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Why is it so difficult to say "I don't know"

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posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 04:38 AM
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Even though, most of what you read here is speculation regarding one subject or another, i think there can be a realistic speculation and a unrealistic speculation. Communication in general can yield interesting results, even in speculation, and even if the conclusion doesn't relate to the subject in question.




posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 07:56 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

But how is experience more accurate than logic? Your experiences are defined by your brain.

So is logic.

And how, anyway, do you know your brain is to be trusted? How do you know you even have one? How about a body?


I don't know and I never claimed to know.
However, why I believe logic is more valid than 'spiritual experiences' is because we have logical reasons why these experiences are psychological and not real at all.
However, we do not have logical reasons (without a leap in assumption) which would say that our logic is based on a flawed system.

All we have to determine if experiences or anything is valid is logic and reasoning, so this is at the 'top' of the pyramid and should be taken with more validity IMO.


Originally posted by Astyanax
The human brain is certainly prone to hallucinations and other distortions of reality. Still, we can agree (with apologies to Uncle Abe) that all brains fool themselves some of the time, and some brains fool themselves all of the time, but all brains do not fool themselves all of the time. In my humble unphilosophical opinion, this consensual reality resolves the dispute... some of the time.


But these hallucinations have logical reasons to back them. I've never seen something of this nature that does not have a logical bases.

Is it coincidence that 99.9% of 'visions' are seen only by the 1 person reporting them? The other 0.1% could easily be attributed to people making up stories, and believe me some of these people do.
Of course I pulled those percentages out of my buttocks, but from what I've seen, it would be pretty accurate.


Originally posted by Astyanax

Pure logic with no bias rarely (if ever) fails.

But the devil is the qualification, isn't it? 'With no bias'. How do you know your logic - or rather, your application of it - is unbiased?


When I say 'no bias', I simply mean that the truth is more important than ego or anything else that may get in the way of the truth.
I do have an ego - I would be a hypocrite to say I don't, However, as bloated as my ego may get at times, it would never be big enough to deny any substancial evidence for the existence of God or even Zeus for that matter.



Originally posted by Astyanax
However, it contains no evidence to support the proposition that


my eyes are not made out of jelly

because, you know, they are.


I know you were joking, but still - I said jelly, not a jelly-like substance
.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:05 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

Really? What evidence do you have that God does NOT exist?

I don't know about Horza (to whom you addressed this question), but you have already had an answer from me, in this post. I believe it will suffice.


He/she addressed the question to me.
Who is Horza?



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 09:41 AM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
Well, I couldn't agree with you more, historically that has been the unfortunate tone of these threads, hence the OP.



I dont know if the tone of other threads like this is "unfortunate."

(The threads, I mean, where everyone is just saying "I am right and ur dumb" "NO! I am right and ur stoopid.")

I think you have to ask yourself what the point of the thread is, before you can call that sort of outcome "unfortunate."

Most of those threads are designed to do exactly what they are doing. They are not designed for reasonable discourse, they are designed either to allow venting, or to simply gain points, and nothing gains points faster than something that both polarizes in terms of opinion and pisses people off. The very title is a goad in many cases, or the opening post is, to stir up the hornets nest.

There are lots of very reasonable threads on this board that are all of 4 posts long.

I would say the same thing to Vanitas.

There are loads of scientists who are incredibly willing to say "we dont know." And many of them do not take that tone of "but we really do, and you know we do." The most outrageous and controversial of the religious dominate the stage, and so do the most outrageous of the scientific, those who are willing, (perhaps eager) to make claims that science can say anything at all about the existence of God. This says more about us, as observers, than it says about the larger body of scientific or religious people. I would argue that the moderate, and modest dominate both groups. We simply dont tend to become aware of them. They do nothing to either piss one off, nor give ones ego a rub by validating it, and so they slip by our consciousness.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by TruthParadox

So the problem is not with the logic but with the knowledge. However, I'm refering to logic BASED on knowledge.
Example:
God is omnipotent
God is having a struggle with Satan

I have the information to determine through logic that both can not be correct.




Maybe.

What struck me when reading your example is what if the premises were altered slightly.

God is omnipotent.
Satan is Gods ego.
God is having a struggle with Satan.

It would be logical, that an ominpotent being could struggle with an aspect of itself.

Besides, one of the things that I find both interesting and annoying is how so many of the "scientifically minded" atheists are using science as evidence against only ONE God. The Christian one. I always suspect it sort of betrays a belief in that God, since it is the only one worth arguing against.

I always think about it this way. Science is an incomplete description of the physical universe. It is unfolding, evolving, our body of evidence shrinks and grows as we make discoveries. Some things we thought were valid we have to leave by the wayside, other things we add as they are proposed or discovered.

Many religions are more "fixed" because of the way they have been taught, not by God or the Divine itself, but by people. And in the case of the Christian God (as argued against by the scientists who choose to do so and by fundamentalist Christians) a God described in terminology and concepts 2000 years old. Any attempt to "evolve" the understanding of God is quashed violently in many cases by the major religions. However, even within the group of Christians there have been attempts to describe God in more modern terms, or to discover why we cannot use language to accurately describe God with language at all.

This God, the God so beyond duality that our language and minds cannot even describe or envision, is ignored by most scientists. Because of the limits of science. (Science needs that which is measurable and understandable with the mind to deal with at all.) Far more interesting than to argue against a description of God thousands of years old and fixed would be to consider the mystic version of God, and allow for the inherent limits of language and the mind as many brilliant mystic minds have rather than fixate on the language itself.

Science does not say anything about this God, it cannot. The very nature of this God makes it untouchable by our current science, either to prove or disprove, and it would be wholly illogical to say that it could offer any proof for or against it. Therefore, as I see it as a philosopher, who has interests in both the Divine and science, I simply do not attempt to make those kinds of statements. As science goes along and discovers more about the physical world, things that are neither this nor that until observed, potentiality, singularity, and thus uncovers the limits of language and the human mind within its own field of endeavor perhaps that two will meet. Because those "problems" or limits of the mind have already been described by the mystic.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 10:19 AM
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Why is it so difficult to say "I don't know"


i don't know.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 02:43 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 



. A religious person - an indoctrinate - cannot view the world absent the prejudice of his faith. These rather obvious conclusions are therefore beyond him, and he is fated to continue in error and self-deceit until he sheds his dogma. That is the difference. It is a real one, which folk who bluster that atheism is only another kind of faith (I know you are not one of them) cannot perceive because they cannot understand what it is to be free.


how on earth did I miss this one?

I hesitate to ask - because - I'm actually a little afraid of the answer - are you kidding me with this?

or, are just enjoying yourself a little bit of "indoctrinate" baiting?

since I am, evidently, someone with serious commitment issues - I know I'm on shaky ground speaking on behalf of the faithful - but, Mr. Astyanax, seriously...

I'm among the first to bluster away on "atheism as a belief system" because in some instances it is dogma, pure and simple

it smells like dogma, feels like dogma - and can be used as a tool just as effectively as religious dogma ever was

it's just a dogma of a different color

what I actually mean to say is - all the evidence in this universe of ours can only lead you to conclude that god doesn't exist - it has proven exactly nothing

so far

unless something really astonishing has happened since I got up this morning - I turned off the news hours ago

no one has ever been able to demonstrate to me that this is something you can know - one way or the other

so as irritating as it is - you guys all got the same thing going on - certainty based on uncertainty

we can sit here and tear apart the words belief and faith forever

in the end - the best you or anyone will ever be able to say - if you're honest - is that you have come to believe that there is no god

and belief in something you cannot know is nothing but faith

self deceit, freedom...doggone dogma anyway

I have to bring this back round to the OP - why is it so hard to say I don't know?

at least Agnosticism is unbiased in it's sweet, simple, honest way

it has nothing to prove



These observations prompt the conclusion that either there is no God, or that God is not to be understood in anthropomorphic terms, even those of the greatest refinement, and is therefore a null hypothesis


much prettier - with some humility



* Nature is, by human standards, amoral. It contains much that is good but is also supremely cruel.


Nature is the most honest of us all - and it is not cruel

it's all about intent



[edit on 10/3/2008 by Spiramirabilis]



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:32 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


So what are your thoughts on Odin or Ra? By your logic, most of your subscribed doctrine must be concerned with all the deities out there that you don't believe in.

Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. That's it. That's everything. No massive tomes to sift through, no people arguing over which is the one true way to not believe in a god, none of that nonsense at all.

Don't fall in to the trap of equating what you think about something with the truth - that is the height of arrogance. Surely you realise you, and your understanding of the world, is fallible, right?



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:50 PM
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Originally posted by dave420
Don't fall in to the trap of equating what you think about something with the truth - that is the height of arrogance. Surely you realise you, and your understanding of the world, is fallible, right?


I am so glad you realize this. Because as it turns out, you are not exactly correct on the first part of that paragraph.



Originally posted by dave420
Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. That's it. That's everything. No massive tomes to sift through, no people arguing over which is the one true way to not believe in a god, none of that nonsense at all.


Atheism is just not that cut and dried. And, generally speaking one person, you in this instance, does not get to be the determiner of what a word actually means. Atheism is not a "this is what it is...period." type of term. It has meant many thing in many places and times, and even today many do not use it just to me "lack of belief in a God."

en.wikipedia.org...


In English, the term atheism was derived from the French athéisme in about 1587.[13] The term atheist (from Fr. athée), in the sense of "one who denies or disbelieves the existence of God",



Most recently, there has been a push in certain philosophical circles to redefine atheism as the "absence of belief in deities", rather than as a belief in its own right; this definition has become popular in atheist communities, though its mainstream usage has been limited.[24][25][26]


Even the Atheists themselves recognize that there are more than one type of atheist.

atheism.about.com...


There also exists a narrower sort of atheism, sometimes called "strong" or "explicit" atheism. With this type, the atheist explicitly denies the existence of any gods — making a strong claim which will deserve support at some point.


I dont think it is fair to come down so hard on someone for being confused about what that word describes. It isnt that narrow a definition.

Which is why I think some prefer the word agnostic.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:50 PM
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Originally posted by dave420
Don't fall in to the trap of equating what you think about something with the truth - that is the height of arrogance. Surely you realise you, and your understanding of the world, is fallible, right?


I am so glad you realize this. Because as it turns out, you are not exactly correct on the first part of that paragraph.



Originally posted by dave420
Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. That's it. That's everything. No massive tomes to sift through, no people arguing over which is the one true way to not believe in a god, none of that nonsense at all.


Atheism is just not that cut and dried. And, generally speaking one person, you in this instance, does not get to be the determiner of what a word actually means. Atheism is not a "this is what it is...period." type of term. It has meant many thing in many places and times, and even today many do not use it just to me "lack of belief in a God."

en.wikipedia.org...


In English, the term atheism was derived from the French athéisme in about 1587.[13] The term atheist (from Fr. athée), in the sense of "one who denies or disbelieves the existence of God",



Most recently, there has been a push in certain philosophical circles to redefine atheism as the "absence of belief in deities", rather than as a belief in its own right; this definition has become popular in atheist communities, though its mainstream usage has been limited.[24][25][26]


Even the Atheists themselves recognize that there are more than one type of atheist.

atheism.about.com...


There also exists a narrower sort of atheism, sometimes called "strong" or "explicit" atheism. With this type, the atheist explicitly denies the existence of any gods — making a strong claim which will deserve support at some point.


I dont think it is fair to come down so hard on someone for being confused about what that word describes. It isnt that narrow a definition.

Which is why I think some prefer the word agnostic.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:57 PM
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reply to post by dave420
 




So what are your thoughts on Odin or Ra? By your logic, most of your subscribed doctrine must be concerned with all the deities out there that you don't believe in.


my subscribed doctrine doesn't exist - for those who haven't been following the bouncing ball

I am concerned not at all with proving or disproving anything - and I actually don't care one way or another what anyone chooses to believe.

that is to say - I respect people's right to believe whatever makes sense to them - right up to the point where their right to believe starts to squash the rights of others

I'm mostly fascinated and amused by word games - which turn into power games a little further down the road

Ra annoys me - but Odin is pretty cool I think



Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god.


that's what everyone keeps saying



That's it. That's everything. No massive tomes to sift through, no people arguing over which is the one true way to not believe in a god, none of that nonsense at all.


but it turns into something else when it's followed by "none of that nonsense" at all

just so we're clear - Galileo got the shaft

the shoe could be on the other foot now

belief becomes something other than belief when intolerance makes the scene

it makes no difference what that belief is, or whether it's valid (however that might be determined)

it's meaningless as soon as it becomes a tool or a weapon



Don't fall in to the trap of equating what you think about something with the truth - that is the height of arrogance.


we are all arrogant - it's almost unavoidable - but, maybe let's save that for another thread in another forum



Surely you realise you, and your understanding of the world, is fallible, right?


oh, god yes (said with humor)

I believe you've got it!



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:03 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Not a derailment. Well, not exactly...

And now, with your kind permission, I'm switching points on this train.

Q: Why is it so difficult to say 'I don't know'?

A: Because you're afraid that if you do, people will look down on you for being ignorant.


Taken out of the atheism-vs.-religion context, that is the number one reason why people are shy of admitting ignorance.


it's not a derailment - we're back on track

I think this is by far the most accurate explanation so far

instead of going out - going in

it almost hurts to look at it that way - but I see it all the time here at ATS

ok - everywhere

I see some posters with beautiful minds and interesting perspectives shy away because they're not sure about their position

not to mention what happens "out there" - and that does have consequences



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:17 PM
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reply to post by dave420
 


also, Dave - I'd like to add

this is a meaningful discussion

and it's a good question the OP has asked

but sometimes - this is just an elaborate excuse to poke the bear

no reason it can't be engaging, informative, enlightening AND fun

the Inquisition did suck some of the fun out of it, but still...



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:24 PM
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because of saying - I dont know

opens a gate to the questions

questions are not sometimes good, sometimes can provide us to unknown regions
and then we can feel uncomfortable

so, better for our ego is to say - NO, I am sure I know



however, in the end, we are on the same place.. with many questions again

so, for me - is better to ask - why
and say - I dont know



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 01:18 AM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
reply to post by letthereaderunderstand
 


I honestly cannot disagree with one thing you just said.

The only thing that I would add for consideration, is that there is another universe beyond the five senses. But as you said, it also must be experienced to be "known".



Thank you for your kind words.

I agree with you completely and as I said, "I have faith in many things others don't, having experienced them".

I only said the five, because they are "common sense" supplied to all and are the foundation to build on making everyone equal. Even the ones who don't have all of the senses end up garnering a boost in the remaining senses to where it is almost "superhuman".

To a man who has been blind his whole life, sight is just another abstract word, yet whisper something across the room and he hears everything being said that you or I would of never even noticed. In the same way, those things beyond us are static to most, but to others vision in which some may say "I don't know" still others "I see".

People are afraid to say, "I don't know" because in today's society saying those three words can make you slave or king depending on who's mouth they are coming out of and what can be gained to the other party. I don't think people would be afraid to say those words if they didn't fear being taken advantage of. If we knew our teachers wouldn't exploit us, we would be willing to say it, yet it is rare to find even a family that hasn't been destroyed for personal gains and desires.

I think trust is the issue more then anything. I see so many angry responses in so many of these threads. So many people are hurt and have been lied to why would they say "I don't know"? It becomes another opportunity to exploit them which is the sure thing they don't want to know.

When we can trust our mothers and fathers again, when we can trust each other again, and when we can trust our leaders again then innocent hearts will utter those words with a smile. That starts with what we do know, taking care of each other in humility.

Peace



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 06:30 AM
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Originally posted by tribaltrip
"i think every human instinctivly knows that there is more,knows there is an answer and knows theres a truth, it's the fact that the truth is so open ended"


Actually, our instinctive "knowledge" that the truth "exists" disembodied from our mental filtering process is precisely at the root of the problem. It is the process by which we forget that all of the "facts" that we know are nothing but extremely highly reassured beliefs:

Our use of the words "IS" or "IS NOT" is part of how we create the illusion for ourselves that our knowledge about the world is absolute and defined extra-sensorially, maybe because we can't bother to express every thought in "transactional" terms, but most likely cause we really think that "truth exists" and "some of us really know it"

Here are some examples that juxtapose an absolutistic expression against a transactional one, you might see my point expressed better by examples:
"Objects fall down, there is such thing as gravity" -> every time I have looked at an object that was not suspended by anything or propelling itself up, said object has fallen down. Because of that I am going to call the phenomenon "gravity" and say that it "exists"

Grass is green -> To most people's eyes, grass registers as green.



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 09:33 AM
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Grrrr......

I wrote out a nice thoughtful long reply to this, hit "Post", and got the screen saying ATS was updating its servers and not accepting new posts.


Great thread as usual, SDog! Everything I had to say has already been said, usually by Spiramirabilis so I'm not gonna retype it all.

But I will share this little story:

As a thirty-something year old who never took chemistry in high school currently in undergraduate science classes eighteen-year-olds who just took it last year, I often find myself saying "I don't know", "I don't understand", or "Could you explain?"

Often, the response is "Don't worry, it won't be on the test."

To which I respond, "Huh?"

I think it betrays a really strange attitude towards ignorance in our cultural when instructors a) feel that I have to be reassured that it's okay that I don't know something about, say, bond polarities; b) don't consider that I might want to have my ignorance corrected. And that's in a situation where it's surely socially acceptable to be ignorant about the topic, and I'm paying them to teach me about it.

Maybe part of why people find it so extremely troublesome to say "I don't know" about whether or not God exists is that for believers, it definitely will be on the test, and for atheists (of the anti-religion type), there'd better not be a test to worry about.

Me? I'm an agnostic. I just want to hear what everyone has to say



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by anyone
People want to believe they know because it is a security blanket. They want to be "the ones" who have it right whether they believe or don't because that makes them feel more powerful; that they hold THE knowledge. My beliefs are ever changing because I feel I really could not condescend to know the TRUTH. I just try to seek truths.


+1 for this post.

No-one actually knows much in todays world at all. We've made a few gadgets using the latest advances in science and are getting ahead of ourselves with all these theories on how the universe "may" work, and loads of other theories on nearly every single other thing imaginable.

Life is a journey. No-one will ever know the full truth (Especially not today), unless you knew everything there is to know about the universe (The concept of God). Although I am a religious man (Islam if you really want to know), I don't force my views on anyone. You're constantly learning all the time. You'll learn something new, and incorporate it into what you already know, constantly trying to find the ultimate truth. I have an opinion if you want to hear it, but it is shocking how most people insist on passing off their opinions as "fact".

What are the facts?

- Religion is based on faith, faith that there is a God, Angel, Heaven and Hell.
- Science is based on facts, physical proof of something.

Both are incompatible in the modern world, so any discussions will always lead nowhere. However, if Science ever proved that God existed, there wouldn't be any more Religion vs. Science debates.

Personally, I believe humanity is like a toddler, still trying to find its feet and be able to walk unaided. I believe that there is a God, since it would be illogical for there not to be one. I also believe in right and wrong, good and evil, and all that other stuff. Why? Otherwise the universe would look out of place. So much "order" in the universe, and yet so much chaos on this planet, with much of the chaos because of human actions. Just like that, for every action, there is a equal and opposite reaction (Newtons Law), I believe there is some sort of a Heaven and Hell for every living creature - That you are judged on your good and bad deeds which sends a person to Heaven and Hell respectively. It also kind of makes sense with the modern world, where there are so many injustices that go unanswered. It also provides a little security among religious folk that the evil amongst us will get what they deserve in the hereafter, and as long as we believe it, does it give anyone a right to say that the idea is stupid? What if, in a few hundred years from now, it was proven that God existed. What will you do then?

People are too quick to judge others, and I am not judging Science. And they are right - There is no proof of a God right now. But like 400 years ago, when the mainstream believed that the sun and planets went round the Earth, or that the Earth was flat before that, don't be so quick to judge about anything.

And that also applies to the various religions. You cannot undeniably prove that your religion is the one true religion of God. So stop getting into arguments, stop boasting, stop causing arguments and let everyone go about what they believe is right. Sooner or later, the truth comes out, and hopefully, peace and harmony will prevail.

[edit on 4-10-2008 by JasonT]



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 07:26 AM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


‘I do not know’ is freedom. Just because we can reason doesn’t mean there is a reason or that we have to reason. Why are we here? Don’t know. Did God put me here? Don’t know, but if he did I have a couple of questions I would like to ask him. Reason tells me there is no God but hey what’s life without a bit of magic.
In half a century of conscious thought ‘ I don’t know’ has allowed me, sometimes ,to sleep.



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 09:52 AM
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Video series (7 - 10 mins each) on youtube which makes many topics surrounding Evolution and such easy to understand.

www.youtube.com...

www.youtube.com...

www.youtube.com...

Easy listening and easy watching.






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