Debunk My Brother's Theology

Atheistextremist
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Debunk My Brother's Theology

 

 

my annoying brother wrote:

 

 

I would try to avoid dogmatic statements like ‘there is no proof’ and ‘naked assertions’.  Again, to reach the goal you are simplifying the complex.  theology (like philosophy) should not be assessed using the same standards or rules of ‘proof’ that might be accepted and applied in other disciplines.

 

But in this black and white world you hold out exists, perhaps unless you sat in the lab yourself you cannot accept the truth or otherwise of any alleged fact.  But no we don’t operate on that basis do we. Does every assessment of ‘truth’ sufficient to justify a response depend on some kind of science test result in our experience? No.

 

Relaxing the standards which clearly must be done in an environment that is largely incapable of laboratory testing, is required to form a view.

 

When I read a theory like the multiple universe theory, do I demand some kind of laboratory result or the ability to observe the other universes posited to accept that the theory may be plausible or have some credibility of some kind?  Of course I don’t because I know that it is one of those theories that are more on the edge of the envelope than others.

 

So passionate denunciations of religion or god as the great evil because the standards applied to a particularly rigorous scientific 

methodology are not (and cannot be) met, are no more reasoned or plausible than hysterical claims that god is true because he appeared to me in a dream.

 

I think it is the process that is more important.  Ie the process that you and I go through to reach our conclusions.

 

Giving something a fair hearing should be more important than confirming a preexisting view.  Particularly if you are actively hostile to ‘religion’ as you appear to be.  I wonder why, as our lives were really not that bad.  Perhaps those sermons of the deluded one

have sunk in to make you feel guilty and so you must rail to overcome the conscience.

 

Morality and other matters of consciousness are all of course attributes that are available to be used by either side of the debate to argue a point.  I myself would have thought having no consciousness would be better to make hard decisions in an evolutionary sense.  It is one thing to hypothesize that morality evolved. Equally I can hypothesize that it was a design feature.

 

Wikipedia doesn’t suggest Kohlberg wrote on the evolutionary aspects of morality.  But no doubt others have.

 

Evolutionary theory doesn’t generally explain theological or philosophical matters.  Nor does it attempt to.  Unless it becomes a kind of religious theory of its own.  And says that it explains everything, before the big bang, what makes the life force, metaphysical matters etc.  And then it becomes a faith of it’s own.  Subject to all the criticisms you make of religion.

 

Where is the proof? Where is the direct proof I can see with my own eyes, that there was no creative force before the big bang?  Hoh gibbet, there is none.  Hoist by your own petard.

 

Of course, a creative force could have used evolution in some way shape or form to develop life.  Natural selection is clearly a fundamental force in the biological world.  Indeed our little semen go through their own little ‘masterchef’ selection trial where millions of them compete, and only one wins. How fascinating, in our reproductive system a microcosm of life operates.  More evidence of a common ancestor!  But what a fantastic thing to have arisen.  But don’t think too hard about it.

 

So ha to you gib.  When you are able to concede that you are also in the same playing field, your bold pronouncements are less credible.

 

Evidence, I am used to dealing with it.  The black and white world your statements imply exist does not.  Not even in the absolute world of scientific truth.  Material evidence, that is a boundary imposed by you.  The existence of the universe clearly is evidence that it came from somewhere, indeed the big bang theory makes clear that even scientists don’t believe that it just ‘is’.  It came from something.  What did it come from.  Oh nothing.  We have no ‘evidence’.  It just was.  I have not read that particular theory.  That it just was.

 

Your dichotomy between ‘material evidence’ (which on your standards you would not get for your metaphysical view (no god) either) and ‘unsupported assertions’ is one of those oversimplifications to achieve the end.  At least you concede that you are positing a ‘belief system’.  Which actually is simply an anti-religion system. A non-belief.  To what end do you beat yourself over the head with this marvelous belief sytem?

 

Proof in this arena is to a certain degree subjective.  You cannot meet a tangible ‘god’ and chat over coffee.  Therefore what you define as ‘god’, what you accept as revealing that ‘god’ to you, and how you respond are personal matters.  The multiplicity of religious theories and beliefs makes that clear.  If it was objectively proveable surely there would be fewer options.

 

The world you imply exists, of black and whites, does not exist.  Especially not in the field of theology.  It cannot and to insist on this measure is simply a way of denying the validity of the field at all.

 

Having assessed some of dad’s books, I would suggest he was not the most ill informed amongst us.  But in any event, now we are big people too, we can’t blame dad or anyone else for our own decisions.

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Atheistextremist
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Am debating my brother

 

 

over whether or not we can know anything about god...I say it's not possible to know anything about an undefined supernatural being with unmeasurable power existing outside this space time. Brother says it is. In the course of our argument - which has been going on for days - he seems to have managed to shrug of the bible's moral inconsistency calling me hysterical. 

I say he is special pleading with his first cause and arguing from complexity and he says the Big Bang is a faith position, as is the multiverse. He references my old man here - who was a minister as some may recall - suggesting dad's one book on evolution, an apologetic 'dissection' of evolution based on lack of knowledge of abiogenesis and the watch in the paddock argument, gave him an informed opinion. 

Feel free to offer any advice...

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Quote:theology (like

Quote:
theology (like philosophy) should not be assessed using the same standards or rules of ‘proof’ that might be accepted and applied in other disciplines.

Well, all statements about observable reality are effectively evaluated using the same methods. Positive claims require sufficient positive evidence and sound arguments. If a claim related to religion or god(s) is not supported by evidence, then it is unjustified. 

Since he claims that theology cannot be assessed using the same "rules of 'proof'" as in all other disciplines, I'd like to know what unique "rules" apply in theology. Faith? 

Quote:
Relaxing the standards which clearly must be done in an environment that is largely incapable of laboratory testing, is required to form a view.

That is obviously correct. One could never conduct a perfect experiment to answer every question about the universe in their personal laboratory. But, that seems like a red herring. We should still try to be reasonable and empirical.   

Quote:
It is one thing to hypothesize that morality evolved. Equally I can hypothesize that it was a design feature.

Except there's no evidence for design.

Quote:
Your dichotomy between ‘material evidence’ (which on your standards you would not get for your metaphysical view (no god) either) and ‘unsupported assertions’ is one of those oversimplifications to achieve the end.

A claim supported by material evidence and an unsupported claim would be a dichotomy if all evidence was material evidence. That just depends on how you're defining 'material.'

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Atheistextremist wrote: he

Atheistextremist wrote:

 he says the Big Bang is a faith position

I believe that emotionally sound argument goes something like this.

P1 - He's ignorant about the Big Bang theory, and he can't understand the research and evidence.

P2 - He doesn't want it to be true.

P3 - Therefore, there is no evidence. 

Conclusion - Therefore, it's a faith position.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Atheistextremist
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Thanks for the input, Butter.

butterbattle wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 he says the Big Bang is a faith position

I believe that emotionally sound argument goes something like this.

P1 - He's ignorant about the Big Bang theory, and he can't understand the research and evidence.

P2 - He doesn't want it to be true.

P3 - Therefore, there is no evidence. 

Conclusion - Therefore, it's a faith position.

 

Look - I think he does not want it to be true but I've also argued against him that the correct position is one of indecision on the existence of god. This is a position he insists is wrong - he claims our existence demands we make a 'response'. When I suggest he is motivated by bible threats of his doom he accuses me of straw-manning the bible - finding the worst interpretation and using that to write the entire bible off.

It's hard to take seriously a person who doesn't believe in evolution but who does believe in god. I would have thought the fossils demanded a response...and it's hard arguing with family. Also hard arguing with some one who implies our positions are relatively equal - that empiricism is as silly an explanation as god pre-bang. There's also his use of the reason bomb - the suggestion we can never know the truth, there are no absolutes, so anything goes.   

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:Look

Atheistextremist wrote:

Look - I think he does not want it to be true but I've also argued against him that the correct position is one of indecision on the existence of god.

Hmmm, yeah, that is the position I thought you held. But in the OP, he seems to imply that you are absolutely certain that there are no gods. 

It's very ironic, then, that he calls your worldview the black and white oversimplification, since he is arguing that we must either be certain that a god exists or be certain that one does not while you are stressing that we can't be 100% sure either way. If that's not projection, I don't know what is.

Quote:
This is a position he insists is wrong - he claims our existence demands we make a 'response'. 

What does that even mean? Lol.

Quote:
the suggestion we can never know the truth, there are no absolutes, so anything goes.

Relativism. Lovely.

Somehow, I doubt he would quickly admit that this means that god does not "absolutely" exist.  

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


cj
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As I stated in another

As I stated in another thread, if I wanted to be a cosmologist, an astrophysicist, etc, I could become one.  And I could have a laboratory, and research grants, and I could see the evidence for a big bang myself.  I may come to a different conclusion, but I could see the evidence myself.

How the hell am I supposed to find evidence for god/s/dess?  By sitting in a closet and praying?  I guess if I fasted long enough and deprived myself of external stimuli long enough, I could come up with hallucinations about god, gods, goddess, goddesses, unicorns, dragons, etc and etc.  I don't believe that would constitute evidence by anyone's definition.  Spirit quests are capable of giving us the answers we want to hear and not much else.

There is no perfection in the universe.  There are models where the so-called constants were changed, and life still evolved.  There are plenty of examples of just how imperfect all organisms are.  How imperfectly they are adapted for their environment, as well.  There is only self justification -

I am currently reading How We Know What Isn't So by Thomas Gilovich.  It is an older book, so you should be able to get a copy for not much money or from the library.  So far, the book is about how people suck at statistics.  How they don't understand randomness, misinterpret incomplete and unrepresentative data, ambiguous and inconsistent data.  And so on.  You might find some insight to how people - including you and me and your brother - get hung up on stuff.  And you know about Mistakes were Made and how we all self justify.  Which is what your brother is doing - and so are you and I to some extent.

That last paragraph your brother wrote is pure passive aggressive.  What a back handed insult.  If it were me, I would say something like -- "I refuse to discuss this any further if you are going to persist in insulting me.  I do not wish to cut off all conversation with you, but I am not your whipping boy.  Find someone else to beat up on."

But maybe you could phrase it more diplomatically.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Odd

It seems to me that the theists are the ones that have a "black and white" view of the world that we live in.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Atheistextremist
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His latest response...

 

my annoying brother wrote:

Your proposition that ‘the big picture of truth is unavailable’ is not quite right.  

Unless you use the appropriate methodology to consider the question the conclusion lacks credibility. And that is where we diverge.  If you choose an inappropriate methodology as the means to determine ‘truth’ you are more likely to get an error in the conclusion. And the scientific method that you appear to hold so dear is limited in its use and not appropriate I would suggest to the question. If you really wanted ‘proof’ you would establish a proper method first, then look to the available ‘proofs’ going to the affirmative and negative cases. 

 

I've asked him to explain his 'appropriate methodology' for proving the existence of god but clearly this will be a stew of first causation, anthropic principle, moral assertion and intelligent design supported by the inability of science to find certain meanings to big questions and a refusal to accept some of the findings that undermine key elements of theism - evolution and our growing understanding of neuroscience being the primary ones in the case of Annoying Brother. Somehow it's easier to take when the silly bastards aren't related to you...

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:I've

Atheistextremist wrote:

I've asked him to explain his 'appropriate methodology' for proving the existence of god but clearly this will be a stew of first causation, anthropic principle, moral assertion and intelligent design supported by the inability of science to find certain meanings to big questions

Of course, those aren't methodologies. They are mostly naked assertions, non sequiturs and semantic fallacies. He is just trying (key word 'trying') to use deductive arguments; last time I checked, the scientific method did not exclude logic and reason. So, he's using the same methodology we're using except his arguments are unsound, he doesn't use induction, and he doesn't refer to empirical evidence. Lol.  

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


cj
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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Somehow it's easier to take when the silly bastards aren't related to you...

 

Well, yeah.

Maybe it was because it was obvious to me when we were children, but my sister has never been such a big deal to me.  You see, she was always ready to believe any old thing any one told her -- as long as it wasn't related to science or as long as the person telling her wasn't related to her.  Some strange person on the street could tell her the world was ending tomorrow and she would suck it up.  If I tried to explain evolution or geology or physics - well, she couldn't accept that.  She made lousy grades in school, too.  Mostly because she couldn't be bothered to learn anything that wasn't woo.

And so I gave up on her in high school.  Probably harder for you as he is your older brother and she is my little sister.  Always easier to dismiss what your younger siblings say.

I once heard this at an awards dinner by a corporate scientist --

Science is like building a skyscraper.  You add story after story as your knowledge grows.  At the same time, the old foundations are being torn down and new foundations are being poured.  Science is strictly lower case truth.  If you want upper case TRUTH, you have to turn to religion.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Hey cj

cj wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Somehow it's easier to take when the silly bastards aren't related to you...

 

Well, yeah.

Maybe it was because it was obvious to me when we were children, but my sister has never been such a big deal to me.  You see, she was always ready to believe any old thing any one told her -- as long as it wasn't related to science or as long as the person telling her wasn't related to her.  Some strange person on the street could tell her the world was ending tomorrow and she would suck it up.  If I tried to explain evolution or geology or physics - well, she couldn't accept that.  She made lousy grades in school, too.  Mostly because she couldn't be bothered to learn anything that wasn't woo.

And so I gave up on her in high school.  Probably harder for you as he is your older brother and she is my little sister.  Always easier to dismiss what your younger siblings say.

I once heard this at an awards dinner by a corporate scientist --

Science is like building a skyscraper.  You add story after story as your knowledge grows.  At the same time, the old foundations are being torn down and new foundations are being poured.  Science is strictly lower case truth.  If you want upper case TRUTH, you have to turn to religion.

 

 

Yeah - I feel your pain. Sadly, though, this guy's no fool. He's a lawyer and a generally clever and balanced sort of guy. Funnily too, this Annoying Brother is a tinkerer with stuff who measures and saws and drills and so forth. Maybe the carpentry is the connection...

This is my younger brother. I have an older brother who's an epistemologist and depends on a dualistic world view in which thoughts and knowledge are immaterial and thus prove an intrinsic Aristotlean supernatural. He's in the process of a phd making him even more irritating than he was before because he knows the names of more arbitrary philosophical labels than he used to. 

Both my sisters are a bit easier, with youngest being a literalist Noah's Ark believer and the other being generally holistic. Her lack of focus makes for a lack or argument. All though, ultimately argue from complexity in the absence of actual evidence. 

Like you did, I should quit fighting them about it but as the only atheist in a family of probably 40 including ten freshly-minted christian nieces and nephews in their late teens through late twenties and a swarm of of hymn-singing grand kids, I find it really difficult not to feel judged by them, so I come out swinging every time. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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your annoying brother

your annoying brother wrote:

I would try to avoid dogmatic statements like ‘there is no proof’ and ‘naked assertions’. 

The only problem with those statements is for the one who is talking out his ass. Grow the fuck up.

 

your annoying brother wrote:

theology (like philosophy) should not be assessed using the same standards or rules of ‘proof’ that might be accepted and applied in other disciplines.

Then it needs to stop making absolute claims.

your annoying brother wrote:

Evolutionary theory doesn’t generally explain theological or philosophical matters.  Nor does it attempt to.  Unless it becomes a kind of religious theory of its own.  And says that it explains everything, before the big bang, what makes the life force, metaphysical matters etc. 

Ummm, that's not the theory of evolution.

 

your annoying brother wrote:
Where is the proof? Where is the direct proof I can see with my own eyes, that there was no creative force before the big bang?

The proof is equal to yours.

That is to say, there is no proof.

In the absence of evidence, the claim 'there is no god', was, is, and always will be exactly equal to the claim that 'there is a god';  look up Boole's Inequality Theorum.

 

Gods are either a myth, or they're not.

50/50

History is full of claims of gods.

 

your annoying brother wrote:
The black and white world your statements imply exist does not.

Patently false.

There is black/white.

There is +/-

There is life/death.

There is rumour/fact.

Those are absolutes.

 

your annoying brother wrote:
The black and white world your statements imply exist does not. Not even in the absolute world of scientific truth.

If it does not exist, then it absolutely does not exist. Duhhh....


Non sequitur, much?...

your annoying brother wrote:
The existence of the universe clearly is evidence that it came from somewhere...

This is a vacuous statement that's totally void of any explanatory power.

He might not be able to imagine a reality with forces and particles that always existed, but I have no such limitations.

your annoying brother wrote:
Your dichotomy between ‘material evidence’ (which on your standards you would not get for your metaphysical view (no god) either) and ‘unsupported assertions’ is one of those oversimplifications to achieve the end.

That's ironic considering the complete double standard of religions in accepting a 'being' than was never 'caused', and 'always' existed, as an overarching 'oversimplification to achieve an end'.

Hypocrite much?...

your annoying brother wrote:
At least you concede that you are positing a ‘belief system’.

Ya, uh huh.

Sure.

Except it's based on hard evidence, blind peer review, and falsification.

your annoying brother wrote:
Which actually is simply an anti-religion system.

Being skeptical of myths, snake oil, and any non falsifiable claim, is a virtue.

your annoying brother wrote:
  The world you imply exists, of black and whites, does not exist. Especially not in the field of theology.  It cannot and to insist on this measure is simply a way of denying the validity of the field at all.

Repeating that absolutes don't exist out one side of your mouth, and then claiming that a god exists absolutely, only demonstrates a disturbing lack of cogency, and blatant non sequitur.

 

In simplest terms, the positive claim that something exists absolutely, is a true/false dichotomy, and subject to falsification, which most certainly makes it a 'scientific' claim.

Period.

End of story.

 

 

 
 
 

 

Atheistextremist wrote:
Somehow it's easier to take when the silly bastards aren't related to you...

Ya, I hear ya.

My younger brother ain't too bright, and simply won't listen to reason (he's not a theist though).

Much like cj, I gave up on him after I moved away from home, right after high school.

We don't talk much, and it's fine by me.

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Atheistextremist wrote: Yeah

Atheistextremist wrote:

Yeah - I feel your pain. Sadly, though, this guy's no fool. He's a lawyer and a generally clever and balanced sort of guy. Funnily too, this Annoying Brother is a tinkerer with stuff who measures and saws and drills and so forth. Maybe the carpentry is the connection...

This is my younger brother. I have an older brother who's an epistemologist and depends on a dualistic world view in which thoughts and knowledge are immaterial and thus prove an intrinsic Aristotlean supernatural. He's in the process of a phd making him even more irritating than he was before because he knows the names of more arbitrary philosophical labels than he used to. 

Both my sisters are a bit easier, with youngest being a literalist Noah's Ark believer and the other being generally holistic. Her lack of focus makes for a lack or argument. All though, ultimately argue from complexity in the absence of actual evidence. 

Like you did, I should quit fighting them about it but as the only atheist in a family of probably 40 including ten freshly-minted christian nieces and nephews in their late teens through late twenties and a swarm of of hymn-singing grand kids, I find it really difficult not to feel judged by them, so I come out swinging every time. 

 

It is not easy being a middle child - my husband is a middle child.  I am really glad I'm not.  And it is hard to play the older brother part since I'll bet younger brother likely feels the oldest brother is the one to pay attention to and not you.

I like to remember, it is arrogant and prideful to believe your way is the way for everyone.  Holds for theists and atheists.  And I find I can get them (theists) off my back if I remind them of this.  It is not necessary for me to accept their beliefs to live a good life and it isn't necessary for theists to accept my beliefs.  It is pitiable and rather sad that they can't survive without an invisible friend, but it is no skin off of my nose if they do.  As long as they keep it to themselves.

If they do not keep it to themselves, I don't have to keep my beliefs to myself.  And I have the right to call them on any insults and refuse to take those insults on to myself.  This only works if you don't take the first swing.  If you get angry, ask yourself why.  And I'll lay odds it's because someone was insulting - and from the example from your brother, it might very likely be passive aggressive.  Which has to be the most infuriating style of "conversation" around.  My ex ......

Never mind.

Here are some suggestions.  Take them or leave them as you please.

1. You know the answers.  But get a copy of 50 Reasons People Give for Believing a God and keep it handy for debating.  By the phone, by the computer, take it with you to family gatherings.  Sure, why not?  And when someone drags up yet another tired argument, very ostentatiously, look up the chapter, open to that chapter, and start paraphrasing/quoting.  Let them see their arguments are so old, someone wrote a book about it.  It also keeps you from being side tracked.

2. If you feel like your temper is going - stop and ask yourself why.  Why are you angry?  What was said, and how was it said?   I know it is ancient advice, but switching to "you" messages really works.  "When you say ------- I feel as if ------."  "When you tell me ------ I feel devalued/minimized."  So, your female relatives may be more influenced by this than the males, but I'm sure you can think up something that will put it back on the men. 

3. And write these sentences down and put them in the book.  Read them off from the page if you have to.  I'm a great believer in writing things down.  You may never print out the page, never refer to it again, but it is a great way to get the phrasing down and to memorize great comebacks.  You know the relatives' arguments are so predictable that you can probably write the script.

4. Satyagraha. 

http://www.answers.com/topic/satyagraha wrote:

Etymology
Sanskrit satyagrahah : satyam, truth (from sat-, sant-, existing, true) + agrahah, determination, insistence : a-, to + grahah, act of seizing, from grhnati, he seizes.

It involves refusing to submit to or cooperate with anything perceived as wrong, while adhering to the principle of nonviolence in order to maintain the tranquillity of mind required for insight and understanding.

 

5. Verbal jujitsu

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Conflict_Resolution_10_Arguments_and_Verbal_Aggression.html wrote:

Whenever they ask you a question, ask a question back (almost any question will do). And, DO NOT answer any more of their questions until they answer your question. Once they answer your question, then they can have their turn again. Just continue to nicely remind them that they have not addressed your question and before you continue you would like it addressed. Remember, an argumentative type will usually ignore your questions and continue to ask their own questions. They will use emotion, attitude, and bullying as a response to your simple requests for answers. Remember, you usually have no obligation to respond. After all, this is supposed to be a discussion?that is, it involves give and take. This simple “asking a question” technique alone is usually enough to back off even the most strident arguer. You don’t have to be rude, angry, or mean?just innocently curious. Try this in any setting and I’m sure you’ll notice a significant difference.

 

Maybe it is all too extreme for you right now.  Maybe you don't need any advice.  That is fine.  We are rooting for you and I'll be happy to give wanted and unwanted advice at the drop of a hat.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


redneF
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cj wrote:If they do not keep

cj wrote:

If they do not keep it to themselves, I don't have to keep my beliefs to myself. 

Great quote...

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Thanks for that cj and Red

 

It helps to have others put in their 2 cents with this - I think I'm right to be unsure - but when your family all consider that you have been tricked by Satan it can be unnerving...

Am sure I have that book, cj but have not read it yet. Am stuck in the middle of Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Britain BC and some Evelyn Waugh novel about failed relationships that's too close for comfort. 

 

I'll have to dig it out tonight. All those suggestions are appreciated. 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote: It

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

It helps to have others put in their 2 cents with this - I think I'm right to be unsure - but when your family all consider that you have been tricked by Satan it can be unnerving...

Am sure I have that book, cj but have not read it yet. Am stuck in the middle of Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Britain BC and some Evelyn Waugh novel about failed relationships that's too close for comfort. 

 

I'll have to dig it out tonight. All those suggestions are appreciated. 

 

You don't have to read it all the way through, silly.  Just pick it up when you get this kind of email.  Flip through to the appropriate chapter and start quoting.  I found it an easy read and the author had some points I hadn't thought of before.  And he covered every argument I have ever heard.  You might find you have finished the book without really trying.

Practice the communication techniques in front of a mirror, then on the street corner preacher who is a stranger.  It is not easy arguing with relatives.  They seem to think it is perfectly all right to treat you like the 10 year old you used to be.  My mother could always make me feel like a teenager again - complete with pimples and a flat chest.  I was 50 the last time she did this to me.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


redneF
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Atheistextremist wrote: It

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

It helps to have others put in their 2 cents with this - I think I'm right to be unsure - but when your family all consider that you have been tricked by Satan it can be unnerving...

 

It's unfortunate that religion seems to be a wedge between you and your family.

It seems to me that this is 'proof positive', (for those who want 'scientific' proof) that religion has severe negative effects and consequences.

If cases like yours are not proof of religion's 'toxic' effects, then I don't know WTF is...

 

I guess I'm lucky in that it's never bothered me if there was a distance, or separation that arise from conflicts, either between friends, or family. There is something fundamental in me that naturally repulses me, and repels me from people that are of a different 'polarity' than me.

Which makes me value so much more when I'm with people who I'm more aligned with.

I think it's the awareness of the vastly more positive feelings when around like minded people that makes me naturally fall away from people I conflict with, without any anguish.

 

cj is right. Your brother is very passive aggressive towards you. He's in 'attack' mode against an 'atheist', not having dialogue with a brother. There's no olive branch in sight.

He's just diatribing. He's also parroting hackneyed non sequiturs, category errors, and fallacies. Basically, he's repeating the 'bullshit baffles brains' apologetic rhetoric, that isn't even cogent.

There's no point in arguing with him. He's talking past you. His drivel is just reflex. He's not concerned about 'reaching' out to you, he's trying to bludgeon you.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Annoying brother's final post...

 

my annoying brother wrote:

I am in favour of avoiding absolutes and trying to do the best I can in light of obvious limitations of knowledge and capacity that cannot be overcome in my lifetime and when you are born with only one capacity, your own.

  I think it has to be the best decision or conclusion possible in light of the best information available doing the best you can. I am utterly against taking anyone’s word for it, and regard everyone outside of my immediate family as having an agenda that is my enemy. But it is very complicated and difficult given the agenda driven information that you tend to get.  It is either all or nothing on both sides of the fence. I keep harking back to my own personal experience because I find that more reliable either than a (perhaps fake) church man or an anti church man.   My conversations with god in my head have not been that frequent lately gib, as I have moved into a ‘questioning’ phase of my life.  All of that is up in the air to a great degree. I still think a decision is possible.  I am very much compelled by the existence of the universe as an observable fact and what that says.  Notwithstanding your dismissal of the ‘argument from complexity’ you would agree that it has its attractions.  To me it is the same as finding the car in the forest but much stronger given the amazing things in the universe that all coincide to make it all work 
   We are all familiar with Paley's stupid watch in the paddock analogy and I guess that's what this seems to come down to. The argument from design seems to me particularly weak. There's also a false dichotomy in 'church person' vs 'anti church person'. Maybe when your default truth is church, that's the way you see things. When the default is that nothing unproven is true then you have a different perspective.  I'm glad Annoying Brother has his doubts - tagged here as a questioning phase in his life. He asked me for Carl Sagan's Cosmos, interestingly, and I feel like an evangelist as I plan sending it to him. Think I'll back Cosmos up with a few things of Stenger's while I'm at it. And maybe Bernard Russell. Personally, I don't see him changing position. He goes nuts over what he calls the 'assumption of evolution' and rejects it on the basis of no 'intermediates' and inexplicable abiogensis.   I tend to think that the vociferous criticism of creationism inherent in many books on evolution causes him to overreact as his position gets threatened. He prefers not to be directly challenged by the 'facts' and relies on personal assumptions. And the business of all outside the family being the enemy. That's interesting...   Thanks again folks, for all your input.        

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck