On Converting Atheists

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calhais's picture
The statement, `require

The statement, `require personal face-to-face conversation' is not a sentence because it lacks a subject noun. I cannot prove the statement because it is nonsense.

Remember only objective hard empirical evidence will suffice.

Suffice for what? Your conviction? What do I care that you're convinced of anything? Your earlier posts suggest that you can't even follow popular science accurately.

Greensnake's picture
calhais,

calhais,

One can't have a meaningful discussion about the real world of atoms and energy, space and time, without referencing data about it. If that data is viewed as highly reliable and relevant to the argument at hand, and if it can be replicated for further verification, then we may call it "hard empirical evidence." Surely you don't mean to say that hard, empirical evidence is of no use to your investigation of the real world. At the very least it is a necessary starting point. Thus, we may ask for this hard, empirical evidence when involved in an argument about the nature of the real world.

calhais's picture
I was complaining about

I was complaining about arakish's person, not principle. However, I disagree that empirical evidence is a necessary starting point. On the contrary, pretending that evidence simply materializes--and I am sure you know well how it does not just materialize--is not the place to start. The portion of an epistemology concerning empirical evidence we ought address likewise, but considering nothing beyond empirical evidence is as unacceptable as considering everything but.

arakish's picture
Ad hominem just like John 6IX

Ad hominem just like John 6IX Breezy.

rmfr

calhais's picture
You've got to explain this

You've got to explain this one. Fallacy is only a property of argument, not just any old speech. An insult isn't always part of an argument ad hominem. Pointing at a random insult and writing `ad hominem' without explanation insults both of us.

arakish's picture
calhais: How can you tell

calhais: How can you tell when you've presupposed something and then gathered--not `built'--evidence about it, and how can you tell when you've gone the other way around?

If you cannot tell when you have built/gathered evidence to support your presuppositions, then perhaps you should go to college and take a few classes in the sciences. Better yet, take a class that focuses only on the Scientific Method.

rmfr

calhais's picture
Perhaps you should go to

Perhaps you should go to college and take a few classes in the sciences. Better yet, take a class that focuses only on the Scientific Method.

Done. Now what? Your method didn't work; the curricula lack anything of substance about the philosophy of science. Perhaps you should take some science classes yourself and see what I mean.

arakish's picture
Scientific Method. There is

Scientific Method. There is no philosophy of science. Science only deals in objective hard empirical evidence. Which you seem to be incapable of understanding.

Furthermore...

calhais (John 6IX Breezy): The statement, "require personal face-to-face conversation" is not a sentence because it lacks a subject noun. I cannot prove the statement because it is nonsense.

Then you have never completed high school English? Because I actually learned this in grade school some 45+ years ago. Require personal face-to-face conversation. It is a perfectly legitimate sentence. It is known as an imperative statement, such as: Go there.

What is the subject of this sentence? "Go there."

Because the same can be applied to "Require personal face-to-face conversation."

What do I care that you're convinced of anything? Your earlier posts suggest that you can't even follow popular science accurately.

And you are so simple-minded and thick-headed. You cannot even figure it out. When I come here, I come as an ATHEIST. Not as a scientist. If I wanted to be a scientist, I would find a science based forum board and be there instead of here. I come to have a break from being a scientist who is always collecting data, analyzing data, writing reports, hiking in the field, sometimes driving several hundred miles in a day, etc., etc., etc., etc.

Yes I may talk about science things here, but it is from my atheist perspective. If you are offended by this, then do not let me stop you from leaving. I am going to speak in any manner as I wish when I am here at ATHEIST Republic. I do not see it named SCIENTIST Republic. If you wish for science, then how about this forum board: http://sciencechatforum.com/index.php (I don't know about it having done a simple Bing).

For me Atheist Republic is like a playground for me to come and get a break from work. It is like having Recess in Elementary School. At least that is what they called it 50 years ago. That is why you can see me pop in about every three or four hours. However, sometimes, I actually do have to work out in the field and may be gone for one, two, or three days. Rarely four days, like when I had my surgeries. I think I was gone for about five days on each surgery.

I just ain't gonna talk and write like a pure scientist while I am here. If I want to say "hookey dookey scientific bullshit," then I am going to say it. As said, if you don't like it, you know where the door is.

Additionally, you have to remember I was raised in SENCland on a large farm and ranch (horses only). Sometimes, we called it the SENCNESC (South Eastern North Carolina and North Eastern South Carolina). We talked a bit differently there than anywhere else in this whole U. S. of A. Yes, I was in the military where they drill you hard to eliminate any accent. Hell ask Tin-Man. I guarantee he can affirm this.

However, after I got out, I let my Southern Dialect come back in full pride. Of course my accent ain't nowhere near as strong as it used to be, but it is there. If you want to be a fucking Yankee about American English, then you can go to that special place you believe in. When I ain't in a scientific setting, I am going to speak however I wish. And stupid, dumb-ass, idiotic retards like you ain't gonna stop me. BTW: I am being descriptive, not pejorative.

Otherwise, there are some very Special Grade A Prime Choice colorful metaphors I can give you. In fact, one of my most favoritest of sayings describes you perfectly:

"He's as useful as a used tampon." Again, descriptive, not pejorative.

I ain't never heard that said anywhere else except in SENCNESC. I have posted it here at AR a couple of times, but no one else has ever posted it.

From this point on, any post you may make is ignored. Paraphrasing Christopher Hitchens, "That which is ignorant, can be ignored."

Basically, you can rant and rave all you want. Because you have only done one thing. You are the purest of all Absolutist Apologists as per my definitions.

Absolutistanyone belonging to and possessing an inexorable belief in any religion, especially the absolute Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – due to their absolutist beliefs system and is truly applicable to any inexorable religious believers, especially the worst subset, Apologists.

Apologista dastardly subset of the Absolutists who practice apologetics, which is the assumption of presupposed conclusions that have nothing to do with reason and rationality and actual information, creating irrational excuses and whatever conflicting ideas justifying their baseless assumptions, regardless of what the true facts are, using beguiling dialectical semantics, distorted and perverted data, emotional whiney-ass pleas, due to an indoctrination conditioning that is so ingrained they never question the veracity of the nonsense they offer, or why they need to defend their beliefs at all.

See, even us Atheist can use beguiling dialectical semantics...

rmfr

calhais's picture
Science only deals in

Science only deals in objective hard empirical evidence.

If you really believe that, then I hope you aren't a researcher. You may have all the facts in the world memorized, but if you haven't ever had to go about getting new* ones for publication, and seeing as you seem to think that reliable empirical evidence just pops out of the woodwork when you point a machine in the right direction and press the `on' button, you'd make an untrustworthy researcher. I'm sure you can use machinery as trained, and I'm sure that you have some perfunctory programs for interpreting your data and figuring out where to go next. And, on a small scale, that is science. I can see why you would think lowly of the philosophy of science, but that simply isn't a realistic view.

* I don't mean using tired old techniques to fill some BS academic quota, I mean challenging the field by pushing through new techniques and methods, knowing full well that in the beginning they have basically no chance of working, for decades until you've made a real contribution and can say that you've discovered something of enough substance to fill half a textbook.

Then you have never completed high school English? Because I actually learned this in grade school some 45+ years ago. Require personal face-to-face conversation. It is a perfectly legitimate sentence. It is known as an imperative statement, such as: Go there.

What is the subject of this sentence? "Go there."

Because the same can be applied to "Require personal face-to-face conversation."

Yes, the same can be applied to the standalone sentence, `require personal face-to-face conversation.' No, you aren't right to apply that here; the phrase obviously isn't an imperative sentence because the sentence you pulled it from has a corresponding subject. I figured you might see that and make it clear by just going back and giving the subject, which is `conversion methods' or `biblical conversion methods.' You could have made an ass of me, and I would have let it happen, but you went on to justify your claim by misapplying a grammar rule instead of looking back and seeing whether you had made a mistake. Since either way, you had the ability to make me seem stupid or imperceptive, the fact that you chose to try to justify your previous claim by misapplying a grammar rule rather than going back and seeing whether you had made a mistake is evidence for the claim that you care more about feeling like you're right or expressing some warped notion of social dominance than about making sure that what you're writing is true. That is the long version of why I don't like talking to you. But you can change that, and not all of your comments are like that.

Sapporo's picture
The limits of the scientific

The limits of the scientific method is that it cannot demonstrate the existence of things that have no effect.

calhais's picture
There's a stronger form of

I suspect that your claim has a stronger form that also holds.

Greensnake's picture
Atheists, what are the

Atheists, what are the epistemological limitations of the scientific method? What are its strengths? How do you know, and how do you know that your argument is reliable?

To the extent one speaks of the real world one cannot be certain; to the extent that one can be certain one cannot speak of the real world! (Here, I assume that our collective senses do reliably detect an objective reality of atoms and energy outside of ourselves even though we may often misinterpret that data. If that is not the case, then we have nothing left to talk about!)

In chess one may state with certainty that a player with only a king and a rook, and the move, can with accurate play checkmate an opponent who only has a lone king. Certainty follows from the rules that define chess. A simple method that constrains the possibilities does the job. In systems of pure logic, chess being an example, one begins with axioms that cannot be questioned. They cannot be questioned because, if coherent and non-contradictive, they define the system. As givens, they are neither true nor false. If you play chess you move the pieces one way; if you play checkers you move your men another way. It's not a question of one way being correct.

"Flat," Euclidian geometry, for example, and the geometries of curved space have variations of a key axiom. It is not a case of one geometry "really" being right. They are all valid geometries whether they apply to your room or not.

Thus, certainty can be had in systems of pure logic. The drawback is that these systems have no connection with the real world. If their axioms are neither true nor false, then they say nothing about the real world. There is no reference in such systems to the real word. If a version of mathematics proves useful it is because it was chosen to be useful. That is, we looked at the real world first then developed a math that proved useful. It may be that reality must follow, at least to a good approximation, certain geometries and other mathematical ideas. But how could we conclude that without actually looking at reality?

If axioms are chosen to model the real world then, of course, they would normally have true/false values. However, certainty is lost because of the problem of determining whether those axioms are perfectly matched to the real world. I am always amused by people like William Lane Craig who go to great lengths to present an impeccably valid argument (i.e., there are no errors in the logic itself) when the real argument centers about the axioms. Such formalism seems like an unnecessary distraction.

In the real world (defined above) our analysis must begin with our collective sensory data, our only demonstrative input, which must be a shared data if an observation is to be part of the community experience. We must have some shared idea about heavy rocks, the hardness of iron, rain, and the warmth of the sun in order to meaningfully speak about such things. Private experiences cannot be seen or experienced by the group.

Public knowledge then, rather than private knowledge, is the foundation that gives meaning to the idea that a statement is universally true. Truth rises above a private experience and can be shared. One might be able to convince the community that one is receiving messages from God, but it's a matter of public trust and not public knowledge. Simple trust is a poor foundation for evaluating the truthfulness of statements once one discovers that different prophets contradict one another!

As we integrate our sensory data about the real world we begin to construct models (interpretations of that data). Babies begin to model the space around them along with their concept of time. They learn what perspective is. They learn how things work, including the rules of their own tribe and family. (Some of that knowledge may have a genetic component.) That is, they form useful models that have some relevance to the real world and will, therefore, advance their chances for survival. Cultural evolution commonly adds communal stories about how the world began, about gods that send rain and lightening, and other such matters.

The difference between a "story" and a "model" is that the former is an entertaining narrative that usually explains how something came to be. A story is not particularly concerned with documentation. A model is a kind of physical picture of reality that attempts to explain some of its features. We enjoy fanciful stories about how a god or goddess created the sky. We may also be fascinated by the Babylonian model of the sky as a solid dome. Science sticks with numerical models because they are subject to exacting tests.

The great contribution of science is to confine itself to ideas that yield specific, testable predictions (falsifiable claims) and, therefore, claims that can be tested. Along the way the practical machinery for achieving that goal was refined to an exquisite level. It's loosely called the "scientific method" although it is something of a patchwork of good ideas rather than a rigid formula.

Thus, our elaborate system whereby potentially useful scientific work is shared widely in refereed journals, keeping scientists on the cutting edge and encouraging additional work to independently test those ideas. This is not a circle-the-wagons society! You get your Nobel Prize by overturning orthodoxy.

Hence, science is more than a philosophical debating society. It has avoided the stagnation of theology, and a general consensus is not only possible but virtually certain once data and analysis pass a critical threshold. True, there is a lot of rear guard action when an orthodoxy begins to fail, but eventually those old guys die out in favor of a new generation more open to the evidence. In all fairness, we should note that orthodoxy has in some sense earned its stripes and is often supported by some solid arguments. When plate tectonics was first proposed, it went nowhere because geologists were understandably hung up on the idea that moving a continent over solid rock was flatly impossible. They never looked further to the remarkable fossil and rock formation data that strongly pointed to just such a movement. Only later, in the light of extraordinary evidence did the paradigm change.

An idea is tested when its major predictions are checked against reality. Most major ideas are not perfectly conceived at their start, so allowances must be made concerning contradictions with reality. Will reasonable changes in the model skirt the problems or have too many bandages already been applied? There is an understandable reluctance to throw away a model that has enjoyed a great deal of success. Perhaps it's close to the truth and just needs some tweaking. It ultimately comes down to mature, scientific judgment. There is no magic formula that tells us when to change paradigms.

Deductive reasoning (the machinery that takes you from the model to its logical predictions) is great for testing a model and bringing out unsuspected relationships. If you apply deductive reasoning you can learn a lot of interesting facts about parabolas and ellipses, and a lot of other things. But that knowledge was only hidden in the axioms; it's not really virgin knowledge.

To understand the real world means to leave the certainty of deductive reasoning and rely on inductive reasoning. We begin with a pile of collected facts on which there is no serious disagreement. We try to explain those facts by constructing models. Models go hand in hand with mathematical calculations, and that would be an impossible task if those models attempted to consider all the messy, real-world details. Thus, a model is usually the core concept, the elegant essentials, the really important ideas that should allow a meaningful test of the hypothesis. A model gains a great deal of credibility when it goes beyond the facts that gave rise to it and predicts some really cool stuff, predictions that check out and allow further investigation and insight.

Since an infinite number of logical explanations (models) apply to any collection of facts, 100% certainty cannot be had. How does one rule out, in practice, an infinite number of logically possible alternatives? The nice thing is that we don't need certainty! Our airplanes fly quite well based on conclusions that are "merely" highly credible. Credibility, then, is the currency of statements about the real world--not certainty. Therefore, every model will have loopholes. Those loopholes may be microscopic or huge, farfetched or serious. Scientists deal with a reality that generally supports only a limited number of credible models, allowing them to bypass the infinite number of models that are totally farfetched. Certainty is thus lost, but meaningful knowledge is thereby gained, knowledge measured in terms of credibility.

The spherical shape of the earth is not 100% certain, even as a good approximation, because we can't rule out the logical possibility of a mass hallucination. However, the lack of 100% certainty doesn't make all models equally good. By any reasonable standard that we can come up with, the spherical shape of the earth warrants a huge confidence rating.

Thus, we come to the crux of the matter. The chief epistemological limitation of the scientific method is a limitation shared by any attempt to probe the real world. You have no demonstrable claim for certainty. The chief strength of the scientific method is that it has refined the intellectual (and physical!) tools to maximize a credible investigation of the real world. And, we don't have to take someone's word for it. We have landed men on the moon and probed Pluto, explored the inner workings of atoms (discovering some fundamental limitations in our knowledge!), and have even come to understand a great deal about our universe which can now be traced back to a Big Bang event some 13 billion years ago. All of these findings fit together into a tapestry of interlocking, known facts even as they open vistas to new frontiers. That adds a large degree of credibility to them.

In short, the scientific method is the best approach by far (with demonstrable results) for learning about the real world. The currency of the real world is the degree of credibility, not certainty. When it's high enough we tend to call something a fact. It's a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. Evolution is a fact of life. When scientists admit to a lack of certainty they are just being good philosophers. They are not admitting to a defect that makes the scientific method inferior to others.

A high confidence level means that a model fits nicely into the greater, woven fabric of accepted (tested), interlocking knowledge, that it accounts not only for known data but predicts unexpected results that are confirmed, that it opens new vistas to meaningful exploration, and that it suffers no serious contradictions with observation. A high confidence level (interchangeable with "credibility") in a model means that within its framework lots of facts fit together that would otherwise have no good explanation. A high confidence level means that a model has no serious competition, and that there is no immediate prospect of such. (In a newly evolving science we might expect big surprises at any moment.) The test is not whether we can be lawyers and poke some logical holes in an hypothesis. There will always be loopholes to any hypothesis about the real world.

CONCLUSION

Atheists, what are the epistemological limitations of the scientific method? What are its strengths? How do you know, and how do you know that your argument is reliable?

The scientific method is restricted to investigating only falsifiable ideas about the real world. Therefore, science says nothing about gods and goddesses and other non-falsifiable ideas including a supernatural world. While this may seem to be a limitation it is actually a major strength. Non-falsifiable ideas about the real world are beyond any meaningful kind of verification. There is no point in arguing whether they are true or not since any such argument is no more resolvable than the question of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

Short of total nihilism, which is in the awkward position of claiming to know something about what we can know, we may reasonably assign confidence levels to models. When a model's credibility is high enough it is reasonable to say that we know something. However, we don't claim certainty as we must be open to new evidence or reasoning. Truth, then, is provisional but it does work for us. The reliability of scientific models is just another word for our confidence levels assigned to those models. Again, certainty is not in the cards but neither are we clueless as indicated by the ways a model gains credibility. Not being certain does not make all claims equal. With enough confidence in a model, we may provisionally treat it as reliable knowledge in the same sense that a Rolls Royce is a reliable car. That makes a lot more sense than pretending that we don't really know anything about the real world.

LogicForTW's picture
I scrolled to the bottom of

I scrolled to the bottom of this thread and saw this very long post. I was guessing it was arakish, but it was greensnake. Arakish did post but his post was real short. Has the world gone mad?

;)

I do intend to read this post in full when I have time.

calhais's picture
To the extent one speaks of

To the extent one speaks of the real world one cannot be certain; to the extent that one can be certain one cannot speak of the real world! (Here, I assume that our collective senses do reliably detect an objective reality of atoms and energy outside of ourselves even though we may often misinterpret that data. If that is not the case, then we have nothing left to talk about!)

Interesting. Suppose we're talking about a world. Let deg(X) be a degree assignment of an assailable symbol X. Then your first sentence affords deg(talking about the real world) = deg(cannot be certain); deg(can be certain) = deg(cannot be talking about the real world). Since you didn't really emphasize the distinction between talking about the real world and the ability to talk about the real world, I design a symbol `At,' meaning either `talking about the real world' or `able to talk about the real world.' Then deg(At) = deg(cannot be certain); deg(can be certain) = deg(not At). If the degree assignments are defined only on the real interval [0,1], then both clauses of your first sentence mean that deg(At) = 1 - deg(can be certain). That's equivalent to saying that `At' is the antonym of `the ability to be certain.' I'm introducing this notation and point in case I need it, not because I have a particular plan to use it.

``If that is not the case, then we have nothing left to talk about!''
That is not the case. What makes you think we have nothing left to talk about?

Greensnake's picture
Calhais,

Calhais,

I haven't the foggiest idea of what you are talking about! I don't use this specialized vocabulary of philosophy/logic. You need to say it in plain English, not only for my sake (so that we can have a meaningful discussion) but for the others on this forum who have no idea what you are talking about. Let me make a couple of comments that might help dispel the fog.

I speak only of this world (i.e., the universe we live in, the reality that astronomers and cosmologists probe, the real world of atoms and energy). If we wish to discuss the nature of the real world, including whether it contains gods and goddesses, then our discussion would be rather limited if we excluded everything based on sensory data, right? I suppose we could swap stories based on our private knowledge, stories that may or may not be meaningful to the other party, assuming that we had a common language. I can't speak for you, calhais, but I don't see any other framework outside of our collective sensory data that can serve as a common foundation for a group discussion about the real world.

calhais's picture
The notation was for me, and

The notation was for me, and what I wrote with it was not noteworthy. It was the last bit that I wrote that was the point here. I guess we'll just go with your response.

I speak only of this world (i.e., the universe we live in, the reality that astronomers and cosmologists probe, the real world of atoms and energy).

All right, fine. I think that part of what has to be addressed here is how we know what `this world' is. I would argue that ultimately, we will have to select axioms that will in effect define `this world.' We can make `goodness' metrics that tell us whether we picked `good' axioms, but something that I suspect we shall have to do at the end is acknowledge that these are decisions rather than experiences; they require our volition.

If we wish to discuss the nature of the real world, including whether it contains gods and goddesses, then our discussion would be rather limited if we excluded everything based on sensory data, right?

There may be some things in this argument that we will want to say but won't be able to communicate. In particular, we can't explain how we identify parts of an experience without first describing and therefore identifying other parts of the experience. In this sense, the most fundamental part of building something we agree on is finding an experience that we think of in the same way, or describe using the same symbols: that's the more abstract goal of an argument about epistemology. Therefore, I would like to make some distinctions. The term `sensory data' should be defined carefully here. We can assign symbols in response to our environment, but we have to further consider how we assign symbols in order to determine that we did gather sensory data. I think it's easiest to think of this in terms of `symbols' or pseudo-propositions. If you'll imagine that I am in an alleyway in NY and see a scroungy tabby cat, then I might assign the symbol, or pseudo-proposition, cat. However, I might have done the same thing prior to walking past the alleyway. You might call that a prediction, but I wonder how you would prove that it is a prediction. If you imagine that I assign the symbol or accept the pseudo-proposition cat before I walk past the alleyway, and therefore before I see the cat, then you could prove that I predicted rather than saw the cat: you would first point out that there are `times,' and that at one time, I assigned the symbol cat, and that at another, I saw the cat. You could impose an order on the two times, and therefore decide that the time at which I assigned the symbol preceded the time at which I saw the cat. Finally, you could define `a prediction' as the assignment of a symbol before the observation of a thing corresponding to the symbol and apply your definition, deciding that (1) my assignment of the symbol cat is an assignment of a symbol, (2) my later seeing the cat is a kind of observation, and (3) the cat itself corresponds to the symbol cat. I think that if there is anything that is self-evident, then it is that [1] [if I assign a symbol, then I assign a symbol, regardless of what `symbol' is or means; that is, there is no definition of the word `symbol' such that the proposition, `I assign the symbol,' does not imply that I assign the symbol]. In fact, we could define the word `symbol' especially for this context and thereby accept this ([1]) as an axiom. (2) is harder to apprehend, as far as I can conceive of it. I might argue that in fact, I never see the cat, and that I assign the symbol cat at a time that by an unknown mechanism happens to be a useful time to assign the symbol cat. In this sense, when I write, `assign the symbol,' I mean `believe that.' Replacing the former phrase with the latter in this comment makes many of my sentences ungrammatical, but I think that there is, importantly, a degree to which they still make sense, and it is in that capacity that I write this comment. Deciding that seeing is a kind of observation in general is again a matter of definition, and its application to a particular instance--claiming that what I did was a kind of seeing--either requires the investment of faith directly, or will ultimately require it at the end of what could be a complex argument. (3) is the worst to prove, and this draws attention to what it means to prove something. I already assumed some things about the minimal qualities of a proof when I gave an example outline of a proof that my preemptive assignment of the symbol cat is a prediction. I suspect that regardless of my previous assumptions about the definition of proof, it will not matter how proof is defined unless it is agreed by the authorities in this argument--you, Greensnake, and I--that proof is defined in a way such that all things that are proven are agreed upon. For the sake of brevity, I think that this component of the argument--the mutual definition of proof by agreement and agreement by proof--ought to be permitted to be circular. That is, I would like to establish and enforce, for the sake of ease of communication, that `proof' and `means of agreement' are synonymous.

The above is a rant, and I'm leaving it as a rant so that we can see where we agree on what I think are the basics. The second point about the `sensory' data that I would like to make is that rejecting some sensory data is not necessarily the same as rejecting all sensory data. My earlier claim was that the senses are not reliable, meaning that they are not absolutely reliable. They might be more reliable than they are unreliable, or not--the point is that I reject the reliability of some sensory data, and accept that some sensory data are rather reliable. It would be great if we could agree on a detailed and definitive measure of reliability of sensory data, and it would be acceptable to leave the definition incomplete, such that some sensory data can be considered neither reliable nor unreliable by definition. It is important to leave explicit room for judgment when making definitions because failing to do so tends to obscure judgments rather than eliminate them.

I can't speak for you, calhais, but I don't see any other framework outside of our collective sensory data that can serve as a common foundation for a group discussion about the real world.

I would suggest that the purpose and primary effect of communication is to change how we assign symbols, and I am unsure that a discussion about the `real world' is inherently more valuable than a discussion simply about the world. Because we are thinking beings, I suggest that beside our sensations, we have in common some elements of temperament, character, and thought. Thoughts, especially, would make a more robust `foundation' for communication in general. I imagine that any sensation can be communicated apart from any other sensation by encoding into words; thus, it can be thought in words; so any foundations for communication by word built on common sensations can be built more fundamentally on common thoughts.

David Killens's picture
I'm still waiting to be

I'm still waiting to be converted. While I am drumming my fingers on the desk, my mind wanders to this visual metaphor .....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYsL6laTm6k

arakish's picture
ROFLMAO, and cannot stop.

ROFLMAO, and cannot stop.

@ David: As sure as Hell does not exist, I hope you ain't holding your breath...

rmfr

calhais's picture
Why are you waiting to be

Why are you waiting to be converted?

David Killens's picture
@ calhais

@ calhais

"Why are you waiting to be converted?"

For myself, I always keep an open mind. If someone does prove to me that a deity does exist, then I will change my position and reconsider my life. Your post implied that an atheist can be "converted", and I am waiting for the proof and process to be effective. Just because we have exchanged unpleasantries, that does not negate the existence of a deity.

calhais's picture
Though I certainly assumed

Though I certainly assumed that some atheists can be converted, I didn't imply that some atheists can be converted in the OP, which rather discussed a hypothetical. I repeat: the OP isn't really about conversion.

David Killens's picture
And I repeat, the title of

And I repeat, the title of this thread (which you created) is "On Converting Atheists".

What you are doing is basically clickbait, introducing a topic that should attract views, then wandering down some wordsalad philosophical mumbo-jumbo that is disconnected from reality.

If you wish to talk philosophy, I'm not really here for that. I live in this world, and I discuss what is happening in this world, not some hypothetical postulated fantasy "maybe it is, maybe it isn't".

If one can not give a general description in less than four sentences, then it becomes BS. Einstein's famous theory of relativity and E=mc2 is digestible. Newton's three laws of motion are terse and lucid.

Your hypothesis is a long string of assumptions held together by fragile and questionable links. Not even science works that way. There is a very good reason why I do not accept it, it's BS and definitely invalid.

arakish's picture
...then wandering down some

...then wandering down some wordsalad philosophical mumbo-jumbo that is disconnected from reality.

I'm stealing this to use later...

rmfr

David Killens's picture
I give my permission for any

I give my permission for any atheist to use/quote anything I state.

calhais's picture
What you are doing is

What you are doing is basically clickbait.

That's true, and I'm comfortable with that.

If you wish to talk philosophy, I'm not really here for that.

Look, it's your choice whether to respond to a topic; that's one of the useful things about having the forum divided into topics. But writing responses culminating in `I don't want to talk about this topic' is stupid.

"Maybe it is, maybe it isn't"

Lines like these are written to avoid stepping on toes, not to assert uncertainty.

If one can not give a general description in less than four sentences, then it becomes BS.

That's BS.

E=mc2 is digestible . . . .

Certainly not the most useful equation in the world. Newton's laws are better, but you don't seem to understand that the only reason you find these digestible is that you already understand the context. Context requires explanation for those who are unfamiliar, and that's unavoidable.

Your hypothesis is a long string of assumptions held together by fragile and questionable links.

I can't really tell what you're talking about. You might agree or disagree with the propositions I used to set up the OP, but the point is that there are some important questions that I think could do a good job at revealing some of the commonalities between atheists and theists, and it would be great to get answers to them from either side. The setup to the OP included several propositions, and since (1) none of them were presented as hypotheses or in the writing style typical of science and (2) you didn't say which claims you're referring to when you write `hypothesis', I think it's reasonable to assume that you're talking about something from a different thread.

There is a very good reason why I do not accept it, it's BS and definitely invalid.

I'm sure that there's plenty you accept and plenty you don't, but it isn't clear what's what when you start with an empty referent to an unidentified hypothesis and follow it up by playing the pronoun game and referring to an equally mysterious `it.'

Sapporo's picture
When Jesus is deciding who to

When Jesus is deciding who to burn, I doubt somehow that he'll be interested in epistemological arguments.

calhais's picture
But you also doubt that Jesus

But you also doubt that Jesus will decide who will burn, so what does it matter to you?

Greensnake's picture
calhais,

calhais,

Presumably, it would matter to you if you accepted that doctrine. Thus, it would serve as a moral dilemma. Accept the doctrine and you have what looks like moral outrage; reject the doctrine and you reject Christianity. Of course, you may not accept the idea of Jesus deciding whom to burn or that burning is part of the picture.

calhais's picture
It wouldn't be a moral

It wouldn't be a moral dilemma because the doubt is not mine. If, for example, I am a Protestant and believe that salvation is by faith and repentance alone, then it's clear that part of salvation depends on epistemology because faith and its placement are epistemological matters.

Sapporo's picture
calhais: But you also doubt

calhais: But you also doubt that Jesus will decide who will burn, so what does it matter to you?

It matters to me primarily because billions of people follow religions that say torture is permissible, and think their gods are morally just. It is unacceptable that torture is normalized in the 21st century. It is also unacceptable when people commit atrocities they consider as acceptable because they see them as a lesser evil.

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