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Author Topic:   Is Theism arrogant?
Trixie
Member (Idle past 1870 days)
Posts: 1011
From: Edinburgh
Joined: 01-03-2004


Message 16 of 60 (255733)
10-30-2005 11:59 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Ben!
10-30-2005 11:44 PM


Re: Arrogance
Ben, I have to disagree with you here. Mike took issue with a single statement made by prophex. He didn't generalise, he concentrated on a single statement and that single statement made the claim that the writer knows better than Mike what Mike actually thinks or feels. I find that is arrogant, since prophex has absolutely no reason to think he knows better than Mike what Mike thinks or feels except that he knows best.

Now, prophex may not have meant it that way, but that is exactly what he wrote. We can second-guess him, but until he actually explains what he meant, we can only go on what he said and that is where "actually said" comes in. You're getting into the realms of "actually meant". I understand what you're trying to say, I just don't think it holds water in this case.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Ben!, posted 10-30-2005 11:44 PM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Ben!, posted 10-31-2005 12:16 AM Trixie has not yet responded
 Message 22 by robinrohan, posted 10-31-2005 8:12 AM Trixie has not yet responded

Ben!
Member (Idle past 1786 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 17 of 60 (255736)
10-31-2005 12:16 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by Trixie
10-30-2005 11:59 PM


Re: Arrogance
Trixie,

We can second-guess him, but until he actually explains what he meant, we can only go on what he said and that is where "actually said" comes in.

I'm saying that what prophex "actually meant" doesn't really matter, because whether there is a God or not is not a shareable fact. What prophex "actually meant" has to do with God, blah blah. For a non-believer to interpret prophex's remark without abstracting prophex's belief in God is to extract meaning from his statement at a superficial level. Whenever prophex opens his mouth about "God", if we judge his statements at such a superficial level, he'll always be saying something that non-belivers find to be uninteresting, incorrect, or inapplicable. Only by translating his words to have meaning in a world without God can a non-believer attempt to get any value out of such statements.

What prophex meant was quite clear. No clarification necessary. It's arrogant only if you take it as a statement about a relationship between God and people. But to do so is to judge at a really superficial level. I find making the translation, you can extract more meaningful statements from people who talk about God.

I'd choose to understand prophex at this more abstracted level. At the superficial level, he's arrogant, wrong, dumb. At the abstracted level, he's thinking about good stuff.

To summarize... I know what prophex was saying in multiple interpretations. mikehagar chose an interpretation that allowed him to be offended. That wasn't necessary; that was mikehagar's choice. I chose an interepetation where I think prophex makes a true generalized statement. And I don't believe in any God. And the multiple interpretations is not due to prophex being ambiguous. His statement was most certainly not ambiguous. It's because "English language" is an abstraction, a myth. Languages are dependent on homogenaeity. When the homogenaity fails, we don't have standard ways to construct meaning.

If I'm just repeating myself (rather than clarifying, which I hope I'm doing), then please object.

Ben


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Trixie, posted 10-30-2005 11:59 PM Trixie has not yet responded

  
mikehager
Member (Idle past 4631 days)
Posts: 534
Joined: 09-02-2004


Message 18 of 60 (255738)
10-31-2005 12:25 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by Ben!
10-30-2005 11:44 PM


Re: Arrogance
The point was, you can know as a general rule for all people. Which is exactly the type of statement that prophex was making. Exceptional circumstances are always possible.

Perhaps a general rule can be known for all people, but what of the claim that the rule is not in fact general but universal? That is the claim I am taking issue with. I also find it interesting that you are telling me what Prophex actually meant. Have you discussed it with him? I suppose I will just have to go with what was said and the definitions of those words, until I can get any contextual variations from prophex himself. Unlike you, I am unwilling to make extended claims about someone else's meaning in their absence.

Your argument is about all thinking being inaccessible. You could prune your argument down and make it specific to prophex's statement.

No. Not at all. My argument is about specific examples of thought and opinion being accessable only to the individual.

The exact same thing needs to be done here, to extract useful meaning out of the statement. The statement is embedded in prophex's own belief systems. To understand what really lies at the base of his statement, you have to translate it into your own belief system. A choice NOT to do such a translation is a choice to read prophex in a specific way. It's no more right or wrong than the style of reading I'm proposing. I am suggesting that it's a less useful (i.e. informative) way of interpreting his words though.

It is certainly less useful if it leads you to incorrect conclusions. The only way we can know if your speculation is accurate is to ask him, which sort of leads back to my central point, doesn't it?

To restate, that central point is simply that to make the claim "All people 'feel' the presence of God" directly implies knowledge of the state of my mind on the subject, which is impossible. Claiming knowledge that it is impossible to actually have is arrogant.

Yes, but a single case does not make an absolute.

Yes, but an absolute is refuted by a single case, which is what I am actually doing here.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Ben!, posted 10-30-2005 11:44 PM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by Ben!, posted 10-31-2005 12:19 PM mikehager has not yet responded

  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 3984 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 19 of 60 (255749)
10-31-2005 5:09 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by robinrohan
10-30-2005 8:32 PM


The very nature of a claim carries with it the idea that the claimer is right and anyone who disagrees with him is wrong. Arrogance only occurs with claims that include a personal element--e.g., "I, being an X, am better than you, being a Y."

It appears we have a slightly different definition of arrogance, or perhaps a different read on the situation.

To me arrogance is the assertion of one's position as being greater than it actually is. Thus to believe you think you know it is raining outside, when you've been indoors all day without any ability to see outside or get info from people outside, is arrogance.

Essentially it is the position "I, being me, am better at knowing than you, being someone other than me."

You can always believe you are right,and you are correct all claims carry that idea, but to the degree you advance to another that you must be right, or they cannot be, without any qualifiers is (to my definition) arrogance.

Thus telling a person what deity they ought to believe in means you are a better judge of reality than them. And telling a person what they do believe is such a pretense to omniscience that I am at a loss how that is not arrogance. That is about the height of hubris. No one can know truly what is in another person's head, or how they experience the world.

This message has been edited by holmes, 10-31-2005 05:10 AM


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by robinrohan, posted 10-30-2005 8:32 PM robinrohan has not yet responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 60 (255750)
10-31-2005 5:12 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by mikehager
10-29-2005 11:16 AM


Re: Arrogance
Making exorbitant claims of estimation certainly applies here, as does the quality "assuming"

Look at the definition you provided. It's says making exorbitant claims of RANK or ESTIMATION. It's talking about the rank one assigns oneself, as explained by "giving one's self an undue degree of importance." To be arrogant, it has to be a claim about oneself, that oneself is superior. It's not about making claims about what somebody else thinks or feels. Prophex made no claim about his superiority or about someone else's inferiority.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by mikehager, posted 10-29-2005 11:16 AM mikehager has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Silent H, posted 10-31-2005 5:27 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

Silent H
Member (Idle past 3984 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 21 of 60 (255753)
10-31-2005 5:27 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by robinrohan
10-31-2005 5:12 AM


Re: Arrogance
To be arrogant, it has to be a claim about oneself, that oneself is superior. It's not about making claims about what somebody else thinks or feels.

Note that in my post #19, I lay out how that very thing is a hidden premise in the claims under discussion.

Just because a person doesn't explicitly say I am like a God, does not mean the argument made by that person does not actually include that as a logical requirement.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by robinrohan, posted 10-31-2005 5:12 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 60 (255766)
10-31-2005 8:12 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by Trixie
10-30-2005 11:59 PM


Re: Arrogance
Mike took issue with a single statement made by prophex. He didn't generalise, he concentrated on a single statement

You say he didn't generalize?

This is an example of why I don't post here very much any more. This posting is an example of the rudeness and arrogance that one is constantly exposed to from theists

Not just from this theist, but theists in general. They're arrogant, acording to Hager. Why? They are constantly making comments about what he, Hager, thinks and feels--like that he--being one of a group called "everyone"--feels the presence of God.

It's like saying that everyone has a conflict, Oedipal or Electra, with their parent of the same sex. So Hager would respond, how dare you make such a comment about my unconscious feelings? What arrogance! I expect a withdrawal of that statment, with apologies.

Or it's like the sentimental comment that everyone responds to love.

So Hager might respond, I for one do not respond to love, and therefore I expect you to withdraw that statement immediately, with apologies.

Does one note something about the typical tone of Hager's remarks?

I do.

ABE: His tone conveys this idea: "I am this special person not to be generalized about." However, it's ok for him to generalize about the arrogance of theists, which is also a supposed private feeling the theists have.

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 10-31-2005 07:13 AM

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 10-31-2005 07:26 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Trixie, posted 10-30-2005 11:59 PM Trixie has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by mikehager, posted 10-31-2005 11:21 AM robinrohan has responded

mikehager
Member (Idle past 4631 days)
Posts: 534
Joined: 09-02-2004


Message 23 of 60 (255789)
10-31-2005 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by robinrohan
10-31-2005 8:12 AM


Re: Arrogance
You are raving. There is nothing in your post that bears on my point at all, especially not your deceptive quote mining.

You have not addressed my original point realistically at any point, in fact you have continued to mischarachterize it. So, in light of your obtuse non-argument, I must withdraw.

Unless of course, you can address my actual argument. There is a nice, condensed version in an earlier reply to Ben in this thread. Till then, good day.

This withdrawal is only to discussion with Robinrohan. Anyone else with a desire to address this, I am more than willling to engage.

This message has been edited by mikehager, 10-31-2005 11:22 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by robinrohan, posted 10-31-2005 8:12 AM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by robinrohan, posted 10-31-2005 1:18 PM mikehager has not yet responded

  
Ben!
Member (Idle past 1786 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 24 of 60 (255796)
10-31-2005 12:19 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by mikehager
10-31-2005 12:25 AM


Re: Arrogance
I also find it interesting that you are telling me what Prophex actually meant. Have you discussed it with him?

I tried to clarify this in my response to Trixie. I don't think what prophex said was ambiguous in any way. I think we both agree on the tone and intended meaning of the words.

Unlike you, I am unwilling to make extended claims about someone else's meaning in their absence.

I'm not making claims about prophex's intention or what these words mean to him. I'm making claims about what these words mean to mikehagar and Ben. I'm talking about interpretation issues, the utility of interpretation.

I'm pointing out that your interpretation is not more right or wrong than my interpretation. I'm trying to point out that my interpretation is more useful.

Prophex may have been arrogant, but it is not because he's claiming to know something about your thought. Cognitive scientists do that all the time. In fact, regular people make assumptions that they know the minds of others all the time. It's normal. I'd call prophex arrogant because I doubt he has the experience or knowledge to make such broad statements. But the statement itself is not an arrogant one; I see such statements from cognitive scientists and psychologists all the time.

No. Not at all. My argument is about specific examples of thought and opinion being accessable only to the individual.

Weird. Because in Message 6, you said

mikehagar in Message 6 writes:

I asserted that making claims about the contents of another person's mind in the face of direct contrary information is arrogant.

which I took to be making a general claim. I guess you were trying to summarize by giving your thoughts in another form, and so made it a general statement? Anyway, that's why I was confused; I'll talk more specifically now.

To restate, that central point is simply that to make the claim "All people 'feel' the presence of God" directly implies knowledge of the state of my mind on the subject, which is impossible. Claiming knowledge that it is impossible to actually have is arrogant.

It's a nice summary. Here's a summary of my rebuttal:

"All people 'feel' the presence of God" is a useless statement to a non-believer. To a non-believer, understanding this as "All people have internal feelings that can be interpreted as supernatural feelings" is another, more useful interpretation. This meaning can be checked through correlation of self-reports and understanding of neurological data. Jumping from knowledge of people's minds and brains in general to knowledge of your state of mind is not really arrogant; it happens every day. I assume neurological homogenaity here every day; we all do.

Maybe reading my reply to Trixie (Message 17) might help clarify my views on language and understanding. But maybe not.

Thanks again for the reply.

Ben


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by mikehager, posted 10-31-2005 12:25 AM mikehager has not yet responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 25 of 60 (255806)
10-31-2005 1:18 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by mikehager
10-31-2005 11:21 AM


Re: Arrogance
There is nothing in your post that bears on my point at all, especially not your deceptive quote mining.

Quote mining? I don't see how it could be. It's not like it was taken out of context. It was your main point. Look at your subtitle--"Theistic Arrogance."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by mikehager, posted 10-31-2005 11:21 AM mikehager has not yet responded

The Tiger
Inactive Member


Message 26 of 60 (319102)
06-08-2006 1:28 PM


Don't most ahteists especially scientists, make arrogant claims that there is no possibility of God and theists are all wrong and such? That's kind of a condescending no it all view I think, and is obviously arrogant, just as much as any theist claims.
Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by jar, posted 06-08-2006 1:39 PM The Tiger has responded
 Message 28 by Quetzal, posted 06-08-2006 2:02 PM The Tiger has not yet responded
 Message 29 by PaulK, posted 06-08-2006 2:28 PM The Tiger has not yet responded

jar
Member
Posts: 30981
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 27 of 60 (319112)
06-08-2006 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by The Tiger
06-08-2006 1:28 PM


Well, an atheist whether a scientist or not would be expected to say there is no chance there is a god. Afterall, that is the definition of an atheist, someone who does not believe there is a god.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by The Tiger, posted 06-08-2006 1:28 PM The Tiger has responded

Replies to this message:
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Quetzal
Member (Idle past 4037 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 28 of 60 (319125)
06-08-2006 2:02 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by The Tiger
06-08-2006 1:28 PM


Hi Tiger. A belated welcome to EvC.

Don't most ahteists especially scientists, make arrogant claims that there is no possibility of God and theists are all wrong and such?

Atheists do, certainly. I'm one of them, so I speak from experience. :D

OTOH, I don't think you're justified in lumping "scientists" and "atheists" in the same pile. Some scientists are atheists, and some of them make the statements you refer to. Dawkins is one that springs to mind. However, although they may not make the distinction as clear as we'd like when they make the claims, they are at that point speaking from a personal worldview/opinion, and NOT as scientists. I personally wish Dawkins inter alia would be MUCH more clear on the distinction. However, humans being what they are, I know it's difficult to separate the two.

Just my two cents.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by The Tiger, posted 06-08-2006 1:28 PM The Tiger has not yet responded

PaulK
Member
Posts: 15037
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 29 of 60 (319143)
06-08-2006 2:28 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by The Tiger
06-08-2006 1:28 PM


quote:

Don't most ahteists especially scientists, make arrogant claims that there is no possibility of God and theists are all wrong and such?

I'm not aware of any evidence that most atheists claim that there is no chance that they could be wrong on the existence of gods in general. Certainly some, do, but many don't


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by The Tiger, posted 06-08-2006 1:28 PM The Tiger has not yet responded

  
The Tiger
Inactive Member


Message 30 of 60 (319257)
06-08-2006 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by jar
06-08-2006 1:39 PM


Well, that's my point, it's an arrogant, condescending, attitude. Theists shouldn't be critised for being certain in the belief in God if atheists aren't. It's the same idea isn't it? I mean, thesists believe in God, so why critisise them for expressing that belief? Their freedom is an atheists freedom and vice versa. So if theism is arrogant is arrogant, then atheism is no less arrogant. Actually, certainty in the existence of anything unable to be proved or disproved is arrogant, including atheism as well as theism.
Thanks for the welcom, and sorry to not make a distinction on the whole thing of some scientists believing in God and some not. I'll try to be more clear and specific next time.

Edited by The Tiger, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by SuperNintendo Chalmers, posted 06-08-2006 7:48 PM The Tiger has not yet responded
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