Reason, Or Ideology?
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17-12-2014, 03:56 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(16-12-2014 04:17 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  I don't ask questions for no reason. If we can't agree on what "reason" means and you avoid important questions, there's no reason for me to go on here.

Please understand you aren't the only person I am corresponding with, and I am unable to reply to every statement made by every poster.

I'm not trying to blow you off or avoid anything. So how about this as a start?

Please present me with your most important question, and let me chew on that before we continue.

If I miss your post, feel free to PM me a reminder.
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17-12-2014, 04:03 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Starting with a conclusion and then trying to find reasons to justify it is generally known as "presuppositionalism". I suspect that this is what was mistakenly being called "ideology".

There is some overlap -- many ideologies are presuppositional -- but they are not the same thing.

Having said that, I consider myself a rationalist. However, I will note that the belief that reason leads to truth is itself an ideology. Nevertheless, it seems to work pretty well, so I'll stick with it.
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17-12-2014, 04:16 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Thanks for replying.

Whatever terminology we might choose, I'm trying to get at the difference between the person who is willing to follow reason where ever it may lead (which I call a reasonist), and the person who is only interested in following reason to a particular conclusion (which I call an ideologist).

I'm not married to these terms, they're just the best I can do at the moment. Please feel free to suggest alternate terms.

The difference between the reasonist and ideologist can be confusing, because both the reasonist and ideologist are using evidence, analysis, logic etc, but with very different goals.

A great many ideologists think they are doing reason, but the reality is there is only one conclusion they will accept, no matter what. Inconvenient facts and analysis are quickly discarded etc.
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17-12-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
I propose rationalist vs. presuppositionalist for what you are trying to get at. And I predict that almost everyone on this forum is a rationalist, and considers that method superior. That is certainly my position.
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17-12-2014, 04:50 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 04:39 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I propose rationalist vs. presuppositionalist for what you are trying to get at. And I predict that almost everyone on this forum is a rationalist, and considers that method superior. That is certainly my position.

I've been using forums regularly since the day they appeared on the net, so you'll have a lot of work to do to persuade me that most members of any forum are rationalists. :-)

What I see is that most members on any forum have a position, and put all their energy in to promoting or defending that position.

In your view, how is an ideologist different from a presuppositionalist? Can you clarify that a bit please? Thanks.
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17-12-2014, 05:06 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 04:50 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
(17-12-2014 04:39 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I propose rationalist vs. presuppositionalist for what you are trying to get at. And I predict that almost everyone on this forum is a rationalist, and considers that method superior. That is certainly my position.

I've been using forums regularly since the day they appeared on the net, so you'll have a lot of work to do to persuade me that most members of any forum are rationalists. :-)

What I see is that most members on any forum have a position, and put all their energy in to promoting or defending that position.

In your view, how is an ideologist different from a presuppositionalist? Can you clarify that a bit please? Thanks.

A presuppositionalist is what you have been describing: someone who already "knows" his conclusion before he begins the reasoning process. An "ideologist" would be simply someone who subscribes to a certain set of ideas. Those ideas may be presuppositional, as with most religions, or they may have been arrived at by a perfectly valid reasoning process that did not presuppose anything (other than the validity of the reasoning process itself).

Atheism is an ideology (i.e., a set of ideas), but most atheists would at least claim that they have reached that position through a rational process. I suppose it's possible that they are deluding themselves, but they would at least make that claim. I, and most other atheists I know, would be perfectly willing to abandon atheism if presented with convincing evidence for the existence of a deity. In the absence of such evidence, Occam's razor leads me to atheism.
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17-12-2014, 05:16 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
I want to make one clarification regarding my previous post. When I say that atheism is an ideology (= a set of ideas), I am using "set" in the mathematical sense. A set need not contain more than one member, and can even be empty. I note this because the "ideology" of atheism consists entirely of one simple idea: the non-existence of God(s). And this is no more presuppositional than the idea of the non-existence of unicorns or ghosts. It is perfectly rational to disbelieve in the existence of things for which there is no evidence. In fact, it would be irrational to believe in the existence of such things.
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17-12-2014, 05:19 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 05:06 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  A presuppositionalist is what you have been describing: someone who already "knows" his conclusion before he begins the reasoning process.

An "ideologist" would be simply someone who subscribes to a certain set of ideas.

Ok, thanks for that.

So yes, point taken, a person could be an "ideologist" and still have an open mind, still be willing to follow the trail where ever it leads. I will revise my use of that word, thanks.

My interest is in one's relationship with their belief system, however they came to that position.

Even if they used very careful and skilled reasoning to arrive at their position, what is their relationship with their conclusion once they have it?

Some people will be able to abandon a conclusion in the face of new analysis they find more compelling.

Other people will build an identity out of their conclusion, and then use all their abilities to promote and defend that identity.

You know, a theist might say "I am saved and those people are not". That positions the theist as someone very special, a position many of us would be reluctant to give up.

The basic message of many (not all) atheists on forums is, "I am smart and those people are not".

To the degree we embrace the self flattering identities we may create out of our conclusions, we tend to become prisoners of those conclusions, and the process of reason is largely over.

What confuses many is that they are using logic and analysis etc to promote and defend the self flattering identity they've created, and so to them it feels like they are doing reason.
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17-12-2014, 05:32 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Yes, there are dangers of self-delusion on both sides. I try to avoid saying or thinking that I'm so smart and those theists are so stupid. I personally know some very intelligent theists, and I cannot deny the obvious intelligence of people like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, Alvin Plantinga, etc. It's highly probable that all four of those (and many others besides) were/are smarter then I am.

However, I don't believe that I'm deluding myself. As I said, I would be perfectly willing to abandon atheism if presented with convincing evidence of the existence of a deity. So far, I have not seen such evidence. I cannot speak for others.

I actually tried very hard, a few years ago, to become a believer again (after being raised Catholic, and then being an atheist for a good 40 years), but I just couldn't do it. The evidence (as far as I can see it) is all on the atheist side.
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17-12-2014, 05:40 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(16-12-2014 01:43 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  Perhaps it is helpful to remind ourselves of the difference between reason and ideology. As a place to start...

REASON: The use of intellectual processes to hopefully inch a bit closer towards the truth.

IDEOLOGY: The use of intellectual processes to promote or defend a particular conclusion.

Ideally, the reasonist doesn't care what the truth might turn out to be. Ideally, the reasonist surrenders to the reasoning process and allows that process to take them where ever it will.

The ideologist cares very much what "the answer" is, and invests their energy in to trying to move themselves and their conversation partners towards the answer they have chosen.

A distinction between reason and ideology seems relevant for "thinking atheists" to consider, given that atheists usually offer reason as their alternative to religion.

No one is a perfect reasoner, or a perfect ideologist, so we are always talking a matter of degree.

When it comes to atheism, or any other subject you may wish to address, to what degree are you a reasonist, or an ideologist?

Your "priors" are false.
Reality has been proven to be non-intuitive to human brains.
(Relativity, Uncertainty, some math).
Reason alone gets you nowhere.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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