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Author Topic: Religion Matters: Take 3  (Read 57152 times)
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bhcordova
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« Reply #1200 on: Feb 09, 2018, 10:03AM »


 No, but what else do you choose to believe even though there's no evidence and no actual support outside of some given community of believers?
 


String Theory.
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« Reply #1201 on: Feb 09, 2018, 10:05AM »

String Theory.
I wonder if anyone really has their heart in string theory anymore.
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« Reply #1202 on: Feb 09, 2018, 10:11AM »

String Theory.

I don't think you'll find much if any "belief" in string theory.
 
It's theoretical, and highly mathematical as I understand it. Scientists tend to "believe" in a theory as in thinking it's an explanation for the data that's heading in the right direction and is likely to productive and maybe even pan out, but probably to at least lead to some useful developments. You won't likely get anyone saying they know it's true or ordering their lives around it or anything at all like religious belief.
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« Reply #1203 on: Feb 09, 2018, 10:15AM »

So?


So scientists have a culture that requires thick skin, because they are constantly questioned, and must respond.  Their peers will think less of them if they get defensive.

True Believers (a segment of the population) believe they are entitled to never be questioned, and they get extremely defensive when questioned. 
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« Reply #1204 on: Feb 09, 2018, 10:28AM »

So scientists have a culture that requires thick skin, because they are constantly questioned, and must respond.  Their peers will think less of them if they get defensive.
 
True Believers (a segment of the population) believe they are entitled to never be questioned, and they get extremely defensive when questioned.

As a thought experiment, imagine a scientist in exasperation telling a critic to STOP THE ANALYZING!
 
Heh ...
 
 --
 
It seems a whole lot of this contention (which seems very one-sided to me--any genuine consideration sets off one side, which apparently just thinks two or more "teams" hurling unconsidered opinions at each other is discussion) is just a disconnect regarding very different values and approaches to developing understanding and taking responsibility for making our understanding of reality (or our beliefs about it) comport with reality as best we can. A notable aspect of this is how often one side of this top down vs. bottom up spectrum doesn't seem to have any real sense of the other--considers the work of developing and understanding how people think and learn to be analyzing, and analyzing (doing what we do to learn/develop understanding) as somehow a bad thing.
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« Reply #1205 on: Feb 09, 2018, 11:53AM »



 
It seems a whole lot of this contention (which seems very one-sided to me--any genuine consideration sets off one side, which apparently just thinks two or more "teams" hurling unconsidered opinions at each other is discussion) is just a disconnect regarding very different values and approaches to developing understanding and taking responsibility for making our understanding of reality (or our beliefs about it) comport with reality as best we can.

Well, then there's the emotional component, and I don't want to discount the risk.

If I'm wrong about string theory or the distance to the moon, I don't really have much invested in it.  At worst I'm mildly embarrassed I shot my  mouth off.

If I'm wrong about which God to worship (or even how to do that with the right God) I am facing billions of years of torture. 

You can't equate the two cases. 
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« Reply #1206 on: Feb 09, 2018, 12:49PM »


So scientists have a culture that requires thick skin, because they are constantly questioned, and must respond.  Their peers will think less of them if they get defensive.

True Believers (a segment of the population) believe they are entitled to never be questioned, and they get extremely defensive when questioned. 

Religious folks who think they are entitled to never be questioned about their faith?

I been in a number of different denominations in different areas. Can't say I've met one yet who would meet that description.

Many actually welcome it.



Now, questioned by someone outside their bubble and get defensive, yes. But we've also seen that here on the science side. That's simply human nature as well.

Otherwise, many of the attacks against religious folk really come off more as straw-men and caricatures.
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« Reply #1207 on: Feb 09, 2018, 01:57PM »

You can't equate the two cases. 
You can, and with a great deal of validity, it's just a bit more complex than that.
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« Reply #1208 on: Feb 09, 2018, 02:15PM »

Well, then there's the emotional component, and I don't want to discount the risk.
 
If I'm wrong about string theory or the distance to the moon, I don't really have much invested in it.  At worst I'm mildly embarrassed I shot my  mouth off.
 
If I'm wrong about which God to worship (or even how to do that with the right God) I am facing billions of years of torture.
Only because he loves you though--because he created you so you could choose, and of course you're responsible for being that way.
 
Yup.
 
Seems when we learn how to create gods properly we also learn not to create them any more.
 
You can't equate the two cases.
of course you can, just not very rationally to any significant degree.
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« Reply #1209 on: Feb 09, 2018, 03:01PM »

Why do you hate oboe players ... !?

My MD is an oboe player: he can tongue a lot faster than me and he keeps telling us not to breathe.  Despite that he's a really good MD.
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« Reply #1210 on: Feb 12, 2018, 07:48PM »

It seems a pretty important fact to verify is generally off of your radar. That's fine if that's how you roll, but you have to try and keep in mind that others have no reason to go there with you. Most in the West do--or at least most in the US--but that's changing. A whole lot of people around here are questioning deeper into our basic assumptions about the nature of things. You don't include the existence of God and the nature of Jesus as assumptions open to questioning (top-down).

What do you consider to be your basic assumptions about the nature of things?

What sort of questions do you ask about them? And what sort of answers do you get?

I'm honestly curious.

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If I'm not mistaken Bill's trying to point out that these kinds of religious beliefs are assumptions imposed upon the data the cosmos gives us to work with. Many of us are loath to impose anything, always trying to get as close to that as possible (bottom-up).

I actually don't think that anyone actually avoids imposing any assumptions on the data that the cosmos gives them, whether or not they loath doing it or not.  I think that we all have our own WorldViews that allow us to make sense of that data.  Just saying.

And people who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones.
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« Reply #1211 on: Feb 13, 2018, 05:07AM »

And I'm convinced that some who fall back on a simplistic appeal to Occam's razor really don't always believe that.  Some naturalistic answers don't really seem like Occam's razor to me, but attempts to adhere to naturalism even if it isn't really the "simplest" explanation, especially the check is the mail answers that one sometimes sees.  That shows a basic commitment to naturalism that is the trump card, not the "facts."  Many theists would argue that theistic answers are the Occam's razor in many cases.  Neither side is always clear about the presuppositions guiding the direction of the reading of the facts, but I'm convinced some naturalists are often rather blind to the guiding role of naturalism in how they interpret those "facts."
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« Reply #1212 on: Feb 13, 2018, 05:17AM »

What do you consider to be your basic assumptions about the nature of things?
I suppose that assumptions are a bad basis for understanding reality that doesn't somehow just happen to line up nicely with the assumptions, and that we can't know if they do unless we test those assumptions, which kinda makes them non-assumptions.
 
I suppose also that I'm not a brain in a vat ... or at least not very damn likely.
 
And that we can't think of much as certain even in thoroughly practical terms.
 
Non-assumption assumptions ... eh?
 
I'd like to know what kind of assumptions presuppositionalists assume I'm making though (I'm not assuming that means you). More importantly, if everyone does make assumptions, how does that excuse them from being assumptions?
 
What sort of questions do you ask about them? And what sort of answers do you get?
What if I'm a brain in a vat?
 
That's kinda what I'm on about. If you discover an assumption, if you don't challenge it, it'll never be more than an assumption--you'll never take responsibility for its veracity/making as sure as you can your understanding is accurate (or at least as accurate as can be reasonably expected).
 
I'm honestly curious.
I don't doubt that when you ask questions ... unless the point of the question is obviously more to make a point, but that's a different kind of question. I don't doubt your sincerity.
 
I actually don't think that anyone actually avoids imposing any assumptions on the data that the cosmos gives them, whether or not they loath doing it or not.  I think that we all have our own WorldViews that allow us to make sense of that data.  Just saying.
So how do you explain apostates? people who change their mind on issues important to them in light of new information/data/other?
 
I think this is what science and critical thinking are ultimately all about.
 
Are you sure you're not just trying to get more comfortable with staying clear of challenging at least some basic assumptions?
 
And people who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones.
Agreed ... nor did she sell sea shells by the sea shore ... and Peter Piper never really picked a peck of pickled peppers either!
 
All hearsay as those who naysay like to say. Eh?
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« Reply #1213 on: Feb 13, 2018, 05:58AM »

And I'm convinced that some who fall back on a simplistic appeal to Occam's razor really don't always believe that.
I expect that's true in at least some cases ... I doubt very many though. But Occam's Razor isn't a conclusion tool, it's a generally reliable compass, or a rule of thumb kinda thing anyway. I find resistance to Occam's Razor pretty telling, actually, because it's a tool we all use at least most of the time (ex. car repair, finding lost keys, pretty much any kind of troubleshooting ... ), some just choose to turn it off for certain special paradigms.
 
What I see is that usually the idea that Occam's Razor is some sort of evidence substitute or something is a misperception of what's really the acceptance of the uncertainty involved, and that a lot of religious apologists have a really hard time with accepting uncertainty (and with recognizing that highly problematic bias).
 
Some naturalistic answers don't really seem like Occam's razor to me, but attempts to adhere to naturalism even if it isn't really the "simplest" explanation, especially the check is the mail answers that one sometimes sees.
I expect it seems that way when you can just answer God and convince yourself to be satisfied with that as if it were an answer. I suspect that in many cases (probably quite a lot) believer types are more on about affirmation and rejection than they are the subjects of their rhetoric. I kind of consider that a benchmark of true confidence/self-assurance, and quite often it seems that's really what the vast majority of religious apologetics are really all about, and that they in fact have little if anything to do with the world outside of the doctrinal/dogmatic cosmos they justify from the inside.
 
That shows a basic commitment to naturalism that is the trump card, not the "facts."
We don't know if we can't verify--certainly not if we don't accept that our minds are biased and their products have to be vetted. Assumptions wouldn't turn into knowledge or facts even if we could establish that everyone is overly dependent upon them. The real question isn't whether or not we make assumptions, but what our standards are for accepting them as accurate--whether or not they're amendable according to how well they comport with reality, or in a great many cases unfortunately, if there's even any interest in going there (or if in fact the interest in very much the avoidance of going there).
 
Many theists would argue that theistic answers are the Occam's razor in many cases.
Just like spirits and vapors and magic and such ... yup.
 
Those are clearly the simpler answers, until you really consider the assumptions behind them.
 
The questions are more often than not why/how simple "answers" are simple.
 
Neither side is always clear about the presuppositions guiding the direction of the reading of the facts, but I'm convinced some naturalists are often rather blind to the guiding role of naturalism in how they interpret those "facts."
I'd argue that's an exercise in not getting it--that it's unmitigated motivated thinking. If we can only cloak the vagaries of working with human brains we can maybe make it feel like we're validating their products, as if they're somehow more reliable and accurate without doing anything to try and address those vagaries ... but only for certain paradigms.
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« Reply #1214 on: Feb 13, 2018, 06:34AM »

That's kinda what I'm on about. If you discover an assumption, if you don't challenge it, it'll never be more than an assumption--you'll never take responsibility for its veracity/making as sure as you can your understanding is accurate (or at least as accurate as can be reasonably expected).

I think this is what science and critical thinking are ultimately all about.
And the last assumption of your own you really challenged was?
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« Reply #1215 on: Feb 13, 2018, 09:05AM »

And I'm convinced that some who fall back on a simplistic appeal to Occam's razor really don't always believe that.
I think most that understand what Occam's razor really signifies do.  There is strong (unknown to have been broken, actually) precedent in physics to support Occam's razor.  That precedent is, in simplified form, that any given system will move to it's lowest possible energy state as quickly as possible.  The universe is extremely stingy with energy.  Maybe God was a Scotsman.

The analogy to Occam's razor is that complex explanations/situations/circumstances require more energy to maintain their complexity.  Even to state it.

It also helps explain why people are inherently lazy creatures, just like all creatures, we tend to take the easiest path so that we have to expend the least amount of energy.  Unless, of course, we can see some future advantage in taking extra effort in the moment.  In the end, we save.
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« Reply #1216 on: Feb 13, 2018, 02:33PM »

And the last assumption of your own you really challenged was?

The last major conversion of understanding would have to be enlightenment concept of reason, but I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect that a label is assignable. Usually bits and pieces of a larger concept fall away until the whole collapses, the bits and pieces being assumptions or just notions that depend upon a bigger underlying assumption.
 
There's also a very significant difference between the kind of assumptions we're talking about--unchallenged notions that are part of the foundation upon which your worldview is built--and assumptions used as tools to test theories, hypotheses, hunches or guesses (etc). Just feel the need to clarify that for some reason ... yeah.
 
Anyway, the more important thing is to challenge any unchallenged assumptions you discover as a matter of course, although if it's trivial I can see passing on the challenge and just accepting it as more unknown than you thought--an area of newfound ignorance. That's why I would argue (and do, obviously) that intellectual humility as the key component. Of course I could be wrong about that (heh), but I'd be quite surprised to discover it's not at least a very important one.
 
My apostasy is obviously my most significant assumption overturned by a challenge though.
 
You?
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« Reply #1217 on: Feb 13, 2018, 05:28PM »

The last major conversion of understanding would have to be enlightenment concept of reason, but I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect that a label is assignable.
Speaking of challenging notions...

That sounds like what you've been going on about for 15+ years.

Anything... recently?

Otherwise, it really kinda sounds like your whole critical thinking was a one time bang back in your youth and you haven't done much besides change bandwagons since. That's not really a systematic approach of continuous questioning. Don't know
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« Reply #1218 on: Feb 13, 2018, 06:06PM »

Speaking of challenging notions...
 
That sounds like what you've been going on about for 15+ years.
 
Anything... recently?
Yup ... just in the last year in fact, although it is hard to nail down precisely. It's a process, but the time frame during which an assumption dies and a new understanding solidifies is intellectually exhilarating and humbling, and when it's a really big assumption it can also be unnerving and upsetting (particularly when there are social and familial consequences). A more exhilarating death of assumption was the thing with me in the latter half of '17. Before that, a lot of relatively minor assumption death (minor for me, anyway), but not much that was particularly big until you get back to the mid-late '90s. Part of that is also that I've been developing an aversion to making assumptions and an inclination to accept uncertainty--just part of learning about human brains and applied critical thinking.
 
Otherwise, it really kinda sounds like your whole critical thinking was a one time bang back in your youth and you haven't done much besides change bandwagons since. That's not really a systematic approach of continuous questioning. Don't know
No, what it sounds like is that you're very comfortable with presumption.
 
If I were in your shoes and in your apparent state of mind I'm sure I'd also avoid that question like ... well, like a properly calibrated ruler.
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« Reply #1219 on: Feb 13, 2018, 09:42PM »

I'd like to know what kind of assumptions presuppositionalists assume I'm making though (I'm not assuming that means you). More importantly, if everyone does make assumptions, how does that excuse them from being assumptions?

I would think that you would assume things like:
- that reality is entirely natural and that it is as we perceive or measure it
- that reality is all potential
- that the supernatural does not affect the natural cosmos
- that history is a result of a cause and effect chain
- that there is no afterlife
- that truth has a high value

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What if I'm a brain in a vat?

What sort of questions do you ask about that?  I assume that this is the same as asking if 'reality' is simulated.

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That's kinda what I'm on about. If you discover an assumption, if you don't challenge it, it'll never be more than an assumption

You can call it an axiom

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--you'll never take responsibility for its veracity/making as sure as you can your understanding is accurate (or at least as accurate as can be reasonably expected).

But maybe there are facts about reality that can't be verified: that you have to take on faith.  Are you assuming that there are none of them?  How would you verify whether that assumption is true or not?

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So how do you explain apostates? people who change their mind on issues important to them in light of new information/data/other?


I think you're asking about people who change their mind on things that clash with their world view aka faith.  They either live with the dissonance or change their  understanding of their world view to include the new truth or swap their world view for another one they are more comfortable with.

I talk in terms of world views because they have sets of assumptions that characterise them.  But that is an assumption too I guess.  Do you have a world view that only has the assumptions that you mentioned above?

Quote

Are you sure you're not just trying to get more comfortable with staying clear of challenging at least some basic assumptions?

I acknowledge that I have some basic assumptions.  eg That God exists and is the fundamental fact of reality.  I understand that they come as part of my world view.  I think that your world view would have its own set of assumptions/axioms but am still checking that out.
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