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Comments for Thoughts On Belief

Re: A view Reply

Neither am I, entirely. But I had to get the idea out there. I agree that I need to think on it more and really hone down the specifics of what it means. I'll be working on it and I'll try to get back with you.
posted by Apollo Vancier at Thursday, 26 July 2012 00:58:31 EST 12:58am

Re: A View

Hey Apollo,

I'm actually not sure if what you said makes much sense. I'm going to have to try to parse that earlier in the day sometime. But I think I see vaguely where you're coming from, and you're right that it's a complicated issue that intimately involves people's feelings.
posted by Dumbass at Thursday, 26 July 2012 00:18:21 EST 12:18am

A view

I don't think skepticism has to be abandoned when it comes to religion. If one truly wants to figure out the religious issue, they have to do it for themselves. Another's claim of evidence cannot be trusted, unless you are an empath. You see, I think one ould start by analyzing all religious texts, histories, and similar things to find evidence, if any exists. BUT (here is the important part) after you have collected all possible evidence, you must couple all of this with your own feelings, because religion by it's very definition is personal andor spiritual. These feelings, or lack therof, I would consider to be trustable evidence AFTER YOU HAVE ANALYZED THEM AND MADE SURE THEY TRULY MEAN WHAT YOU THINK because you can't lie to youself. Deep down you would know that the material evidence (if any existed) and the feelings that correlate (or don't correlate) with that material evidence proves either atheism, deism, theism, etc. For example, the lack of "emotional" evidence rules out theism, the lack of "material" evidence rules out deism, the lack of both evidences proves atheism, the presence of sufficient "emotional" and "material" evidence proves theism, and finally, the presence of sufficient "material" evidence and the lack of "emotional" evidence proves deism.

I don't know if I have made much sense to the reader or if there are holes in my reasoning through the cloud of fatigue, but I hope the reader at least considers my ideas, if only as part of another view.

Apollo Vancier
posted by Apollo Vancier at Wednesday, 25 July 2012 02:46:43 EST 2:46am

Re: Untitled

I do know about "Elevatorgate". I haven't been following RW closely or anything, but I think that some of what she said may have simply been misunderstood. In any case, I don't have strong feelings about Watson one way or another, so I'm not going to act as her apologist. Don't worry, I realize you were only joking, or at least half joking, with your "UGH!" comment.

Thanks for listening to the podcast, and my interview with Karl! I'm always happy to hear from people who still appreciate what I have to say even after directly experiencing my complete lack of talent!
posted by Dumbass at Monday, 15 August 2011 11:12:16 EST 11:12am


She has become a very controversial figure over the past 6 weeks, that's all. I assumed everyone was aware of Elevatorgate. It actually started within the atheist community, and her assertion that the climate is socially hostile to women, and she gave a questionable example. When other women blogged their disagreement with the example, she took one young lady, who was in the audience of her keynote speech at a university CFI conference, to task. People were outraged that she took a petty internet grudge and turned it into lecture that had nothing to do with the topic of her speech. Things got extremely ugly after that. It's not something I can explain briefly.
I totally meant it as a joke. I sincerely apologize that it came across as a criticism of the podcast. I've listened to one episode and it's awesome. I enjoyed your appearence on The Conspiracy Skeptic, a lot!
Maybe she isn't the best choice of people to endorse your podcast if you want to promote it. She managed to alienate half the community and her attitude has been "good riddance!"
posted by laursaurus at Monday, 15 August 2011 08:04:24 EST 8:04am

Thanks Laurasaurus

This is just one of those topics that I think it's very hard for some skeptics to understand. Skepticism is only about handling the evidence that exists. It says absolutely nothing about what you should believe in the absence of evidence.

I think if you demand evidence for every belief and opinion you hold, there will be a lot of really interesting topics where you will just be forced to sit on a fence about. I don't think we should have to sit on that fence if we don't want to. But in those cases we should be mindful that our position isn't on solid ground, and keep reminding ourselves not to claim evidence that doesn't exist.

So if you believe that some sort of intelligence started the universe, and perhaps plays some subtle role in it's evolution, I'm fine with that. As long as you're not making empirically testable claims, I don't think it has anything to do with skepticism.

Atheists, of course, are free to disagree with you and to argue that atheism is the better way to think. I'm sure you wouldn't have any problem with atheists saying so, after all, that's their prerogative as atheists. They can ridicule your position amongst themselves and I'm guessing that you're okay with that. You're not asking to be a part of the atheist club.

But when people say that a skeptic must necessarily be an atheist is, I think, a huge misunderstanding of what skepticism is about. It's true that skeptics tend to be atheists, but that doesn't mean that's a necessary part of skepticism.

I have such a hard time explaining this concept to some people that it seems to me that there's a strong anti-religion emotional component here that's really affecting their logic. It's not that I don't understand their distaste for many of the things done in the name of religion, but I think that it's caused them to become confused as to what skepticism is all about.

Regarding the Rebecca Watson quote, it seems that RW just rubs some people the wrong way. I don't understand it myself, but if it makes you feel any better, that's completely a false attribution. Just part of a little bit that I set up in my latest episode.

If you don't care enough to listen to the show (no reason that you should), you can just click on the quote and it will take you to the part of the transcript where I talk about this.
posted by Dumbass at Sunday, 14 August 2011 17:24:48 EST 5:24pm


I just read who you quoted to plug your podcast!

Why, DA, why?

posted by laursaurus at Sunday, 14 August 2011 14:48:35 EST 2:48pm

I wish all skeptics were like you!

I get a lot of criticism for not being a true skeptic because I'm a theist. I really can't give you any testable evidence. Your example of believing there is intelligent live elsewhere in our galaxy is spot-on, as the British would say. You can't tell us what these beings look like, act like, think about, what tools they use, etc. I can't tell you any facts about God, either. The Big Bang and the fine-tuning of the Universe are what I draw inference from. I don't know if God (the word I use to describe my concept) listens to prayers, appreciates that I attend mass, prefers any group of humans over others, forgives mass murders who are truly repentant, etc. Science only reinforces my sense of awe. The fact that we can keep discovering more and more amazing things, just confirms my belief in this amazing deity's technology.
Most skeptics never pause to even consider that atheism and skepticism are 2 entirely separate things. Are they not just drawing inferences from the same evidence that I am? But pointing this out makes the typical self-identified skeptic irritated.
I will never be accepted by the skeptical "community".
Oh well! Nobody can stop me from using critical-thinking, listening to podcasts, or reading blogs. I just will never be allowed in the club, I suppose.
I have to use these cute smileys!
posted by laursaurus at Sunday, 14 August 2011 14:46:41 EST 2:46pm

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