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crookedspiral

Atheism and faith

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third_eye

When watermelons means more than water and melons ...
 

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This Inspiring 'Watermelon' Story From Defence Minister Parrikar Calls For An Improvement In Our Education System

Maninder Dabas

Updated: September 15, 2016

 

His recent story about the watermelons in his native village, Parra in Goa, and how villagers used to organise a watermelon eating competition between kids of the village is certainly an inspiration and source of learning, especially for our education system which has needed a revamp for ages .

~

 

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Liquid Gardens
54 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Wellll... it might affect your deliberations to clarify your objectives. Are you trying to decide the accuracy of somebody's beliefs, or are you trying to understand how somebody else came to their beliefs and continues to hold them in the face of disagreement?

The latter only to the extent it serves the former.  At some point, especially on topics on this board, being concerned with trying to understand how someone came to their beliefs can be a fool's errand, by some of the believers own admission.  That someone believes something on faith or because it gives them meaning or as some explanation for a personal experience can be interesting, but in a relative sense it's absolutely trivial next to the idea that their beliefs are actually true, which would upend most everything we know.

1 hour ago, eight bits said:

If the latter, though, then the reasons might matter. Luminiferous ether was also dreamt up, and defined so as to be untestable by the wit of the dreamer-upper. Nevertheless, it was thought (and not just by the dreamer-upper) that something very much like luminiferous ether "had to" exist, since light "was" a wave, and a wave "had to be" a wave "in" something. Phlogiston's original case might be similar, and the epicycles of the Ptolemaic system had some of that flavor...

Sure, the reasons certainly matter, to the degree they are reasonable. Ether and phlogiston to me are not quite as far removed from things we know exist compared to gods, and they explain a phenomenon.  I'm not sure if one of your earlier points extends here, but you have argued along the lines of gods as explanations for natural phenomena is not even an explanation.  I understand why phlogiston was dreamt up and I'm not seeing much faith involved.

1 hour ago, eight bits said:

Some gods are necessary to some plausible interpretations of some experiences that people actually have.

Only if we add, 'to them'.  I can't think of a single experience that a person has actually had that in any way connect 'some gods' and 'plausibility'.

1 hour ago, eight bits said:

Piraha possessing entities may be no less ontological orphans than Irish leprechauns, but the two don't come from the same kind of up-dreaming.

I never said they did, nor do any of my points or analogies depend on that.  You've defeated the main relevant point to me; whether or not the PPE, or god, up-dreaming is identical or different is only relevant if it's somehow making something more plausible, which I assume it's not since it doesn't seem to give it a leg up even on leprechauns.

1 hour ago, eight bits said:

Those believers might wonder why you use the word "faith" for their acceptance of what plausible (to them) interpretations of experience imply, but you seem unenthusiastic about using that same word to describe your own acceptance of what plausible (to you) interpretations imply.

I guess I don't understand the point of introducing the dreaded 'to them' and 'to you', it seems to veer us from 'logical reasons for believing' into 'psychological reasons for believing' which can include any ol' thing.  I can explain to them why I might use the word faith for their PPE beliefs, what's the evidence for their entities?  If it's the entirely circular because people act possessed and that's it, then I can point to the mountain of evidence of human beings behaving strangely for non-supernatural reasons. Whether or not they understand or agree with that is besides the point if they can't point out something irrational about it.

1 hour ago, eight bits said:

Not that there's any merit to the view, but maybe something in all that might help understand the view and its robustness against Jovian space dragons (which, despite whatever ontological shortcomings they suffer, sound charming).

Ha the example is probably some old Godzilla fandom bubbling up; there are your everyday space dragons, and then there's King Ghidorah (nee Monster Zero, nee Astro-Monster, nee Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster).

Image result for ghidrah

(angels and nephalim and djinn and reborn men and personal gods are really more believable?)

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psyche101
14 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

Now, I hope you both mind, AK and psyche,

Always good to hear from you stubbs, I think you're one if the most interesting posters on this forum. I don't always reply to your posts, being on a phone can be a pain in the neck and I can't always find the place I want to be. Made me smile too, AK are my real world initials :)

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I want to put my spin on it. But, it's a spin that can only be entertained by just me. ;)  (If ya like, I suppose :w00t: ) But, for me, I would like to entertain both here. I feel the same way as AK does. Though, with all the in depth information with links(sources) that psyche put, I could also entertain that I don't think we can prove psyche's information is wrong. *looks sheepish* If that makes sense. 

To me, it does make sense, as I think AK's post makes sense to me. I often feel how personalities cannot be existing anymore. I express that out of more than just wishful thinking and grief, but that it doesn't seem to make sense that they are just not ..... are. *shrugs* 

For me, in the end, I really feel there's more to this, and consider that after all of this time, there really isn't any objective 'evidence' like a post card or something. ;)  

:blush:  :blush:  :blush:  :blush:   

Awwww, shucks, thanks AK   

But, I think you're more.................  :wub:   

I think your outlook is one adopted by many, and why you can see eye to eye with AK on this. I see it more like the epiphany that lead me toward an atheistic outlook. I realised the ideology of God was just that, an idea, and saw the facts that show a true situation based on real world evidences and results. I then examined religious ideals from that perspective and in a literary perspective, I could see religion for what it was in its own right, a powerful idea that has captured many with principles that are so many that most can find something to appeal to them. Christianity wasn't just forced on the world, it was a Cult that accepted women and slaves centuries before any revolution so much as considered equality. And the, afterlife is an appealing idea. I'd love for there to be one, but practicality upon our knowledge base just doesn't support the idea. 

If I may, if you could imagine a world where religion never took root, superstition never raised its head, a species that only accepted answers by way of empirical evidence. In that scenario there would be other ways of describing the enigmas that leads to superstitious conclusions. Those hypothetical people would relentlessly dig up answers as opposed to what seems to make sense to the individual. I think that the things that lead us to these esoteric ideals would not exist, because they don't have to. The laws of nature however would remain consistent regardless of the cultures arising. To me, it makes more sense to pursue the practical than to pursue ideals that just don't conform with knowledge. I honestly hope I put this respectfully when I say it seems a variation of the God of the gaps argument? As in, we cannot explain it, but tales of the supernatural seem to fit. I just can't be satisfied with that answer myself. Especially when we have a real world knowledge base that refutes those ideas. 

Great to hear from you stubbs. 

Edited by psyche101
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Davros of Skaro

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joc
On 4/22/2018 at 10:47 PM, Clockwork_Spirit said:

After reading this book by Normand L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I have come to the conclusion that atheism, for many people, isn't merely a ''lack of belief in a Deity'' but an actual faith system

I prefer thinking my own thoughts and reaching conclusions based on my own thought process. That you allow other people to so influence your beliefs is very telling. But then again...I seldom read books...but when I do, it is because the author agrees with my own thought process...not the other way around.

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eight bits

@Liquid Gardens

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Ether and phlogiston to me are not quite as far removed from things we know exist compared to gods, and they explain a phenomenon.

But then you've never been possesed by a supernatural being. If you had, how far "removed" would an invisible intelligent power be from things you know exist? And they, too, would explain a phenomenon: whatever wonderful things your neighbors remember you doing, but you don't.

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but you have argued along the lines of gods as explanations for natural phenomena is not even an explanation.

Yes, and we are now the next step up the ladder. An interpretation is not an explanation. An interpretation might imply or suggest an explanation, or it might not. Example of when one does:

Phlogiston: Somebody interprets the aftermath of a fire as the destruction of mass (the ashes weigh much less than the fuel did). Lavoisier showed that was a false interpretation of experience, but nevertheless, it is a coherent interpretation, and we know it was actually held by "reasonable" people. If so, then something that used to be in the fuel was consumed in the fire. Occam's Razor counsels us to posit one hypothetical "something" for all fuels. Enter phlogiston. The existence and mutability of some single substance that ceases to exist as matter when sufficiently heated would also explain ________ (e.g. some acid-base reactions).

Example of when one doesn't: Prometheus stole the gods' fire from Olympus (to make a long story short).

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I understand why phlogiston was dreamt up and I'm not seeing much faith involved.

It's not unusual in human experience to have different words for what are the same thing, viewed from different perspectives. For example, the morning star and the evening star have been discussed, without the understanding that they are the same thing, one single planet; and even with that understanding sometimes.

"Faith" as used in this forum is largely bound as to what it denotes by what the word connotes, religious concerns (trust, belief, ...). That doesn't mean that the same underlying psychological mechanisms (including cognitive strategies) don't occur in other situations. Nor does it mean that everything that is made up and might refer to something kindasorta "religious" is an example of those very same psychological mechanisms at work.

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Only if we add, 'to them'.

Of course. I think I added it parenthetically enough times throughout the post to be cut some slack about choosing not to be re-repetitive. I write from a tradition where the "to them" is usually redundant: to be plausible requires an agent to find it so, and binds no other agent to agree - or so I interpret my experience :) .

Presumably, if that is added, then we'd agree that there have been people whose interpretation of what you and I might view as introspection was to them discourse with some invisible intelligent power (Socrates apparently, Carl Jung, people Tanya Luhrman has studied, both in field work and laboratory settings, ... I am really confident this happens).

I think it is clear that that interpretation implies the existence of the IIP with whom one communicates. If that conclusion is wrong, then it is the interpretation's fault, not the person's fault for having had the experience, nor the validity of the inference drawn from taking the interpretation as a premise.

I don't see that Jovian space dragons are in the same league.

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You've defeated the main relevant point to me;

Well, I did allow that when you clarified your objectives, it could turn out that what matters most to you is the plausibility (to you) of their beliefs. That's fine.

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Whether or not they understand or agree with that is besides the point if they can't point out something irrational about it.

But there may be nothing "irrational" about either it or what they believe instead. Gravity not bending light is wrong, not irrational. There is a difference. Whether that difference matters to you is your call.

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angels and nephalim and djinn and reborn men and personal gods are really more believable?

There are at least three billion people alive today who say yes to one or more items in your question. What more can I say? Neither you nor I is among the three billion. What do we know about what other people find believable, that they would find our view relevant?

 

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Stubbly_Dooright
11 hours ago, psyche101 said:
On 4/24/2018 at 10:13 AM, Stubbly_Dooright said:

Now, I hope you both mind, AK and psyche,

Always good to hear from you stubbs, I think you're one if the most interesting posters on this forum.

:w00t:  :blush:  :wacko:  

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I don't always reply to your posts, being on a phone can be a pain in the neck and I can't always find the place I want to be. Made me smile too, AK are my real world initials :)

Ahhhhhhh....  :)  And, since I'm on my phone on breaks and such, I so understand. I try to bypass certain things, with voice to text, but even then...................... well certain hilarity cause of my weird accent tends to post words not really........... making sense. 

(Though, I'm gonna have to try real hard to get confused with the 'AK' initials. :o  :w00t:  

 

11 hours ago, psyche101 said:
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I want to put my spin on it. But, it's a spin that can only be entertained by just me. ;)  (If ya like, I suppose :w00t: ) But, for me, I would like to entertain both here. I feel the same way as AK does. Though, with all the in depth information with links(sources) that psyche put, I could also entertain that I don't think we can prove psyche's information is wrong. *looks sheepish* If that makes sense. 

To me, it does make sense, as I think AK's post makes sense to me. I often feel how personalities cannot be existing anymore. I express that out of more than just wishful thinking and grief, but that it doesn't seem to make sense that they are just not ..... are. *shrugs* 

For me, in the end, I really feel there's more to this, and consider that after all of this time, there really isn't any objective 'evidence' like a post card or something. ;)  

:blush:  :blush:  :blush:  :blush:   

Awwww, shucks, thanks AK   

But, I think you're more.................  :wub:   

I think your outlook is one adopted by many, and why you can see eye to eye with AK on this. I see it more like the epiphany that lead me toward an atheistic outlook. I realised the ideology of God was just that, an idea, and saw the facts that show a true situation based on real world evidences and results. I then examined religious ideals from that perspective and in a literary perspective, I could see religion for what it was in its own right, a powerful idea that has captured many with principles that are so many that most can find something to appeal to them. Christianity wasn't just forced on the world, it was a Cult that accepted women and slaves centuries before any revolution so much as considered equality. And the, afterlife is an appealing idea. I'd love for there to be one, but practicality upon our knowledge base just doesn't support the idea. 

I can understand that. Considering how I grew up, a lot was introspective reasoning, based on my raised point of view, and seeing things work out in the 'way it is' look. And, thus, I can how certain aspects of various religions, mostly so with orthodox ones, how a lot of it came to be, but 'wishful thinking' I suppose. Hell, I'll be honest, I think a lot of mine, comes from that. I'm not going to lie to myself, I'll be truthful to me, and see how it has progressed all these years from that. :yes:  

I think the bottom line is, the way I see it, seeing others, like you and like AK, and the differing paths, and I feel 'contented' in you and him and others, that this is what you are. It's your path, and your experiences, and your information educated within you through out the years, that makes up you, and in the various paths, that makes up how one interacts with society, though behaving in society, has the personal guidance of what is your path. (And I do mean being guided by how a none believer sees things and goes with that......... if that makes sense.) 

I also think it's important how you come by your path, how AK comes by his, how everyone come by their's here, ( and of course, personally sort that out within me. ;) ) and feel we all can learn from it. I wouldn't dream of thinking each should force themselves to considerate in their path, but just see how others look at it, how they came by it, and see how they differ or seem similar to themselves. I really think we can learn about ourselves from each other, not assume our paths is better for others. 

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If I may, if you could imagine a world where religion never took root, superstition never raised its head, a species that only accepted answers by way of empirical evidence.

Are you kidding me?! :blink:  ;)  :D  I lived it my whole childhood. My world, as far as I can tell, religion, the orthodox religion, never took root. And yes, it was pretty much myself seeing the world as it was. Yes, there were Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, tooth Fairy, but that was watched and accomplished in how they were reasoned out of existence due to the growing awareness and critical thinking of us kids. In fact, when you wrote, 'if you could imagine a world where religion never took root," I instinctively had this pop into my head. :devil:  And every time I have heard that song, (even the PTX's version) I can closely adhere to it, because how I grew up. 

11 hours ago, psyche101 said:

In that scenario there would be other ways of describing the enigmas that leads to superstitious conclusions. Those hypothetical people would relentlessly dig up answers as opposed to what seems to make sense to the individual. I think that the things that lead us to these esoteric ideals would not exist, because they don't have to.

And yes, that too. I have often felt, that this was the basis in my outlook through out my life. :) I also feel, that I maybe a threat to some proselytizers, because of an outlook that decries certain things within their religion. I guess, in a sense, certain practical thinking that has my raised secular outlook that shows I cannot believe in the various elements of orthodox religions. I don't think anyone in this category, feel they can continue with me. Mostly so, here in the states, where I do believe it's not against the law to not go to a religious institution, where you follow those rules and read from religious books. And when I express how I grew up, I wait to see if that life experience, chosen by my parents, is going to get ridicules, because if it did, I can point out how their particular religion could be over ruled by another. I usually don't have them go that far. ;) 

I do get some so angry with me, they yell. I think it's because they are frustrated with my kind of thinking based from my childhood. But, I really believe, if they appreciated the freedom of growing up with a religion or none, they can see how it's not a good thing to push something, that might not be as kosher than they think it is. 

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The laws of nature however would remain consistent regardless of the cultures arising. To me, it makes more sense to pursue the practical than to pursue ideals that just don't conform with knowledge. I honestly hope I put this respectfully when I say it seems a variation of the God of the gaps argument? As in, we cannot explain it, but tales of the supernatural seem to fit. I just can't be satisfied with that answer myself. Especially when we have a real world knowledge base that refutes those ideas. 

Oh, I agree with you. Would you believe I practice this? And not during my childhood, but right up to now. Because, to me, yes, it makes sense. Even within my belief system, I still see things in how it's practical. 

So, you're probably wondering, how am I a believer of sorts, in a belief system? Yes, it could be a lot of wishful thinking, or there have been varying experiences that taught me things to consider. Well, both I would for me. :D I like to see it as wishful thinking, at the same time I saw and experience stuff along the way, that had me also going a step beyond the everyday thinking. In the end, no matter how strong or weak my wishful thinking is, I like to think various experimentation with it (and it's results) along with extraordinary experiences pretty much has me grounded in my belief system. 

But, and I say this in honor of you and your input through out the years here. :D  :blush:  I still always consider the real world, the practical outlook, first. A priority. I just think the belief system, is the seasoning to the practical life, which is the meat. I need it as well, because certain real world aspects, like having this slight learning disability, seeing varying unfairness and harshness of the world, tends to overwhelm me. And I could think it like this, maybe I'm not cut out for this then. For me, it would make sense, having a constant in the here and now, (which is the way it should be, yes, I'm not disagreeing about that), but as people are different with pluses and minuses, my minuses no matter how I fight to rise above them, I still feel I can't keep up. I need it, and for me and my consideration only, I think it came out to help me. (Not saying everyone else has to think this, this is just a personal thing for me. :yes: ) 

Maybe, I feel different about it, as oppose to certain others in certain belief systems, where it's not the first thing to prioritize in one's life, but I do prioritize living in the practical part of it, but I think it's essential to maintain the positive by having it come in and be there for me. That's why I often fight for those in both orthodox and none orthodox religions, because I truly understand how one depends on it, for various reasons. (I also feel that Atheists depend on their outlook, and I strongly understand that too. :) ) 

I don't know, if it can be imagined a world where it's more than basic superstition, that 'governs' it. ;) But, I think, based by varying experiences and information through out my life, I can't totally imagine a world just entirely on one thing, and if that means, just the not believing in various things, that others believe. 

Granted, various experiences do have that room for explanation, and I'm open to that. Not just that, I have come to conclusions with practical answers to it too. But, there are still mysteries, that one part is there is a practical answer to it, and another part of it could be what I think myself it could be. This helps me go down my path, with a little more confidence, than I believe I would have if it's just in the one type of outlook of it. Because, sometimes reality is really hard to take, and I cannot understand how I end up the way I am, if it's more of a hindrance to do things, than it is for others. It's kind of like for me, just accept it and just do what it looks at it is, to do. 

I'm not saying the none religious give up or feel what's the point. No, I feel that the human spirit is something definitely drives a person to greatness. I'm just saying, looking at it as just one particular way, (and yes that being the truth) and then coming to one conclusion, and just that conclusion. Yes, usually it's the right one, and I would adhere to that, but sometimes my outlook................ wants more in the way that it is, for various reasons. 

Plus, paranormal **** fascinates the crap out of me. :D  :lol:  :devil:

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Great to hear from you stubbs. 

  And from you, Sweetcheeks!

Edited by Stubbly_Dooright
Why such a big gap at the end?
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Stubbly_Dooright
8 hours ago, davros of skaro said:

What?! No rainbow bridge?!?!?

I refuse to believe!! Give me that kitty!!! 

:sk

 

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Podo
15 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

It just seems to me sometimes that given the endless amount of evidence/reason-free propositions that it may be more reasonable to disbelieve as a default those propositions, although I agree an argument can be made for being agnostic concerning the infinite number of these propositions, even if it sounds odd to me when driving down to specifics to say 'I neither believe or disbelieve in space dragons'.  I don't think it necessarily works the other way, defaulting to believing in evidence-free propositions leads to conflicts and contradictions.

I'm clearly doing a bad job of articulating myself, because I agree with everything you have posted here. Taking a default stance of disbelief makes more sense than a default state of belief, absolutely and always, unless there is evidence of the thing in question. Which, as we all know, there isn't, in the case of gods. 

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Liquid Gardens
7 hours ago, eight bits said:

But then you've never been possesed by a supernatural being. If you had, how far "removed" would an invisible intelligent power be from things you know exist?

Pretty far in comparison, I don't think ether or phlogiston was proposed to be supernatural.  Do you think Sagan's, 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' has validity?  You and I have also never been struck in a blaze of divinity that revealed the indisputable truth of a literal reading of Genesis; that some people may think they have doesn't make creationism less removed from evolution.

7 hours ago, eight bits said:

"Faith" as used in this forum is largely bound as to what it denotes by what the word connotes, religious concerns (trust, belief, ...). That doesn't mean that the same underlying psychological mechanisms (including cognitive strategies) don't occur in other situations. Nor does it mean that everything that is made up and might refer to something kindasorta "religious" is an example of those very same psychological mechanisms at work.

That's fine, I don't disagree with any of that.  Are any of the other same-as-faith underlying psychological mechanisms that are used in other situations valid reasons why something is true?

7 hours ago, eight bits said:

Of course. I think I added it parenthetically enough times throughout the post to be cut some slack about choosing not to be re-repetitive. I write from a tradition where the "to them" is usually redundant: to be plausible requires an agent to find it so, and binds no other agent to agree - or so I interpret my experience :) .

Ha, well put, but I can think of a whole host of traditions where 'to them' is utterly irrelevant;. I don't recall it ever coming up in the majority of classes I have taken in my lifetime, outside of historical and psycho-/sociological topics, but that may be skewed by the subjects I took.  In my general line of work, IT, what I think should work 'to me' is typically responded to with a figurative hearty slap and an evil laugh by the hardware and software I deal with.  I really don't see a lot of intersection between 'to me' and very many of the typical STEM applications/fields actually.

7 hours ago, eight bits said:

Presumably, if that is added, then we'd agree that there have been people whose interpretation of what you and I might view as introspection was to them discourse with some invisible intelligent power (Socrates apparently, Carl Jung, people Tanya Luhrman has studied, both in field work and laboratory settings, ... I am really confident this happens).

I think it is clear that that interpretation implies the existence of the IIP with whom one communicates.

I think this was just a wording dispute, I would put it as 'that interpretation assumes the existence of the IIP'.  To be specific, I think what you are really confident is happening is that many people have believed they were conversing with an IIP, and not that you are confident that people are in reality conversing with IIPs, nor I think that the mere fact that people think they are conversing with IIPs is a valid reason supporting those IIP's existence.  I think your response to that is, 'of course, duh', but that's kinda my response to noting that people believe in all kinds of things and that may make sense, valid or not, to them.  Of course I know that, and I'm not seeing where anything I'm arguing is inconsistent with that.

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 If that conclusion is wrong, then it is the interpretation's fault, not the person's fault for having had the experience, nor the validity of the inference drawn from taking the interpretation as a premise.

Sure.  Same situation as, "All men have tails; Socrates is a man; Socrates had a tail." too.  Not just a mere inference, but a valid deduction drawn from taking the interpretation as a premise.  I'm just not clear to what end though, or if this serves any larger point that you may think I'm disputing.

7 hours ago, eight bits said:

I don't see that Jovian space dragons are in the same league.

I don't know why not, what's setting them apart outside of the specific content?  I'll admit that I don't know about Jovian space dragons per se but King Ghidorah I do, if your different league point involves you having some basis for putting some kind of boundaries on him/it and his powers.  For reference, here's typically how he arrives on earth:

Image result for ghidrah gif appears

The above gif is missing the early part, where there is first just a small blob of light/fire in the sky that gradually grows and changes and eventually takes the shape of Ghidorah.  Some highly sophisticated technology or magic is involved there, and when we throw in what I'm pretty sure scientists have argued, which is that creatures of Ghidorah's or Godzilla's size wouldn't even be able to stand up (let alone in Ghidorah's case actually fly), then I think any assumptions about what these kaiju can and cannot do are not really well founded, again, if that has something to do with your different leagues.  I see no reason why one can't converse internally with Ghidorah, tough to rule much out with him as far as capabilities.  I would normally go the route of requesting what is the empirical difference between Jung's and Socrates' IIPs and Ghidorah, but that is an irrelevant question within the context of 'to me' and 'to them' which can undercut objective notions of reason, logic, or evidence.

7 hours ago, eight bits said:

Well, I did allow that when you clarified your objectives, it could turn out that what matters most to you is the plausibility (to you) of their beliefs.

Sure, and to be clear I do recognize the distinction you made, but the plausibility angle I kinda treat as the default given we're on a skepticism board.  I just don't understand the relevance of pointing out that people believe things that make some kind of sense to them or are partially based on reason, only because it seems so obvious and on its own has little to nothing to do on its own with whether their beliefs are real.

8 hours ago, eight bits said:

But there may be nothing "irrational" about either it or what they believe instead. Gravity not bending light is wrong, not irrational. There is a difference. Whether that difference matters to you is your call.

My goal in using the words 'irrational' and 'reason' is to find a short way of referring to conclusions based on sound reasoning.  Maybe I should refer to 'Reason' or something.  It's to differentiate it from the general use of the word 'reason' - "why do I believe god exists?  Because Billy Graham did and he was an esteemed pastor.", "how do I know the number 8 horse will win tomorrow?  Because I threw a dart at a dart board and it landed on 8", etc.  If people believe something based on a logical fallacy, is their conclusion rational?  I'm not an anti-theist, I have no urge to refer to people as irrational, I reserve that for ideas or propositions. 

8 hours ago, eight bits said:

There are at least three billion people alive today who say yes to one or more items in your question. What more can I say?

Just on its face, "argumentum ad populum"? Does that have some intersection at all with why anything on my list exists?  Not to be confused with 'why people believe something exists', which need not be supported by 'Reason' at all.

8 hours ago, eight bits said:

What do we know about what other people find believable, that they would find our view relevant?

Is there really no objective sense of believability? What is (not 'do you find') more believable: I drove home from work in my Jeep or I flew home in my new Jetson's flying car?  I think an answer can be provided to that question without any qualification or references to my or other's 'view'.

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eight bits

@Liquid Gardens

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Do you think Sagan's, 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' has validity?  

That's a hard question. Sagan, so far as I can tell, was a Humean. I admire Hume, but I don't share all his views on how evidence does or should accumulate. So, I disagree with what I think Sagan meant when he said it.

However, there is a different interpretation, more "Bayesian" than I think Sagan ever was. If the Bayesian premises are granted, and "extraordinary" is given the appropriate forms for Bayes, then ECREE is a simple theorem. So yes, the words that Sagan said have validity, I think, but what I think he meant is more difficult.

It's not a bad question for our current discussion, though, since Sagan's issue was alien abduction stories (and then he made a generalizing parable, his invisible dragon in the garage). "Alien abduction" is not so different a concept from "entity possession," except not supernatural as you and I use the term. It sure is Fortean, though.

If we lived in a culture where "alien abduction" was a familiar thing, then I suspect that we might not find it extraordinary to learn that somebody had interpreted their experience that way.

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Are any of the other same-as-faith underlying psychological mechanisms that are used in other situations valid reasons why something is true?

Validity is a formal thing, and the mechanisms are not formal, so the answer must be no. Adaptive, maybe, and maybe adaptive because of doing some right things for the wrong reasons.

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I really don't see a lot of intersection between 'to me' and very many of the typical STEM applications/fields actually.

The tradition I mentioned is often pursued within STEMville. The field has lots of engineers, and a fair number of computer folks (Judea Pearl, who won the Turing Prize a while back, is a prominent Bayesian and an AI pioneer). The real mother field of Bayes is statistics.

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I think what you are really confident is happening is that many people have believed they were conversing with an IIP, and not that you are confident that people are in reality conversing with IIPs, nor I think that the mere fact that people think they are conversing with IIPs is a valid reason supporting those IIP's existence.

Well, let's try to sort that out.

Luhrmann does a lot of work with "interior dialogs," what we might call "talking to oneself." Suppose that some hypothetical person engaged in an interior dialog feels that one side of the conversation doesn't originate from the "same place" as the other side of the conversation. The first side she identifies as "herself." What about the other side?

One interpretation might be Jungian, that the "other side" is something different from her ordinary waking self. It's still "her," just not anything she's usually conscious of, so to her it does understandably "feel as if another person is talking." This interpretation does not commit anybody to assert that  a "second party" to the dialog exists.

Another interpetation of the interior dialog, however, might be that she is communicating (that is, with somebody else, entirely other than herself). That interpretation would commit whoever adopts it to assert that a "second party" exists (because of what "communication" means), but does not commit anybody else to agree with that.

Who, if anybody besides herself, she's "really speaking with" cannot be determined knowing only that she is having the experience and how she (or anybody else) interprets it.

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Of course I know that, and I'm not seeing where anything I'm arguing is inconsistent with that.

I didn't think you were. What I found remarkable (but well within your rights) was disinterest in how the problem might look from a different perspective. If nothing else, seeing that might make it easier to communicate with some people who give your viewpoint as little weight as you give theirs.

Different league.

What I'm getting at is which came first: a wish to achieve some rhetorical, entertainment or other such purpose that moved someone to make an ontological claim, or some real experience that gave rise to an interpretation that implies the ontological claim (whether or not any particular person adopts the interpetation).

I'm pretty sure if I had the vivid experience of an "other" during an interior dialog, I personally would look to the Jungian interpretation of it, explained above. However, even though I would probably reject the other interpretation and the ontological claim it implies, I would nevertheless recognize them as being of a different origin ("in a different league") than a commercial cartoon character, or a folklore trickster character, or an atheist's parody of a god claim, or a custom for children who've shed a baby tooth.

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Just on its face, "argumentum ad populum"?

Ad pop is a fallacy when it's offered as proof of correctness. On its face, that isn't what you asked me about, and it isn't what I answered you about. Just.

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Is there really no objective sense of believability?

At the extremes of confidence and warrant, there are tautolgy and contradiction. In between? There's model-based stuff that is either objective or enjoys strong and respected consensus in various domains (e.g. casino apparatus, sampling schemes, actuarial estimation ...). There is a convention that more-or-less defines relative credibility, if A implies B then B is at least as plausible as A, along with the "usual" ordering properties (e.g. transitivity: if A > B and B > C, then A > C).

For general subject matter and arbitrarily related propositions? Not that I have ever heard of.

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I drove home from work in my Jeep or I flew home in my new Jetson's flying car?  I think an answer can be provided to that question without any qualification or references to my or other's 'view'.

Assuming that I understand what "Jetson's flying car" means, then it is strictly impossible for you to fly home in one, because the phrase refers to a work of fiction. That you drove home from work in a Jeep is possible, and its advantage in believability over anything tautologically false is objective.

Edited by eight bits
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crookedspiral
On 24/04/2018 at 9:35 PM, davros of skaro said:

@Clockwork_Spirit

What made you get into scientology? 

I have been called a Cafeteria Christian, a Jehova Witness and now a Scientologist on this forum.

Some atheists just want to force a label on you in order to dismiss your arguments.

Edited by Clockwork_Spirit
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crookedspiral
16 hours ago, joc said:

I prefer thinking my own thoughts and reaching conclusions based on my own thought process. That you allow other people to so influence your beliefs is very telling. But then again...I seldom read books...

No, it's not about influencing but making a case. The authors made a good case and that's why it's convincing.

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but when I do, it is because the author agrees with my own thought process...not the other way around.

This is known as confirmation bias.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

Edited by Clockwork_Spirit

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GoldenWolf
33 minutes ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

I have been called a Cafeteria Christian, a Jehova Witness and now a Scientologist on this forum.

Some atheists just want to force a label on you in order to dismiss your arguments.

None of that compares to being called a satanist.

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Noteverythingisaconspiracy
7 hours ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

Some atheists just want to force a label on you in order to dismiss your arguments.

Isn't that exactly what you are doing to atheists in this thread ? :whistle:

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Emma_Acid
9 hours ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

Some atheists just want to force a label on you in order to dismiss your arguments.

Wow. Pot, kettle, black.

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Davros of Skaro
10 hours ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

I have been called a Cafeteria Christian, a Jehova Witness and now a Scientologist on this forum.

Some atheists just want to force a label on you in order to dismiss your arguments.

I just wanted to see if you had me on ignore. You have been ignoring my legitimate questions.

I wonder why?

 

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Stubbly_Dooright
On 4/25/2018 at 12:15 PM, Podo said:
On 4/24/2018 at 8:23 PM, Liquid Gardens said:

It just seems to me sometimes that given the endless amount of evidence/reason-free propositions that it may be more reasonable to disbelieve as a default those propositions, although I agree an argument can be made for being agnostic concerning the infinite number of these propositions, even if it sounds odd to me when driving down to specifics to say 'I neither believe or disbelieve in space dragons'.  I don't think it necessarily works the other way, defaulting to believing in evidence-free propositions leads to conflicts and contradictions.

I'm clearly doing a bad job of articulating myself, because I agree with everything you have posted here. Taking a default stance of disbelief makes more sense than a default state of belief, absolutely and always, unless there is evidence of the thing in question. Which, as we all know, there isn't, in the case of gods. 

You know, I would think taking the default state of belief, speaks more about the believer. I say this, as a particular believer myself. I think taking the default state of belief, is hiding something that a believer needs. There are things in my belief, that I  need. (as I had explained to pysche.) The default staunce of disbelief, would be the generalized feeling to me, meaning it's not there, it's understandable to not believe. I think that can be said of everyone, really. In my perception, it seems to take more energy to default to one's belief, (because I have to work to maintain it. I don't think one works to not believing in what is not seen. 

And yeah, I just placed myself in the scenario here. :wacko: 

 

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Aquila King
16 hours ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

The authors made a good case and that's why it's convincing.

The authors made a good case by refuting arguments that atheists don't make.

The deliberately misrepresented the facts so as to knock them down with their BS arguments. That's why they're convincing.

I implore you to research the actual arguments that atheists make themselves, before reading the supposed refutations of apologists.

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Liquid Gardens
18 hours ago, eight bits said:

If we lived in a culture where "alien abduction" was a familiar thing, then I suspect that we might not find it extraordinary to learn that somebody had interpreted their experience that way.

Interesting, and I don't have all the details of Sagan's original discussion around his standard at immediate hand to compare it to the familiarity angle.  To me there is another sense, which may or may not overlap with Hume or Bayesian since I'm ignorant of the difference between the two, that Sagan's standard applies, namely that most extraordinary claims are not one claim but a bundle of claims that need support.  If I say, "I was kidnapped by the Mafia on the way home, I have no evidence of this" there are a lot less claims packed in there than "I was abducted by aliens on the way home, I have no evidence of this"; I don't need to demonstrate the existence of the Mafia nor that they are known for kidnapping people, whereas the existence of aliens, their visitation of earth, their reasons for kidnapping, etc, all need further evidence in comparison.  Sure if we have more people claiming to be abducted by aliens it becomes more familiar, but unless those people have some additional evidence to offer beyond what we currently have, alien abduction is still an equally extraordinary claim.  "To me".  ;)

18 hours ago, eight bits said:

Who, if anybody besides herself, she's "really speaking with" cannot be determined knowing only that she is having the experience and how she (or anybody else) interprets it.

Sure, and that formulation applies to Bigfoot sightings, healing via prayer, and pretty much the gamut of stereotypical skeptical topics.  If we are going to take the next step and offer up for example all the biological factors that argue against the existence of Bigfoot, then I'm not sure why we don't likewise offer up that people thinking that they are having discussions with IIPs is really not that unusual of a claim and has an existing correlation with some mental disorders, along with the even larger set of evidence supporting all kinds of unreal experiences people have had in their heads.  We can even steer clear of the supernatural and evaluate more mundane things like LSD and shrooms; does tripping make you see things that aren't really there or does it instead cleanse the doors of perception so we can see things as they really are?  "Cannot be determined", I guess. 

18 hours ago, eight bits said:

I didn't think you were. What I found remarkable (but well within your rights) was disinterest in how the problem might look from a different perspective. If nothing else, seeing that might make it easier to communicate with some people who give your viewpoint as little weight as you give theirs.

I guess I don't understand what is so remarkable about this.  First off, most debates concerning these kind of topics usually do involve statements from the believers' perspective.  I guess I don't see how you yourself are doing anything differently; maybe you already did your tour of duty before I arrived, but since I've been here I can safely say that at least on this board I have spent way more text verbosely trying to figure out Walker's perspective on lots of things.  How has finding out that people believe in gods on faith and/or because it gives their life meaning, et al, made it easier to communicate with them?  Has that made it easier for you to convince them that agnosticism is the better and stronger position?  Is 'faith' even something that can be 'understood'?

Besides the fact that the subjects we discuss I think are much more interesting than probing different perspectives (to the extent they don't overlap) only to find out that someone else's perspective isn't logical at all, taken too far it can be a little icky.  The OP is a good example, where it involves telling atheists what they think and implying various notions about the psychology of atheists.  Similar statements are made by believers in all kinds of typical UM topics, where people and scientists who don't believe them are biased or closed minded or wedded to materialism or scared of the implications of their pet belief being true.  And for balance, non-believers aren't innocent in using this tactic either.  Besides these claims being lame in that they essentially require telepathy to support, it's obviously kind of bogue and usually runs afoul of a few logical fallacies.  Yes, I suspect that a lot of religious believers do ultimately believe because it makes them feel good but I try not to throw that in anyone's face, as it is a claim that I would also need special powers to really know.

Most relevantly, I am again very interested in their perspective to the extent that it rationally buttresses their claim, but I don't know how many times you would expect someone to travel down the road with different people only to arrive at the same perspective you've seen a zillion times before.

18 hours ago, eight bits said:

However, even though I would probably reject the other interpretation and the ontological claim it implies, I would nevertheless recognize them as being of a different origin ("in a different league") than a commercial cartoon character, or a folklore trickster character, or an atheist's parody of a god claim, or a custom for children who've shed a baby tooth.

Although normally I understand the impact of finding out that someone created something they intended to be fictional as far as its believability, I don't bring up Ghidorah or leprechauns or Santa in an effort to mock other more typical extraordinary beliefs, it's to point out or try to find out what relevant differences about the claims supports one idea over the other; that they are merely different in content or origin isn't that compelling, and actually required for any analogy.  When comparing to the biggies like gods, I find 'that's fiction' hand-waves to be rather impotent.  Yes, my current belief is that Ghidorah is a fictional creation by Toho Co, Ltd, but since the point of mentioning him is to analogize it to gods who also have reality-wrecking powers, then I don't know what is so preposterous in comparison.  My belief that kaiju are fictional relies on there not being creatures or gods with reality-altering powers.  God revealed himself to some extent through the Bible, and Ghidorah revealed himself through cheezy films. Given their proposed powers, there simply is no requirement nor basis for expectation that superbeings like Ghidorah want anyone to actually believe in them; the greatest trick the devil ever played is convincing people he doesn't exist, and all that. 

On their face, there is nothing more outlandish or unbelievable about space dragons compared to gods or even people having internal conversations in their head with actual IIPs.  If the many-generations-removed descendants of the survivors of the inevitable zombie apocalypse that destroys all knowledge of history discover a laptop in a cave that contains only my gif above of Ghidorah appearing in the sky and the Nicene Creed, allowing that they aren't totally clueless (maybe they understand science but are just missing historical knowledge), there's nothing about one that is any less or more believable than the other.  If they later discover that Ghidorah was a monster in a cheezy Japanese movie, I don't see why that is any more of a blow to the proposition that Ghidorah actually exists than finding out that Christian beliefs come from a book of myths written by ignorant believers who were trying to propagate their religion a couple millennia ago is to the accuracy of the Creed.

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GlitterRose

Well, you're gonna believe what you like, but...Atheism is just a lack of belief in an afterlife or a deity because there isn't any evidence of them.

Atheists don't typically claim that there is no God, and scientists don't, either.

 

 

 

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GlitterRose

It's always interesting when people try to tell other people how they're thinking. 

You don't know how atheists are thinking.

You just know what you want to believe about atheists.

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eight bits

@Liquid Gardens

Here is a typical instance of Sagan's use of ECREE. His concluding lament about always having only reports of seeing a piece of evidence (e.g. some artifact of extraterrestial origin), but never having the actual piece of evidence could have been written by Hume himself :) .

 

What you say about breaking a claim down into a collection of more specific claims is interesting. His contributions to one way to do that are a big part of how Judea Pearl won his Turing Prize.

Off-hand, I think such an analysis of your two abduction stories (Mafia versus alien) would be pretty much the same in structure (the same basic "issues" come up in both), but with different confidence in many corresponding parts (e.g. the part about the existence of the alleged perps somewhere on Earth: Mafia, nearly certain; aliens, not so nearly certain). Overall, then, an alien abduction tale would inspire less confidence than a Mafia grab.

Some of the difference in my confidence for corresponding parts can be attributed to my already having seen evidence for an earthly Mafia, while I've seen only less and poorer quality evidence for alien visitors so far. I'm also allowed (nay, encouraged) to include non-evidentiary inherent plausibility in my confidence estimate.

For example, I may think it is inherently plausible that criminals would organize themselves into gangs, so an earthly Mafia "makes sense" (and would make sense even if they were better at keeping themselves secret than they are = even if there were little good evidence available to me about them). The existence of the Mafia rightly gains in credibility because it makes sense that something like that would exist (and on Earth).

I think you can see that the last bit, "what makes sense," may all by itself be the source of disagreements. Aliens visiting earth may seem all but inevitable to some people, and total rubbish to somebody else. There is no brokering those judgments (no "objective standard of believability" most of the time). Evidence and sometimes argument are what closes the gap; meanwhile,  there are no referees, and barely are there even standards.

On a point arising, I've been here at UM for just about 10 years (God help me). Yes, I have my campaign ribbon for dealing with that other poster you mentioned, and yes, I earned it during my earliest years here.
 
So, what do you think of Anthony Magnabosco? (Davros posted a clip of Anthony in this thread recently.) His approach depends on getting to know why believers believe whatever it is they believe. He seems to make progress with them.

In reading your post, it occurs to me that it could well be that the range in "types" of believer who bestir themselves to visit UM is narrower than what Anthony gets in the likely wider net he casts by accosting passer-by in public places. Maybe the "why's" of internet forum frequenters' beliefs aren't as interesting as for believers generally.

Anyway, if you understand why I am interested in what Anthony does, then maybe you also can understand why I am more interested in how people come to their beliefs than in urging them to change their beliefs to be more like mine, as nice as that would be... nice for them, I mean, :) .

 

Edited by eight bits
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crookedspiral
1 hour ago, ChaosRose said:

It's always interesting when people try to tell other people how they're thinking. 

You don't know how atheists are thinking.

You just know what you want to believe about atheists.

Atheists seem to know a great deal about how religious people think, however.

Edited by Clockwork_Spirit

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GlitterRose
8 minutes ago, Clockwork_Spirit said:

Atheists seem to know a great deal about how religious people think, however.

Probably because you tell them so often. 

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