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mererdog

Pseudo-Skepticism?

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So how have you gone about trying to find that healthy balance that lies somewhere between between believing everything and believing nothing?

I am tempted to just give my "short answer"... "I believe nothing", and let it go at that.

But that would be misleading, because I do believe quite a few things...tentatively.

For example, I believe that milk is good for me, and cigarettes are bad.

I believe a good night's sleep will prepare me for a busy day.

I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow.

There are many things of this type that, based upon scientific evidence or personal experience, or folk wisdom,

I believe...sort of. These beliefs are not "cast in stone"... they are subject to revision, or outright rejection, if and when

new information comes along.

But that sort of thing really doesn't often apply to "religious belief". There isn't often "new information" brought to light that could have bearing upon a religious belief... because religious beliefs have little relation to "facts". And it is in the arena of religious belief that my original response (my short answer) of "I believe nothing" comes into play. I used to believe "lots of things" of a religious nature... things that many Christians today believe. I have come to a point in my life where I no longer feel the need... or desire... to believe. I have come to a point where Faith has supplanted Belief. It no longer matters to me whether Jesus was born of a virgin or whether he rose from the dead. It no longer matters to me whether Jesus actually ever lived. I still find the positive injunctions, attributed to Jesus, as to "how we should live" to be "helpful". My Faith is now rooted in Faith in Providence, and the beliefs most commonly associated with "typical Christianity"... beliefs that were part of my growing-up, I now understand "metaphorically".

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It no longer matters to me whether Jesus was born of a virgin or whether he rose from the dead. It no longer matters to me whether Jesus actually ever lived.

So basically you build your whole faith on your idea of Jesus who may even be fictional?

Paul wrote that if Jesus did not physically resurrect from the death there would not be a point to Christianity, it seems to me you take it one step further, it seems Jesus does not even have to exist in your mind.

So is the foundation of your faith any different than say someone building his faith on say Spiderman or a Jedi?

Edited by Hyper Real

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Hermes Trismagistus was undoubtedly "fictional".

That doesn't in any way detract from the power and truths found in Hermetic teachings.

A truth is a truth, no matter who speaks it.

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So is the foundation of your faith any different than say someone building his faith on say Spiderman or a Jedi?

You misunderstand me.

The foundation of my religious practice (which is different from my Faith)

rests upon the "teachings of Jesus" as I have come to understand them...

NOT upon the person of Jesus... not upon Jesus himself.

The foundation of my Faith is my relationship with God.....

something that I am unable to put into words.

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Why consider anything not suggested to be? I could tell you there are thousands of omnipotent emu hiding behind my house who will grant wishes if you feed them blessed pickles. But until I provide evidence to suggest such a possibility, it does not even merit consideration. Gods, spirits, souls, magic, these things do not even merit consideration. Why go according to the discoveries of science as opposed to anything else? I find myself again quoting Sam Harris's challenge: " I would challenge anyone here to think of a question upon which we once had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for now which the best answer is a religious one."

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I find myself again quoting Sam Harris's challenge: " I would challenge anyone here to think of a question upon which we once had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for now which the best answer is a religious one."

~ old_nick, you can & do give me the giggles at times! Thank you :D: :friends:

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~ old_nick, you can & do give me the giggles at times! Thank you :D: :friends:

What makes me giggle is that when you consider the longest most analyzed theological question historically, it has been "where does the sun go at night?" No other theological question has been discussed, debated, and explained in such depth as that one. Now I ask you to consider, how many of them got it right? How many of them got it wrong? Or more to the point, how many of them did not think it was a shining, "person" or flaming chariot? Theology gives nonsense answers to questions it cannot even hope to understand. It does not give us fact, merely fantasy.

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...theology gives nonsense answers to questions it cannot even hope to understand.

It does not give us fact, merely fantasy.

I have a slightly different perspective on this observation:

If one is in search of "facts", by all means, turn to science.

I consider it foolish to ask theology for "facts"

or to ask science to distinguish good poetry from bad.

But theology (GOOD theology, that is,) provides Man with truth-laden metaphors

for questions of the human heart and mind that lie beyond the realm of mere fact.

Edited by Hexalpa

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Nobody answered my question. How is a pseudo skeptic different from a real skeptic?

The link to the paper is in the first post.
Since "skepticism" properly refers to doubt rather than denial--nonbelief rather than belief--critics who take the negative rather than an agnostic position but still call themselves "skeptics" are actually pseudo-skeptics and have, I believed, gained a false advantage by usurping that label.

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I think of Science as a process. Not a thing. The process is always a work in progress.

What he said!

One of the interests of life is seeing what science discovers, establishes or disproves that we didn't knowor were wrong about before...(lots of things, in my lifetime to date).

It's a work in progress, which doesn't mean the work so far is necessarily inadequate. But in the long run it is a self-improving entity.

Science will still work whether we believe in it or not. One may remain ignorant of how one's digestion works (I am!) but I'm glad to say it will go on working or failing to work whatever we think or believe about it.

The difficulty comes when science presents us with choices that we may not be well prepared to make. Scepticism can become a refuge for willful ignorance or bad choices.

CP Snow wrote about there being two cultures: one with an understanding of the processes of science and one without. Scientists in a number of fields are better at communicating than they used to be - Dr Ben Goldacre, Orac and others are very good in the field of medicine. Goldacre's main thing is exposing poor, lazy or fraudulent science communication and his latest book is an attack on Big Pharma from a scientifically-informed viewpoint. I'm looking forward to it - his first book, Bad Science (really about pseudoscience) was excellent.

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You misunderstand me.

The foundation of my religious practice (which is different from my Faith)

rests upon the "teachings of Jesus" as I have come to understand them...

NOT upon the person of Jesus... not upon Jesus himself.

The foundation of my Faith is my relationship with God.....

something that I am unable to put into words.

Not a problem. Something between you and God does not need words. It's a private thing -- and silent.

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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Dictionary.com says;

sci·ence

   [sahy-uhns)

noun

1.

a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.

2.

systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.

3.

any of the branches of natural or physical science.

4.

systematized knowledge in general.

5.

knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

Science is essentually amethod of seeking the truth,no matter where it leads, even to Religion

Religion is a collrction of dogma, that has come from a predetermed Truth, and resist any Science which contradicts dogma

To call Science Religion is an insult to Science

Just my two cents :TwoCents:

ATD

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Dictionary.com says;

sci·ence

   [sahy-uhns)

noun

1.

a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.

2.

systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.

3.

any of the branches of natural or physical science.

4.

systematized knowledge in general.

5.

knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

Science is essentually amethod of seeking the truth,no matter where it leads, even to Religion

Religion is a collrction of dogma, that has come from a predetermed Truth, and resist any Science which contradicts dogma

To call Science Religion is an insult to Science

Just my two cents :TwoCents:

ATD

In general, I agree with your observations about Science. Religion is more ambiguous. It is not all based on revelation and sacred scripture. Or Deity.

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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How is a Pseudo Skeptic different from a real skeptic?

:dirol:

The pseudo-skeptic claims to be skeptical but has actually already made up his mind. He can always move the goalposts by claiming that the evidence offered up isn't extraordinary enough. He'll reject perfectly good evidence for the flimsiest of reasons. He'll claim that experiments might have hidden flaws so the results can be rejected. Real, but inconsequential flaws, will be magnified so large that they negate any experimental result.

An interesting experiment was performed several years ago (I can try to find the reference if you're interested). A scientific paper was submitted to several peer-reviewed journals. Half of those submissions had data that agreed with the dominant paradigm but the other half disagreed with the dominant paradigm. Everything else about the papers were identical. The researchers found that the papers that agreed with the paradigm were accepted for publication and the methodology praised. On the flip side when the results disagreed with the paradigm the papers were rejected and the methodology criticized.

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