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Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

There is no reference to gaming here as a word of caution. This is about improving yourself and I'd appreciate it greatly if you gave up 5 minutes of your time to read my thoughts :) (Edit: I changed this top headline to sound less dick-ish, as was mentioned)

I'm going to go on a whim here and assume that most of us here on GiantBomb.com are no older than 25. The reason I bring up age into question is because it relates with how much you have learned and experienced up onto this point in time. What is really startling to me (Though honestly not surprising), however, is the level of assurance and 'my opinion-is-fact' being thrown around. This is true for all of us here, on giant communities like Reddit, and almost everyone around the world.

There have been studies to suggest when viewing contradictory evidence, philosophical points, and ideas that we actually cling stronger to our own viewpoints. (See: http://www.skepdic.com/backfireeffect.html) One of the hardest things to do is to admit to ourselves, let alone anyone else, that our point or reason is wrong. Even when there is overwhelming conflicting reason to suggest otherwise we will cling to anything out there that will help reinforce our own ideals. This is frankly because it makes us comfortable. The unfortunate thing about that though is that it makes us unreasonable and irrational.

And this is the point I wanted to raise someone as my example. I'm sorry to use you as a scapegoat Yagami, but you are the inspiration for this blog post. As I am sure most of you blog readers know Yagami has posted some pretty controversial stuff. I'll put up a quick snippet I had posted in Yagami's latest "Honor" blog post.

...We are both young, but you and I need to realize we still know jack shit about the world. There's more to understanding it than regular visits to the Reddit front page (which seems to be almost a copy + paste of your ideals). Listen to lectures counter to your ideas, watch a debate, and a read a book to challenge who you are...

...I'm a proud atheist such as yourself, and I would like to think because of this you are a little more open to evidence and observation. If this is the case please reevaluate yourself and don't be so set-in-stone on such controversial view points like this. I'm not saying don't take a stand, but consider other ideas that have sound support.

I feel like like I make my point pretty clear here. If you get your source of information and ideas from one website or group of people, you will have your own biases that you'll have to deal with. It's going to affect all of us at some point and it already has in many ways. It's inevitable, but one thing you can do is make a conscious effort to consider other material that may make us uncomfortable - And let me note here: Not through the "backfire effect" lense. Consider and research the points that are raised. Don't simply ignore them and go back to your favorite website to read how wrong those other guys are.

As an Atheist I have both read 'The Holy Bible' and 'Qur'an/Koran' in their entirety. I've read research papers done by Christians on why creationism is true. And I've listened to lectures on how there is evidence for God. These are just a few examples. What does this help me do, even though they may not have convinced me? It allows me to have an intelligent discussion/debate with those on the other side of the spectrum of viewpoints. You gain an understanding as to why someone might think the way they do. Most importantly you can empathize and speak on a better level to which both of you can connect and relate.

Don't think this only applies to Religion, this was merely an example. This is true for all bearings in life. Your bad experience with 'x' company might leave a lasting impression in your head, but maybe it was just an accident or fluke? You believe the war in 'balugistan' is, or maybe is not, justified. Start reading on the history of the war, the countries involved. Listen to those who support/oppose the wars and consider what is being said. Also consider where your information is coming from. What biases will there be here? Are they trying to make a certain point?

And now I want to finish with a nice cheap book for some interesting reading. If I continue to do blogs I will try to suggest one everytime I do so. I'll try to make this one relevant so I'll suggest what I suggested to Yagami - "You Are Not So Smart", a book based on psychological studies of many, many misconceptions we have about eachother and ourselves. It's an eye opener and might help you on the path to being able to question yourself. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/you-are-not-so-smart-david-mcraney/1100483675?ean=9781101545355&itm=1&usri=you%2bare%2bnot%2bso%2bsmart

Since this is my first blog post I'd like to say hello to everyone that may read this. Firstly, thanks for taking the time to listen to my opinions. I'm never going to claim to be an expert in anything and I always love fresh ideas from you. So if you ever want to have a fun discussion, feel free to message me. As far as forum posts are concerned I try to make an effort to make engaging questions about gaming to ponder on. My first topic was about how understanding game mechanics and how it could ruin your immersion. If you ever get annoyed with my stupid ramblings please let me know!

Post if you wanted to participate: http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion/30/does-understanding-mechanics-of-games-decay-immersion-for-you/528856/

It's been ages since I've written anything so I hope I get my blog-writin' skills up to par. Flaws I already know about - too many fucking comma's, I use "I" too much and it's really bothersome (it makes me sound self-absorbed), I tend to repeat words a lot after using them once it gets stuck in my head and not realize I reused them, and my grammar could be better.

#1 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

There is no reference to gaming here as a word of caution. This is about improving yourself and I'd appreciate it greatly if you gave up 5 minutes of your time to read my thoughts :) (Edit: I changed this top headline to sound less dick-ish, as was mentioned)

I'm going to go on a whim here and assume that most of us here on GiantBomb.com are no older than 25. The reason I bring up age into question is because it relates with how much you have learned and experienced up onto this point in time. What is really startling to me (Though honestly not surprising), however, is the level of assurance and 'my opinion-is-fact' being thrown around. This is true for all of us here, on giant communities like Reddit, and almost everyone around the world.

There have been studies to suggest when viewing contradictory evidence, philosophical points, and ideas that we actually cling stronger to our own viewpoints. (See: http://www.skepdic.com/backfireeffect.html) One of the hardest things to do is to admit to ourselves, let alone anyone else, that our point or reason is wrong. Even when there is overwhelming conflicting reason to suggest otherwise we will cling to anything out there that will help reinforce our own ideals. This is frankly because it makes us comfortable. The unfortunate thing about that though is that it makes us unreasonable and irrational.

And this is the point I wanted to raise someone as my example. I'm sorry to use you as a scapegoat Yagami, but you are the inspiration for this blog post. As I am sure most of you blog readers know Yagami has posted some pretty controversial stuff. I'll put up a quick snippet I had posted in Yagami's latest "Honor" blog post.

...We are both young, but you and I need to realize we still know jack shit about the world. There's more to understanding it than regular visits to the Reddit front page (which seems to be almost a copy + paste of your ideals). Listen to lectures counter to your ideas, watch a debate, and a read a book to challenge who you are...

...I'm a proud atheist such as yourself, and I would like to think because of this you are a little more open to evidence and observation. If this is the case please reevaluate yourself and don't be so set-in-stone on such controversial view points like this. I'm not saying don't take a stand, but consider other ideas that have sound support.

I feel like like I make my point pretty clear here. If you get your source of information and ideas from one website or group of people, you will have your own biases that you'll have to deal with. It's going to affect all of us at some point and it already has in many ways. It's inevitable, but one thing you can do is make a conscious effort to consider other material that may make us uncomfortable - And let me note here: Not through the "backfire effect" lense. Consider and research the points that are raised. Don't simply ignore them and go back to your favorite website to read how wrong those other guys are.

As an Atheist I have both read 'The Holy Bible' and 'Qur'an/Koran' in their entirety. I've read research papers done by Christians on why creationism is true. And I've listened to lectures on how there is evidence for God. These are just a few examples. What does this help me do, even though they may not have convinced me? It allows me to have an intelligent discussion/debate with those on the other side of the spectrum of viewpoints. You gain an understanding as to why someone might think the way they do. Most importantly you can empathize and speak on a better level to which both of you can connect and relate.

Don't think this only applies to Religion, this was merely an example. This is true for all bearings in life. Your bad experience with 'x' company might leave a lasting impression in your head, but maybe it was just an accident or fluke? You believe the war in 'balugistan' is, or maybe is not, justified. Start reading on the history of the war, the countries involved. Listen to those who support/oppose the wars and consider what is being said. Also consider where your information is coming from. What biases will there be here? Are they trying to make a certain point?

And now I want to finish with a nice cheap book for some interesting reading. If I continue to do blogs I will try to suggest one everytime I do so. I'll try to make this one relevant so I'll suggest what I suggested to Yagami - "You Are Not So Smart", a book based on psychological studies of many, many misconceptions we have about eachother and ourselves. It's an eye opener and might help you on the path to being able to question yourself. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/you-are-not-so-smart-david-mcraney/1100483675?ean=9781101545355&itm=1&usri=you%2bare%2bnot%2bso%2bsmart

Since this is my first blog post I'd like to say hello to everyone that may read this. Firstly, thanks for taking the time to listen to my opinions. I'm never going to claim to be an expert in anything and I always love fresh ideas from you. So if you ever want to have a fun discussion, feel free to message me. As far as forum posts are concerned I try to make an effort to make engaging questions about gaming to ponder on. My first topic was about how understanding game mechanics and how it could ruin your immersion. If you ever get annoyed with my stupid ramblings please let me know!

Post if you wanted to participate: http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion/30/does-understanding-mechanics-of-games-decay-immersion-for-you/528856/

It's been ages since I've written anything so I hope I get my blog-writin' skills up to par. Flaws I already know about - too many fucking comma's, I use "I" too much and it's really bothersome (it makes me sound self-absorbed), I tend to repeat words a lot after using them once it gets stuck in my head and not realize I reused them, and my grammar could be better.

#2 Posted by pixieface (122 posts) -

I like this.

The problem I have with a lot of atheists, mainly the younger ones, is that since atheism is considered an intellectual belief, it sometimes makes an individual feel that since they are part of this smart group it means that they themselves are now smart, and they subsequently have some kind of intellectual authority over everyone who is not part of the intellectual club. I've seen bullheadedness, unnecessary venom, and ignorance on both sides, even when both claim to be humble and learned. This is speaking as an agnostic.

I try to live by Socrates' words, "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Humility, to me, is the foundation to becoming a healthy human being. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason, after all. It leads to arrogance, ignorance, zealotry, and probably the dark side. I am happy to learn as much as I can about this really stupid and really neat world, bask in dull and rusty glint of my ignorance, and then blip out of existence when my time is up.

Maybe.

#3 Posted by JasonR86 (9372 posts) -

@Zolkowski:

I like what you're saying here. I think the member you mentioned is using these forums as a soapbox and through this is starting to find out that his views are not quite as rock solid as he believes. I think everyone would be better off if they believed that their opinions and beliefs were just provisional and may change with time.

One quick note, you might want to get rid of that opening 'warning' from the OP. It makes you sound a little dick-ish and I'm sure that wasn't what you were going for.

#4 Edited by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@pixieface

Thanks a lot for your time to read and respond! Where you are coming from with young atheists is completely understood. A lot of these 'uninformed' atheists are just as susceptible to blind faith of their own. As opposed to coming to these conclusions through research and evaluation, some atheists will go to a community and get almost all of their ideals from that one source. Breeding someone just as uninformed as most of us and absolutely convinced they have truth. While they may actually have the answers (or lack there of) is irrelevant because they drew their conclusions in the wrong way. They jumped on a bandwagon and never once questioned what they were doing. Not once were outside sources reference other than for a tool of mockery and ridicule.

I am not referring to all atheists here, so before everyone gets their jimmies in a rustle please beware.

I agree that humility is needed, especially when so young and knowing so little. I'd disagree that perfect humility is something to always go with though. At times, a stance is needed, just make sure your stance is something very well thought out and supported.

@JasonR86

Changed. You were right, not my intention :)

And as that would be nice, we know very well it won't be true. Hell, even those who are aware of the fact will forget sometimes!

#5 Edited by EdIsCool (1122 posts) -

@Zolkowski: I agree with the sentiment kinda, but treating a position that is based on mountains and mountains of evidence (albeit which do not give a complete picture of Life, The Universe and Everything) the same as a position which is based on no evidence at all is silly.

Being the time that it is : "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence"

#6 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

Yes sir, yes. Kudos to you for making this. I wish more people were like you. You have one more person following you now.

#7 Edited by Dagbiker (6898 posts) -

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. - Albert Einstein

#8 Edited by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@EdIsCool said:

@Zolkowski: I agree with the sentiment kinda, but treating a position that is based on mountains and mountains of evidence (albeit which do not give a complete picture of Life, The Universe and Everything) the same as a position which is based on no evidence at all is silly.

Being the time that it is : "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence"

I'm not implying that you should treat them on the same level, but that you should understand the other position (as well as your own) if you are going to take some sort of stance opposed to it.

Edit: Missed your ninja edit there - That's a favorite quote of mine, and I agree. For you to realize the other side has no evidence, however, still requires you to look at it and evaluate if there is any basis in such point/belief.

@TheDudeOfGaming

My first follower! I am really thankful for the notion sir! Now I have a blog to keep at, don't I?

@Dagbiker

That is pure genius. Going to have to save that quote for later :)

#9 Edited by pixieface (122 posts) -

@Zolkowski said:

@pixieface

I agree that humility is needed, especially when so young and knowing so little. I'd disagree that perfect humility is something to always go with though. At times, a stance is needed, just make sure your stance is something very well thought out and supported.

Right. I probably wasn't clear enough. I try to be humble about knowing little, relatively, but that doesn't mean I don't have firm views. I am extremely devoted to female, LGBT, and minority rights and issues. Even though I am interested in all of these things and have studied them in university and on my own time, I still cannot pretend to know exactly what it's like to be gay or black in North America. I can relate to feeling ostracized and discarded because I'm a lady that has been at the butt end of a staggering amount of sexism. I'm also an agnostic that grew up in the Bible Belt and I've faced plenty of violent and non-violent bullying for not attending a church. But I can never truly know what it is to be gay or black because I can't change bodies. I try to understand, but I never presume. That's more what I meant.

Surprise! You got your second follower. :)

#10 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@pixieface:

Thanks for the follow! I'll be popular in no time!

And you raise a very good point. Empathy in trying to figure out how someone might feel or how they became the way they are is absolutely critical. Lack of empathy leads to a lot of the bigotry (racism/sexism etc) we see today. People can't grasp that if they grew up in a low-income neighborhood, where your schools set you up for failure, where you are surrounded by gangs, drugs, and all of the like, it is likely they would end up like that "Black man they can't understand." Where they gather these assumptions about an entire race, not trying to figure out why, but just assuming that's the way it is.

This actually might be my next topic for a blog as I think empathy is one trait most needed today.

#11 Posted by cnlmullen (900 posts) -

I've changed my opinions in the past after losing arguments. Weirdly, that makes me even more sure of my current beliefs (I'm a secular liberal with slight libertarian tendencies on certain issues).

#12 Edited by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@cnlmullen said:

I've changed my opinions in the past after losing arguments. Weirdly, that makes me even more sure of my current beliefs (I'm a secular liberal with slight libertarian tendencies on certain issues).

I think even if it's something you practice, you need to keep reminding yourself. I still have to remind myself. If it is something you do though, your beliefs should start to have a solid structure and more substance to them.

Edit: Grammar, tired.

#13 Edited by wefwefasdf (6729 posts) -

Great first blog post! I was raised Christian but "lost" the faith around when I was 16 years old. Because of that, I understand where and respect a lot of viewpoints held by different religions regardless of whether I find them to be true. Tolerance and understanding are important when listening to what other people think unless one thing is true...

They are a complete asshole.

Which, was the case with Yagami's blog posts. Not only were his ideas completely insane, to a certain degree, but he was downright disrespectful and looked down upon anyone who did not share his thoughts. Having relatives and friends in the military (one got commissioned in the Marine Corp. today!) I find it infuriating what he had to say. Maybe if he had said it with a little more grace it would have been better.

Part of growing up is realizing that you hardly know anything. Your values and beliefs are bound to change over time.

#14 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@SpikeSpiegel

And even so when someone is being an asshole you need to try to understand why they might feel so strongly the way they do. Maybe they resent something dearly because of an experience in the past? The trick when discussing with someone who has no manner or reason is to first try to make them understand that you understand.

As far as growing up with knowledge, well that's a good point @pixieface had brought up - being humble with what you think you know.

#15 Posted by ssj4raditz (1125 posts) -

If I may quote the venerable band Kansas here, "And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know."

In my 30 years in this world, I've learn much, and not just from people or sources that would agree with what I believe in or share my point of view. I'm still in the process of growing as a person, and learn new view points each and every time I choose to engage with someone. Whether someone agrees with me or not, if they don't bother to respect me, and I them, then nothing will be gained and possibly everything lost.

#16 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@ssj4raditz said:

If I may quote the venerable band Kansas here, "And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know."

Whether someone agrees with me or not, if they don't bother to respect me, and I them, then nothing will be gained and possibly everything lost.

A beautiful quote and a great point. There are people who are just not willing in any way to change what they believe (Though I'd really like to think it's still possible to reason to an extent with them). And I'll personally back off if it becomes hostile because you said it right. No one will gain anything other than maybe a headache.

#17 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

I'm 16 (I assume that's the same age of Yagami.)and that was a pretty awesome post. I was raised as a Christian, but now i'm agnostic. I really love talking about religion and politics, but it's HARD to find someone who can openly talk about this. Once, when i talked to an atheist, i said i was agnostic and he said: "Well, but God CLEARLY doesn't exists." and started to attack the idea of a God, instead of showing evidence, and discussing. I'm not perfect at this too. I have a REAL problem admiting that i'm wrong. But i'm getting better, since i don't want to be part of the problem... Also, i'm a teenager for Christ's sake, i'm kinda of allowed to commit mistakes once in a while. 
Also, you got one more follower, sir. Your post was respectful, insightful and, well, brilliant.

#18 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@MikeGosot:

Thank you so very much for your kind words and the follow! One of the worst things I find is when two sides are arguing for something they really don't understand themselves and especially don't understand what you believe. The fact of the matter, if this is the case, is both parties need to realize there is nothing productive to come of it until more effort is put on both sides to understand their own views as well as each other's.

#19 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

What you've summarized is what made a young, outspoken atheist become a more well-rounded (yet still insane) agnostic in her later years.

Good read and welcome to the forums! (Although, the "using 'I' makes me seem self-absorbed" critique was a bit ridiculous. It's a personal blog, not a report. Nothing wrong or self-absorbing about addressing yourself. Heaven forbid people write blogs voicing their personal opinions! How egotistical of them! :P)

#20 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Zolkowski said:

@MikeGosot:

Thank you so very much for your kind words and the follow! One of the worst things I find is when two sides are arguing for something they really don't understand themselves and especially don't understand what you believe. The fact of the matter, if this is the case, is both parties need to realize there is nothing productive to come of it until more effort is put on both sides to understand their own views as well as each other's.

I had a philosophy teacher who wanted to teach the basics of a discussion. He divided the class in two groups. Ben 10 and Naruto. And we needed to discuss which one was the best. 
He gave a week for us to research BOTH animations, saying: "Before EVERY debate, you need to know both sides of the coin. You may even switch sides. Of course, you don't know the next time you will be discussing something, so always study. Culture, Intelligence, and the way you use and express both are your weapons not only to debates and discussions, but to life as a whole." 
 
Sorry if my english is bad, i'm kinda falling asleep here...
#21 Edited by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@PixelPrinny said:

What you've summarized is what made a young, outspoken atheist become a more well-rounded (yet still insane) agnostic in her later years.

Good read and welcome to the forums! (Although, the "using 'I' makes me seem self-absorbed" critique was a bit ridiculous. It's a personal blog, not a report. Nothing wrong or self-absorbing about addressing yourself. Heaven forbid people write blogs voicing their personal opinions! How egotistical of them! :P)

Haha I suppose you are right about the 'I's'. I'll (dammit!) try to stop worrying about it so much.

I'm grateful that you enjoyed reading what my feeble little mind likes to think. This blog post I sort of half wrote for myself as I'm still falling victim to this countless-ly. What made you sort of 'turn around' in your later years?

@MikeGosot said:

I had a philosophy teacher who wanted to teach the basics of a discussion. He divided the class in two groups. Ben 10 and Naruto. And we needed to discuss which one was the best. He gave a week for us to research BOTH animations, saying: "Before EVERY debate, you need to know both sides of the coin. You may even switch sides. Of course, you don't know the next time you will be discussing something, so always study. Culture, Intelligence, and the way you use and express both are your weapons not only to debates and discussions, but to life as a whole." Sorry if my english is bad, i'm kinda falling asleep here...

I think critical thinking lessons need to be taught a lot more like this at a younger age. If a country did this I feel it would function a lot differently later in years than it would now.

#22 Edited by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

In the future, it's probably best to ignore the guy. His "lulz I don't respectz teh dead soldierz" and "religiouz peoplez is teh ignorantest" statements are merely bait used to rile people up. He feeds off of the flak he receives. Instead of trying to engage in meaningful discussion, his mind is fixated on disrespecting anyone who disagrees with his views. Don't bother reading his blogs and go on with your life as if he doesn't exist.

#23 Posted by MikkaQ (10224 posts) -

I'm glad this was put here, it's something that definitely needs to be said. Point of view is everything.

I very much used to be similar to a certain someone mentioned in this thread. I thought I had politics all figured out and I was very assertive about then, and eventually realized how impractical any of my views were in application. This only happened after I had sought more perspectives. Now I don't have specific political views, I don't vote for parties, I vote for the politician who will most likely do the most good for the country or city in question. I have stances on political issues I care about, but they don't conform to left/right anymore.

Same goes with my thoughts on religion. I used to be a staunch atheist, but nowadays I don't label myself with anything. It's too deep a mystery for us to ponder right now, and the thoughts and arguments on both sides went in circles. It of course helped that I had a close friend who had a pretty dramatic conversion into religion, but our discussions remained fair, level-headed and interesting. He had his reasons and they made sense, even if they didn't work for me, I now keep a very open mind when it comes to these matters. Now I'm as bothered with the zealotry that the hardcore atheists display than I was with hardcore theists. I think that specific debate is kinda silly.

Of course it's easy to say all this, but I still like to never lose an argument, that seems to be a base human desire that required Buddha-like discipline to conquer.

#24 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Zolkowski: That teacher of mine had a project for a "different" school where the focus would be "How to learn, think, and develop your ideas" instead of "HERE! LEARN THIS YOU BASTARD!". He eventually managed to make the principal of a school start using this way of teaching. The math class in that school was long, but fucking brilliant. Unfortunately, i couldn't study in this place, even if i really, really wanted to do so. The school was expensive, and well, i don't need to get in details. 
That style was amazing, and it should be used more often.
#25 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

Of course it's easy to say all this, but I still like to never lose an argument, that seems to be a base human desire that required Buddha-like discipline to conquer.

I think at some point we all thought we had mostly everything figured out. Definitely was radical in my own way.

Though I might be a little more assertive than you when it comes to beliefs, it's a great thing to be able to identify good points from an opposing side. I could start a whole discussion about Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion - but that's just a can of worms I'd rather not open unless I knew all parties were to be civil and contributing. I have a secret passion for debating and watching debates because I feel like rattling what we think we know is good for us once in a while. So long as the rattling is actually productive and thought-provoking.

#26 Posted by Dagbiker (6898 posts) -
@Zolkowski

@MikkaQ said:

Of course it's easy to say all this, but I still like to never lose an argument, that seems to be a base human desire that required Buddha-like discipline to conquer.

I think at some point we all thought we had mostly everything figured out. Definitely was radical in my own way.

Though I might be a little more assertive than you when it comes to beliefs, it's a great thing to be able to identify good points from an opposing side. I could start a whole discussion about Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion - but that's just a can of worms I'd rather not open unless I knew all parties were to be civil and contributing. I have a secret passion for debating and watching debates because I feel like rattling what we think we know is good for us once in a while. So long as the rattling is actually productive and thought-provoking.

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
#27 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@Dagbiker

That's very interesting and very believable. Do you know if there's a page on this theory?

#28 Posted by BelligerentEngine (338 posts) -

Sigh...

Book trailers are a terrible way to convey the medium and this one was a perfect example of why that's the case.

#29 Posted by Blackout62 (1303 posts) -

@Zolkowski said:

@Dagbiker

That's very interesting and very believable. Do you know if there's a page on this theory?

It's paraphrased from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Not that that detracts at all from it's credibility. I'd look up the exact book and page but I don't have my anthology on me at the moment.

#30 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@BelligerentEngine said:

Sigh...

Book trailers are a terrible way to convey the medium and this one was a perfect example of why that's the case.

It really wasn't meant to prop up my message at all, I was just trying t offer some good reading for those interested in expanding their horizons a 'bit.

@Blackout62

Thanks! I've actually never read those books, but the more I hear about it the more I think I should.

#31 Posted by gamefreak9 (2327 posts) -

Very good post, I am glad some people do their research, I hate coming in hard on topics I am not knowledgeable about, I am glad somebody takes my approach to things. Though I probably won't be reading those books... i've got a pretty large reading list to get through before I can add "fun" or stuff about "Self".

Although I've never really been much of a fan of religious debate because I see it as a waste of time... atheism or theism... who cares to each his own. Though study of game theory and philosophy it pretty much makes sense to just be a theist... + I think anybody that gives people an excuse to come together and socialize as real people is probably a good thing... I think I did see a regressive study with % of pop religious and happiness polls, it almost seem to be as big a factor as the divorce coefficient. So I am an agnostic and I think you should be too... I mean if your not an agnostic then your going in with preconceived notions and those will affect you with confirmation bias, giving more power to Anti-religious stuff your exposed too, and less power to religious stuff.

#32 Edited by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@gamefreak9 said:

Although I've never really been much of a fan of religious debate because I see it as a waste of time... atheism or theism... who cares to each his own. Though study of game theory and philosophy it pretty much makes sense to just be a theist... + I think anybody that gives people an excuse to come together and socialize as real people is probably a good thing... I think I did see a regressive study with % of pop religious and happiness polls, it almost seem to be as big a factor as the divorce coefficient. So I am an agnostic and I think you should be too... I mean if your not an agnostic then your going in with preconceived notions and those will affect you with confirmation bias, giving more power to Anti-religious stuff your exposed too, and less power to religious stuff.

Alrighty, I'll break this down the best I can to avoid confusion. When arguing religion you can do so in various ways. You can argue the science in religion - Tangible Arguments. We could discuss whether or not there is the existence of god - (mostly) Philosophical argument (which I will touch briefly), we can discuss the historical facts/accuracy of religion - Tangible Argument. Or we could discuss whether or not we are better off with religion, specifically organized religion. - Which is my favorite, it's a mix of philosophy, science, and historical fact.

To touch your first point on game theory and philosophy I am assuming you are putting the point you are safer with believing in a god as it's a safer choice - a better chance to go into heaven. The problem I have with this is a moral dilemma. If a god wanted me to be aware of his presence, as well as praise him, I'd like to think that they would make it a little easier to believe in them. If it is the case they truly do exist, I'd rather not serve a god that would send people to hell for doubting and asking questions. They should judge us for our character and what we have done with ourselves.

The argument of happiness is a pretty flimsy one to go on. I could argue that Sweden, one of the most secular countries in the world, proves that you can be happy without religion ( http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/lif_hap_net-lifestyle-happiness-net ) as it is tied for 2nd as the happiest country in the world. We can also have statistics skewed on happiness of when these polls and surveys were taken. Chances are, if these happiness questions were asked while a republican was in a seat of power you are going to have fewer happy Atheist/agnostics/secularists as Republican stances are somewhat positioned against them.

And last and finally the ever-so-famous label debate. We could argue what is Atheist and what is Agnostic all day. I identify myself as atheist because the definition is damn near the same as an Agnostic-Atheist. An atheist can be defined as (http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t98.e278) "Either the lack of belief that there exists a god, or the belief that there exists none." An Agnostic-Atheist holds no belief in a god because it is unknowable. It's outside the realm of science. Both of these have a lack of belief in a god because there is no way to prove there even is one. In essence I have as little belief in god as I do that we live in the Matrix.

This fact, that I simply have no belief in a god, is not a pre-conceived notion. I think I should have made this more clear re-reading what I wrote as I have read very much material regarding religion, which started immediately when I started gaining doubt of my Catholicism. There is differences between anti-theism and Atheism.

Edit: If you'd like I can create a blog post on this at some point so we can have a more serious discussion further. I don't want to overly flood this with a somewhat off-topic debate. I was simply using my stance on Atheism as an example to the main message.

#33 Posted by Vonocourt (2107 posts) -

What a swell way to start off your blog posting on this site.I hope you continue.

#34 Posted by Little_Socrates (5649 posts) -

Good read. Color me impressed. I'm learning as much as I can about all religions, and I've come to a point where I believe all religions are true. I'm a theist, but I hold nothing but respect for atheists. Well, so long as they aren't depressives, anyways; someone who is stubbornly atheist because they won't turn to theism is just as frustrating as a theist who doesn't understand why other people could possibly believe a religion separate from their own. Religion is a wonderful coping mechanism for suffering; those who choose to accept a God can believe that things happen for a reason clouded by them, and sometimes that's a wonderful thing. An absolute refusal to accept that maybe things happen for a reason is as baffling to me as a Christian saying it's possible for Jesus to be the son of God and to walk on water, but COMPLETELY INSANE that God might reveal himself to a completely different group of people in the different form of Krishna.

The prejudices we have been taught by our society should probably be overcome as often as possible. This is true even in video games; get told Saints Row the Third is good enough times and you'll probably just decide to believe it. I agree that people should regularly challenge their own beliefs; that way, they can make sure they actually believe them.

#35 Posted by baconbits33 (1156 posts) -

Ummm... hmmm Soooooooooo when's the next post? Lookin forward to it.

#36 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

I don't even think your frustrations need to be restricted to just religion alone. There are people on literally hundreds of different subjects that we could talk about. It's frustrating, yes, but if you can manage to figure out how that person got the way they are it's a little easier to reach them. Though often you won't be able to and it's really not worth your time.

@Vonocourt @baconbits33

I take your kind words to heart :) I'll be working on another one soon! Promise! I hope I don't fail your expectations

#37 Posted by PrivateIronTFU (3874 posts) -

I suppose we all reach that age where we think we have the world figured out. But that age came and went for me years ago.

I've since allowed myself the good fortune of seeing the world as many different shades of gray (or, more beautifully, many different colors. Gray is so drab), not just black and white.

#38 Posted by Gerhabio (1969 posts) -

@pixieface said:

Maybe.

I see what you did there...

#39 Posted by Packie (255 posts) -

You know, I wish more people on the forums were like you. You earned yourself a follow.

#40 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@Packie said:

You know, I wish more people on the forums were like you. You earned yourself a follow.

You're too kind! Really. If more people were like me I think the forums would be a very boring place! The follow is appreciated, I'm getting overwhelmed by this. I hadn't expected any responses until I had at least a few blog posts up.

@PrivateIronTFU

It's a pretty enlightening experience.

#41 Posted by animathias (1076 posts) -

That was a breath of fresh air. There's been too much putting-down and "angst" (for lack of a better word) in the forums for the past week or so. It's good to know there are still some people out there with a good head on their shoulders. Welcome to the forums, duder.

#42 Posted by Xeiphyer (5589 posts) -

Finally!
 
I feel like recently I've seen a lot of people posting to the forums about some issue and then claiming that their viewpoint is the only correct one and there is no room for other people's opinions. Frankly I find those topics fucking crazy.
 
I wish that you had refrained from using a particular user and religion specifically though, because I think that you're speaking about some very general and basic knowledge that not a lot of people seem to understand. Of course I know that's somewhat impossible as they were part of the inspiration for this blog. 
 
While I was reading this, one particular thread immediately jumped into my mind: " The future of our dysfunctional society" was a very interesting topic because the original poster, Hermoor, was very worried about the increasing population of Earth, and the effects of current issues such as war, poverty, crime, starvation, etc would have on everyone's lives in the future. That's definitely something that people should think about of course, but this Hermoor was completely convinced that everything he thought was the only possibility and there was no way the outcome could be different from his projections. Let me share an example:
 

In 1950 the world population was about 2.5 billion. 60 years later it's 7 billion. That is 2.8 times as much as it was in 1950. Now let's pretend our new superior technology that makes it possible for us to genetically enhance food will make it possible for us to grow even more.
 
2.8 times 7 billion is about 20 billion. Which means we will be 20 billion people on earth in about 40 years from now.

That's the starting point. Even after people point out that his projection is wrong and that you can't calculate population growth linearly, he assures everyone they are wrong and by his "Pure logic" he is right.
 
I wrote my reply on page 2, which is worth noting for its use of: graphs, statistics, logic, reason, common sense. While I definitely have some of my own bias, I wanted to argue back using facts and expert's opinions and predictions. The United Nations' World Prospects Report was recently released, and I used a few quotes and references to it, one might think that a bunch of top experts commissioned to calculate predictions on the world population, among many other things, going into the future might take into factor... every factor they could, to hopefully come up with the most accurate prediction possible. You might think that, most people would probably agree. I'll quote the very first part of Hermoor's reply:
 

@Xeiphyer: But fact is it's hard to predict the future, I'm taking into account probably more things than the UN is. They base their facts on how it looks right now. I base it on events that are probably going to happen in the future.

I added the bold for emphasis.  The thread continues on, but I think I have made my example. 
 
There are so many people who are completely locked into their views and positions, that they refuse to see any other viewpoint besides their own. Its hard to tell if its just a product of the times, or inherent to human nature. Most probably its both, we are imperfect beings after all, but I think the current culture supports the belief that "You" are special, that you can be whatever you want to be, and you are always right. That's what most people's parents tell their kids. They raise us to believe that we are better than everyone else, which is of course an elitist concept. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with elitism. Not all people are created equal, and there isn't really any reason to treat everyone as such. Genius children should be given special treatment so that they can excel, instead of being confined by the limits imposed on other kids of their age. Though that doesn't mean we should take all the slow kids and stick them in the slow kid class where they don't learn as much, obviously we should take special care to help them learn at the regular speed.
 
Pardon the digression, but the point is that we are raised in a society where we are taught to stick to our views and not let anyone change them. "Stick to what you believe in" might sound like great advice when giving to someone with dreams of doing something great, but it can just as easily apply to someone with dreams of killing all the jews, which is probably an idea they shouldn't stick to. 
 
People need to realize that the things they know, the things they're taught and learn from others, might not necessarily be true, or the right things to believe. When we are kids, we learn the ideals of our parents first, we go to church with them because that's what they do. When we get older we start to discover conflicting beliefs, and we either lock in to what we believe, or open up to what other's think, and decide if that's what we really think too. Maybe a lot of people just get stuck in that mode, where they pick one stance and refuse all others.
 
Hell, I know there are some things I get stuck believing, and get defensive when someone starts pointing out the flaws in it. I'll probably even get angry, but afterwards I'll still see their point of view and learn from it.
 
I formed my reply to Hermoor's thread about population by examining his beliefs about the topic, and forming my reply around them, to show him another side. The rebuttal to your beliefs is what helps you decide if you really believe in it, or if there is something better and more true to yourself. I might have gotten a little offensive towards the end of my reply to him though, especially after reading some of his replies to others in that thread, but we are imperfect beings.
#43 Posted by AlmostSwedish (536 posts) -

I'll add my voice to the choir of praise.

I take the biochemical approach to opinions: equilibrium is death. I can't imaginge going through life being completely sure of anything. One year I was a socialist, the next I was reading Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. Now I consider myself part of the post modern goo. That will probably (hopefully!) change soon.

#44 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4479 posts) -

@Zolkowski said:

This is about improving yourself

So you want to improve us, which means you think you're better than us.

Nice one, bro.

#45 Posted by AlmostSwedish (536 posts) -

An additional point, although another fairly obvious one.

I think that it's worth noting that the discourse on the internet isn't representative of peoples actual behaviour. In many cases, I think people don't treat forums as a bunch of actual people but as a large ball plank for testing their ideas, and not necessarily in the sense that they are looking for views contradictory to their own.

In addition, I think the bar for discussion on message boards would improve dramatically with the inclusion of sarcmarkand possibly a tests on reading comprehension. :)

#46 Posted by gamefreak9 (2327 posts) -

@Zolkowski said:

@gamefreak9 said:

Although I've never really been much of a fan of religious debate because I see it as a waste of time... atheism or theism... who cares to each his own. Though study of game theory and philosophy it pretty much makes sense to just be a theist... + I think anybody that gives people an excuse to come together and socialize as real people is probably a good thing... I think I did see a regressive study with % of pop religious and happiness polls, it almost seem to be as big a factor as the divorce coefficient. So I am an agnostic and I think you should be too... I mean if your not an agnostic then your going in with preconceived notions and those will affect you with confirmation bias, giving more power to Anti-religious stuff your exposed too, and less power to religious stuff.

Alrighty, I'll break this down the best I can to avoid confusion. When arguing religion you can do so in various ways. You can argue the science in religion - Tangible Arguments. We could discuss whether or not there is the existence of god - (mostly) Philosophical argument (which I will touch briefly), we can discuss the historical facts/accuracy of religion - Tangible Argument. Or we could discuss whether or not we are better off with religion, specifically organized religion. - Which is my favorite, it's a mix of philosophy, science, and historical fact.

To touch your first point on game theory and philosophy I am assuming you are putting the point you are safer with believing in a god as it's a safer choice - a better chance to go into heaven. The problem I have with this is a moral dilemma. If a god wanted me to be aware of his presence, as well as praise him, I'd like to think that they would make it a little easier to believe in them. If it is the case they truly do exist, I'd rather not serve a god that would send people to hell for doubting and asking questions. They should judge us for our character and what we have done with ourselves.

The argument of happiness is a pretty flimsy one to go on. I could argue that Sweden, one of the most secular countries in the world, proves that you can be happy without religion ( http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/lif_hap_net-lifestyle-happiness-net ) as it is tied for 2nd as the happiest country in the world. We can also have statistics skewed on happiness of when these polls and surveys were taken. Chances are, if these happiness questions were asked while a republican was in a seat of power you are going to have fewer happy Atheist/agnostics/secularists as Republican stances are somewhat positioned against them.

And last and finally the ever-so-famous label debate. We could argue what is Atheist and what is Agnostic all day. I identify myself as atheist because the definition is damn near the same as an Agnostic-Atheist. An atheist can be defined as (http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t98.e278) "Either the lack of belief that there exists a god, or the belief that there exists none." An Agnostic-Atheist holds no belief in a god because it is unknowable. It's outside the realm of science. Both of these have a lack of belief in a god because there is no way to prove there even is one. In essence I have as little belief in god as I do that we live in the Matrix.

This fact, that I simply have no belief in a god, is not a pre-conceived notion. I think I should have made this more clear re-reading what I wrote as I have read very much material regarding religion, which started immediately when I started gaining doubt of my Catholicism. There is differences between anti-theism and Atheism.

Edit: If you'd like I can create a blog post on this at some point so we can have a more serious discussion further. I don't want to overly flood this with a somewhat off-topic debate. I was simply using my stance on Atheism as an example to the main message.

Well like I said i'm not an expert in this stuff I am merely a stats/economics guy. Well game theory does take into account your moral dilemma its just about optimizing you strategy. Rule number 1 in game theory, don't play game where other strategies dominate yours, and well lets face it, not believing in god pretty much dominates no strategy whilst believing in god when god is real holds unimaginable pay off. Well I don't really know how well versed I am in my religious stuff but I was under the impression we all go to heaven since Christ died... regardless of what all these weird American priests might emanate, but if this was true, then the game theory doesn't hold any more but then so does your reason for not believing.

It pays to be in statistics, its pretty easy to transfer it among professions. No you can't make the argument with Sweeden because your only looking at two things. The regressive study included all (developed) countries and Sweeden's happiness polls was mostly attributed to its higher equality. You can't just look at two variables and think your looking at cause and effect... I mean Japan has one of the lowest Religion % and they are miserable :P, + they kill themselves, which probably would not happen so much if they had Christianity(this wasn't in the study i'm just being assumptive and doing the thing I told you not to do).

Well about the terminology... I do speak greek and both those words are greek so let me give you a translation. Atheist=I don't have a god. Agnostic=not enough knowledge. So I don't know who makes up all this random compound words but I find them irrelevant and needless. The point is, one is absolute, and the other gives an open mind and is just waiting for the right information(which will probably never come). If you choose an option instead of staying in limbo(see what I did there), you will suffer confirmation bias, because you will fear this effect you mentioned, the backfire effect and possible switching costs you will incur, which will either be loss of confidence to yourself or loss of image to your friends/whoever you argued with.

Um... not sure if I can reload my guns for another round of this... but if you wish to make a blog post on this go ahead :P.

#47 Posted by Vodun (2365 posts) -

@Zolkowski: I sometimes question the value of my first few years of college because I didn't really study anything which I use today. But what it did teach me was to always be critical, but always open to new ways of thought. You never stop learning, and you are never fully taught.

I can pretty much accept any point of view, but if someone is too convinced of their ideas I start getting wary.

#48 Posted by Enigma777 (6047 posts) -

Yo, dinosaurs. Nuff said.

#49 Posted by Zolkowski (52 posts) -

@Xeiphyer said:

I added the bold for emphasis. The thread continues on, but I think I have made my example.

There are so many people who are completely locked into their views and positions, that they refuse to see any other viewpoint besides their own. Its hard to tell if its just a product of the times, or inherent to human nature. Most probably its both, we are imperfect beings after all, but I think the current culture supports the belief that "You" are special, that you can be whatever you want to be, and you are always right. That's what most people's parents tell their kids. They raise us to believe that we are better than everyone else, which is of course an elitist concept. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with elitism. Not all people are created equal, and there isn't really any reason to treat everyone as such. Genius children should be given special treatment so that they can excel, instead of being confined by the limits imposed on other kids of their age. Though that doesn't mean we should take all the slow kids and stick them in the slow kid class where they don't learn as much, obviously we should take special care to help them learn at the regular speed.

Pardon the digression, but the point is that we are raised in a society where we are taught to stick to our views and not let anyone change them. "Stick to what you believe in" might sound like great advice when giving to someone with dreams of doing something great, but it can just as easily apply to someone with dreams of killing all the jews, which is probably an idea they shouldn't stick to. People need to realize that the things they know, the things they're taught and learn from others, might not necessarily be true, or the right things to believe. When we are kids, we learn the ideals of our parents first, we go to church with them because that's what they do. When we get older we start to discover conflicting beliefs, and we either lock in to what we believe, or open up to what other's think, and decide if that's what we really think too. Maybe a lot of people just get stuck in that mode, where they pick one stance and refuse all others. Hell, I know there are some things I get stuck believing, and get defensive when someone starts pointing out the flaws in it. I'll probably even get angry, but afterwards I'll still see their point of view and learn from it. I formed my reply to Hermoor's thread about population by examining his beliefs about the topic, and forming my reply around them, to show him another side. The rebuttal to your beliefs is what helps you decide if you really believe in it, or if there is something better and more true to yourself. I might have gotten a little offensive towards the end of my reply to him though, especially after reading some of his replies to others in that thread, but we are imperfect beings.

That was a great example Xeiphyer. I feel if someone gets to the point where you know they aren't acknowledging any evidence you are bringing up to simply call them out on it. It'll either force them to finally answer what you've brought up or it will force them to ramble nonsense some more - which by then you know it's not worth your time.

The way we are raised has very much to do with how we tick today. I've mentioned somewhere else in this discussions that I feel like having a critical analysis and thinking class when we are younger would help remedy the situation a lot more. As studies would suggest, however, it seems to also be somewhat hardcoded into our brains. It's uncomfortable to be wrong. Who ever wants to be wrong most of the time, really? It would just seem perfectly natural for someone to close up and defend something they hold truth because we act like it's a part of us.

I'm not much of a pacifist when it comes to debating so long as it still moves the conversation along. Getting hostile is also something for us that is very natural :p

@AlmostSwedish

The internet, to me, is one of the greatest places where we can express our views. For me it's very hard to articulate exactly what I want to say unless I were to pause a lot and think through what I wanted to say - and even then might slip up by succumbing to some pressure to hurry up. The internet is the perfect place to play ping-pong with ideas without every really having to worry of any repercussion. If it weren't for the internet, I would not have found out my friend's political/religious views as it's never discussed in person. We feel a little more safe to fight it out behind a monitor.

@Vodun said:

There's a pretty hilarious quote by Skeptic Comedian Tim Minchin that goes something like, "If you open your mind too much your brain will fall out." To consider everything a possibility without some reason and evidence behind it can get a little tiresome and ridiculous. I'm sure you have some borders still set up to prevent such an incident from happening. :p But in all actuality, I get what you mean.

@gamefreak9 said:

I'd love to continue this discussion sometime as I feel like we are still misunderstanding each other. Perhaps some other time :)

#50 Posted by Mageman (352 posts) -

@MikeGosot said:

@Zolkowski said:

@MikeGosot:

Thank you so very much for your kind words and the follow! One of the worst things I find is when two sides are arguing for something they really don't understand themselves and especially don't understand what you believe. The fact of the matter, if this is the case, is both parties need to realize there is nothing productive to come of it until more effort is put on both sides to understand their own views as well as each other's.

I had a philosophy teacher who wanted to teach the basics of a discussion. He divided the class in two groups. Ben 10 and Naruto. And we needed to discuss which one was the best. He gave a week for us to research BOTH animations, saying: "Before EVERY debate, you need to know both sides of the coin. You may even switch sides. Of course, you don't know the next time you will be discussing something, so always study. Culture, Intelligence, and the way you use and express both are your weapons not only to debates and discussions, but to life as a whole." Sorry if my english is bad, i'm kinda falling asleep here...

You can't be serious....