Jonathan H. B. Lobl

Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

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2 hours ago, Brother Kaman said:

Seems we are moving to a free will dicussion.

I don't think so. Free will does not mean you can do whatever you want. It doesn't mean you can fly, nor that you can understand quantum mechanics. It just means you can make choices within a limited framework of available options. As such, the concept of free will is not incompatible with the concept of bias. Bias would simply be another factor limiting our available options, as does a low IQ, clinical depression, or being from New Zealand.

My hope is that by understanding the limits better, I can make better choices. That by understanding my biases I can make better use of my free will.

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5 hours ago, VonNoble said:

 

Bravo!  I agree (with Mahatma)....and better understand the penchant use of labels 

in discussing religion a bit better.   It makes sense.    I can also better understand

why you chose a hybrid label....considering your reasoning that is a good choice

 

Thx. 

 

von

 

5 hours ago, mererdog said:

Why? Is it your experience that you can pick and choose what to believe? In my experience, it simply does not work that way- and the science seems to back up my experience.

All the empirical evidence I have seen suggests that anyone claiming they chose to believe something is simply wrong. It further suggests that anyone who claims to be able to know whether or not they can be swayed by evidence is also wrong. The reason is simple: belief does not seem to be produced by a conscious, rational process, but rather by a subconscious process that is largely emotionally-driven.

 

Now, for the record, the agnostic "party line" does not welcome evidence. When we declare something "unknowable" we are saying that we arent going to bother to look at new evidence, because we have already decided that new evidence will not lead to new knowledge. [...] The whole "I don't know, but neither does anybody else" thing is not really an indicator of an open mind, in my opinion...

 

I would like to invite you (all) to watch my favourite scene from Dr. Quantum: "Flatland" (how to explain the third dimension to a two-dimensional being). It basically explains how I feel (like Dot) better than a whole bunch of my words would: 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, mererdog said:

1.  Why? Is it your experience that you can pick and choose what to believe? In my experience, it simply does not work that way- and the science seems to back up my experience.

All the empirical evidence I have seen suggests that anyone claiming they chose to believe something is simply wrong. It further suggests that anyone who claims to be able to know whether or not they can be swayed by evidence is also wrong. The reason is simple: belief does not seem to be produced by a conscious, rational process, but rather by a subconscious process that is largely emotionally-driven.

 

Now, for the record, the agnostic "party line" does not welcome evidence. When we declare something "unknowable" we are saying that we arent going to bother to look at new evidence, because we have already decided that new evidence will not lead to new knowledge. And while not all self-described agnostics make the "unknowable" declaration, it has historically been a key component of the common definitions of the term. 2.  The whole "I don't know, but neither does anybody else" thing is not really an indicator of an open mind, in my opinion...

 

1.  When Dan tells me that his faith was a choice -- and that nothing can change that faith -- I take him at his word.

 

2.  That's a disturbing thought.  I'm going to have to think about that.  Are you suggesting that there is someone who does know?  In what way is God knowable?  

 

 

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Just now, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Are you suggesting that there is someone who does know? 

No. I am suggesting that being open to the possibility that others know something that we do not is a necessary component of having an open mind.

And please note that I am not saying that an open mind is always preferable. Certainty can be a very good thing. I do not like the idea of anyone being openminded about pedophilia, for example. Sometimes we should slam the mind shut and lock it down tight. But I ask again: If our mind is not open, is it useful to think it is?

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30 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

In what way is God knowable?  

I don't know how the weight of an atom is knowable. That doesn't mean it isn't. The Apeal to Ignorance is still a fallacy.

Edited by mererdog

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2 hours ago, VonNoble said:

Pete is articulate and needs no help from me... and I think wisely walked away.

 

I will address this only for myself.

 

i have long believed Jesus would not approve of many churches carrying his name.   They are not anywhere close to the message if Jesus.

 

Many people are hurt horribly by trust given to authority and they leave feeling betrayed.  (I am not referring to Pete or myself)... but it is real and damaging ( and not unique to Christianity)

 

your premise that the message of Christ 

needs no defense doesn't go too far with the multitudes who have lived thru atrocities brought upon them by the good bringers of Christ's message.

 

i served on the Board of a batted womens shelter for years... there were plenty of horrors inflicted in Christs name by clergy for example including ....their need to submit to the beatings... the rape within the confines of marriage as they had " no right" to deny their husband.... or to take the beatings cuz the deserved them.

 

You may not agree with one of those things.... however IS it that difficult to understand why your love of Christ might cause them a little angst?

 

You can say whatever you like but their experience with the representatives of Christ are going to face lots of distrust

 

talk is cheap

... I never get why people with labels do not see they will be viewed in terms of the least of their brothers... by people hurt lots of times in lots of ways ....As a Christian you are part of them and not speaking independently.... it defines your life decisions... your values

 

it might be be helpful to just accept that they were hurt and start there... you will always be judged by the other ....by THEIR understanding of your label

 

ONE Of MY " gay" friends ( only for quick reference I would never use that qualifier in real life) railed about people's response to him being gay.... I can't help but wonder why he felt the need to stick that into the mix.... he might NOT need to put that out there as the most important part of getting to know about him... then gripe because he got all the baggage that comes with that

Hope it helps in some way

von

 

 

I see that you are still trying to be reasonable.  You over look the obvious.  Everybody else has religion.  Dan has God and Christ.

 

:wall:

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21 minutes ago, mererdog said:

No. I am suggesting that being open to the possibility that others know something that we do not is a necessary component of having an open mind.

And please note that I am not saying that an open mind is always preferable. Certainty can be a very good thing. I do not like the idea of anyone being openminded about pedophilia, for example. Sometimes we should slam the mind shut and lock it down tight. But I ask again: If our mind is not open, is it useful to think it is?

 

Your argument is clever.  Something seems lacking.  I'm not certain if this is a weakness in your argument, or  is unacceptable to my bias.  

 

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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2 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

I'm not certain if this is a weakness in your argument, or unacceptable to my bias.  

Might be both. Or maybe it is just fickle fate playing with us.

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42 minutes ago, mererdog said:

Might be both. Or maybe it is just fickle fate playing with us.

 

I picked up an interesting line recently.  "An assertion that can be made without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."

 

 

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3 hours ago, VonNoble said:

ONE Of MY " gay" friends ( only for quick reference I would never use that qualifier in real life) railed about people's response to him being gay.... I can't help but wonder why he felt the need to stick that into the mix.... he might NOT need to put that out there as the most important part of getting to know about him... then gripe because he got all the baggage that comes with that

 

I can understand doing that.  When I meet someone new and a friendship begins to develop, I try to work in the topic of my own homosexuality in a tactful way to gauge their response to it.  It doesn’t mean that my bringing up the subject early is a statement that it’s the most important part about me, but that I want to get that out of the way before I develop an emotional attachment to someone.  I’ve lost longtime friends when they found out I’m gay.  Because years of friendship and emotional connection can be erased by that one truth about myself.  Especially with male friends.  Suddenly every display of affection is retroactively viewed as me “making a pass” and even a simple compliment becomes seen as a flirtation.  It just gets awkward and painful for everyone.

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21 minutes ago, LeopardBoy said:

 

I can understand doing that.  When I meet someone new and a friendship begins to develop, I try to work in the topic of my own homosexuality in a tactful way to gauge their response to it.  It doesn’t mean that my bringing up the subject early is a statement that it’s the most important part about me, but that I want to get that out of the way before I develop an emotional attachment to someone.  I’ve lost longtime friends when they found out I’m gay.  Because years of friendship and emotional connection can be erased by that one truth about myself.  Especially with male friends.  Suddenly every display of affection is retroactively viewed as me “making a pass” and even a simple compliment becomes seen as a flirtation.  It just gets awkward and painful for everyone.

 

 

My sympathies.  I never lost a close friend in quite that way.  Still, my sympathies.  Their loss.  

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6 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

 

I would like to invite you (all) to watch my favourite scene from Dr. Quantum: "Flatland" (how to explain the third dimension to a two-dimensional being). It basically explains how I feel (like Dot) better than a whole bunch of my words would: 

 

I did watch it - and found it very entertaining on more than one level. Thanks  von

 

 

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5 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

I see that you are still trying to be reasonable.  You over look the obvious.  Everybody else has religion.  Dan has God and Christ.

 

:wall:

 

Okay....you made me laugh

von

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4 hours ago, LeopardBoy said:

 

I can understand doing that.  When I meet someone new and a friendship begins to develop, I try to work in the topic of my own homosexuality in a tactful way to gauge their response to it.  It doesn’t mean that my bringing up the subject early is a statement that it’s the most important part about me, but that I want to get that out of the way before I develop an emotional attachment to someone.  I’ve lost longtime friends when they found out I’m gay.  Because years of friendship and emotional connection can be erased by that one truth about myself.  Especially with male friends.  Suddenly every display of affection is retroactively viewed as me “making a pass” and even a simple compliment becomes seen as a flirtation.  It just gets awkward and painful for everyone.

 

Thanks for the posting.  I can see your point.   It was good of you to share it.

I guess to some extent any of us would do that on a social level when looking at future relationships. 

Personal relationships aside - I guess i am thinking of social conventions in public gatherings. 

 

Example:  If i went to a town hall gathering.  I think I would give my opinion about zoning

or whatever - without mentioning which political party I was affiliated with...for most people I am 

thinking they would  make  the point about zoning based on what is relevant to the topic of zoning.  

 

The point I obviously did not make well - (thx for helping me to clarify) - at times we point out things

to protect ourselves, or set the stage.....when perhaps we no longer need to do so. 

 

My brother-in-law was really, really proud he fulfilled a life long dream of going to Australia for three months.

By golly for ten years he was still milking it for milage in every conversation possible.   I have a sister that

tells everyone she has three kids.  Why that is relevant - I have no idea but I have heard her mention often

"she is the mother of three"...and people nod as if that means anything.  

 

I can appreciate that sometimes you run into people who are ignorant and behave inappropriately. 

I am pretty sure they are the same ones who are ridiculous when interacting with the rest of us 

too - - they just find other things to be ignorant about with us.    I can fully "get" shielding yourself 

from them by clearing the air right from the start.   There is NO DOUBT that saves you some wear

and tear.    One of those rules I keep seeing in engineering offices is don't cross the bridge before

you get to it.  

 

It might be THEM and their issue that needs to adjust - not you. 

Maybe you are just really, really nice and very, very considerate.  (That is a good thing.) 

 

Then again - I am not sure I would work too hard to try and redirect my-brother-in-law....or those

like him.   I think everyone can see him for what he is...and most people are kind to him.   I would

put money on the fact when you tell him you are gay - his only noticeable reaction would be

to speak louder .....:blink:

 

von

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3 hours ago, VonNoble said:

 

Okay....you made me laugh

von

 

 

It's a minor variant on an old joke.  "My religion.  Your superstition."  Hence, you have religion.  Dan has God.  It's not all that funny.  Only an explanation.  Here's the funny part.  Dan thinks that he's a "Free Thinker."  Maybe, not so funny.       :wall:

 

:sigh2:

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13 hours ago, Pete said:

 I will not debate further with you

 

I didn't know you were?  I think you simply compared Christians to Nazis and told me to take a hike. :)

 

11 hours ago, VonNoble said:

your premise that the message of Christ 

needs no defense doesn't go too far with the multitudes who have lived thru atrocities brought upon them by the good bringers of Christ's message.

 The problem with that sentiment is that Christ didn't bring atrocities upon people, and I've never defended anyone who does so in his name.

 

You can say whatever you like but their experience with the representatives of Christ are going to face lots of distrust

While I agree that there are bad/fake representatives posing as representatives of Christ,  I think its a bit short-sighted to condemn every Christian because a person may have had a bad experience with one.

 

As a Christian you are part of them and not speaking independently....  I would definitely disagree with that. "They" aren't my example. Even Jesus repeatedly warned about such characters (Matthew 7:15). Its kind of like saying that its alright to condemn all moderate Muslims because they can't speak independently of the radical ones.

 

 

Hope it helps in some way ... Yes, I understand the sensitivity of people who've been hurt  by someone professing to be Christian.. But when someone can't tell the difference between Nazis (Hitler) and Christ, I question their judgement.. In my experience, agnostics seem to dish out more hate and disdain than any other group except Muslims, but I don't lump them all together and categorically denigrate them all.

von

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

  Dan thinks that he's a "Free Thinker." 

 

 

How come someone who believes in God can't be a free thinker, but someone who does not believe in God is a free thinker? Sounds a little silly to me... What your actually saying is that anyone who doesn't agree with you cannot possibly be a 'free thinker'.. And that's about as closed minded as it gets.

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3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

 

How come someone who believes in God can't be a free thinker, but someone who does not believe in God is a free thinker? Sounds a little silly to me... What your actually saying is that anyone who doesn't agree with you cannot possibly be a 'free thinker'.. And that's about as closed minded as it gets.

I understand your complaint and I think it has a lot of validity. A bit of historical context may help understand the concept of the "free thinker," however.

 

It has long been the norm for Western societies to be theocracies, whether officially or not. One of the traits of a theocracy is the legislation of thought, and the free thinker concept evolved as a response to that. The term was coined as a complimentary way to describe the person willing to think (and express) forbidden thoughts. This served the duel purpose of insinuating that heresy laws and the like are attempts by Church and State to mentally subjugate the people, which was literally a revolutionary concept.

 

As the theocracies have slowly died away, the notion of it being illegal to think certain things has died away as well, but it is still socially unacceptable to hold certain views. So the free thinker moniker still has a use, as it can indicate the person willing to hold (and express) unpopular views, while simultaneously suggesting that marginalization and stigmitization of people who express unpopular beliefs is simply an attempt to control thought.

 

The danger in all this glorification of beliefs outside the norm is that some thoughts are discouraged by society for good reason. Many beliefs are just inherently destructive.

Edited by mererdog

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5 hours ago, Dan56 said:

 

How come someone who believes in God can't be a free thinker, but someone who does not believe in God is a free thinker? Sounds a little silly to me... What your actually saying is that anyone who doesn't agree with you cannot possibly be a 'free thinker'.. And that's about as closed minded as it gets.

 

"Free Thinker" is the umbrella term for all the different free thought labels.  It includes, but is not limited too -- Atheists, Agnostics, Brights, Secularists, Objectivists, and all the other varieties of Godless and Ungodly.

 

By all means.  You want to call yourself a Free Thinker?  Use it.  See how the pious and the Godly treat you.          :lol:

 

 

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2 hours ago, mererdog said:

I understand your complaint and I think it has a lot of validity. A bit of historical context may help understand the concept of the "free thinker," however.

 

It has long been the norm for Western societies to be theocracies, whether officially or not. One of the traits of a theocracy is the legislation of thought, and the free thinker concept evolved as a response to that. The term was coined as a complimentary way to describe the person willing to think (and express) forbidden thoughts. This served the duel purpose of insinuating that heresy laws and the like are attempts by Church and State to mentally subjugate the people, which was literally a revolutionary concept.

 

As the theocracies have slowly died away, the notion of it being illegal to think certain things has died away as well, but it is still socially unacceptable to hold certain views. So the free thinker moniker still has a use, as it can indicate the person willing to hold (and express) unpopular views, while simultaneously suggesting that marginalization and stigmitization of people who express unpopular beliefs is simply an attempt to control thought.

 

The danger in all this glorification of beliefs outside the norm is that some thoughts are discouraged by society for good reason. Many beliefs are just inherently destructive.

 

 

Free Thinker is still a useful term, where blasphemy laws are enforced.     :mellow:

 

 

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