Archive for May, 2012

Evolution of Skepticism – Derik Flying Solo – Pagan and Atheist Shoutouts and News

Kinda “last minute” decision, I (Derik) ended up flying solo due to Justin being sick. So I figured I would do some shout outs and find out what’s going on in the News regarding Pagans and Atheists.

Shoutouts:

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/

http://pagan-place.com/

http://court-of-reality.blogspot.com/

http://fundamentally-flawed.com/

http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com/

http://anatheistviewpoint.wordpress.com/

http://www.twitter.com/derikatwork

https://evolutionofskepticism.wordpress.com/
News:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2012/05/richard-land-and-full-blown-paganism.html

http://www.theweekender.com/stories/Taking-the-taboo-out-of-Wicca,157066

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/how-the-web-is-killing-faith/2012/05/24/gJQAMHgLnU_blog.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-adam-j-copeland/reaching-out-to-young-adults-will-screw-up-your-church_b_1543142.html

http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2012/05/30/is-atheism-increasing-at-the-expense-of-theism/

http://www.jewishjournal.com/dennis_prager/article/israel_means_struggle_with_god_20120530/

http://www.examiner.com/article/geology-report-misrepresented-by-media-over-religion

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Bringing Skepticism to Faith

Often people, specifically monotheists that have a staunch belief in their holy text, ask me why I would hold my faith in skepticism if I had true belief in it. To me it always seemed like a bit of a silly question, why wouldn’t I hold my religious views in skepticism? It allows me to grow personally and spiritually to ask what the motives behind my beliefs are.

For instance:

Are they political, and if so has my view on religious politics changed?

Are they motivational and if so has my need for motivation changed or have I accomplished the task I needed such motivations for?

Are they rooted in morality and if so has my opinion on such morality changed?

Was I deceiving myself by feeling the necessity for such beliefs and if so have I opened my eyes to the real need such beliefs fulfilled?

These are typically the questions I ask myself as I move through my life in my belief/religious choices, it helps me assess where I stand as a person and as an entity of nature. With Pagan religions we don’t have a single book to follow without question, we often need to share stories of experience and knowledge passed from generation to generation, or from teacher to student. So we have to make a choice, do we believe a single source without question and with “blind faith” or do we continue to grow and absorb knowledge to form our own belief system that is tailored and attuned to our lifestyle and personalities?

I have found that attuning to my lifestyle and personality changes as I grow and as I age, this allows my beliefs to solidify in some areas and stay fluid in others. Those things that stay solidified are things such as the Wiccan Rede and the Law of Three, as well as Karma and reincarnation. Through experience I have found these things to just be simple fact within my life, they happen without prompting and without question. For instance, the term “old soul” often strikes me as an amazing statement because it sums up the concept that we cannot learn everything we need to know and understand without having lived multiple times on this world. We have not been able to explain through science how a child can have knowledge or experiential understanding of a situation that they have never been presented with. This is evidence of reincarnation in my eyes and until I can find a better reason for such things I will continue to believe that, though that doesn’t stop me from keeping my eye firmly on the subject and questioning if it is still valid within my world view.

If you would like to watch me grow and evolve within my own beliefs, and learning from others perspectives so that I can better tailor my current understanding of this wonderful world we live in, please visit my blog at:

https://evolutionofskepticism.wordpress.com/

Feel free to comment on anything posted, interestingly enough I have a friend that posts articles on the blog that are from an Atheist perspective also, so we offer two very different points of view on very similar subjects. We also do a weekly podcast that we publish on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/derikeos

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Evolution of Skepticism – Certainly we are Certain about Certainty

Today we talk about certainty and what it means to both a theist and an atheist.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Evolution of Skepticism – Quick Cast – Can Superior Beings Exist?

Derik asks, “Can Superior Beings Exist?”

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Conflating faith with confidence

after the pod-cast when Derik and I were just shooting the breeze I realized that there is another concept that has a different meaning between rationally minded people and what I have come to describe as the serious mono theists.

This concept is faith. The word faith however in English has two different meanings, that is it refers to two different concepts. The first is to belief in something in the absence of or counter to reason. This is also known as blind faith to separate if from the second kind. The second concept is what we also mean by the concept confidence. confidence is the trust we have in a reasoned conclusion. For example I have confidence that elevators are very reliable. There is a wealth of evidence in support of this and thus I have confidence based on the evidence that they are safe to use. Note that many mono theists will object to this definition I gave for the first concept instead offering the biblical definition of things hoped or wished for. They do this of course because they want to conflate the meaning of faith in the first instance with that of the second instance so as to piggy back on the second meaning and thus gain some intellectual legitimacy. Note the first kind, no evidence or counter to evidence, the second kind has evidence.

This dichotomy of blind faith vs confidence also bears on the earlier post on certainty. The certainty that many mono theists want, nay seem to have an emotional need for is absolute certainty beyond the possibility of doubt and that can only come by having blind faith in what you claim to have absolute epistemological certainty of. So I see blind faith and absolute epistemological certainty are corollaries. On the other hand confidence and certainty beyond reasonable doubt are corollaries.

Now many mono theists will criticize me and like minded people, saying that our world view is reduced to probabilities. This ignores yet another crucial distinction. When I speak of certainty I mean beyond reasonable doubt and or that any alternative is inconceivable. Since we base our conclusions on the evidence and what we do know and not on what we don’t know or our ignorance I can say within the context of my knowledge that I can be 100% certain of at least some things. What I can never be certain of even in principle is that something I previously did not know will not change a conclusion of mine. This is the big difference between my world view and that of the serious hard core mono theists of the judeo christian type. They are immune to learning or even considering anything that might modify their conclusions, and how could it? There conclusions are of the absolute epistemological type and their faith in them is of the blind faith type. They are rigid and inflexible in their thinking, bereft of any error correction, for them error is impossible. To doubt is a sin not a virtue. I strongly suspect that they are this way because they so strongly identify themselves with what they believe. This is obvious once you realize they see themselves as one of the elect, a gold ticket to ever lasting life in heaven… at gods feet… in short they are guanopsychotic.

I am not just being silly or rude with this assessment, I really think this is a bat shit crazy way of thinking. Any time you hear them talk about accounting for reason or logic or giving a damn about such things, what is really going is this. Since reason is not a standard or method of cognition for them when they hear us talk about them they interpret these as our shibboleths. The empty self identifying slogans of our tribe or in group. So given that they know they are important to us even tho they don’t know why they are important to us they attempt to co op them into their own lexicon of shibboleths. This is done in an attempt to induce us to join their in group. It amounts to see we include your gods too! Very similar to what early Christians did with regard to pagan holidays and personalities of note.

What is important to keep in mind is that the actual methods of logic are lost on them. For them it is all a matter of faith. Logic, reason, evidence, this are just words to them. If you point out flaws in their reasoning they simply either don’t understand or as more likely simply don’t care. These things are not important to them. However they are important to me.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Christian Apologists – Acting the Fool?

Christian Apologetics

 

This Screen shot was taken from the Facebook wall of Tommy Rodriguez where Sye and those like him decided to interact and contend with a few Atheists. The part that stood out for me was written by Aldo Gutierrez, and specifically where he says ” And like I’ve told the other Christian fellows here I’m not really wasting my time trying to reason with you since the point of presup apologetics is not to really convince you but to “answer the fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own eyes”, and I’m confident this has been achieved already.”

Now this seems interesting to me because it seems like Aldo is saying that Christian Apologists are “acting the fool” as a means to “answer the fool”. While I am not about to start calling anybody a fool, I can say one thing, several Christian Apologists have quoted something else of intrigue to me. Which is:

Proverbs 26:4 – Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

So what this tells me, and if you think this is wrong I welcome comments to explain why, is that Christian Apologists are acting in direct opposition to this statement, which from what I have been told is acting in direct opposition to their God.

So maybe Aldo is wrong here? Maybe he didn’t quite think his comment through before posting it on Facebook and allowing the interested world to see it. Aldo is following this command, kinda (but we won’t get into how he is violating this), but he is pointing out that his Apologetic friends are following Proverbs 26:5 with blatant disregard to the passage right before it.

Let’s take a quick look at this, remember I have not read the complete bible, but I do know that Christian Apologists believe in the Law of Non-Contradiction, meaning A cannot be A and not A at the same time.

Proverbs 26:4 – Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

Proverbs 26:5 – Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

So as a person that sits outside of the Theist/Atheist argument this seems kind of counter-intuitive, to say “don’t answer… according to his folly” then in the next line say “answer according to his folly…” is pretty confusing. Now mind you I took both of these passages from the NIV version of the bible, because it is commonly quoted by the Christian Presuppers, and as a non-Christian I have to rely on the use of the common argument to base my opinion off of.

So what is it Christians, do you answer according to his folly or not answer according to his folly? Having both statements back to back seems like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Evolution of Skepticism – Quick Cast – Does Text = Faith?

My question for you today is “does faith require religious text to be justified/validated?”

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Privatized Space Flight is Real

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-spacex-launch-space-station-20120521,0,4066674.story

SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., is the first private company to embark on such a mission. Up until now, sending a spacecraft to the space station has been a feat that has only been accomplished by four of the world’s wealthiest and most technologically advanced governments: the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Union.

SpaceX was the winner of the X-Prize a couple years ago, and since have made vast improvements on their rockets. Their methods are a far cry from what we are used to from our history of launches, especially here in America. The style of launch we’re used to costs millions of dollars only to have the rocket essentially “thrown away” and not used for a second time, the only thing typically re-used in these types of missions was the shuttle. SpaceX has changed all of that, their rockets are actually meant to be recovered and relaunched multiple times, cutting costs dramatically and allowing Privatized Space launches to occur more frequently. They have also been able to secure the contract to resupply the Space Station.

Check out more on SpaceX:

http://www.spacex.com/

http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/transportation-industry/spacex-ORCRP0017655.topic

And if you’re watching this prior to May 26, you can watch live coverage of this historic launch here:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

 

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Certainty

In discussions I have had with christian presuppositionalists the question of certainty often comes up. The presupper will ask if I am sure about a given conclusion and the implication is that if I am not sure then my world view is somehow lacking or invalid as a consequence of my uncertainty. However there is some confusion as to what the word means to each of us. For the presupper it means absolute perfect knowledge about something, that is knowledge without the possibility of being in error. For me it is a reasoned strong conclusion from the premises and or evidence. A conclusion attained without reasonable doubt.

For example I am certain that two plus two is four. This is a very strong conclusion from the premise of number theory, but is number theory correct? Any deductive conclusion is only as good as its premises and if the premises are invalid so is the conclusion. Induction on the other hand is by its very definition tentative in nature and can not furnish you with absolute epistemological certainty.

This is why I ascribe to the justification model of knowledge and not the correspondence model. In the correspondence model knowledge is only knowledge if it actually corresponds to reality. The claim that the electron has a negative charge is knowledge only if the electron really and truly does have a negative charge. In the justification model the claim that the electron has a negative charge is valid knowledge if that is the reasonable conclusion from what evidence there is that bears on the question. If we are rational and honest with ourselves we will realize that we are all using the justification method for no other reason then as the pre suppers are so often heard to say “are you sure”. There is no way to ever be certain by the presuppers standard. If you appeal to evidence then your conclusion is only as good as your evidence and you are using the justification method, if you claim divine revelation well the same question still applies, are you sure, are you sure that was god? You say you felt it was, but are you sure you’re feelings were correct? and so on….

Some people simply can not accept or deal with the inherent level of uncertainty in our conclusions about reality. They pine away for simple answers to complex questions hand delivered to them on a silver platter. No mental effort required, no uncertainly, just the comforting certainty of a child that believes his parents know best. Well for those people I have a simple argument to address their worry, their concern… are you ready… here it is…

WHHHAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Grow the fuck up! so you can’t deal with it. I can, so please don’t project your emotional limitations onto me. Within the confines of my worldview absolute epistemological certainly is not something that has any value, it is not even a standard of knowledge. This is not a problem, it is just the name of the game and I roll with it.

Something else related to this topic that has occurred to me.

Authoritarians seem to have a real issue with analytical thought, that is they don’t wish to put forth the effort. They always go with the simple answer that results from least mental effort. When I am confronted with a question, issue, or problem I analyse it. I try to find out what evidence bears on it. What are the premises. I try to learn as much about it as I can and validate this by comparing it to my sensory inputs of reality. When all this is done I can sometimes come to a conclusion whose strength varies in degree proportional to the about of evidence I have and how much I was able to learn about it. In short in I analyze the crap out of it and come to tentative justifiable conclusions about it. Now compare this to authoritarians, they act like little children afraid to think for themselves. Afraid to make mistakes, afraid to be seen in error. I think this stems from the fact that they strongly identify with their beliefs. They defined themselves by what they believe. Thus an attack on their beliefs is an attack upon themselves. What a low sense of self esteem they must have. I don’t define myself by my conclusions. I define myself by my methods to my conclusions. I am a being capable of being rational and a being that places a moral virtue upon being rational. My conclusions will change from time to time as I learn of new things. Thus for me an attack on one of my conclusions is an attack on the reasoning I used, not myself. I have confidence in myself that I can reason and that I can obtain a measure of knowledge despite sometimes making mistakes. I think for myself and do not usually automatically defer to an authority. In short I grew up, only children and immature adults can’t deal with the uncertainties of life and crave for the unearned, namely omnisense…

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Evolution of Skepticism – Episode 7 – Uncovering One Atheists Beliefs

After posting a video asking about beliefs I got an interesting response stating that Atheists are incapable of belief.

Well luckily Justin just so happens to be an Atheist, let’s find out what he believes.

 

, , , ,

2 Comments

%d bloggers like this: