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Arcesious
10-20-2008, 02:10 PM
I've heard a lot of interesting stuff from my pastor and lots of apologetics... (Before you go, OMG, not again! I will first say: this thread is not about me, lol, it's about a communications clogging effect I've noticed in many debates.)

Interesting thing I've found is the arguments they speak of and what arguments they argue with the opposite side.

They've got a lot of complicated arguements based on stuff from people like RB Theime, Ravi Zacharias, etc, etc. Lots of Apologetic stuff. They actually have quite a complicated and well-thought-out argument about how the unbeleiver cannot understand the 'word of God'... (It's very complicated - ask my pastor for details, lol.)

Anyways, they make interesting arguments about how the 'unbeleiver' as they call people like me, think, and what it is like to debate with a person of our perspective.

Here's what's intriquing- when they come to argue with a secularist or someone of a different religion/perspective face to face, they never seem to fully reveal the argument they have, even though that is the intention in debating. This is because their argument leaves presuppositions about the opposition, about how the opposition thinks. They have to be careful in their wording, and they can't entirely reveal their true opinion.

It's like this- the pastor presents his lesson to his congregation. But the lesson he makes is one that he would never use on a person who does not beleive his religion. It's kind of like how you can say one thing to your friend because your friend 'understands' and won't be offended, but you say another thing entirely to someone who you could offend with the argument. They thereby convey the argument with the same intention of meaning, but it is interpretted differently. This is because the argument they make to teach another needs to be carefully presented to someone you are debating with, lest the argument you debate with is rejected by the opposition because the argument sounds arrogant.

And guess what, thinking about it the other way... Secularists like me do the same thing. I and others discuss something together, whilst sharing the same perspectives, one way, but speak of it differently with a person of a different perspective.

This seems to kind of tie into the 'Courtier's reply' concept. (Edit: IE, the emperor's new clothes)

I don't know what this effect is actually called, but I'll just call it 'the two-faced argument'.

This seems to happen everywhere all the time... And it is sadly seems to have a very annoying effect on communication between two people of opposite perspectives in a debate. As I've seen this effect at work, people are afraid to offend the other person. That's all well and good, to try to not offend someone in an argument, but the thing is, in not offending the opposition, oftentimes the meaning of the argument you are making is interpreted far differently than you intended it to be, and the argument eventually ends with minimal to no progress for either side succeeding in winning the debate, because both sides were close-minded and misunderstood each other.

I know, I know - "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
But sometimes I think people around the world would understand each other better if we said what we really mean and think. Not that we should flame each other in debates though - but to be more honest about our opinion of whomever is the opposition in the debate.

Too often I find myself not understanding where another person is coming from in their argument because I don't know how their life experiences have led them to think the way they think, and I would bet it's the same way a lot of times for people hearing my arguments.

It' like how you can think you know your friend so well, but never realize just how different a person he/she is than you think he/she is.

What do you think about this?

El Sitherino
10-20-2008, 02:50 PM
I'd like if people smoked more pot too.

Achilles
10-20-2008, 03:37 PM
I agree that some people need to be more forward with their arguments. I think the flip-side of that is that we need to stop coddling people who are hyper-sensitive. Maybe Sithy's suggestion would help with this.

KinchyB
10-20-2008, 05:11 PM
I think the flip-side of that is that we need to stop coddling people who are hyper-sensitive.

QFT

Arcesious
10-20-2008, 05:16 PM
I'd like if people smoked more pot too.

Lol

I agree that some people need to be more forward with their arguments. I think the flip-side of that is that we need to stop coddling people who are hyper-sensitive.

QFT x2

mimartin
10-20-2008, 05:51 PM
I think the flip-side of that is that we need to stop coddling people who are hyper-sensitive. I'm not overly sure about putting this no coddling rule into effect. It may have it disadvantages. It may work well and good in a debate, but I would not put it into my everyday life.

http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/mbc/lowres/mbcn796l.jpg

Q
10-21-2008, 02:42 AM
^^^
:lol: That classic female loaded question is definitely a killer.
I'd like if people smoked more pot too.
Yes, the world would be a more pleasant place to live, but we'd never get anything done. :p

Web Rider
10-21-2008, 02:59 AM
I think, in a nutshell, the problem is that if we actually argued with our preconceptions, said preconceptions would be blown out of the water and we'd all have to rethink the way we go about thinking about just about everyone.

And people don't like to change.

Q
10-21-2008, 08:27 AM
I think the flip-side of that is that we need to stop coddling people who are hyper-sensitive.
I have a feeling that you would retract this statement once the double-edged nature of such a policy became apparent. ;)

Arcesious
10-21-2008, 01:19 PM
Curious how none of the non-secular have replied... :confused:

mimartin
10-21-2008, 01:33 PM
Curious how none of the non-secular have replied... :confused: Very curious indeed, wait I see a reply from one (well at least two replies now). :xp:

Q
10-21-2008, 01:37 PM
Curious how none of the non-secular have replied... :confused:Incorrect.

JediMaster12
10-21-2008, 01:50 PM
So you are saying that by worrying about not offending people and being more PC is skewing the intended message?
If that is the case, then I totally agree that the PC and coddling is getting out of hand. Personally I dislike the fact that people have to BS their way around things and in the end, most people don't understand what was said. I do agree that some things need to come out more straight than others.

Coming from a non-secular belief background I can see what Arcesious is getting at. Personally I don't buy the traditional arguments anymore yet I understand the need to tailor your conversation to your audience. It is a basic tenentment of Aristotle's Rhetoric when he dicusses the pathos rhetoric. That deals with the audience and how they react to what is being said. Apparently though from what I am understandind Arcesious is saying, people from the nonsecular tradition tend to overdo it in this fear of offending someone. The whole point behind rhetoric is to persuade. The study of rhetoric is the study of persuasion, the original foundations of communication studies.

I don't know how you'd want a nonsecular person to respond to the question you posed but I do know is that I am not stupid enough to not know when science provides reasonable explanation. Cite your source and I may be willing to agree or disagree. That's good enough for me.

Q
10-21-2008, 01:58 PM
Let me get this straight: people being full of **** stems from their religious beliefs? LOLWUT?

And here I always thought that human nature was the reason that people are fake as hell.

JediMaster12
10-21-2008, 03:04 PM
Actually that is postmodernist thought Qliveur. It gets more into the epistemology if how do you know you exist, etc. That was my understanding of it.

Beliefs are something people hold to. Doesn't matter if you are aetheist, Christian, Episcopalian, etc. When you argue your position, you have to tailor your words to your audience. Don't take me as the word here since that was my basic understanding of good ole Aristotle.

mimartin
10-21-2008, 04:15 PM
When you argue your position, you have to tailor your words to your audience.I believe I understand, but doesn’t that apply beyond beliefs. I mean if you are an accountant and you are talking about the tax code to a group of accountants you are going to talk different than you would if you were talking to a group of doctors? Sure, we tailor our arguments not to offend another group, but don’t we also tailor our arguments so that they are received by another group? For people to receive your argument, first you must try to present that argument in a way that they don’t tune you out and second you must present the argument in a matter that they understand.

I could care less if a person is secular or non-secular, if they present their arguments in a respectful way in terms I will understand then I will listen. If the speaker is disrespectful or talks above the audiences head or below the audiences head, I will tune them out.

The thing I look for when someone is speaking to me is honesty, they can tell me anything as long as they are being honest and not acting out of malice. I appreciate someone not wasting my time by not mealy mouthing around the issue.

Arcesious
10-21-2008, 04:54 PM
Very curious indeed, wait I see a reply from one (well at least two replies now).

Incorrect.

Oh then never mind about my comment there... (Didn't know for sure, so I guessed.) I was kind of hoping a philosphical/theological expert *cough*Jonathon7 or Jae Onasi*cough* :xp: would pop into the thread and have some cool ideas about this.

Aristotle's Rhetoric

Interesting point you have there...

Also, thinking futher about it... I have a theory... I think that The Socratic method may be part of that too.

I could care less if a person is secular or non-secular, if they present their arguments in a respectful way in terms I will understand then I will listen.

Agreed, that and I kind of have a liking for... well... evidence.

stems from their religious beliefs? LOLWUT?

Careful... For it is written: "Thou shalt tailor thy arguments to thy audience, for they are in league with the political correctness police." :p

Look, I've seen secularists on forums who think theists are crazy, and I've seen theists who think secularists are crazy. Honestly, I think it all depends on how the person expresses themselves. People like Jae, J7, Achilles, etc, etc- they're the kind of people who are evidence to the fact that woo does not stem from their personal perspective of things.

However, woo is very fun. Irrationality can be hilarious if you do it in good humor, and are laughing with a person being irrational, not at them.

mimartin
10-21-2008, 05:09 PM
Oh then never mind about my comment there... (Didn't know for sure, so I guessed.) I was kind of hoping a philosphical/theological expert *cough*Jonathon7 or Jae Onasi*cough* :xp: would pop into the thread and have some cool ideas about this.
Digging yourself deeper now? So now I'm not a theological expert. :xp:
You are correct. My religious beliefs are mine and mine alone. Comes from a very strange religious background and something to do with being able to support my belief system. Agreed, that and I kind of have a liking for... well... evidence.
Evidence is important if someone is trying to change ones perception or win a debate, but lack of evidence has nothing to do with me respectfully listening to someone. It has everything to do with if I retain the information they are trying to pass on.

JediMaster12
10-21-2008, 05:12 PM
mimartin I agree with you that I prefer it comprehensible. Maybe that should be explained to the dry as dust scholars?

Anyway I too value honesty and I dislike the mealy mouth version only because it agitates me when it is not essential. Possibly my pragmatic side of things but that is how I feel.

Arcesious: I mentioned Aristotle because I had the history of Comm Studies in a nutshell yesterday and then reading your post had me thinking. As to Socratic method, no mention of that in communication studies but maybe philosophy.

Arcesious
10-21-2008, 06:18 PM
Well the socratic method is bascially where you debate with a person, but always let them be right. It's only real purpose is to invite questions in without coming off as something that may get you in trouble.

Example:

In the middle ages, I bet it was rare for someone not to beleive in God. If a secularist wanted to debate with a non-secularist, due to the circumstances of that time, he may have had to use the socratic method, and be dishonest, by saying he is religious.

It's kind of funny. With some of the social prejudices of groups of some religious people, if you said you didn't beleive in God, it would be worse than saying you're part of a different religion. So in order to get listened to, the socratic method would be used.

Here's where I think it ties into Aristotle's Rhetoric- tailoring an argument to your audience may require a minor use of the method, in order to be listened to instead of laughed at or yelled at.

JediMaster12
10-21-2008, 06:54 PM
Just remember though that rhetoric is the art of persuasion. It does not necessarily mean that you let the person be right. The original concept was developed in like 80 BCE when the Romans had to legally go to court to get stuff back from a war they had fought.
However the Socratic Method you give almost makes a person seem like a pushover if they let the other party win. Just my thought on it.

jonathan7
10-21-2008, 07:08 PM
Curious how none of the non-secular have replied... :confused:

Why do you think only secular people have replied? I count several theists who have replied - I think you are making assumptions as to what people think based on your own current biases

Oh then never mind about my comment there... (Didn't know for sure, so I guessed.) I was kind of hoping a philosphical/theological expert *cough*Jonathon7 or Jae Onasi*cough* :xp: would pop into the thread and have some cool ideas about this.

You rang, here I am - though people have been falling out with one another so much recently I have avoided posting in threads, lest I be accused of bias when I moderate someone for breaking the rules...

Here's what's intriquing- when they come to argue with a secularist or someone of a different religion/perspective face to face, they never seem to fully reveal the argument they have, even though that is the intention in debating. This is because their argument leaves presuppositions about the opposition, about how the opposition thinks. They have to be careful in their wording, and they can't entirely reveal their true opinion.

When have I ever done this? There is only one time I hold back in an argument, and thats when I think by winning the argument I would loose the person, often I could trump someone in a discussion, but think it better to stay friends with them, than loose them as a friend for the sake of winning an argument.

What do you think about this?

Its not so much about saying what we mean, as how we are understood - learning, understanding, method of communication are all cultural - people in 'Northern Countries' (Europe, USA etc) are generally more indepedant and task based. People in 'Southern Countries (S. America, Africa etc) tend to be more dependant and community based. As such often cultural mis-understandings can occur between them. E.g. in America you usually would inform someone if you were planning to visit, where as in say Mexico its quite natural just to call round un-announced.

This is all to say, we can often be miss-understood - as communication is at its very base subjective dependant on the person receiving the message, and their experiences, education and culture.

Does this answer your point?

Arcesious
10-21-2008, 07:36 PM
Why do you think only secular people have replied? I count several theists who have replied - I think you are making assumptions as to what people think based on your own current biases

That was definitely a biased mistake on my part, I admit.

You rang, here I am - though people have been falling out with one another so much recently I have avoided posting in threads, lest I be accused of bias when I moderate someone for breaking the rules...


OMG you're so biased! No just kidding. :p

I wouldn't worry to much about that. You've been doing a great job justifying your actions as a moderator. I don't think you shhould keep yourself out of discussion if you have something to say about a topic, be it opinion or something else.

When have I ever done this? There is only one time I hold back in an argument, and thats when I think by winning the argument I would loose the person, often I could trump someone in a discussion, but think it better to stay friends with them, than loose them as a friend for the sake of winning an argument.


Good point, you haven't as far as I know. But when I did when I was religious, I did it without realization. And many of my religious friends (teenagers like myself) who know what I beleive often confront me on it and do the same kind of thing. My pastor and many of the active members of my church even do it.
I've even noticed it on secular forums, where there are people who make wild assumtions about theists. Luckily, there are some that are far less biased.

I dunno, but it seems a very common thing for people to do.

Its not so much about saying what we mean, as how we are understood - learning, understanding, method of communication are all cultural - people in 'Northern Countries' (Europe, USA etc) are generally more indepedant and task based. People in 'Southern Countries (S. America, Africa etc) tend to be more dependant and community based. As such often cultural mis-understandings can occur between them. E.g. in America you usually would inform someone if you were planning to visit, where as in say Mexico its quite natural just to call round un-announced.

This is all to say, we can often be miss-understood - as communication is at its very base subjective dependant on the person receiving the message, and their experiences, education and culture.

Does this answer your point?

Maybe we should look into the cultural effects of the words on debating then... I don't think wikipedia has an article on that specific subject though.

Thanks for the reply lol. The spell is broken, you are now free of this thread. :xp: (I'm joking, I guess it doesn't really matter who posts.)

Web Rider
10-21-2008, 08:46 PM
Maybe we should look into the cultural effects of the words on debating then... I don't think wikipedia has an article on that specific subject though.

It does, there's a whole area of research devoted to how culture defines words and words define culture and all that sort of stuff:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_linguistics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociolinguistics

and a variety of fields under the "linguistics" heading.

Arcesious
10-21-2008, 08:58 PM
Sociolinguistics... Well that's a new word to add to my vocabulary.

Q
10-21-2008, 08:59 PM
It does, there's a whole area of research devoted to how culture defines words and words define culture and all that sort of stuff:
Orwell most certainly believed in such a concept: Newspeak.

Litofsky
10-21-2008, 09:03 PM
Orwell most certainly believed in such a concept: Newspeak.

The whole point of Newspeak was "If a word does not exist to represent a specific idea, said idea cannot exist, as it cannot be defined," correct?

Simplified, "Can there be [peace] if words do not exist to describe [peace]?"

Q
10-21-2008, 09:09 PM
That's right. The government changed people's minds by changing the language. I remember someone in the book stating that the revolution would truly be over when everyone spoke in Newspeak.

Fascinating book, that 1984. I think I'll go read it again, see all of the parallels in today's society and get all paranoid and depressed again. :D

Web Rider
10-21-2008, 09:14 PM
The whole point of Newspeak was "If a word does not exist to represent a specific idea, said idea cannot exist, as it cannot be defined," correct?

Simplified, "Can there be [peace] if words do not exist to describe [peace]?"

That depends on how you view words, do words define concepts, or do concepts define words? All people need are letters and new words can be invented to describe concepts, it's how it's worked all throughout history.

But yes, control words, you can control thoughts. Well, as long as you train people to only think within the bounds of words. Art sort of destroys this concept. You can paint a picture of a t***, even if you have no idea what to call it.

Litofsky
10-21-2008, 09:21 PM
Facinating book, that 1984. I think I'll go read it again, see all of the parallels in today's society and get all paranoid and depressed again.
I need my annual reading, too. I'm starting to get too unconcerned about society and government (I still haven't figured out if rereading 1984 actually helps or not :p).

That depends on how you view words, do words define concepts, or do concepts define words? All people need are letters and new words can be invented to describe concepts, it's how it's worked all throughout history.
To me, letters are put together to form words, which, in turn, represent ideas. Those ideas, according to Newspeak, can by squashed if no such words exist to describe them. However, I'd be willing to say that it's a combination of what you stated: words and concepts have a certain amount of leverage over the other.

But yes, control words, you can control thoughts. Well, as long as you train people to only think within the bounds of words. Art sort of destroys this concept. You can paint a picture of a t***, even if you have no idea what to call it.
That's a very interesting point, Web. I'll keep that in mind during my readings/writings.

vanir
11-07-2008, 04:30 PM
"In the middle ages, I bet it was rare for someone not to beleive in God. If a secularist wanted to debate with a non-secularist, due to the circumstances of that time, he may have had to use the socratic method, and be dishonest, by saying he is religious."


I've another angle on this statement. Was a homeless kid and wound up in those religious hostels, so copped a lot of fundamentalism first hand.
I think the trick is that those described by others as definitely religious don't think so. There's no thought as to religion. God doesn't matter. You do what you do. It's the way you are. Grace is a matter of genuine respect. Charity is a driving need to express compassion or spend the next week balling your eyes out. Noticing the way strangers and small animals tell you what's going on or about to happen is just something you learn to notice. Following the given set of rules is a recognition that personal psychology is a result of your actions and it is simply better to have a healthy one. A big ghost with a long beard is a game we play for the kids at Christmas time. Mythology is the story of politics and what to look out for.

Strictly defined this is secularism, but it is not supposed to be described. Fundamentalism for example is the direct interpretation of religious texts. However this is conversational. In practise it would seem fundamentalism is to be a fan of religion, whilst actually believing what you're spouting means talking and thinking less and doing more, leaving the knowledge of such things to your wisdom and its growth.

IMHO