stop pretending all atheists are god

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Elliot Temple

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Mar 11, 2013, 5:22:05 AM3/11/13
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http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-fireplace-delusion

> It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.

Note the extreme naivety. Whatever you think or Harris' own rationality, I think we can all agree his readers aren't all so rational they never get on the wrong side of science, facts, evidence, reason, etc... Whether they know it or not, they are not open to all "good evidence" or "sound arguments".

At least it looks like Harris is naive and doesn't understand how complicated life is, how flawed his readers are, perhaps how flawed he himself is, how much irrationality there is in the world that isn't religious, how hard it is to be rational, how being rational takes a lot more than proclaiming "I am an atheist and value reason!" (although "value" is a word some atheists don't like. so what do they say instead?)

An alternative interpretation is that he's pandering. Maybe he knows many of his readers are deeply flawed, but makes a career out of telling them they are awesome.

The "never knew" line does sound like it may be pandering. Everyone has made mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Serious mistakes. For regular people, they've made many mistakes they now wouldn't make and don't know how anyone could ever make. (For good philosophers, they made those mistakes too, they just don't have the arrogant attitude towards thinking they are above mistakes now or that it's weird when other people make mistakes that they wouldn't make.)

Or maybe Harris is so naive he really thinks lots of people go through life never facing any significant challenges at all in major, difficult areas of life such as science.



The article goes on to present dumb propaganda as scientific rationality and tell his lefty atheist followers they must not resist this or they aren't smart/rational. And there's a heavy dose of scientism.

This makes the beginning seem more like pandering than naivety since Harris claims many of his readers will initially reject his radical environmentalism.

Anyway Harris is now encouraging and pressuring people to be gullible in the way as the French revolutionary peasants were (if you don't have a readymade argument in defense of how you live, then you have to change or you're irrational and that's bad bad bad, [so do as you're told by people better at rhetoric than you]). He doesn't know this, but that's part of the problem. He should learn philosophy instead of going around saying he knows philosophy (and science! and reason!) and that it teaches us [really really bad things].

-- Elliot Temple
http://elliottemple.com/



skg

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Mar 13, 2013, 11:35:44 AM3/13/13
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On Monday, March 11, 2013 4:22:05 AM UTC-5, Elliot Temple wrote:
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-fireplace-delusion

> It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.

Note the extreme naivety. ...
 
An alternative interpretation is that he's pandering. ...

Or maybe he was being ironic? 

cheers,
skg

Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum

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Dec 27, 2014, 4:55:56 PM12/27/14
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On Mar 11, 2013, at 5:22 AM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:

> http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-fireplace-delusion
>
>> It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.
>
> Note the extreme naivety. Whatever you think or Harris' own rationality, I think we can all agree his readers aren't all so rational they never get on the wrong side of science, facts, evidence, reason, etc... Whether they know it or not, they are not open to all "good evidence" or "sound arguments".
>
> At least it looks like Harris is naive and doesn't understand how complicated life is, how flawed his readers are, perhaps how flawed he himself is, how much irrationality there is in the world that isn't religious, how hard it is to be rational, how being rational takes a lot more than proclaiming "I am an atheist and value reason!" (although "value" is a word some atheists don't like. so what do they say instead?)

If it's hard to be rational, maybe this is part of why I am irrational. Is it easier to be irrational?

>
> An alternative interpretation is that he's pandering. Maybe he knows many of his readers are deeply flawed, but makes a career out of telling them they are awesome.
>
> [...]
>

> Anyway Harris is now encouraging and pressuring people to be gullible in the way as the French revolutionary peasants were (if you don't have a readymade argument in defense of how you live, then you have to change or you're irrational and that's bad bad bad, [so do as you're told by people better at rhetoric than you]).

I kind of pressure myself this way about FI stuff. I don't have readymade arguments in defense of what I do, and so I have to change or I'm irrational and that's bad bad bad, so I should do as I'm told by people who have better rhetoric than me. Maybe when I understand the issues better I'll pressure myself less.

Elliot Temple

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Dec 27, 2014, 5:05:32 PM12/27/14
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On Dec 27, 2014, at 1:55 PM, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum wrote:

>
> On Mar 11, 2013, at 5:22 AM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:
>
>> http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-fireplace-delusion
>>
>>> It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.
>>
>> Note the extreme naivety. Whatever you think or Harris' own rationality, I think we can all agree his readers aren't all so rational they never get on the wrong side of science, facts, evidence, reason, etc... Whether they know it or not, they are not open to all "good evidence" or "sound arguments".
>>
>> At least it looks like Harris is naive and doesn't understand how complicated life is, how flawed his readers are, perhaps how flawed he himself is, how much irrationality there is in the world that isn't religious, how hard it is to be rational, how being rational takes a lot more than proclaiming "I am an atheist and value reason!" (although "value" is a word some atheists don't like. so what do they say instead?)
>
> If it's hard to be rational, maybe this is part of why I am irrational. Is it easier to be irrational?

big picture it's much much easier to be rational. so you don't have a life full of disasters.



>
>>
>> An alternative interpretation is that he's pandering. Maybe he knows many of his readers are deeply flawed, but makes a career out of telling them they are awesome.
>>
>> [...]
>>
>
>> Anyway Harris is now encouraging and pressuring people to be gullible in the way as the French revolutionary peasants were (if you don't have a readymade argument in defense of how you live, then you have to change or you're irrational and that's bad bad bad, [so do as you're told by people better at rhetoric than you]).
>
> I kind of pressure myself this way about FI stuff. I don't have readymade arguments in defense of what I do, and so I have to change or I'm irrational and that's bad bad bad, so I should do as I'm told by people who have better rhetoric than me. Maybe when I understand the issues better I'll pressure myself less.

that makes no sense. if you don't understand an issue, you don't know which side of it is bad bad bad.

Elliot "curiosity" Temple

Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum

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Dec 27, 2014, 5:17:33 PM12/27/14
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Are you saying what I do makes no sense? If so, that could easily be. I'm not trying to say I'm some paragon of rationality or even that I meet some basic FI standards of rationality.
Or are you saying my description of what I do makes no sense?

Elliot Temple

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Dec 27, 2014, 5:22:05 PM12/27/14
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don't do/think that (like that those things are bad bad bad). and i just gave a criticism.

as i understand it, you are wary of FI and have mixed feelings about it and stuff. why? because when you go near it, you start hurting yourself in ways FI says not to do.

so it's like, whenever FI comes up, you shoot yourself in the foot. then you don't like FI and aren't enthusiastic and stuff. that's a really nasty method of evasion – hurting yourself in some vague association with the thing you to be evaded. (even tho it explicitly says not to)

Elliot "curiosity" Temple

Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum

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Dec 27, 2014, 5:47:21 PM12/27/14
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On Dec 27, 2014, at 5:22 PM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:

>
> On Dec 27, 2014, at 2:17 PM, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum wrote:
>
>>
>> On Dec 27, 2014, at 5:05 PM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> On Dec 27, 2014, at 1:55 PM, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Mar 11, 2013, at 5:22 AM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Anyway Harris is now encouraging and pressuring people to be gullible in the way as the French revolutionary peasants were (if you don't have a readymade argument in defense of how you live, then you have to change or you're irrational and that's bad bad bad, [so do as you're told by people better at rhetoric than you]).
>>>>
>>>> I kind of pressure myself this way about FI stuff. I don't have readymade arguments in defense of what I do, and so I have to change or I'm irrational and that's bad bad bad, so I should do as I'm told by people who have better rhetoric than me. Maybe when I understand the issues better I'll pressure myself less.
>>>
>>> that makes no sense. if you don't understand an issue, you don't know which side of it is bad bad bad.
>>
>> Are you saying what I do makes no sense? If so, that could easily be. I'm not trying to say I'm some paragon of rationality or even that I meet some basic FI standards of rationality.
>> Or are you saying my description of what I do makes no sense?
>
> don't do/think that (like that those things are bad bad bad). and i just gave a criticism.

Ok. Yeah, that's a good point. If there's a conflict, then we don't know which side (if either) is right. If I understand right, what the French Revolutionary peasants did made no sense either, because they had a conflict and they kind of let their intellect trample over their emotions. I'm guessing their intellect said follow the "logic" of the people with the good rhetoric and their emotions said not to.

> as i understand it, you are wary of FI and have mixed feelings about it and stuff. why? because when you go near it, you start hurting yourself in ways FI says not to do.

I wouldn't say I'm wary of FI. I think FI is good. FI is like science applied to ideas and emotions and politics and more. It's applying the scientific method to human problems. And by "science" I mean the kind of science that actually leads to progress.

I just find it really hard either to personally apply FI, or to understand it well enough to apply it myself. Also, it kind of depresses me when people here expect me to be able to answer a question that I don't know how to answer, which happens pretty often. I often feel like I get asked a calculus question in pre-algebra class. And I feel like I'm letting either them or myself down by saying "I don't know". But on the other hand if I embark on some project to get a better answer, who knows how long that will take? For now I've compromised on just answering the way I would if they asked me in person. That way at least the dialog can continue.


> so it's like, whenever FI comes up, you shoot yourself in the foot. then you don't like FI and aren't enthusiastic and stuff. that's a really nasty method of evasion – hurting yourself in some vague association with the thing you to be evaded. (even tho it explicitly says not to)

I don't blame FI for my problems in learning FI. I blame myself.


Elliot Temple

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Dec 28, 2014, 6:40:55 PM12/28/14
to BoI, FI, FIGG

> On Dec 27, 2014, at 2:47 PM, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum <petrogradp...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> On Dec 27, 2014, at 5:22 PM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:
>
>>
>> On Dec 27, 2014, at 2:17 PM, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> On Dec 27, 2014, at 5:05 PM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Dec 27, 2014, at 1:55 PM, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Mar 11, 2013, at 5:22 AM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Anyway Harris is now encouraging and pressuring people to be gullible in the way as the French revolutionary peasants were (if you don't have a readymade argument in defense of how you live, then you have to change or you're irrational and that's bad bad bad, [so do as you're told by people better at rhetoric than you]).
>>>>>
>>>>> I kind of pressure myself this way about FI stuff. I don't have readymade arguments in defense of what I do, and so I have to change or I'm irrational and that's bad bad bad, so I should do as I'm told by people who have better rhetoric than me. Maybe when I understand the issues better I'll pressure myself less.
>>>>
>>>> that makes no sense. if you don't understand an issue, you don't know which side of it is bad bad bad.
>>>
>>> Are you saying what I do makes no sense? If so, that could easily be. I'm not trying to say I'm some paragon of rationality or even that I meet some basic FI standards of rationality.
>>> Or are you saying my description of what I do makes no sense?
>>
>> don't do/think that (like that those things are bad bad bad). and i just gave a criticism.
>
> Ok. Yeah, that's a good point. If there's a conflict, then we don't know which side (if either) is right. If I understand right, what the French Revolutionary peasants did made no sense either, because they had a conflict and they kind of let their intellect trample over their emotions. I'm guessing their intellect said follow the "logic" of the people with the good rhetoric and their emotions said not to.

that’s not accurate.


>> as i understand it, you are wary of FI and have mixed feelings about it and stuff. why? because when you go near it, you start hurting yourself in ways FI says not to do.
>
> I wouldn't say I'm wary of FI. I think FI is good. FI is like science applied to ideas and emotions and politics and more. It's applying the scientific method to human problems. And by "science" I mean the kind of science that actually leads to progress.
>
> I just find it really hard either to personally apply FI, or to understand it well enough to apply it myself.

so you mean you think stuff you don’t understand and don’t know how to get value from is good. you’re assuming a conclusion you don’t actually know.

i very much doubt you make this mistake fully consistently.

> Also, it kind of depresses me when people here expect me to be able to answer a question that I don't know how to answer, which happens pretty often.

you’re wrong. people asking a question doesn’t tell you whether they expect you to be able to answer (to some particular standard you haven’t mentioned but have in mind).

> I often feel like I get asked a calculus question in pre-algebra class. And I feel like I'm letting either them or myself down by saying "I don't know”.

that’s your idea, not theirs, and you’re basically blaming them and running into problems by putting (imagining) words in their mouths and ideas in their heads.

> But on the other hand if I embark on some project to get a better answer, who knows how long that will take? For now I've compromised on just answering the way I would if they asked me in person. That way at least the dialog can continue.

why didn’t you try asking stuff about how to deal with it? asking about methods?


>> so it's like, whenever FI comes up, you shoot yourself in the foot. then you don't like FI and aren't enthusiastic and stuff. that's a really nasty method of evasion – hurting yourself in some vague association with the thing you to be evaded. (even tho it explicitly says not to)
>
> I don't blame FI for my problems in learning FI. I blame myself.

Explicitly.

But in reality, maybe you do blame FI some and are now making it worse by carelessly lying about it with zero argument.

Elliot Temple
www.fallibleideas.com
www.curi.us



Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum

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Dec 28, 2014, 10:56:21 PM12/28/14
to beginning-...@googlegroups.com, FI, FIGG

On Dec 28, 2014, at 6:40 PM, Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:

>
>> On Dec 27, 2014, at 2:47 PM, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum <petrogradp...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> I wouldn't say I'm wary of FI. I think FI is good. FI is like science applied to ideas and emotions and politics and more. It's applying the scientific method to human problems. And by "science" I mean the kind of science that actually leads to progress.
>>
>> I just find it really hard either to personally apply FI, or to understand it well enough to apply it myself.
>
> so you mean you think stuff you don’t understand and don’t know how to get value from is good.

Yeah. I feel FI is good ("emotionally") and I don't have any logical "voice in my head" saying otherwise, so I think I'm thoroughly persuaded. Any issues with that description of what's going on inside me?

> you’re assuming a conclusion you don’t actually know.

Well, I'm not aware of a conflict inside me on this topic, so in what sense don't I know it? Is the issue that I don't "actually know" that FI is good because my understanding of it is so weak?

>
> i very much doubt you make this mistake fully consistently.

I'm not sure what it would mean to think this way ("make this mistake", as you say) fully consistently. To paraphrase Oliver Heaviside, I don't know how digestion works but I still eat. I will sometimes use math theorems or computer science algorithms that I can't prove the correctness of. Is that related to wat you are saying here?

>> Also, it kind of depresses me when people here expect me to be able to answer a question that I don't know how to answer, which happens pretty often.
>
> you’re wrong. people asking a question doesn’t tell you whether they expect you to be able to answer (to some particular standard you haven’t mentioned but have in mind).

Hmm, interesting. Why do people ask questions that they don't expect the "target" to be able to answer? I have a few guesses - maybe they want to show the target (or other people) that the target can't answer the question, or maybe they want to make a point to other people who do know the answer.

>
>> I often feel like I get asked a calculus question in pre-algebra class. And I feel like I'm letting either them or myself down by saying "I don't know”.
>
> that’s your idea, not theirs, and you’re basically blaming them and running into problems by putting (imagining) words in their mouths and ideas in their heads.

Sometimes I do think people's questions are unreasonable and blame them. Other times, though, I think they are reasonable, and it's me who lacks the necessary ability to look inside myself and give a good answer. I don't know why I sometimes think one way and sometimes the other.

>> But on the other hand if I embark on some project to get a better answer, who knows how long that will take? For now I've compromised on just answering the way I would if they asked me in person. That way at least the dialog can continue.
>
> why didn’t you try asking stuff about how to deal with it? asking about methods?

I'm not very good at thinking about or asking about methods. The concept seems really foreign to me. Maybe because I don't see myself as doing things according to a method at present. But maybe that is a method in itself -- just a very inexplicit method? As I understand the word "method", I don't think I'm conscious of the methods I use in most areas of my life. When writing a program or a piece of music, I just kind of write it. When I play video games I'm also not aware of the "methods" I'm using. Well, one method is if I die I try not to get upset and just try again. Does that count as a method? It's all fuzzy and vague to me.

If anyone has recommendations on good ways for a beginner to get a handle on methods, I'm all ears.

>> I don't blame FI for my problems in learning FI. I blame myself.
>
> Explicitly.
>
> But in reality, maybe you do blame FI some and are now making it worse by carelessly lying about it with zero argument.

True - I can't rule out the possibility that I've lied to myself about it. It's easier to fool oneself when one's ideas aren't interlinked/integrated, and mine aren't.
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