argument itself; it makes a valid point that fantasy and religious texts have historically been linked. I think I mentioned earlier in this thread that heroic epics, for example, are meant to provide a basis for which to promote "good" behaviors for listeners to emulate. Figures like Beowulf and Odysseus are models for how to treat women, outsiders, kinsmen, leaders, and even how to worship.

Modern fiction can similarly attempt to influence readers by overvaluing/praising the devoutness of characters or it can attempt to push readers to think critically by having characters question religion. Fantasy does both, science fiction does both. All major genres of fiction do both. I maintain that people who are inclined to be influenced by the former (or to see truth in fictional narratives that use fictional religions in a neutral way) are predisposed toward religious beliefs in the first place and the solution is not to make blanket rants against entire genres, which contain a diversity of approaches, but to educate people on how to tell the difference between fiction and reality. Fiction, to me, is about exposure to different ideas and perspectives, so whether someone is attempting to use it push an agenda that I disagree with or not does not determine whether a work has value to me. I enjoy heroic epics (e.g. The Epic of Gilgamesh), despite them essentially being vehicles for propaganda, because a careful study of them offers a glimpse into the ideals that authors living in different cultures and times thought worthwhile to promote.

Toward the end of this author's paper, she tries to claim that simply reading about fiction with different realms opens up readers to that idea. This is the paper's biggest failing. She does not prove that there's a link between reading fantasy and being open to fantastical ideas and she is only presenting her imagined reaction young people might have after reading a singular book series. She does not consider how people would react to reading a wider range of fantasy from different authors with different and contradictory frameworks. Nor does she question if doing so from a critical eye is actually good way to develop a sense of how myth, legend, and religion is artificially created.

Quote

We have the same thing here in that it's just someone's non-scientific argument.

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What is more, by inviting readers and viewers to immerse themselves in story-worlds in which supernatural beings and powers are evidently real, supernatural fiction constitutes a ‘plausibility structure’ for religious belief. Spokespersons for alternative religions, including Brian Bates and James Redfield, have recognised this and have strategically used fiction to spread their message.

Again, science fiction does this same thing with aliens and the like. You have people running around thinking alien abductions are real, an an actual religion called Scientology that is based off of a science fiction writer's ideas, and many 20th century cults where the end goal is to "get on the spaceship." I think it's is a mistake to blame fiction for people being unable to differentiate between fiction and reality; that is a pre-existing issue that they have. When I read speculative fiction I understand that the ideas presented to me are real within the framework of the story that I am reading only. I do not assume they have any basis in the real world. Pointing to some people who have a difficult time doing this, does not make the fiction itself bad (if it does, by the way, that means science fiction is bad as well since the same arguments used against fantasy here apply to science fiction). Correlation does not imply causation.

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As Petersen sees it, no boundary can be drawn on the basis of content, for both religious and fictional narratives can tell of gods, rituals, and ethics. A border can also not be drawn on the basis of the text’s claim to tell either a fictional or a factual story, for claims to factuality can be absent, ambiguous, or faked.

In that paragraph the author is citing an argument made in another paper. In the very next paragraph the author steps in and says that he is here to argue against some of those points...

"Contrary to Petersen, I argue that an analytical distinction between religious and fictional narratives can and should be drawn, and that this distinction should be based on the author’s reference ambition."

This is what I meant when I said you can use literary criticism to defend practically any idea, and that literary critics spend a lot of time arguing against each other's ideas.

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Here is another article that might be of interest, but it is behind a paywall:

Medieval Literature and Modern Fantasy: Toward a Common Metaphysic

I'll read this in full later in the week and comment here if there's anything that warrants commenting on. It looks, though, like a simple analysis of the links between medieval literature and modern fantasy, which is a well known and talked about topic. J. R. R. Tolkien, for example, was a scholar who translated texts like Beowulf and incorporated those ideas into his fictional work.

Quote
Yes, but fictional entertainment is also a part of how children are taught today. Many kids today spend more time immersed in fictional entertainment, than with their parents. So they might acquire their worldview just as much from fictional entertainment as from their parents.

For example. I know a girl that started to speak a different dialect than her parents because they spoke a different dialect in the cartoons. She would even tell her parents that they didn't pronounce the words correctly. Only later, when she started school, did she start to speak the same dialect as her parents and the other kids.

What exactly is your solution here? Do you want a ban on such fiction being introduced to children? For one, that's not a realistic solution. It's far better to accept that fiction is part of our world and educate people on how to look at it critically. Two, if you could institute such a ban do you know what the consequences would be of people suddenly being exposed to those ideas as adults without having had an opportunity to associate speculative fantasy fiction with their magical thinking phase that they (hopefully) grew out of and thus associate with childhood?

And if we're going to use anecdotal evidence... I was one of those children immersed in fiction. I spent a lot of time in imaginative play based off of the stories I was exposed to, and as an adult my work centers around creating fiction. I am also a skeptic who does not believe in things without evidence, and as a child I had a strong understanding of the difference between fiction and reality, so I always knew that what I read or watched was the work of an author and was not real. I did not always know that there wasn't a real world basis for supernatural elements because I was exposed to people who actually believed that, but I did always question it, and I credit my skepticism to  the understanding I developed regarding how obvious fiction is crafted with how people craft stories that they pass off as real.

There's been a longstanding argument that violence in children's entertainment makes children more violent. There's no evidence for this. Children watch Road Runner cartoons and Tom and Jerry and they know they're being presented with a fantasy where, unlike in the real world, someone can be smashed in the head with an anvil without any lasting consequences. By and large, they don't try to replicate that. Occasionally you get a kid who thinks he can be Superman and jumps off his roof, but these are outliers. If children largely understand that what they're exposed to in these examples is simply fiction and not something they should imitate, why assume that they cannot apply those same skills with stories involving supernatural elements? Is it truly because there is something inherently different (e.g. there are less anthropomorphic and more human characters in this fiction) or is it that this fiction mirrors things people in their lives tell them is real? This is where correlation vs causation come into play, and the scientific study posted I posted points to problems with distinguishing fantastical fiction from reality with how children are taught.

I will read the scientific study from your follow-up post in full later this week and comment on it when I am done. I am not sure from what you posted that they controlled for a link between being how they were taught and what they read, but I am happy to keep an open mind.
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