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Verlager
2006-04-21, 13:05
I have a friend, Flo, with whom I go out with occasionally. We swim in Canandaigua Lake, eat at restaurants, do a lot of stuff together. But she's a real born again Christian, and I'm not. She's also part Southern, which is why I offered to attend church with her every Sunday for one full year, if she could explain a particular comic strip (http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=20566). Tell what it means, what it illustrates, etc. I knew it was a safe bet, because 95% of the people up here believe and act just like the folks in the comic strip. Polite, tolerant folks. Unfortunately, incapable of independent thinking and lacking in critical thinking skills.

Anyway, she snatched the newspaper from my hands, read the cartoon for two minutes, and confidently announced, "It means everybody has their own opinion!" Relieved, I explained that one month ago, I had been in a Chinese take-out restaurant discussing politics with a 45 year old woman. She, too, believed that everyone has a right to their own opinion.

I explained why they don't. If you say 2+4=4 and I say 2+2=77, many Americans will say, "Well, you have a right to your own opinion!" But such is not the case. 2+2 is not 77. As a responsible adult, I have to endorse facts over lunatic opinions. We've gotten into some bad habits and sloppy thinking in this country.

Take-a-knee
2006-04-21, 13:54
Verlager's Wager? I think Pascal's Wager offers more insight into reality.

Just Jeff
2006-04-21, 14:51
Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But those opinions have absolutely no impact on facts. If someone chooses to hold an opinion contrary to fact, so be it. But the fact remains that their opinion is wrong.

But then, there's a whole field of philosophy that deals with how a person can actually "know" anything, since everything we know is based on our perception. Of course, that field has abolutely no practical use other than getting published and picking up new age chicks.

blackdog
2006-04-21, 14:55
We've gotten into some bad habits and sloppy thinking in this country.
I'm biting my tongue. ...hard.

Davidj
2006-04-21, 20:17
Interesting discussion in an age of relevantism. I was told by a number of professors during my formative years that there were clearly no absolutes. I understand that they were simply regurgitating the dribble that was spewn at them during their period of indoctrination. However I countered nonetheless, "are you absolutely sure there are no absolutes?" if so havent we already established a precident? and if not how can I take anything you tell me with any kind of certainty towards its veracity?

Verlager
2006-04-21, 20:39
Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But those opinions have absolutely no impact on facts. If someone chooses to hold an opinion contrary to fact, so be it. But the fact remains that their opinion is wrong.
Kings and lunatics are entitled to their own opinion about whether 2+4=4. The rest of us are not. As adults, we owe it to society to put our best foot forward and address the world in the clearest light possible.

If geological evidence and carbon dating say that the Earth is 4 billion years old, and a significant number of people hold that the Earth is 5000 years old, it is not a difference of opinion, is it? People are entitled to any flavor ice cream they like. But responsible, rational, and scientific adults are not entitled to any belief that differs from demonstrably true events or facts. People who think otherwise have diseased minds, and are probably incurable.

Here is an illustration of what is wrong with allowing diverse, yet rediculous, opinions. About 10 years ago, a HS geography or history class in Rochester NY decided to vote on the correct answers. Yes, they overwrote the teacher's answers and simply voted on what they thought the best answer was. Most of them, we can imagine, passed the tests graded with such a "common knowledge" method. One wonders if the teacher ever regained control of her class.

But then, sharing opinions is not the primary reason that we have schools.

Just Jeff
2006-04-21, 20:50
Then that teacher has problems. Everyone is entitled to be stupid if they choose. At that point, natural selection takes over.

The only thing I owe to society is to produce exactly as much as I consume. Anything else is gravy.

The alternative to freedom of thought, no matter how right or wrong, is to have the government legislate the right answers. I, for one, am glad we don't do that (at least not legally).

Verlager
2006-04-21, 21:23
The alternative to freedom of thought, no matter how right or wrong, is to have the government legislate the right answers. I, for one, am glad we don't do that (at least not legally). Societal solutions (or partial ones) are, indeed, legislated. But the correct answers must be the accepted ones offered by the scientific community at large.

Referring back to the cartoon in the first post, it seems that many people have lost the ability to think critically. Many of these voters will vote republican in 2008 and elect another war-mongering president. Well, so what?

Our national debt, already $10 trillion, will increase. Nothing positive will happen in Iraq or Iran or Syria, or any of the other countries in the Bush line-up. Just more suicide bombers for next 20 years, until we state-raise the next generation of Iraqi children and inculcate our materialistic values into their little heads.

I am withholding my vote in all US elections until I understand completely what is happening in the Middle East as well as our reason for being there.

Verlager
2006-04-21, 22:38
Verlager's Wager? I think Pascal's Wager offers more insight into reality.No, it offers more insight into the weakness of man. But then, I'm not much of a bettin' man. I bet on things like, "What day of the week do you bet this is?", or "Does that woman weight >150 lbs?" Sure things, where I'm not likely to lose.

I would believe in God, as per Pascal's Wager, as it's the best way to proceed. I'm not a True Believer in the Bible. I don't believe in the Great Pumpkin. I don't believe that I am destined to spend eternity in a Lake 'o Fire, just because some fearful, primitive people 2000 years ago looked into a volcano, and thought God must have made it.

I must confess that earlier I tried to explain to Flo, the woman with whom I made the bet, that the Bible was full of wonderful cautionary tales, just like Aesop's Fables. She simply turns up the radio full blast and has the ability to block out anything that affects her belief in the Bible. As you can imagine, there are no books in Flo's house, except the Bible, which she also has on cassette tape.

So my bet was an attempt to show Flo the disadvantages of being close-minded: 1. Everyone makes fun of you for being stupid. 2. No one will go to church with you. 3. ...

Just Jeff
2006-04-21, 23:45
...until I understand completely what is happening in the Middle East...

I see. Well, good luck with that. :rolleyes:

Mutinousdoug
2006-04-22, 00:11
So my bet was an attempt to show Flo the disadvantages of being close-minded: 1. Everyone makes fun of you for being stupid. 2. No one will go to church with you. 3. ...

This poor woman must be VERY desperate to have to someone to go out with. And come to think of it, you too. You deserve each other.

Verlager
2006-04-22, 01:22
This poor woman must be VERY desperate to have to someone to go out with. And come to think of it, you too. You deserve each other. It's easier to go to a restaurant with someone than alone. I do a few repairs for her, she lets me swim at a private Beach in Canandaigua Lake. I find it's very easy to deal with people who are at odds with me politically.

She thinks that the Biblical quote about "I will bless those that bless Israel, etc.." means that Christians should worship her. Her father is jewish (served in the 82nd Airborne) which, she claims, also makes her 50% jewish. And so, she divides her waking hours from working, proselytizing, and claiming that kissing her backside is scriptural, and accusing dissenters of anti-semetism. Of course, her actions have nothing to do with what real Jews do. She's a little too linear and one-dimensional to qualify.

I take as much crap as I can, because I love snorkeling, I have a wrist compass, mask, snorkel and fins. The modern snorkels are wonderful. I would like to get certified for SCUBA some day when I have an extra $500 to blow on lessons, plus another $2 grand to spend on regulators and tanks, etc.

Verlager
2006-04-22, 05:17
I see. Well, good luck with that. :rolleyes:
Yeah, well, Flo says it's all been prophecized in the Bible, and that the rapture is coming soon, etc. But the more I think about the US involvement in the Middle East, the more I think about the disadvantages associated with empire building.

But I'm sure a few people here understand the crux of the hinge points around which the solutions to the Middle East problems revolve. I'm not one of those people, however.