Framing the issue
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11-09-2011, 03:25 PM
 
Framing the issue
In the TV Series “Boston Legal” Danny Crane, the brilliant lawyer who was never defeated in court, gives this advice to a young attorney: “you don’t let your opponent frame the issue – you have to frame the issue yourself. If you do it right, you have already won”.

Why is it important for atheists to know?

In the battle between religious delusions and healthy, rational view of life, we allow, far too often, the nut cases to frame the issue. When we get into arguments about proof, scientific method, evolution, etc. – what they are hearing is that we are debating them.

That very fact recognizes their side as a legitimate topic open to discussion and debate.

You can not have a discussion about ‘ojsdfgoqweirjg’, because it is a meaningless jumble of characters, randomly hit on the keyboard. But so is religion. Once we get sucked in, like all the posters who debated S.T.Ranger on the “going to hell” thread, you validate their position as something viable, something you may disagree with in detail, maybe even the foundation, but not the legitimacy of the entire topic.

Some of you may recall that I challenged him several times to define his concepts and, after a feeble attempt, he gave up and never answered me any more, while he wrote pages and pages of gobbledygook for everyone else. He felt that he was being taken seriously.

We shouldn’t grant him and his ilk, that kind of legitimacy.
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11-09-2011, 08:37 PM
RE: Framing the issue
Unfortunately, many of us have been - some, quite recently! - under the influence of such people. We are in the habit of accepting their authority in the matter of .... something that's gobbledygook to you, but was the guiding personal, communal and moral structure of life for many of us. We can't just say "Huh?" because we know, bone-deep, exactly what they're talking about and can't pretend indifference.
For those recent refugees, the issue is as strongly framed as communism might be for a Pole, or apartheid for a South African.

Taking back the power to define ourselves, our beliefs, our thought process, is difficult. Necessary, though. Vital. One of the main reasons people come here is to learn how to do that.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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11-09-2011, 09:39 PM (This post was last modified: 11-09-2011 09:40 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Framing the issue
I agree with you Zatamon that their arguments are not legitimate, and we can get taken down a long and winding road that implies they may be. I employ a line of thinking that is sometimes effective in undermining their legitimacy.

How I try to discuss issues with theists is to bring the discussion back to the bible, which is the original source of most of their dogma. 99.9% of theists have got no idea as to who wrote the books in the bible, when and how they were compiled. They just assume their bible has divine authority. When the real history of their silly book is explained they have no good rebuttals.

I am yet to have a good discussion with an evangelical Christian about real history because they know bugger all about it.

I have written a book about the real history of the bible that I hope some Christians will read. I'm not the first who's tried this, and in the process I think I have eqipped myself with enough knowledge to counter all their arguments.


(11-09-2011 08:37 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  Unfortunately, many of us have been - some, quite recently! - under the influence of such people. We are in the habit of accepting their authority in the matter of .... something that's gobbledygook to you, but was the guiding personal, communal and moral structure of life for many of us. We can't just say "Huh?" because we know, bone-deep, exactly what they're talking about and can't pretend indifference.
For those recent refugees, the issue is as strongly framed as communism might be for a Pole, or apartheid for a South African.

Taking back the power to define ourselves, our beliefs, our thought process, is difficult. Necessary, though. Vital. One of the main reasons people come here is to learn how to do that.

Well written!
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12-09-2011, 04:08 AM
 
RE: Framing the issue
(11-09-2011 08:37 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  Unfortunately, many of us have been - some, quite recently! - under the influence of such people. We are in the habit of accepting their authority in the matter of .... something that's gobbledygook to you, but was the guiding personal, communal and moral structure of life for many of us. We can't just say "Huh?" because we know, bone-deep, exactly what they're talking about and can't pretend indifference.
For those recent refugees, the issue is as strongly framed as communism might be for a Pole, or apartheid for a South African.

Taking back the power to define ourselves, our beliefs, our thought process, is difficult. Necessary, though. Vital. One of the main reasons people come here is to learn how to do that.

I hear you, Peterkin.

What I feel, bone-deep, is a revulsion from the entire phenomenon of religion. For me it is a disease of the mind, a kind of neurological disorder that got lodged in human brains for historical reasons. The main symptom is usually cognitive impairment. We should have evolved from this by now but we haven’t, and we seem to have a new pandemic-size outbreak in progress.

I guess, atheism does have degrees, from recent victims to the totally immune and anything in between. I am lucky to have been immune all my life, probably due to the rigorous scientific education I received in the school system as well as in my chosen profession in science. But I do have compassion and sympathy for those who were not as lucky and were hurt by the disease of religion before they could properly defend themselves.

I know that there are many ways to fight against this disease: one of these is the rejection of the entire topic as a subject for legitimate discussion.

This method has the advantage of clarity and courage of our conviction. Saves a lot of time and energy too.

As long as we are arguing with them, we may create the impression of not being 100% sure ourselves, of wanting to convince them, so we can fully convince ourselves. They sense this and pounce on it, trying to confuse us, weaken our resolve, intimidate us by clever little tricks and misdirection to create some doubts in our minds, break down our defenses. Do we need this constant attack on our minds? Do we need to convince them about how crazy they are?

Maybe what we need is more courage, pride, celebration of our delusion-free vision of the universe and our place in it.

I am sure that there is not one best method to help people cope with the disease of religion. What I suggested is just one of them. I have seen it work very well for some people and, as a bonus, impress the opposition.

Courage always does.

If you treat the disease with the pity and contempt it deserves, they will leave you alone -- the best outcome you can hope for.
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12-09-2011, 10:26 AM (This post was last modified: 12-09-2011 10:29 AM by mysticjbyrd.)
RE: Framing the issue
The problem with your analogy is that in court, logic carries far more weight than in the real world. In the real world religious debates always end in the same place, "It was Magic", such an argument could not be made in a court room.

Religion is like a black hole. Once you get past a critical point, the event horizon, there is no return. We cant reach those people so there is really no point in trying. Our salvation, if you will, lies with the future generations. If we can educate them, then we can prevent their indoctrination and the spread of religion. Once it takes off, it will be a snowball effect as each generation becomes less spiritual and more logical.

All children are born atheists.
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12-09-2011, 10:46 AM
 
RE: Framing the issue
(12-09-2011 10:26 AM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  We cant reach those people so there is really no point in trying.

If you read my second post carefully, you will see that we are in perfect agreement. Smile
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12-09-2011, 01:12 PM (This post was last modified: 12-09-2011 01:17 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Framing the issue
My usual line to proselytizers has been: "I find that story improbable."
To the subsequent "What's improbable about it? or "Which part?", i would either say "All of it," or start recounting the biggest whoppers, because i quite enjoyed discussing mythology in general and bible stories in particular. Didn't make a dent in JW's, but had some influence on a couple of young colleagues.
But that was in a different, calmer, less intolerant era.

I don't do that anymore. Now, i just say: "Don't need any."

On a forum, i generally give a pro-religion poster the courtesy of one or two exchanges. If they're obdurate, it ends there.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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12-09-2011, 02:14 PM
 
RE: Framing the issue
(12-09-2011 01:12 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  I don't do that anymore. Now, i just say: "Don't need any."

Like Monty Python in the Holy Grail? -- "We already got one!"

Big Grin
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