Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
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17-12-2010, 07:36 PM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
I can't believe I'm getting involved in this. But I got some things need sayin.

There's lots of things that I am not going to coment on, mainly because I tend to have the attention span of toilet paper. I'm going to go for the few things that really stand out for me. Some people are going to call me the "peacemaker", or "nanny" or whatever, but so be it. My reasons are simple. I like what the people involved have to contribute, and I don't want to see those contributions stop.

Egos. UB is right Ghost, you have what appears to be a slightly inflated ego. You often take comments made to you to the extreme. Sometimes you assume that someone is shooting down an idea, when they really are questioning it to gain a better understanding. That being said, I don't blame you!! You are surrounded here by people who see things very differently. Often, that view is very narrow, and worse, often seems to demand right or wrong, black or white, with nothing in between. I sympathize. The fact that you are still around impresses me. Unbeliever, you too have an ego that can compete with Ghosts any day of the week. Is this the pot calling the kettle black? Well, possibly, but I suspect both parties are aware of their egos, and in my opinion they have both earned their stripes in the intellegence category. For that I find a little extra ego forgivable. What I would like to see is those egos put into check once in a while. It could make for even more interesting debate, if that's possible.

Subjectivism. (Is that a word?) I'm struggling with this. I've never labelled myself a subjectivist nor a realist, but I am staring to wonder if the ground in between isn't more vast than I originally though. I think that calling a subjective view "doublethink" is not fair. Perhaps it is sometimes, but that's a pretty broad brushstroke. And to say that a realist only thinks there is one correct answer, not two, is also, in my eyes (confused as they may be) a far too broad a stroke to make. In my opinion (it's a farmers opinion, so give it only the clout it deserves) I would venture to guess that the vast majority are somewhere in between on this board -likely leaning towards realism- but only a very few that are close to the edge either way. UB and Ghost are two that fit that "close to the edge" description. That's why I think the Unbeliever vs Ghost epics that tend to happen are so heated (and so interesting for us spectators). So the question arises, "ok Stark, you've rambled on, so what's your point?" The point is that it's hard not to see the opposite end of the spectum as either 1) Illogical or 2) Closed Minded. Perhaps by putting this idea into words, both sides may be able to look at it and think to themselves, "shit, that's exactly how I'm labeling my opponent. Is there a better way?"

Lastly, if you've gotten this far without falling asleep, I want to hit on this idea that saying something can't be so is an affront, or an attempt to shut down a conversation. It's not. It's a way of saying, "I don't grasp your idea. It makes no sense to me. I think it's interesting enough to comment on, but the idea, as presented, just doesn't work for me." I'd take that as an invitation to expand on my idea, since someone seems interested enough to want to hear more.



But shit, what do I know?

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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18-12-2010, 03:19 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
(17-12-2010 07:36 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  That being said, I don't blame you!!

And neither do I, just in case that wasn't clear.

Quote:Unbeliever, you too have an ego that can compete with Ghosts any day of the week.

I know. Tongue

Quote:I think that calling a subjective view "doublethink" is not fair. Perhaps it is sometimes, but that's a pretty broad brushstroke.

Probably, but I didn't mean it seriously. Ghost said that he was capable of entertaining two contradictory views. I simply used "doublethink" to sum this up, as it was the first word that came to mind.

Quote:And to say that a realist only thinks there is one correct answer, not two, is also, in my eyes (confused as they may be) a far too broad a stroke to make.

I don't think so. I'd like to hear your reasoning for this, if that's all right. Also, "realism" may not be the best term here; I think "objectivist" might actually be better.

Quote:The point is that it's hard not to see the opposite end of the spectum as either 1) Illogical or 2) Closed Minded. Perhaps by putting this idea into words, both sides may be able to look at it and think to themselves, "shit, that's exactly how I'm labeling my opponent. Is there a better way?"

Well, that's the thing. From each of our points of view, the other one is simply wrong. Each of our personal philosophies is the polar opposite of the other. There really is just about zero common ground. That makes it difficult to come to a mutually-agreeable consensus without one of us making a fundamental alteration to their worldview.

Quote:Lastly, if you've gotten this far without falling asleep, I want to hit on this idea that saying something can't be so is an affront, or an attempt to shut down a conversation. It's not. It's a way of saying, "I don't grasp your idea. It makes no sense to me. I think it's interesting enough to comment on, but the idea, as presented, just doesn't work for me." I'd take that as an invitation to expand on my idea, since someone seems interested enough to want to hear more.

Yeah, that's what I was saying.

Quote:But shit, what do I know?

Quite a bit, actually. Thanks for your input.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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19-12-2010, 12:02 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Ok. That's a lot to digest.

Here goes.

First of all, I wear granny panties. Big, white, cotton, nasty/ugly-ass granny panties. They are incapable of either bunching or twisting.

As for the infamous mythical society, I have since demonstrated that they do in fact exist. If people wish to just let things be, fine. If people want to take a stab at the original question as posed, so be it. I feel that to pursue the matter of what BnW said and how I reacted any further would simply degenerate into back and forth. I believe everyone has clearly said their piece.

My function on this board is the same as anyone else. I'm a participant. An active one.

I am, and I'm not joking, deeply wounded by some of the things that have been said about me. Don't worry (or worry as the case may be), I won't be flinging myself off any bridges (except Jeff), but they are still unpleasant to hear.

First, I'm not here to argue for the sake of arguing. I'm here to converse and to engage in dialogue. To say that my sole purpose is to argue is to strip away my voice. I no longer have anything to say or contribute outside of contrarianism. It mechanises me. I am not a machine.

Second, I find that it is really unfair to accuse me of never once conceeding a point right after a very lengthy post in which I conceeded, "You know what? I'm not a perfect person. I'm willing to admit that. I do get angry and I do lash out." Just off the top of my head, in the case of the definition of Atheism, I have said multiple times that if the definition is simply, not-Theist, not only does Atheism not make any positive statements (that was worded shittily) but that I, myself, am an Atheist. In the case of science and the supernatural, I have said multiple times, if scientists had explanations for every single naturally occuring phenomenon and/or if the supernatural was detectable by science, then yes, science could make a decisive statement about the existence or non-existence of the supernatural. If these things are not concessions, I don't actually know what are. So again, saying that I have never conceed anything is another dismissal of me the person and of everything I have ever contributed to this forum. It either places me in a stereotype or it projects a quality of obstuseness upon me. Either way, it strips the "me" away from me and it's patently unfair.

Third, I am not a contrarian. I am an educated man who spends a great deal of time thinking about these subjects. To reduce me to a contrarian, again, is to strip my humanity from me. I have been crystal clear since the start not only that I have differing views but I have been clear about what those views are. I present my position as clearly as I can and I defend it as best I can. If I read something that is demonstrably false or truly outrageous, tryuly, truly, truly outrageous, I will speak out against it. But to call me a contrarian, again, robs me of any credit due for well though out positions. I cannot have a position of my own because I react solely to what is presented to me. You might be seeing a pattern in why this stuff wounds me.

Fourth, I did not nor am I accusing people of hypocrisy for not bowing to MY position. What I meant and I stick by this, is that often, dissenting opinions are greeted with hostility and dismissal. Not my opinions specifically.

Fifth, if Bnw is to be believed, his huge wang would have to be fully errect to be used as a kickstand. Assuming he's a man of average height, his wang would need to be between 30 and 40 inches long, when in fact, a fully errect wang of only 15 inches has such a large blood demand that it can cause unconsciousness by robbing the brain of too much blood. So unless BnW is blood doping or is some sort of sanguinvorous undead vampire, I simply cannot accept his kickstand assertion.

Sixth, a woman I once dated had a simple philosophy. You can find good and bad in anything. Star Wars: Episode 4: A New Hope, while unadulterated genius by almost every form of measure, has some painfully slow dog fight scenes. And what's with Gold 1's death, "yeaaaaah!" Come on. COME ON! Her philosophy has stuck with me for a long time. When someone simply condemns something, they do it from a place of disrespect. When people say, "Ok, I see serious flaws with what you're saying, how can we make this better," they are trying to advance something, to contribute to something. So yes, when I hear flat-out dismissals of people's ideas, I get really upset, because I can sense the disrespect. It just says, I have encyclopedic knowledge that is inconsistent with yours. There's no original thought there. If I want encyclopedic knowledge, I'll read an encyclopedia. Why I am here is to explore. I DON'T have all the answers. I'm LOOKING for them. We don't find them by dismissing, we find them through fostering. Just to hammer this point home, on SNL, the writing team has the policy of NEVER shooting an idea down. They hash out every single idea and try to make them the best skit they can and then they pick the strongest finished ideas. Unfotunately, Murray, Murphy, Belushi, Myers, Sandler, Spade, Carvey, Hooks, Farley, Radner, Aykroyd and Chase are no longer writing for them, but they try. Bless them, they try. All of this is to say that I welcome criticism. But not all criticism is constructive criticism.

Seventh, thank you for withdrawing your "I run from threads" statement, Unbeliever.

Eighth, I don't want to control the direction that threads go per se; however, I am willing to recognise that I have a sometimes aggressive... uhhh... intelect. Sure. Let's go with intelect. Personality? Shit, I'm aggressive sometimes. So what, you wanna fight about it? Anyhoo, I do react strongly to outrageous assertions like "Muslims are violent". When I hear shit like that, I call the person out quick, fast and in a hurry. Cause that's just garbage and it needs to be called out.

Nineth, thank you for defending subjectivism from the doubletalk assertion, Stark Raving. As for taking a position that you (not you, Stark Raving, you, you, the general you, you know? That last you in "you know" was directed at you. I mean you, you, the specific you) know to be false, I never ask that. What I do ask, because that's simply how I view the world, is for people to acknowledge other people's position and to understand it. Not to like it or take it out on a date (which at todays prices, with popcorn and the 3D premium, is just scandalously expensive) but to acknowledge that it's there and to understand it on their terms, not yours. For me, that acknowledgement is crucial in not viewing other ideas and peoples and cultures as adversaries. If people want to say unoquivocally, "it's us against the world!" then that's something I can speak to, and abhor. But if they aren't looking to pick a fight with everyone, then understanding is the most important part of conflict resolution.

Tenth, I AM a perfect subjectivist. I use my subjectivism as a kickstand!

Eleventh, the issue of ego has been brought up. Whether I have one or not, there is a perception that I do. Also, Unbeliever has admitted to having one. Either way, we can put this asside because it is an irrelevancy. No one's ego has anything to do with anything. It's simply the cost of doing business. (Man I had a much better way of saying that in my head, but I didn't think you'd be capable of grasping all its nuances with the specific and the smart and the huhglayvin!)

Twelth, let's take a reality check for a moment. I don't see a whole lot of sourcing evidence round here. People make a lot of statements without backing them up. So when someone says, "that's simply false," it rankles me hackles a smidge because there's often a little Fox News-style confusing fact for editorial. That's not an across the board condemnation, but a fair observation. Like when Bill O'Reiley shuts someone down because they're just so wrong, he's isn't doing it because what they're saying is false. He's doing it cause he disagrees and he's shutting them down. So yes, often when people make "self-evident" statements like "nope" it does come across as a shut down.

Thirteenth, I didn't actually bring up BnW's penis. That honour belongs to Megan Fox in that under-the-hood midriff shot from that absolute caserole of nonsense known as Michael Bay's Transformers. If I did bring it up at some point, sorry to dissapoint, dude, but I'm spoken for. But thanks for the flattery.

Fourteenth, my stick-to-it-ness should impress you! Betta recognise!

Fifteenth, ""I don't grasp your idea. It makes no sense to me. I think it's interesting enough to comment on, but the idea, as presented, just doesn't work for me." is categorically better than "nope" and made even sweeter with, "...just doesn't work for me. So how can we move this forward? What can we contribute?" That being said, this awesome sounding sentence is often presented as "nope" and that's something that's frustrating.

Penultimately, it's not from both of our points of view that the other one is simply wrong. It's only for people who believe in Truth (big T). If something is objectively true, then all other positions are necessarily wrong. But for those that believe in truths (little t) the other person/position does not have to be wrong in order for them to be right. As the Hagakure tells us: "It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. Therefore, it is inconsistent to hear something of the Way of Confucius or the Way of the Buddha, and say that this is the Way of the Samurai. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all Ways and be more and more in accord with his own."

Umpteenthly, I am here BECAUSE you people don't think the same as me (You people? Who am I, Pat Robertson?). I'm not here to convert anyone or to be converted. I'm here to converse and to engage in dialogue. I'm here to broaden and be broadened. I'm also here to hear myself think because it helps me to focus ideas. I get excited when conversations are given respect and attention and when people foster the growth of the conversation and I get really pissed off when people stop conversations dead in their tracks or when they say outrageous things and couch them in reason and science and logic.

PSedly: The day will come when Agnostics are recognised as their own people, seperate from both Theists and Atheists and on that day you shall ask us for mercy... and we will consider it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-12-2010, 12:37 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
Any person who talks of granting mercy and people asking for mercy from them needs rephrase their intent. I'm sure you didn't mean to sound like Yahweh just now.

Otherwise honestly I think this was highly enlightning to see where you are coming from.

Just a side note though I think this comment was addressed to me but I'm not 100% certain.

"I am, and I'm not joking, deeply wounded by some of the things that have been said about me. Don't worry (or worry as the case may be), I won't be flinging myself off any bridges (except Jeff), but they are still unpleasant to hear."

The way it reads I'm not sure if your intending to toss me off a bridge or otherwise.

I apologize if I hurt your feelings in some way but I was a former minister so my ire against how badly faith can hurt people is honestly quite large. I have seen first hand how badly faith can poison people's lives.

It means I'm a bit blunt at times when I see sheer ignorance.
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19-12-2010, 01:23 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
(16-12-2010 10:14 PM)Ghost Wrote:  So here's a question. If people explain to them how wrong they are and they abandon their way of life for ours, which is basically riding the Titanic to the bottom, have they truly taken a step forward?
Matt

Yes, that is a completely different question. And I think it would be a step forward. but mostly I think this because I don't think we are on our way to the bottom. I think that through the advances in science and through the changes in human behavior that are made necessary because of earths growing population, we will be able to make a brighter future a reality.

I want to rip off your superstitions and make passionate sense to you
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19-12-2010, 04:04 AM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
(19-12-2010 12:02 AM)Ghost Wrote:  The day will come when Agnostics are recognised as their own people, seperate from both Theists and Atheists and on that day you shall ask us for mercy... and we will consider it.

LSHRBCOMN!!
(Laughed So Hard Root Beer Came Out My Nose)

Damn Agnostics. Wishy washy til the end huh?

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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19-12-2010, 07:02 PM
RE: Why choose atheism, over agnosticism?
I hate to bring up the statement yet again but since it seems so core to your philosophy Ghost I think it's worth answering.

If Science can comment on most anything natural and can deduce something to be of natural causes then we CAN use it to comment on wither or not something is not natural. If Science is utterly unable to even begin to explain a phenomenon then we can begin to speak of supernatural.

But everything we have discovered over history has turned out to be non magical...
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