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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2006 :  20:14:02  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
This thread is for posting comments about the SFN article “Fence-Sitting.” Please try to keep posts on topic. Only registered users may post comments.

ergo123
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USA
810 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  13:20:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ergo123 a Private Message
SO does this reply feature not work on the articles? Am I really the first to respond to an article posted over 2 years ago?

No witty quotes. I think for myself.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  13:39:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
This comment thread was only posted in May of this year.

And you haven't even reponded to the article, only to the comment feature which is being implemented on all of our articles over time.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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ergo123
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810 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  13:41:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ergo123 a Private Message
Wow, I guess so.

Interesting article, Dave.

I am a member of a Unitarian Society. When people find this out some will ask if I believe in god or if, instead, I'm an atheist--as if those were the only two choices.

I tell them I don't know if god exists or not. "oh, so you're an atheist." No, I say--it takes as much faith to assume there is no god as it does to assume there is. This usually confuses them and the change they subject. But it is really how I view the issue. I'm not sure Shermer gets this point. As you suggest, to say "skeptics" are on the opposite side of a continuum from "true believers," and with "fense sitters in between, does not illustrate what I think of when I think of a skeptic. Like you, I see skeptics on the opposite side of a continuum that has both non-believers and believers, together, on the same end.

What I find frustrating on this site, is that while people say they keep an open mind, there are at least some topics where these supposed skeptical minds are clearly closed. I'm sure you will counter that--given you know the topic of which I speak and who I am--that the situation I am referring to is somewhat of a special case. I think you would say that many are responding to ME and how I presented my pov, and not the issue itself. If this is a correct assessment of your view, it would prove my point.

To me, a person doesn't have a truly open mind unless s/he is open to different ways of reaching a conclusion (one need not always use a linear process to uncover truth) and is open to different styles of people (some of the most important and vision-changing things I've learned came out of the mouths of people who were tremendous A-holes).

What I see here is a closed mindedness to different styles of people and to different approaches to critical thinking. What I have experienced on the few threads I've started is a pack mentality. Exactly the type of pack mentality you warn against.

No witty quotes. I think for myself.
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ergo123
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810 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  13:43:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ergo123 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

This comment thread was only posted in May of this year.

And you haven't even reponded to the article, only to the comment feature which is being implemented on all of our articles over time.



Oh, that makes more sense as it really is a good article. I'm not sure what your last sentance above means--but it probably doesn't matter.

No witty quotes. I think for myself.
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  13:54:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
Believers have too much emotionally invested in their ideas to have their minds changed by logic or reason. Anyone on the fence has not yet devoted themselves emotionally to the idea and therefore are receptive.

I don't think that we should cast the believers into the lost cause category, however I just think we should broaden our tactics a bit. For too long we have stood to the sidelines allowing others to persist in their follies so long as we ourselves are not affected.

Political correctness has forced us to accept others ideas no mater how insane or suffer the fate of being labeled as somehow being evil or sticking our heads where they do not belong.

If our minds work by emotional association (and they do), then we have an obligation to heat the fire under those unannounced coals. Rather than allow people to persist in their delusion. We need to remind the political powers that smart people vote too and simply appealing to superstition, although it has worked in the past, will become less successful when our presence is known.

Challenging the insane ideas of New Agers and religiously fanatic and anyone else practicing psuedoscience (or even out and out lying) has been protected while our message of sanity has been quieted. People should have the right to say whatever they wish, but people do have the duty to challenge anything that seems sketchy. The next time someone makes any claim that is not scientifically sound we must challenge that claim on a day to day basis. If not they will wander around in ignorance until they find validation (and there is always someone to validate any claim no matter how nonsensical.) People by nature seeks corroborating evidence rather than challenging a claim. It is a human fallacy that most are ill-equipped to avoid. Educating people how to think is our responsibility.

Skeptic sites such as this one give us a refuge, but just as church goers band together in church groups we are only banding together after we see the light not before. We must leave here and (for lack of a better word) convert more people to rational thinking. Sadly it is not the natural function and is a skill that must be learned and taught.

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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Dave W.
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USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  14:01:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ergo123

I'm not sure what your last sentance above means--but it probably doesn't matter.
These "comment on articles" threads - in fact the whole folder - are being added to the site over time as I re-edit the articles themselves. They're new. The old comment system, discontinued over a year ago, was dysfunctional. That's why you don't see any comments for a two-year-old article.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  14:13:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ergo123
As you suggest, to say "skeptics" are on the opposite side of a continuum from "true believers," and with "fense sitters in between, does not illustrate what I think of when I think of a skeptic. Like you, I see skeptics on the opposite side of a continuum that has both non-believers and believers, together, on the same end.


I tend to think of skeptics as non-believers. A skeptic does not believe there is a God. A skeptic does not believe there is not-a-God.
(As in 'hard' Atheist who believe that the God-concept is false)
That's why I am mostly agnostic rather than atheist.
I believe "the fence sitters" are the ones who haven't decided yet if they want to believe, or still question the faith, who haven't committed yet, or only half-heartedly decided one way or the other.

It's been a while since I read the article. Maybe I should read it again to make sure I figured it out right.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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ergo123
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Posted - 10/09/2006 :  14:40:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ergo123 a Private Message
I see skeptics as people who follow a process of critical thinking, not who wind up in a particular end-state or with a particular opinion. I think a skeptic could land on the side of creationism. From my pov, it would have to be a skeptic that had not been exposed to a lot of information I am aware of--but their thinking process could still be critical. When my oldest son, Andrew, was in 1st grade we went to a mall to see Santa. We do not celebrate any religious aspect of Christmas--but we love giving and getting gifts, so Santa is in. We had a plane to catch soon and the line was too long to wait. And it was December 23. I said we could try to find Santa at our destination stop. And that seemed okay with him. Then he asked me if Santa was real. I asked him what he thought. He said he had heard some kids at school talking about it. Two 2nd graders said he wasn't real and 2 kindergarteners said he was. He said he leaned with the 2nd graders because he figured they'd been around longer and were likely to know what was real and what wasn't better than a little kid. Half way to the car he said it would be great if we could find Santa before Christmas day.

To me, that story shows how a critical thinker can end up on the wrong end of an issue. For Andy, he just wasn't ready to let go. I think he knew deep down Santa wasn't real. The next 24 hours were amazing--watching his thought processes. First came--"so if you and mom just bought me the present I was going to ask Santa for, that would be okay." Later came--"so who eats the cookies we leave." Then came "I wondered how he got down the chimney since we always have a fire [in the fireplace] Christmas eve." He was working it out at his own pace.

And you know what? I think there are a lot of issues where it doesn't really matter what people think about an issue--what matters is how they act. I don't so much care if my neighbor respect my property because he thinks god told him to respect it or if he just realizes it facilitates community; as long as he respects my property.

No witty quotes. I think for myself.
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  14:57:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ergo123


And you know what? I think there are a lot of issues where it doesn't really matter what people think about an issue--what matters is how they act. I don't so much care if my neighbor respect my property because he thinks god told him to respect it or if he just realizes it facilitates community; as long as he respects my property.



Some things do not matter sure enough. Like whether Santa exist. For a child to believe in Santa causes no harm. But for an adult to believe is just silly. The point is not whether a belief is harmful or not. Homeopathic medicine is very unlikely to harm someone but the belief in its effects may lead a person who is sick astray and thereby, indirectly harm them.

A belief may at first, may be benign but may have indirect or even later develop into a dangerous thought process.

Christians who believe that God hates homosexuals may not act out to harass homosexuals but under the right pressure may eventually find themselves on a slippery slope. (or not). The point is that it will lead to various degrees of discrimination.

Fence sitting while one does not have all the facts is perfectly fine and is definitely the best position to take during this period. Rather than to rant on about things one does not yet understand, but to persist here is to take an intellectual hiatus.

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  15:35:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ergo123

Interesting article, Dave.
Thank you.
quote:
I am a member of a Unitarian Society. When people find this out some will ask if I believe in god or if, instead, I'm an atheist--as if those were the only two choices.

I tell them I don't know if god exists or not. "oh, so you're an atheist." No, I say--it takes as much faith to assume there is no god as it does to assume there is. This usually confuses them and the change they subject.
Years ago, Garrison Keillor made the joke that if you piss off the Unitarians, they come to your house and burn a giant quesiton mark on your lawn. People generally expect belief in something, so an absence of belief is definitely oddball behaviour and confusing. I get the "well, what do you believe" question frequently from my rather evangelical in-laws.
quote:
...I think you would say that many are responding to ME and how I presented my pov, and not the issue itself. If this is a correct assessment of your view, it would prove my point.
Nope, that is not a correct assessment. But I will continue that discussion over here since it's only partially unrelated to my "Fence Sitting" argument.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  16:53:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
quote:
ergo123 said:

...it takes as much faith to assume there is no god as it does to assume there is


I disagree. Does it take as much faith to believe that there is no invisible polka-dot triceratops in your attic as to believe there is? In the absence of any evidence supporting the existence of something, the reasonable position is to withold belief. Since there is no evidence supporting the existence of any god, then it is reasonable not to believe there is one.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  17:17:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by R.Wreck

quote:
ergo123 said:

...it takes as much faith to assume there is no god as it does to assume there is


I disagree. Does it take as much faith to believe that there is no invisible polka-dot triceratops in your attic as to believe there is? In the absence of any evidence supporting the existence of something, the reasonable position is to withold belief. Since there is no evidence supporting the existence of any god, then it is reasonable not to believe there is one.

I'm glad someone made this point. I get pretty sick of having to explain to people that my disbelief does not require "faith" of any kind.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2006 :  17:28:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Some comments and discussions regarding the Fence Sitting article was made in this thread.

Be sure to check them out, but please continue posting in this thread.
You can reference individual posts by clicking the [permalink] of each post, then copy the address-field of your browser.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
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ergo123
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USA
810 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2006 :  07:28:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ergo123 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by R.Wreck

quote:
ergo123 said:

...it takes as much faith to assume there is no god as it does to assume there is


I disagree. Does it take as much faith to believe that there is no invisible polka-dot triceratops in your attic as to believe there is? In the absence of any evidence supporting the existence of something, the reasonable position is to withold belief. Since there is no evidence supporting the existence of any god, then it is reasonable not to believe there is one.



lack of evidence that something exists should never be taken as evidence of that thing being non-existent; because the lack of evidence could be a function of your ignorance.

you have no evidence, for example, that i have a 1,000,000,000,000 German Mark note on my desk at work. yet, it exists.

faith is belief in the absence of evidence.

we have no credible evidence that god exists. but we also have no credible evidence that god doesn't exist.

ergo, it takes as much faith to assume there is no god as it does to assume there is.

No witty quotes. I think for myself.
Edited by - ergo123 on 10/10/2006 09:33:04
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2006 :  07:42:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Pet peave of mine: Belief in Santa is not a benign concept. It can cause harm.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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