Street Epistemology
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28-08-2015, 07:57 PM
Street Epistemology
An interesting group and website I'm doing a little delving into right now. They try to metric the 'best route to de-conversion for every day people' approach. Interesting so far...

Website:
http://www.streetepistemology.com/

Facebook (must-apply 'closed' group)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/streetepistemology/

YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/StreetEpistemologist
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28-08-2015, 08:01 PM
RE: Street Epistemology
Very Socratic. I like it, but I don't think I could ever pull it off these conversations with such finesse. lol

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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28-08-2015, 09:04 PM (This post was last modified: 28-08-2015 10:32 PM by Matrim Cauthon.)
RE: Street Epistemology
A challenge indeed Smile
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28-08-2015, 11:01 PM
RE: Street Epistemology
(28-08-2015 09:04 PM)Matrim Cauthon Wrote:  A challenge indeed Smile

Huh?!? What happened to your long post?

I enjoyed reading it.

When I came to re-read, it was gone!

Is this some miracle?

Ohmy

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28-08-2015, 11:18 PM (This post was last modified: 28-08-2015 11:54 PM by Matrim Cauthon.)
RE: Street Epistemology
(28-08-2015 11:01 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(28-08-2015 09:04 PM)Matrim Cauthon Wrote:  A challenge indeed Smile

Huh?!? What happened to your long post?

I enjoyed reading it.

When I came to re-read, it was gone!

Is this some miracle?

Ohmy

ROFL!! Blush ...honestly...was figuring was too long, etc - and thought maybe could sneak it out without anyone noticing it. I like (and do fairly well in) debate (Hitchens, easily my absolute greatest inspiration...hero, idol, etc...hehe)...but I'm clearly still getting my writing in order...

Also figured simple manners as a newcomer might lean towards letting the flame burn a little slow, before setting dynamite to it. First impressions and all... Wink
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28-08-2015, 11:22 PM (This post was last modified: 29-08-2015 12:09 AM by Matrim Cauthon.)
RE: Street Epistemology
But...since you asked...and since I'm busted...and since I will now look like a chicken otherwise [thanksDodgy]: here it is: Big Grin

--------

Visitor to Street Epistemology writes (OP):

"...It seems here that there is a very heavy atheist presence. I myself am agnostic and although I often feel atheism is true, I cannot rule out certain lines of reasoning which suggest there may be some kind of God (*obviously* not the God of any of the 'revealed' religions haha). Anyone else here have some theist tendencies?..."

--------

I begin my freakin essay, and respond with:

--------

Hi Chris, I understand - and it's a question all of human history validates - and you can be commended for really at least coming to the point of being able to battle (what is seemingly) human genetics, and rise to ask it.

Humans have had 'Theistic Tendencies' since the dawn of 'self-awareness' - it's core Human Nature; to "Fear" and "Wonder". It isn't religion that badgers you now - you've risen beyond that by simply being someone who's obviously still open to question - and most importantly, still seeking knowledge, confirmation, and evidence. That all people don't rise to question it, is a true sadness that plagues our species.

'Theistic Tendencies' led to each and every 'God' ever worshipped by man. I'd venture you're where you are now though, because you've already seen hints to this.

Let me branch out a little to the silly side for this though - and assure you that, truly, the primary belief systems held my most atheists could easily be represented by none other than: "Star Trek". Roll with me...

Atheists simply do not believe in "the God of the Bible" - and/or often nothing even close to a "benevolent Creator" theory (leaning to an "I don't know", except in situations of reasonable evidence). However...I could easily admit the possibility of running into a "Q" in the year 2369, after warp driving to some other Galaxy. This, to many, is the 'loophole' they're looking for, to allow for their humanity - whilst remaining fully 'reasonable and logical' - which I assume is similar to the feelings that are driving you with these (and similar) questions.

This all roots in what either/both atheists and religious people have in mind, when they regard the term "God". Are we talking "Biblical God" or "Picard's Q", or...? Then consider that most atheists follow logic, reason, evidence, and probability.

"...nothing to fear, but fear itself..."

*SIDENOTE - this is important regarding the 'proving a negative' argument (above, Jeffrey Smith). Atheists are consistently blamed for not believing as if 'non-belief' was actually going in a certain direction - when it's actually simply 'standing still, doing nothing, going nowhere'. *Someone brings a wild story to your door, presents no evidence, and then burns your lawn when you don't believe them (proverbially speaking, of course). I submit, it's SPECIFICALLY this fear, that is one of the primary factors motivating belief... Something you retain in the back of your mind...that 'this' is what 'all these people believe' - and further, that they'll look to hurt you (in some way) if/when you don't just jump on board without complaint or question. [Remember the impact of 'fitting in' throughout childhood - your indoctrination being during those same years] ...This also leads to why many atheists are 'angry atheists', etc...and so forth (let the pondering and root-splitting commence...). In short (to repeat J.Smith above) - extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and if you don't have it, you are not allowed to then be upset and behave as if I'm actively opposing you by requiring it to believe you, that there is something wrong with me, that I am bad/evil in some way, etc... Not only is the initial proposition itself both highly illogical and against natural thinking patterns, but so is the common zealot's negative follow-up behavior, perceptions, and treatment of me - illogical and against natural thinking patterns as well. *Indeed...many angry atheists (I get a little hot just verbalizing it)...

In your current position though - it's also important to question what the roots are to your current belief. In other words - there are those ensnared in argument over whether Jesus' robe has been found, it's authenticity, etc - and even more fallibly - think that somehow this adds to 'religious evidence'.

An important thing to keep in mind - is that, at least at a root level, religious evidence is 'linear' in nature. In other words - think of a flowchart: if the Bible is discredited - so is Jesus - and then all he said - and then any argument over 'the robe's validity is instantly 'moot'. This approach had most impact on me, and I focused directly and immediately on the roots of 'the stories' - and relieved myself of needing to look at anything else even related (such as the "but the Church does great and benevolent works/deeds", etc...).

Ultimately - once you realize the fallibility of 'religious evidence' (and by no means, not for just Christianity alone) - and then accept that it's actually your humanity itself at the root of your (remaining) 'Theistic Tendencies' - you're mind will be sufficiently open enough to satisfy yourself and any degree of 'atheist activist'...and as long as you continue to question and seek new evidence, you'll find yourself where you need to be eventually.

...You could say that the wind under wings of the 'Atheist Cause' - is difference between "I Believe"...and "I Know", and all that it impacts.

Also remember that, ultimately, there are actually two very different topics here: Religious Philosophy and Atheist Activism. The latter, only existing from the former turning nasty...thus the latter being motivated only by:

1. Separation of Church and State
2. Political, professional, and social discrimination against Non-Believers
3. Negative impacts of 'Religion' the world over

...Anything short of the above, is only motivated by 'search for Truth', and doesn't even rate for discussion (/activism), or even matter at all - other than for simple (welcome/friendly) delves into the 'philosophies of Religion', over coffee, for fun or learning...

No one can make you believe something - not even yourself. 'True Belief' comes from evidence - and ONLY comes from evidence. You can 'hypnotize yourself' with 'Faith' - however, your subconscious DOES know the difference. Of course - we can't discount those that would claim Faith when they don't have it - for a myriad of maniacal purposes besides either of the former...but we're off topic at that point, and talking about why people placate, pretend, hope, lie, want power or have greed, etc... Short: if you've seen rain, I cannot convince you that it doesn't exist - yet there are people in the desert that would still need to see it to ("Truly") believe it (subconscious - and all). "True Belief" cannot be contrived, given, created, etc - by nature, it is simply something that materializes naturally upon taking in new evidence or information - and that you simply either have or don't, on any given subject. In my opinion, it's a sad truth that as soon as a religious person says "I Know" or "I have Faith" ('Faith' = supposed 'True Belief - without Evidence') - I know I'm going to have to either walk away (them simply being an 'unreasonable/illogical person')...or start all the way back at the beginning; from the definitions of the words themselves, onward...because I already know there's no 'real evidence' - and that their claim is immediately incorrect and wholly impossible...

I also assume by your question (even surfacing at all) that you already look at evidence to make decisions, or are at least are starting to - primarily the schism of being able to stand back and observe all the religions from an overhead position, noting that all but ONE are immediately able to be eliminated as 'True' - via (the irony of) each of them opening with the claim to have 100% total and complete 'Truth and Knowledge'. *This knowledge hit me quite hard, as I once saw 'religion' as a huge and overbearing mountain to overcome - but realizing 'this' fact (and it's MORE than obvious nature), allowed me to acknowledge that - at worst - I was justified (and wholly backed up) to call about 95% of the world wrong, and about 80% of the world guilty of claiming "Total Truth" without it (destroying any/all "total - and unquestionable" credibility)...and laughably make this claim boldly (singling out any given religion) with ALL the other religions (claiming 'Total Truth') behind me on it (heh.).

*I also assume, in your questioning state, that you know an atheist can't actually have an 'apples to apples' conversation with any religious person - given that the existence of so many religions existing and claiming 100% total truth and correctness, is one of the largest arguments for the atheist position - and that I've yet to find a single religious person be able to argue the point...as there is yet no one that has looked at me with the gall to say "Yes, they're all true, and here's how..." The fact is - when you have 10 passionate people, all passionately trying to sell you 'their product' - 'passion' (faith, belief, stories of miracles, etc) can no longer logically/reasonably carry weight as a persuading point - and at that point, all there is to do, is to start examining each (equally and subjectively) for additional evidence...and the reason this is imposing to religious people - is the fact that 'passion' (faith, belief, stories of miracles, etc) is one of the only very few anchors any given religion has to speak to it's validity (in leiu of said missing 'reasonable evidence'). [so far as I can find, Ricky Gervais has phrased this best: "Why should they take offense that I don't believe in their god, or any other god? I'd say to them, 'Tell me the reasons you don't believe in all the other gods, and that's the reason I don't believe in yours'."]
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28-08-2015, 11:24 PM
RE: Street Epistemology
(28-08-2015 11:22 PM)Matrim Cauthon Wrote:  But...since you asked...and since I'm busted...and will now look like a chicken otherwise (thanks): here it is:

--------

Visitor to Street Epistemology writes (OP):

...As you may note...sometimes it's hard to put the cap back on the bottle...
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29-08-2015, 12:11 AM
RE: Street Epistemology
You have excellent ideas, and I like your phrasing on a lot of it, but you do need to work on organizing your thoughts and presenting them in a fashion that's easier to follow.

I am also guilty of too many parenthetical phrases and other digressions of thought in midstream, so don't take that as holier-than-thou.

If you're going to do a long post like that, great! But if you must resort to asterisked footnotes in mid-paragraph, you probably need to rewrite the paragraph. That said, once I managed to decipher that, it was quite enjoyable. Smile

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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29-08-2015, 12:36 AM (This post was last modified: 29-08-2015 12:39 AM by Matrim Cauthon.)
RE: Street Epistemology
(29-08-2015 12:11 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  You have excellent ideas, and I like your phrasing on a lot of it, but you do need to work on organizing your thoughts and presenting them in a fashion that's easier to follow.

Couldn't agree more, and was the overlying idea that spurred deletion after first posting... As mentioned - I'm more accustomed to a rolling conversation, which draws a simple idea at a time...and due to the content itself (and being a business owner on the buckle of the bible belt), doing much 'real writing' on the subject has been a rarity in my life until very recently... Seems some invisible line has been crossed at some point recently, and it's simply just gotten tougher and tougher to 'keep the bottle capped'...it's really what's brought me here in the first place.
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29-08-2015, 01:13 AM
RE: Street Epistemology
Let it out, brother, let it out! Big Grin

Seriously, you have the right idea. Just need to work on the mechanics of it.

With practice, it'll happen so naturally you won't even remember it was hard once.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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