I had an epiphany

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Ygern
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ygern » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:41 pm

The thing is you guys are assuming that you will be arguing with a rational person who won't try to argue with you on points that are non-existent. The fact that you don't say "I believe in evolution" is not going to help you much from a strategic point of view.

Proof in point: take a look at a thread on this forum only a few days ago where a fairly "moderate" Christian brought up the "your atheism is just a belief too" argument to defend their own belief. Not one single person had used the words "I believe" other than the Christian in the thread until that point.

The other thing to note is that little slogan is trotted out to not to examine the evidence for atheist beliefs or the plausibility of atheist beliefs vs theist beliefs. It is used as a very simple-minded, you believe, I believe, we are the same mantra.

I honestly think that you are better off preparing an argument that shows that using "you believe too" is an intellectually bankrupt position to take. Because it is an accusation you are never going to avoid no matter how careful you are with your language.
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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Mirthomaniac
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Mirthomaniac » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:57 pm

Ygern wrote: I honestly think that you are better off preparing an argument that shows that using "you believe too" is an intellectually bankrupt position to take. Because it is an accusation you are never going to avoid no matter how careful you are with your language.
I agree with this. You cannot counter wordplay and semantics with more wordplay and semantics; it simply does not win over the inherently ridiculous argument.

I have often thought of ways to counter this argument myself, but I don't think that there is one. You might point out that you require evidence, but then they will twist what the definition of evidence really is (argument from personal experience will pop up here).

You might say any number of things, or do what I do and avoid debating these illogical people. You cannot debate such a mindset because it is not really based on rational thought. It is really based on faith, and because religion gets so much undue respect the religious side does not fall apart before even opening its mouth, as it would if the debate were in favour of the motion 'a legion of invisible dinosaurs created the known universe'.

Theists, even moderates, don't understand how atheists can view their God as being in the same caste as leprechauns, dragons, and so on.
Ygern
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ygern » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:21 pm

Here's a good example of the daftness of a creationist deciding to take on someone who defends evolution.

After a carefully researched and written article was posted by Dr Steve Novella on the subject of why the Creationist arguments against evolution are incorrect, he got this almost illiterate response from a Creationist who clearly was incapable of understanding the article he had just read and too ignorant to know that the "actual scientist" he linked to with such enthusiasm was a civil engineer with no academic background in biology. He is also blissfully unaware that all his "arguments" have been comprehensively destroyed, some of them in the very article he pretends to scorn:

i read this and found it funny. It supposedly gives a scientific refutation, but it is full of more bias than fox news, and a lot of emotion as well.
here’s a scientific case by an actual scientists, you know, one with a ph. D, and he uses statements by some of your favorite evolutionary scientists to insist evolution doesn’t exist.


Read the whole thing here

It's pure fail on every level, but this did not prevent him from leaving a sneering comment about the biased emotional ignorance of evolutionists.

The point is, it doesn't matter how much sense you make. These people are parroting what they have been told to say by their preacher. Most of the time neither their preacher nor they themselves have any genuine understanding of what they are talking about, nor do they care. You cannot preempt their objections by being rational or being careful with your language. If that tactic worked the whole Creationist movement would have died at the Scopes trial.
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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Ter
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ter » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:18 pm

Wened wrote:
Ter wrote:"I accept evolution"
And they ACCEPT Jesus Christ as their savior :)
That's why I'd insist on adding "on the basis of the available evidence". But I agree understand is a good word to use, for the reason that creationists do not reject evolution, they reject a parody of evolution.

That said there's really no point in trying to discuss it at all, it's a brainwashing deprogrammer that's needed rather than an reasonable discussion, can be fun though :lol: .
Ygern
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ygern » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:33 pm

I think that it's quite worthwhile having these discussions, because one does from time to time come across people who believe in Creationism, and it is useful to have thought about how do deal with such encounters beforehand.

On the whole I avoid getting into these debates unless I get directly asked for my input for a couple of reasons:
1) there are biologists out there who are better equipped than I am to address the subject and
2) anyone really wanting information on evolution would have tried to research it themselves before talking to me ( or any of us here*)
3) the discussion is usually seen purely as a propaganda platform. I am not interested in providing someone with a soap-box.

If someone is genuinely interested in learning about the subject then I am more than willing to help them out in finding good resources. In my experience though it is extremely rare to meet someone who is really looking for information. What you usually get is a jumped-up ignoramus who is simply looking for an opportunity to recite what his preacher told him.


* Any biologists are not included in the waiver. You are exactly who they ought to be talking to.
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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oldrnwisr
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by oldrnwisr » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:37 pm

Thanks for the advice Ygern. It's a pity I didn't have it to listen to before I got dragged into just such an argument on Politics.ie. Bad idea. Whoever said that you should only talk politics or religion if you're looking for a fight was on to something. Quite a lot of anti-scientific and anti-atheist vitriol doing the rounds over there.
"Science doesn't know everything. Religion doesn't know anything." AronRa - WAC 2011
Ygern
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ygern » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:44 pm

I can imagine. But trying to provide evidence to someone who is in the evidence-denial business is like filling a sieve with water. :)

We don't have the worst of it here in Ireland. For the most part evolution is regarded as relatively uncontroversial in Irish schools. But wherever someone has been taught that evolution is wrong, they are also taught to make a point of evangelizing about their belief.

Here's an example of it: Why Evolution is True.
The speaker, Jerry Coyne, is one of the best go-to guys in the business of evolutionary genetics and biology and his talk specifically addresses several old Creationist arguments and provides evidence to refute them all.

Notice that the comments are being currently dominated by one "amiritizcool66" who to the uninitiated might appear to be asking genuine questions about evolution. Except that every one of his so-called points is addressed by Jerry in his talk, complete with backing evidence and is subsequently utterly refuted. If this idiot had watched the video he is criticizing he would not look so dim-witted in his questions. But he is not going to watch the video. He is there only to try to try to get readers to go & look at creationist websites. Arguing with him just provides him with incentive to continue.
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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Mirthomaniac
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Mirthomaniac » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:42 pm

Ygern wrote: Arguing with him just provides him with incentive to continue.
That's it, quite simply. Leave these people alone.

It's not just nutcases either. I recently was accused of 'cognitive dissonance' on Reddit for saying that it is crazy to believe in Allah (et al.) but not crazy to believe that there is complex extra-terrestrial life. (NOTE: it also wouldn't be crazy to believe the opposite. I personally am undecided, but believe it is very possible) When I carefully explained that one belief is founded on Bernoulli's rule, the Drake equation, possible theories of abiogenesis etc., theists still said that it was no better than believing in god.

They are determined to:
1) bring scientifically founded 'belief' (really, from an 'armchair epistemological' view, 'knowledge) down to the same level as blind faith
2) argue that, since it is just another 'faith', they can and should reject it along with every other religion.
3) ?????
4) send everyone back to the dark ages!
Wened
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Wened » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:47 pm

Mirthomaniac wrote: They are determined to:
1) bring scientifically founded 'belief' (really, from an 'armchair epistemological' view, 'knowledge) down to the same level as blind faith
2) argue that, since it is just another 'faith', they can and should reject it along with every other religion.
3) ?????
4) send everyone back to the dark ages!
You need to be more specific in point 3 i"m afraid. What is that? Divine intervention maybe
"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth." - George RR Martin
bobinne
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by bobinne » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:41 pm

Tulip1 wrote:since I agree with Ter that is a word game I think Wened is absolutly right, Understand is a simple brilliant word to put the discussion right on the track you want it.
Understand is never as easy as most of the people might think. That's at least what I think...


*edit*
I noticed it even today, when I was forced to understand the reaction of a friend of mine...
Last edited by bobinne on Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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