Up Front by Emma Hart

Read Post

Up Front: The Up-Front Guides: The Weasel Translator

481 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 13 14 15 16 17 20 Newer→ Last

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Lilith __,

    Without gods,

    Ah, but without which gods?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Lilith __,

    Without gods, like Islander says.

    I'm not sure if "everyone" on this blog can be so described, but be that as it may...

    Eh, I wrote a long spiel about aesthetics, "spirituality" versus (no quotes) spirituality and the Sublime and decided that it was wayyyyy off-topic. In essence, is "spirituality" - quote used to suggest fuzziness - a strategy to articulate an aesthetic relationship at a deep level with the cosmos - um... "Cosmos" meaning not only the universe, but the classical meaning of a universe that has an order, the antonym of chaos... and blah blah blah - you see, I need to settle on terms and while this might be great fun for a tutorial-jacking, it's probably not workable here...

    Anyway, I really think Johnnie Walker is a better whisky than John Barr. So there.

    Now, on topic. I'm really, really, deeply depressed by the weasel language being used. The usual suspects on the right don't annoy me - I expect nothing more from them, but on the nominal progressive side, well... Is morality, principle now reduced in our public discourse to nothing more than market research, so that even the supposedly progressive Labour Party can't as a body make its mind up?

    As Chaucer would say, PHUQUE!

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kracklite,

    I’m not sure if “everyone” on this blog can be so described, but be that as it may…

    I meant, all atheists. As I think was perfectly clear from context.

    And, speaking for myself only, I think it's kinda rude the way you're trying to define us out of existence. We're here. We're not stupid. Most of us have put a lot of thought into what we believe and what we don't.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Lilith __,

    And, speaking for myself only, I think it’s kinda rude the way you’re trying to define us out of existence. We’re here. We’re not stupid. Most of us have put a lot of thought into what we believe and what we don’t.

    Sorry, that is certainly not my intention. I’m seeking definitions, but I am not seeking to “define you out of existence”. Definitions entail defining what someone or something is and what it or they are not but that does not mean that you are not anything at all. I think that you’re being a wee bit hypersensitive there. Can we please discuss this under the assumption of good faith? As has been implied in an earlier post by Russel, this is something that could easily be derailed into acrimony.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kracklite,

    the integral paradox of absolute atheism is that it is itself a statement of faith – faith that there is nothing. It is in fact logically impossible to prove a negative, thus belief in nothing is untenable on its own terms.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Lilith __,

    I’m sorry, that’s too subtle for someone like me. All I can say is, (a) I used the word “absolute” and (b) please assume good faith on my part as I will assume it on yours – I’m not even adopting a position that I necessarily invest in. Instead, I’m interested in the ramifications of a set of possibilities. It is not my intention to offend or score points, so why do you want to take offence?

    it is in fact logically impossible to prove a negative

    This is an essential corollary of positivism. One can’t say otherwise without resorting to faith or, if you will, quasi-faith.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Kracklite,

    But without mythology though?

    mythology can be personal or familial or tribal - it is storytelling, which, I rather think, is innate to our species...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kracklite,

    It is not my intention to offend or score points, so why do you want to take offence?

    I don't want to take offence. You're belittling and mocking me and accusing me of bad faith and oversensitivity.

    If you can't see how your words are offensive, we've nothing more to discuss.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Ah, but without which gods?

    ALL deities.
    Atheists dont believe in/have/worship any deities -except our smug wee selves of course-snark! Snork! Hinghing!

    Ah goodness – I really didnt expect to have this exchange within this very literate & well-educated community-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Islander,

    mythology can be personal or familial or tribal - it is storytelling, which, I rather think, is innate to our species...

    That's what I find fascinating!

    Lilith,

    I repeat, honestly, it is NOT my intention to belittle you. I have Asperger's and emotional nuances, especially in a medium such as this are completely obscure to me. What you say is is simply bewildering to me. Can we discuss this under the assumption that no-one wishes to cause offence? I do NOT think that you are ridiculous.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Islander,

    Ah goodness – I really didnt expect to have this exchange within this very literate & well-educated community-

    Hah! None taken.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Islander,

    mythology can be personal or familial or tribal – it is storytelling, which, I rather think, is innate to our species…

    To elaborate, Terry Pratchett said that we should be called Pan narans - "the ape that tells stories" instead of Homo sapiens . Narrative is to me what it is that makes us what we are, and narrative is how I characterise religion.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kracklite,

    OK, I think this is a misunderstanding. What you write about atheisim reads to me as if you think it's illogical and not worthy of serious consideration. That's what bugs me. My atheism is an important part of who I am, and something I've thought and reflected about.

    From what you say, you didn't mean it that way. It's much harder to interpret tone in a written forum, for all of us.

    I'm happy for people to disagree with me as long as I think there is mutual respect and an attempt at mutual understanding. So, peace. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Hi Lilith, thank you very much for that!

    Yes, At the nitty-gritty level I think that atheism is "illogical" or rather that its logic breaks down at a certain event horizon, but I do think that it is is pragmatic and that it's the best working solution.

    You're an atheist, I'm agnostic. I didn't think that it would be such a matter of contention, but there we are - and we CAN talk about it.

    All the best, and I'm glad that this has been cleared up. I'd love to discuss this face-to-face. Peace :-)

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Lilith __,

    something I’ve thought and reflected about.

    Likewise. Currently I’m struggling to empathise with someone whom I care about very much who is definitively not an atheist and professionally I’m having to deal with some very devout Muslims in a respectful and practical manner. I’m not ready to convert to anything, but I do need to understand all perspectives in order to work with them.

    Anyway, all the best.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Lilith __,

    Most of us have put a lot of thought into what we believe and what we don’t.

    Therein, I think, lies the source of the accusation that atheism is a kind of faith. Atheism, if I may offer my own definition, is the belief that there is no God/god/gods. My impression is that Western* atheists tend to have examined the evidence available, analysed it rationally (or as rationally as mere humans are capable of - we really are a strange species) and concluded that there is no evidence for the existence of God and therefore no such thing exists. Which is fine, because evidence for the existence of divinities is so circumstantial it wouldn't last 15 seconds in court, consisting, as it does, of highly personal anecdotes of a highly irrational, emotional nature.

    I guess the problem I have with atheism is in a certain, developing trend to talk with absolute certainty that there is no god out there as if science has proved it. I think half the beauty of science lies in the lack of certainty. We're constantly updating, even sometimes completely discarding then replacing our theories as we discover more evidence. So much of what was once considered scientifically proven truth we now know to be bollocks, and I think the only safe assumption is that 100 years hence our descendants (assuming we haven't totally buggered up the earth and killed off our own species) will look back and laugh at the absurdities we believed. This is beauty for two reasons - first, the endless possibilities opened up, second the constant humbling reminders of just how little we know and how much we have to learn.

    So where is the diffference between belief and faith? Atheism is a belief, but it is a rational, evidence-based belief. Faith seems to root itself in a darper, darker, irrational, emotional part of the psyche, some part of us that is not fully conscious. Faith would also seem to require ritual and gatherings of the faithful to maintain itself, and much of that ritual seems to be aesthetic - as Kracklite mused about "spirituality" - and highly emotional - walk into any evangelical or fundamentalist church service if you want to know just how emotional it can get. Atheism seems to require nothing more than the cold, hard facts of life as it is lived interpreted rationally.

    So I wonder: Do religious believers accuse atheism of being a faith because their own beliefs come from such a completely different source within the psyche? Do they simply not understand, or not want to understand, the different approach atheists have chosen to take? I don't know. I do know that I find religious believers rejection reason and science when it gets inconvenient really quite frustrating - and completely unnecessary as I don't see why there needs to be a contradiction or some kind of zero-sum game between faith and reason and science.

    *My impression of Chinese atheists is that they are raised atheist in pretty much the way others are raised Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim - it just is what people believe, and so that's what they identify as. And they're just as bad at atheism as your average Westerner raised Christian is at Christianity.

    Apologies for any incoherencies and especially any offense caused if I've either misinterpreted or poorly phrased anything. I've spent three extremely hot, humid, windless days stuck in an office with no functioning aircon marking exams that I would really like to rant about, but professional etiquette dictates I keep that ranting among colleagues.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Kracklite,

    Terry Pratchett said that we should be called Pan narans

    Good idea. It certainly fits better than anything including sapiens, considering how intent we are on destruction.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Faith seems to root itself in a darper, darker, irrational, emotional part of the psyche

    I did call myself a pedant, so it's not obviously unnecessary nit-picking to ask whether by "darker" you mean "obscure"?

    Apologies for ...

    I think that we've established good and sincere intentions as a tacit rule? :)

    I’ve spent three extremely hot, humid, windless days stuck in an office with no functioning aircon marking exams

    You poor bastard. I know exactly how you feel. In my case it's underlit, cold and yet strangely humid.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 969 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Kracklite,

    I did call myself a pedant, so it’s not obviously unnecessary nit-picking to ask whether by “darker” you mean “obscure”?

    No, at least, not entirely. Obscurity is part of it, but lacking light is, too.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Kracklite,

    Yes, At the nitty-gritty level I think that atheism is “illogical” or rather that its logic breaks down at a certain event horizon.

    Why so?

    To hold an atheist view does not require faith in the same sense that believing in a deity does. I think you're confusing atheists in general with particular atheists who consider that God has been proven to not exist. At an educated guess, I'd say this is a small subset of atheists. (And even there, I'm not sure that their position is 'illogical', just wrong.)

    I, like most people these days, don't believe in the Norse gods. As a non-believer in these deities, I hold an atheist position on their existence. Why would it be different for the Judeo-Christian God? To equate that to having faith that they don't exist is as nonsensical as saying I have faith that the tooth fairy doesn't exist.

    I can't recall where I read/heard this, but it's been put this way: saying atheism is a faith is like saying abstinence is a sexual position.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1131 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Good idea. It certainly fits better than anything including sapiens, considering how intent we are on destruction.

    I especially like PTerry’s assignment of us back into Pan-dom!
    Seriously, for a half-baked being to call itself “wise wise human” ….!
    And therebye trying to separate itself – put itself on a superior shelf waaay above our rellies- well, the word hubris springs to mind (squishing down its godly element.)

    I think there is some good evidence that we are an interim & slightly insane species and I dearly wish I could stick around for another 50,000 years to see where we head to, evolutionarily speaking*-

    50,000 years BCE we were just starting to spread, as AMHs. Neanderthals were
    still prevalent, as it seems were also the Demnisovians (that's probably a mispelling) in a very different area. And we know the being we call H.floresensis
    was also definitely around...all of those human beings are dead just now. Except for us.

    Another 50,000 years! Waua!

    Assuming we dont kill our great round mother......

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    When I look around at what we, as a species, get up to, the word hubris springs to mind with such alarming regularity it's in danger of doing real, physical damage.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    When I look around at what we, as a species, get up to, the word hubris springs to mind with such alarming regularity it’s in danger of doing real, physical damage.

    Heh!
    And, ae/yeah-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Islander,

    Denisovans (not yet fully accepted as a separate spp.)
    On the other hand, there is forthcoming *genetic* evidence for another as-yet-unfound- ancestor who was none of the foregoing-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Mine’s “pedant.”

    I got that haha

    ask whether by “darker” you mean “obscure”?

    Well obscure in the sense that most people dont bother to investigate, and in the case of some religious organisations(and it is mainly religious organisations) actively discouraged from finding out what it means to be born as we are, ignorant.
    Each generation has to relearn or accept what was handed down as having some validity. It worked for a long time and still does knowledge about our immediate environment was and still is important to our survival. Then it just got so we could push it away a bit and into its place seems to have crept a lot of “hubris” ok
    bullshit, which has acquired the respectability of having organisations that peddle this nonsense and distort it to include lies. Yes lies that say ‘oh our grouping has this special relationship with “youknowwho” you could join and become one of us if you DONT well could get nasty after you die’ Its blackmail of the nastiest kind. And unfortunately because, us being social animals, some find the company just dandy the lies gain some validity in their minds and so it goes for another few hundred years.
    And to not upset these carefully arranged psyches, which can get messy. Now others find themselves tippytoeing around subjects that need a good looking into.
    The human mind is not such a dark and mysterious place once you get to know it. But we are, as Islander said, maybe a slightly insane species clinging sometimes rather desperately to what we know, what we were told, what makes us feel part of a group. Imagine that on the scale of 7 billion and you start to get a glimpse of the problem, and it is a problem, we as a species face.

    Oh shit does anyone need a translator?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1171 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 13 14 15 16 17 20 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.