Relativists
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23-10-2014, 02:29 AM
Relativists
"You can't know anything, all fact is only opinion. Therefore my world view is correct and yours isn't."

Is there any way to deal with these people other than telling them to jump out of a window and see if gravity is an opinion? That is literally all I have to say to them, but it doesn't feel funny enough.

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23-10-2014, 07:35 AM
RE: Relativists
It is pretty easy to demonstrate that not all opinions are equally valid. If my opinion is that I deserve to have anything I want and start just taking things I need I'll be in jail pretty quickly. My opinion is not going to count for much.

If I decide that because matter is mostly empty space things should pass through other things and so I can walk through walls I'm going to get a nasty surprise. My opinion is just wrong.

If I believe that prayer will heal my child's illness so I don't take him to the doctor I may be risking a life. My opinion is dangerous.

If I believe that Shazzbat the Magnificent is watching out for me and I walk into traffic (or handle venomous snakes without training and precautions) I'm going to be dead soon. My opinion is just wrong.

If your worldview doesn't match reality then your decisions are likely to be less than optimal. The further it diverges from reality the worse your decisions will be. Even if nobody has a perfectly accurate worldview, some are still objectively better than others.

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23-10-2014, 07:39 AM
RE: Relativists
(23-10-2014 02:29 AM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  "You can't know anything, all fact is only opinion. Therefore my world view is correct and yours isn't."

Is there any way to deal with these people other than telling them to jump out of a window and see if gravity is an opinion? That is literally all I have to say to them, but it doesn't feel funny enough.

If I recall correctly, we used to have a relativist on this very forum, hardline about it too if I do be remembering right.

I think the gravity thing is succinct enough for your purposes.

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23-10-2014, 11:31 AM
RE: Relativists
That's not just relativism, it's post-modernism ad absurdum.

Although the sad part is that there are people who might make such claims...

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23-10-2014, 11:33 AM
RE: Relativists
I've actually had quite a few people declare that they are right because 'you can't know anything' so that means I must be wrong because apparently they are not included in this rule about how nobody can know anything.

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26-10-2014, 12:03 PM
RE: Relativists
When I was in grade school I remember we spent an entire class day discussing that facts were different from opinions. I remember it clearly because I got into a heated debate with the teacher on one of the assignments.
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27-10-2014, 10:54 AM
RE: Relativists
(23-10-2014 07:39 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(23-10-2014 02:29 AM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  "You can't know anything, all fact is only opinion. Therefore my world view is correct and yours isn't."

Is there any way to deal with these people other than telling them to jump out of a window and see if gravity is an opinion? That is literally all I have to say to them, but it doesn't feel funny enough.

If I recall correctly, we used to have a relativist on this very forum, hardline about it too if I do be remembering right.

I think the gravity thing is succinct enough for your purposes.

I recall that... unsurprisingly a real dingus poster that kept interjecting his relativist/nihilistic point into topics as if it was something anyone cared to take seriously after seeing him post it on and on.

I actually had a time where I was close to that way in relativist view...except it was never in a context of saying, therefore I'm right.. It was always, therefore I am wrong, and you are wrong and we are all wrong on some level of almost all things we claim except tautologies. I've kinda moved on past that, not that most people would see eye to eye with me still. Cool

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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01-11-2014, 01:27 PM
RE: Relativists
Cultural Relativists piss me off the most. No, we don't need to just 'understand' their culture. Cutting a childs clitoris off with a piece of glass is not a misunderstanding it's fucked up.

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01-11-2014, 02:55 PM
RE: Relativists
(01-11-2014 01:27 PM)aesirus Wrote:  Cultural Relativists piss me off the most. No, we don't need to just 'understand' their culture. Cutting a childs clitoris off with a piece of glass is not a misunderstanding it's fucked up.

That's the really extreme and evil side of moral relativism.
As for looking to relevance in lesser issues: personal rights, and how they relate to society in general has always had some appeal to me.
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04-11-2014, 12:46 AM
RE: Relativists
As much fun as the gravity quip is, there's an entertaining experiment that clears all of this up. You need:
  • A small rooms
  • Electrical sockets, a dozen or so.
  • Switches for each socket
  • Numbers, paint or somesuch
  • Relativists, the more the merrier
  • A video camera (optional but if it doesn't happen on camera...)
  1. Mount the switches and the sockets in a random fashion so that it is impossible to tell which switch leads to which socket.
  2. Label each socket 1 through N
  3. Turn on your video camera
  4. Bring a relativist into the room and explain the experimental design.
  5. Flip half of the switches to the ON position.
  6. Ask the relativist what their "opinion" is about which sockets are live and which are off.
  7. Inform the relativist that they must now validate their opinion by sticking their tongue into all of the sockets that they indicated were off.
  8. Watch the relativist leave the room in a huff, thereby demonstrating that they know full well that reality trumps opinion every time.
  9. Repeat until you run out of relativists.

Note to the ethics board: This experiment can be performed without befouling any electrons. None of the sockets need be connected to an electrical supply. The perception of danger is all that is necessary. None of the switches need to be wired to the sockets or to anything at all.
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