Help with a “Philosophy Club” Question
Posted: 17 February 2010 10:00 PM   [ Ignore ]
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My family all have pretty diverse beliefs, but we don’t really talk about them so my mom came up with the idea of having a philosophy club as a way of opening ourselves up to discussing different ideas and hopefully that will eventually allow us to be secure enough to discuss our different views on religion.

We had the first meeting tonight and it went so awesome. We discussed “does language make me think the way I do”, and we had a really great discussion. So I offered to host the next meeting and it’s my job to come up with a question.

I was hoping you guys could help me with formulating a question that will guide my siblings into skepticism of their religious beliefs without being blatant like “does god exist” or “Darwin or Genesis” (my sis is a creationist, possibly young earth but not too sure).

My current idea is “what is truth”, but maybe you can help me make that into a clearer question or point me towards any articles or podcasts that might help me come up with resources for guiding the discussion?

Much appreciated!

Edit: Or if you have a better suggestion for a question I’ll consider that too!

[ Edited: 17 February 2010 10:13 PM by EnlightningLinZ ]
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Posted: 18 February 2010 01:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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How about:

At what point does belief become unquestionable? How do we determine which beliefs are unquestionable and which can be subject to serious scrutiny?

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Posted: 18 February 2010 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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My suggestion would be about ‘knowledge’ and how we gain it. (Which might lead to or stem from your discussion of ‘truth’.)  What characteristics do we expect knowledge to have?  Are there multiple ‘ways of knowing’ and how do we pick among them?  It’s a nice way to introduce a deeper understanding of science without evoking common preconceived notions.

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Posted: 18 February 2010 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for the suggetion!

Kaizen - I think I want to avoid using the word “belief” overtly, but I like the idea of incorporating your question with PC apeman’s…

How do we gain knowledge? What characteristics do we expect knowledge to have? At what point does knowledge become unquestionable, and should all knowledge be subject to serious scrutiny?

What do you think?

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Posted: 18 February 2010 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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EnlightningLinZ - 18 February 2010 04:46 PM

Thanks for the suggetion!

Kaizen - I think I want to avoid using the word “belief” overtly, but I like the idea of incorporating your question with PC apeman’s…

How do we gain knowledge? What characteristics do we expect knowledge to have? At what point does knowledge become unquestionable, and should all knowledge be subject to serious scrutiny?

What do you think?

That might well qualify for a thread here also. Please keep us up to date, it sounds like an important and constructive family interaction.

[ Edited: 18 February 2010 06:52 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 18 February 2010 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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A variant on your question may be “Are there differences between truth and reality?”  - “And if so, what are they?”

Sounds like great fun.

[The idea, of course, is to help them see that what they accept as truth (since many have different concepts of their truth), isn’t necessarily reality.]

Occam

[ Edited: 18 February 2010 07:20 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 18 February 2010 11:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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EnlightningLinZ - 18 February 2010 04:46 PM

Thanks for the suggetion!

Kaizen - I think I want to avoid using the word “belief” overtly, but I like the idea of incorporating your question with PC apeman’s…

How do we gain knowledge? What characteristics do we expect knowledge to have? At what point does knowledge become unquestionable, and should all knowledge be subject to serious scrutiny?

What do you think?

I like it. Have fun:)

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Posted: 18 February 2010 11:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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How about the nature of faith?

Where is the line between faith and mental illness?  Why do we laugh at Raelians and UFO chasers and Scientologists, but nod seriously at Judeo-Christian beliefs?

I also have a sister who is a Young Earth Creationist.  We’ve had a few interesting discussions.  Of course, you can’t expect to change someone’s mind.  grin  I believe the key division between believers and non-believers is faith.  Faith allows you believe things in spite of evidence to the contrary, or a lack of any supporting evidence.  Skeptics don’t take anything on faith.  We need evidence.

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Posted: 19 February 2010 12:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Abby - 18 February 2010 11:55 PM

How about the nature of faith?

Where is the line between faith and mental illness?  Why do we laugh at Raelians and UFO chasers and Scientologists, but nod seriously at Judeo-Christian beliefs?

I also have a sister who is a Young Earth Creationist.  We’ve had a few interesting discussions.  Of course, you can’t expect to change someone’s mind.  grin  I believe the key division between believers and non-believers is faith.  Faith allows you believe things in spite of evidence to the contrary, or a lack of any supporting evidence.  Skeptics don’t take anything on faith.  We need evidence.

Faith provides hope, regardless of evidence.

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Posted: 05 March 2010 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Here is a thought-provoking essay on the topic Hume on Religion which would cover the relevant issues. Read, enjoy, reflect and discuss:

The most accurate and informative label for describing Hume’s views on this subject, I suggest, is irreligion. This is a term that both Hume’s contemporaries and our own would understand and can apply to Hume’s arguments and outlook without any serious misrepresentation. Calling Hume’s views on this subject irreligious avoids, on one side, attributing any form of unqualified or dogmatic atheism to him, while, on the other, it also makes clear that his fundamental attitude towards religion is one of systematic hostility and criticism (i.e., he believes that we are better off without religion and religious hypotheses and speculations).

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