Feeling Blah
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11-08-2014, 01:35 AM
Feeling Blah
My deconversion happened over a period of a few years, not due to any scientific evidence, or debates, etc. I never listened to the other side of the argument, but just insisted on reading apologetics to stay protected in my little box of a world. I became an atheist technically a week ago. I had always been skeptical and would bother christian friends with questions like, "Does it seem odd that John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins (asserting they were in Cahoots).?" Now, my problem is that I used to feel I could get by and say "Creationism". I have a real thirst for learning science...something I wasn't interested in before, because I believed the bible held life's answers. My problem is that I feel like there's a lot to learn, and that I may not be intelligent enough to learn it. Did anybody ever feel this way when starting out?
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11-08-2014, 11:31 PM
RE: Feeling Blah
I feel the exact same way.

I actually just posted a debate I had with my husband's cousin, to get some feedback.

I feel like anything I say sounds half assed, even though it truly isn't.

One of the good aspects about atheism, to me at least, is while it seems like a lot, it really isn't. A lot of it is common sense and comes naturally.

I think it's the confidence we struggle with, at least I know I do.

Hopefully being here will quell those thoughts for us and empower us to be ourselves!!
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11-08-2014, 11:48 PM
RE: Feeling Blah
Far as I'm concerned, we've already overcome one of the biggest hurdles -the brainwashing!

I do a lot more reading of the atheist debates than posting. I don't have enough knowledge to be of any use.

MrSkeptic I felt just like you, and it does get better. I'm learning and you will too. Baby steps. Yes

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. ~Mark Twain
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12-08-2014, 04:44 AM
RE: Feeling Blah
I have felt that way. Like CindysRain, I do a lot more reading than posting. It's really helpful for learning about debate styles, common arguments, and basic facts. I always like when people supply links in their arguments (as they should!). I'm like a ravenous clicker sometimes!

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
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12-08-2014, 06:30 AM
RE: Feeling Blah
If you have a thirst for knowledge, the fountain is books. Smartass

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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12-08-2014, 06:58 AM
RE: Feeling Blah
Debate isn't for everyone.
It is enough to just know. You don't need to prove yourself to anyone.

I prefer teaching over debate/argument.

Dr Phil moment, do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?


Be excellent to each other and party on, Dudes!
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14-08-2014, 02:15 PM
RE: Feeling Blah
(11-08-2014 01:35 AM)MrSkeptic Wrote:  My problem is that I feel like there's a lot to learn, and that I may not be intelligent enough to learn it. Did anybody ever feel this way when starting out?

The bad news: There is more to learn thank you think. WAAAAYYYYY more.
Right now, no human being is able to learn everything we already know. It is just physically impossible.

On the upside, today you can learn more about the life, the universe, and everything we know to exist, than your great-grandparents would have even dreamt of.

Also intelligence, as long as you are not severely mentally handicapped, is not as important as you think. Consistently working towards your goal of education in an effective manner (I don't have enough right now to explain the basics of this, I will have to postpone it to later) is far more important.

I will just leave you with two recommendations right now:
1. Try to learn continuously. Half an hour 5 days a week is a lot more efficient than 2,5 hours straight on Saturday.

2. In the beginning every new subject will feel difficult and hard to master. The biggest mistake you can do is spend 1 or 2 hours on a subject or skill, and then quit.
Try to commit to something like 15 or 20 hours. And if you do it the right way (more on this another time, if I forget to post remind via a PM), you will be astounded at your improvements.

Jesus sprach: "Es werde Licht!" / Doch ... er fand den Schalter nicht.
Jesus said: "Let there be light!" / But ... he couldn't find the switch.
Oops
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18-08-2014, 01:16 PM
RE: Feeling Blah
(11-08-2014 01:35 AM)MrSkeptic Wrote:  My problem is that I feel like there's a lot to learn, and that I may not be intelligent enough to learn it.

You don't need to learn it all, just learn that little bit which you find most fascinating.

If we all do that, then between us we have it covered!

In terms of your intelligence, you've essentially single-handedly deconstructed your inherited system of thinking and stepped outside of it. That inherited system (religion) stretches back generations, out of all your ancestors you were the first one who was big enough to step outside the box.

Do the facts suggest you lack intelligence?

Phil
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19-08-2014, 01:50 PM (This post was last modified: 19-08-2014 02:13 PM by therealJim.)
RE: Feeling Blah
Okay, so here is how I suggest learning anything new.

The following is a checklist devised by the author Josh Kaufman as a supplement to his book "The First 20 Hours":

1. Want do you want to know / be able to do? Be specific.

2. Is it a single subject / skills or a bunch of related smaller subjects / sub-skills
(for example cooking consists, among other things, of knife skills and specific foundational cooking techniques like grilling, braising and blanching)

3. Review 3 - 5 solid how-to guides / sources on the subject / skill:
The idea here is to get an overview so that you can identify the smaller subjects / sub-skills.

4. Are any particular subjects / sub-skills very important / used very often?
The point is that you apply the 80/20 rule to the selection of the material, that is you start with the 20 % of the stuff that gives you 80% of what you want.

5. Do you have the necessary tools?
Speaks for itself, i.e. try learning knife skills without a proper chefs knife and a honing steel.

6. What's your fast feedback loop?
This stems from the obvious insight that you need to evaluate your improvements, in order to find out what you know. So that you can focus on what matters most for your progress.
Also in studies by Karpicke and others, testing your knowledge has been found to be an effective way of learning.

7. What comes before the end result? What before that?
Planning the whole thing backwards often helps to clarify your goals and / or the path towards them.

8. Can you eliminate anything that is not essential?
Another round of application of the 80/20-Rule.

9. When are you making time for learning / practice? How will you ensure that you do actually learn / practice when the time comes?
This is a step that is easy to overlook, BUT it is of vital importance. Doing a little bit of testing here, and finding out which situations / conditions help you do learn, and what will get in the way, will help you enormously. The environment is a very powerful tool that can make learning easy or next to impossible.
Observe your behaviour here, and experiment regularly. Over time you will find out what works for you and what doesn't.



As far as ressources for learning skills for mental contents (as opposed to moving your body, i.e. handling an instrument or dancing) go, I usually recommend these:

For a helpful theoretical model, that helps you evaluate what techniques are more likely to help you to learn effectively take a look at Michelene Chi's ICAP-Model.
A source can be found under b) at the end of the post.

For a better understanding of how to learn facts and concepts in more general terms try "Your Memory. How it works and how to improve it" by Kenneth Higbee, especially Chapters 4-6.

To organize content effectively (an effective learning strategy, see Chapter 4 in the book above) , try "Concept Maps" and "Mind Maps". Explanations on how to create them should be easy to find
on the web.

For a powerful method to learn facts by heart, I recommend mnemonics. They are covered in great detail in the book mentioned above in later chapters.

And finally for a very effective method to learn concepts and principles, and also to enhance the transfer of the learning content to different and novel situations / contexts, try self-explanations.
Good sources are:
a) Roy, M. & Chi, M.T.H. (2005). Self-explanation in a multi-media context, pages 5-17
b) Fonseca, B. & Chi, M.T.H. (2011). The self-explanation effect: A constructive learning activity
Both can be downloaded here for free.

Jesus sprach: "Es werde Licht!" / Doch ... er fand den Schalter nicht.
Jesus said: "Let there be light!" / But ... he couldn't find the switch.
Oops
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21-08-2014, 03:13 PM
RE: Feeling Blah
There are some great posts here already, so let me answer a slightly different question to the one you asked. I can only speak for myself, but I think it is not unusual to feel a little lost when you pull away the foundations of so many things you thought you knew well. There can be an element of mourning the apparent security you felt before. Regretting loosing the sense of belonging and direction provided by the beliefs, rather than the beliefs themselves.

Although I fell away from Christianity years ago, I only accepted I am an atheist much more recently (about one year ago). At that time I felt a little lost as well as more free. Like I had just stepped out of prison and now did not know where to go, but knowing I had the freedom to go wherever my feet took me.

This gets better. Read what you are interested in. Listen to debates on Youtube if that is your thing, or study science books, or just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy the breeze. Religious beliefs tend to make the world small and isolated. All your answers are in one book. If the book does not make sense then an answer (other than the book is wrong) must be given. For example "yes, they were cousins but since we know Jesus was the son of god, we know he was John's cousin in a sense only. Also, since we know Jesus led a perfect life, even if they were colluding, it would have been perfectly necessary". Rubbish of course, but, when there are few facts and no possibility for further investigation, any excuse can be stated without evidence. The wonderful thing is no one life can scratch the surface of all available knowledge. So do what you enjoy.

Intelligence is only limiting if you have a goal in mind (to obtain a Nobel Prize, for example). If you are mostly just learning for your own interests take your time. In many ways it is better to understand a simple thing well than a complex thing badly. If you are struggling with something, ask for help. Please remember, science is not religion. Not knowing something in religion can often be seen as a fault. Not understanding something in science is just another opportunity to learn. "I don't know" is always an acceptable answer, if it is an honest answer.

It seems, for some folks, coming to terms with atheism can be harder than for others. I once heard a woman describe discovering her atheism as feeling very lonely but honest. It made her sad. Others feel happiness and freedom. There is not a right or normal attitude here. Give it time and you will start to feel more confident dancing your own dance.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
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