Social Question

ibstubro's avatar

What have you 'Closed Your Mind' on? Topics that you're not willing to discuss with an 'Open Mind'?

Asked by ibstubro (10693 points ) April 6th, 2014

Here’s my short list, (non-exhaustive):

Child molestation.
Spousal Abuse.
Animal cruelty.

I’d add incest, but I was not molested as a child, so I don’t want people to infer I was molested as a child by a relative.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

127 Answers

filmfann's avatar

The possibility that Atheists are right.

GloPro's avatar

Racism
Gay Rights

CWOTUS's avatar

The ideas that:
– the Holocaust wasn’t real
– 9/11 was a government conspiracy (of the US government, that is)
– some god among the 10,000 or so we’ve worshipped so far is real, and we know Its thoughts and ideals

Anything having to do with “social justice”

Mimishu1995's avatar

Personal NSFW questions (like “how often do you masturbate”)
Anything religion related.
Stupid relationship questions that have obvious answers (like “does he/she like me” or “what does it mean to dream about my crush”)

talljasperman's avatar

What topics a will I not discuss… apparently this question. I have skeletons in my closet and I don’t even want to hint at them.

DominicX's avatar

Agree about the Holocaust. I know it’s not a good idea to close my mind—but I simply cannot listen to Holocaust deniers.

Also homosexuality being a choice. Although I still will grant it’s possible some people can choose it. As a general cause of homosexuality, no, no respect for that “theory”.

Smitha's avatar

It usually depends on who I’m talking to/with. With my best friend I don’t mind discussing anything. Infact we both know each other right from childhood so there is no closed topic between us. Otherwise I hate discussing topics describing violent crime, any topic related to my personal sex life, own insecurities in life, or anything that will make me feel embarrassed.

hominid's avatar

I can’t think of any positions I hold that immutable.
But as a practical matter, I don’t entertain every individual challenge if it appears that the challenge is taking the form of one that I have thoroughly considered and justifiably rejected multiple times.

hominid's avatar

^ [edit: that are immutable]

SavoirFaire's avatar

“I cannot find, I cannot imagine any such reasoning. But I keep my mind still open to instruction, if any one will vouchsafe to bestow it upon me.”
—David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

Cats are better than dogs.

whitenoise's avatar

1–1=0

and

‘you can’t prove I’m wrong, so that proves I’m right’

gondwanalon's avatar

I’ve got my mind made up about the Book of Mormon being totally fabricated out of thin air.
I think that evolution is fact.
No one loves cats better than me but dogs are just smarter than cats.

Symbeline's avatar

Homelessness and poverty. Anyone who wants to play the ’‘they’re too lazy to work’’ card gets no time of day from me. This usually comes from people who think society is perfect, and I have no time to waste on that kind of ignorance, not even on Internet forums.

Seek's avatar

I try to remain open to new data on all issues.

However, “rob the poor to feed the rich” politics do not deserve my time.

ragingloli's avatar

The inevitability of tyranny, misery and poverty in capitalism.

Bill1939's avatar

While I may have strong opinions on some subjects, I am willing to discuss any topic with an open mind. I believe that comprehension requires one to try to understand conflicting points of view.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m not really open to extreme binary viewpoints on most topics, especially politics and religion.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

That the wealthy are so hard done by, really tired of hearing about the poor abused rich folks.

KNOWITALL's avatar

God’s existence, gays making a choice to be gay, sex crimes, animal cruelty, work is not a choice for most.

LuckyGuy's avatar

When someone brings up “the moon landing was faked” subject. Yeah, faked like the Holocaust or the slaughter in Rwanda.

cheebdragon's avatar

@LuckyGuy While I don’t think landing on the moon was faked, I can kind of understand why people would think so. There isn’t enough money in the world to make me feel comfortable with leaving the planet in anything designed 50–60 years ago…...fuck that, no thanks I’m all good here on earth.

hominid's avatar

Wait. It appears that there are more than a handful of positions that people have “closed their mind on”. Just to be clear, are you saying that there no amount of new evidence or argument could possibly change your mind? I always thought that identifying what it would take for us to change our minds about something was the first step in determining if we had any justification in holding a belief? If we have acknowledged that we’re completely closed to new evidence or argument, does that tell you anything about that belief or position?

ibstubro's avatar

At this point, @hominid, I am completely my mind is completely closed to objective discussion of child molestation. I have tried it a couple of times on the internet and come away with the distinct impression that the other party was an apologist for their own thoughts or deeds on molesting children. I now err on the side of caution: there is no give and take on molesting children. It’s wrong.

I would be open to a discussion on how to treat, punish or prevent child molestation, but not on fine points of right or wrong.

hominid's avatar

@ibstubro – Well, clearly this is an extreme case. And because we agree here, I would be in no position to even plant a seed of doubt.

But there are people in this thread that have stated that their belief in a god is something that is not open to change, or their disbelief in a faked moon landing conspiracy, or other questions of fact. Shouldn’t our beliefs be tentative and open to new evidence? If I fold my arms and say that “nobody will ever convince me that the moon landing was faked”, then I am saying that I either do not base my beliefs on evidence, or that new evidence will never be discovered.

Or take the question of the existence of a god or gods. My lack of belief in a god certainly isn’t something that is immune to evidence. I certainly seek reasons and evidence that would change my belief. But this doesn’t mean that I would choose to spend my time explaining the problem with Pascal’s Wager with every single person. We might not choose to spend our time entertaining the tired, debunked 9/11 conspiracy theorist arguments on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean that I’m immune to new evidence if it were to be discovered.

And even the controversial and ethical questions that we all seem so certain about – while I can say that my level of certainty is about as high as it can get, I hope that it’s not 100%. I am a human, with all of the glitches in reasoning that we all have. I hope I’m not completely closed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Hominid Christians be definition believe, by faith, that’s pretty much the whole point. You don’t get it.

ragingloli's avatar

Faith: believing in something with absolute conviction without any supporting evidence and despite evidence to the contrary.
Some people just do not care about what is true, only what they want to be true.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ragingloli then we all must be agnostic.

Blackberry's avatar

There’s literally no reason for me to have kids. I just can’t accept that one day I’ll change my mind and turn into a drooling suburban mom over wanting kids.

antimatter's avatar

Faith will always be a topic I don’t like…what if we were all wrong and aliens lands on Earth and their faith is more convincing than ours and they even got scientific facts to back up their faith.

ragingloli's avatar

“and they even got scientific facts to back up their faith.”
Then it is not faith.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“then we all must be agnostic.”

This does not follow. To be agnostic about an issue—any issue—is to suspend judgment. It is to neither believe nor disbelieve. But one can have a reasonable belief without certainty. If all the evidence points a particular way, it is reasonable to believe (even if we remain open to the possibility that future evidence may force us to change our mind).

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

When evidence points both ways and is in cases contradictory then I have no problem suspending judgement. To be truly atheist requires nearly the same measure of faith that religion does.

ragingloli's avatar

no it does not.

janbb's avatar

I think I would have trouble being disabused of the notion that everyone in a civilized society should have access to good health care. I would be open to exploring how this could be arranged most effectively.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

My strong beliefs in animal rights, which govern most of my life. I’ve been eating plants and wearing cloth or vinyl shoes and no wool for about 30 years. Every discussion with someone who disagrees with me, every debate about how flawed my logic is…I’ve had them all more times than I can recall, and I’m done with them. If someone challenges me in a confrontational way, I shut down and say that the subject is off limits.

Of course, if someone’s genuinely interested in my ideologies and wants to learn about my choices, I’m delighted to discuss the matter.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ragingloli Explain where the universe came from.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Since this is in General, I’ll point out that your last two answers are attempting to take us off topic. If you’re interested, the claim that atheism requires faith in the same way that theism does—besides being a case of the equivocation fallacy—has been refuted several times on Fluther. I’m sure someone can point you to a relevant question.

To try and bring this back on topic, my point was simply this: the existence of evidence both ways is not itself enough to demand agnosticism, and nothing that @ragingloli has said commits them to saying otherwise. Most issues have evidence pointing both ways. But that doesn’t mean that both sides have equal evidence, taht all of the evidence is equally strong, or that there is never any way to rationally resolve the issue.

In fact, one might read @ragingloli‘s post as saying that when there is no evidence for a view and quite a bit of evidence against that view, then agnosticism is irrational. There is no reason to accept the view or to suspend judgment in such a situation. As such, your rejoinder would make no sense.

rojo's avatar

Abortion,
Pot Legalization,
Ghosts,
@ragingloli ‘s belief system.

kimchi's avatar

Death sentence!
Gay rights!
Answers on my homework!
Where I get my clothes (:

cheebdragon's avatar

@rojo why ghosts?

ragingloli's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me
Atheism does not require faith, just as Afairyism or Aunicornism requires faith.
When there is no evidence to support Unicorns’/Fairies’/Gods’ existence, then the only rational stance is to reject its existence until substantial evidence is provided.

Also, a lack established knowledge of events before the Big Bang is in no way, shape or form, an argument for any sort of god.
That applies not only to the origin of the universe, but to any instance of personal ignorance, past, present and future.
To claim otherwise is nothing more than an argument from ignorance.
When humans did not know where they came from, they handwaved it with “god”. Then the Theory of Evolution came.
When humans did not know where the earth came from, they handwaved it with “god”.
Then astrophysics came.
When humans did not know where diseases came from, they handwaved it with “demons”.
Then germ theory came.
When humans did not know where lightning came from, they handwaved it with “zeus”.
Then the theories of electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetism came.
When NEWTON could not calculate a solar system, he gave up, and handwaved it with god.
Then came LaPlace, 100 years later, and calculated it.
And now YOU do not know where the universe came from. Guess on which side of history you stand.

Symbeline's avatar

When humans did not know where lightning came from, they handwaved it with “zeus” Thor.

Fixed.

ragingloli's avatar

edit: ‘just as Afairyism or Aunicornism does not require faith.’

whitenoise's avatar

@Symbeline

Zeus brought lightning to the Greek. Thor brought it to @ragingloli‘s ancestors.

They don’t exclude each other.

Greek are humans too.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ragingloli I need to clarify that i’m never talking about the creator in theology. Newton was devoutly religious. There was no handwaving on his part. He would have said he is just discovering how creation works. That does not justify his belief in theology but simply understanding how something operates does not in any way explain its existance. “God did it” obviously is not a valid answer. “It just is” is not valid either. To deny all together that this universe may have been designed seems to be a measure of faith.

ragingloli's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me
Yes, Newton did handwaving.
After he discovered and calculated the elliptical orbits of the planets, he tried to calculate a stable solar system based on the laws he discovered.
He failed to stabilise the solar system in his calculations (meaning the system ripped itself apart) and he basically concluded that the laws he discovered could not account for the stability of the solar system, and attributed it to constant divine intervention:

“The six primary planets are revolved about the sun in circles concentric with the sun, and with motions directed towards the same parts, and almost in the same plane. Ten moons are revolved about the earth, Jupiter and Saturn, in circles concentric with them, with the same direction of motion, and nearly in the planes of the orbits of those planets ; but it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions, since the comets range over all parts of the heavens in very eccentric orbits ; for by that kind of motion they pass easily through the orbs of the planets, and with great rapidity ; and in their aphelions, where they move the slowest, and are detained the longest, they recede to the greatest distances from each other, and thence suffer the least disturbance from their mutual attractions. This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

rojo's avatar

@cheebdragon Ghosts are like the other topics, It doesn’t matter whether you are a believer, agwraithic or even an aphantasist, nobody ever changes their minds just from talking about it..

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ragingloli I stand corrected, that is indeed hand waving.

Seek's avatar

nobody ever changes their minds just from talking about it..

On the contrary, that’s the only way anyone ever does change their mind.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Ragingloli I can’t imagine being so arrogant as to assert everyone’s beliefs are ignorant except your own. Wow.

ragingloli's avatar

@KNOWITALL
ignorance

ig¦nor|ance

Pronunciation: /ˈɪgn(ə)r(ə)ns

noun

Lack of knowledge or information: he acted in ignorance of basic procedures

Seek's avatar

People really take the word “ignorant” too negatively.

Hakuna your tatas, folks. Socrates suggests you should embrace your own ignorance. It’s the only way to live an examined life.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“If I were to say that I am wiser in anything, it would be in this—that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know.”
—Socrates, Apologia

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@ragingloli Correct me if I’m wrong; Are you stating that lack of scientific demonstration that a (thing/concept/whatever) exists = scientific demonstration of the non-existence of said (thing/concept/whatever)?

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m frankly amazed – given the amount of heat with which the idea is prosecuted in another ongoing thread – that no one has mentioned “the idea that mankind is NOT primarily responsible for current levels and speed of climate change”.

Despite the attack that this response might engender, I am not in the camp of “refusing to entertain the idea” that mankind may be the primary driver of current levels of climate change; I’m just “unconvinced”. And before anyone starts sending me their pet arguments and “well lookit this, then”, please be advised that I have already read much more in-depth, technical and scientific arguments (both pro and con) than anyone here is likely to duplicate or exceed. So please don’t waste your fingers typing those responses.

SavoirFaire's avatar

{Yawn}

All of these pre-defensive posts that tell people what sort of response their allowed to give—which almost invariably demand that people not give responses that would, in any case, be off-topic on a General question—are incredibly boring and pretentious.

Seek's avatar

@SavoirFaire How dare you call me pretentious! And don’t argue with me, I knew what pretentious meant before you did and you can’t possibly give me any examples of pretention that I don’t already know, and you better not be trying to take away my first amendment right to be pretentious!

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Seek Please be advised that I have already read much more in-depth, technical and scientific definitions of “pretentious” than anyone here is likely to duplicate or exceed. So please don’t waste your fingers typing those responses.

BiZhen's avatar

Gods, ghosts, psychics, Bigfoot, Atlantis, “Ancient Aliens”, etc. are such obvious “gou pi” that it is logical to close our minds to them. @flimflam, atheists are right!

cheebdragon's avatar

Ghosts are more credible than a god, in my opinion. I’m not saying ghosts are real, but at least they have been seen on a fairly consistent basis throughout history.

ragingloli's avatar

@Yetanotheruser
No, that is not what I am stating.
The default position is disbelief. Lack of evidence means lack of a reason to deviate from the default position.
It is not about establishing the nonexistence of X, but about whether or not it is rational to assert the existence of X in the first place.
Unicorns for example.
There is no evidence that Unicorns exist. The lack of evidence for Unicorns is not a demonstration that Unicorns do not exist. Unicorns could very well exist regardless, for example by being invisible.
So let us assume that invisible Unicorns do exist, and that they do not detectably interact with reality.
It would still be irrational to believe that they exist, even though they exist, because there is no evidence that demonstrates their existence.

filmfann's avatar

@BiZhen It would be easier for me to accept that there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster that is responsible for the creation of the world, than that it was all a chance occurrence.

cheebdragon's avatar

@filmfann what color is this Flying Spaghetti Monster?

ibstubro's avatar

Of course, I can’t guarantee that the picture wasn’t taken prior to the 50’s, when color was invented.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@ibstubro So that’s also why I can’t see the picture in your link?

Brian1946's avatar

@Mimishu1995 The reason you can’t his linked picture, is because the “g” at the end of the link suffix “jpg” was omitted: http://images4.sw-cdn.net/model/picture/674x501_583647_440275_1338417925.jpg

ibstubro's avatar

Crap, @Brian1946. Thanks!

Symbeline's avatar

Oh so it was a mistake…I thought the blank page was intentional, which is hilarious.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Brian1946 Thanks. Never expected Flying Spaghetti Monster to be soooo tasty looking!

Seek's avatar

All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Parmesan Be Upon Him), for He has Boiled for our Sins!

rojo's avatar

Throw him against the wall, see if he sticks. If not, he is unworthy.

ragingloli's avatar

The power of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is insignificant next to the power of Raptor Jesus.
He went extinct for your sins.

hominid's avatar

I always felt that IPU, despite it’s declining popularity, is the most reasonable…

“Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can’t see them.”

Seek's avatar

I love IPU. And I am a huge fan of Russell’s Tea pot.

BiZhen's avatar

Flimflam creates a straw man that is illogical. Scientific laws are not mere chance. Pan Gu was the Chinese creator, Brahma is the Hindu creator, Izanagi & Izanami are Japanese creators, etc. There is no logical reason to prefer one to the many others. They are all fantasy. Science needs no creators. Who created gods? Who created the creators of gods? Ad nauseum! Occam’s Razor cuts down all creator gods. Priests created gods to use in con games.

filmfann's avatar

@BiZhen First, my screen name here is filmfann, not flimflam. If it is meant to be hurtful by referring to me in such a way, that is not permitted on Fluther. If it was done because you were just scanning my name without reading it, that might also explain your concept of the universe.
My best attempt to argue against your position, without using faith, would be to point out the remarkable difficulty of the development of life. Evolution is a snap, but going from NO LIFE to LIFE is staggering. You don’t see plants or flowers or trees or anything like that anywhere but Earth, at this writing. It isn’t a given.

Symbeline's avatar

If it is meant to be hurtful by referring to me in such a way, that is not permitted on Fluther.

If it was done because you were just scanning my name without reading it, that might also explain your concept of the universe.

Yeah, nice.

Seek's avatar

Evolution does not discuss the origin of life. It talks about what happened after abiogenesis. And it can get away with being staggeringly difficult, because there are billions of planets in the universe and it only had to happen once in 15 billion years.

That said, read the name, it’s right there on the screen.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Seek I’m pretty sure that @filmfann knows that. He was granting evolution, but noting that abiogenesis is a separate question (and that it is this question, rather than the question of how life developed once it came to be) that he is using as empirical evidence for his belief (while also noting that he takes himself to have other evidence that he recognizes is not likely to sway @BiZhen because it is based in his faith).

But yes, I agree that abiogenesis is not quite so surprising once we understand the size and age of the universe. This relates to the weak anthropic principle: given that we are here observing the universe, it cannot be at all surprising that the universe is such that creatures like us could exist to observe it. Indeed, it is knowable a priori that this must be the case.

ibstubro's avatar

NPR today told me that Einstein was, basically, an agnostic. Believing in God but not necessarily the god of christians?

Anyone link me to the NPR religious discussion?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ibstubro Do you remember which program it was on?
I listened to NPR a good bit today but must have missed that story while I was at work or in class.

Bill1939's avatar

@ibstubro if you Google “NPR religious discussion” you will find many programs about this subject.

ibstubro's avatar

I do not, @El_Cadejo, and I’ve had bad luck finding content on NPR after the fact. This is not what I heard, but interesting.

What I heard was, I believe, an interview with an author who’s book dealt with religion. The author was discussing “faith”, and the fact that belief in both God and Quarks rely on faith. A book I would like to read.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
—Albert Einstein, in a letter to Eric Gutkind (dated 3 January 1954)

“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
—Albert Einstein, in a letter to Joseph Dispentiere (dated 24 March 1954)


Most of the misrepresentation of Einstein’s beliefs about God are based on the following statement, made in response to a rabbi asking him if he believed in God:

“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

What often confuses people about this statement is that they do not understand the context of it. Spinoza’s God was nature—in other words, no God at all. Indeed, Spinoza was excommunicated as a youth for expressing such views, becoming one of the first secular Jews in recorded history. Later, he was widely declared an atheist by his fellow philosophers.

Both Einstein and the rabbi to whom he was responding, then, would have understood this answer to be a dressed up way of saying “no.” In throwing his lot in with Spinoza, Einstein—who was ethnically Jewish like Spinoza, and who was also quite well-read in philosophy—was declaring himself to be another secular Jew.

As for the bit about agnosticism, Einstein often shied away from the term “atheist” due to its association with a particular sort of vehement opponent of theism. Disliking the attitude, he rejected the label that he associated with it. He was quite clear throughout his life, however, that he found the notion of a personal God quite absurd.

ibstubro's avatar

YES! That was it, @El_Cadejo. And what did you think? I have tried to make the same argument here that science is faith-based, just as is religion.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ibstubro I didn’t listen to the whole thing but I didn’t agree fully with him in the bits I heard. Yea some science is I guess you could argue faith based but its based on what we’ve learned before so we infer that things will work x way under y circumstances, the major difference is science has no problem what-so-ever with saying “oh wait a minute, we fucked up, ....it actually works like this” and move on instead of being rooted in some archaic idea.

ibstubro's avatar

You kinda have to listen to it all, @El_Cadejo.

Bill1939's avatar

Bose–Einstein condensate was predicted in 1924, but was not confirmed until 1995 (see). This was proposed by Murray Gell-Mann in 1961, however it took seven years before experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center showed that a proton contained much smaller, point-like objects. Physicists now call a group of quarks partons – a term coined by Richard Feynman. (see).

These two concepts might be thought of as having been taken on “faith” until they were verified as fact. However this is not the same thing as the “faith” that religious people have about the existence of their God or Gods.

hearkat's avatar

[Mod says] This thread is in the General Section; thus, responses must be about the original post – which in this case is asking people to list the topics which they refuse to discuss.

hearkat's avatar

[Mod says] The OP approved our request to move the conversation to Social. All comments have been reinstated.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Science is not, in any sense, faith-based. Faith is when confidence in a belief exceeds the evidence for that belief (such that the belief is not warranted by the evidence and thus requires something else to sustain it). Though scientists may sometimes propose hypotheses on the basis of scant evidence, they are also careful to qualify how seriously those hypotheses should be taken until they can be tested and developed into actual theories.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The process of science is not faith based at all. It’s just that, a process. What people believe or some of the conclusions and speculation that they draw from what the science reveals can be faith-ish. Especially if they are not trained in that specific field and are not able to distinguish the genuine article from the junk. It’s surprising to me that people still question the big bang yet read a two-paragraph article in a wine magazine that mentions a single study that shows red wine may be good for your heart and be completely sold on the idea.

ibstubro's avatar

Phlogiston.
Y2K.

Have a little faith, will ya?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ibstubro I never said that scientists don’t sometimes get the process wrong or that they jump to conclusions. They do all the time. Sadly science is extremely vulnerable to political and selfish influence. The good news is that bad/wrong science will eventually be found out and corrected. There are two types of scientists: believers and skeptics. The “believers” can cause problems because they are prone to use intuition and hunches (AKA not part of the official process). The “skeptics” can also because they sometimes miss obvious things that may or may not happen by accident and are not inside the rigid lines. We need a healthy balance of both of them working together to make good progress. Without the skeptics there would be a free for all. Without believers seldom would we “shoot for the stars” or have “happy accidents.” That said the skeptics are the only ones who are actually doing real,rigid…but boring science. A sign of a true scientist is a high amount of skepticism.

ibstubro's avatar

I agree with you, @ARE_you_kidding_me, and that was what I was getting at. The believers have a higher degree of faith in their Science.

A case could almost be made that scientists advance the human race and that religion keeps it humane, but, as an agnostic, I’ll not go there.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Jumping in here to quote Bill Maher:

“Atheism is a faith in the same way that abstinence is a sex position.”

Yetanotheruser's avatar

The scientific method requires the presumption of an objective reality. Is this presumption to be taken as proof that reality is objective?

CWOTUS's avatar

I refuse to consider whether or not issues and questions should bounce between General and Social.

ibstubro's avatar

I think the problem, @CWOTUS, was that there was too little moderation (reasons unknown) until my question had taken on a life of it’s own. When something was flagged and moderation began (wasn’t me or I would include that in my narrative), ½ the answers were modded. A NIGHTMARE on any social site. I was given the option of downgrading my question to ‘Social” in order to retain all the responses, and I gave the green light.

I guess the reality of the post-Auggie Fluther is that we’re not babysat modded 1/60, 24/7, 365. I’m fairly certain that I have been given the option of downgrading a question before. As long as all the comments are reinstated during a downgrade from General to Social, what’s the harm? All content was re-included and acceptable in the future.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro There is no such thing as “downgrading to Social.” Social doesn’t indicate a decrease in quality, it only indicates only an increase in the types of answer that can be given.

Mimishu1995's avatar

What the hell is this thread turning into now?

BiZhen's avatar

@filmfann, if life is difficult to explain, gods are much harder to explain. It is illogical to invent a being far more complex than the universe and its life and claim that complex being explains anything at all. Occam’s razor cuts down gods. If the universe or life needs a creator, so do gods. Acrually gods have creators, but life does not.Special pleading is illogical. You also imply that you do not comprehend the origin of life. “I do not know, therefore gods did it” is Argument From Ignorance that is illogical.

ibstubro's avatar

“This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.” indicates to me that questions in the General section are held to a higher standard. Meaning, to me, that Social questions are held to a lower standard, and therefor a decrease in quality. Is there another way of interpreting it?

Symbeline's avatar

I always just thought it meant that social questions can cover more conversation and fly off the table a bit. Not too much, of course. Not criticizing, as I always boing off topic constantly.

In general, users are really looking for a solution or information, and answers must solely pertain to this.

ibstubro's avatar

I agree, @Symbeline. And if answers can be moved (by a mod) for non-compliance (not seeking an answer, but more an opinion, or being about Fluther itself) I don’t see a problem with asking the OP if they prefer a high degree of moderation or moving to social. It was a simple case of transparent moderation. If ⅓ of the responses suddenly disappeared, there would have been a milestone of controversy, in my opinion.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro It’s not a higher standard, it’s a different standard. If you want to seed a discussion, General is not the place to do that. Social is. Likewise, if you want a straight answer about a detail-oriented problem, Social is not the place to do that, because you will get off-topic or topic-adjacent answers, or you will get people talking amongst themselves around the topic.

One is not better or worse, or smarter or dumber than the other. They are qualitatively different, not quantitatively different.

As to a “milestone of controversy,” anyone who has been on Fluther for any length of time will know exactly why dozens of comments are removed from a given question in General. All off-topic responses are removed. It’s not rocket science, it’s not controversial, and nothing about it is “nightmarish” for anyone.

ibstubro's avatar

[Yawn.]

Okay.

Bill1939's avatar

@BiZhen said “If the universe or life needs a creator, so do gods. Actually gods have creators, but life does not. Special pleading is illogical. You also imply that you do not comprehend the origin of life. “I do not know, therefore gods did it” is Argument From Ignorance that is illogical.”

If the universe could have created itself, couldn’t a god have done the same? That human minds conceived of the existence of their god or gods does not preclude the existence of a creator of the universe. While the many conceptions of deities may be illogical, human ignorance of something that could have created the universe should not be a surprise to anyone.

Symbeline's avatar

That’s what makes no sense to me, from both a spiritual viewpoint and a scientific one.

Makes no sense to me that a god just popped up, and created things. But it doesn’t make any more sense to me that the big bang just happened. In fact I don’t even understand how science supports this. For something to be scientific, it needs components, and something can’t happen out of nothing. Something must have made the big bang happen, something must have been there before it. There needs to have been some elements and a trigger. of course, it’s just a theory. I am typing this under the assumption that the big bang theory says there was nothing before it.

And then I start to think that it is impossible for a state of nothingness to exist, yet I don’t believe in infinity either, therefore things must have started somewhere, but they couldn’t just have always been. Not a scientist though, probably a whole lot of things I’m missing. But because I do not understand this, I can’t simply just go, oh, god did it. That makes even less sense to me, unless I think about all the religions that have ever existed and still do, and the purposes they seem to serve in the face of adversity and the big bad world. It makes sense to me that gods are man made.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Yetanotheruser It is not clear to me that the scientific method requires the presumption of an objective reality, not least because the phrase “objective reality” is used in more than one way. If believing in an objective reality entails believing in an external world of physical objects, then this is certainly not a required belief for engaging in the scientific method. Here we could point to the philosopher George Berkeley, who was both an empiricist and a subjective idealist. Berkeley was fully on board with the scientific project, and even contributed to it both through his scientific work on optics and his philosophy of physics.

Alternatively, you might say that a commitment to “objective reality” brings with it nothing more than a belief that there is some way that things really are. Even on this definition, however, it is not clear that the scientific method presupposes any such thing. It is true that many scientists may, in fact, believe that there is an objective reality in such a sense. And indeed, many philosophers claim that this is simply a requirement of reason (due to the self-contradictory nature of global subjectivism/relativism). Still, one could engage in science without the presumption that there is an objective reality to find. The entire project could be conceptualized as an attempt to see if the observational evidence is consistent with belief in an objective reality.

Finally, I think it is important to recognize the difference between a project resting on some set of presuppositions and that project resting on faith. As people in my line of work are fond of pointing out, every other line of inquiry either rests on philosophical presuppositions or is idle. If nothing else, they all make assumptions about epistemology. But as noted above, faith involves believing out of proportion with the evidence. The epistemological assumptions made by science, for instance, are relatively modest and well supported. So while those assumptions could be overturned by future discoveries, the mere possibility of error is not sufficient to make belief an article of faith—particularly not when the discipline itself takes a fallibilist approach to knowledge.

@Bill1939 I don’t think anyone would disagree that if the universe can create itself, then a god could do the same. But the point of noting that the converse is equally true is this: if both could be said to create themselves (or, alternatively, to just exist), then Occam’s razor tells us that God is an unnecessary hypothesis and is to be rejected (since both involve the universe, but only one involves the additional component of God). Thus it is the various arguments regarding the need for God to explain the universe that are superfluous.

Bill1939's avatar

@SavoirFaire if by God you mean an uber-king that by the mere act of conception has cause the universe to exist, then I agree with you. Either our universe had a beginning or it always existed. I an unable to comprehend the latter possibility. I can more easily imagine that our universe was born from the forces derived from another universe that likely was unlike that which it initiated.

Before the beginning of our universe there was nothing. Other universes were not here. Here was not here since space-time had not come into existence. The laws of physics that mathematics describes (and has yet to describe) are fundamental to the form our universe has evolved into and that it will evolve into. For me that force which initiated and structured the process which guides the development of the cosmos (i.e., created this universe) deserves the title God. Do I think this God planned mankind’s existence, or cares about what has been created? No. However, I do believe that a constructive spirit exists within this force of creation, and that we can choose, when our consciousness is not focused upon our self, to be a constructive partner in an ongoing creation.

BiZhen's avatar

Bill1939 must prove gods created anything. The burden of proof is logically his. He should study Logic in college. Gods are not needed for any reason. Richard Dawkins speaks of “God of the Gaps”, and there are constantly fewer gaps in knowledge into which believers can thrust their, “I do not know, so God did it” Argument From Ignorance. This reminds me of a play by Aristophanes with someone adding an oilcan to lines in plays. Bill1939 says he cannot comprehend an eternal universe, but that does not make it untrue. There are many existing things that he obviously cannot comprehend. His beliefs or those of anyone else have no firm basis. An eternal universe is much more logical than eternal gods. Occam’s Razor cuts down gods. Science and Logic do not need them.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

So, in answer to the OP “What have you ‘Closed Your Mind’ on? Topics that you’re not willing to discuss with an ‘Open Mind’?”

@BiZhen‘s answer is “the existence of god(s)”.
@Bill1939‘s answer is “the non-existence of god(s)”.

Coloma's avatar

All of the above.
No excuse for any of them. Period.

Bill1939's avatar

@BiZhen I did study logic in college, and unless it has changed since I graduated in 1969 nothing I have written violates the rules I was taught. There is no evidence that our universe did not have a beginning, and the popular scientific belief, which I am inclined to accept, is that it began with the Big Bang.

What I said is that the creation of the universe “deserves the title God.” String theory may suggest that a better title might be the “Flying Spaghetti Monster”. Neither label violates Occam’s Razor. I reject your contention that “An eternal universe is much more logical than eternal gods.” And I object to your statement that “There are many existing things that he [meaning me] obviously cannot comprehend.” While that is true, there are many things that science has yet to comprehend, and how the universe can be eternal and infinite are among them.

Bill1939's avatar

@Yetanotheruser I think that my answer is I am willing to discuss whether or not God exists, but not willing to discuss whether my willingness to consider the possibility is illogical.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Bill939 if time was created with our universe is it not “eternal”?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Bill1939 Makes sense. I stand corrected.

@ARE_you_kidding_me Wouldn’t that make it ”temporary temporal eternity”?

Bill1939's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me, time would be eternal if space expands infinitely even if they had a beginning.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)

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