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Radical Skepticism and Religious Experience

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  • #91
    Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
    Ok, you win this war of attrition.

    I can't be bothered to rehash reasons and put into new light what I have explained earlier and what should be crystal clear by now.

    I guess we simply don't speak the same language.
    OK, fair enough.

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    • #92
      Since I joined this forum I've noticed that most of the resident skeptics have never given any positive beliefs on any topic. Why on earth one would spend ones time doing something so utterly useless as merely trying to find out what's not true, through skepticism, is beyond me, but to each his own. But what's utterly clear to me after having been here some time is that the skepticism rampant here is psychological and not well grounded in reason.

      Frankly I find it pathetic to be told about the oh-so-ever-great skeptic so and so and his oh-so-ever-great arguments by some star struck pop-skeptic with the philosophical acumen of my dung.

      Face it - skepticism is a trend much like skateboard during the 70s or bad hair during the 80s and being able to flaunt some philosophical lingo doesn't make you a philosopher any more than owning the right skateboard magically transformed you into Tony Hawk.

      I'd like to propose that if you're here with the sole purpose of being skeptical of any and all views AND that you never postulate positive views yourself then you should be considered a troll.

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      • #93
        Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
        Since I joined this forum I've noticed that most of the resident skeptics have never given any positive beliefs on any topic. Why on earth one would spend ones time doing something so utterly useless as merely trying to find out what's not true, through skepticism, is beyond me, but to each his own. But what's utterly clear to me after having been here some time is that the skepticism rampant here is psychological and not well grounded in reason.

        Frankly I find it pathetic to be told about the oh-so-ever-great skeptic so and so and his oh-so-ever-great arguments by some star struck pop-skeptic with the philosophical acumen of my dung.

        Face it - skepticism is a trend much like skateboard during the 70s or bad hair during the 80s and being able to flaunt some philosophical lingo doesn't make you a philosopher any more than owning the right skateboard magically transformed you into Tony Hawk.

        I'd like to propose that if you're here with the sole purpose of being skeptical of any and all views AND that you never postulate positive views yourself then you should be considered a troll.
        Naturally. Organized skepticism, as far as we know it, isn't based on rationality. In fact, sometimes a skeptic will reach for the LEAST obvious answer because it is the one that still remains relevant to their belief system. Organized skepticism spends so much time struggling to reach explanations that aren't intuitively obvious, without regard to rationality. I guess if rationality is postulating absurd and far-reaching answers to questions that seem intuitively obvious, then that's skepticism.

        But it does NOT use rationality, and skeptics believe it is their destiny to make people doubt their beliefs ( I hate that word ). Which is fine, we all need some elasticity back to rationality once in a while. But the fact that skeptics refuse to use that same skepticism of their own belief systems is what confuses me. Why use a rigorous set of criteria for everything but your own beliefs? Why point out God of the Gaps arguments when your arguments are full of promissory materialism?

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        • #94
          Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
          Since I joined this forum I've noticed that most of the resident skeptics have never given any positive beliefs on any topic. Why on earth one would spend ones time doing something so utterly useless as merely trying to find out what's not true, through skepticism, is beyond me, but to each his own. But what's utterly clear to me after having been here some time is that the skepticism rampant here is psychological and not well grounded in reason.

          Frankly I find it pathetic to be told about the oh-so-ever-great skeptic so and so and his oh-so-ever-great arguments by some star struck pop-skeptic with the philosophical acumen of my dung.

          Face it - skepticism is a trend much like skateboard during the 70s or bad hair during the 80s and being able to flaunt some philosophical lingo doesn't make you a philosopher any more than owning the right skateboard magically transformed you into Tony Hawk.

          I'd like to propose that if you're here with the sole purpose of being skeptical of any and all views AND that you never postulate positive views yourself then you should be considered a troll.
          Yeah, I don't really have a coherent and consistent positive worldview to offer. I'm the first to admit this. But it's totally unfair to suggest that makes me a troll! I don't understand the nature of the self, consciousness, meaning and free-will. What do you want me to do? Should I just pretend to agree with the hardcore materialists or the religious folks that everything's OK and everything makes sense. This is intellectually dishonest.

          It seems to me that, when we take everything into account, Mcginn's position is the most reasonable one right now. Consciousness and free-will are part of the natural world, but the human brain is simply incapable of understanding how this can be. I also agree with Nagel and Maitzen that ultimate meaning isn't possible and that a certain amount of absurdity in life is inescapable. Still, it might be possible to find an optimistic worldview here, one where we can celebrate and enjoy the mystery and absurdity of life. Daoism may be an example of such a worldview.

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          • #95
            Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
            Why on earth one would spend ones time doing something so utterly useless as merely trying to find out what's not true, through skepticism, is beyond me, but to each his own.
            Here's an, I think, ?* propos statement I came across by philosopher Robert Audi on virtue epistemology and the twin ideals of believing truth and avoiding falsehood. The skeptical attitude you describe, CJ, appears to me to "sin" in its excessive emphasis on the latter.

            I want to believe that the field (in front of me) is there if it truly is, for I have a deep-seated desire to believe as many significant truths as I can. But I also want to avoid believing that it is there if it is not, for I have a deep-seated desire to avoid believing falsehoods. Both of these desires are important; and they represent ideals that govern much of our thinking. But the two ideals pull against each other. The former inclines us to believe readily, since we may otherwise miss believing a truth; the latter inclines us to suspend judgment, lest we err by believing a falsehood.

            The former ideal, calling on us to believe truths, pushes us towards credulity: believing on grounds that evidentially are too thin - or without grounds at all - and thereby believing too much. The latter ideal, calling on us to avoid believing falsehoods, pushes us toward a kind of skepticism: believing only on conclusive grounds, and thereby - if common sense is right about the matter - believing too little.

            How can we balance these ideals with each other? (...)

            In very broad terms, skepticism is most commonly conceived by philosophers roughly as the view that there is little if any knowledge. Call this view knowledge skepticism.

            A related kind of skepticism is constituted by an attitude or feature of temperament, such as a disapproval of believing without conclusive grounds. This is not our direct concern. But if philosophical skepticism is not justified, then some common skeptical attitudes are not either, and some people who go through life with a skeptical attitude lack the kind of intellectual balance that goes with epistemic virtue. One reason, then, for studying skepticism is to approach a mean between two cognitive traits - intellectual vices, in the language of virtue epistemology. One vice is (excessive) credulity, which is too weak a disposition to doubt or withhold belief; the other is (excessive) skepticism, which is too strong a disposition to doubt or to withhold belief.

            Robert Audi. (2011). Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge. 3rd edition. Routledge. P. 335-336. (my bold)
            Why, as so evidenced in this forum for one thing (my impression anyway), and maybe this is also a feature of contemporary pop "skepticism" in general, is there always so much concern for the risk of believing falsehoods and comparatively little thought to the risks of missing important truths?

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            • #96
              Both religious fundamentalists and hardcore materialists want an easy life. Fundamentalists will have their consistent and coherent worldview, even if it means pretending that biblical criticism and the problem of evil don't exist, and materialists will have their consistent and coherent worldview, even if it means having to pretend that free-will and consiousness don't exist. What nobody can do is have their consistent and coherent worldview while taking EVERYTHING into account. If we take everything into account, we see that life is extremely weird, and for many people this is not a comfortable position.

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              • #97
                The trait we honour with the name skepticism, is usually simple debunking. Self-styled skeptics believe themselves to be working in some classical tradition in search of truth, when most of the time they behave like adolescents who counter their parent's advice with another 'yebbut'. It isn't a search for the real, it's the need to listen to the voice in their own head, and spread that message to anyone who'll listen.

                They believe the voice to have an important message, but because the voice never listens to the sound of anything it doesn't like to hear, it's stuck with its own echo.

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