1. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
    Joined
    20 Apr '04
    Moves
    34203
    21 Jan '12 10:141 edit
    Perhaps this thread should have been posted in the Debates Forum, but I want to specifically apply it to Spirituality debates.

    I don't often take part in Sp Debates anymore, because of the illogicality of many, if not most, of the posts. There is often nothing that can be said that would add any value, because we are not having a debate, but merely making dogmatic statements.

    IMHO, the biggest barrier to any sensible debate is the confusion between OPINIONS and FACTS.

    Of course, both FACTS and OPINIONS are valid subjects for debate, but the rules for them are quite different. Opinions should be based on facts, and their interpretation. Facts can be checked. And anybody's opinion (if logically based) can be equally valid, since they are subjective. The object of a debate would be to prove to you that my opinion is more valid than yours.

    For example, the perennial debate about evolution constantly confuses opinions and facts.

    "Most Christians believe in a Young Earth Chreation". OPINION: such a survey was never done, and there are many Christians that don't believe this.

    "Such-and-such a religion is true!" is also an OPINION, because many demonstrably hold that this is not so.

    However, "The Vedic religion teaches such-and-such" is a FACT, that can be checked (as some have done). But to say that it is true, is an opinion.

    Another example: The Trinitarian debate between JWs and others is based on certain texts in scriptures. With very few exceptions, participants in this debate accept the scriptures, but interpret them differently. The fact that the SAME scriptures can be interpreted in various ways, is demonstrated by the plethora of denominations! Again, IMHO this is a valid subject for debate and we can continue to try to convince others of our own position, as long as one does not descend into vilification and insults.

    I would be very willing to participate in posts from Dasa if he were to prefix them with: "I believe that.......", or "In my opinion......". or even "In my exerience...." Then one could get somewhere with a common basis of facts.

    He could even convince someone of the validity of his opinions, and that a Vedic society would be an improvement on the present one.

    But there is nothing anybody can say, and no room for sensible arguments, if a debate is started: "This is the truth, and everybody who says otherwise is a liar..."

    It would be really great if it could be a common ground rule to all Spirituality debates that we distinguish between what is a FACT and what is merely my OPINION.

    But then it would also be great if money grew on the tree in my back yard......

    Both equally unlikely!

    😉
  2. Joined
    11 Nov '05
    Moves
    43938
    21 Jan '12 11:35
    I have the same opinion, and that is a fact!
  3. Joined
    02 Jan '06
    Moves
    10087
    21 Jan '12 11:46
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Perhaps this thread should have been posted in the Debates Forum, but I want to specifically apply it to Spirituality debates.

    I don't often take part in Sp Debates anymore, because of the illogicality of many, if not most, of the posts. There is often nothing that can be said that would add any value, because we are not having a debate, but merely making ...[text shortened]... if money grew on the tree in my back yard......

    Both equally unlikely!

    😉
    Well that's your opinion. 😛
  4. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    21 Jan '12 12:091 edit
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Facts can be checked.
    I think you need to define what you mean by opinion and fact before making claims about them. My understanding of a fact, is a true statement about reality. Not all facts can be checked.

    Maybe you should use the phrase 'verifiable fact', but even then much of the debate here is about how you go about the verification process, and whether or not a given possible fact has been verified.
  5. Joined
    02 Jan '06
    Moves
    10087
    21 Jan '12 12:13
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think you need to define what you mean by opinion and fact before making claims about them. My understanding of a fact, is a true statement about reality. Not all facts can be checked.

    Maybe you should use the phrase 'verifiable fact', but even then much of the debate here is about how you go about the verification process, and whether or not a given possible fact has been verified.
    What is worse, a "fact" is meaningless unless you assign it value and meaning.

    So how many "facts" does everyone check or prove? It seems to me that all that is needed is for those in academia, government, or church to tell us the "facts". The likelihood of us questioning these facts I suppose depend on the number of nay sayers regarding these facts.
  6. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52619
    21 Jan '12 13:13
    Originally posted by whodey
    What is worse, a "fact" is meaningless unless you assign it value and meaning.

    So how many "facts" does everyone check or prove? It seems to me that all that is needed is for those in academia, government, or church to tell us the "facts". The likelihood of us questioning these facts I suppose depend on the number of nay sayers regarding these facts.
    The problem is some people say a certain thing is a fact and others say it's opinion, like young earthers saying the universe is 6000 years old and calling it a fact and calling others idiots for not accepting that 'fact'. There are certainly verifiable facts like if you dive into water you or your clothes will get wet, then there are concepts that some people accept as fact and will not be dissuaded otherwise like Jesus was born of a virgin, to some people that is a fact to others a myth.

    There is no way to argue such stances.
  7. Joined
    02 Aug '06
    Moves
    12622
    21 Jan '12 13:302 edits
    Originally posted by whodey
    Well that's your opinion. 😛
    LOL.

    I think that I do preface some statements with "I believe" this or that.
    I acknowledge up front that it is a matter of faith.
  8. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
    Joined
    20 Apr '04
    Moves
    34203
    21 Jan '12 13:501 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    The problem is some people say a certain thing is a fact and others say it's opinion, like young earthers saying the universe is 6000 years old and calling it a fact and calling others idiots for not accepting that 'fact'. There are certainly verifiable facts like if you dive into water you or your clothes will get wet, then there are concepts that some peo ...[text shortened]... n, to some people that is a fact to others a myth.

    There is no way to argue such stances.
    I think this response really demonstrates what I mean, thanks sonhouse.

    A fact (by my definition, twhitehead) is independently verifiable. For example, Carbon dating is generally agreed to be a scietifically verifyable technique. If C dating gives an object a lifetime of, say 30 000 +- 2000 years, then that is a fact. Young earthers will have to explain it away somehow, if they want to stay below 6000, and some have done so by claiming the rate of radiation decay has changed, or that time has warped, or whatever. That then is their explanation (or opinion) about how to explain the facts.

    It is a fact that some ancient writers called Mathew and Luke wrote certain documents. This is a matter of record. Now, whether what is written in the document is a true reflection of what really happened, is debatable and an opinion. Sure, there can be scholarly opinions that carry weight, and then other scholars that disagree. Happens all the time. But at least one knows what one debates about.

    Similarly, some people say Americans landed on the moon in 1969. Others say it was all staged and faked. What are the facts? Firstly, the photos and recordings are a matter of record. Then, certain publicly named people were involved and lived to tell the tale. These could be called facts. What people argue about is how to interpret them, and how they could be manipulated. Are the people involved lying? Opinion!

    So I suppose my definition of facts would be those items that could be considered as being accepted and so being common ground to both parties. If one party does NOT accept something as fact, then it would be up to the other party to demonstrate why it is.

    Here are some facts:

    1 There are several (pick a number) different religions in the world, the largest being Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist. This is an independently verifiable fact.

    2 Many of these claim to be mutually exclusive, i.e. they are the only correct one. This is a fact which can be easily demonstrated by studying their doctrines and writings. No disagreement there.

    3 Now it is up to the individual to form an opinion about, for example, why this is so, how did it happen, and finally, which one best reflects "reality", "how the world works" and "how we should live".

    I think that perhaps the best contribution so far in responses to this thread is to clarify that in my use of the word "Fact" here, I mean something that is independently verifiable and to which both parties agree.

    Alternatively (and perhaps simpler!) would be a definition of the frame of reference in which a subject is discussed. For example, the whole Trinity debate is clearly of meaning only to those that accept that the specific scriptures referred to are actually to be taken seriously and have meaning. To come into a debate of that kind with the claim that the Bible is anyway written by people and unreliable, is not useful.

    As I said before, the fact that there were people called the Vedics is not being disputed (nor should not be). The fact that there are certain points of view being proposed by them is also not disputed. However, the value that one should attach to these, and the actions that one should take, are a matter of opinion and can be debated.

    I feel that I am repeating myself. Maybe what I mean is that if people were to say: This is my opinion and this is why I hold it, one could argue more sensibly.

    Does this make sense?
  9. Standard memberRajk999
    Enjoying
    On the Beach
    Joined
    04 Apr '04
    Moves
    170571
    21 Jan '12 13:52
    Originally posted by CalJust
    ... money grew on the tree in my back yard......



    😉
    Money grows on trees all over the world, unless there is drought in your area.
  10. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    21 Jan '12 14:06
    Originally posted by CalJust
    I think that perhaps the best contribution so far in responses to this thread is to clarify that in my use of the word "Fact" here, I mean something that is independently verifiable and to which both parties agree.
    So the accuracy of carbon dating would not be a fact in this forum, because many creationists dispute it.
  11. Joined
    29 Dec '08
    Moves
    6788
    21 Jan '12 17:59
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Perhaps this thread should have been posted in the Debates Forum, but I want to specifically apply it to Spirituality debates.

    I don't often take part in Sp Debates anymore, because of the illogicality of many, if not most, of the posts. There is often nothing that can be said that would add any value, because we are not having a debate, but merely making ...[text shortened]... if money grew on the tree in my back yard......

    Both equally unlikely!

    😉
    I like Wittgenstein's formulation in which a fact is that which is the case; the world consists of facts; a logical picture of facts is a thought; and such thoughts have truth values (true or false). Non-logical pictures of thoughts are those that have no truth value, like "Hooray for charity!" as opposed to "Charity is good."

    In this formulation we would assert "P" if it is the truth of P we want to support, and we would assert "It is my opinion that P" if we want to support it being "my opinion" that P.

    So I think people should keep going with bald assertions that P, when that corresponds to what they are thinking and want to support.
  12. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
    Joined
    20 Apr '04
    Moves
    34203
    22 Jan '12 07:06
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    So the accuracy of carbon dating would not be a fact in this forum, because many creationists dispute it.
    The way Carbon dating is done is a fact. You can watch the guy do it and touch him. It is a simple procedure measuring the amount of C14 in a sample.

    What creationists are disputing,(or should be, if they are serious debaters) is the way the result is interpreted.

    Of course, there are many flaws in their argument, but when done this way, it is a valid discussion.

    To say that Carbon dating is "Wrong" is merely pedantic, and not a useful discussion.
  13. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
    Joined
    20 Apr '04
    Moves
    34203
    22 Jan '12 07:101 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    I like Wittgenstein's formulation in which a fact is that which is the case; the world consists of facts; a logical picture of facts is a thought; and such thoughts have truth values (true or false). Non-logical pictures of thoughts are those that have no truth value, like "Hooray for charity!" as opposed to "Charity is good."

    In this formulation we would a sertions that P, when that corresponds to what they are thinking and want to support.
    Thank you for clarifying this JS!

    This is exactly what I mean.

    "It is my opinion that this is a fact!" and "It is a fact that this is my opinion!"

    In future, I will take more notice of your posts, you have just climbed up a notch in my estimation.

    😏
  14. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    22 Jan '12 07:26
    Originally posted by CalJust
    The way Carbon dating is done is a fact. You can watch the guy do it and touch him.
    Actually, no, that is very unlikely to happen to anyone in this forum, neither is understanding the math, physics, chemistry etc involved.

    What creationists are disputing,(or should be, if they are serious debaters) is the way the result is interpreted.
    And that interpretation is what 'carbon dating' really is. Measuring the C14 is not dating. The interpretation relies on many things (the half life of C14, the supposed quantities of C14 in the atmosphere in the past, verification by independent means of those quantities etc.
    By your definition, Carbon dating is decidedly not factual.
  15. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
    Joined
    20 Apr '04
    Moves
    34203
    22 Jan '12 11:24
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Actually, no, that is very unlikely to happen to anyone in this forum, neither is understanding the math, physics, chemistry etc involved.

    [b]What creationists are disputing,(or should be, if they are serious debaters) is the way the result is interpreted.

    And that interpretation is what 'carbon dating' really is. Measuring the C14 is not dating. ...[text shortened]... nt means of those quantities etc.
    By your definition, Carbon dating is decidedly not factual.[/b]
    It seems to me that we often talk past each other, twhitehead! I thought my post was pretty clear. But let's try again - Carbon dating is actually a very good example.

    Typically, an Evolutionist/Creationist debate on RHP goes as follows:

    E: This artifact has been dated at 150 000 years, thus proving whatever.
    C: Rubbish, it can't be older than 6 000 yrs.
    E: You are an igorant fool
    C: And you are a pompous liar!

    Not very productive, is it?

    Let's look at the FACTS: by my definition, items that can be independently verified and are accepted as true by both sides.

    FACT: A certain specimen is chemically analised and shown to contain x % C14. Nobody can dispute that. It can be repeated over and over again, by several laboratories (and most carbon dated tests are done in this way).

    Now comes the rub! Any conclusions drawn and interpretation depends on certain ASSUMPTIONS. These are (in this example):

    1 The original composition of the sample in yr 0 was 0% C14 (or whatever)
    2 The rate of decay has remained unchanged during the life of the sample (in this case 150 000 yrs)

    In order to attack the finding of 150k yrs, the Creationist must postulate alternative ASSUMPTIONS (Opinions). Either:

    1 The original composition of the sample was similar to that of today, or
    2 That the rate of decay has accelerated drastically during the past few thousand years.

    If THAT is the argument of the Creationist, then one can have a meaningful debate about whose assumptions (or, as I proposed, opin ions) are the more likely to be correct.

    Here is another example. In an earlier post on ID, I mentioned the following from Francis Collins' book: The Language of God

    He refers to Ancient Repetitive Elements (AREs), which are "jumping genes" that are capable of copying and inserting themselves in various other locations in the genome, usually without any functional consequences. (p 136) It was found that the human and mouse genome have several AREs in exactly the same position.

    This is a FACT. It can be verified by anybody knowledgable in the science.

    Now we must draw conclusions from this. There are two possibilities for this phenomenon to occur:

    1 It could show that both mice and humans have a common ancestor, which used the AREs in a particular way, or
    2 God created both mice and humans with the currently observed genome, that incorporates these AREs.

    FC dismisses the second option. In his OPINION this would indicate that God was devious, putting red herrings into the evidence to confuse us. Therefore, he supports Option 1 which points to directed evolution.

    I challenged RJHinds with this situation. I asked him which explanation for the AREs he supports.

    His answer? "FC is deluded". Quote unquote.

    End of argument. Nothing remains to be said. RJH is clearly unwilling or unable to comprehend such a simple problem.

    If he were intellectually honest, he would have said: "I accept option 2 - God created us and mice as we are today. If the genome indicates any problems, then so be it: God is great and mysterious. Why should he not build the genome in any way he wants to?" That would be a tenable position, (opinion) which one could discuss further and maybe investigate where such an opinion would lead us.

    Do you now finally see what I mean by OPINION and FACT? I really cannot explain it any better!
Back to Top