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(The Conversation (Academic))   You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to call your opinion bullshiat   (theconversation.edu.au) divider line 194
    More: Obvious, scientific opinion, fair and balanced, University of Sydney, rhetoric of science, Meryl Dorey, Plato  
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9709 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Oct 2012 at 1:14 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-11 04:37:12 PM

rawbert7: I like your explanation that it's the outcome, but not necessarily agree that it wasn't also intended. We still need to satisfy the bottom rung of Maslow's hierarchy and in our current system that means money but maybe not so much then. As awesome as this country is I believe the founders (and those influencing them) would still rather their offspring be secured a future than have to duke it out with the rest of us. I hope you're right though, that would make them even more remarkable. Do you know if they helped provide education to the masses?


Most of the colonies had compulsory education laws and operated public schools. The farther south you went, the worse it got (the more things change....)

America was an incredibly literate society in the 17th and 18th centuries. We were a large nation and the only way news and information could be reliably passed was through crib sheets and news print. Reading at night was a family pastime. So yes, they thought education was important.

As for the purposes of (the American) government... The preamble to the constitution explains why they're doing things.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I consider public health issues such as disease control (via vaccination, among other measures) to fall well within that "general Welfare" and "domestic Tranquility" bits.
 
2012-10-11 04:40:12 PM

admiral_neckbeard: BTW, I believe the Earth is disk-shaped


www.milkonline.org.uk

and Windows ME is the best OS ever.

That's it, I'm throwing you off the edge of the disc!
 
2012-10-11 05:02:38 PM

rawbert7: meat0918: The Dog Ate My Homework: FTA: Firstly, what's an opinion?

Firstly? A professor of philosophy actually uses this non-word? Good lord.

But that aside, it's actually a very interesting article.

I liked it.

You can't really argue over taste. But when your opinion is that vaccines cause autism, or the moon landing was fake, or the president was born in Kenya, well, I dunno what to say except, you're wrong and sadly no amount of facts will get you to change your mind.

Subtle nudges might work, but people don't want to question their beliefs. It's scary. Just suggesting it can cause anger and in extreme cases violence.

I wouldn't argue with the logic of the article since I agree with it but I do wonder about the vaccine part. While I don't doubt the efficacy of the flu vaccine, I do doubt the efficiency in real-world environments - thousands of strands and all that - justifies getting it.

From a quick Wiki read, I can't argue with the part where Dorey is saying, "We don't believe we have the right to tell people whether or not to vaccinate... and neither does the government". I did once hear someone say that the two largest contributors to the "population jump" of our past century was due mainly to antiseptics and proper sewage and not vaccination. While I do find that interesting, I can't find anything to actually support or debunk the claim.


I think the Pharyngula blog(i'm still trying to hunt it down) systematically refute the sanitation and hygiene and not vaccines decreased disease talking point.

Here's some more regarding polio (I know, the flu, I'll get to that).
("In countries with improved sanitation, infection is often delayed until adulthood with a consequent increase in the number of cases of paralytic poliomyelitis")

And here is an ancient paper clipping Link

And scientists are hard at work trying to get a more effective flu vaccine.  Immunologists would rather people need one shot every 10 years than one every year. Better chance of building up herd immunity.
 
2012-10-11 05:07:51 PM

The Dog Ate My Homework: FTA: Firstly, what's an opinion?

Firstly? A professor of philosophy actually uses this non-word? Good lord.

But that aside, it's actually a very interesting article.


I'm so glad I'm not the only one who came here to say this.

Good article, anyway.
 
2012-10-11 05:23:06 PM

rawbert7: As awesome as this country is I believe the founders (and those influencing them) would still rather their offspring be secured a future than have to duke it out with the rest of us. I hope you're right though, that would make them even more remarkable. Do you know if they helped provide education to the masses?


John Adams, at least, thought public education was critical to a functioning democracy. He wrote it into the Massachusetts Constitution- currently the oldest functioning one in the world, don'cha know.
 
2012-10-11 05:26:13 PM

RobSeace: admiral_neckbeard: BTW, I believe the Earth is disk-shaped

[www.milkonline.org.uk image 850x637]

and Windows ME is the best OS ever.

That's it, I'm throwing you off the edge of the disc!


Don't you mean this?

media.tumblr.com
 
2012-10-11 05:29:56 PM

Rent Party: rawbert7: I like your explanation that it's the outcome, but not necessarily agree that it wasn't also intended. We still need to satisfy the bottom rung of Maslow's hierarchy and in our current system that means money but maybe not so much then. As awesome as this country is I believe the founders (and those influencing them) would still rather their offspring be secured a future than have to duke it out with the rest of us. I hope you're right though, that would make them even more remarkable. Do you know if they helped provide education to the masses?

Most of the colonies had compulsory education laws and operated public schools. The farther south you went, the worse it got (the more things change....)

America was an incredibly literate society in the 17th and 18th centuries. We were a large nation and the only way news and information could be reliably passed was through crib sheets and news print. Reading at night was a family pastime. So yes, they thought education was important.

Way cool, however, having come from Mexico I have to say that from my experience, despite media saying otherwise, quality education is available if you WANT it; AP courses, concurrent enrollment, etc. pretty awesome stuff and it's a shame so few actually take advantage of it. I did.

As for the purposes of (the American) government... The preamble to the constitution explains why they're doing things.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I consider public health issues such as disease control (via vaccination, among other measures) to fall well within that "general Welfare" and "domestic Tranquility" bits.


That's entirely reasonable, worthy and I'm all for it, but since l'm skeptical of the efficiency of many of the forced vaccinations, I'm especially skeptical of those trying to push it. Call me pessimistic but when so much money is on the table... well lobbyists and pharmaceuticals and prescribers...

CS/ One of my best friends owns a pharmacy, is a pharmacist and didn't get vaccinated for that Influenza scare - for the same reason. He told me that month alone surpassed every 1st quarter he's been in business, which is over 20 years.
 
2012-10-11 05:42:27 PM

rawbert7: Call me pessimistic but when so much money is on the table...


Vaccinations are money losers for doctors, but they still insist on them. Funny that.

Not everything is a conspiracy.
 
2012-10-11 05:43:13 PM

cptjeff: rawbert7: Rent Party: rawbert7:

From a quick Wiki read, I can't argue with the part where Dorey is saying, "We don't believe we have the right to tell people whether or not to vaccinate... and neither does the government".

Well, that would be one opinion. My opinion would be that the primary function of government is to provide for the common good, and preventing widespread contagious disease is fine a place to start as any, so get your damn vaccinations, and keep your infectious kid away from mine if you don't.

That's an opinion too, I was told in Government 1010 that the primary function of government is to keep the rich in power and defend them from the poor but you're arguing what the reasoning is not whether or not it actually works, which is what I'm interested in knowing.

It's possible that 1,002 years ago some governments might have had that goal in mind. But I've always been told that back then they were more interested in violently spreading religion. Which was just to keep the Pope rich, so..... I guess you're right.

Read the book I just recommended. Really. It is much, much, more complex and interesting than that.


I have to admit that it was a bit of a stretch trying to work that gag into the thread...
 
2012-10-11 05:43:17 PM

rawbert7:

Way cool, however, having come from Mexico I have to say that from my experience, despite media saying otherwise, quality education is available if you WANT it; AP courses, concurrent enrollment, etc. pretty awesome stuff and it's a shame so few actually take advantage of it. I did.


No disagreement there, either. Some of the best professors I ever had were of the "I'm not here to make shiat fun for you" variety. I have always said that a motivated learner will always overcome a shiatty instructor, and most instructors aren't shiatty. If you're in school and not learning, start with the mirror.

I will say that I weep for the disdain that is heaped on learned people, though, and it is particularly true of those same poor folks that stare at the TV all day. People with Ph.Ds, who have contributed new research to the body of knowledge, are dismissed as ivory tower elitists. Again, this is what TFA was talking about. There are people with expertise in certain things. When those things are on the table, if you aren't an expert, "I don't know" should rule the day. Fancy book learnin' is increasingly frowned upon in favor of truthieness.



That's entirely reasonable, worthy and I'm all for it, but since l'm skeptical of the efficiency of many of the forced vaccinations, I'm especially skeptical of those trying to push it. Call me pessimistic but when so much money is on the table... well lobbyists and pharmaceuticals and prescribers...


Well, you can look at that, but I'd look at prevalence numbers first. Everything we immunize against is almost extinct. That is the real testament to the efficacy of vaccines.

lifesafe.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-10-11 05:44:54 PM

offmymeds: gopher321: Opinions are like assholes...everybody's got one. 

[d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net image 500x271]


Opinions out number the anuses. So I guess it's true if you consider averages.

Imperforate anus
 
2012-10-11 05:51:00 PM

Mock26: I once had someone ask me what I thought of a particular singer, and when I said that I thought she was not very good he actually told me, "You're wrong." He then proceeded to lecture me on why my opinion was wrong. Years later his arrogance still makes me laugh!


That's not as arrogant as it may seem. There's a difference between saying someone has skill and saying your like their performance. "Jimi Hendrix was a fantastic guitar player" and "I love Jimi Hendrix's music" are very different statements. Both are opinions of a sort, but the form eris something which can be supported with argument, while the second is purely a matter of taste.

If you said, "I hate Jimi Hendrix's music," you'd be entitled to your opinion. If you said, "Jimi Hendrix couldn't play worth a damn," you'd be wrong.
 
2012-10-11 05:53:12 PM

meat0918: Sticky Hands: I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to mock you for it.

Spoken like a true socialist.

//Words my father said to me when I said something similar to what you said. Needless to say, I don't speak much with him anymore since he went off the deep end.


Is it me, or is there some kind of inverse relationship between how readily a person uses "socialist" or "fascist" as an insult and how likely it is that that know what "socialism" and "fascism" actually are?
 
2012-10-11 05:55:10 PM
FTA: Firstly, what's an opinion?

The Dog Ate My Homework: Firstly? A professor of philosophy actually uses this non-word? Good lord.


"Firstly" has beeen a word in English since 1532. You're a little behind the times.
 
2012-10-11 06:14:02 PM

ciberido: meat0918: Sticky Hands: I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to mock you for it.

Spoken like a true socialist.

//Words my father said to me when I said something similar to what you said. Needless to say, I don't speak much with him anymore since he went off the deep end.

Is it me, or is there some kind of inverse relationship between how readily a person uses "socialist" or "fascist" as an insult and how likely it is that that know what "socialism" and "fascism" actually are?


Definitely.
 
2012-10-11 06:40:17 PM

Slartibartfaster: PallMall: Well down here in Texas, it doubles as a euphemism for an ejaculation from the past...

That works too

"down her in Texas" bugs me a bit, but I Accept it

// if you are born north the equator, you AINT southern
/ Born down near antarctica


I used to have a Texan friend who would call any American not from Texas a "Northerner" because their state was "north of Texas."

Come of think of it, though, I never tested this with anyone from Florida.
 
2012-10-11 09:06:37 PM

L.D. Ablo: Every so often Christians come to the door. I politely listen to their opening spiel. When they ask me a question, I tell them that I'm an atheist and that they would be a lot happier without religion. And that I'd be happy to show them the errors and contradictions in the Bible.

Haven't had one take me up on it. The last ones looked horrified and started slowly backing away, saying nothing. They wouldn't even make the case for Christianity. Pathetic.


What you call "pathetic" others might call "efficient." The job of those people who came to your door is to convert as many people as possible to Christianity. Since it's extremely unlikely that they would successfully convert you, and their total time is finite, continuing to stay and talk with you is a waste of their time that could be better spent on the next house.

Convincing you that they're capable of defending Christianity against your arguments, or impressing you with their wit really aren't priorities for them. 

On the other hand, I had the opposite happen to me once. I was walking down the street with a guy I barely knew, friend of a friend kind of thing, on a pub crawl. The guy had a t-shirt with "RichardDawkins.net" emblazoned on the front. Having read a few of his books, I thought that'd give us something to talk about, so I something along the lines of "I see you're a fan of Richard Dawkins."

His immediate reply was, "If you're a Christian, let's just not talk about it. I probably won't convince you I'm right, and I know you won't convince me I'm wrong."

I guess the question is, if John asserts an opinion in front of Karen, does fairness then obligate him to listen to Karen's argument against that opinion? Or is it perfectly fair to assert an opinion dogmatically, and then immediately walk away the moment someone disagrees?
 
2012-10-11 09:09:11 PM
mooseyfate: Does it really bother you that much that I know that my friend is both smart AND incredibly misinformed about something? Because you seem to have a problen with the fact that I don't hold it against him or lord it over his head everytime he speaks.

Rent Party: No, it bothers me that you continue to defend as "incredibly smart" someone who is objectively "incredibly dumb." It is at it's heart exactly what TFA was talking about.


Do you truly not understand that there is a difference between being stupid and being ignorant or misinformed, or are you blurring the distinction for some rhetorical purpose?
 
2012-10-11 09:45:15 PM

ciberido: mooseyfate: Does it really bother you that much that I know that my friend is both smart AND incredibly misinformed about something? Because you seem to have a problen with the fact that I don't hold it against him or lord it over his head everytime he speaks.

Rent Party: No, it bothers me that you continue to defend as "incredibly smart" someone who is objectively "incredibly dumb." It is at it's heart exactly what TFA was talking about.

Do you truly not understand that there is a difference between being stupid and being ignorant or misinformed, or are you blurring the distinction for some rhetorical purpose?


Many people see memory as intelligence for some reason. Mainly dumb people with good memories.
 
2012-10-11 09:58:41 PM
FTA: "You are only entitled to what you can argue for."

THIS.
My sophmore logic professor said this on the second day of class, and stuck to it. Whenever someone expressed a point of view, they had better be able to defend it because otherwise it would be ripped into tiny little sad crying pieces. I loved that class.

It's something many people on FARK need to remember... your opinion means nothing without proof, and when you put it into the public discourse, you cannot expect it to go unchallenged, unexamined, unspoken of, unjudged, undebated, unresearched, or unanswered. You put it out there deal with what comes next, or you STFU.
 
2012-10-11 10:49:32 PM

rewind2846:

It's something many people on FARK need to remember... your opinion means nothing without proof, and when you put it into the public discourse, you cannot expect it to go unchallenged, unexamined, unspoken of, unjudged, undebated, unresearched, or unanswered. You put it out there deal with what comes next, or you STFU.


LOL ... head on over to a religion thread and watch how upset they get when you ask them for proof to support their claims.
 
2012-10-12 12:30:38 AM
there is fact, and there is opinion

belief is merely an opinion the believer has mistaken for a fact
 
2012-10-12 12:46:52 AM

ciberido: Mock26: I once had someone ask me what I thought of a particular singer, and when I said that I thought she was not very good he actually told me, "You're wrong." He then proceeded to lecture me on why my opinion was wrong. Years later his arrogance still makes me laugh!

That's not as arrogant as it may seem. There's a difference between saying someone has skill and saying your like their performance. "Jimi Hendrix was a fantastic guitar player" and "I love Jimi Hendrix's music" are very different statements. Both are opinions of a sort, but the form eris something which can be supported with argument, while the second is purely a matter of taste.

If you said, "I hate Jimi Hendrix's music," you'd be entitled to your opinion. If you said, "Jimi Hendrix couldn't play worth a damn," you'd be wrong.


I said something to the effect of, "I do not think that they are very good." I did not make a definitive statement such as "they suck" or "they are bad." And saying "I do not think that they are very good" is closer to "I love Jimi Hendrix's music" than it is to "Jimi Hendrix was a fantastic guitar player."
 
2012-10-12 01:17:49 AM

NutWrench: Dear Media,
You are not required to present "both sides of the argument" if one side of the argument is a load of crap.


Well... I'd actually like the media to present the crap argument in great detail, along with explanations and citations for why it's crap.

And start putting QR codes in your print-version stories so faux-hip internetphobic baby boomers don't have to do the hard work of typing "what does the sixteenth amendment literally say?" into Google.
 
2012-10-12 01:58:57 AM

meat0918: ciberido: meat0918: Sticky Hands: I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to mock you for it.

Spoken like a true socialist.

//Words my father said to me when I said something similar to what you said. Needless to say, I don't speak much with him anymore since he went off the deep end.

Is it me, or is there some kind of inverse relationship between how readily a person uses "socialist" or "fascist" as an insult and how likely it is that that know what "socialism" and "fascism" actually are?

Definitely.


That also goes for those who claim to be Christians, too.
 
2012-10-12 02:11:52 AM

ciberido: mooseyfate: Does it really bother you that much that I know that my friend is both smart AND incredibly misinformed about something? Because you seem to have a problen with the fact that I don't hold it against him or lord it over his head everytime he speaks.

Rent Party: No, it bothers me that you continue to defend as "incredibly smart" someone who is objectively "incredibly dumb." It is at it's heart exactly what TFA was talking about.

Do you truly not understand that there is a difference between being stupid and being ignorant or misinformed, or are you blurring the distinction for some rhetorical purpose?


In a world where information is easily available and genuine expert testimony on matters is easily consumed, there is no excuse for being ignorant or misinformed. If you are, it is only because you are incredibly dumb. This is particularly true when facts have been presented to you and you still insist on hanging onto your belief.

Truthers are the epitome of that. It's OK to be dumb, but lets not call it anything other than what it is.

Your friend is a dumb ass.
 
2012-10-12 06:26:11 AM

ciberido: I guess the question is, if John asserts an opinion in front of Karen, does fairness then obligate him to listen to Karen's argument against that opinion? Or is it perfectly fair to assert an opinion dogmatically, and then immediately walk away the moment someone disagrees?


I suppose it's "fair", but it's very intellectually lazy and indicative of one whose belief is probably based on unsupportable dogma... If you can't hear opposing opinions and challenges to your beliefs and be able to logically defend them against those challenges, then they are probably not worth holding in the first place, IMHO...

On the other hand, maybe some people have just heard the same challenges over and over and over again so many times, they're sick of repeating themselves and getting nowhere... You need not accept every single challenge from every single person in the world at any time... But, still, you should be wary of just ignoring everyone too, because for all you know, you might one day hear a new and unique challenge from one of them...
 
2012-10-12 07:12:45 AM

PallMall: Rent Party: Slartibartfaster: PallMall: You know what they say about "experts?"

An ex is a has-been, and a xpert is just a little more than a dribble.

/amidoinitrite?

am X is an unknown quantity
a spurt is a drip under pressure

That is how my father taught it to me.

Well down here in Texas, it doubles as a euphemism for an ejaculation from the past... thus the "has been" and "spurt/xpert."


I came so hard my sperm swam into the future.

/ejaculation from the past
 
2012-10-12 12:29:20 PM

RobSeace: I suppose it's "fair", but it's very intellectually lazy and indicative of one whose belief is probably based on unsupportable dogma... If you can't hear opposing opinions and challenges to your beliefs and be able to logically defend them against those challenges, then they are probably not worth holding in the first place, IMHO...


Fine, except as indicated in the examples above, both Christians and atheists do this, to name two groups. So are you saying that both Christianity AND atheism are unsupportable dogmas probably not worth holding in the first place?
 
2012-10-12 01:47:09 PM

ciberido: Fine, except as indicated in the examples above, both Christians and atheists do this, to name two groups. So are you saying that both Christianity AND atheism are unsupportable dogmas probably not worth holding in the first place?


No, I'm saying those particular people who shy away from ever questioning their beliefs probably shouldn't hold them... Or, at least, really ought to examine them in more detail to determine why it is they hold them... Not all atheists or Christians run away from arguments over their beliefs... I've argued with many a Christian before... I may still disagree totally with them at the end, and still think they're being illogical and irrational, but at least they have some kind of argument to defend their beliefs in their own mind, if nothing else... I have a lot more respect for them than I do for someone who covers their ears and runs and hides whenever anyone challenges their beliefs... Even if I share the same belief with that person, I'd have no respect for them if they can't even put up an attempt at defending it...

But, again, to repeat what I also said: You (and others) may sometimes be mistaking people who are simply worn out by dealing with the same old arguments over and over, and are just sick of repeating their defenses against them... They can logically defend their beliefs (and have done so many times in the past), but are simply tired of having to do so with yet another person with the same old failed attacks... The important thing, IMHO, is being able to logically support your beliefs to yourself in order to justify holding them... The arguing with other people is only necessary to introduce new challenges you hadn't encountered or considered before... So, if the other person is just going to rehash stuff you've already countered (in your own mind, at least) and not introduce anything new, arguing with them serves very little purpose... (Other than maybe helping them be exposed to new challenges to their beliefs, if you want to be generous...)
 
2012-10-12 02:48:31 PM

ciberido: Fine, except as indicated in the examples above, both Christians and atheists do this, to name two groups


There are no belief requirements to be an atheist. There is one, and only one, requirement: a lack of belief in dieties.
 
2012-10-12 02:51:19 PM

Farking Canuck: ciberido: Fine, except as indicated in the examples above, both Christians and atheists do this, to name two groups

There are no belief requirements to be an atheist. There is one, and only one, requirement: a lack of belief in dieties.


Not to be too pedantic, but a "a lack of belief" requirement is synonymous with "a no belief requirement."

/ Too pedantic.
 
2012-10-12 02:55:30 PM

Rent Party: Farking Canuck: ciberido: Fine, except as indicated in the examples above, both Christians and atheists do this, to name two groups

There are no belief requirements to be an atheist. There is one, and only one, requirement: a lack of belief in dieties.

Not to be too pedantic, but a "a lack of belief" requirement is synonymous with "a no belief requirement."

/ Too pedantic.


Yeah ... after clicking 'post' I was thinking that I should have worded it as "required beliefs".

But then I said to myself "Don't worry ... nobody is going to be that pedantic on Fark" ;)
 
2012-10-12 02:56:18 PM

Farking Canuck: Rent Party: Farking Canuck: ciberido: Fine, except as indicated in the examples above, both Christians and atheists do this, to name two groups

There are no belief requirements to be an atheist. There is one, and only one, requirement: a lack of belief in dieties.

Not to be too pedantic, but a "a lack of belief" requirement is synonymous with "a no belief requirement."

/ Too pedantic.

Yeah ... after clicking 'post' I was thinking that I should have worded it as "required beliefs".

But then I said to myself "Don't worry ... nobody is going to be that pedantic on Fark" ;)


I'm always there in a pedantry pinch.
 
2012-10-12 04:17:43 PM

Farking Canuck: There are no belief requirements to be an atheist. There is one, and only one, requirement: a lack of belief in dieties.


Depends on what you mean by "atheist". You're right about weak atheism. Strong atheism though is an active belief that there is no God. It's unfortunate from a discussion perspective, but there's not really a term for the latter other than just "strong atheist", which leads to a pretty important difference between strong & weak atheism in terms of what beliefs are involved. (Maybe I've heard "antitheist" before?)
 
2012-10-12 04:43:07 PM

evaned: Farking Canuck: There are no belief requirements to be an atheist. There is one, and only one, requirement: a lack of belief in dieties.

Depends on what you mean by "atheist". You're right about weak atheism. Strong atheism though is an active belief that there is no God. It's unfortunate from a discussion perspective, but there's not really a term for the latter other than just "strong atheist", which leads to a pretty important difference between strong & weak atheism in terms of what beliefs are involved. (Maybe I've heard "antitheist" before?)


In Latin the 'a' prefix is generally translated to without. Making atheism "without god".

This definition is also the only one that encompasses all atheists as most of us, in my experience the vast majority, are not anti-theists. And therefore the common religious argument about proving god does not exist does not apply to us as we do not make that claim.

Yes, anti-theist is a less common but more accurate designation for the small sub-set of atheists who are actually willing to make the formal claim that there are no gods.

I personally try to use definitions are are closest to the word's roots and the most useful. As an example, there are people on Fark who like to define a lack of a belief as a belief. They'll go through a bunch of philosophical back-flips to prove it and, in the end, will make the case that the moment you put any thought to a subject you have formed a 'belief' .... whether it be gods or flying purple elephants. This exercise makes the word 'belief' useless but allows them to say 'atheism is a belief'. It does not forward the conversation and is simply a waste of time (IMO).
 
2012-10-12 04:59:10 PM

evaned: Farking Canuck: There are no belief requirements to be an atheist. There is one, and only one, requirement: a lack of belief in dieties.

Depends on what you mean by "atheist". You're right about weak atheism. Strong atheism though is an active belief that there is no God. It's unfortunate from a discussion perspective, but there's not really a term for the latter other than just "strong atheist", which leads to a pretty important difference between strong & weak atheism in terms of what beliefs are involved. (Maybe I've heard "antitheist" before?)


I think an antitheist is more one who actively opposes religion or belief in gods... Like an evangelical atheist or something... Just personally believing that there's no god wouldn't qualify, I don't think, unless you're out there actively fighting against theism...

But, yeah, I think most of us self-identified atheists do have some level of actual disbelief... It's not usually of the full-on gnostic "There's definitely no god!" sort, but more of the "It seems pretty silly and unlikely, so I really doubt there's a god" sort... (Ie: the same way we feel about all other incredible sounding ideas for which no evidence has been offered...) I doubt there are too many people truly lacking an opinion on the subject at all, one way or the other... (And, those people would probably be "apatheists"...)
 
2012-10-12 05:02:37 PM
Jesus, I thought I was a pedant...
 
2012-10-12 05:07:03 PM

Farking Canuck: This definition is also the only one that encompasses all atheists as most of us, in my experience the vast majority, are not anti-theists. And therefore the common religious argument about proving god does not exist does not apply to us as we do not make that claim.

Yes, anti-theist is a less common but more accurate designation for the small sub-set of atheists who are actually willing to make the formal claim that there are no gods.


I'd agree it's a small subset if you mean the ones claiming "There's definitely no god!"... But, if you mean the ones who personally believe there's probably no god, I don't agree... I think that's the majority of us... And, yes, that is a belief, albeit an informed, rational one which remains open to being countered by future evidence... But, just as I believe there's probably no bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, Santa Claus, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, etc., etc., I also believe there are probably no gods... It's just the only logical default position until any evidence in support of them appears...
 
2012-10-12 05:10:40 PM

RobSeace: Farking Canuck: This definition is also the only one that encompasses all atheists as most of us, in my experience the vast majority, are not anti-theists. And therefore the common religious argument about proving god does not exist does not apply to us as we do not make that claim.

Yes, anti-theist is a less common but more accurate designation for the small sub-set of atheists who are actually willing to make the formal claim that there are no gods.

I'd agree it's a small subset if you mean the ones claiming "There's definitely no god!"... But, if you mean the ones who personally believe there's probably no god, I don't agree... I think that's the majority of us... And, yes, that is a belief, albeit an informed, rational one which remains open to being countered by future evidence... But, just as I believe there's probably no bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, Santa Claus, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, etc., etc., I also believe there are probably no gods... It's just the only logical default position until any evidence in support of them appears...


Why would you even leave the door open for something for which there is no evidence? Why not make a definitive statement? "There is absolutely no FSM and I make that statement because there is no evidence to support the existence of FSM."

What makes you qualify that with "probably?"

/ I'm a believer.
// Sris question.
 
2012-10-12 05:17:23 PM

Rent Party: Why would you even leave the door open for something for which there is no evidence? Why not make a definitive statement? "There is absolutely no FSM and I make that statement because there is no evidence to support the existence of FSM."

What makes you qualify that with "probably?"

/ I'm a believer.
// Sris question.


Because, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence... Just because I haven't seen any evidence of gods doesn't necessarily mean there isn't any that I might eventually run across someday... I tend to doubt it, simply because of how fantastical it sounds, but to completely discount the idea is just close-minded and anti-scientific... After all, lots of things which were thought to be fantastical ideas in the past have eventually been proven true through later evidence...
 
2012-10-12 05:28:47 PM

RobSeace: Rent Party: Why would you even leave the door open for something for which there is no evidence? Why not make a definitive statement? "There is absolutely no FSM and I make that statement because there is no evidence to support the existence of FSM."

What makes you qualify that with "probably?"

/ I'm a believer.
// Sris question.

Because, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence... Just because I haven't seen any evidence of gods doesn't necessarily mean there isn't any that I might eventually run across someday... I tend to doubt it, simply because of how fantastical it sounds, but to completely discount the idea is just close-minded and anti-scientific... After all, lots of things which were thought to be fantastical ideas in the past have eventually been proven true through later evidence...


Fair enough.

Follow on question, though. Is there anything that you *do* discount completely?
 
2012-10-12 06:30:37 PM

Rent Party: Follow on question, though. Is there anything that you *do* discount completely?


I don't think so... I mean, there's stuff where I'm 99.99999...% sure that X is or isn't the case, but I don't think anyone could really fully get to 100%, unless you're talking about a simple tautology or paradox... Ie: I'm 100% sure that 1+1=2, because that's how those numbers and the addition operator are defined, so it's impossible for it to be not true... I'm 100% sure that it's impossible to go back in time and kill my own grandfather (in this universe and timeline) before my father was conceived, since I'd never have existed to do so in the first place... But, these are just semantic certainties, really... When it comes to real life questions, it's rarely ever that easy, and so no, for most things I don't get to 100% certainty one way or the other... I may be certain enough to rule things out for all practical intents and purposes... I don't seriously sit around and ponder whether gravity might suddenly decide to reverse itself and fling my coffee cup to the ceiling when I set it down... But, I don't say it can't ever happen, either...
 
2012-10-13 12:25:25 AM

RobSeace: Farking Canuck: This definition is also the only one that encompasses all atheists as most of us, in my experience the vast majority, are not anti-theists. And therefore the common religious argument about proving god does not exist does not apply to us as we do not make that claim.

Yes, anti-theist is a less common but more accurate designation for the small sub-set of atheists who are actually willing to make the formal claim that there are no gods.

I'd agree it's a small subset if you mean the ones claiming "There's definitely no god!"... But, if you mean the ones who personally believe there's probably no god, I don't agree... I think that's the majority of us... And, yes, that is a belief, albeit an informed, rational one which remains open to being countered by future evidence... But, just as I believe there's probably no bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, Santa Claus, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, etc., etc., I also believe there are probably no gods... It's just the only logical default position until any evidence in support of them appears...


We are not talking personal opinions. Yes most atheists are pretty sure there is no god (complete lack of evidence over long periods of time, etc.) ... but that is very different to making the claim that god does not exist. It is the latter that I am describing as an anti-theist.
 
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