2 of 3
2
Apples and Oranges
Posted: 24 April 2012 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Yes, Mike, I think that’s what he means, but I don’t necessarily agree that they wouldn’d be interested to support their fairy tales with evidence—if they only had any chance of succeeding at it. The Intelligent Design proponents, for example, would love to find real evidence for their “Designer,” but they have obviously failed at every level. Faith is their “option B.”  wink

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14
wtfbbq - 24 April 2012 06:42 PM

My original intention was to try to shed some light on the idea that both sides are potentially ignoring the other side’s basis for argumentation.  That isn’t to say that both sides are not employing valid arguments, but rather that their arguments seem to have some base premises that are vague and that haven’t been worked out.

Sure, it’s possible for this to happen. But it’s also possible for it not to happen. If you are suggesting that it always must happen, then the question will be, just for arguments about the existence of God? Or for all rational arguments? The latter is, of course, a self-refuting claim, and I don’t see why it would hold for arguments about God as a special case.

wtfbbq - 24 April 2012 06:42 PM

You seem to want to say that the theist is just pig headed in his beliefs and that rational arguments just won’t sway him.  I can’t seem to think of any rational arguments to sway Ted to believing Bob (both arguing from conclusions drawn from their observations without figuring out that they aren’t talking about the same thing at the most basic level), or of the theist to believing the atheist.

Let’s step away from your constructed (and to me, confusing) example and stick with the primary case. In arguments about the existence of God, how would your claim work, precisely? What is the theist necessarily going to miss about the atheist’s position? What is the atheist necessarily going to miss about the theist’s position?

Again, it’s always possible to construct a toy example in which two people are being pigheaded.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  16
Joined  2012-04-24
dougsmith - 25 April 2012 03:57 AM

What is the atheist necessarily going to miss about the theist’s position?.

It isn’t a question of necessity, but of what happens in discourse that prevents everyone from finding out what went wrong when the theist says “hey, there’s this god thing” and the atheist says “no, there isn’t”.  Imagine, for the moment, a group of men, half of whom are colorblind.  The seeing men say “hey, painting things red makes things look pretty”.  The colorblind men say “no, painting doesn’t do anything”.  It isn’t necessary that the two groups converge on the existence of color to figure out why they disagree about painting, although certainly it makes it hard to have a meaningful conversation with one another about painting if one side doesn’t understand color.  And there’s an open question about this; is it possible for rational discourse to lead both parties to some agreement in this scenario.  I suspect that that discourse would do well to involve figuring out what color is, although perhaps there are other routes to the solution as well.  If the color seeing then make a bunch of claims based off of color, it complicates things all the more as arguments about these further claims generally distract from color, which is the root of the problem.  That isn’t to say one of these side arguments couldn’t persuade anyone that painting things red makes things pretty, just that they don’t take the approach of finding out what’s causing the disagreement.

Or, consider, for the moment, numbers.  Numbers explain the world but certainly aren’t part of it, much like god.  Of course, people don’t go around worshiping them, but they use them quite a bit and are hardwired into the brain.  If there’s a group of people that don’t understand even the concept of numbers, then you could imagine there would be a great deal of disagreement about what’s going on.  The question of using rational discourse comes up for this problem again; will rational discourse fix this problem?  And discourse may or may not be able to solve it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  90
Joined  2012-04-24
dougsmith - 25 April 2012 03:57 AM

Again, it’s always possible to construct a toy example in which two people are being pigheaded.

Don’t forget, though, that the (constructed) dialogue has a very long history.  Almost all of Plato’s works were invented dialogues between characters.

 Signature 

Dum ratio nos ducet, valebimus et multa bene geremus.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14
wtfbbq - 25 April 2012 07:47 AM

It isn’t a question of necessity, but of what happens in discourse that prevents everyone from finding out what went wrong when the theist says “hey, there’s this god thing” and the atheist says “no, there isn’t”.  Imagine, for the moment, a group of men, half of whom are colorblind.  The seeing men say “hey, painting things red makes things look pretty”.  The colorblind men say “no, painting doesn’t do anything”.  It isn’t necessary that the two groups converge on the existence of color to figure out why they disagree about painting, although certainly it makes it hard to have a meaningful conversation with one another about painting if one side doesn’t understand color.  And there’s an open question about this; is it possible for rational discourse to lead both parties to some agreement in this scenario.  I suspect that that discourse would do well to involve figuring out what color is, although perhaps there are other routes to the solution as well.  If the color seeing then make a bunch of claims based off of color, it complicates things all the more as arguments about these further claims generally distract from color, which is the root of the problem.  That isn’t to say one of these side arguments couldn’t persuade anyone that painting things red makes things pretty, just that they don’t take the approach of finding out what’s causing the disagreement.

Or, consider, for the moment, numbers.  Numbers explain the world but certainly aren’t part of it, much like god.  Of course, people don’t go around worshiping them, but they use them quite a bit and are hardwired into the brain.  If there’s a group of people that don’t understand even the concept of numbers, then you could imagine there would be a great deal of disagreement about what’s going on.  The question of using rational discourse comes up for this problem again; will rational discourse fix this problem?  And discourse may or may not be able to solve it.

You’re still talking about hypotheticals here, and constructed examples. What exactly happens with theists and atheists like this? For example, in what way are atheists colorblind? What are they blind to?

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14
Austin Harper - 25 April 2012 08:01 AM
dougsmith - 25 April 2012 03:57 AM

Again, it’s always possible to construct a toy example in which two people are being pigheaded.

Don’t forget, though, that the (constructed) dialogue has a very long history.  Almost all of Plato’s works were invented dialogues between characters.

Of course. But I don’t really get the force of this claim. wtfbbq was making a substantial claim about how theists and atheists argue, and constructing a toy example in which (he claimed) both were being pigheaded. My point is to ask why we should consider this toy example somehow paradigmatic, since as I say, it’s easy to construct toy examples in which people are saying silly things.

Plato’s dialogues were intended to promote a philosophical point of view through dialogue. The early dialogues perhaps more closely reflected what he could recall of his interactions with Socrates, and may have given a flavor of how Socrates might actually have argued points. (Through sly innuendo much of the time). The later dialogues were more expressly didactic, where opponents were little more than spear-carriers for one or another false view, and the Socrates character simply argued the facts as Plato saw them.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  90
Joined  2012-04-24

Good point, Doug.  I didn’t mean to raise wtfbbq to the level of Plato, it was meant to be a more general statement about the historical significance and practical applicability of dialogues.

 Signature 

Dum ratio nos ducet, valebimus et multa bene geremus.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14
Austin Harper - 25 April 2012 08:39 AM

Good point, Doug.  I didn’t mean to raise wtfbbq to the level of Plato, it was meant to be a more general statement about the historical significance and practical applicability of dialogues.

Sure. They have a long and storied history in philosophy.

I think modern philosophers have tended to avoid them because, for all their artfulness, they are cumbersome at getting the points across. You have another layer of complexity, which is the discussion and how it progresses. You have to interpret the discussion in order to get to what’s actually being argued.

And after all if the point of the discussion is to argue for a particular thesis, why not just avoid the discussion and get to the thesis?

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  16
Joined  2012-04-24
dougsmith - 25 April 2012 09:19 AM

And after all if the point of the discussion is to argue for a particular thesis, why not just avoid the discussion and get to the thesis?

What’s interesting, both the Sith and the Jedi value patience.  (unless I’m mistaken)  Also, are we merely trying to argue for a thesis here or find out something useful?

I think examples are somewhat important because it’s hard to think from perspectives that are not our own.  It’s even harder to think that maybe one sees the world incorrectly.  It’s easy though for the atheist to say simply that they theist is wrong, but this isn’t helping the theists change their minds about this so it would seem that maybe a route of understanding the problem would be useful.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  348
Joined  2006-11-27

“Well in the end, Dragon will judge you.”

The whole discussion seems to me to lead up to this statement, and the real discussion begins here.

Bob then asks, “What’s your evidence”.  It is Ted’s burden to produce testable evidence that the commandments in the ancient text are rational and valid. That doesn’t seem like an apples and oranges question.  Now if Ted claims a special dispensation, wherein his claims are not subject scientific examination and that the failure of those claims to meet such standards doesn’t affect the validity of those claims, then we are talking apples and oranges, but only in the way the visions, (perceived as knowledge), a of a schizophrenic differ from the knowledge claims of an experimental scientist.

 Signature 

If we’re not laughing, they’re winning.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  16
Joined  2012-04-24
Jeciron - 25 April 2012 11:50 AM

“Well in the end, Dragon will judge you.”
The whole discussion seems to me to lead up to this statement, and the real discussion begins here.

Re-read the passage and pay attention to what each character is making claims about.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  348
Joined  2006-11-27

I guess I don’t get your analogy.  If you’re saying that while Ted is talking about oranges, Bob just ignores him and talks about apples, OK.  But Ted is clearly making claims that a supernatural entity is instructing him on how he must eat oranges.  Assuming someone paying better attention than Bob asks Ted to verify his claims about orange consumption we’re back to the same place. 

If you’re saying that Ted doesn’t understand the concept of “oranges” that might work, but if Ted either cares about whether Bob understands “oranges” or chooses to penalize or castigate Bob for not following “dragon” procedure when Bob eats his own “oranges”, the burden still falls on Ted to show the validity of his claims. If Ted wants to happily consume his “oranges” through alternative orifices or however the “dragon” instructs and not bother Bob about it, sure, he can go for it, but he can’t require Bob to get all respectful about the practice. 

I could totally ignore religion if it’s practitioners kept to themselves, but that’s rarely the case.  I don’t care how other people eat “oranges”, but I care very much about being harassed about the way I eat mine.

 Signature 

If we’re not laughing, they’re winning.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  16
Joined  2012-04-24
Jeciron - 25 April 2012 02:59 PM

  If you’re saying that Ted doesn’t understand the concept of “oranges” that might work, but if Ted either cares about whether Bob understands “oranges” or chooses to penalize or castigate Bob for not following “dragon” procedure when Bob eats his own “oranges”, the burden still falls on Ted to show the validity of his claims. If Ted wants to happily consume his “oranges” through alternative orifices or however the “dragon” instructs and not bother Bob about it, sure, he can go for it, but he can’t require Bob to get all respectful about the practice. 

I’m trying to say that Ted’s talking about Oranges, Bob’s talking about Apples, Ted’s talking to Bob like Bob’s talking about Oranges and Bob’s talking to Ted like Ted’s talking about apples, and they are doing so rather bluntly.  It isn’t so much that Ted doesn’t understand the concept of [apples], but rather that they assume that the other knows what they’re referring to in their conversation with one another.  As I said to Doug earlier, if you remove the bluntness, it gets very complicated for them to come to a rational understanding without first figuring out that they’re talking about different things:

—-
Ted: We need to cut the skin off of fruit to eat fruit.  Dragon’s book tells us how to do this.  You tell us not to.  I think I’ll put my trust in Dragon.

Bob: No, we can bite it.  I bite through fruit skin all the time.

Ted: That’s ridiculous.  It’s written right here in Dragon’s book that taking the skin off first makes it easier to eat and tastier.

Bob: No, THAT’s ridiculous.  The skin of fruit is thin and quite tasty.  Your book is wrong.
—-

Here, as seen from the opening dialogue, when Ted says fruit, Ted means oranges.  When Bob says fruit, bob means apples.  Both Bob and Ted are correct in their statements, but they incorrectly think the other is wrong.  Of course, to the other person, Ted and Bob seem like they’re advocating something that’s clearly ridiculous.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  348
Joined  2006-11-27

wtfbbq, you refer to conversations you’ve witnessed between atheists and theists.  Is there any chance you could link to one, or go into some detail describing an actual conversation?  Your analogy isn’t working well, at least for me.

Later you use color blindness as a way to explain your analogy.  I know almost nothing about color, but it seems to me the problem with that analogy is that even to someone who is totally red green colorblind, the fact that red light can be demonstrated to be a different wavelength of light, and it’s properties and effects can be demonstrated, would easily convince someone who couldn’t see color that a phenomenon existed, even if they couldn’t perceive it visually. 

My deep and abiding rejection of the supernatural stems from the fact that, so far, it hasn’t been demonstrated.  The fundamental assertion can’t be proven. i.e.  shown to have demonstrable, repeatable effect.  So, it’s of no use to argue whether theists are arguing from a different, or flawed perspective, there’s just no point in arguing about the validity of a claim which can’t be shown to have any affect.  That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to argue with, or at least reject and rebel against, and even some actions to admire and try to understand, emanating from the theistic camp, but all that is interesting because it is the result of a phenomenon of people embracing an indemonstrable belief, and not any kind of clear proof of their claims.

[ Edited: 25 April 2012 04:09 PM by Jeciron ]
 Signature 

If we’re not laughing, they’re winning.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  16
Joined  2012-04-24
Jeciron - 25 April 2012 03:41 PM

wtfbbq, you refer to conversations you’ve witnessed between atheists and theists.  Is there any chance you could link to one, or go into some detail describing an actual conversation?  Your analogy isn’t working well, at least for me.

Hmm… interesting question.  I wasn’t intending to reference a specific conversation but maybe that is something I should look into.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 3
2