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Politics, The Final Frontier (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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Let us take the Big Three of group thought. They are 1) academic theories 2) organised religions and 3) political ideologies. The vast majority of people never dissent on any aspect of any of these things. Thus Maurice Blenkinsop of Hoe Street, Walthamstow a) believes that Plate Tectonics is the prime mover of the earth's surface features; is b) an agnostic and c) describes himself as "a liberal with a small L".

When we say he 'believes" these things we are slightly underestimating matters because he doesn't occupy these positions by weighing up the evidence and deciding that one thing is more likely than another, he regards what is inside his head to be essentially "self-evident truths". The evidence for Plate Tectonics is so overwhelming that it would be perverse not to believe in it; to be an agnostic is the only defensible position in a matter where the truth so obviously cannot be known; and it is simply a matter of common sense (with a goodly dose of upright morality) to be a liberal.

He is wrong about all three.
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Edwin



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First though we should see whether your analysis of Maurice Blenkinsop is correct.

He may say that he is an agnostic but that is probably because of the negative associations with atheism. If he doubts the existence of any god then he is an atheist thus Old Man Coyote means no more to him than does the OT God. He is not wrong on that score except for a little social cowardice.

I must be a Blenkinso because plate tectonics seems the best fit at the moment, please tell us why we are wrong or refer to the aroriate discussion where presumably Ishmael told you he didn't believe in geography and geology as well as history.

L for l I will come back to.
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Mick Harper
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He may say that he is an agnostic but that is probably because of the negative associations with atheism.

Precisely. People believe things not because they are true but because they make them happy. Applied Epistemology is a range of techniques that ...well, one would have to say "attempts to make sure that the truth makes you happy". Maurice has learned over his lifetime that to use the label "agnosticism" allows him to fit in with a minimum of fuss in an area in which he is not personally interested but that he knows arouses various emotions. As you say, the label "atheist" conjures up the kind of dangerous enthusiams that "Christian", "Muslim" does.

If he doubts the existence of any god then he is an atheist

No. If he doubts the existence of God he is an agnostic. If he doesn't believe in the existence of God he is an atheist. But this is where AE cuts in by pointing out that Maurice would not doubt the existence of something for which he has no evidence, it just would never occur to him to wonder about it in the first place. The "Don't Know" position, as we shall see, is very significant to AE. People adopt it when they shouldn't and don't adopt it when they should. All depending on what makes them happy.

He is not wrong on that score except for a little social cowardice.

Are you saying Maurice is lying? To us? To himself? To his conscience? Yes, it is true that religion is of such little importance to Maurice and his circle that doubtless everybody is using a useful formula .... but therein lies ...
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Mick Harper
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I must be a Blenkinso because plate tectonics seems the best fit at the moment, please tell us why we are wrong

Edwin, you do not believe this because it is "the best fit" you believe it 'from authority'. Of course, this authority being the apparently rational one of academia your brain is telling you that it is 'the best fit' but actually your brain is arguing, "Look, Eddie, there's a million earth scientists out there and they all believe in Plate Tectonics. Do you have any good reason not to go along with them?"

But the whole point of this website, the whole point of AE, is to argue back and point out to our own brain, "You listen, pally, those million Earth Scientists believe it from authority too .... they all lined up in rows in a classroom and listened to an authority figure who believed in Plate Tectonics because he got it from an authority figure..."

That's all we say for the moment. Plate Tectonics may be the best fit, it may even be true, but we here happen not to believe it to be true just because we think it's the best fit. We have come to suspect even our own beliefs because we realise they stem from authority.

And as it happens, Eddie, your political beliefs come from the same place. Though if it is any consolation the people on this website are comfortable confronting academic beliefs but very few of them (just me, as far as I can tell, plus one or two honest toilers who are trying to bust out) are anything other than left or right jobsworths.
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Edwin



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I wondered about wandering and sundering continents when I was very little and saw the fit of South America and Africa. Bent strata and uplifting mountains coupled with upwelling material from volcanic splits on the ocean floors seem good evidence.

Use the amazing deductive powers of AE to provide an alternative.
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Edwin



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I wonder if atheism can be called a belief. An absence of belief yes of course.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Edwin wrote:
Use the amazing deductive powers of AE to provide an alternative.

He has Ed... see 'An Introduction to Palaeogeography' in The Reading Room.

Also worth googling Expanding Earth Theory.
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Edwin



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No point in looking further if you can think of continents as swanning about on the briny then further discussion on this point is fruitless.

Plates do move and there is ample evidence for this. The effects of such movement may be more subject to argument.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Edwin wrote:
Plates do move and there is ample evidence for this. The effects of such movement may be more subject to argument.


You've come to the wrong place.
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Mick Harper
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Ple-e-a-se, gentlemen, we are not here to discuss the merits of Plate Tectonics versus any other theory. We are merely seeking to establish that Edwin believes in Plate Tectonics from authority. Authority in turn may have investigated the evidence for 'best fit' but Edwin has not.

He, like everybody else here, has watched a thousand hours of television (I don't know his age so I don't know whether he studied it at school) both news and documentaries which argue 'best fit' in various ways. It feels to him by now that he has witnessed the evidence at first hand so much that what is claimed is established as self-evident truth but, as the old hands here know, that is always the mark of an academic paradigm.
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Edwin



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Lacking the time, money and ability to undertake my own research in physics, Earth Sciences et al I have to accept the research of others, as do all of you. Please deny this then explain how you can make any rational judgement without a scintilla of evidence except perhaps to KNOW that the Sun goes round the Earth by your own observation.

To automatically reject research selectively with nothing but your paradigm of AE as your guide makes no sense in the real world.
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Mick Harper
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It is virtually impossible not to trust what is in your own brain. As I have pointed out, AE trains you in ways of doubting what's in your own brain. One really excellent method is to inwardly cringe whenever you find yourself making routinely orthodox statements. Especially when you know you are conversing with people who regard routinely orthodox statements as anathema.

Go back to your last post and see if you can't tease out something that you both believe but is in some way not routinely orthodox.
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Edwin



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incidentally my keyboard is having rostate trouble with a reluctance to p
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Grant



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The best example of what you speak of is provided in BBC's Question Time. Virtually all the protagonists parrot standard left wing drivel (or very occasionally right wing drivel). Anyone who ever says anything remotely interesting that he has worked out for himself is never invited again.

Now all this is very necessary for our society to function. It is essential that 99% of people believe what everyone else does. But what really annoys me about Question Time is that the participants always utter their totally unoriginal crap thoughts as though they are saying something truly insightful.
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Mick Harper
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Yes, this is a critical insight. It is essential that virtually everybody is either right-wing or left-wing in a modern society, just as in earlier times, when law'n'order was more tenuous, it was essential that everybody followed a single ideology, ie the same religion.

It is of course a free choice of everybody on this site whether they are going to continue to be society-fodder or become an Applied Epistemologist. But God (Anglican) save us all if Applied Epistemologists form even 0.0002 of the population.
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