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>Opinions · 5:40am Jun 19th, 2017

Show of hands: Who here has ever had an opinion?

I know! It's crazy, right? Me, have opinions? Who'd have thought?

Wait, does that mean I think I'm right? Well... kind of. This is probably one of the most pertinent and most oft-considered philosophies in my life right now. Time for me to break it down.

Thankfully, Scootareader's blackness isn't in question, so he can unironically post MC Hammer as part of his culture.

How do you reconcile differences with an interlocutor? How do you agree to disagree? What is your determining factor in how you change your views and thoughts on things? Are you open to being wrong? Are you okay with being wrong?

Questions like these keep me up at night. I addressed this on some level in a previous blog, but I want to make it more of an open criticism of current debate tactics than a masturbatory letter to myself.

I recently watched an archived debate between Destiny (that guy who debated JonTron and got him to spout some borderline racist stuff) and Mister Metokur (my new favorite internet darling) and found myself remarkably displeased with the outcome of this "debate."

First thing I want to address is debate etiquette. At least twice in this 1-hour and 45-minute debate, I noted that Mister Metokur was directly insulted by Destiny--particularly his grasp of the English language. If you have to resort to insults in a debate, ever, you've given up all semblance of the idea of an open forum. Only a fucking asshole insults someone else over a difference of opinion. If it's a deliberate obfuscation of facts or clear bias despite evidence to the contrary, then they can be insulted as a proper bigot for making a circus of a debate platform... but this debate? No, bullshit. They were having a discussion, and one party up and decided to insult the other. Fuck that.

So, on to the second point: Is debate dead? In my mind, it seems like it. I can't remember the last time I saw two people have an honest-to-goodness discussion with both parties willing to accept any semblance of mistaken facts or statistics, while not ostensibly changing their platform. The debate between Ken Ham is a good example of this. In this, I don't mind calling Ken Ham what he is: a fucking moron.

Ah, I take that back. You know Ken Ham is right because his organization, who posted this recording of the video, disabled likes/dislikes and comments. You know they've got a solid platform when they disable the viewers' only means of disagreement.

The reason why this debate is nothing but buffoonery is because of Ken Ham's complete inability to concede a single point Bill Nye made. Of course, to concede a single point would be to admit that his organization got something wrong--and if Answers in Genesis got the climate change thing wrong, maybe they got the whole dinosaurs with saddle things wrong too? That's unacceptable for their organization, and that means any debate with them is going to be nothing but a press event.

Bill Nye, to my knowledge, did concede a point to Ken Ham--due to lack of familiarity with the source Ken Ham was citing. Ken Ham claimed a piece of petrified wood that was 15,000 years old was found encased in mud that had been there for 3 million years. These dates were measured using radiocarbon dating, so they should be at least somewhat accurate, and Ken Ham was arguing that carbon dating was unreliable on the magnitude of millions of years, in keeping with his organization's 6000-year-old Earth belief.

Of course, directly following the debate, Bill Nye looked up the study that Ken Ham was citing to see if his entire argument for the legitimacy of carbon dating had been flawed this whole time. Lo and behold, because Bill Nye decided to take an objective look at the evidence, he found out that Ken Ham was lying out his fucking ass. Not that it mattered to anyone post-debate; those who liked Bill Nye liked Bill Nye, and those who liked Ken Ham liked Ken Ham. Who took an objective look at both sides, actually considered their respective platforms, and made an analysis based on the facts and statistics to support the stronger platform and reached a conclusion based on that?

This is the /ourguy/ argument, and it's what leads to this shit to begin with. Let's try a thought experiment using politics. Hooray.

-Anti Abortion
-Anti Illegal Immigration
-Pro Smaller Government

-Pro Abortion
-Pro Illegal Immigration
-Pro Bigger Government

Abortion seems like a brain-dead topic to me. No, you don't want to kill every baby for every mom who's gonna be a whore in their mid-teens, and discouraging such a thing is clearly the best choice for the average moral compass--but being able to definitively say that, for every single contingency, it should be banned? Tell me you wanna raise the child of the man who raped your daughter. Yeah, I didn't think so. So, what's the rational conclusion here? About the middle-ish choice: Discourage abortion, but don't outright ban it, and make determinations based on the unique situation that each abortion case ends up being.

>muh Christian values
>muh right to remove anything in my body

Nothing will ever get fixed if we don't find some means of reconciling these two juxtapositions. As it is, no one agrees on either side, so it'll never get done.

Illegal immigration seems pretty cut-and-dry too. The Republican stance of deporting all illegal immigrants, that's cool and sensible--but it doesn't address the problem. At all. Why are illegal immigrants coming here in droves?

The Democrats, likewise, aren't thinking rationally about this. Would they really endorse a clear disregard for the law of the country they're wanting to sneak into? Aren't they wanting to go to the country because of its superior laws? Seems really dumb--and even dumber when you hear the main reason for them wanting to bring in illegals. Cheap labor? You mean slave labor, right? Because being here illegally means the master employer can work them 80 hours a week and pay them $.50 an hour and--you know what, never mind. Requiring cheap labor to maintain our McDonald's hamburgers seems a disservice to the basic human rights these people should be afforded. We can't give them these rights if they're sneaking into the country. If a woman sneaks in and is raped, do you think she should be able to go to the police and report it? What if a man sneaks in and rapes a US citizen? Should he be incarcerated for his crime? How do you track the woman who was raped, or the man who raped? There's no system that houses illegal immigrants because they're illegally here. If they'd gone through the system, they could have been protected or prosecuted as necessary.

The fix? Don't make America a friendly place to people whose first instinct is to break the law of the country they want to enter. Make the legal immigration process more appealing and user-friendly for those with good intentions, who can be properly vetted and screened and culturalized, so that they don't resort to breaking the law. Currently, for every José we get whose singular pure intention is to provide for his family back home, we have no guarantee that there isn't a Pablo with him who's making sure the coke gets to its dealers and dropping off a few child prostitutes while he's at it.

The final stance on size of government is highly subject to interpretation. I honestly haven't heard enough debates on this to be able to formulate any kind of common-sense stance for it. The basics are that bigger government = higher taxes, but less personal requirements. The government provides Medicare for those who need medical attention and can't afford it, and they have Social Security for those who intend to retire someday or are unable to work. These are socialist programs. The decentralized healthcare system, the state-specific driver's licenses, the state-provided infrastructure--these are non-socialist, since the big daddy government isn't sticking their noses in our business (or our state's business) (this is also not a clear thing, since the feds have some say in what a license needs in order to be authentic, and they have some say in how interstate roads are built and where they're built--but apart from guidelines, the feds aren't too involved to my knowledge).

The argument over how much socialism in our government is too much is still an ongoing one, and still highly subject to change. Favoring one side or the other is fine, but I wouldn't say it's obvious where the line should be drawn. It's a case-by-case basis.

Random picture to break up the text walls.

The point to me bringing up these political hot-button issues is to try to make a point. If there's two polarities on an issue, the truth on where the best policy is--that's usually somewhere right in the middle. If we're going to cry like babies if we don't get all of our demands met, then we shouldn't be a bunch of close-minded faggots about this shit. No compromise equals no progress. Siloing ourselves into these retarded ideologies of a perfect world where all of our demands are met to the T aren't a healthy philosophical system.

Most recently, I've heard probably the most outrageous thing yet--the people like me who investigate both sides and try to find a rational middle ground, we're suffering from a logical fallacy. Something like the centrist fallacy. Yes, because I like to stick to facts and statistics, that means I'm abandoning logic. Not like that guy over there who barely graduated high school before retiring his education to flip burgers, and not like that guy over there who was told by his university professor that violence is the only way to deal with Trump supporters. No, those two are definitely being rational and open to the idea that they may make mistakes! Oh, yeah, throw out that study that shows both of them are total raving dumbasses. They won't listen to me anyway, because I'm suffering from a fucking logical fallacy.

The only way the two sides will ever find some means of moving forward is if people are willing to cross the line, fight for the right of both sides to have their more reasonable demands met, and make compromises for the betterment of the people. If you're a Democrat or a Republican, you're fighting for stupidity. Anyone who ascribes to a label and refuses to criticize other members of their movement for their shortsighted and unreasonable actions and ideas is abandoning reason, and anyone who doesn't defend the members of their label isn't a very good member of that label. At that point, why even bother? You're better off being a thinking human being with a brain and a spine. Make your own fucking decisions for once, don't let this idea be instilled in you that you can't figure out your own shit.

A better way of looking at it: If you agree with all of the views Democrats have, or all of the views Republicans have, you're an idiot. Championing one side while demonizing the other is what's gotten us into this toxic debate environment in the first place. No one's debating. Everyone's just rooting for /ourguy/, and /ourguy/ can't be objective or rational because he's forced to commit to this moronic formula of, "Believe these things just cuz, and ignore any kind of rational argument or factual basis for believing otherwise, as they are the enemy." Even worse, if you fail to entertain the notion that maybe the other guy has a point, you tend to look at everything they say as stupid and nonsensical and lose your objectivity. People in this frame of mind tend to insult more often, which leads to further entrenchment in respective camps.

If any of you have read up to this point and are still thinking to yourselves, "My thoughts are the right thoughts and dissenters are wrong," then why in almighty fuck are you on the internet? Seriously. If you refuse to have your opinions challenged, what the fuck are you doing here? I'm not here to be a part of a circlejerk, I'm here to learn and entertain myself and change. Anyone who's wanting to be part of this stupid hivemind of /ourguy/ arguments is a waste of time and of brain power, as nothing will be learned or gained from them.

To end this shitty rant blog, I'd like to end with an ex-member of Westboro Baptist Church. When we have to turn to the lady who used to hold up "God Hates Fags" signs to regain our sanity for rational discussion, you know there's trouble in river city.

All I want is for people to have rational, constructive debates. That's all.

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Comments ( 27 )

Pretty much my stance on these sorts of things. It always helps to feel confident in your own viewpoints, but not so much so that you become blind to all other perspectives and walks of life. The only way you're going to properly grow as an individual is to go out of your comfort zone, and learn new things. Sticking to your guns, while good in some cases, can lead to serious personal growth issues, and only serves to hurt you in the long run. That's why I do my very best to hear everyone out, no matter how much I might see their opinion as ridiculous.

There's always a reason. That's not to say that they're right, but you might just learn a little something in the process. There's always that chance for "expanding your horizons", and I honestly believe that it's worth the effort. As for the whole debating thing, I'll admit that I've gotten rather heated every so often, and I can't say that this doesn't sometimes affect my judgement. However, I do try my best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Of course, no one's perfect, and we're all human. I wouldn't go as far as to say that debating is dead, though. That does seem like quite the conclusion to jump to. I've had plenty of debates where both parties respected one another. Of course, I've been in many more that are just downright dreadful. I'd say rare
is a better word to use, rather than dead.

I've gotten to the point in my life where I've realized that what may seem negative might not be so at all. It's not always so cut and dry. The very idea of being proven wrong hits many peoples' pride in all the wrong ways. But I've come to realize that this is entirely the wrong way to look at it. Take constructive criticism of one's story as an example. I'll admit, I sometimes grimace when I'm given a right fucking in a review. Even if said review is incredibly rude and pretentious, it always helps to look past that. It doesn't matter if you've been insulted, virtually spat on, or even given a death threat.

While this is pretty shitty, it helps to realize that this isn't what's important. There's probably real constructive criticism to be had in that cesspool of hate and vitriol. That's where you can spin a negative into a positive, and become a better person for it. The same can be applied to the rest of the internet, and the real world. If more people took this stance, I believe that the world would be better for it. But no, that doesn't seem to be the case nowadays.

But anyway, I very much liked this blog, and was fairly surprised to see it in my feedbox. I expected a lot of heated political opinions, but instead, I was treated to a nice bit of objectivity and neutrality.



Get rekt, my opinion is objectively better.

I'm kinda scared to comment because I know I'll be surrounded by really smart people, and I'll just be like "herp-teh-der I'm a theist I guess".

maybe they got the whole dinosaurs with saddle things wrong too?

I mean, I've heard a joke about Ben Carson thinking the Acropolis was a set of dinosaur stables, but were you being serious with that comment?

Thanks for the response! You seem like one of the good eggs, as most of what you've said tends to be views that I hold pretty closely. Glad to see not everyone in the world has gone crazy. :twilightsmile:

It's an Answers in Genesis thing. They believe in biblical inerrancy, that every single word in the Bible is true and has to be married with scientific facts. If Earth is 6000 years old, as they believe, dinosaurs and humans had to exist together.

I am respectful of the general Christian belief, but taking anything in the Bible as literal is asking for stupid unscientific craziness like a styracosaurus with a friggin' saddle.

4575551 Alright, I'll go back to my hole of ignorance with newfound terror of the educated. Thanks!

-Anti Abortion
-Anti Illegal Immigration
-Pro Smaller Government

-Pro Abortion
-Pro Illegal Immigration
-Pro Bigger Government
" really?

I don't see these as being incorrect. Do you have any corrections to make to my assertion?

  • Abortion

I believe it is completely immoral and evil to take the life of another human being for your convenience, which is why I hope Planned Parenthood burns. As for the question of rape, Ben Shapiro explains why that argument is designed to dodge the real question.

The whole video is worth the watch, but the key point begins at 2:20

  • Illegal immigration

You're actually totally right. I have nothing to add.

  • Size of government

Big government likes control over the population because controlling the people that put you in power lets you stay in power. So when the government seizes the means of production, they've taken control of the populace's ability to provide for themselves. It's why Socialism inevitably leads to Communism. I'm against both. Free Market all the way. Absolutely minimal regulations, just enough to prevent monopolies.

As for the idea of Centrists falling under a logical fallacy, I think that might be tangentially related to some hubbub with the Armored Skeptic. He's notorious for playing it safe by using "skepticism" to ride the fence without ever being willing to commit to an idea. He stays neutral so that he can never be wrong and acts arrogant without ever asserting any meaningful idea or position. These aren't my thoughts, just ones I've picked up on of others' views of him. I don't watch his stuff.

Regardless, that doesn't apply to you. You're a smart mammalian biped. You'll figure it out.

I actually agree with pretty much everything Shapiro said in that video. I am pro-life in my own moral compass, but I can't confess to have considered every singular instance of abortion and determined myself whether an abortion is necessary or not. The rape baby argument was rhetorical, and I believe that the bulk of abortions are morally wrong. The 99%, as he referred to it. All I care about is the 1% where there's a gray area, and give due consideration to each of those cases on whether the abortion has to happen. Shapiro even alluded to that: He's okay with acknowledging a mom needs to abort if she's going through chemo if the other side acknowledges that a 15-year-old who was too fucking stupid to use a condom doesn't deserve to murder the consequence.

Shapiro comes from a Christian perspective, but I consider myself largely secular by default, so it's a little odd for me to feel so strongly about this, I think. I believe that actions have consequences, and a consequence as grave as an abortion should carry far more weight than whether it can be done safely and affordably. I understand Planned Parenthood provides exponentially more services than just abortions, so the perspective that they're fueled on fetuses is completely fucking stupid, but so long as they continue to perform on-demand abortions as they have been, I fully support the sentiment of someone like Shapiro not to give them a single red cent. I don't want Planned Parenthood to go away, as that will cause pregnancies and STDs to skyrocket, but I think discriminatory abortions are necessary at this point. It's either cut back on the unborn baby murder or disappear completely for them.

Actually, Shapiro is Jewish. Anyway, I find it curious that you find it strange that you have strong opinions on this topic despite being secular. I think the idea that those who feel strongly about abortion in favor are all secular and those against are religious is a false dichotomy. I once fully supported abortion, and that was back when I was Christian. Shapiro made me flip on the subject because he spoke not from a religious viewpoint, but from a moral one. Now I'm atheist and entirely pro-life. Even your boy Stefan Molyneux shares this view with me.

I still want Planned Parenthood gone because abortions are the primary service they provide. STDs going up will be a consequence of people growing dependent on government services to take care of them. How about some self-control and responsibility? If you can't afford protection, what the hell are you doing having sex?


I still want Planned Parenthood gone because abortions are the primary service they provide.

Very common misconception. I read their Wiki article before on this same argument and got some context for this. Prior to researching this, I had assumed that PPFA was primarily just abortions, then someone pointed out that abortions are one of their least common things to provide.

According to PPFA, in 2014 the organization provided 3.6 million contraceptive services, 4.5 million sexually transmitted infection services, about 1 million cancer related services, over 1 million pregnancy tests and prenatal services, over 324,000 abortion services, and over 100,000 other services, for a total of 9.5 million discrete services.

So, yeah, not that many abortions--but a shitload of contraceptive and STI services.

If you can't afford protection, what the hell are you doing having sex?

I consider this a bad argument because teenagers don't give a shit anyway. If you're offering them free contraceptives, maybe they'll use them. If you're lucky. Another baby that the mom can't care for could be prevented altogether, because the notion that if teenagers don't take contraceptives, they won't have sex--that's silly. Our brains are wired to crave sex.

At any rate, I don't think you're arguing against the availability of contraceptives or STI services, and I'm not trying to strawman you. The disappointing part is that they offer abortions at all. There's a reason it's called Planned Parenthood and not Baby Killers'R'Us. They try to help people in planning when they want to be parents, not to prevent them from ever becoming parents.

I am not against the abolishment of Planned Parenthood as an organization that condones indiscriminate abortions, but I believe we will find considerably more abandoned newborns, bloody coat hangers, and traumatized young adults if we don't have a comparable organization to offer contraceptive/STI services and special cases abortions. Even a re-branding at this point would probably help. And they need to fucking stop doing indiscriminate abortions.

Keep in mind that if a teen barges into a Planned Parenthood clinic and demands an abortion, PPFA will initially refuse until the person goes through a psychiatric evaluation, undergoes discussions on adoption and placement with foster parents who want children, and is even asked very seriously about the benefits and downsides of keeping the child. Abortion is a last-ditch effort that is supposed to cater to a unique situation, and you have to understand that when you're talking about how many people utilize Planned Parenthood services, the 324,000 abortions is miniscule. Even if you were talking about exclusively the US in these stats, that's at best 0.03% of the US population that utilized this. You're not talking about the US, though, so divide that 0.03% by 189 to get the actual number.

PPFA's international outreach and other activities are performed by Planned Parenthood Global, a division of PPFA, and by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) which now consists of more than 149 Member Associations working in more than 189 countries.

I'm not saying that Planned Parenthood is clean, but to demonize them for allowing the contraceptive version of the death penalty is pretty shortsighted by my assessment. Yeah, it's not good. No, it's not used very often at all. Just because they offer it, that doesn't mean it's this rampant and blatant destruction of life. As I said, Planned Parenthood isn't a baby murder machine.

TFW atheist pro-life

Are you referring to me? Or yourself?

Neither, I was just throwing the idea up in the air for someone to catch. In general I agree with your position and Ben Shapiro's—abortion is clearly apprehensible, with the only justified cases being the marginals ones, such as rape, health issues, et cetera.

By the way, have you ever watched Jordan Peterson? I think you should. The guy's a Christain (albeit a very non-fundamentalist one) and he's made some of the best arguments for Christianity I've ever heard. And take my word for it; I'm someone who's heavily criticized the asinine fundamentalists before.

I'll look him up. Thanks for the tip. :twilightsmile:

I am pro-life because desiring to hamper the growth of a species is counter to the instinctual desire to procreate and have one's species flourish. People who would say they want the proto-human inside their body destroyed are acting counter to what we instinctively desire for our species. I don't even enjoy arguing this from a moral perspective, as that's how people feel; species growth is a logical and rational desire for our species to have, so acting against that is acting against the betterment of the species on a general level.

I am atheist because the distinct lack of evidence indicating a deity's existence has forced me to accept the science that we can actually measure and understand, and if evidence comes out that indicates the existence of a creator, it must fit into the currently understood paradigm anyway, as someone suddenly finding evidence of God's existence doesn't change the fact that the Big Bang happened and we have been able to measure its effects, in addition to our ability to observe the youngest parts at the edge of the universe that have taken billions of light years to reach us. Ignorance of what we already know doesn't prove the existence of God, nor does belief in Him require refusal to accept facts as they may be. I personally take greater comfort in believing that the only thing that matters is that I enjoy and make the most of this life; treat my fellow human beings well and help facilitate in giving them greater happiness. I've got the one life to live, so I may as well be a person that I am happy to be. If I need incentive to be a good person, then I'm a shitty person by default. I don't need the carrot of eternal life dangled in front of my nose to spur me to act morally positive.


If I need incentive to be a good person, then I'm a shitty person by default.

Well... yeah, you're right on the money. Humans are shitty, always have been. Have you read history? It's a bloodbath.

That's to say, we most certainly do need an incentive to act moral, and I'm not referring to religion. Take a look at free market capitalism—the promise of wealth and a good reputation via innovation and competition. Take that away, replace it with communism where there is no practical incentive, and the result is 100 million dead in the 20th century alone.

We can't live without beliefs. Everyone holds on to beliefs, even the most atheistic-to-the-core contrarians. For all intents and purposes I assume you believe in equality. But what does that mean: to "believe" in equality. Why do you believe? Certainly isn't an objective and measurable trait. Certainly doesn't make any sense in the animal kingdom, where there's a clear food chain and dominance hierarchies. We rely on moral guidelines, that is, guidelines on how you ought to behave, otherwise we're directionless. It's partly the reason why some people are so defensive about their religious beliefs.


we most certainly do need an incentive to act moral

I feel like I'm about as close to lacking incentive as possible. I do what is right in my mind's eye because I aim not to be a piece of garbage. I give when it seems right to do so, I donate disinterestedly and don't even bother aiming to see what has come of my donation. Sure, I give money for causes that I benefit directly from, but philanthropic things are things I perform with a sort of detachment. I don't get recognized for what I do to better the world because I don't tell other people what I do, nor am I interested in even looking into it.

I will say that I feel like I do positive things for the world in a general sense. I just don't think it's anything noteworthy or commendable. It is what I expect as a bare minimum from the human population by virtue of their being human and wanting to better the world for all, so to pat myself on the back or allow others to pat me on the back to do what I expect of myself seems counterintuitive.

It's tough to explain a concept like this without coming across as an elitist prick, but I think that generosity and philanthropy are core tenets of what elevates humanity above all other species. If I don't feel as if I should selflessly help those in need, I don't really deserve to consider myself above an animal. Maybe a little harsh, but it's how I feel. :twilightsheepish:

We can't live without beliefs.

I believe in absolute truths--realities of our existence that can be measured and expounded upon. In lieu of details, I do substitute systems of belief that I feel incorporate current knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts. An example of this is my belief in an infinitely macroscopic/microscopic universe--that there is always something bigger, and there is always something smaller. Currently, atoms are made up of quarks, which in turn are hypothesized to be made up of strings. The question is whether a string is as small as you can get, or if there's something smaller; I believe we simply lack the technology to find anything smaller. As is, we have not yet proven the existence of strings, but the Large Hadron Collider does have the potential of proving this at some point in the future (after we start doing higher-energy collisions).

On the flip side, there is this bizarre something out there called the Great Attractor, observed by NASA and several other astronomical science organizations. It is a giant something with immense gravity that numerous galaxies and black holes appear to be orbiting around. The interesting part: We can't directly observe it because it's hidden behind the glare of stars and dust and shit. We can observe the effect it has on the orbit of galaxies and measure its gravity, but we can't actually see it. This is a thing in the universe that we didn't even notice till we ended up seeing evidence of it. Things like this--these larger and smaller things that we simply lacked the knowledge or technology to notice prior--I can't possibly believe will stop any time soon. We used to think atoms were the smallest, then we found out those were made up of smaller things, and now we're pretty damn sure those are made up of smaller things. Who's to say there's not more things that make up strings and the vibrations that manipulate strings, or more things bigger than our universe that perhaps our entire universe orbits around? To limit ourselves to saying that strings are the smallest thing there is, or that the Great Attractor is the largest possible thing within our universe--that seems like hubris to me.

The main point is that I am totally open to the notion that our universe is not infinitely exponential or divisible. I may believe otherwise, but I don't hold any kind of conviction on the matter. Most things in my life are along the same lines.


It's tough to explain a concept like this without coming across as an elitist prick, but I think that generosity and philanthropy are core tenets of what elevates humanity above all other species. If I don't feel as if I should selflessly help those in need, I don't really deserve to consider myself above an animal. Maybe a little harsh, but it's how I feel.

It's nice that you think all this. Unfortunately it's not what history has illustrated time and time again. Anyone can say: "I help people because it's the right thing to do." I doubt anyone would be saying that under the Soviet Union or Mao's China.

The main point is that I am totally open to the notion that our universe is not infinitely exponential or divisible. I may believe otherwise, but I don't hold any kind of conviction on the matter. Most things in my life are along the same lines.

Here you're discussing concrete, objective facts. I was saying you hold many beliefs in the abstract, such as equality, which is completely ridiculous in context with the rest of history. You "believe" in helping the world even if there's no way of knowing the result. You give a homeless guy a dollar, next day you see him getting wasted with your money. Why did you do it in the first place?

I think we need systems of belief because otherwise there's nothing stopping me from becoming a suicidal nihilist.


Anyone can say: "I help people because it's the right thing to do." I doubt anyone would be saying that under the Soviet Union or Mao's China.

It's clearly up for interpretation, yeah. The problem: Literally fucking everything is like that. Anyone who claims their morals come from the Bible is full of shit. If they believed in the moral teachings of the Bible, they'd abstain from beating their slave to death. Not that they shouldn't own a slave, oh no. That's okay. They're just not supposed to beat their slave to death. Morals are gleaned from those around us, not some 2000-year-old book.

We can look back at Stalin and Mao and see the flaws in their worldly visions, and it lets us filter the world that we live in today. We can be better than historical figures because we can see what went right with them and what went wrong with them. We can also make these assessments without the pressure of defining national identity or pushing ideology. We can more objectively decide these things based on a simpler worldview. That means philanthropy needn't make changes that shape the outcome of nations--only of an individual, as I only influence the individual through my dollar due to how large my sphere of influence is.

I was saying you hold many beliefs in the abstract, such as equality, which is completely ridiculous in context with the rest of history.

The rest of history didn't have science. We can measure the differences between racial demographics now. Asian people are superior. :twistnerd:

In a serious sense, I don't think that the relatively minor differences between different ethnic groups in certain statistics--like intelligence or propensity for crime--are at all relevant. I've had shitloads of friends of many different ethnicities and it would be ridiculous to spout a statistic about the average person of their skin color being less intelligent than the average person of my skin color. They're clearly my equal because they're just as capable of learning things in school or at work as me. The individual matters more than these overarching themes, so to say we're unequal because of a difference in averages--that's fucking dumb. I have a different IQ than everybody else in my house, but we're all white. That doesn't make us unequal. Adding a black person to my household wouldn't skew this view.

As far as why I believe in equality despite historical context, it's because of the ability to look at things like statistics and ask myself, "How well does this allow an ethnicity to integrate into society?" You can look at other species of animal--chimpanzees, for example--and see that they would have a near-100% crime rate--not a matter of if, but when they happen. That every single ethnicity is capable of attending the same educational institutions and go into the same career fields as the most prolific members of the human race indicates that the minutiae matter for absolutely fuck-all. If we want to focus down a comparison between any two individuals, there are always going to be marked differences between them. Trying to make these same comparisons on the racial demographic level are pretty stupid, imo.

You give a homeless guy a dollar, next day you see him getting wasted with your money. Why did you do it in the first place?

To ease his suffering, if only for a little while. If he views sobriety as suffering, the only person who is harmed by this viewpoint is him, so I wouldn't hold his human weaknesses against him. I am just as capable of that same weakness, so turning my nose up at him for wanting to find solace in alcohol when he's got an absolutely fucking miserable life--that seems ridiculous. I give my dollar to ease suffering, not push my own personal views on what I'd do with that dollar onto a guy who's not me. If he feels like his best usage of that dollar is to drown away the facts that he's hungry and alone and owns absolutely nothing, it's not my place to tell him that he's not allowed to use my freely given dollar for that thing.

Oh, please don't take what I said the wrong way. Of course I think equality is important. By "completely ridiculous" that's not my opinion, I'm saying equality is very strange in a historical context. Some might argue it isn't natural, although that's not a convincing argument since there's plenty of things humans do that aren't natural.

I don't necessarily believe our morals come from the Bible (there were moral people before the Bible was written, after all). We get our morals from stories. From mythology. From art and culture. I'll try my best to explain.

Take the the most true aspect from twenty different people and combine them; what you have is something like a literary hero. Now take the most heroic aspect from a million literary heroes, and what you have is a meta-hero. That's what Christ is: a meta-hero. Good morals comes from seeking the truth, even at the expense of your own happiness. Christ is supposed to represent the highest form of truth, the truths of universal meaning (which is what heaven represents). And meaning is important, it's why nihilism can't be moral without sounding hypocritical, in my opinion.

Take this conversation we're having, to the degree that it's working. We're both trying to articulate our notions of reality. You do that, I listen, then I do that, you listen, perhaps we have some comments to add, but in the end we build something that's different than what we started with. Part of your character is an amalgam of the information you've encountered, and a lot of that is articulated wisdom, and so its sole construction, if you're having a good conversation (and that is also a conversation that is meaningful, and you can tell that when you have the conversation), it's that you are decomposing parts of yourself, your false presuppositions, you let them die, and you let something new reemerge as an alternative. You participate in this process of metaphorical death and revival constantly when you have a meaningful conversation. You'll discover your intellectual errors, what you got wrong, you'll let them go, and a new part of you shall emerge. And then another part dies, and another part emerges. That is the ultimate exercise of death and rebirth—it's the general mythology of redemption, meaning and truth, which is what Christ is archetypically.

You base a lot of your beliefs on rationalism. Like, you're saying it's best to progress as a society to treat others equally and whatnot. The problem with rationalism—and it's a problem I have with lots of atheists who think they're rationalists by mere virtue of being an atheist, effectively showing they don't understand it—the problem is that rationalism can go both ways, it all depends on the initial presuppositions you bring along. If you're optimistic and compassionate of course it'll seem logical to help people and advocate for equality. If, on the other hand, you believe life is evil (which is what Stalin thought), then you'll have no problem rationalizing genocide. Humans aren't intrinsically rational, we seriously aren't. We're also astonishingly stupid. I don't think "learning from history" helps when we repeat history all the time. Hitler knew what he was getting into when he decided to invade Poland, he knew many people would die. As long as evil people are around they don't care about the supposed errors their ancestors.


That's what Christ is: a meta-hero.

I will say that Jesus' teachings are generally pretty good, but a little bit of what he said 1. doesn't make sense in a modern context, or 2. isn't a good teaching. I'd say about 7/8 of Jesus' portrayal in the Bible is pretty good. He's about the only morally positive thing in that book.

We're both trying to articulate our notions of reality.

If you're referring to the death of ego every time someone has to concede a point, I'd say that's symbolically something we should embrace. It feels good to me to admit when I'm wrong. :rainbowkiss:

You base a lot of your beliefs on rationalism.

I guess you could say that, yeah. I prefer to stick to hard facts when possible, but where my beliefs differ from strictly factual points, I like to think that it's rational conclusions that can be postulated from those facts. I enjoy being wrong, though, so if a more rational viewpoint is presented, I'll adopt that into a new paradigm of my understanding of life.

Humans aren't intrinsically rational, we seriously aren't.

Hrm. This is a point of contention for me. We are intrinsically empathetic. Around age 4, we develop a theory of mind, which is our ability to theorize that other people have thoughts completely distinct from ours.

I think that rationalizing--the ability to recognize our own perspectives as flawed and resolving to reform those perspectives based on progressive understanding of the world around us--is the next logical step. If someone else can be right and I can be wrong, then why am I not wrong by default? What makes me right? Pursuing this notion that I am probably wrong if I'm not basing my assumptions on facts is the only way I believe in seeing the world through as sober and honest a lens as possible.

the problem is that rationalism can go both ways, it all depends on the initial presuppositions you bring along.

Yeah, I agree with the "eye of the beholder" argument. As I mentioned earlier, it's a statistical truth that black people on average are less intelligent than white people; there are an immense number of explanations and rationales that would explain this statistical difference, but ultimately, this factual thing could lead someone to a far different conclusion than I reached. It could be a rallying cry for a racist, while I use it as an indignant, "Should we assume you're more cancerous because your skin color makes you more susceptible to melanoma?" defense. Stupid to pretend a statistic such as this holds any bearing on the people or group of people you're interacting with--but ultimately my perspective on how to handle this statistical fact. No one sees the world the same way I do, and the same facts can lead to different methods of rationalization; that's when debates actually get interesting.

Jesus is the only good thing? Well, it depends on how you view good and evil. Archetypically only Jesus is utterly good, and only the devil is utterly bad, and when a single sin removes you from God (i.e. the Adam and Eve tale) while we apparently sin countless times a day, it's no wonder why Jesus could be interpreted as the only positive thing. But not's not what you're thinking, I know what you mean; I'll concede to the violent material in the Bible. I disagree that his teachings are outdated, in the same way Hamlet is never outdated to adapt to screen, but I won't get into that.

About the part on having meaningful conversations, it's the exercise of seeking the truth. Dostoevsky said to never lie to yourself, because if you do lie to yourself on a consistent basis it'll weaken your character, and by extension you're easy to manipulate. That's when you really fall into chaos. Living in order is essentially when reality lines up with your preconceived actions. But a daily dose of lies makes it so you can't really trust yourself, and when you've gone off the deep end with no one to turn to but yourself, and that doesn't work because you're full of lies and you can't distinguish what's true and what's not in yourself, that's when you really fall apart.

I think Jesus represents the truth—I call it a higher truth, because by always telling the truth you can find peace with yourself. Carl Jung once mentioned man's infinite capacity for evil. You can view it like this: our shadows reach down to the bottom of hell, symbolizing the prospect of us being susceptible to committing the worst atrocities imaginable, right down to the bottom of hell itself (sort of like Paradise Lost, where the further down you go, the more evil it gets). The only way to live in order is to look all the way down your shadow and being truthful with yourself about what you're capable of. Morals come from acknowledging your own monsters, and that's why mythology exists: it's the expression of good morals. This is similar to what Solzhenitsyn wrote: that we all have a line dividing the good and evil in our hearts.

I'll elaborate on that, about acknowledging your monsters. People learn martial arts to be at peace. It isn't about physical self defence, at least not fundamentally. This is actually an observable fact: people who are adept at martial arts are, contrary to popular belief, far less likely to engage in fighting (fighting on the streets, I mean). That's because they act more confidently in the face of danger and scare tough guys off, because the martial artists know what they're capable of. They could kill you in a second. They've looked down to their shadows and have become a murderous monster, and only then do they live in real peace. You act moral because you know what immoral is. You can't act moral in a vacuum.

It's logical to recognize your own flaws, but why does the vast majority of people have confirmation bias? Like, even the vast majority of scientists have this: they come up with a theory and, instead of trying to disprove it like you're supposed to, they poke around the world looking for evidence that makes their theory valid. People don't like having their core beliefs stripped down because the truth burns, it burns off deadwood, and people don't like having their deadwood burnt off, largely because they're 95% deadwood.


people don't like having their deadwood burnt off, largely because they're 95% deadwood.

It cleanses me. :pinkiesmile: The more lies I strip from myself so I can lay truths bare, the better the person I become as a consequence. That's my philosophy.

I read the rest of what you said, but I don't really have anything I want to say concerning it. I understand what you're saying and accept most of it as what you believe; I have no reason to question any of it, as it seems like solid valid beliefs. :twilightsmile:

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