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  1. #51
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Meaning is defined as a formation of a concept? All of one's beliefs then have meaning, whether true or false. Essentially as they are all statements thst mean something or entail a conceptual notion about the world. How then, do clearly false beliefs rob a person of meaning? The only way one can have meaninglessness with regard to any proposition is by being completely ignorant of it. What is the relevance of apriori analytic principles?
    Concepts are meaningful, but meaning is not restricted to concept formation.

    Only something that is meaningful may be false, but one may believe something that is clearly false to be true if and only if, at some level, he doesn't know what his belief means.

    Analytic apriori principles are relevant here because they're... analytic. (I included the apriori part out of haste.) Analytic propositions show well the principle I'm trying to convey. It is clearly true, by virtue of the meaning of the terms alone, that all bachelors are unmarried. Thus, it would be possible to believe that some bachelor is married if and only if you didn't know what at least one of the terms in these propositions meant.

    I don't think one need be completely ignorant of a proposition in order for it to be meaningless for him. Someone may be more or less conscious and consistent in his beliefs; e.g., Russell's paradox--I wouldn't say Frege was totally ignorant of what the propositions in his set theory meant, yet his system contained a fatal contradiction in its foundation, and so the whole system was meaningless by explosion.

  2. #52
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    I find it rather amusing to think that the "simple religious folk" could be so easily be "talked out of their faith." SW, you act as if all it would take is a simple logical argument to be laid before the people and they would be confounded and lose their faith. (I'm speaking totally of true Christians here.) I tell you that it would not happen no matter how sophisticated the argument. They might falter for a time, but they wouldn't fall.

    Rom 8:37-39
    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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  3. #53
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    I find it rather amusing to think that the "simple religious folk" could be so easily be "talked out of their faith." SW, you act as if all it would take is a simple logical argument to be laid before the people and they would be confounded and lose their faith. (I'm speaking totally of true Christians here.) I tell you that it would not happen no matter how sophisticated the argument. They might falter for a time, but they wouldn't fall.
    The problem is not that they would lose faith but that they would falter. The concern is that writings in science and philosophy tend to confuse the simple religious folk, and I regard this as a substantial problem.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  4. #54
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    The problem is not that they would lose faith but that they would falter. The concern is that writings in science and philosophy tend to confuse the simple religious folk, and I regard this as a substantial problem.
    I think that the people who would qualify as "simple religious folk" DO NOT tend to read writings in science and philosophy and so are not confused by them.

    I see no problem with faltering, it is part of life.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

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  5. #55
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Religious manuscripts can be interpreted in ways that allow science and religion to coexist. For example, I know many people who, despite being Christian, do not believe that Christ will "come again", and believe that many parts of the Bible, including the entire book of Genesis, are essentially fables, written to give valuable lessons and not meant to be taken literally. Also, as I mentioned before, deism does not even begin to conflict with science.?
    You have taken note of more situations where there is no severe conflict between science and religion. My response is that despite such instances, there still are many other situations where there is a severe conflict between the two viewpoints. Look at how few believers endorse both evolution and creationism. How few know what deism is, or even more so believe it, surely less than 10% of people who claim to be Christians are deists. Conservative Christians and fundamentalists heavily outnumber the Liberal Christians and all other believers who interpret Scripture in a way that is compatible with the scientific view of the world. This is true not only of Christianity but of all other creeds. Conservative and legalistic Jews and Muslims heavily outnumber their Liberal counterparts.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    But I doubt that you're referring to the "religious left" here, so I digress..?
    I am not worried about the religious left as they do not seem to be threatened by Dennett's work for many reasons, some of which you have cited.


    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    The final paragraph of the post I quoted is a bit... well... I'll paraphrase it, and you can tell me if I have it right:

    "There's a conflict between science and religion, and I'm wondering whether we should shelter the poor, stupid religious folk from the truth, or whether they should be ALLOWED to read scientific works."..?
    Your interpretation is correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    If that's right (and it's probably not - I'm responding to this pretty late at night, after all), then here's my response: These people should not be evangelized to.."..?
    They certainly should not be evangelized to.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    They should have all the rights that everyone else does. If history continues to repeat itself, they will become more liberal and open to science as time passes, without any specific, focused aid..."..?
    It is true that they and their descendants may become more liberal and open-minded, and we may want this for them as society may be bettered as a result. However, do they want this? This means that they will have to reconsider their worldview thoroughly and most people who are not open-minded find this to be profoundly distressing. Do we really wish to force them into a stressful situation?

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Also, let's think about this for a second: for many people, religious beliefs are not based on reason at all. Therefore, rational argument should have no effect on it. Therefore, what good would trying to convince them actually DO?..."..?
    I agree that most people do not arrive at their religious beliefs by virtue of rational deliberation. However, from this it does not follow that people who try to use rational arguments to refute religion cannot dissuade the religious. How do religious people form their beliefs? They make emotional attachments to ideas, usually because the propounders of such ideas seem to be authorities on the matter they comment and make their views seem favorable to those they preach to. The same people who have once made attachments to ideas because their preachers seemed to be authorities and promised rewards as a result of acceptance of their views are encountering more similar individuals. In other words, when they hear about scientists and philosophers talking about their ideas, it is easy for such people to assume that the scientists and philosophers are authorities on the issues they comment on. Many of such scientists and philosophers are charismatic speakers, hence, just like the preachers, they can make their message enticing to their audiences. In short, they can convince the simple religious folk to accept their ideas in exactly the same way the religious preachers have once convinced them to embrace religion.

    One sentence summary: Scientists and philosophers can persuade the simple religious folk to accept their views in the exact same way the preachers have persuaded them to accept theirs.




    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    I think that the people who would qualify as "simple religious folk" DO NOT tend to read writings in science and philosophy and so are not confused by them.

    I see no problem with faltering, it is part of life.
    They hear about the ideas expressed in the scientific and philosophical writings on the radio, on television, in the newspaper or even from their friends and acquaintances. All of this happens with no wish on their part to be informed of such ideas. Why are they informed of them? Because the ideas in question are freely expressed in public forums which more or less amounts to the claim that almost everyone will hear about them sooner or later. Because they do hear of such ideas, they do get confused.

    Although it is true that faltering is a part of life, it does not mean there is nothing wrong with it. Faltering is a stressful occurence, the fact that it happens often (is part of life) does not at all show that it is not stressful. On the contary, the fact that it happens often makes it even a more significant problem, as it merely means that something stressful happens on and on thereby generating more stress than it would if it did not happen often( was not part of life). If it is possible to eliminate this kind of distress, it is desirable that we do so. I propose that it is indeed possible. We can achieve this by preventing intellectuals from discussing their ideas in a forum that is accessible to all.


    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    Concepts are meaningful, but meaning is not restricted to concept formation..
    Explain how meaning can be generated by virtue of something other than concept formation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    Only something that is meaningful may be false,..
    For example if I believe that the Earth is flat, my belief is meaningful. Correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    but one may believe something that is clearly false to be true if and only if, at some level, he doesn't know what his belief means.,..
    What you said is that in some cases, but not in all, I can believe in false propositions if I do not understand them. An example of this is an analytic statement. Or a statement, the truth of which can be ascertained by mere unpacking or an overview of its intrinsic essence. I can only regard a true analytic proposition as false if I misunderstand the analytic proposition in question. If I believe in something that is false, namely that an umarried male is not a bachelor, I do not understand what an umarried male is.

    Implication: Because I do not understand what an unmarried male is, does it follow that my view has no meaning? I am inclined to say that it does not follow because I have some kind of a concept with regard to what an unmarried male is. It is a false belief which does have a conceptual notion or meaning. It does not seem to be tantamount to a concept that is devoid of meaning.

    Definition of meaning: A conceptual notion of any kind.

    Additional note: The most conventional notion of meaninglessness is non-sense, or simply notions that do not convey a coherent concept. For instance, A and not A, or simply FDIOFSIOSFDHOFOHIFDSHOFDS.

    On that note, I wish to suggest that unless a proposition is incoherent or does not form a concept, there is no reason to regard it as meaningless. With regard to this thread, I challenge your point that people who have false beliefs lack meaning. I would agree that some people who lack true beliefs lack meaning as they believe in non-sense (as exemplified above), however, many of them do have meaning as they disbelieve in non-sense. Moreover, I wish to raise the following issue; even if they do believe in non-sense, is it desirable for them to stop? In other words, surely they lack meaning, but is that truly a problem?



    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    I don't think one need be completely ignorant of a proposition in order for it to be meaningless for him. Someone may be more or less conscious and consistent in his beliefs; e.g., Russell's paradox--I wouldn't say Frege was totally ignorant of what the propositions in his set theory meant, yet his system contained a fatal contradiction in its foundation, and so the whole system was meaningless by explosion.
    I see that the system is false, but I do not understand how it is meaningless. Earlier you have maintained that some false propositions may be meaningful. From this it follows that the false propositions that Frege had in mind may be meaningful. In order to show that his views are meaningless you must show that some propositions can be legitimately regarded as meaningless and how specifically that is to be done. The onus is on you to do that.

    With regard to this discussion, the question is, if Frege died ignorant of Russell's paradox, would his beliefs be any more or less meaningful than they were when he discovered Russell's paradox? Similarly, would a religious person ignorant of the falsity of his religious views hold views that are any more or less meaningful than the views of the religious person who was convinced by Dennett to abandon religion?
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  6. #56
    . Blank's Avatar
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    I'd like to mention that there also a very large amount of intelligent Christians and other religious people who can think rationally and try to apply that rationality to their religious texts, but when the logic doesn't fit, they apply doublethink to make 2 + 2 = 5 to live happy lives.

    If anything, religion is a useful crutch for many people. I don't see why we should take that crutch away unless if those people who use the crutch begin hitting other people with it.
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Te = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ne = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fi = 15 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Si = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ni = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Se = 11[][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fe = 0

    -----------------
    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why;
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand

  7. #57
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blank View Post
    If anything, religion is a useful crutch for many people. I don't see why we should take that crutch away unless if those people who use the crutch begin hitting other people with it.
    Yes. It's just that so many religious people really are indirectly coming and hitting other people with their crutch, by running around trying to impose laws based on their views.

  8. #58
    . Blank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Yes. It's just that so many religious people really are indirectly coming and hitting other people with their crutch, by running around trying to impose laws based on their views.
    Now, that's just your opinion, but if they viewed it that say...oh I don't know, people who were cruel to animals should be imprisoned or whatever, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with that potential law being pushed (this is being hypothetical, I know that law exists.) It's just that when their views get in the way of progress (subjective and relative, I know) or if it infringes upon other peoples' rights, then I have a problem.

    Everyone should have the right to try and make what they believe into law. It should just be up to the lawmakers to decide whether or not that those beliefs should be upheld by the law.
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Te = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ne = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fi = 15 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Si = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ni = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Se = 11[][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fe = 0

    -----------------
    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why;
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand

  9. #59
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blank View Post
    Now, that's just your opinion, but if they viewed it that say...oh I don't know, people who were cruel to animals should be imprisoned or whatever, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with that potential law being pushed (this is being hypothetical, I know that law exists.) It's just that when their views get in the way of progress (subjective and relative, I know) or if it infringes upon other peoples' rights, then I have a problem.

    Everyone should have the right to try and make what they believe into law. It should just be up to the lawmakers to decide whether or not that those beliefs should be upheld by the law.
    The thing is, the bolded is exactly what I fear most religious views seek to do. I'm scared that too many such people might gain power, promote their agenda, and then force their laws and perspectives on the rest of us. When their laws and perspectives are based on... nothing but an outdated book. It's like buying a newspaper one day, and then making decisions based on the state of the world suggested by it on that one day for the rest of your life. That kind of attitude scares me.

  10. #60
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blank View Post
    I'd like to mention that there also a very large amount of intelligent Christians and other religious people who can think rationally and try to apply that rationality to their religious texts, but when the logic doesn't fit, they apply doublethink to make 2 + 2 = 5 to live happy lives.

    If anything, religion is a useful crutch for many people. I don't see why we should take that crutch away unless if those people who use the crutch begin hitting other people with it.
    I agree.

    As for the OP, external censorship is undesirable in both its intent and implimentation; the former because its a paternalistic and arrogant attempt to determine on behalf of other people what is best for them, and which of them is sufficiently equipped to deal with potentially unpleasant information. The latter because its a powerful instrument of tyranny that inevitably becomes just that.

    Well-intentioned external censorship of this nature can only be justified to the extent that its role is restricted to informing consumers of the nature of said information, so that people may choose to ignore certain sources of their own free will and control the environment in which their children are raised. Things like the V-chip or rating systems are examples of this.

    Self-censorship, to put it collequially, is about not being a dick, and offerring negative social sanction towards those who are. I am fully in favor of this form of censorship, even when its subjectivity bites me in the ass.

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