Theist vs. Atheist debates in an epistemological frame of reference.

Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Theist vs. Atheist debates in an epistemological frame of reference.

I am noticing a trend in theist vs atheist debates of all levels, from your nut jobs vs shit disturbers to high profile educated theists vs high profile educated atheists.  Namely, it's as though we fundamentally speak different languages, and we end up talking past ourselves.  

I believe that in order to conduct any soft of debate, the debaters must agree on the lowest common denominator.  You can then use that as currency and equate the value of any subjective claim.  In a few ongoing debates I'm trying to establish an epistemological frame of reference that we both agree on, without a lot of success.  Think of it as laying the most basic of ground rules.  At it's most basic, I view reality through my senses, and so do they.  Empiricism isn't one of the ways to fundamentally perceive reality, it is the ONLY way.

I have yet to have a valid point raised on this, and want to draw on the vast experience of some of the members here, both theists and atheists as to what your thoughts are on:

1.  The benefit of agreeing on an epistemological frame of reference.

2.  How the theistic epistemological frame of reference differs from an atheistic one.

3.  What can I do to clarify this most fundamental position in my debates, so I can move forward.

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


luca
atheist
Posts: 400
Joined: 2011-02-21
User is offlineOffline
oh life

A lot of people talked about this, even on this forum (obviously). There was that scholar little time ago that wrote some long posts on how the system of theists and atheists is different. Then there was someone that said he usually has more fortune talking about general things than teleology, epistemology or what.
And I too think talking about this level is just dancing around the facts. Now I admit it's useful and it tells a lot of things on what someone believes and how profound are his thoughts, but you know it, in the end what it matters is how one arrived to his conclusion, and you can know by this very forum that often a theist, be him christian or not, after having removed all the superficial layers, it all comes down to a supposed 'particular' experience, or just education.


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Hey Ktulu

 

this is a good thread topic.

I agree with you that mutual acceptance of an epistemological frame of reference is vital but even at this basic level can't help thinking you find problems. My christian brother sees epistemology itself, the knowledge of knowledge, as proof of the immaterial spirit world, as have other epistemologist christians we've arm wrestled here - as you are no doubt aware. How much does the number 7 weigh, they cry.

When the still nebulous fundamentals of neurology are leveraged as proof of spirit, it can get hard to make a mutually acceptable framework for how we think we can know what we think we know.

Perhaps I'm overthinking the issue but when you get into epistemology, it gets strange very fast. Does an atheist take a skeptical position on sense data? A dogmatist position? A rationalist position? Do we insist on idea-ism or idealism? Do we accept doubt over the primary or secondary qualities of objects? Do we agree we can never really know?

I try to tend towards skepticism and critical rationalism but this is not an instinctive human quality and to my mind this is where the strength of testable explanations lies. It means that regardless of the subjective reality inside our minds, we can still understand things about the reality that exists outside of them - we can have conjectural knowledge in the absence of certainty. Accepting our inability to be absolutely sure of our personal sense data does not mean we can not achieve realism, in as far as it's possible for humans to achieve it.

Needless to say, I think getting your debate partner to agree with whatever epistemological carley raft you've thrown a leg over would probably be more fraught than the actual debate...it woud be wonderful to find a generally accepted position when it came to what we can know that also formed a basis for what atheists and theists accept as evidence but think that we could not agree on even this baseline knowledge position.

I contend you hit the spot in your first couple of lines. Atheists and theists cannot agree on how to think. The differences really are as fundamental as that.

 

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


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5877
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Any system of thinking about

Any system of thinking about 'knowing' which assumes that 'knowledge' is only meaningful applied to something known with 100% confidence has already lost me. Like Jean Chauvin.

This is epitomised in the 'definition' of 'knowledge' as 'justified true belief', which is now more questioned in philosophical circles than it once was.

To me it is circular nonsense, since it includes the word 'true' in there. Since we cannot know what is objectively true about what IS with 100% confidence, beyond 'cogito ergo sum' - "I think therefore I am" - and the primary laws of logic and their direct deductive implications, I contend that that 'definition' id useless.

And that the word 'knowledge' is a slippery, changing term. What counts as knowledge changes through time and societal context.

All is ultimately 'belief', held with varying degrees of certainty and confidence. I prefer to use the term 'working assumptions' to refer to the basis of our beliefs. Especially as we get further from the relative certainties.

So everything is ultimately a combination of deduction and induction, applied to the data derived through our senses and vastly augmented by our instruments of measurement and enhancement, using the deductive tools of logic, math, especially the vital math of statistical analysis, the math of probability, starting with Bayes Theorem for rigorously calculating the confidence we can have in any conclusions by accounting for the uncertainty in all the bits of data contributing to every conclusion. This is my 'theory of knowledge'. All else is outdated bunk, IMHO.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Atheistextremist wrote: Hey

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Hey Ktulu, this is a good thread topic.

Agreed.

I've never, ever come across so many desperate attempts to mindfuck a debate, than with all this metaphysical 'epistemological' 'how do we know that we know what we know?' bullshit.

Atheistextremist wrote:
  Do we agree we can never really know?

Of course we can 'really know'. We can make something really round. We can find the exact center of gavity of a structure. We can find the exact resonant frequency of a structure. And we can do it without question. With a go/no go type of gauging. There is no room for 'interpretation'.

This canard that we can't 'use science to prove science' is total and complete bullshit.

There's the axiom 'for all intents and purposes' that applies to certain understandings. It depends on how anal you want to be when making 'absolute truth' statements. Like just how 100% pure distilled is 100% pure distilled water? What is the ppm cutoff for it to be considered an 'absolute' truth that it's '100% pure'?

When you get the level of absurdity that we've seen in these forums, with some of these pricks getting so desperate to try and make a point that just because we've boiled water in a kettle 550,736,019 times, doesn't mean that it will boil the 550,736,020th time we try....that's when you're not dealing with a sane person any longer. Anyone who is intent on dragging a conversation to that level of absurdity is not of sound mind.

If you want to get 'technical'...there are no solid objects...

 

 

 

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


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote:I believe that

Ktulu wrote:
I believe that in order to conduct any soft of debate, the debaters must agree on the lowest common denominator.  You can then use that as currency and equate the value of any subjective claim.  In a few ongoing debates I'm trying to establish an epistemological frame of reference that we both agree on, without a lot of success.  Think of it as laying the most basic of ground rules.  At it's most basic, I view reality through my senses, and so do they.  Empiricism isn't one of the ways to fundamentally perceive reality, it is the ONLY way.

Only problem with Empiricism is that you'll get the brain-dead "Well, you can't trust your senses", meanwhile the person looks both ways before they cross the street.

It's actually true that we can't trust our senses. Not perfectly anyway. We are stuck with imperfection. But is 'knowledge' only knowledge if it is 'perfect knowledge'? No.

If we ditch perfection as the ideal, which is a good move by any account, then we are left with the standard of 'good enough'. Or, to put it in even more general terms: Does it work?

Empiricism works, and that's why we use it. We use it because it is useful. The justification for empiricism is just THAT it is useful, THAT it works.

This argument is fundamentally a pragmatic argument: Use what works.

I submit to you that the word you are looking for is pragmatism. It is the lowest common denominator that all people depend upon, and cannot be abandoned (for much longer than a few minutes or maybe a few hours if you're lucky). Everyone is an epistemological pragmatist, whether they realize it or not.

Empiricism itself is built upon this foundation of pragmatism. We trust our senses to the extent (and not more, unless we are foolish) that they work and are useful.

I've got three articles for ya.

Why 'what works' and 'what is useful' are best understood as 'what makes the best predictions', and why pragmatism is an unbeatable epistemological position: http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/wonderism/forum/topics/wonderism-pragmatism-and

The dangers of pretending to know with faith, and why evidence-based reasoning is the only way to overcome conflict with agreement: http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/wonderism/forum/topics/wonderism-vs-faith

Anti-knowledge philosophies are more common than just faith-based theism. How to separate real knowledge from mere navel-gazing pomotardedness: http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/wonderism/forum/topics/wonderism-vs-postmodernism

Quote:
I have yet to have a valid point raised on this, and want to draw on the vast experience of some of the members here, both theists and atheists as to what your thoughts are on:

1.  The benefit of agreeing on an epistemological frame of reference.

2.  How the theistic epistemological frame of reference differs from an atheistic one.

3.  What can I do to clarify this most fundamental position in my debates, so I can move forward.

1. The only way to overcome conflict (i.e. difference of opinion escalating into violence) is to adopt an evidence-based approach to reality. This means being willing to be corrected when the universe tells you you're wrong. This is called open-mindedness. Faith and dogma are the antithesis of this.

2. Faith. Pure and simple. (Actually atheists can have faith too, i.e. strongly held opinions in the face of contradictory evidence. I would instead phrase the difference as faith-based vs. reason-based frames of reference.)

3. Ask them what accurate and reliable predictions their beliefs make that actually come true when they are tested. Point out to them that no one is obligated to believe their claims without evidence. Refer them to John Loftus' defense of the Outsider Test for Faith. Ask them repeatedly and doggedly, "Well, how do you really know that?" When they turn the same question on you, be prepared with your evidence (the best is from science), and also be prepared for the possibility that you might genuinely have to respond, "Well, actually, I don't really know that." And also be prepared to follow the evidence of the universe where it leads you. Lead them by example.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Thank you all for your

Thank you all for your replies.  

AE, you're right, it does get strange very fast.  I think we get easily sidetracked when thinking about thinking or thinking about knowing.  And I don't think we can over_think it enough. Smiling

Bob, I get what you're trying to establish, and I agree with you the whole way, what I'm referring to is much more fundamental than concepts.  I'm thinking of meaningful communication and relative common ground. 

And rednef seems a hardcore pragmatist. 

I like the idea of wonderism at first glance, I have to give it a bit more thought methinks.  I think it may be a bit more evolved of a philosophy than what I am thinking of.  In fact, what I am proposing is not really a philosophy at all, not even an established method.  I find it more of a prerequisite to any intelligent discussion that is expected to yelled results.  

Basically, this is how I see it, I may be out to lunch, but it seems relatively clear.  There is a vast and largely unknown physical/natural universe.  Us, as part of said universe, perceive the physical/natural through our five senses(or less for some unfortunates).  The way we gain knowledge or register reality, which I consider to be one and the same at it's most fundamental, is by creating symbols to use in our inner narrative.  For example, when I see the color BLUE I create a symbol of the particular wave length associated with BLUE.  The same goes for pretty much any empirically perceived object.  ANYTHING that we can verify by observing I consider a symbol.  We then use those symbols to  create concepts.  Basically, anything subjective, or anything not immediately verifiable empirically is a concept.  If symbols were letters, concepts are words.  So for example BEAUTIFUL is a concept.  When I say BEAUTIFUL I think, SYMMETRICAL, CLEAN, etc.  all of which are symbols.  

The reason for this most fundamental codification is to establish a way to equate concepts.  Also to provide anyone theists and atheists, with a way to express their subjective claims.  If we disagree on what the term BEAUTIFUL means, we can list the underlining symbols(which we must agree on, or point them out in reality) it is composed of, and come to a consensus on what we mean by that.  

It is a difficult idea to convey, I hope I'm not being too vague.  Ultimately, if a theist is able to use symbols to show the concepts leading to the the multiplex_concept GOD, I can easily follow, and possibly be persuaded .  I can also point out where we disagree and adjust our "concepts" to fit into a common paradigm.  

Let me know if this makes sense.

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Chuckle - quick Ktulu...before it's too late...

Ktulu wrote:

Thank you all for your replies.  

AE, you're right, it does get strange very fast.  I think we get easily sidetracked when thinking about thinking or thinking about knowing.  And I don't think we can over_think it enough. Smiling

Bob, I get what you're trying to establish, and I agree with you the whole way, what I'm referring to is much more fundamental than concepts.  I'm thinking of meaningful communication and relative common ground. 

And rednef seems a hardcore pragmatist. 

I like the idea of wonderism at first glance, I have to give it a bit more thought methinks.  I think it may be a bit more evolved of a philosophy than what I am thinking of.  In fact, what I am proposing is not really a philosophy at all, not even an established method.  I find it more of a prerequisite to any intelligent discussion that is expected to yelled results.  

Basically, this is how I see it, I may be out to lunch, but it seems relatively clear.  There is a vast and largely unknown physical/natural universe.  Us, as part of said universe, perceive the physical/natural through our five senses(or less for some unfortunates).  The way we gain knowledge or register reality, which I consider to be one and the same at it's most fundamental, is by creating symbols to use in our inner narrative.  For example, when I see the color BLUE I create a symbol of the particular wave length associated with BLUE.  The same goes for pretty much any empirically perceived object.  ANYTHING that we can verify by observing I consider a symbol.  We then use those symbols to  create concepts.  Basically, anything subjective, or anything not immediately verifiable empirically is a concept.  If symbols were letters, concepts are words.  So for example BEAUTIFUL is a concept.  When I say BEAUTIFUL I think, SYMMETRICAL, CLEAN, etc.  all of which are symbols.  

The reason for this most fundamental codification is to establish a way to equate concepts.  Also to provide anyone theists and atheists, with a way to express their subjective claims.  If we disagree on what the term BEAUTIFUL means, we can list the underlining symbols(which we must agree on, or point them out in reality) it is composed of, and come to a consensus on what we mean by that.  

It is a difficult idea to convey, I hope I'm not being too vague.  Ultimately, if a theist is able to use symbols to show the concepts leading to the the multiplex_concept GOD, I can easily follow, and possibly be persuaded .  I can also point out where we disagree and adjust our "concepts" to fit into a common paradigm.  

Let me know if this makes sense.

 

 

...read your tagline...

 

 

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


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote:Basically, this

Ktulu wrote:
Basically, this is how I see it, I may be out to lunch, but it seems relatively clear.  There is a vast and largely unknown physical/natural universe.  Us, as part of said universe, perceive the physical/natural through our five senses(or less for some unfortunates).  The way we gain knowledge or register reality, which I consider to be one and the same at it's most fundamental, is by creating symbols to use in our inner narrative.  For example, when I see the color BLUE I create a symbol of the particular wave length associated with BLUE.  The same goes for pretty much any empirically perceived object.  ANYTHING that we can verify by observing I consider a symbol.  We then use those symbols to  create concepts.  Basically, anything subjective, or anything not immediately verifiable empirically is a concept.  If symbols were letters, concepts are words.  So for example BEAUTIFUL is a concept.  When I say BEAUTIFUL I think, SYMMETRICAL, CLEAN, etc.  all of which are symbols.  

The reason for this most fundamental codification is to establish a way to equate concepts.  Also to provide anyone theists and atheists, with a way to express their subjective claims.  If we disagree on what the term BEAUTIFUL means, we can list the underlining symbols(which we must agree on, or point them out in reality) it is composed of, and come to a consensus on what we mean by that.  

It is a difficult idea to convey, I hope I'm not being too vague.  Ultimately, if a theist is able to use symbols to show the concepts leading to the the multiplex_concept GOD, I can easily follow, and possibly be persuaded .  I can also point out where we disagree and adjust our "concepts" to fit into a common paradigm.  

Let me know if this makes sense.

Ah. In that case, I have an even older video where I touched on the issues you seem to be getting at. Let me know if this is closer to the mark of what you're looking for:

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote:..., what I'm

Ktulu wrote:
..., what I'm referring to is much more fundamental than concepts.  I'm thinking of meaningful communication and relative common ground.

Oh, by the way, the words 'fundamental' and 'common ground' reminded me of the word 'foundation'.

I don't have nearly as much written about it, but I have some clear-in-my-mind-but-hard-to-express-clearly ideas about "what is the most basic, least complicated, most simple and minimal possible 'philosophy' that could allow two or more people to just communicate reasonably with each other without a) talking past each other, wasting energy, or b) escalating difference of opinion into nastiness or violence".

If that is along the lines of what you're talking about, I'm itching to talk about it too. Unfortunately, I find it hard to start talking about a subject without some sort of question or seed to respond to, so if you want me to expound in that direction, ask me about 'foundationism'.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Ktulu

natural wrote:

Ktulu wrote:
..., what I'm referring to is much more fundamental than concepts.  I'm thinking of meaningful communication and relative common ground.

Oh, by the way, the words 'fundamental' and 'common ground' reminded me of the word 'foundation'.

I don't have nearly as much written about it, but I have some clear-in-my-mind-but-hard-to-express-clearly ideas about "what is the most basic, least complicated, most simple and minimal possible 'philosophy' that could allow two or more people to just communicate reasonably with each other without a) talking past each other, wasting energy, or b) escalating difference of opinion into nastiness or violence".

If that is along the lines of what you're talking about, I'm itching to talk about it too. Unfortunately, I find it hard to start talking about a subject without some sort of question or seed to respond to, so if you want me to expound in that direction, ask me about 'foundationism'.

I haven't watched the video yet (at work, no time) but I think this hits the spot.  It is EXACTLY what I'm looking for, a sort of objective way of viewing reality at it's most fundamental.  Foundationism seems a good word for it. Smiling

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Ktulu

natural wrote:

Ktulu wrote:
..., what I'm referring to is much more fundamental than concepts.  I'm thinking of meaningful communication and relative common ground.

Oh, by the way, the words 'fundamental' and 'common ground' reminded me of the word 'foundation'.

I don't have nearly as much written about it, but I have some clear-in-my-mind-but-hard-to-express-clearly ideas about "what is the most basic, least complicated, most simple and minimal possible 'philosophy' that could allow two or more people to just communicate reasonably with each other without a) talking past each other, wasting energy, or b) escalating difference of opinion into nastiness or violence".

With theists?

That's virtually impossible. They're overarching as a matter of necessity, since without it, their positions are not logically tenable. Their 'beliefes' are merely superstitions that are nurtured into them. Their beliefs are not understandings, otherwise 'faith' would not be a requirement.

I don't have 'faith' in redshift. I understand what redshift demonstrates.

Every theist is lying to themselves, to one degree or another. Therefore, any honest conversation with them, is by default, not possible. I'd even go as far as saying that the majority of them are agnostic theists, since I doubt that you'd be able to find many theists who aren't 'sinners'.

So, discussion with them is just an exercise to determine just how dishonest they are...

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


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
redneF wrote:I don't have

redneF wrote:

I don't have 'faith' in redshift. I understand what redshift demonstrates.

Every theist is lying to themselves, to one degree or another. Therefore, any honest conversation with them, is by default, not possible. I'd even go as far as saying that the majority of them are agnostic theists, since I doubt that you'd be able to find many theists who aren't 'sinners'.

So, discussion with them is just an exercise to determine just how dishonest they are...

I am attempting to formulate some sort of lowest common denominator code for the purpose of communicating.  This is more among the lines of "What I see as RED and what you see as RED are completely different things", sort of philosophy.  It's not a theist vs. atheist issue, it's a communication issue between any two subjects.  The theist/atheist debate exemplifies the flaws in our current common ground, or the fact that we have no common ground.  I don't have a clear theory yet, it's more as though I feel something like that is achievable, I may very well be wrong.  Think of it as objective currency to evaluate any subjective concept, though that may be oversimplifying it.  

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote:redneF wrote:I

Ktulu wrote:

redneF wrote:

I don't have 'faith' in redshift. I understand what redshift demonstrates.

Every theist is lying to themselves, to one degree or another. Therefore, any honest conversation with them, is by default, not possible. I'd even go as far as saying that the majority of them are agnostic theists, since I doubt that you'd be able to find many theists who aren't 'sinners'.

So, discussion with them is just an exercise to determine just how dishonest they are...

I am attempting to formulate some sort of lowest common denominator code for the purpose of communicating.  This is more among the lines of "What I see as RED and what you see as RED are completely different things", sort of philosophy.  It's not a theist vs. atheist issue, it's a communication issue between any two subjects.  The theist/atheist debate exemplifies the flaws in our current common ground, or the fact that we have no common ground.  I don't have a clear theory yet, it's more as though I feel something like that is achievable, I may very well be wrong.  Think of it as objective currency to evaluate any subjective concept, though that may be oversimplifying it.  

I just don't see the possiblity of any 'lowest common denominator' with an apologist.

They are in a constant state of equivocation, and are strawmanning.

Right from the very 'concept' of their god being 'perfect'.

How could something with no alternative, be 'perfect'?  The Erythro dilemma.

What if there was another universe and earth with humans created by another god, exactly the same as the Christian god, with the exception that he didn't feel that homosexuality was a sin.

Would the Christian god be 'perfect', and the other god be slightly less than perfect?

Would the Christian god still rank as the 'greatest conceivable being'?

Surely, in the 'other' world, less humans would have been killed and/or be suffering eternally in hellfire for their sexual tendencies.

 

IMO, that's why theism is completely intellectually bankrupt. It's not even coherent.

You can't build a 'philosophy' on such quicksand.

They are either patently dishonest, or stupid. And most times, both.

There can be no debate. There is no debate they can win, when their position is a complete logical fallacy.

 

Have you ever listened to Platinga? He is heralded by many contemporary apologists as the most brilliant Christian 'logician'.

The guy is mental. He thinks if he can 'imagine' waking up one morning embodied in the body of a beetle, it proves that our minds merely 'inhabit' our bodies.

There's no 'logic' there. That's just completely moronic. 

 

 

 

 

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


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Ktulu

natural wrote:

Ktulu wrote:
..., what I'm referring to is much more fundamental than concepts.  I'm thinking of meaningful communication and relative common ground.

Oh, by the way, the words 'fundamental' and 'common ground' reminded me of the word 'foundation'.

I don't have nearly as much written about it, but I have some clear-in-my-mind-but-hard-to-express-clearly ideas about "what is the most basic, least complicated, most simple and minimal possible 'philosophy' that could allow two or more people to just communicate reasonably with each other without a) talking past each other, wasting energy, or b) escalating difference of opinion into nastiness or violence".

If that is along the lines of what you're talking about, I'm itching to talk about it too. Unfortunately, I find it hard to start talking about a subject without some sort of question or seed to respond to, so if you want me to expound in that direction, ask me about 'foundationism'.

I read up on Foundationism as Wikipedia defines it, and I find it sort of ironic that it would be a fictional religion.  I'm interested in any commentary on the idea I'm attempting to formulate.  So please share your thoughts on it.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
It's an interesting exercise -

Ktulu wrote:

redneF wrote:

I don't have 'faith' in redshift. I understand what redshift demonstrates.

Every theist is lying to themselves, to one degree or another. Therefore, any honest conversation with them, is by default, not possible. I'd even go as far as saying that the majority of them are agnostic theists, since I doubt that you'd be able to find many theists who aren't 'sinners'.

So, discussion with them is just an exercise to determine just how dishonest they are...

I am attempting to formulate some sort of lowest common denominator code for the purpose of communicating.  This is more among the lines of "What I see as RED and what you see as RED are completely different things", sort of philosophy.  It's not a theist vs. atheist issue, it's a communication issue between any two subjects.  The theist/atheist debate exemplifies the flaws in our current common ground, or the fact that we have no common ground.  I don't have a clear theory yet, it's more as though I feel something like that is achievable, I may very well be wrong.  Think of it as objective currency to evaluate any subjective concept, though that may be oversimplifying it.  

 

a language of initial comprehension. Shame we've not had any feedback from local theists, isn't it. I'd have been interested in their input on this. 

 

 

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


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Ah. In that

natural wrote:

Ah. In that case, I have an even older video where I touched on the issues you seem to be getting at. Let me know if this is closer to the mark of what you're looking for:

Ok, yes, I did find it interesting.  Good video by the way, I just got around to watching it.  At work I can't really spare 6 minutes with the sound up.  It is among the same line of thought.  I think we're definitely on the same page regarding concepts and inner narrative being different for every individual.  I just find that the differences are born out of the flawed or incomplete way that we register the concepts.  If we break concepts down further, however, we should be able to find a unit with which to "correct" against.  I'm not so much interested on finding the equivalent concept to communicate as to finding a way to equate the two, or to make them as one by comparing them against the "symbols" I keep mentioning.  

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Zaq
atheist
Zaq's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: 2008-12-24
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu, I have recently begun

Ktulu, I have recently begun an endeavor on my blog that you may find interesting in relation to this subject.  I had spent a lot of time talking about "word play" used in philosophy, especially in the process of reaching a "we can never really know" conclusion.  After that, I wanted to go back to some good old religion bashing.  The problem I ran into was that I wanted to argue that faith doesn't work as an epistemology without having to argue that it leads to false conclusions, because such an argument would require a notion of "false" which would entail an epistemology, and so seemed somewhat question-begging.  This led me to analyze various characteristics/properties of epistemologies independent of the "abstract" truth/falseness of their conclusions.

The characteristics I've covered so far are convergence, predictive power, and self-analysis.  I'm trying to figure out a coherent means of explaining a property that I'm tentatively calling cohesion (ironic, I know), which has to do with the fact that it is very difficult to change something in science without far-reaching effects while it is comparatively easy to do so in faith-based sets of beliefs.  I also have a piece on backwards-compatibility in the works, which seems to be required for an epistemology to reliably produce a gradual increase in our knowledge base rather than producing rather arbitrary shifts that may lead to either an increase or decrease.  I may also touch on extrapolation and consistency, though these may be a byproduct of (or perhaps the cause of) a combination of convergence, predictive power, and cohesion.

This kind of analysis can tell us a great many things.  For instance, an epistemology that is not convergent (people reach the same conclusions by applying the epistemology regardless of where they start) cannot reach objective conclusions (conclusions that the epistemology says are true for everyone).  As such, any person advocating their conclusions as objective is not allowed to use a non-convergent epistemology (like faith) to try and support those conclusions.  And anyone who eschews the virtue of predictive power needs to come up with a different criteria for selecting between the great many ad-hoc systems that are always able to explain things after the fact but never able to predict.  And epistemologies that lack cohesion and extrapolation are going to have trouble going anywhere, which is exactly what an epistemology is supposed to do.  And so on.  Even without talking about the "truth" (whatever you mean by that) of the conclusions, one can still say a lot about the viability of an epistemology based on which of these properties it does or does not have.

 

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Zaq wrote:Ktulu, I have

Zaq wrote:

Ktulu, I have recently begun an endeavor on my blog that you may find interesting in relation to this subject.  I had spent a lot of time talking about "word play" used in philosophy, especially in the process of reaching a "we can never really know" conclusion.  After that, I wanted to go back to some good old religion bashing.  The problem I ran into was that I wanted to argue that faith doesn't work as an epistemology without having to argue that it leads to false conclusions, because such an argument would require a notion of "false" which would entail an epistemology, and so seemed somewhat question-begging.  This led me to analyze various characteristics/properties of epistemologies independent of the "abstract" truth/falseness of their conclusions.

The characteristics I've covered so far are convergence, predictive power, and self-analysis.  I'm trying to figure out a coherent means of explaining a property that I'm tentatively calling cohesion (ironic, I know), which has to do with the fact that it is very difficult to change something in science without far-reaching effects while it is comparatively easy to do so in faith-based sets of beliefs.  I also have a piece on backwards-compatibility in the works, which seems to be required for an epistemology to reliably produce a gradual increase in our knowledge base rather than producing rather arbitrary shifts that may lead to either an increase or decrease.  I may also touch on extrapolation and consistency, though these may be a byproduct of (or perhaps the cause of) a combination of convergence, predictive power, and cohesion.

This kind of analysis can tell us a great many things.  For instance, an epistemology that is not convergent (people reach the same conclusions by applying the epistemology regardless of where they start) cannot reach objective conclusions (conclusions that the epistemology says are true for everyone).  As such, any person advocating their conclusions as objective is not allowed to use a non-convergent epistemology (like faith) to try and support those conclusions.  And anyone who eschews the virtue of predictive power needs to come up with a different criteria for selecting between the great many ad-hoc systems that are always able to explain things after the fact but never able to predict.  And epistemologies that lack cohesion and extrapolation are going to have trouble going anywhere, which is exactly what an epistemology is supposed to do.  And so on.  Even without talking about the "truth" (whatever you mean by that) of the conclusions, one can still say a lot about the viability of an epistemology based on which of these properties it does or does not have.

Good stuff, I read some of your blog today.  This is some of the first stuff I have read that touches on what I was thinking.  Do you know of any other supporting material? 

Good blog BTW, I read past the word play posts, and intend on reading it all as time allows.

I will need a bit of time to digest it for a proper response, but I'd love a conversation on the subject some time soon.  I have a few projects on the go at work, but I should be done in a few weeks.  Then I want to spend some time researching and developing this idea.  Your blog seems like a good start.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Zaq
atheist
Zaq's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: 2008-12-24
User is offlineOffline
I'm glad you liked it.

I'm glad you liked it.  It's fairly new (started in march), but some of it was developed earlier as notes posted on Facebook.

I'm not too sure what to recommend for supporting material.  I'm a graduate student in physics, so a lot of my thoughts are influenced by what I learn in school here.  I also went to a liberal arts school in undergrad where I got to have a lot of conversations with students from all sorts of disciplines.  I befriended a few philosophy majors/minors and joined a philosophy/debate club, which also helped.

In terms of literature, I'm only moderately experienced in philosophy.  I took Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Mind in undergrad (the texbook for the former was Readings in the Philosophy of Science by Theodore Schick, Jr.  I can't remember and didn't retain the other course's text.)  I've read books like The God Delusion (Dawkins) and Atheism Explained (Steele).  And of course there's RRS, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc.

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.