Re: virus: ((God Pi + Bad dogma) - Any pretense of reason) = Silly Graf

Tim Rhodes (proftim@speakeasy.org)
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 11:05:13 -0800

TheHermit wrote:

>You seem to have completely missed or greatly underestimated the power of
>reason.

No, I haven't. My beef is not with Reason. Reason is a big boy and can take care of himself quite nicely, thank you. He doesn't need my help.

>I know exactly where SnowLeopard is coming from, and do not care for
>it one itsy teeny bit. I'd have kept my mouth shut, only he sat there
>babbling nonsense, and nobody seemed to want to reply. Which might just
have
>given him the impression that he was "scoring points", or may have lead
>somebody else on this list who was wavering between the reason which is
>espoused on the website and the insane positions espoused by some of the
>"gurus" here, to believe that there was no answer for Snowleopard's
>particular challenges or brand of phaith - or any other brand no matter how
>much less poisonous, for that matter.

This is a silly argument that I've heard all too often. This is a conversation and like any conversation, if you say something and no one responds, you have not "scored any points". Quite the opposite--you are being ignored. And usually, if one continues to be ignored, they will either give up or go off the deep end in an effort to get everyones attention. Did you notice that some were reeling out rope quite generously to the thoughtful SnowLeopard?

I'm glad to see that you're so noble as to stand up for that poor maligned Reason when you see him threatened, TheHermit. That's quite big of you. But it reminds me of a x-tian who insists on standing up for "God" whenever they feel he's being dissed. Does God really need him to defend His interests--or his the x-tian just serving their own? And does Reason really need you to defend it's interests, or...

>So while my response may have been addressed to him, it was in fact written
>more for the benefit of others. If it instilled a slight desire in
>SnowLeopard to stop accepting what other people tell him and start
>thinking - or even if it generated a slight uneasy doubt that his platform
>is as well supported as his challenges seemed to indicate that he imagined
>them to be, it might have done him some good. But I suspect that there
would
>be a vanishingly small possibility of that happening, and it would be a
>rather unanticipated side-effect.

While I have no beef with Reason, I do, however, have an innate distaste for self-righteousness that, I admit flares up all too easily. You are right, TheHermit, about reason. We are in agreement here. You are even right about the biblical points you list, and in that too we can be in agreement. But you also clearly insist on being an un-listening, unhearing self-righteous, dogmatic ass about it. And in that, I cannot agree with you.

I tried to point out that there can be more than one dimension, more than one criteria, by which _some_ people choose their beliefs. You have chosen a strict x=y formula. The more "true", the more you believe. That's wonderful.

But not everyone is mapping that equation, TheHermit, as much as you'd like them to. And you seem so blinded by the "rightness" of your chosen function that you can't see that you're not getting the same results on other peoples maps. As follows:

>As for your response, it sounds wonderful - only your 'graf' phails to
>reflect that this is not a subject amenable to graphing, so your metaphor
>misses completely. SnowLeopard was talking utter nonsense - and responding
>to that with anything other than cold water is also utter nonsense. All of
>the nervous wiggling seems to be on the side of the phaith holders.

Which _was_ my point exactly: if someone's viewing an intersecting perpendicular line from a one-dimensional POV, they will only ever see "nervous wiggling" on the part of the other. You make my point--your viewpoint is as myopic as theirs! You simply aren't looking or hearing what each other is saying. And you never will as long as you stay locked in your present POV.

Let me put it this way: You're using f(x)=x and you're trying to point out to SnowLeopard that all his/her beliefs fall in the y<0 range. Negative y numbers--bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD--everyone agrees. But SnowLeopard's function looks a little more like f(x)=(-x)^2-x, you see. So every time you say, "See, no historical record of three hours of darkness! Ah-ha! x= -10!!!" SnowLeopard can just smile back, think, "hmmm, y=90" and say, "Well, God works in mysterious ways, doesn't he? That just makes my faith stronger!" And neither one of you has _communicated_ a blessed thing to the other! Doesn't that get old after a while?

You're fighting a losing battle until you learn how they're mapping things and start from that point. You were right, to "suspect that there would be a vanishingly small possibility" of SnowLeopard taking anything you said to heart. Why should he/she? Your arguments didn't have any heart to take.

Just as belief can have more than one dimension to it, the same is true with communication. And you seem to think it's advantageous to ignore all but one of those dimensions here. And while, admittedly the "truth" end of the true/false spectrum is a great place to argue from, even you must recognize that the "caring" end of the caring/asshole spectrum is a much better place from which to persuade another.

>So while your words are smooth and your metaphor elegant, the semantic
>content, if not null, seems to have been more along the lines of "Gee,
>aren't I clever" rather than anything more useful. I guess my comment on
>your 'graf' falls into the same category, so to make up, take a peek at the
>postscript which follows.

Your P.S. was quite amusing. But you're still missing the same point (only with much a greater level of detail).

SnowLeopard doesn't believe because of the probabilities. He/She (sorry I keep doing that, SnowLeopard, but I don't recall you mentioning your sex, one way or the other) believes because s/he feels that God saved their life. Now whether or not some God-thingy actual _did_ save SnowLeopard's life doesn't matter a rats-ass to this equation. SnowLeopard _feels_ that this is the case and is willing to make decisions based in that overwhelming feeling. You're simply barking up the wrong tree with your facts and statistics, TheHermit.

I've tried several times to bring the concept of noŽtic experiences and their bio-chemical nature into these religious discussions, but there seems to be little interest. (Yes, I read <silence> as a lack of interest rather than as an assent to my ideas.) Most, it seems, would rather try to thump the religious over the head with rationality until they cave in, rather than employ the same rationality in an effort to understand the nature of their experience and question why it has such a profound effect on them.

So be it.

-Prof. Tim