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Go to: I Am, Therefore I Rationalize

sbe's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by sbe

"Those cannot do science, become an expert on the scientific method."--- Me

Which shows you're not a scientist, or if you are you're a surprisingly ignorant one. The amazing thing about science is that anyone can do it, it is among the most democratic areas of human knowledge. Such statements just make you sound silly and make science sound like some arcane practice that only anointed elects can grasp.

"generalists may be able to articulate and communicate certain ideas that the practicing scientists already knew in a more elegant and concise language"

I said that Popper defined and set the standard for scientific research. How is what your saying above any different from criticizing scientists for verifying and explaining things that are dumbly obvious, are in fact common sense ("new research shows that an excess of carbohydrates can make you fat")? The difference however is that Popper explained something that was not explained or justified in any coherent or useful way. Popper showed why the scientific method works and as a consequence actually helped improve how scientists do research.

Seriously, you two sound like cult members at worst and hidebound dogmatists at the least.

Tue, 13 Nov 2007 11:09:00 UTC | #83840

Go to: I Am, Therefore I Rationalize

sbe's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by sbe

Rtambree, your counter argument is quite silly. What about all the scientists who believed that the body was composed of and functioned by a proper balance of "humors"? Just one example. Scientific knowledge isn't the only area of human knowledge that has expanded and updated itself over time. And what other knowledge do we have? Try art, literature, philosophy, politics, etc. I know you're not really as ignorant as you seem.

Sorry, Bonzai, Popper's ideas are the basis for modern scientific research. What scientists had been doing all along? What was it they were doing all along? Certainly not the scientific method which was first formally developed in the late 19th century. Oh, my those dangerous positivist! They'll be the ruination of us all!

Tue, 13 Nov 2007 09:17:00 UTC | #83816

Go to: I Am, Therefore I Rationalize

sbe's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by sbe

It seems that Rtambree needs to take a course in remedial English before he starts pontificating about "intellectuals" and "armchair philosphy".

It was philosophers, not scientists who demonstrated that god does not exist. While Issac Newton was frittering away the remainder of his life worshiping an imaginary deity and trying to turn lead into gold, David Hume was about to revolutionize how we understand reality and knowledge. As John Maynard Keynes once said "Newton was not the first of the age of reason: he was the last of the magicians." Meanwhile Hume's ideas made the modern world possible.

It was another philosopher, Baron d'Holbach who was the first European to have the courage to publicly deny the existence of god at a time when doing so could get you killed. He also coined the the term Atheism.

Yet another philosopher Karl Popper defined and set the standard for modern scientific method and research.

The world would be a very poor place indeed if all the knowledge at our disposal came only from science. Science describes how the natural world works, philosophy describes the consequences of existing in the natural world and even the consequences of having scientific knowledge.

Now for Rtambree's english lesson:

From ra·tion·al·ism –noun
1. the principle or habit of accepting reason as the supreme authority in matters of opinion, belief, or conduct.
2. Philosophy.
a. the doctrine that reason alone is a source of knowledge and is independent of experience.
b. (in the philosophies of Descartes, Spinoza, etc.) the doctrine that all knowledge is expressible in self-evident propositions or their consequences.

ra·tion·al·ize –verb (used with object)
1. to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.

Mon, 12 Nov 2007 10:06:00 UTC | #83518

Go to: Response to My Fellow 'Atheists'

sbe's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by sbe

To clarify my earlier comment about atheism being a choice:

Whether people like to believe it or not, atheism is in fact a choice. Even if you "just always knew god didn't exist", you still arrived at a conclusion about religion and the supernatural and *CHOSE* to accept the non-existence of god/the supernatural as the most plausible or obvious conclusion.

If you think you were "born reasonable" or if you're one of those people who think atheists/rationalist/secularists have certain innate qualities in the way that people who believe their horoscopes think Leos and Aries have unique and innate qualities, well then you've got other issues you need to deal with before you turn to the comparatively academic question of whether to call yourself an atheist or not.

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 15:16:00 UTC | #73514

Go to: Response to My Fellow 'Atheists'

sbe's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by sbe

Maybe if Sam Harris' point were put in a different way, it might be more comprehensible to some people who are having difficulty with it:

It's not about you, it's about the task at hand.

It really doesn't matter what people who support reason, science, and secularism call themselves, as long as we achieve our goals. And Sam's point is that what we call ourselves is vastly less important than acheiving our goals and, furthermore, if what we call ourselves actually hinders what we're trying to accomplish, well then the name simply has to go.

This may be surprising to some, but this argument doesn't even conflict with Richard Dawkins Out Campaign. Because Dawkins' campaign is not about yelling about being an atheist, but coming out as someone who wants to live in a secular world ruled by reason -- you can come out for that and still call yourself anything you like.

I can't say much about Ellen Johnson, but PZ Myers is a clown in my opinion. I stopped reading his blog a long time ago. He rarely has anything interesting to say and, to me, he mostly comes off sounding like a nut. And Myers is the poster boy for the argument that atheism is rapidly becoming a cult.

Sam Harris is really the only person who seems to be thinking about the secularist movement in a truly strategic way. I hope people can break free of the group think that dominates much of the online atheist community and take a sober look at what Sam Harris is trying to say.

On a tangential note (with all due respect for Dawkins and Harris), I really find it creepy to compare the "plight" of atheists to the very real plight of gays and blacks. Unlike being gay or black, atheism is a choice, but then so it religion. No one has ever said "I can't help being reasonable, I was born this way" any more than someone is likely to say "I can't help being pentecostal, I was born this way."

Actually, I think atheists/secularists are missing an opportunity to turn the tables on the fundamentalist canard that being gay is a "lifestyle choice"--no it isn't, but being an intolerant ignoramus is. Sure, being an atheist can get you killed in some places in the world, but so can drinking alcohol during ramadan. In the western world, being an atheist might cause you some trouble in certain places and situations, but it's hardly the same hardship that gays and blacks have faced. Let's keep a little perspective here.

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 13:20:00 UTC | #73483

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