Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
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30-04-2015, 07:49 AM
Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
I had a conversation with my friend and his dad yesterday (both JWs) and something I had been thinking about for awhile was made obvious again. His dad kept referring to the bible as the evidence, for example:

"When the animals went to the ark, god had to tell them to go or they wouldn't have known." This was one of a few examples, but he obviously didn't get the fact that I didn't believe that the earth was flooded and Noah built an ark.

Now it's frustrating to talk to someone like that, but the bigger issue is that they don't comprehend what you are saying at all. In my experience, it's not just religion that this applies to, but just about everything, an example would be trying to teach my sister a new math formula. It seems like in an intellectual issue or personality trait that goes beyond just cognitive dissonance.

To learn something well, many times you have to forget what you already know about that subject and start from scratch. It seems that some people take longer to do that than others or are incapable. Working in IT, it is pretty much a necessity to be able to do that to perform well at my job.

My questions are:
1. how common is this (do any of you have this issue or know many people who do?)

2. Is there an easy way (analogy or something) to get them to see the importance of being objective?

3. Is it even worth talking to them about any important issues?

Remember, just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it true. Yes, even if you have faith.
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30-04-2015, 08:22 AM
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
(30-04-2015 07:49 AM)microterf Wrote:  I had a conversation with my friend and his dad yesterday (both JWs) and something I had been thinking about for awhile was made obvious again. His dad kept referring to the bible as the evidence, for example:

"When the animals went to the ark, god had to tell them to go or they wouldn't have known." This was one of a few examples, but he obviously didn't get the fact that I didn't believe that the earth was flooded and Noah built an ark.

Now it's frustrating to talk to someone like that, but the bigger issue is that they don't comprehend what you are saying at all. In my experience, it's not just religion that this applies to, but just about everything, an example would be trying to teach my sister a new math formula. It seems like in an intellectual issue or personality trait that goes beyond just cognitive dissonance.

To learn something well, many times you have to forget what you already know about that subject and start from scratch. It seems that some people take longer to do that than others or are incapable. Working in IT, it is pretty much a necessity to be able to do that to perform well at my job.

My questions are:
1. how common is this (do any of you have this issue or know many people who do?)

2. Is there an easy way (analogy or something) to get them to see the importance of being objective?

3. Is it even worth talking to them about any important issues?

People who have been brainwashed by religion, just parrot back everything they have been taught by the church/religious family/friends without analyzing what they are saying. As a christian, I was taught never to question God's authority. He knows best...the Lord works in mysterious ways. etc etc etc Sadly, some people never get out of that maze.
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30-04-2015, 08:23 AM
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
Funny you mentioned IT. A lot of the problems I come across in software development are solved by removing your "presuppositions", if you will, about what is working and what is not. If I go to someone who isn't familiar with my project and explain the issues to them, they'll often come up with different ideas about what could be wrong. They're not making the same assumptions I am about what is working and what isn't.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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30-04-2015, 11:10 AM
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
My $0.02:

(30-04-2015 07:49 AM)microterf Wrote:  1. how common is this (do any of you have this issue or know many people who do?)

I think it is very common. Many people were raised with what to think and not how to think. In that end, it is very difficult to retrain the brain. Not impossible though. I think that's why if someone deconverts, it can takes years. I have yet to hear of a single "born again" type experience to non-belief that was instantaneous. Getting caught in the trap is easy, getting out is a fight.

(30-04-2015 07:49 AM)microterf Wrote:  2. Is there an easy way (analogy or something) to get them to see the importance of being objective?

IMO, no. Personally, I think it is completely situation dependent. An IT analogy may be useful to someone in IT but it would be completely useless on someone like me as I lack an IT background. I think that you need to identify something they understand objectively and you may have to come up with an example where you aren't being objective to hammer the point home.

(30-04-2015 07:49 AM)microterf Wrote:  3. Is it even worth talking to them about any important issues?

I think it is always important to talk about important issues with those you care about.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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30-04-2015, 11:53 AM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2015 12:00 PM by Cosmic Discourse.)
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
I'm gonna attempt to approach this, from a bit of a different angle. I agree that for most people, social conditioning and/or upbringing is a difficult chain to break. The more life experience I gain, the more important critical thinking has become.

I would venture a guess, that most parents are well versed (whether knowingly or unknowingly) in the art of double speak. To give an example, I posed this question to a few family members w/kids: "If parents really want their children to achieve greater than they did, why is it that most parents seek to structure their kids options exactly as their own, with little to no deviation?" Suffice it to say, the responses to my line of questioning varied from dumbfounded to slightly irritated.

I realize some of this can be linked to a lack of alternative parenting knowledge, but it also gives off the vibe of crab in a bucket mentality, which I find to be dishonest parenting.

Shifting gears a bit, I find that empathy helps to at least open the dialog, with those who may seem stuck in their ways. Finding a common ground or shared experience, can help in relating. Inquiring as to future aspirations, may shed light on some of the issues they struggle with most.

One of the more effective ways I've seen growth in group settings, is to create an environment where others feel comfortable bouncing ideas off one another. Be as honest and forthcoming as you're okay with.
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30-04-2015, 12:00 PM
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
(30-04-2015 11:53 AM)Cosmic Discourse Wrote:  I'm gonna attempt to approach this from a bit of a different angle. I agree that for most people, social conditioning and/or upbringing is a difficult chain to break. The more life experience I gain, the more important critical thinking has become.

I would venture a guess, that most parents are well versed (whether knowingly or unknowingly) in the art of double speak. To give an example, I posed this question to a few family members w/kids: "If parents really want their children to achieve greater than they did, why is it that most parents seek to structure their kids options exactly as their own, with little to no deviation?" Suffice it to say, the responses to my line of questioning varied from dumbfounded to slightly irritated.

I realize some of this can be linked to a lack of alternative parenting knowledge, but it also gives off the vibe of crab in a bucket mentality, which I find to be dishonest parenting.

Shifting gears a bit, I find that empathy is a great way to at least open the dialog, with those who may seem stuck in their ways. Finding a common ground or shared experience, can help in relating. Inquiry into future aspirations can shed light on some of the issues they struggle with most.

One of the more effective ways for both parties to grow, is to create an environment where others feel comfortable bouncing ideas off one another. Be as honest and forthcoming as you're okay with.

I also think some people are happy being caught up in the delusion of their beliefs and therefore, have no desire to see things differently. For me, there was a desire to change--things weren't making sense re: the bible (in general and in relation to science). I did not like the intolerance, the dictating, the control by fear...
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30-04-2015, 12:17 PM
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
I don't think it's possible to "forget" everything you know about a topic - how does one force oneself to forget something? But maybe we can temporarily ignore what we think we know about a topic to hopefully have that replaced by new knowledge or a new process or perspective that will lead to a more complete knowledge.
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30-04-2015, 12:44 PM (This post was last modified: 01-05-2015 03:21 AM by Szuchow.)
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
(30-04-2015 07:49 AM)microterf Wrote:  I had a conversation with my friend and his dad yesterday (both JWs) and something I had been thinking about for awhile was made obvious again. His dad kept referring to the bible as the evidence, for example:

"When the animals went to the ark, god had to tell them to go or they wouldn't have known." This was one of a few examples, but he obviously didn't get the fact that I didn't believe that the earth was flooded and Noah built an ark.

Now it's frustrating to talk to someone like that, but the bigger issue is that they don't comprehend what you are saying at all. In my experience, it's not just religion that this applies to, but just about everything, an example would be trying to teach my sister a new math formula. It seems like in an intellectual issue or personality trait that goes beyond just cognitive dissonance.

To learn something well, many times you have to forget what you already know about that subject and start from scratch. It seems that some people take longer to do that than others or are incapable. Working in IT, it is pretty much a necessity to be able to do that to perform well at my job.

From what I heard about JW they seems to take Bible very seriously, so why this is suprising you? Also theists who don't quite grasp that someone do not believe are not something unusual.

As for learning I would not say that forgetting is necessary. I think it is about making the new bits of inormation fit with the others, or even replacing them if new ones are from more trustworthy source for example.

Forgetting to learn would not work with history I think - learning is like making carefully woven tapestry to which you should skilfully add another embroidery as your knowledge expands.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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30-04-2015, 12:45 PM
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
(30-04-2015 12:00 PM)jennybee Wrote:  
(30-04-2015 11:53 AM)Cosmic Discourse Wrote:  I'm gonna attempt to approach this from a bit of a different angle. I agree that for most people, social conditioning and/or upbringing is a difficult chain to break. The more life experience I gain, the more important critical thinking has become.

I would venture a guess, that most parents are well versed (whether knowingly or unknowingly) in the art of double speak. To give an example, I posed this question to a few family members w/kids: "If parents really want their children to achieve greater than they did, why is it that most parents seek to structure their kids options exactly as their own, with little to no deviation?" Suffice it to say, the responses to my line of questioning varied from dumbfounded to slightly irritated.

I realize some of this can be linked to a lack of alternative parenting knowledge, but it also gives off the vibe of crab in a bucket mentality, which I find to be dishonest parenting.

Shifting gears a bit, I find that empathy is a great way to at least open the dialog, with those who may seem stuck in their ways. Finding a common ground or shared experience, can help in relating. Inquiry into future aspirations can shed light on some of the issues they struggle with most.

One of the more effective ways for both parties to grow, is to create an environment where others feel comfortable bouncing ideas off one another. Be as honest and forthcoming as you're okay with.

I also think some people are happy being caught up in the delusion of their beliefs and therefore, have no desire to see things differently. For me, there was a desire to change--things weren't making sense re: the bible (in general and in relation to science). I did not like the intolerance, the dictating, the control by fear...
Blissful ignorance is assuredly a factor. The last straw for me (religiously) was probably the unwillingness of church leaders to hear the perspectives of others, and a lack of desire to discuss the topics which can't be reconciled without simply "believing".
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01-05-2015, 07:10 AM
RE: Are you willing to forget everything you know about something?
(30-04-2015 12:44 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  From what I heard about JW they seems to take Bible very seriously, so why this is suprising you? Also theists who don't quite grasp that someone do not believe are not something unusual.

As for learning I would not say that forgetting is necessary. I think it is about making the new bits of inormation fit with the others, or even replacing them if new ones are from more trustworthy source for example.

Forgetting to learn would not work with history I think - learning is like making carefully woven tapestry to which you should skilfully add another embroidery as your knowledge expands.

You're right, it's not necessary for most things. For many things it is, a good example is sports, if you want to learn how to play basketball well then you might have to relearn how to shoot correctly etc. That is to say that you have to learn the forget what you know about basketball and relearn the fundamentals first.

The example I was referring to with his dad is that he cannot seem suspend his beliefs for the sake of analogy. Most people would realize that if I don't believe the bible is the word of god, the argument of fitting every animal on a boat carries no weight in terms of evidence of persuasion for me.

Remember, just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it true. Yes, even if you have faith.
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