Hello Again

mindcore's picture

 It has been a long time since I have posted here. I am still denying the holy spirit. But I am also a lot more chill about it. 

 

I think a lot of horrible things come from religion, and I also think that it is worth criticizing religion on its face as an act to promote free inquiry. I think religious influence in politics should be resisted as a matter of civic duty. 

 

But I also think that there are things about how we are hardwired that make religion, and all other sorts of woo appealing to most of us. As evidenced by the fact that most people are either religious or subscribe to some kind of woo. 

 

For me the million dollar question is why?

I agree with Sam Harris, Dawkins, Dennet, and Hitchens on pretty much everything they have written. But I also think if we really want to effectively deal with religion thinking people just buy into it because they are dumb is not a particularly good strategy. 

 

Why? What does religion give people?

 

I think I have found a lot of parallels in art, which is really where I am at as an atheist. 

I think a lot of what people are getting out of religion (and other woo) they should be getting out of art. I am defining art loosely here (theater, music, writing, etc.). 

The questions people ask from their religions are better asked of science. That is a big part of it too. And I think atheists are doing a good job of that, constantly debating creationists and what not. 

But the experiential stuff is not repaired for many of the religious by explaining the evidence that the earth really is billions of years old. In fact it probably just heightens their existential anxiety and makes them more defensive of their faith. 

 

I definitely agree with Sam Harris that faith is a sickness. 

 

The experiential stuff is more sublime. To dismiss it as mere stupidity if your plans as an atheist consist of leaving the world as it stands, with the religious in charge and solidly in the majority. 

I am glad to be back. 

Your life is a love story!

harleysportster's picture

Religion Explained

I highly reccomend Religion Explained by Pascal Boyar. A book that I just finished not too long ago. He challenges alot of popular ideas about where religion came from, analyzes everything from cultural memes to how people form intuitive ideas to far too many notions and studies to name here.

Whether you agree / disagree with all of his findings, it is guaranteed to leave you thinking about alot of things in a much different light.

The origins of religion and it's persistence are a personal interest of mine as well.

I do believe that man will eventually evolve past it. But that might be more of a hope of mine than any empirical evidence.

 

“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

Brian37's picture

Who is calling anyone

Who is calling anyone "dumb"? Smart people can fall for tricks, scams and myth, as well. I cant begin to tell you all the shit I found wrong with my house after I bought it. I don't consider myself "dumb".

There are Muslims, Jews, and Christians with all sorts of higher degrees. None of them are "dumb". But being right on some things doesn't make their gods real.

Don't try to equate blasphemy and bluntness with being a justification for political correctness. If no one ever said "You are full of shit" on any issue in our human history, we will still live in caves.

"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions" Thomas Jefferson

If you were to say, "The Steelers won the Super Bowl this year"

And I said, "Bullshit, Green Bay did"

Am I expressing any like or dislike for you? NO! I am merely being blunt about a FACT you are getting wrong.

This cry of "foul" and feigned indignity is merely a reflection of insecurity because of LACK OF EVIDENCE to back up a claim.

If a claim ON ANY ISSUE, not just religion, cannot be raked over the coals, it will not become universal and should be rightfully relegated to imagination. Every human IS entitled to express their own whims, but we are not entitled to our own facts.

The right to make any claim you want IS NOT the issue.

But if you blindly buy ANY CLAIM, on any issue just because it is uttered, you are asking for trouble. If I ever buy another house, I now know their "tricks" and wont be so quick to blindly swallow what I bought the first time.

Religion only deserves respect from a human rights standpoint. But also equally important is the ability to question these things. I would suggest to those offended by what we say here, instead of assuming hate, maybe THEY should consider WHY we say what we say and WHY we don't give their god claims respect.

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

mindcore's picture

Brian37 wrote:Who is calling

Brian37 wrote:

Who is calling anyone "dumb"? Smart people can fall for tricks, scams and myth, as well. I cant begin to tell you all the shit I found wrong with my house after I bought it. I don't consider myself "dumb".

There are Muslims, Jews, and Christians with all sorts of higher degrees. None of them are "dumb". But being right on some things doesn't make their gods real.

Don't try to equate blasphemy and bluntness with being a justification for political correctness. If no one ever said "You are full of shit" on any issue in our human history, we will still live in caves.

"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions" Thomas Jefferson

If you were to say, "The Steelers won the Super Bowl this year"

And I said, "Bullshit, Green Bay did"

Am I expressing any like or dislike for you? NO! I am merely being blunt about a FACT you are getting wrong.

This cry of "foul" and feigned indignity is merely a reflection of insecurity because of LACK OF EVIDENCE to back up a claim.

If a claim ON ANY ISSUE, not just religion, cannot be raked over the coals, it will not become universal and should be rightfully relegated to imagination. Every human IS entitled to express their own whims, but we are not entitled to our own facts.

The right to make any claim you want IS NOT the issue.

But if you blindly buy ANY CLAIM, on any issue just because it is uttered, you are asking for trouble. If I ever buy another house, I now know their "tricks" and wont be so quick to blindly swallow what I bought the first time.

Religion only deserves respect from a human rights standpoint. But also equally important is the ability to question these things. I would suggest to those offended by what we say here, instead of assuming hate, maybe THEY should consider WHY we say what we say and WHY we don't give their god claims respect.

 

 

 

 

Ultimately I have no disagreement with you. Except that I have grown tired of being perceived as antagonistic by the theists in my life. 

Its the whole, "you win more flies with honey," thing. 

At the end of the day I think for theists worst offenses to erode away in the culture both approaches must ultimately be taken. 

I also feel like the cultural zeitgeist is still shifting. I remember when I was growing up there weren't any celebrity atheist authors that I knew of, and a couple of my friends independently started reading Harris and Dawkins and challenging me with arguments from these books. 

 

I have personally thanked them for their courage. 

So I definitely value your position. 

 

I am just not there any more in my own approach. 

Your life is a love story!

mindcore's picture

harleysportster wrote:I

harleysportster wrote:

I highly reccomend Religion Explained by Pascal Boyar. A book that I just finished not too long ago. He challenges alot of popular ideas about where religion came from, analyzes everything from cultural memes to how people form intuitive ideas to far too many notions and studies to name here.

Whether you agree / disagree with all of his findings, it is guaranteed to leave you thinking about alot of things in a much different light.

The origins of religion and it's persistence are a personal interest of mine as well.

I do believe that man will eventually evolve past it. But that might be more of a hope of mine than any empirical evidence.

 

 

I will totally check it out. Thank you for the recommendation! 

Your life is a love story!

Wonderist's picture

mindcore wrote:Its the

mindcore wrote:
Its the whole, "you win more flies with honey," thing.

Actually, you'll win even more flies with bullshit. Just sayin'.

 

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EXC's picture

The trick that religion has

The trick that religion has played on the world is to associate itself with art and music, instead of just liking the music, people like the religion as well. These are just technologies to make people fell as certain way, often better. Religious folk are just behaving like Pavlov's dogs, when you ring the bell and give them treat, they'll learn to love the sound of the bell.

Unfortunately atheism doesn't associate itself with music, art or any other 'drug' in this manner, so we'll always be at a severe disadvantage.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca

natural wrote:mindcore

natural wrote:

mindcore wrote:
Its the whole, "you win more flies with honey," thing.

Actually, you'll win even more flies with bullshit. Just sayin'.

 

"Who wants flies?" 

-Bill Murray

I understand where you're coming from, and you definitely gain more friends with a moderate approach.  That is only beneficial if that's your ultimate goal.  I'm not sure if the man with the most flies wins.  Myself, I'd rather be honest then popular. 

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

mindcore's picture

Ktulu wrote:natural

Ktulu wrote:

natural wrote:

mindcore wrote:
Its the whole, "you win more flies with honey," thing.

Actually, you'll win even more flies with bullshit. Just sayin'.

 

"Who wants flies?" 

-Bill Murray

I understand where you're coming from, and you definitely gain more friends with a moderate approach.  That is only beneficial if that's your ultimate goal.  I'm not sure if the man with the most flies wins.  Myself, I'd rather be honest then popular. 

 

Are you saying that if I am nice, which is actually my default mode, I am being dishonest?

Your life is a love story!

mindcore's picture

 Hey natural, do you have

 Hey natural, 

do you have an empirical basis for your comment, or should I embrace your faith?

 

The idea that most people respond better to kindness than rudeness is an empirical fact, embraced by industry as marketing and the public sector as a standard of behavior. These responses are also well documented by psychologists and anthropologists. 

 

just sayin. 

Your life is a love story!

mindcore wrote:Ktulu

mindcore wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

natural wrote:

mindcore wrote:
Its the whole, "you win more flies with honey," thing.

Actually, you'll win even more flies with bullshit. Just sayin'.

 

"Who wants flies?" 

-Bill Murray

I understand where you're coming from, and you definitely gain more friends with a moderate approach.  That is only beneficial if that's your ultimate goal.  I'm not sure if the man with the most flies wins.  Myself, I'd rather be honest then popular. 

 

Are you saying that if I am nice, which is actually my default mode, I am being dishonest?

I guess the whole "win more flies with honey" thing, to me, implies a little dishonesty.  As in you're disguising what you mean to say into something nice to say.  For example, if someone says "I prayed to god last nigh to give me more money, and this morning I found a quarter, ergo God exists!"  You can clap your hands and say, "Yay, you recognized a quarter from a dime!" or you can say "You're an idiot, take your meds and tighten your helmet".  It's not about being nice, or going out of your way to be an asshole, it's about being honest.  You don't need the honey, or the vinegar.  English is my second language so maybe I'm missing something here. 

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

mindcore's picture

 Ktulu, The logical

 Ktulu, 

The logical fallacy you are committing is called "false dichotomy." English is also my second language.

If these are the only two ways you could see your interactions playing out with religious people then I worry for our cause. 

Your life is a love story!

mindcore's picture

 Here is a list of logical

 Here is a list of logical fallacies from the skeptic's guide to the universe: 

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

 

Lets try to stay within the parameters of logic in this debate, since as atheist I presume we all hold logic in high esteem.  Though, by no menas is this a requirement for atheism. Since all one needs to be an atheist is not to believe in god or gods. 

 

One could think they are levitating 4 feet off the ground at all times and still be an atheist if they reject belief in god or gods. And the reason for one's belief in this nonsense could be that the neighbor's dog told them so. As long as they don't believe in god or gods they get to accurately call themselves an atheist. 

If you are an atheist who disregards logic or evidence, I am afraid I will have to politely agree to disagree, just like I do with my religious friends. 

Your life is a love story!

mindcore wrote: Ktulu, The

mindcore wrote:

 Ktulu, 

The logical fallacy you are committing is called "false dichotomy." English is also my second language.

If these are the only two ways you could see your interactions playing out with religious people then I worry for our cause. 

Smiling I was simply jesting to prove a point.  I really do believe it to be self evident that, if you do not say what you mean, you are being dishonest.  Honesty I define as being straight forward.  Of course I recognize the benefits of diplomacy, I'm just aware that I'm being dishonest when I use it.  I was just emphasizing the definition in my crude example, but that's not a false dichotomy.  You have many many other options, all of them wrong of course, lol.  Cheer up, our cause needs needs a lot of humour, because we're proposing reality versus an eternally happy ending.

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

mindcore wrote: Here is a

mindcore wrote:

 Here is a list of logical fallacies from the skeptic's guide to the universe: 

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

 

Lets try to stay within the parameters of logic in this debate, since as atheist I presume we all hold logic in high esteem.  Though, by no menas is this a requirement for atheism. Since all one needs to be an atheist is not to believe in god or gods. 

 

One could think they are levitating 4 feet off the ground at all times and still be an atheist if they reject belief in god or gods. And the reason for one's belief in this nonsense could be that the neighbor's dog told them so. As long as they don't believe in god or gods they get to accurately call themselves an atheist. 

If you are an atheist who disregards logic or evidence, I am afraid I will have to politely agree to disagree, just like I do with my religious friends. 

I was just being an asshole for throwing the English as a second language thing, my first language is Romanian but I'm quite confident in English. What's yours?

So let's review what I said I think it was among the lines I'd rather be honest then nice.  And you argued that if your natural disposition is to be nice, then you would not be dishonest.

I think we need to define nice first of all.  Nice would be... pleasant, kind, agreeable.  I hope we agree on that.  I presented two options in a crude example of why I disagree.  You called my false dichotomy and decided that there's no hope for our cause with assholes like me.   Smiling how is that so far? lol

For the record I agree with you that you 'win' more flies with honey, not sure why getting flies would be considered winning but you do indeed get more.

So at this point I'm just arguing for the sake of the argument.  But by definition being Nice, is being Agreeable.  When presented with a fallacious argument the nice thing to do is be agreeable, or kind and not mention the fallacy, or pleasant and change the subject.  Which are all viable options but you would be dishonest in every one of those cases because your natural inclination would be to point out the fallacy, much like you did in my argument. Smiling  

I haven't interacted with you very much, but you don't strike me as a guy that fits my definition of nice.  That's a compliment btw.  Nice people go with the flow, they follow the crowd and make no waves.  

/rant

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

mindcore's picture

Ktulu wrote:mindcore

Ktulu wrote:

mindcore wrote:

 Here is a list of logical fallacies from the skeptic's guide to the universe: 

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

 

Lets try to stay within the parameters of logic in this debate, since as atheist I presume we all hold logic in high esteem.  Though, by no menas is this a requirement for atheism. Since all one needs to be an atheist is not to believe in god or gods. 

 

One could think they are levitating 4 feet off the ground at all times and still be an atheist if they reject belief in god or gods. And the reason for one's belief in this nonsense could be that the neighbor's dog told them so. As long as they don't believe in god or gods they get to accurately call themselves an atheist. 

If you are an atheist who disregards logic or evidence, I am afraid I will have to politely agree to disagree, just like I do with my religious friends. 

I was just being an asshole for throwing the English as a second language thing, my first language is Romanian but I'm quite confident in English. What's yours?

So let's review what I said I think it was among the lines I'd rather be honest then nice.  And you argued that if your natural disposition is to be nice, then you would not be dishonest.

I think we need to define nice first of all.  Nice would be... pleasant, kind, agreeable.  I hope we agree on that.  I presented two options in a crude example of why I disagree.  You called my false dichotomy and decided that there's no hope for our cause with assholes like me.   Smiling how is that so far? lol

For the record I agree with you that you 'win' more flies with honey, not sure why getting flies would be considered winning but you do indeed get more.

So at this point I'm just arguing for the sake of the argument.  But by definition being Nice, is being Agreeable.  When presented with a fallacious argument the nice thing to do is be agreeable, or kind and not mention the fallacy, or pleasant and change the subject.  Which are all viable options but you would be dishonest in every one of those cases because your natural inclination would be to point out the fallacy, much like you did in my argument. Smiling  

I haven't interacted with you very much, but you don't strike me as a guy that fits my definition of nice.  That's a compliment btw.  Nice people go with the flow, they follow the crowd and make no waves.  

/rant

 

My first language is spanish.  I guess for me nice is built on respect. For most people I feel like I can find something to respect, or empathize with. I have been religious in the past, so I can follow most people's experience with religion by looking at my own history. This gives me a lot of empathy. Though I never followed the fear of hell approach, and would have to work harder to be respectful to those folks. 

I am all about making waves, if I feel it will provide some utility.  

IMO, In my opinion, thats how you can frame disagreements in a respectful way. I always tell people my take on things, but emphasize that its what is in my head. This gives the person you are having the conversation with room to dismiss you, which they might, or to consider your argument without losing face. 

I should add though that everything I do to try to persuade people to be more scientific is tactically thought out. I don't just walk around and get into long arguments with anyone who shows signs of being religious. 

Right now I am working a lot on establishing a dialogue with new agers and occultists (who I enjoy talking to a lot more than evangelical christians). This is something that I have planned out. I have established routines for doing this. And I also give myself as much time away from it as I need. I do this because I enjoy the dialogue and in many cases there is a lot of room for conscilience. 

I have told religious people that I didn't have time for them before. Just last year I was wearing my RRS hoody at Wal Mart and some Christian wanted to evangelize me, the store was crowded and my wife and I were grocery shopping. I just told him I didn't have the time. I am very protective of my time. 

Perhaps the exception is at work. I am out as an atheist at work, and my work attracts a lot of religious people. I am a elementary school teacher. My student's parents are also very religious, and so are my students (but I don't give much credence to the theology of children). 

So what I do is proceed with care, and empathy, and respect. 

Your life is a love story!

Kapkao's picture

mindcore wrote:Ultimately I

mindcore wrote:

Ultimately I have no disagreement with you. Except that I have grown tired of being perceived as antagonistic by the theists in my life. 

Its the whole, "you win more flies with honey," thing. 

At the end of the day I think for theists worst offenses to erode away in the culture both approaches must ultimately be taken. 

I also feel like the cultural zeitgeist is still shifting. I remember when I was growing up there weren't any celebrity atheist authors that I knew of, and a couple of my friends independently started reading Harris and Dawkins and challenging me with arguments from these books. 

 

I have personally thanked them for their courage. 

So I definitely value your position. 

 

I am just not there any more in my own approach. 

Hmmm, it sounds like, perhaps, *you* needed more moderation. There are unhealthy extremes in everything, and that includes whatever drive you have to correct people of their most popular notions(theism, and all). Anyone who tells you otherwise, is a liar. Maybe it's youthful vigor, but I'm thinking it's never too late to adopt a new (more balanced) strategy for that, and try again.

*In this case, more balanced at least means never waiting until you are burnt out to second guess yourself.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)

 I just read this article

 I just read this article and it fit our argument really 'nicely' lol

http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/02/13/greene.gracious.gesture/index.html?hpt=C1

 

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

mindcore's picture

Kapkao wrote:mindcore

Kapkao wrote:

mindcore wrote:

Ultimately I have no disagreement with you. Except that I have grown tired of being perceived as antagonistic by the theists in my life. 

Its the whole, "you win more flies with honey," thing. 

At the end of the day I think for theists worst offenses to erode away in the culture both approaches must ultimately be taken. 

I also feel like the cultural zeitgeist is still shifting. I remember when I was growing up there weren't any celebrity atheist authors that I knew of, and a couple of my friends independently started reading Harris and Dawkins and challenging me with arguments from these books. 

 

I have personally thanked them for their courage. 

So I definitely value your position. 

 

I am just not there any more in my own approach. 

Hmmm, it sounds like, perhaps, *you* needed more moderation. There are unhealthy extremes in everything, and that includes whatever drive you have to correct people of their most popular notions(theism, and all). Anyone who tells you otherwise, is a liar. Maybe it's youthful vigor, but I'm thinking it's never too late to adopt a new (more balanced) strategy for that, and try again.

*In this case, more balanced at least means never waiting until you are burnt out to second guess yourself.

 

Considering you know very little about my day to day activities or what benefit others may derive from my efforts I consider your statement to be very judgmental. 

It reminds me of when people in the 80s tried to ban curse words from rock music. Who are you to say what is a balanced approach? Maybe your approach is of an extremely introverted (Ostrich with its head in the sand) approach. I am not saying that however, because it would be very judgmental since I don't know you well enough to know how much benefit others derive from your efforts. 

Your life is a love story!

mindcore's picture

Ktulu wrote: I just read

Ktulu wrote:

 I just read this article and it fit our argument really 'nicely' lol

http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/02/13/greene.gracious.gesture/index.html?hpt=C1

 

 

Thats what I am going for, but probably still have a long way to go. 

 

I also wanted to add, thinking more about our discussion, I am not opposed to the hardcore confrontational atheist approach. I agree with Sam Harris's argument that we need to create conversational pressure against irrational beliefs. 

I am just trying to find a way that fits my personality to do this.  

Brian Flemming's movie "The God Who Wasn't There" or "Religulous" by Bill Maher both did a good job of being very in your face about the absurdities of religion. I think that if this kind of thing doesn't get done, religion will still enjoy a certain degree of social immunity. I just don't have the stomach to do this myself anymore. 

I might draw an analogy to a good proctologist, they do the world a favor and save lives, but its a difficult and dirty job to my tastes. 

Your life is a love story!

Wonderist's picture

mindcore wrote: Hey

mindcore wrote:

 Hey natural, 

do you have an empirical basis for your comment, or should I embrace your faith?

 

The idea that most people respond better to kindness than rudeness is an empirical fact, embraced by industry as marketing and the public sector as a standard of behavior. These responses are also well documented by psychologists and anthropologists.

Equally documented, and embraced as an empirical fact by marketing and PR firms is that bullshit, pure and simple, works even better than 'being nice'.

Religions, homeopathy, most cosmetics and diet commercials, psychics, 'brand names', the fucking Tea Party Movement, heck, both the Republican and Democratic parties, just about every politician alive, car salesmen, Amway, Nigerian email scams, etc. etc.

Bullshit sells. Really fucking well. 'S all I'm sayin'.

If you're trying to attract flies, bullshit is the best option. If you're trying to wake people out of complacency and apathy, a little shot of vinegar in the eyes might actually work better than a heavy dose of honey. All depends on what you're trying to do.

But, in terms of attracting flies, bullshit wins over honey. Empirically verifiable fact. Take equal amounts of bullshit and honey, leave in the open air in the hot sun, come back an hour later, and you won't find a single fly in the honey, but a huge orgy going on in the bullshit.

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mindcore's picture

 Natural.  So you are

 Natural. 

 

So you are really going to make me start posting links to research verifying the persuasive effectiveness of kindness? 

Your life is a love story!

butterbattle's picture

natural wrote:But, in terms

natural wrote:
But, in terms of attracting flies, bullshit wins over honey. Empirically verifiable fact. Take equal amounts of bullshit and honey, leave in the open air in the hot sun, come back an hour later, and you won't find a single fly in the honey, but a huge orgy going on in the bullshit.

Lol, epic analogy.

mindcore wrote:
So you are really going to make me start posting links to research verifying the persuasive effectiveness of kindness?

He never argued that being nice and honest wasn't persuasive; it is. But, reality just doesn't motivate sheep like bullshit can. Exercising and dieting=hard. Taking a magic pill that melts your fat away=easy. Fixing the economy=hard. Pretending to fix the economy while turning it more to shit=easy. Science, now that's hard. Liberal Christianity, eternal salvation for doing nothing.

 

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

mindcore's picture

 natural, at this point I

 natural, 

at this point I don't disagree with you. I also don't diagree that the "vinegar in the eye" approach is often good. I love Sam Harris, thats his style for sure. 

 

I like certain kinds of religious people. I find them fascinating. Sometimes insightful. So I bond with them. Make nice with them. And plant the atheism meme where I can. 

 

I don't go out of my way to do this, it just seems to be in my DNA. 

Your life is a love story!

Wonderist's picture

I actually don't disagree

I actually don't disagree with you either. I was only picking on the 'flies and honey' thing, which I've heard so many times, and I usually feel like the person using it is missing the distinction that it matters what your goal is. (Not that I think you miss this distinction. You don't. But many people do, and so I like to steal the flies from that metaphor with some metaphorical bullshit.)

The point is simply that if 'catching flies' is the goal, and honey is better than vinegar, then isn't bullshit even better? And if it's better, why isn't the person advocating the use of pure bullshit instead of honey? The point is that 'catching flies' isn't *really* the goal, because we're not willing to go all the way toward selling pure bullshit. We want to sell something true, not just bullshit.

So, what is the real point of using honey? It's to take an approach that gives honest opinions, but tempered and softened so as not to be repellent, without the 'sting' of vinegar. The goal: Persuasion through more socially-affable means. But the goal is *not* simply to persuade at any price, i.e. to gain the most flies. It's more to provide a safe and comfortable path of influence.

However (as you clearly already know, but I'm just spelling out for other people reading this), soft persuasion is not the only way to persuade. The sting of vinegar can do things that the sweet of honey can't, and vice versa.

The goal is not simply persuasion. If it were, we would be trying to become bullshit artists. The goal is persuasion towards the truth. The goal is education. Sometimes reality stings, and you can't always hide that fact. Sometimes reality still tastes bad, even if mulled in honey. Besides, some people like sour. Some people like spicy. Some people like a bit of both, or sometimes one and sometimes the other.

In fact, the goal is to defeat the bullshit artists, without resorting to bullshit. Sometimes that requires pointing out that bullshit stinks and is unhealthy, and the flies are sick because they've been eating shit all day, and  their mouths are full of shit. They need a sharp mouthwash to get over that taste, not a sticky, cloying syrup which just mixes with the bullshit and makes you want to puke up honey-covered shit.

So, we'll use our all-purpose acetic mouthwash to spray all that shit out of the flies' mouths, so they can begin to appreciate your sweet honey, unadulterated with disgusting shit flecks.

That way, we work as a team, right?

You clean more flies with a blast of vinegar into a pot of honey, than with a load of bullshit.

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mindcore's picture

natural wrote:I actually

natural wrote:

I actually don't disagree with you either. I was only picking on the 'flies and honey' thing, which I've heard so many times, and I usually feel like the person using it is missing the distinction that it matters what your goal is. (Not that I think you miss this distinction. You don't. But many people do, and so I like to steal the flies from that metaphor with some metaphorical bullshit.)

The point is simply that if 'catching flies' is the goal, and honey is better than vinegar, then isn't bullshit even better? And if it's better, why isn't the person advocating the use of pure bullshit instead of honey? The point is that 'catching flies' isn't *really* the goal, because we're not willing to go all the way toward selling pure bullshit. We want to sell something true, not just bullshit.

So, what is the real point of using honey? It's to take an approach that gives honest opinions, but tempered and softened so as not to be repellent, without the 'sting' of vinegar. The goal: Persuasion through more socially-affable means. But the goal is *not* simply to persuade at any price, i.e. to gain the most flies. It's more to provide a safe and comfortable path of influence.

However (as you clearly already know, but I'm just spelling out for other people reading this), soft persuasion is not the only way to persuade. The sting of vinegar can do things that the sweet of honey can't, and vice versa.

The goal is not simply persuasion. If it were, we would be trying to become bullshit artists. The goal is persuasion towards the truth. The goal is education. Sometimes reality stings, and you can't always hide that fact. Sometimes reality still tastes bad, even if mulled in honey. Besides, some people like sour. Some people like spicy. Some people like a bit of both, or sometimes one and sometimes the other.

In fact, the goal is to defeat the bullshit artists, without resorting to bullshit. Sometimes that requires pointing out that bullshit stinks and is unhealthy, and the flies are sick because they've been eating shit all day, and  their mouths are full of shit. They need a sharp mouthwash to get over that taste, not a sticky, cloying syrup which just mixes with the bullshit and makes you want to puke up honey-covered shit.

So, we'll use our all-purpose acetic mouthwash to spray all that shit out of the flies' mouths, so they can begin to appreciate your sweet honey, unadulterated with disgusting shit flecks.

That way, we work as a team, right?

You clean more flies with a blast of vinegar into a pot of honey, than with a load of bullshit.

 

I definitely think it takes all fronts. I myself was persuaded to abandon my own religious views through a few hard headed atheist friends who called a spade a spade. 

 

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