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The Framework of arguments blocks us from understanding each other

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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24 November 2017 07:31
 

In the continuing dialogue between theists and non-theists most of us struggle to understand the opposing view point. 
Admittedly, at times this is complicated by prickly or unusual personalities on both sides of these discussions.
However, I would bet that almost all of us engaged in these debates feel that we are being evenhanded and fair. 
Some of us are better at it than others.  But it would also be fair to say that we often get carried away in trying to promote our points.

Nevertheless, if we are all trying to understand each other, where is the roadblock?

It’s how we frame our point of view.

For example,  I argue from the assumption that there is no such thing as supernatural;
and I have made it clear that things like God, magic, demons, wizards, ghosts, and others, are fiction, nonsense, ridiculous, wishful thinking, and so on. 
There is no evidence to support these beliefs.  Our existence is the result of natural phenomena.
No God is needed.

Others argue from the assumption that of course God exists (excluding other supernatural ideas like Potter-like wizards), the evidence is all around us. 
Our very existence is evidence of such an entity.  Any phenomenon that occurs reinforces that assumption.
In fact these phenomena represent “Objective” evidence of God’s existence. 
Even when a theist admits that a unique experience is “personal” and subjective, they interpret these experiences as an objective event. 
Perhaps they are.

And it is this difference in framework that precedes our disagreement.

 
Skipshot
 
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24 November 2017 07:42
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 07:31 AM

And it is this difference in framework that precedes our disagreement.

I gave up long ago trying to convince believers they are wrong, and instead just nod my head and say, “Good for you.”

 
Jefe
 
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24 November 2017 08:52
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 07:31 AM

And it is this difference in framework that precedes our disagreement.

Presupposition can make any position appear ‘reasonable’ in the mind of the presupposer.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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24 November 2017 09:08
 
Skipshot - 24 November 2017 07:42 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 07:31 AM

And it is this difference in framework that precedes our disagreement.

I gave up long ago trying to convince believers they are wrong, and instead just nod my head and say, “Good for you.”

Just like you I recognize futile dialogue, but
I’m not sure that “Good for you” is always appropriate.

 

 
jdrnd
 
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24 November 2017 09:13
 
Jefe - 24 November 2017 08:52 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 07:31 AM

And it is this difference in framework that precedes our disagreement.

Presupposition can make any position appear ‘reasonable’ in the mind of the presupposer.

Agreed.


Is it possible to shift, change, or influence the framework (the assumptions) by which a poster presents an argument?

 

 
Jefe
 
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24 November 2017 09:49
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 09:13 AM
Jefe - 24 November 2017 08:52 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 07:31 AM

And it is this difference in framework that precedes our disagreement.

Presupposition can make any position appear ‘reasonable’ in the mind of the presupposer.

Agreed.


Is it possible to shift, change, or influence the framework (the assumptions) by which a poster presents an argument?

One could try asking people to try to hypothetically embrace the standpoint one is arguing, but if that effort is not honestly embraced, the result will be questionable.  I’ve tried this in the past, and those with strongly held presuppositions have a difficult time embracing that hypothetical with full honesty. Maybe trying to achieve a common middle-ground is an approach that could work.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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24 November 2017 10:05
 
Jefe - 24 November 2017 09:49 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 09:13 AM

Is it possible to shift, change, or influence the framework (the assumptions) by which a poster presents an argument?

One could try asking people to try to hypothetically embrace the standpoint one is arguing, but if that effort is not honestly embraced, the result will be questionable.  I’ve tried this in the past, and those with strongly held presuppositions have a difficult time embracing that hypothetical with full honesty. Maybe trying to achieve a common middle-ground is an approach that could work.

The problem is that many of the issues can be perceived as all or none issues.

Either God exists or he doesn’t
Abortion is killing a person or its not killing a person.
Using the word “Maybe” in these discussions is not good enough.

For example,
En has tried to hold out an olive leaf by proposing that there is always a chance that God exists.
For people like me, that’s preposterous.  My assumption is “Supernatural” is fiction.

Just like others, as it pertains to the subject of “God”, I have tried to logically chip away at the assumptions,
but to no avail.

Occasionally a person of faith understands the arguments against his/her belief and just says “I don’t care, I believe anyway”.

Was it Martin Gardner who famously told Sagan something like “all the arguments are on your side, but I still choose to believe”

 

 
Jefe
 
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24 November 2017 10:31
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 10:05 AM
Jefe - 24 November 2017 09:49 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 09:13 AM

Is it possible to shift, change, or influence the framework (the assumptions) by which a poster presents an argument?

One could try asking people to try to hypothetically embrace the standpoint one is arguing, but if that effort is not honestly embraced, the result will be questionable.  I’ve tried this in the past, and those with strongly held presuppositions have a difficult time embracing that hypothetical with full honesty. Maybe trying to achieve a common middle-ground is an approach that could work.

The problem is that many of the issues can be perceived as all or none issues.

Either God exists or he doesn’t
Abortion is killing a person or its not killing a person.
Using the word “Maybe” in these discussions is not good enough.

For example,
En has tried to hold out an olive leaf by proposing that there is always a chance that God exists.
For people like me, that’s preposterous.  My assumption is “Supernatural” is fiction.

Just like others, as it pertains to the subject of “God”, I have tried to logically chip away at the assumptions,
but to no avail.

Occasionally a person of faith understands the arguments against his/her belief and just says “I don’t care, I believe anyway”.

Was it Martin Gardner who famously told Sagan something like “all the arguments are on your side, but I still choose to believe”

 

All or none issues do not result in a 50/50 probability split for the two answers, though.
This false equivalency is part of the communication problem.

Re the existence of god:
The more detailed a description of god is produced, the less likely that god’s existence becomes - without there being significant observable evidence for that existence.  i.e. if intercessory prayer really worked, we’d see a lot more evidence of skewed probability in cases where intercessory prayer was used.  Like the healing of amputees.  As it sits now, though.  The intercession of god through prayer appears to happen with the exact same occurrence of standard statistical deviation.  Choose another attribute ascribed to god an similar phenomena can be observed.

Re abortion as killing people:
this becomes a rights of the mother versus rights of the developing fetus argument, and again the polarization is artificial and most of the pro-life argument are grounded in region and not in science anyway.  My position is that if we remove the choice of the mother, or the mother’s ability to control her own well-being, we are dehumanizing living people in favor of the potential life of a developing blastocyst. IMO this is a non-equal proposition.

Even EN’s olive branch is a false equivalency.  Even if we can take the position that there is a non-zero probability of the existence of (a) god(s) that doesn’t mean there is an equal probability of yes/no for that existence.  And we should act in a manner that supports the preponderance of evidence (another of EN’s favorite phrases) and that preponderance does not support equivalency of position. (see my points on existence above).

Further, the personal experience argument doesn’t work as ‘evidence’ because it overlooks the looming elephant of false-positivity - where someone acting upon their occurrences of personal experience and being successful—- could easily have been similarly successful if they downplayed, ignored, or didn’t even have those experiences, simply because their innate personality, upbringing and surrounding social influence lead them in a direction that supported that success in the first place.
(Not to mention the fact that people with personal experiences that lead to violence, harmful behaviour, and strange eccentricity are often diagnosed with mental disabilities.)

Those who reach the “I don’t care, I chose to believe anyway” won’t respond to conversation anyway….so then it simply becomes a waste of effort to try.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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24 November 2017 10:56
 
Jefe - 24 November 2017 10:31 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 10:05 AM
Jefe - 24 November 2017 09:49 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 09:13 AM

Is it possible to shift, change, or influence the framework (the assumptions) by which a poster presents an argument?

One could try asking people to try to hypothetically embrace the standpoint one is arguing, but if that effort is not honestly embraced, the result will be questionable.  I’ve tried this in the past, and those with strongly held presuppositions have a difficult time embracing that hypothetical with full honesty. Maybe trying to achieve a common middle-ground is an approach that could work.

The problem is that many of the issues can be perceived as all or none issues.

Either God exists or he doesn’t
Abortion is killing a person or its not killing a person.
Using the word “Maybe” in these discussions is not good enough.

For example,
En has tried to hold out an olive leaf by proposing that there is always a chance that God exists.
For people like me, that’s preposterous.  My assumption is “Supernatural” is fiction.

Just like others, as it pertains to the subject of “God”, I have tried to logically chip away at the assumptions,
but to no avail.

Occasionally a person of faith understands the arguments against his/her belief and just says “I don’t care, I believe anyway”.

Was it Martin Gardner who famously told Sagan something like “all the arguments are on your side, but I still choose to believe”

 

All or none issues do not result in a 50/50 probability split for the two answers, though.
This false equivalency is part of the communication problem.

Re the existence of god:
The more detailed a description of god is produced, the less likely that god’s existence becomes - without there being significant observable evidence for that existence.  i.e. if intercessory prayer really worked, we’d see a lot more evidence of skewed probability in cases where intercessory prayer was used.  Like the healing of amputees.  As it sits now, though.  The intercession of god through prayer appears to happen with the exact same occurrence of standard statistical deviation.  Choose another attribute ascribed to god an similar phenomena can be observed.

Re abortion as killing people:
this becomes a rights of the mother versus rights of the developing fetus argument, and again the polarization is artificial and most of the pro-life argument are grounded in region and not in science anyway.  My position is that if we remove the choice of the mother, or the mother’s ability to control her own well-being, we are dehumanizing living people in favor of the potential life of a developing blastocyst. IMO this is a non-equal proposition.

Even EN’s olive branch is a false equivalency.  Even if we can take the position that there is a non-zero probability of the existence of (a) god(s) that doesn’t mean there is an equal probability of yes/no for that existence.  And we should act in a manner that supports the preponderance of evidence (another of EN’s favorite phrases) and that preponderance does not support equivalency of position. (see my points on existence above).

Further, the personal experience argument doesn’t work as ‘evidence’ because it overlooks the looming elephant of false-positivity - where someone acting upon their occurrences of personal experience and being successful—- could easily have been similarly successful if they downplayed, ignored, or didn’t even have those experiences, simply because their innate personality, upbringing and surrounding social influence lead them in a direction that supported that success in the first place.
(Not to mention the fact that people with personal experiences that lead to violence, harmful behaviour, and strange eccentricity are often diagnosed with mental disabilities.)

Those who reach the “I don’t care, I chose to believe anyway” won’t respond to conversation anyway….so then it simply becomes a waste of effort to try.


Well you’re exuding nihilistic tendencies today.    ....but then again not for no reasons.


Nevertheless,

I’m not sure that its in non-believers best interest to abandon the faithful to their respective fictions.
The advantage of dialogue is that there is always a possibility of communication.
Without dialogue it will never happen.

 

 
Jefe
 
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24 November 2017 11:04
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 10:56 AM

Well you’re exuding nihilistic tendencies today.    ....but then again not for no reasons.

Don’t get me wrong.  For humanity, humanity’s issues and problems are the most important things in the entire cosmos.
And our experiences, tribulations, and joys are the most meaningful parts of our individual existences.

However, on a cosmic scale, we’re a pretty tiny part of the biggest picture.  That shouldn’t lessen the hurts we feel or the joys we experience with each other.

In other words, the purported innevitable heat-death of our cosmos doesn’t lessen, for me, the time I spend with my friends and family and the joys, challenges and troubles we work through in our lives together.

jdrnd - 24 November 2017 10:56 AM

Nevertheless,

I’m not sure that its in non-believers best interest to abandon the faithful to their respective fictions.
The advantage of dialogue is that there is always a possibility of communication.
Without dialogue it will never happen.

Agreed.  But some individuals won’t change, so the conversation may have to be broadcast more widely, and we may have to let the immovable individuals reside within their chosen world-bubbles so long as they don’t harm others…

 
 
jdrnd
 
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24 November 2017 13:12
 
Jefe - 24 November 2017 11:04 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 10:56 AM

Nevertheless,

I’m not sure that its in non-believers best interest to abandon the faithful to their respective fictions.
The advantage of dialogue is that there is always a possibility of communication.
Without dialogue it will never happen.

Agreed.  But some individuals won’t change, so the conversation may have to be broadcast more widely, and we may have to let the immovable individuals reside within their chosen world-bubbles so long as they don’t harm others…


In the spirit if this thread


I have always wondered, that assuming God exists, what its reasoning is for being inscrutable.

Why not just come out and say
“Here I am; see me, feel me, experience me!”
These discussions would instantly end
and God would have 100% compliance.

 

Are there any believers out there who want to respond?

 

 
Celal
 
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24 November 2017 15:29
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 01:12 PM


In the spirit if this thread


I have always wondered, that assuming God exists, what its reasoning is for being inscrutable.

Why not just come out and say
“Here I am; see me, feel me, experience me!”
These discussions would instantly end
and God would have 100% compliance.

 

Are there any believers out there who want to respond?

How ironic that your thread title “The Framework of arguments blocks us from understanding each other”  seemingly least understood by your posts.  I agree that framework of arguments blocks us from understanding each other, assuming we are really trying to understand.

Firstly,  the questions you pose are bad.  You frame the question in a way, it tilts the argument in your favor who claims to be 100% certain God does not exist. So, you start out in bad faith.

Take me for example, I know of no evidence God exists. But I do not see the value in pushing others to “deny” that God does exist. Because I could not in good faith argue God doesn’t exist. Neither can you!  You can only argue that there is no evidence of it. True religion ultimately rests upon personal experience, and it is not something that lends itself to debates. This is where you stray in your arguments as you do not allow others to have “personal experience”.  Because you experience nothing in the way of something greater than yourself, you want others to feel the same. You wish to diminish the man to nothing more than biological collection of cells.

For me, religion provides the basis for culture. Instead of completely dismantling it, it can be restated in modern terms that is respectful of science but not subservient to it. People should be free to experience material and non-material reality. That is how humanity can feel, observe and experience beauty and goodness, something you can not achieve based on material world only.

[ Edited: 24 November 2017 20:27 by Celal]
 
EN
 
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24 November 2017 16:31
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 01:12 PM
Jefe - 24 November 2017 11:04 AM
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 10:56 AM

Nevertheless,

I’m not sure that its in non-believers best interest to abandon the faithful to their respective fictions.
The advantage of dialogue is that there is always a possibility of communication.
Without dialogue it will never happen.

Agreed.  But some individuals won’t change, so the conversation may have to be broadcast more widely, and we may have to let the immovable individuals reside within their chosen world-bubbles so long as they don’t harm others…


In the spirit if this thread


I have always wondered, that assuming God exists, what its reasoning is for being inscrutable.

Why not just come out and say
“Here I am; see me, feel me, experience me!”
These discussions would instantly end
and God would have 100% compliance.

 

Are there any believers out there who want to respond?

I don’t find God inscrutable, any more than any person is inscrutable to another person.  Do you always understand your wife?  No need to answer. I get along just fine not knowing the answer to everything. He wants us to love him and love each other.  Check.  What’s the problem?

 
EN
 
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24 November 2017 16:38
 

For Jefe’s false equivalency argument, I’ve come to the conclusion that probabilities don’t work with God.  There’s no baseline for determining probability of Gods existence.  So, all such arguments are futile.

 
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24 November 2017 17:19
 

I see no point in arguing with anyone regarding their spiritual beliefs – debate and discuss good-naturedly, of course – but not argue.  It serves no purpose.  It can create division between people unnecessarily.  (This does not apply to belief in harmful religious doctrines, which should be argued against.)

An atheist/humanist (myself included) will have decided not to believe in god as there is no evidence to support these beliefs.  However, there is also no scientific method to disprove spiritual experiences.  Perhaps there are currently unknown aspects to life and existence that some people sense (that we do not) and then interpret in a religious manner.  Probably not, but how can we say absolutely, without any doubt that they are completely wrong.  I don’t believe in being 100% sure of many things – that’s part of having an open mind, IMO.

Some atheists hold the view that all religious/spiritual beliefs and practices are negative or destructive.  However, religion comforts and gives strength to some people, and can give rise to genuine kindness.  It will be argued that religion is not the cause, that these people would have been good anyway, but that ignores the fact that it can be a focus.  I’m quite sure that religion played a role in what made Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi who they were.  I think that to discount that there are some positive effects of religion is a bias.

I think that promoting our points and having a dialogue is important, but I don’t think we should feel a strong need to persuade others to our way of thinking.  It is always important, but not always easy, to truly try to understand another’s point of view and to then accept it.  Otherwise the disagreements go round-and-round and get nowhere.

 
 
bbearren
 
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25 November 2017 06:13
 
jdrnd - 24 November 2017 07:31 AM

I argue from the assumption that there is no such thing as supernatural; and I have made it clear that things like God, magic, demons, wizards, ghosts, and others, are fiction, nonsense, ridiculous, wishful thinking, and so on.

There is no evidence to support these beliefs.  Our existence is the result of natural phenomena.

My arguments are within a framework virtually identical to your own.

So what’s your problem?

[ Edited: 25 November 2017 09:48 by bbearren]
 
 
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