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BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'

Little Hawk 29 Sep 11 - 05:33 PM
Stringsinger 29 Sep 11 - 05:12 PM
Little Hawk 29 Sep 11 - 12:42 PM
Dave MacKenzie 29 Sep 11 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 29 Sep 11 - 12:25 PM
Little Hawk 29 Sep 11 - 12:07 PM
Lighter 29 Sep 11 - 12:07 PM
Musket 29 Sep 11 - 11:57 AM
Little Hawk 29 Sep 11 - 11:48 AM
John P 29 Sep 11 - 09:55 AM
Dave MacKenzie 28 Sep 11 - 07:45 PM
Lighter 28 Sep 11 - 06:49 PM
Little Hawk 28 Sep 11 - 06:37 PM
akenaton 28 Sep 11 - 06:20 PM
Dave MacKenzie 28 Sep 11 - 05:45 PM
Little Hawk 27 Sep 11 - 06:22 PM
saulgoldie 27 Sep 11 - 06:00 PM
Little Hawk 27 Sep 11 - 05:44 PM
Ed T 27 Sep 11 - 05:23 PM
Little Hawk 27 Sep 11 - 04:36 PM
Mrrzy 27 Sep 11 - 03:05 PM
akenaton 27 Sep 11 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 27 Sep 11 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,The Lamenting Whelk 27 Sep 11 - 11:54 AM
Stringsinger 27 Sep 11 - 11:31 AM
Bill D 27 Sep 11 - 10:59 AM
Lighter 27 Sep 11 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Bluesman 27 Sep 11 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 27 Sep 11 - 10:24 AM
Lighter 27 Sep 11 - 09:05 AM
Ed T 27 Sep 11 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 27 Sep 11 - 05:21 AM
Musket 27 Sep 11 - 04:46 AM
Little Hawk 26 Sep 11 - 04:58 PM
Lighter 26 Sep 11 - 03:48 PM
John P 26 Sep 11 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 26 Sep 11 - 12:04 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Sep 11 - 05:23 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Sep 11 - 04:51 AM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 11 - 04:10 AM
Musket 23 Sep 11 - 03:49 AM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 11 - 02:00 AM
Stringsinger 22 Sep 11 - 07:09 PM
Ed T 22 Sep 11 - 06:08 PM
Ed T 22 Sep 11 - 06:05 PM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 11 - 06:04 PM
Ed T 22 Sep 11 - 06:00 PM
saulgoldie 22 Sep 11 - 05:47 PM
Ed T 22 Sep 11 - 05:45 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 05:33 PM

"I can still feel the sense of wonder, awe and gratitude that the scientific view of the world shows us."

Yes. That's understandable. I feel that sense of wonder, awe, and gratitude at viewing the world either through the scientific viewpoint....or through other viewpoints. It seems to work fine either way. I don't see that there has to be some kind of war or opposition between science and a variety of other approaches to life, I see that they can work harmoniously together....and for me, they do.

You can look at life scientifically, religiously, spiritually, culturally, politically, mystically, emotionally, poetically, experientially, any way you want, and I see no reason why all those ways cannot be integrated effectively if one takes the time to find congruence between them. If one simply clings to ONE favorite viewpoint without taking the time to investigate the others, however, one may never find any congruence between them.

Errors have been made in science, religion, culture, politics, etc. Many errors have been made, and then later exposed and corrected. In time those errors are shown to be errors, and we move on to newer and better understandings. That doesn't mean we have to abandon science, religion, culture, spirituality, emotions, politics, etc...it doesn't mean any of them are inherently wrong, it just means we continue learning and adapting as we go along, that's all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 05:12 PM

Joe, I think that psychologists and other students of the mind are coming closer to understanding the nature of love and empathy. As to death, sorrow and joy, these are identifiable emotions that can be measured by a scientific method without losing their emotional impact. I tend to be skeptical of any dimensions that do not adhere to what we know through science about the experiences of life. I can still feel the sense of wonder, awe and gratitude that the scientific view of the world shows us. There is beauty in a cell structure, a rainbow, an amazement at the proliferation of stars and planets, an appreciation for the leaf as we understand what it is made of and how it fits in to an ecology. Science in no way diminishes the respect for living things, people's emotions,
the loving of animals, or any of the other life's enriching experiences.

I'm not sure that I agree that intelligent people can separate myth from fact, intelligence being relative, intelligent people making unintelligent decisions, and intelligence in one area of ability not prevalent in another.

Take for example our prevalent myth that security comes from militarization which is fostered by seemingly intelligent leaders.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 12:42 PM

I know these things for sure. Every last one of us wishes to know the truth. We all want freedom, fairness, and justice. We all want to be treated decently. We all want love. We want security. We all want to be happy. We want a good society. That's a given.

We disagree about exactly how to accomplish these things, and the reason we disagree is that we all have different backgrounds, came from different families and places, had different past experiences to go on, have different memories, and have different ideas about where "the (perceived) threat" to whatever we believe in and value is coming from. We have different ideas about who the "victims" and the "perpetrators" are in some political matter, and that's a result of our own personal background.

That's why we disagree. We disagree not out of any original bad intention, but out of the fact that we are thinking from some different set of basic understandings.

Everyone is, in effect, innocent at that level. They ALL think they are doing the right thing and sticking up for "the persecuted" or "the good people" (meaning themselves and their friends). This is true, for example, of Gaddafi and his supporters in Libya...and it's equally true of those forces who are opposing him. They ALL think they are on the side of the Angels.

Nothing new about that. It's been happening that way for the last 10,000 years and probably longer. Whoever wins such a conflict tells generations of schoolchildren how good triumphed over evil and saved the nation...thus guaranteeing their freedom!

Look at the history books of your own nation, and you will most probably find such a story...no matter where you live. If the other side had won, you'd be reading their story.

Does this mean we cannot choose a side? No, it doesn't! We can and do choose sides....as best we can according to what we know and understand about the situation at the time. Our knowledge, however, is necessarily limited. So is our understanding. But we do the best we can. Everyone wants freedom. Everyone also wants security. That leads to compromises between the two, doesn't it? We may disagree sharply over where to draw the line on those compromises.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 12:40 PM

Fascinating, Lighter. I think your conclusions, based on one paragraph of a 740 page book, tell us far more about yourself than Hofstadter. I would never imagine Enlightenment mathematicians as 'hooting bullies', though I've heard that some of them had more than their fair share of human weaknesses, but then who hasn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 12:25 PM

john I think you have a point re "them and us" as each of us has a position on something which must therefore make those of an opposing opinion in some sense "them".what would be nice is that debate be civil and i,ve never had any problem with little hawk on that score and he has in the past answered me directly with gracious disagreement


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 12:07 PM

Well, there are sensible ways of being conservative and foolish ways of being conservative. The same is true of being liberal. In either case there's a full range of possibilities from completely stupid to entirely wise and sensible...in either the conservative or the liberal approach to anything.

When people use those words these days, though, they seem to just assume the positive or negative extreme stereotype and disregard the rest. The words "conservative" and "liberal" have both become pejoratives, amounting to insult terms, depending on who is using them. Or else they are words of praise, again depending on who is using them.

This says to me that politicians and mass media (funded by a corporate elite) have succeeded very effectively in dividing and conquering a confused public...causing them to fight endlessly with each other rather than to effectively oppose the very impersonal and faceless power systems they are living under and being oppressed by.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 12:07 PM

Dave Mackenzie, while Hofstadter's larger point is, as you say, valid, that kind of glib stylistic grandstanding is regrettable and all too common.

Hofstadter's word-picture of Enlightenment mathematicians as a bunch of hooting bullies inadvertently shores up the view that scientists are mostly jerks.

You shouldn't have to caricature the facts to hold a reader's interest.

On second thought, maybe you do. Unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Musket
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 11:57 AM

This "conservative" comparison that has entered this debate is interesting.

If you do not see yourself as a conservative, you tend to view conservatives as reactionary, clinging to ideals regardless of evidence of effectiveness and bigotry to be displayed in any debate. Mmm starting to sound familiar.

Sadly, for every God fearing little old lady who pours the teas out after a church service and arranges the flowers, there are those who use their proclaimed faith as a tool with which to influence others.

More of a believe and less of an accept...


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 11:48 AM

I'm willing to consider that, John. But why would you assume I'm directing such talk at you personally? Why would you assume you have been personally attacked by some very general thing I said about the foibles and weaknesses of a large part of humanity?

Is it not so that a great many people engage in primitive "us and them" divisive thinking which sets them against groups of other people in an unreasonable manner?

Perhaps we all do it to some extent. Quite possibly. If so, then we need to keep observing and moderating our own thinking processes and see if we can become aware of that and stop doing it...or at least do it a lot less.

I do observe my own thinking processes this way, I do it quite regularly, and I try not to hold enmity, not to hold grudges, and not to see people as cardboard stereotypes, but to see them as complex individuals with whom I may have much in common.

For instance, I disgree with DougR about a great many political issues...almost all of them, in fact. And yet, I also see many good points in DougR's personality and his general attitude toward individuals, and I respect those. Accordingly, I do not treat him as an evil stereotype merely on account of politics...as do many other people here...and I treat him decently even though we disagree about politics.

That's just one example, a small one, but it's a start toward avoiding demonizing and stereotyping other people over some particular issue and thus dividing them up into "us and them".

So I'm working on it. I never said I was perfect. I don't expect anyone else here to be perfect either.

The one thing I do have difficulty with here is certain people's tendency to engage in vitriolic personal attacks on other posters with whom they disagree about something. (And I mean when they do it seriously, not when they're just joshing with each other and kidding around). I don't think there's any excuse for it. It's mean. Its intent is to wound and damage the other person. I object to it when people do that, and I try to avoid getting into long vendettas with such individuals or even talking to them, because it can only make our day a lot worse, ruin relationships, and it won't change anything for the better.

So when I try to keep my comments about the general condition of humanity, rather than singling out individuals and in effect saying, "You're a bad person." To say that to anyone is useless. It doesn't help improve anything. It just makes enemies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: John P
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 09:55 AM

Well, it's the old "us and them" thing rearing its ugly head as usual

Little Hawk, since you spend so much time talking about this, I'd have to say that you are one of the biggest proponents of the "us vs. them" dichotomy I've ever seen. Part of the dichotomy is an absolute black-and-white view of things, which you exhibit almost all the time on this subject.

Your "everyone else is full of bullshit" approach just means that you are an "us" of one and everyone else is "them". Well, maybe you include Akenaton, since he also engages in this behavior.

Is there any chance at all, ever, that you will talk to the individuals you are actually talking to, rather than lumping them all together into a group that you think is stupid, thus allowing yourself to not really pay attention to what they are saying? That's a nifty way to make yourself always in the right, if you can pull it off and still have the inside of your brain make sense to you. I never could.

It seems like you consider yourself a communicator. Sad, really, because you are so bad at it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 07:45 PM

I don't think that's what Hofstadter was saying though from a semantic point of view it's an interesting choice of adjectives (he goes on to talk about 'supernatural numbers'). His main point is about self-limiting conclusions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 06:49 PM

"Irrational" numbers are so called because they can't be expressed as ordinary fractions or "ratios," not because anyone ever derided them as "crazy."

And "imaginary" numbers really are "imaginary," in the sense that they have existence only in the imagination. They are the square roots of negative numbers, and negative numbers cannot have square roots. Thus the sq. rt. of -1 is "imaginary." Imaginary numbers are useful in advanced equations, but they still have no independent existence.

They weren't called "imaginary" because some "Establishment" was arrogantly dissing them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 06:37 PM

Oh...yeah, I get you. ;-) Well, it's the old "us and them" thing rearing its ugly head as usual, people imagining that all their political opponents must necessarily fit some horrible stereotype of evil or stupidity that they carry around in their minds. The Right does it. The Left does it. Insecure people of every political persuasion do it.

(a great many) Politicians attempt to provoke that sort of divisive stereotypical thinking. They figure it will gain them media attention and get them votes. And they're often right about that, unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 06:20 PM

Sorry LH...I was trying a little gentle irony.....unsuccessfully :0)

Of course I agree with what you posted.

I meant that most leftie "liberals" equate Christianity with conservatism.....they see it as a citadel to be stormed, they neither understand nor care about the spirituality which is all around us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 05:45 PM

I was in the pub last night discussing imaginary numbers (as one does) when it occurred to me that the most vocal atheists all seem to be biologists. Is this because mathematicians and physicists are more at home with 'non-real' concepts?

"The exact problem with Saccheri's approach to geometry was that he began with fixed notion of what was true and what was not true, and set out only to prove what he'd assessed as true to start with. Despite the cleverness of his approach.......Saccheri never entertained the possibility of other ways of thinking about points and lines. Now we should be wary of repeating this famous mistake.....Now in the past, each new extension of the notion of number was greeted with hoots and catcalls. You can hear this particularly loudly in the names attached to the unwelcome arrivals, such as "irrational numbers", "imaginary numbers".'

(Douglas R. Hofstadter, 'Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid')


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 06:22 PM

Of course it's a process, saul. I am concerned as to how the process is put to use, by whom, and for what objective. That usually ends up depending on whom is funding the process, doesn't it? Major funding does not go to a process unless that process is aimed at some objective which interests the funders.

Accordingly, science has been used to create atomic bombs, for instance. Hydrogen bombs. Neutron bombs. Poison gas. Intercontinental nuclear missiles. Napalm. Cluster bombs. Smart bombs. Cruise missiles. Etc.

Was this a desirable use of the process? Whom did it benefit? Whom does it hurt? My argument is not, and never has been, with the process itself, but with the purposes the process is put to, and the results that are obtained by advancing that purpose.

My objection is not to science. My objection is that science has been made the handmaiden of militarism and profit-seeking by a small, very wealthy elite. You see the results in war and destruction of the environment, pollution, damage to the ecosphere.

None of that is the fault of science, because science is merely a process. It is neither good nor bad, it's just a process.

I would suggest using that process to benefit everyone equally and to benefit the planet, not just to benefit a small part of humanity at the expense of some other part and to the detriment of the entire planet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: saulgoldie
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 06:00 PM

(Sigh.) Science is a *process.* Using the scientific method--process--of investigation, one forms a hypothesis based on observations, and proceeds to test that hypothesis to death. If one can achieve consistently reproducible results, then the hypothesis is proven. If results cannot be consistently reproduced, then the hypothesis is *not proven.*

If one *starts,* as is too often done in corporate or religiously subsidized investigation, with the *conclusion* and seeks out *proof* for that conclusion, then, by definition, that *process* is not science. That is not an opinion; it is definitional. If you enter "scientific method" into your search window, you will see this.

If we do not *accept* science as a *process,* then what is another *process* that can get us answers that are the *same for everyone* and can be *reliably and consistently reproduced?*

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 05:44 PM

As long as there are powerful money-driven entities out there eager to use science to push an agenda that will profit them, there is great danger that science will be used to push misleading, false, and destructive agendas. This is no criticism of science itself. It is saying that science is being used for the wrong purposes by many of the people who are funding it. This puts scientists themselves in a bad spot, doesn't it? You will get major financial backing if you support a certain corporate plan with your research and findings...you won't if you don't.

In short, the moneylenders are in the temple, to use a metaphor, and they need to be thrown out of it by someone.

I daresay if someone did throw them out of if, he'd be in great peril of his life...would probaby get crucified or something like that. Again, I speak metaphorically.

I really believe that science and technology DO occupy the position of enormous influence in present day society that the holy temple did in Biblical-era Jerusalem and the Jewish nation at that time...or that other such temples did in other ancient societies. Science and technology have become the "Holy of Holies" in the present society. They are the presently ruling creed and dogma. They dominate the agenda. Traditional religions are a mere bit player in comparison. We all use the results and tools of science and technology in our daily lives, we depend upon them, we have enormous faith in their power and importance. I'm using those tools right now to talk to other people, to power the devices I depend on, for transportation, etc. It's the very fabric of our lives....just like religion once was in ancient societies.

And the moneylenders are in our temple. They are perverting science and technology to build terrible weapons, to fight terrible wars, and to make gigantic profits for a tiny power elite. That is the primary problem we have to deal with at present. We've got to find a way to throw the moneylenders out of our contemporary temple...and out of our governments too...and to return power to the ordinary people.

How do we do that? How can we do it when elections are won by those who get the most corporate funding?


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Ed T
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 05:23 PM

Good post Little Hawk.

I don't consider myself a strong religious fellow,at least following any organized religion. I often find myself in the middle of the road in many discussions, with a large degree of uncertainity as to those big questions. But, rements of my upbringing keeps my personal beliefs leaning towards what I have been steeped in in early life, that there is an afterlife of some type. I do not see this as an affront to unbiased scientific reasoning. Strangely enough, my questioning and reading of the personal lives of many scientists leads me to accept that many do not seem just aa uncertain as I am.

I often see "faith" rather than reasoned thought come from religiopus folks in mudcat discussions. But, on the other hand, I also frequently see a degree of bitterness towards (historic) religion (in society),rightly deserved or not, from those eagerly wanting to score points against religion, rather than participate in a reasonable and respectful discussion. For some odd reason there seems to be frustration that another person comes to a different conclusion on a personal issue, no matter how they got there.

On science, personally, having worked with a scientific organization for the past 15 years leads me to be very conmcerned about the future of Science, for many of the reasons Shimrod states. IMO, increasingly private industry has less interest in, and respect for legitimate science (which I can understand). With budget constraints, governments are focusing less on science (especially science that does not show an immediate benefit to the economy). University's are likely left as the last firm boosters for legitimate science. But, with reduced government grants, increasing pressure from funding-industry to show exonomic results and fewer rich folks contributing dollars, IMO, there is reason to be concerned. I fear we are heading into dark waters when it comes to scientific research.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 04:36 PM

Ake? I've met and know numerous Christians who are most definitely NOT conservative! Anything but. They are quite opposed to the typical conservative political and social viewpoints that get so much press these days (and have since about the time of Ronald Reagan's election).

They are also most certainly not "anti-science" in their attitudes.

Look for variety in people and you find will it. Believe in nothing but extreme opposite and opposed stereotypes and that is all you will be able to see. By doing so, you are acting on a form of fundamentalist faith (although it doesn't fall under the heading of "religion"...but it works just the same way as fundamentalist religion does, in a psychological sense...by dividing the world up into the "righteous" ("us")...and the "sinners" or the "heretics" ("them").) It is the desire to be "right" and make others "wrong" and punish them for being "wrong". It amounts to living by this credo: "I'd rather be right than happy. I'd rather be right than be kind. I'd rather get vengeance than forgive. I'd rather be safe than helpful. I'd rather win a victory than secure a lasting peace between me and the others around me."

This is what people do when their thinking is primarily based on fear...and its normal byproducts which are hatred, intolerance, distrust, leaping to negative conclusions about others, gossiping, criticizing, opposing, verbally attacking, shutting out, erecting barriers, making war, punishing, murdering, hoarding, exploiting, etc...

Fear is what is primarily governing this world at present. And you see the results on the daily news...presented in a fearful and exaggerated manner...which helps create a lot more fear. Politicians use fear to get elected and to get their people to support a war. Its the oldest trick in the book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 03:05 PM

Interesting semantic discussion in my ethics class last night: belief versus faith. One dude who felt he *believed* in a higher power but did not *have faith* that said power was deity. The class agreed with that distinction.
The question of "believing" in evolution hasn't come up yet, but I will definitely use "deny" for "don't believe in" and will try to remember to use "accept" as I do like that distinction a lot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 02:09 PM

For "Christian" just read "conservative" and all will be revealed to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 01:37 PM

whelk writes
"present the evidence and let them decide for themselves"
i agree ,as apparently did michael rhrees [not sure of the spelling] before being dismissed from the royal society after saying so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: GUEST,The Lamenting Whelk
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 11:54 AM

Good post Shimrod, and you've put your finger on the nub of the problem.

There's an anti-science attitude that now pervades the US and UK governments and media. This disdain towards science really took hold under the (mis)rule of the neocons, who adopted a worldview consisting of a heady, hypocritical mix of a pursuit of material wealth and power over others with a myopic religious fervour that excludes any attempt at reason. This isn't the considered and reflective Christianity I see from people like Joe and some others here, it's a sham to deceive the gullible, and boy do they fall for it. In droves.

Unfortunately, this view still holds sway in both countries and it is both destructive and divisive. It eschews tolerance in favour of exclusion and in the case of science this will prove to have disastrous consequences for subsequent generations, for example the massive expansion of deep sea oil extraction and gas fracking; both of which have the potential for untold damage to our environment. Here in the UK the government sacked an eminent scientist because his drug research contradicted the party line, yet Blair still followed Bush's insane crusade after 9/11 (God said it was OK! Yay!)

It seems ignorance truly is bliss, especially if a government can keep their citizens uniformed and dumb for their own ends in the face of unbiased research, or the ends of their sponsors. The rise of Perry and the appalling HPV scandal that recently occurred shows how far this stupidity and finger-in-ear idiocy has become the driving force in our societies.The fact people want to teach our kids to be stupid via creationism rather than present the evidence and decide for themselves is of little consequence to these people; after all they actually like suffering and death (otherwise why rail against HPV inoculation? How many innocent girls will suffer a painful and scary death because of one idiot's lack of emotional intelligence?). They profess to be Christian and then kill hundreds on death row without mercy; sordid little Pilates washing their hands in the blood of dead men, devoid of tolerance or forgiveness. The only good thing is that if these hypocrites are right and there is a God then they'll end up in hell with a trident up their arses and and angry devil scourging them for eternity.

Fanatics can paint scientists as soulless robots who uncaringly pick the world to pieces in some obscure quest to disprove the wonder of life . . . but then they're only holding a mirror up to their own ignorance and wilful lack of understanding.

Science is a spiritual pursuit, often driven by the almost overwhelming wonder one feels when comprehending the universe and it's complexity, diversity and depth. So much to discover, so much we don't know, so much be to amazed and awed by. The presence we feel isn't God, it's us - we are universe comprehending itself. We are made of starstuff and we are explicable and so is everything around us.

What isn't explicable is how the feck the Christian Taliban managed to skew the whole subject so for from it's true nature, or at least I pray it is far from it's true nature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 11:31 AM

I think that good manners are important in a debate and the person that you are arguing with should be respectfully accepted as a fellow human being unless they become obnoxious.

However, I don't think any special undue respect should be shown to a religious idea which should be tested as any theory is. Religion is a branch of philosophy which abstracts concrete ideas and seduces the discussion into metaphysical conjecture. It deserves no more respect than any other concocted untested theory.

Religion is not fluid and unchanging because the basic principles behind it are in place, the supposition that there is a god, a saviour, a spirit, a litany of by-laws or a holy book or teacher, or any other machination offered as "truth".

"Accept" is conditional. "Belief" is not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:59 AM

Shimrod.. I do hope you have since managed to work in more intellectually comfortable environs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:58 AM

A favorite saying, which I've heard more than once:

"Each failure brings us closer to success."

Yeah, if success is absolutely inevitable. Anyway, each failure also rules out success right now, when you wanted it and, in theory, would have had it without the added time, money, and effort now required.

It's a cheer-up line, not a statement of fact; but apparently many people take it as the latter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: GUEST,Bluesman
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:29 AM

100


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:24 AM

I have noticed that 'fundamentalists', of all persuasions, delight in the "ignorance, doubt and uncertainty" (see the quote from Richard Feynman included in the reference supplied by Ed T above) associated with Science. Every time a scientific theory is modified in some way they shout, "Ahaa! Evolution must be wrong and Creationism and the Bible must be right!" or "Man-made Global Warming is a myth!". Which are, of course, completely stupid and illogical inferences to draw. But then, of course, 'fundamentalists' can only deal in absolutes.

I've also encountered some rather weird attitudes towards Science whilst working in Industry. For some years I worked in the R&D Dept. of a large multi-national consumer goods company. By applying scientific principles this dept. had developed some novel and profitable products for the company over the years. One day we had a visit from a very senior and influential Marketing Executive. He announced to the dept., "This is a marketing company, not a scientific research one!" And soon after that the dept. was shut down (although they subsequently opened another, even larger, R&D Dept. overseas).
In my next job, for a different company, in the same Industry, the management seemed to believe in what I can only describe as 'Science Lite" i.e. a (fictional) form of Science which was supposed to apply specifically to Marketing and Business. Any form of rigour was rather frowned on - although absurd, laborious and arbitrary over-complication was much admired. Any testing carried out was deemed to have failed if it didn't lead to the desired result. No-one seemed to grasp that testing tailored to give a required answer is, effectively, cheating.

So it's not just fundamentalists who have problems with Science.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 09:05 AM

Thank you, Shimrod.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Ed T
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 06:25 AM

Tidbits on science and uncertainit


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 05:21 AM

An excellent summary of the 'Accept vs Believe' debate, if I may say so, 'Lighter'!


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Musket
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 04:46 AM

Pete from seven whatsits..

You seem to infer that Genesis was written as being factually accurate. As it clearly isn't, wouldn't it be more credible to agree that the stories in the bible are just that, stories?

If this Jesus character was an actual person, or indeed if there was one person to whom most of the stories refer to, I am sure he would have been a person of his day. Superstitious and prone to believe something on the basis of antiquity of scripture, rather than anything evidence based. So your "Jesus thought it true" carries no weight in such discussions, surely?

I can't agree with Little Hawk about the thread being an exercise in being smug though. I genuinely have problems when confronted by people who are otherwise rational, but have an imaginary friend. As it describes the majority worldwide, although increasingly less in the Western world, I am the one out on a limb. But for me personally, the reason I find these sorts of debate fascinating is that I have to rely on the judgement of others in my professional and private life, just like we all do. I can't help questioning the rationality and logic of somebody's view on more temporal affairs if their overall outlook is based on superstition.

That makes me simplistic. But until I am convinced otherwise, I find my simplicity comfortable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:58 PM

I accept that this longrunning exercise in self-adulation and congratulatory patting of one's own back for being so much smarter (and by implication better) than "those other wretched people who are dumb enough to believe such-and-such which I don't believe" will go on and on for some time yet, and I believe there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. Not that it really matters... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 03:48 PM

The vast majority of the earth's people do not fully understand the difference between an established fact, an opinion, and the truth.

They also like to believe that whatever seems likely to them must be the truth.

They know nothing of the scientific method. Because of that, they don't understand that science doesn't claim to deliver absolute, unassailable, and final truth - the only kind they feel happy with.
They don't know the difference between "evidence" (which can be good or bad, reliable or not) and "proof" (which may, ultimately, turn out to be a hasty conclusion.)

They tend to believe that science is just a series of arguments among undependable experts who (like them) will say almost anything to "prove their point."

According to this theory (the one that dominated human history for millennia), the one who batters his opponent into silence through questionable analogies, begging the question, endless repetition, ambiguous definitions, clever diction, pointed barbs, etc., wins. He has "made his case."

Nobody likes uncertainty, and few people have learned to withhold judgment as conditions require.

They think if you disagree with them, you're either naive,foolish, or perverse.

At least, that's been my experience. And not just on these threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: John P
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 03:28 PM

strange how these lettered scholars get so angry with a simple believer of a different faith-or is it!

Pete - I don't think anyone here is angry about believers because of their belief. However, referring to the lack of religious belief as "a different faith" is likely to make people get mad at you. You should consider not doing that anymore. As someone said in an earlier thread, referring to atheism as a belief is like saying that the fact that I don't have a stamp collection means that my hobby is stamp collecting.

The big thing that people get angry about is the penchant on the parts of lots of religious folks to try to alter our laws, textbooks, and public school classes to reflect their beliefs. It doesn't have anything to do with the belief itself, but rather what you do with it.

People also get upset when you try to make religious tenets carry the same weight within a factual conversation as scientific fact does. That only works if you're in a conversation with other believers. The rest of us are just irritated by it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 12:04 PM

joe-as one of your unintelligent posters perhaps i might understand if you put it simply why you consider the writer of genesis as intending not to record historical/revealed narrative.for that matter do you think jesus is misquoted or mistaken in his obvious endorsement of genesis as recorded in the NT.
not offended by the way.not as though you are trying hard to be obnoxious as some posters appear to.
strange how these lettered scholars get so angry with a simple believer of a different faith-or is it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 05:23 AM

So, Stringsinger, how's your "scientific knowledge" on the mystery of love? You have it all analyzed, do you?

How about death? Sorrow? Joy?

Sorry, but to my mind, "scientific knowledge" leaves out many of the dimensions of the experiences of life that intrigue and enliven me.


No it doesn't, and science, as in every area of life except one, nibbles away and closes in inexorably on these. We might be a bit further back in our understanding of these areas but I can't imagine that there are any facets of these phenomena that could never yield to scientific exploration.

The one area that can never yield to scientific investigation is the supposed existence of God. Why? Because God has deliberately, tendentiously and falsely been placed beyond science by religion. If God really did exist he'd be absolutely appalled by this trickery.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 04:51 AM

Yes, Joe: the parables are obviously fiction, and Jesus explicitly told them as such, to illustrate his points by allegory. The mythopaeic aspects of the cult he founded, on the other hand, are what need addressing. I cannot but feel you are fudging this by the irrelevancy of introducing the parables into the argument, as a sort of smokescreen to obscure what so many of us consider the absurdities of the totality of that cult of which they were a minor part, when nobody denies their fictionality. And I think you palter with two distinct and discrete meanings of the word 'truthful' in your intro clause to your last paragraph above.

Best regards

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 04:10 AM

Well, I wondered how people might take that comment, Ian. I stand by it, however. Sure, I suppose there are people who would even take the parables of Jesus as "gospel truth" - but the parables are obviously fiction, aren't they?

To my mind, fiction is not untruthful. For the most part, fiction must be truthful. It is dishonest if it conveys misconceptions or prejudice.

To my mind, the creation stories are truthful - they're not meant to tell the "how" of the beginnings of the universe. They are a statement of faith that God was intimately involved with the universe since the beginning. The stories don't attempt to define or describe this God, other than to say that God created and saw that it was good. I don't think that those who originated the creation stories had any intention of having them interpreted "literally."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Musket
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 03:49 AM

Sorry Joe, but your last comment there would lead people to think that people with fairly strong religious belief are unintelligent?

You may say so, I couldn't possibly comment......................

I have no problem with embracing myth, it does put the colour into our landscape of course. I do have an issue however with those who use their power and influence to allow it to drift into reality. Hence creationism being seen by many, including legislators, as indistinguishable from science, or indeed as a branch of science on the basis that we haven't got all the scientific answers yet, hence giving a crude form of respectability for literal interpretations of biblical and other myth.

I fully agree with your statement by the way, and identifying myth without labelling it strikes a chord, and am rather taken by your succinct comment. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 02:00 AM

So, Stringsinger, how's your "scientific knowledge" on the mystery of love? You have it all analyzed, do you?

How about death? Sorrow? Joy?

Sorry, but to my mind, "scientific knowledge" leaves out many of the dimensions of the experiences of life that intrigue and enliven me. I'd prefer to explore a little more deeply than the Scientific Method would allow.

As for myth, I would surmise that intelligent people can identify myth without having it labeled as myth - and for unintelligent people, it wouldn't make much difference.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 07:09 PM

"While some people do have to struggle hard before ceasing to be (say) a Christian, an awful lot simply drift away without much reflection. "

While this ostensibly seems true, these people without reflection carry with them the same baggage from where they drift away.

Belief in something doesn't automatically suggest a passion but could be an unquestioning position not well thought out.

The problem with "mystery" and "powers unknown" is that they are exploited by manipulating religious types to convince others that what they believe is valid.

The "mystery" is always a quest for mankind to discover and make visible what is mysterious. It's like the monster in the closet as seen by a child, the scientist opens the closet door an reveals that mystery as no monster but a scientific fact. Curiosity is inherent in our DNA and solving mysteries is a major preoccupation of the brain.

Myths can be useful as long as that is how they are acknowledged, not truth nor fact but as stories to shed light on human behavior. Folklore serves this function.
Folklore is not history.

The real exultation of life is knowing more about the universe through scientific knowledge resulting in the appreciation for where and how we live. The wonder of little droplets creating the rainbow from the hydrological cycle, the experience of looking at the stars as an index into the past, the miracle of how we got to be here through the gene pool, the astonishment at the revelations of the insect world, the knowledge of aerodynamics as we watch a flock of geese, the poetry of science which is far more substantial then the limited world of "mysterious imagination".


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Ed T
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 06:08 PM

""What a strange narrowness of mind now is that, to think the things we have not known are better than the things we have known."" ~Samuel Johnson


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Ed T
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 06:05 PM

""Never explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe it anyway."" ~Elbert Hubbard, A Thousand and One Epigrams, 1911


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 06:04 PM

But Saul, why must there be only one "explanation," one perspective? What's right and what's wrong when we're talking about how different individuals perceive something? Why is there need for uniformity in thinking, for there being only one "right"?

I'm an eternal optimist, perhaps annoyingly so - but that is my perspective, and I think it's a valid, rational perspective. Many people are pessimists, and they have very good reason to be so. Why can't both perspectives be valid?

Must everything have a "rational explanation," and is there no room left in life for mystery and uncertainty and subjectivity?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Ed T
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 06:00 PM

""Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake"". ~Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: saulgoldie
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:47 PM

Science is a process of investigation that leads to reproducible results. Arithmetic is a process that leads to reproducible results. If anyone does not "believe in" the "processes" of science or arithmetic, please suggest other "processes" that lead to reproducible results that we can use to explain the world around us and to advance the human experience.

"Creationism" and "intelligent design" are "belief systems" that are not based on any kind of system of inquiry or processes that can be reliably used to get to the same results.

If "G-d" or "G-ds" then why are there so many well-meaning people who come to such markedly different explanations for the world? Who is "wrong," and why?

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Ed T
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:45 PM

""Just remember, there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way"". ~
M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter


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Subject: RE: BS: Semantics: 'Accept' versus 'Believe'
From: Amos
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:34 PM

It becomes problematic only when it is taken on by individuals not able to differentiate between metaphor and factual proposition. Then Pandora's box of improbable horrific vectors of thought gets unleashed upon the world, and the miasma of "might be" is mistaken for the simple clarity of "is". Myth to those who appreciate the music of it is a wonderful tool, as you say, Mr Offer. It can encapsulate centuries of pondering and lessons from past generations in a handy nutshell of a tale.

It takes reflection to be able to face up to a myth for what it is and still be able to understand its value. Some people are more reflection-prone than others! :D


A


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