How do you think?

I’m thinking more and more about how people arrive at their conclusions and how in debates people are often not honest about their reasons for believing something.  I am fed up with people who will come out of a conversation with exactly the same attitudes they came into it with absolutely regardless of the content of the discussion.  I suspect that people who do this don’t base their opinions on logic and evidence and usually don’t even really hear what you have to say, they’re too busy asking themselves whether you’re the sort of person they’re “supposed to” agree with.  Are you liberal?  Maybe you’re not even a christian!  Can’t be caught agreeing with someone who’s not a christian, that would somehow make me less of a christian.

That sort of crap.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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48 Responses to How do you think?

  1. randaness says:

    I use my brain(s).

  2. mama_jess says:

    Ah, but do you find yourself guilty of what you are condemning here? It’s easy to say, “They didn’t change their views to fit mine, those jerks,” but maybe harder to see the same tendencies in yourself.Though I just finished reading the comments on your last post, and there were certainly some doozys in there. I don’t know even how to have a conversation with people who read what they want to see in everything, and have never come across a logical fallacy they didn’t like. Damn double negatives.I think sometimes you just have to accept that certain people are so dependent on their worldviews that they simply cannot see opposing points of view. It might kill them, or at least destroy their entire perception of the world, to take yours points into real consideration. So they must lay waste to your ideas with whatever flamethrower lies handy, and the propoganda machine has provided them with plenty of ammunition, however inane.I do try to see my own sacred cows when I find myself getting in a froth (especially online, where it is so easy to shout invective and then turn off the monitor). Climate change, for example. I have a sincere belief, that I think is backed-up with pretty good evidence, that human action (and inaction) is causing irreparable damage to the Earth and atmosphere. But there are very smart individuals, who come bearing their own evidence, with some extremely convincing arguments to the contrary. I leave these conversations still convinced I am right, but I do try to look at it from the opposite side. It’s not a particularly comfortable action, and I’m in practice. And my worldview allows for some flexability of possibility, whereas there are those poor souls whose faith in particular beliefs is the only thing holding them up (which is not an attack on faith per se, but only on inflexible faith, which I find incredibly unhealthy).Wow. I often find myself commenting on someone’s blog post, and realize I’ve just been writing a post…this is probably why I never update my blog. I use all my A material commenting on others’ posts…

  3. agnophilo says:

    @mama_jess – Yeah but the thing is almost everything I believe I used to not believe.  Almost every opinion is a changed one from some previous form.I do question my own beliefs as I think others should.  I am an atheist – I used to be catholic, for instance.  What I thought about in my teens did destroy my previous worldview.  And I’m glad it did.So far as using the A material in responses I know what you mean, I’ve made some blog comments I could just copy and paste and it would be a great blog.

  4. Ikwa says:

    i have no trouble disagreeing with anyone.

  5. agnophilo says:

    @Ikwa – Yeah I know.  It’s the agreeing that I’m talking about.

  6. Ikwa says:

    i just agree to disagree with anyone. today i disagreed with my rebublican (not an sp mistake) friend for 3 hours lol 

  7. I think this stems from a basic misunderstanding of personal knowledge. People seem to be under the impression that the things they know and the opinions they hold define them as a person, rather than their actions.As such, they find any evidence or debate contrary to those opinions or beliefs to be a direct personal attack on their character and their way of life. It effectively reduces any opportunity for debate or learning to a hollow opportunity for them to reinforce that fragile sense of self and security. Just a guess though. Could be wrong.

  8. agnophilo says:

    @ElliottStrange – Sounds reasonable.  Thanks, I was hoping people would posit hypotheses and not just hack at my .02.

  9. @agnophilo – Oh, most welcome. I’ve wondered about it often myself and that was the best conclusion I could come to. I’m still trying to perfect the art of turning the other cheek. Sometimes I can be rather rash.

  10. I don’t know if I should agree. šŸ˜‰

  11. ElijahDH says:

    This remark:  “Are you liberal?  Maybe you’re not even a christian!  Can’t be caught agreeing with someone who’s not a christian, that would somehow make me less of a christian”..seems to be a perfect example of the complaint made immediately beforehand:”I suspect that people who do this don’t base their opinions on logic and evidence and usually don’t even really hear what you have to say, they’re too busy asking themselves whether you’re the sort of person they’re “supposed to” agree with.” “Isn’t making a caricature of a Christian exactly the kind of thing you say people are too busy doing when they aren’t listening to each other.  I’m just saying, it seems a little like maybe Christians are the type of people who you don’t really hear Now, I’m just jabbing in fun, but you can see my point right?  I do wholeheartedly agree with you that many of my “fellow Christians” are guilty of exactly what you said; I just hope that if you’re going to make fun of them (as they certainly may deserve) that you could do so without being hypocritical in the process.  It’s the fact that you have a valid point that makes it hypocrisy.

  12. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – I don’t see how anything I said was hypocritical.  I was talking about people who decide whether to agree with you based on superficial labels and social rules rather than the content of what you’re saying, so they never really hear you to agree or disagree with you.  I didn’t stereotype christians, I just gave those as two examples.  People often side automatically with someone because they’re christian or because they’re what they would consider a stereotypical conservative, and automatically reject anything they don’t percieve as fitting into those groups.  Whereas I can’t think of a single atheist who is incapable of taking in what someone says and giving a lucid, genuine response.  That’s generally how they get to be non-theists.

  13. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo – “I can’t think of a single atheist who is incapable of taking in what someone says and giving a lucid, genuine response.”  If so, then you have a very select sampling of athiests with whom you converse.  “People often side automatically with someone because they’re christian or because they’re what they would consider a stereotypical conservative, and automatically reject anything they don’t percieve as fitting into those groups.”  That is hypocritical in that you are assuming all atheists fit into your stereotype of being capable of giving “a lucid, genuine response.”  You’re standing on one side, while stereotyping both sides, and are only claiming the other is guilty of stereotyping.  :-p

  14. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – Nowhere in my blog did I say one word about stereotyping.  I’m talking about people concluding that you’re wrong before you’ve finished your sentence or even opened your mouth, people who are incapable of thinking or being honest with themselves or anyone they consider “the other”.  It’s a sort of mental handicap.  And no I didn’t say that all atheists are exempt from this, just that I can’t think of one who is incapable of taking in what someone says and mounting a coherent response.  Can you?  Just among famous atheists, site an example.

  15. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo - “I’m talking about people concluding that you’re wrong before you’ve finished your sentence or even opened your mouth, people who are incapable of thinking or being honest with themselves or anyone they consider “the other”.”  There’s a name for that.  It’s called…wait for it… “stereotyping.”  You may not have used the word, but it’s what you’re describing; people stereotyping everyone with an opposing view as having nothing worth listening to.  Is there another word you would use to describe this?  Prejudice?  Pigeonholing?  Or is this just a semantic game to prove you weren’t being hypicritical?You do seem to be concentrating on the inner mechanics and/or root of what causes the prejudice/stereotyping/pigeonholing (“…incapable of thinking or being honest with themselves or anyone they consider “the other”.), so perhaps you intended to focus on the root problem of bigotry, but the entire essence of the problem you are bringing up is one of stereotyping (give or take a few measures of colloquial and linguistic variation on the term).  

  16. if something makes sence it does… if it doesn’t then don’t beleive it.  personally i am not a good arguer… debater or whatever.  i can’t hold onto whatever it is i’m suppose to be siding on…  or explaining.  everyone elses opinion always sounds better no matter what it is.  

  17. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – I think you’re just trying to bug me.  What I’m talking about isn’t just stereotyping, it’s a block in peoples’ ability to reason and take in new evidence.  If they do that by stereotyping then fine, but I do not stereotype christians as an excuse to ignore them (nor did I actually stereotype them in this blog) so your accusation of hypocrisy is moot.@NightlyDreams – That’s an interesting response.  I’ve never heard someone say that.  Out of curiosity, how old are you?

  18. @agnophilo – i’m 32.  do you think that makes my opinion valid or invalid lol

  19. agnophilo says:

    @NightlyDreams – No, I was just wondering.

  20. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo - Just here to bug you?  Read my posts again from the beginning.  While I did point out what is clearly hypocrisy (in a friendly and lighthearted way, mind you), I also quite directly agreed with the point you were making.  For someone who advocates open dialogue you sure seem quick to question motives.  And sure, after subsequent explanation I can see your point – that you were, in fact, intending to refer to an inner hinderance of reasoning ability – but can’t you admit that the original post/blog did not make that so precisely clear that hypocrisy isn’t directly implied?

  21. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – Yes I will admit that I did not make perfectly clear that I was not trying to stereotype christians.  I don’t usually say what I’m not trying to say, I usually worry about saying what I am trying to say.By the way I want to make perfectly clear that the above comments were not an attempt to call you a child molester or a flamingo.  Just in case you got that impression.: P

  22. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo - I’ll assume that was humor and not spite.On a related note, if this is exchange is a typical representation of your conduct in normal conversation, I have a pretty solid guess as to why you have trouble getting people of different views to listen to you.  

  23. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – Note the tongue-wag emotocon, it was humor.And no, this is a typical example of how I treat people who bug me repeatedly in a discussion.I clarified my remarks and you kept insisting I meant something I did not mean (or actually say).

  24. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo – I honestly responded to your post; you said I was incorrect; I clarified, maintaining my expressed position; you clarified your own position further, leading to my understanding your intended-if-not-clearly-expressed position.  We both defended our remarks and clarified for the benefit of the other (so far as I can tell).  If I’m bugging you, then you’re bugging me, too.  I thought we were having a conversation, but I get the feeling you only like conversations where people immediately agree with you and don’t challange your opinions…   :-p  You obviously aren’t experienced in composing your thoughts in such a way as to be easily understood by someone who doesn’t already agree with you…or you aren’t actually as inclined toward open discussion as you claim.  When positions of opposition are being discussed, the likelihood of misunderstanding is increased, due to the respectively polar frames of reference involved, which should inspire more thoughtful and deliberately clear arguments, as well as a more generous attitude towards inevitable misunderstandings. 

  25. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – You kept insisting I was a hypocrite long after I made my position clear over and over again.  That bugs me.Everything else strikes me as just intellectual masturbation.

  26. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo - :- /  You’re still not listening/reading – and that is why I maintain that you are a hypocrite.  I stand by my initial response as having been appropriate at the time, given that your intended meaning (although presently understood) was not clear in the original blog.  Here, I already conceded that my intial response was to something which you didn’t intend to convey.  After that, all my remarks have been about your demeanor and attitude towards the entire conversation.  And again, this time in smaller sentences since apparently complex sentence structure is worth making fun of:The blog wasn’t hypocritical after all.Your approach to dialogue, however, is hypcritical.And in closing, here’s an amusing praphrase of what has transpired:agnophilo: “I want open communication, not like Christians.”ElijahDH: “I agree, but that sounds kind of hypocritical.”agnophilo: “I’m not a hypocrite. Also, atheists are smarter.”ElijahDH: “It still sounds hypocritical. That does, too.”agnophilo: “I’m not a hypocrite. I meant something else. Also, I meant only famous atheists are smarter.”ElijahDH: “…That still sounds hypocritical, and here’s why.”agnophilo: “You’re bugging me. I’m not a hypocrite, and here’s why.”ElijahDH: “Bug? Nah, I’m nice. & OK, that makes sense now, but that’s not what the blog said.”agnophilo: *facetious agreement and mocking* “It also didn’t say other things it didn’t say.”ElijahDH: *gives benefit of doubt* “I think I see why communication is a problem.”agnophilo: [inaccurate summary/accusation] ElijahDH: [accurate summary] “Yes, there’s definitely a communication problem here.”agnophilo: *clutches inaccurate summary* [juvenile humor/insult]ElijahDH: :-/ [closing remarks] 

  27. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – Paraphrase means to state the same thing in different terms.The above is a total misrepresentation, and I’m always amazed when people pretend the conversation happened a different way when it’s right there, archived for all to read.Whatever, I’m bored with this.

  28. ElijahDH says:

    Call it what you want, but that’s a faithful post-by-post recap.Even after I conceded to your explanation of the original post, in your following posts here and here you just couldn’t get over it – repeatedly complaining about something that wasn’t even happening anymore:”You kept insisting I was a hypocrite long after I made my position clear over and over again.“That remark is resounding evidence that you either don’t actually care for open conversation, or you are not nearly as able to employ it as you presume.   Here’s the issue:  When communicating to anyone about anything, if they don’t understand you, then that means you haven’t made your point clear enough.  Complaining about or resisting that principle means you just aren’t really interested in real communication.  That is exactly why in this post I said, “When positions of opposition are being discussed, the likelihood of misunderstanding is increased, due to the respectively polar frames of reference involved, which should inspire more thoughtful and deliberately clear arguments, as well as a more generous attitude towards inevitable misunderstandings.“ I’ve consistently made effort to avoid confusion by citing the sources of my points, while you have consistently said as little as possible in order to convince yourself that I’m one of those people you don’t have to listen to, as evident by your condescending remarks and lack of effort towards creating an open dialogue. I just honestly don’t understand how you can look at this “conversation” and think that anyone will read this and think you’re the kind of guy who genuinely wants to have conversation with people who don’t agree with him…unless you only intend to do so in order to insult them.

  29. MonkeeAramda says:

    They do this because it is easy and safe. You choose a team like they taught you with Red Rover, and you stand with your team no matter what. It all goes back to the games they taught you in elementary school. Ever notice how dating is like Duck, Duck, Goose?

  30. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – You’re making something out of nothing and then refusing to let it die.”I’ve consistently made effort to avoidconfusion by citing the sources of my points, while you haveconsistently said as little as possible in order to convince yourselfthat I’m one of those people you don’t have to listen to, as evident byyour condescending remarks and lack of effort towards creating an opendialogue. “No, I’ve consistently used simple, clear, direct language while you have used many words to very eloquently say very little.You are bugging me and you apparently have no point but to insult me and insist over and over and over again that I implied something which I’ve already told you I did not mean to imply and do not believe.

  31. agnophilo says:

    @MonkeeAramda – I didn’t actually, lol.  But yeah I see what you mean about red rover.

  32. ElijahDH says:

    You are bugging me and you apparently have no point but to insult me…Again, go read my original post and see if you can find any ill-will there.  “…and insist over and over and over again that I implied something which I’ve already told you I did not mean to imply and do not believe.“How many times do I have to tell you that I understand?  The count is already up to four.  I get it.  I really do.  I misunderstood, but then you clarified.   We’ve been over this. ”You’re making something out of nothing and then refusing to let it die.”Refusing to let it die?  Me?  Serisously?  How many times have you brought up something that stopped happeningalready? Are you looking for an apology?  Is that what this is about? I’m sorry I misunderstood your intention, and thank you for clarifying.  I don’t understand you, man.   The only people you answer kindly are the ones who agree with you.  Do you really want dialogue, or just affirmation?

  33. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – “How many times do I have to tell you that Iunderstand?  The count is already up to four.  I get it.  I really do. I misunderstood, but then you clarified.   We’ve been over this. “Two posts before:”You’re still not listening/reading – and that is why I maintain that you are a hypocrite.”Are you suffering from multiple personality disorder?  You keep alternatively attacking me and then accusing me of being hostile to you without cause.  You say that you still maintain that I am a hypocrite and put a bunch of words in my mouth bashing christians, then say that you understand I didn’t mean any of those things and why am I bringing it up.You’re just insane I guess.

  34. ElijahDH says:

    My initial remark about the blog being hypocritical has been recanted…multiple times.My criticism of your overal conversation style as being hypocritical is a seperate issue, and has been addressed as a seperate issue ever since I conceded to your explanation of the blog at the bottom of page 1.  And…calling me insane isn’t helping your case (in relation to issue # 2).

  35. You are possibly the most judgmental and close-minded person I have ever seen on Xanga.ElijahDH is exactly correct with everything he said. You think that just because someone is an “atheist” means that they will never think with their emotions, as you are claiming all “Christians” do?Wake up. Just because you are an atheist does not mean you are so worldly and open minded, and that all Christians are just trying to oppose you.I have never ONCE, in several posts, seen you take any opposing viewpoint into consideration. All you do in your arguments is babble on about semantics, claim that “you can’t make it any simpler” or tell people that they are missing your point.Get over yourself.

  36. agnophilo says:

    @empathyisthecure – I’m the most closed-minded person on xanga?  You must be new here, there are some downright loons on this site.The “opposing viewpoint” I am not taking into consideration is the constant insistence that I am a hypocrite, followed by the insistence that the issue has been settled and why am I arguing it, followed by calling me a hypocrite again, followed by another peace offering.He’s just jerking my chain so far as I can figure, and I have no idea why you’re attacking me too.I didn’t claim all atheists are perfectly logical or that all christians just think with their emotions and if you read the thread you would see that he conceded that that is not what I was saying, before attacking me again.He’s got a screw loose, and you just seem to be having a knee-jerk reaction to the use of the word “christian”.

  37. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo – “The “opposing viewpoint” I am not taking into consideration is the constant insistence that I am a hypocrite, followed by the insistence that the issue has been settled and why am I arguing it, followed by calling me a hypocrite again, followed by another peace offering.“I’ll clarify again – this time in even simpler terms:blog = not hypocriticalalmost everything else other than the blog = hypocriticalI’m honestly not sure what part of this is throwing you off.”He’s just jerking my chain so far as I can figure, and I have no idea why you’re attacking me too.“Nope, no chain-jerking at all. :]  – And not once did I attack you.  The only “insult” I’ve aimed at you is the one which is further substantiated every time you insult me: you’re acting like a hypocrite.”He’s got a screw loose, and you just seem to be having a knee-jerk reaction to the use of the word “christian”.“Ah, yes, I must have a screw loose.  Who in their right mind would think that a pleasant conversationalist such as yourself, which such inspiring quips as, “intellectual masturbation,” and “You’re just insane,” would in any way qualify as needing to be less aggressively closed-minded.      As I’ve said, the reality of this conversation is glaringly obvious to anyone who reads it.  Adding more insults isn’t going to help your case any.

  38. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – This is the sound of me not responding.I was done with this days ago.

  39. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo – Ahh…I see.  The part where you continued to insult me made it hard to tell you were done.  (I wasn’t trying to dig up old news, by the way, I just hadn’t been on xanga since then.)

  40. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – I was defending myself from his insults by explaining my point of view.  My remarks were not directed toward you, otherwise I would have @’d you.

  41. ElijahDH says:

    @agnophilo – “He’s got a screw loose.”  – While not directed to me, it was directed at me.  If it was your intention to insult me without my knowledge, well, then that sort of makes this awkward then, eh?

  42. agnophilo says:

    @ElijahDH – I wasn’t saying anything I had not just recently said to you.  I wasn’t going behind your back and gossiping about you.

  43. ElijahDH says:

    Obviously I was being facetious, since you’ve insulted me numerous times and it’s not been awkward. :-pThe point was that you said you were done, but clearly weren’t since you had continued to berate me.  You weren’t done talking, just done listening.

  44. Ooh, totally! BAM! Ah, it’s like you wrote what’s in my mind. Learn something new, be challenged, be open, be changed by those deep conversations, if only it makes you think more.

Speak yer mind.

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