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How to get along with people who have different Metaphysical viewpoints

by Galteeth
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Ivan Seeking
#19
Feb20-12, 10:17 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Ivan started a thread based on the essay in S&D, there was a quote from it and a link to it. I don't recall the woman's name or the thread title. Ivan is the best bet for that.
Funny that you would remember that. It was almost 8 years ago!
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=31585

New link
http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridgi...n_two_cultures

I only needed to search what you provided. I didn't remember a thing about it.
netgypsy
#20
Feb20-12, 11:11 PM
P: 239
There are two kinds of people in the world - a.) those who study the facts and form their beliefs from those facts and b.) those who select the beliefs they wish to be true and seek out only those facts that agree with these beliefs.

Some of my family came to the US from northern Ireland. We had very simple rules for adult conversation. One avoided three topics - religion, politics and sex.

Discussing either of the first two would get you killed very quickly.
Discussing the third - if you had to talk about it you were obviously not participating.

Even though we're now several generations away from that war torn time where bombs were placed in baby carriages these three rules seem very sensible.

If you are an a.) and have to work with a b.),they are particularly applicable.
zoobyshoe
#21
Feb20-12, 11:26 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
Funny that you would remember that. It was almost 8 years ago!
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=31585
It stuck deeply in my mind: first time I'd ever heard an articulate statement of what it was like to be on the other side of the fence.

New link
http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridgi...n_two_cultures

I only needed to search what you provided. I didn't remember a thing about it.
I'm glad you found it and the new link. I couldn't think what terms to search.
MarcoD
#22
Feb20-12, 11:27 PM
P: 98
Quote Quote by netgypsy View Post
Some of my family came to the US from northern Ireland. We had very simple rules for adult conversation. One avoided three topics - religion, politics and sex.
You took away all favorite topics of people in the Netherlands!

(Well, except for the weather of course. Which is always a variant on: It's twelve degrees Celsius and raining.)
Pythagorean
#23
Feb20-12, 11:27 PM
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I just can't keep uber-religious company and I often tell my mother she's wrong. I have two friends that used to be evolution denialists and I very respectfully told them they were wrong and they both are a lot more considerate of it now. One, whom I expected to research the topic on his own before arguing with me again, has since become an atheist (he changed his world view: accommodation).

The other seems to have incorporated evolution into his world view, crediting it as one of God's miracles (assimilation); he believes that there is no instantaneous divine intervention, but that God set the initial conditions of a deterministic system.

Anybody that aggressively and blatantly denies evolution has not adapted a rational view of the universe or they would have been convinced by the evidence if they actually took the time to digest it; But most importantly, it's the difference between people who think actions in the universe requires some causal explanation, and those that think a lack-of-explanation (i.e. magic) suffices.
Antiphon
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Feb20-12, 11:47 PM
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Post withdrawn.
jim hardy
#25
Feb21-12, 12:05 AM
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I usually say to them something along the lines of
"Science is trying to figure out how God set up Mother Nature to work. After all, if you were building a universe wouldn't you make it run pretty much automatic , with some rules of how things are gonna behave, so you dont have to micromanage every single atom? Math must be one of His languages. It's just that the guys who transcribed the original Bible weren't fluent in it. And consider who was their audience -- nobody spoke advanced mathematics back then. They'd only recently figured out Pi, for Pete's sake."

You might enjoy reading Robert Jastrow's "God and the Astronomers", , i think it'll help you with this social conundrum.


Good Luck !

old jim
Adyssa
#26
Feb21-12, 12:38 AM
P: 188
I have the perspective that none of us have a 100% complete idea of where we come from, why we are here, or what happens after we die.

With that in mind, I can talk to anyone about anything. My view is not 100% correct, their view is not 100% correct. I might mention that I was raised Christian (protestant, baptist if you want to get specific) and have since adopted a more or less agnostic view. I'm comfortable talking to people of any faith and I have a genuine interest in their views. It's not my place to say they are wrong. I can't prove anything. I might let them know that I don't immediately take what they say as fact, but with some tact, that is a sentence I can make inoffensive.

I don't know why many atheists feel that they must belittle religious believers. I guess there is an evangelical aspect to many religions whereby believers do attempt to convert non-believers, but it is my experience that this is usually done in a way that is not quite as forcible as the convertee likes to tell everyone it was. The violent fundamentalist types are few and far between. I don't usually enjoy being evangelised to, but by the same token, I don't throw science books at people and demand that they accept THE FACTS either.

A little live and let live, by definition, never hurt anyone. :)
Ryan_m_b
#27
Feb21-12, 01:45 AM
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Quote Quote by Adyssa View Post
where we come from, why we are here, or what happens after we die.
1) You'll need to provide some context of what you are talking about but mostly that is simple to answer; I came from a certain town, I came from my parents, I came from a species whose evolution is...
2) Begging the question by assuming a "why"
3) We have a very good idea of what happens when you die. Your bodily functions cease and you decay. There has never been any indication of anything else, it's like asking what happens to a candle when you blow it out.
Quote Quote by Adyssa View Post
With that in mind, I can talk to anyone about anything.
I can talk to anyone about anything but I often disagree with them and I will vehemently argue the point if I think that their belief is detrimental to me, others and society at large (I'm not so concerned if it is detrimental to them).
Quote Quote by Adyssa View Post
My view is not 100% correct, their view is not 100% correct.
Yes but views can be tested to see who has evidence to support them. If they cannot be tested and there is no evidence then the correct answer is "I don't know". Also regarding "100%" correct I would implore you to google my signature and read the essay by Asimov.
Quote Quote by Adyssa View Post
It's not my place to say they are wrong. I can't prove anything.
Why does "proof" matter? All that matters is evidence, you don't have to 100% absolutely know something to know that it is. Regarding whether not it is your place it depends on the setting obviously. Workplace behaviour and pub behaviour is very different. Finally let's say that Alice does not know why Y causes X and Bob claims he does. Alice can look at Bob's claim and point out all the flaws in his reasoning and research thus showing that this claim is wrong without actually having a claim of her own.
Quote Quote by Adyssa View Post
I don't know why many atheists feel that they must belittle religious believers. I guess there is an evangelical aspect to many religions whereby believers do attempt to convert non-believers, but it is my experience that this is usually done in a way that is not quite as forcible as the convertee likes to tell everyone it was. The violent fundamentalist types are few and far between. I don't usually enjoy being evangelised to, but by the same token, I don't throw science books at people and demand that they accept THE FACTS either.
I think many people feel it worth fighting depending on the situation. I don't care if someone privately wants to believe whatever they want but beliefs and the mechanisms you use to determine beliefs determine your actions which influence others. I think it was PZ Myers who said (something like) "some people ask me why I bother to call myself atheist. Well if there was a large group of people in this country that wanted to control the behaviour of everyone else on the basis of their belief in Big Foot you'd better believe I'd be calling myself abigfootist".

Also it isn't just religion we are talking about here. So called "alternative medicines" drain millions of pounds out of systems like the NHS and soak up billions of dollars world wide. There are huge industries dedicated to scamming and taking advantage of vulnerable (and often sick people) on the basis of pseudoscience and irrational belief. The world doesn't care what you believe, it will kill you anyway if it can. Anything set of beliefs (and therefore actions) that aren't formed from an evidence based system just aren't going to be as well equipped to deal with a variety of situations.
Quote Quote by Adyssa View Post
A little live and let live, by definition, never hurt anyone. :)
That would be fine if the irrational beliefs of others weren't harming and killing millions world wide (no condoms in a HIV epidemic anyone?)
Galteeth
#28
Feb21-12, 02:17 AM
P: 320
So I had a discussion with the person in question and it went very well. Basically, I just explained that I have a different perspective then him, and he was fine with that.

As far as discussing this with friends, I actually have convinced two of my friends that evolution was real (well one of them I had to give her a book to read that convinced her.) one interesting thing, the other friend was initially offended by my views, feeling they were closed minded, but after a two hour long conversation, was convinced. However, i got the sense that she was somewhat unhappy coming to this conclusion; she preferred her previous belief system. As for what is the point of discussing such things, well, with close friends, I like to talk about meaningful things sometimes.
With the latter girl, in response to her saying everything is energy, i started off with, ok, define energy. That quickly got to the heart of the matter, the question whether there could be something exerting influence that was on-physical, and if so, was it subject to consistent rules. After admitting that it in order for something to exert influence on the physical world, there had to be a mechanism by which it was doing so, and consistent rules that governed its interactions, she saw that such a thing had to be inherently physical.
Galteeth
#29
Feb21-12, 02:22 AM
P: 320
Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
Funny that you would remember that. It was almost 8 years ago!
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=31585

New link
http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridgi...n_two_cultures

I only needed to search what you provided. I didn't remember a thing about it.
On the subject of self-proclaimed skeptics, i will say, i think there are some skeptics that are a bit "blinded by science" so to speak. I have seen those that can't separate their own opinions from their science-based viewpoints, or who feel that any opinion that can't be quantified is inherently invalid, not making a distinction between the objective and the subjective. Perhaps it is individuals like this who are partially responsible for "non-skeptics" being so defensive.
chiro
#30
Feb21-12, 02:27 AM
P: 4,572
Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
1) You'll need to provide some context of what you are talking about but mostly that is simple to answer; I came from a certain town, I came from my parents, I came from a species whose evolution is...
2) Begging the question by assuming a "why"
3) We have a very good idea of what happens when you die. Your bodily functions cease and you decay. There has never been any indication of anything else, it's like asking what happens to a candle when you blow it out.
Look, I like science as much as a lot of people both laymen and scientific professionals themselves but I had to something about this:

Firstly science is caught up in a bit of a twist: it is very narrow yet it makes highly inductive statements. There has been some great success of doing this kind of thing like for example Newtons investigations into gravity, but again given what is done it is a very dangerous thing if this nature is not fully acknowledged.

Trying to extrapolate highly inductive statements out of a very narrow set of experiments both controlled or uncontrolled is not wise if there is no caution exerted on both the experimenter and by anyone analyzing it.

The other thing is that the kind of segregation, hyperspecialization and isolation amongst different fields doesn't help the cause but makes it worse.

Yes we are starting to see a lot of interdiscplinary investigation, experimentation and so on between the fields that were previously isolated but again I have to stress it's very early in the game (of science) and the simple fact is that our techniques and knowledge are very very primitive.

People might say that mathematics is complex and that mathematicians are geniuses but Von Neumann was right in saying that essentially mathematics is simple when you consider how complex life is and I agree in some respects after studying mathematics myself.

So even if you don't want to consider things like the near death studies or things like that, at least acknowledge that we are at a primitive age in our understanding, and also that with our technique of taking very narrow data of any kind (controlled, uncontrolled, whatever) and trying to develop highly inductive statements, you are bound to end up having many disasters versus the many successes.

Yes but views can be tested to see who has evidence to support them. If they cannot be tested and there is no evidence then the correct answer is "I don't know". Also regarding "100%" correct I would implore you to google my signature and read the essay by Asimov.
This is definitely something everyone should at the very least consider: the fact that there is only relativity between things and not blatant 'true' or 'false'.

Why does "proof" matter? All that matters is evidence, you don't have to 100% absolutely know something to know that it is. Regarding whether not it is your place it depends on the setting obviously. Workplace behaviour and pub behaviour is very different. Finally let's say that Alice does not know why Y causes X and Bob claims he does. Alice can look at Bob's claim and point out all the flaws in his reasoning and research thus showing that this claim is wrong without actually having a claim of her own.
While the premise is good, again we are way to narrow minded to take in a lot of the detail as human beings.

Again it boils down to taking a very specific stance and considering a very limited context. This is not a shot at you or any other scientist it is just our current limitation as human beings.

We can't take in everything at once so we have to filter things in our mind, make assumptions and simplify things as much as possible.

So what ends up happening is that a lot of information that is deemed 'useless' or 'not significant' ends up getting filtered and even if someone has a good logical heuristic for their argument, the data that the argument is based on might not be a good thing: garbage in garbage out.


I think many people feel it worth fighting depending on the situation. I don't care if someone privately wants to believe whatever they want but beliefs and the mechanisms you use to determine beliefs determine your actions which influence others. I think it was PZ Myers who said (something like) "some people ask me why I bother to call myself atheist. Well if there was a large group of people in this country that wanted to control the behaviour of everyone else on the basis of their belief in Big Foot you'd better believe I'd be calling myself abigfootist".
I hope for the sake of humanity that scientists make all efforts to rid the field, its politics and anything related from these attributes, but I'm afraid as human beings I don't have much faith.

Also it isn't just religion we are talking about here. So called "alternative medicines" drain millions of pounds out of systems like the NHS and soak up billions of dollars world wide. There are huge industries dedicated to scamming and taking advantage of vulnerable (and often sick people) on the basis of pseudoscience and irrational belief. The world doesn't care what you believe, it will kill you anyway if it can. Anything set of beliefs (and therefore actions) that aren't formed from an evidence based system just aren't going to be as well equipped to deal with a variety of situations.

That would be fine if the irrational beliefs of others weren't harming and killing millions world wide (no condoms in a HIV epidemic anyone?)
Scammers will always find ways by taking advantage of well established and legitimate areas as well as non-established areas to do their work. One audience may have attributes that are suited to the scammer, but again scammers will always find a way regardless.

Also to finish, I wanted to add that we live in a world of great deception.

It's everywhere in the smallest ways and you would be a fool to think that you don't live in a world that is flooded in it.

Part of our job as human beings is to try and discern what is deception and what isn't and it is not an easy job for any human being to do.

We all have our experiences, our preconceived thoughts and notions and everything else that contributes on how we see the world and even with this we still have a great challenge in trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Pythagorean
#31
Feb21-12, 02:40 AM
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Quote Quote by chiro View Post
Again it boils down to taking a very specific stance and considering a very limited context. This is not a shot at you or any other scientist it is just our current limitation as human beings.
But it is kind of a shot to assume that most of what you've said in your whole post isn't already considered by scientists. It's kind of our starting point... kind of the very idea that ignited the age of reason. Kind of why we require evidence to make claims...
chiro
#32
Feb21-12, 02:45 AM
P: 4,572
Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
But it is kind of a shot to assume that most of what you've said in your whole post isn't already considered by scientists. It's kind of our starting point... kind of the very idea that ignited the age of reason.
Well when you see some scientists being arrogant in their viewpoint, then yes it becomes a valid thing to say.

Arrogance isn't just limited to scientists but to all human beings and I did not categorize all scientists with this attribute whatsoever.

So yes it wasn't a cheap shot at 'scientists' as a group and when you get a scientist that has a bit of arrogance then yes it needs to be made clear to them.

In fact you should make it clear to anyone regardless of if they are scientists or not.

Also I never said that science is a bad thing: I'm a member at PF for christs sake!
Galteeth
#33
Feb21-12, 02:51 AM
P: 320
Quote Quote by chiro View Post
Well when you see some scientists being arrogant in their viewpoint, then yes it becomes a valid thing to say.

Arrogance isn't just limited to scientists but to all human beings and I did not categorize all scientists with this attribute whatsoever.

So yes it wasn't a cheap shot at 'scientists' as a group and when you get a scientist that has a bit of arrogance then yes it needs to be made clear to them.

In fact you should make it clear to anyone regardless of if they are scientists or not.

Also I never said that science is a bad thing: I'm a member at PF for christs sake!
This reminds me of some old Dilbert strips, featuring "Dan, the illogical scientist"

http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Illogical%20Scientist
chiro
#34
Feb21-12, 03:01 AM
P: 4,572
Quote Quote by Galteeth View Post
This reminds me of some old Dilbert strips, featuring "Dan, the illogical scientist"

http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Illogical%20Scientist
I'm surprised he doesn't have two black eyes let alone one.....
Adyssa
#35
Feb21-12, 03:15 AM
P: 188
Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
1) You'll need to provide some context of what you are talking about but mostly that is simple to answer; I came from a certain town, I came from my parents, I came from a species whose evolution is...
2) Begging the question by assuming a "why"
3) We have a very good idea of what happens when you die. Your bodily functions cease and you decay. There has never been any indication of anything else, it's like asking what happens to a candle when you blow it out.
Well and good, but there are some hard things to explain, like consciousness. I don't have airy-fairy beliefs as to the nature of consciousness, but it's a curious thing. Not knowing much (anything) about it, leaves me in a spot where I am cautious about stating it's properties with certainty.

I agree with what you wrote. My comment about not throwing science at people, and being civil in general, was more about not being an a##hole. You have to talk to people every day, especially at work, and there are a lot of things about people's beliefs in religion that are inconsequential to the daily running of things. It's not my place to try and shatter their universe. I have better things to care about, like having a good day!

When they want to implement fundamentalist laws, and interfere with the response to AIDS epidemics, and plenty of them do, I have a problem with that, but I don't argue the point with Person X and infuriate him and refuse to work with him based on that fact. There are proper forums for that discussion. I'm reminded of this sign, regardless of the context, the message is clear. :)

Hobin
#36
Feb21-12, 08:25 AM
P: 194
Anybody that aggressively and blatantly denies evolution has not adapted a rational view of the universe or they would have been convinced by the evidence if they actually took the time to digest it; But most importantly, it's the difference between people who think actions in the universe requires some causal explanation, and those that think a lack-of-explanation (i.e. magic) suffices.
While I agree with you, I don't think things are as clear-cut as that (and I think the 'actually took the time to digest it' is significant). I come from an extremely religious family (myself, I'm agnostic), and I know that perhaps ninety percent of the people in my church simply don't believe in evolution, the big bang et al. because they're uninformed. More importantly, because they've been informed by pastors about 'what scientists think'. These people are not necessarily irrational, they are just basing their views on what they *think* evolution and the big bang theory are. Of course, in many cases, it is 'already too late' to tell them what it's really about, because many - probably most - of them *are* dogmatized irrationalists.

But I think it's still an important point, because it also goes the other way 'round: people who believe in evolution, the big bang, etc. etc. *are not necessary rational*. I know some of such people who have simply been taught that the beforementioned are true, have simply been taught that everyone who doesn't believe them is irrational, and now think themselves masters of rationality! That, I think, is just as stupid. (And possible more dangerous, because others believe them rational. Oh, by the way, Pythagorean, I'm not saying you think everyone who believes the above is rational. I know that would be a logical fallacy and a strawman in one.)

I would of course still prefer people to believe in evolution, but I woud *also* like people to stop thinking that because someone has been trained to believe science is telling the truth, those people are being rational. I think science is a rational process myself, and I also think it's the most (if not the only) reliable way of telling what's true (well, except for math). However, because I'm from a religious family and actually had to rationally convince myself of this, it disturbs me how many people there are who simply believe science because they were conditioned to do so. (Granted, one could argue that I believe in science out of rebellionistic (is that a word?) tendencies towards my family and my 'culture'. I think I'm being rational, of course, but who knows? Everyone else thinks that, too. *wink* The jury's still out on that one.)

I also think that the people who were simply conditioned to believe science are more likely to have such philosophical viewpoints as 'everything is matter', and 'materialism has scientifically been proven to be correct'. (I don't know this for certain, of course, and it would be quite hard to ask people this: "Hey, have you been conditioned to believe in science or was this actually a rational decision? Oh, and do you think materialism has been scientifically proven?")

So now for my 'personal opinion': Science is the most reliable way of determining truth; I don't know whether materialism is 'true', but I do know that it's a philosophical preference (that allowed us to learn a lot of new things during the Enlightenment, that much is true!) that has no scientific basis, per se; I also know that there are quite a lot of interesting experiments and debate concerning parapsychology, and that the idea of parapsychology as a pseudoscience is ungrounded (I suspect this might be an unpopular view; should you feel a need to comment on it, I suggest giving the above a read *first*); I do not know whether such a thing as 'psi' exists, and I'll leave that to the people scientifically studying it to determine, but I'm open to the possibility, and think there's quite a bit of interesting evidence.

...And while I hope the above sounds very tolerant, I must admit to being very bad at being in the company of people who believe stupid things (no matter the reason). Shutting my mouth when appropriate is something my parents have always wanted to teach me, but, alas, they have not succeeded (except when I have food in my mouth; then, I succeed. Hurrah).


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