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  1. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian GC View Post
    I don't have time to get into this but I believe you can either be an agnostic or an atheist, not both. They are two very different things.
    http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/09/25/8419/

  2. #15
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    An atheist agnostic is someone who does not believe in gods and also thinks that the existence of gods cannot be known. This might mean that they don’t believe in gods because they haven’t seen any evidence that supports their existence.

    A theist gnostic is someone who believes in a god/gods and thinks that the existence of gods can be known. This position is usually referred to as just ‘theist‘, since people who believe in gods, usually also think that their existence can be known.

    An atheist gnostic is someone who does not believe in gods, and who thinks that we can know that gods do not exist. A fairly unusual position, they might think they have found proof of the non-existence of gods, or might have been persuaded by life experiences.

    A theist agnostic is someone who believes in gods, but thinks that they could not know for sure that their god exists. Another fairly unusual position, as people who have faith in gods usually also think that their god can be known to be real.

    So we have two common positions: atheist agnostic and theist
    and two less common positions: atheist gnostic and theist agnostic

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

  3. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    An atheist agnostic is someone who does not believe in gods and also thinks that the existence of gods cannot be known. This might mean that they don’t believe in gods because they haven’t seen any evidence that supports their existence.

    A theist gnostic is someone who believes in a god/gods and thinks that the existence of gods can be known. This position is usually referred to as just ‘theist‘, since people who believe in gods, usually also think that their existence can be known.

    An atheist gnostic is someone who does not believe in gods, and who thinks that we can know that gods do not exist. A fairly unusual position, they might think they have found proof of the non-existence of gods, or might have been persuaded by life experiences.

    A theist agnostic is someone who believes in gods, but thinks that they could not know for sure that their god exists. Another fairly unusual position, as people who have faith in gods usually also think that their god can be known to be real.

    So we have two common positions: atheist agnostic and theist
    and two less common positions: atheist gnostic and theist agnostic

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosis
    The whole argument falls apart when they are forced to define what 'god' is. That is why they/you won't define it. You infer, but won't say, it is a Man in the Clouds.

  4. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian GC View Post
    The whole argument falls apart when they are forced to define what 'god' is. That is why they/you won't define it. You infer, but won't say, it is a Man in the Clouds.
    Define what a hymfrintrittonarse is?

    The reason you can't is because you do not believe anyone has any idea of what it could be - what its nature might be - whether it is a living thing or not - whether it is on this planet or not.

    I think any arguments you give against its existence would fail because you won't define what it is.

  5. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian GC View Post
    The whole argument falls apart when they are forced to define what 'god' is. That is why they/you won't define it. You infer, but won't say, it is a Man in the Clouds.
    You see, the agnostic atheist does not claim that there are no gods. We only happen to have the belief that there are none. It might be the sort of mistaken belief held by Aristotle that the earth stands still and the sun orbits it. The evidence for that being the case was overwhelming - the theory that the earth rotated and orbited the sun was falsified. Aristotle just could not help but be forced or caused to have that false belief.

    But importantly, it is for those who make the claim, that there is a god, to define that god.

    I have failed to believe in any god - also in any hymfrintrittonarse - I don't need to define either of these - I just have to inform you that I have failed to imagine any definition of them and I failed to belief that there is anything to be so defined even.

    Now, all definitions given of god so far by those claiming its existence have been found to contain contradictory statements - usually being in contradiction with implied statements that are logically entailed by such definitions even if not made explicit within the definition.

  6. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    You see, the agnostic atheist does not claim that there are no gods. We only happen to have the belief that there are none.
    An agnostic is undecided whether he believes in god. An atheist does not believe there is a god. The words cannot be used together as you are doing. If we can't even agree on the definition of what agnostic or atheist is there is no reason to continue this discussion.

    As I said before, there are general descriptions of what we consider God to be. If you want to infer that God is indefinable then there again, we are at an impasse.

  7. #20
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  8. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    On Opinion Rights

    A collection of thoughts by the New Zealand/British Philosopher Jamie Whyte - Omissions and additions by Myself


    People are reluctant to change their minds even in the face of evidence and argument. Instead they will often accuse you of violating one of their rights, namely the right to hold their own opinion.

    Everyone seems to think that they have this right or that we all have this right.

    The idea that we do not simply hold our beliefs, but that we are entitled to hold them, is a truism of modern democracy. But like many such truisms - it is false.

    We are not really entitled to our opinions, nor should we be, because such an entitlement is the enemy of intellectual progress. It creates a kind of intellectual protectionism analogous to economic protectionism that restricts free trade of ideas and so too the progress that comes with that free trade.

    Rights versus Liberties
    To see what’s wrong with the idea that we have a right to our opinion we need only understand one fact about rights - simply that they entail duties. In fact rights are defined by the duties that they create.

    Your right to life means that everybody has a duty not to kill you. This isn’t something that the government might or might not associate with your right to life – it is your right. A law that fails to impose on others a duty not to kill you would fail to establish your right to life. Answers to the questions of other’s duties are what defines and delimits your rights.

    If a right is ever claimed then the test that such a right really does exist requires that we should ask what duties are implied. Duties and rights are flip sides of the same coin. Where there are rights there will always be implied duties. It will be obvious, when asking what duties are implied by a supposed right, whether that right is reasonable to expect.

    It was once claimed by the Australian Prime Minister that every child has a right to be loved. However, there are many such things that it would be nice to have, like every child being loved or everyone having £1000,000.00 but just because something would be nice to have it does not automatically follow that we have the right to it i.e. that someone has the duty to provide us with it.

    There are two kinds of rights, namely, claims and liberties.

    1. Claims are entitlements or positive rights such as contracts where if you have a claim on something that implies that someone other has a duty to provide you with it. If one side of the contract is fulfilled then there is a claim with regard to the other side.

    2. Liberties are weaker types of rights. If you have a liberty to live then it just means that others must not inhibit you or interfere with you in your exercising of that liberty. Others are not obliged to provide you with anything – they simply cannot inhibit.

    Rights and claims are irrelevant to the issue
    The idea that we have a claim on our beliefs, the idea that our right to believe what we want is a claim, is absurd - it just doesn’t make sense. What would it mean to say that you have a duty to provide me with a certain belief? For example, I’d like to believe that I’m immortal, but I can’t, and if nobody can provide me with that belief then who do I sue for failing to give me that belief?

    So, if we have a right to our beliefs – they must be a liberty, not a claim. It must mean that others have a duty not to force us to change our beliefs. Now, you might be sympathetic to this idea, you might think that nobody should force anybody to change their beliefs about anything. But this is a hopeless ideal, because the only way to get beliefs is to have them forced upon you.

    Elimination of the need for protection of opinions

    Choosing our opinions
    Believing something is not a matter of choice. You can test this for yourself – try to believe that you are the king of England or that you can fly. Believing is not like dressing. You can’t pick the beliefs that suit you. Believing something is more like getting freckles, stand out in the sun and they are forced upon you.

    Political coercion
    Beliefs are not forced upon you by threats of violence or other penalties. That kind of force, political coercion, cannot change what you believe. If you are threatened to be fed to the lions if you do not give up your belief that London is in England, you may say that you no longer believe it, but the threat will not actually have changed your belief, you’ll be merely lying to save yourself.

    Sensory-evidence and argument
    Beliefs can be acquired and changed only in certain ways, most often they are forced upon you by the interaction of your senses with reality. Few of you will now believe that I have a large tattoo of Hillary Clinton on my stomach, but if I were to open my shirt and reveal one you would soon believe it and, importantly, with no choice in the matter.

    Even when beliefs are not acquired directly from our senses, but are instead arrived at by a process of considering evidence and arguments, it still is not a matter of choice what you end up believing. Either the evidence or the arguments convince you or they do not - we can’t choose how our minds will react to these arguments any more than we can choose how our skin freckles in the sun.

    In short, our beliefs are not formed and changed by either personal choice or political coercion such as threats and bribes. They are formed and changed by the force of argument and evidence including what comes directly via our senses.

    Perverse implications
    So a right to hold onto your beliefs is not a protection against political coercion – it’s a protection against evidence and argument, it obliges other people not to prove you wrong.

    Being nasty to someone who holds a belief you differ with is very different from critiquing those beliefs. One just should never be nasty, whether the matter is one of differing opinions or not. Everything can be questioned without ever any need for nastiness. We argue to get at the facts and we quarrel to get at each other – one should never quarrel.

    We cannot simultaneously have a right to hold our opinions and a right to express them, these rights are quite at odds with each other. If you are to respect my right to my opinions you must not say anything that might change my mind. You would need to remain silent, as I, lest we inadvertently change each others beliefs - thus violating each others rights.

    The right to your own opinions therefore creates intellectual protectionism. It shields belief from competition with other beliefs and this intellectual protectionism promotes falsity because it shields false beliefs from public refutation. The idea that people are entitled to their opinions is the enemy of intellectual progress. That’s why it is not just a silly idea but a dangerous idea.

    Scenarios obviating the irrelevance
    If you consider ordinary everyday beliefs then the idea that people violate our rights by changing our opinions is clearly absurd. No one thinks there either is or should be such right.

    Consider the example of a friend crossing the road who is obviously of the false belief that there are no cars coming – are you obliged to let her keep that belief? Obviously not – in fact she would thank you for changing her beliefs.

    The list of matters on which no one seeks protection of their beliefs is almost endless, no one will complain if the butter is not where they think it is or if they have not received the change that they were owed or that they have got a crumb on their lip. In all such matters no one is an intellectual protectionist.

    Arbitrary invocations of the irrelevant right
    Yet on certain matters many people do take this alleged right to hold an opinion seriously. Some beliefs are deemed special and their robust scrutiny is constrained – either by good manners or corporate codes of conduct or in some cases by the law. The culture of respect for beliefs that are associated with our supposed identities means that someone with utterly preposterous beliefs can go through even a university degree without having them ever challenged. This typically involves topics such as religions, sexes or sexualities. The law even goes so far as to charge people for inciting religious hatred or hatred on the grounds of criticism of sexuality – this is not the inciting of a racial crime but merely the crime of inciting feelings in people.

    Invoking the right is only necessary when our beliefs are false
    We all should of course dislike racial hatred or hatred of differing sexual beliefs but we should all dislike the protection of our beliefs even more - because once the idea of intellectual protectionism is accepted all sorts of people will seek it for their beliefs. And, as with economic protectionism, those who get preferential treatment will be those who need it and who can lobby successfully. Keep in mind that the truth never needs protection – in this context it is only falsities that do.

    Intellectual protection will be sought by people with obviously false beliefs and will be achieved only when enough people, or when important enough people, can be gathered to give it political influence.

    So, perversely, the more widespread a falsity the more likely it is to be protected.

    The politics of protectionism is never required to protect true beliefs, true beliefs do not need protection, instead we should give up on the whole idea of opinion rights, the answer is in fact to deny that anyone has a right to his opinion.

    The Irrelevant Right
    The cliché is most often employed fallaciously in defence of some evidently inconsistent or blatantly false opinion. Two people might be debating and disagreeing over the reasons for George Bush’s invasion of Iraq and just after the moment one participant demonstrates an inconsistency between two claims, or a claim and its implications, made by the other participant the other participant retorts “Well, I do have a right to my own opinions”. The fallacy is in the assumption made by the second participant that such a retort somehow constitutes a satisfactory reply to the identified inconsistencies. The fact actually is that such a retort is utterly irrelevant. The discussion is about an invasion of Iraq and not about people’s opinion rights. Bringing up the matter of opinions rights in the middle of a discussion on reasons for an invasion of Iraq is just as relevant to the topic as changing the subject to the matter of whether whales are warm blooded or whether in fact it does, in Spain, rain mainly on the plains.

    People do not appeal to the right when they are admitting that their opinion is false. The right is only appealed to when a person wishes their opinion to be considered a true opinion or an opinion that in some mysterious personal way should remain a truth of sorts.

    Interpreting the cliché to exclude the possibility of falsity – that is to mean that we are entitled to have all our opinions be true – has its own unavoidable problems. The entitlement cannot be used to decide who is correct in the debate – if both participants have a right to their own true opinions, but the two participants disagree, one of them must be suffering a rights violation as in at least one of them must have a false belief. So even if we had the right to true beliefs, that would only show that it is a right violated all the time, on precisely those occasions when our true opinions are in fact false.

    In any dispute, to know whose right to a true belief is being violated we would first need to work out whose belief is false. That is, we would need to settle the original dispute and a diversion on the matter of rights would get no one closer to answering the question of whose beliefs are false and therefore whose right is being violated.

    Equivocating on the word “Entitlement”
    In the one sense the word "entitlement" in the expression “We are all entitled to our own opinions” has a political or legal interpretation. This interpretation in fact means that everyone, in a democratic society, is fully entitled to EXPRESS any opinion they might wish to share no matter how groundless that opinion might be. The right to express an opinion is very different from the right to hold an opinion. The right to express any old weird opinion is not in any way the same has the right to hold the opinion on the grounds that it is also true. But this is not what people mean when they appeal to any opinion rights – they don’t mean to say “Yeah, I know my opinion is obviously false but none the less I like to exercise my democratic right to express any old nonsense uninhibited, if you don’t mind”. What they normally mean, confusedly, is that since they have the right to express any old opinion no matter how absurd their every opinion might be they anyhow therefore should be considered equally as valid as any other.

    In the second sense of the word “entitlement” in the expression “I am entitled to my opinion” it has an epistemic interpretation in that because the opinion is a justified true belief supported by argument and evidence the entitlement is like a right to boast which depends on having done something worth boasting about which can only be conferred upon you by your antagonist if he or she is persuaded.

    Here is a syllogistic illustration of this confusion by unwitting equivocation…

    1. If someone is entitled to an opinion then her opinion is well-supported by evidence and argument.
    2. I am entitled to (express) my opinion (as is everyone in a democratic society).
    3. Therefore my opinion is well-supported by evidence and argument.

    The syllogistic argument above is in fact no better than this syllogistic argument…

    1. Hot dogs are better than nothing.
    2. Nothing is better than a life of eternal happiness.
    3. Therefore hot dogs are better than a life of eternal happiness.

    People therefore appealing to any right to hold their opinions, just when a possibly inconsistency is being highlighted for scrutiny, are unwittingly equivocating – they are confusing the political sense of the word with the epistemic sense of the word and thereby effectively changing the subject to a topic utterly irrelevant to the matter at hand. It would be cruel to diagnose them as suffering from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), but it would be in order to request that they stay focused on the topic at hand.
    Do you take a sh*t or leave a sh*t?

    I don't believe anyone gives one anyway...

  9. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    People don't listen to guys like that and decide anything. They have their minds made up beforehand and use their slant to fuel their personal argument.

  10. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian GC View Post
    People don't listen to guys like that and decide anything. They have their minds made up beforehand and use their slant to fuel their personal argument.
    He has a belief, that there is no god. Assuming we cannot choose our beliefs it makes no sense to say his mind is "made up".

    Could you make your mind up to believe there are in fact 4 moons orbiting earth? I doubt you could choose to have any such belief.

    Now, knowledge is Justified True Belief.

    I am an atheist because I have failed to believe there is any god.

    I also happen to believe there is no god.

    Is it true there is no god?

    I do not know - because I cannot justify with complete satisfaction any belief that there is indeed actually no god.

    That means my belief, though it might be true, it cannot be considered knowledge - because I cannot fully justify it. There may, after all, actually be a god.

    An agnostic is concerned with gnosis (knowledge) which means she is concerned with justified true beliefs. Since I cannot justify my belief I cannot know it is true and as such I do not have gnosis - necessarily then I must be an agnostic.

    So I am an atheist - because of what I believe.

    And I am an agnostic - because I cannot fully justify that belief and so I cannot call my belief knowledge.

    So - I am an agnostic atheist.

  11. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by thermophysics View Post
    On Opinion Rights

    A collection of thoughts by the New Zealand/British Philosopher Jamie Whyte - Omissions and additions by Myself


    People are reluctant to change their minds even in the face of evidence and argument. Instead they will often accuse you of violating one of their rights, namely the right to hold their own opinion.

    Everyone seems to think that they have this right or that we all have this right.

    The idea that we do not simply hold our beliefs, but that we are entitled to hold them, is a truism of modern democracy. But like many such truisms - it is false.

    We are not really entitled to our opinions, nor should we be, because such an entitlement is the enemy of intellectual progress. It creates a kind of intellectual protectionism analogous to economic protectionism that restricts free trade of ideas and so too the progress that comes with that free trade.

    Rights versus Liberties
    To see what’s wrong with the idea that we have a right to our opinion we need only understand one fact about rights - simply that they entail duties. In fact rights are defined by the duties that they create.

    Your right to life means that everybody has a duty not to kill you. This isn’t something that the government might or might not associate with your right to life – it is your right. A law that fails to impose on others a duty not to kill you would fail to establish your right to life. Answers to the questions of other’s duties are what defines and delimits your rights.

    If a right is ever claimed then the test that such a right really does exist requires that we should ask what duties are implied. Duties and rights are flip sides of the same coin. Where there are rights there will always be implied duties. It will be obvious, when asking what duties are implied by a supposed right, whether that right is reasonable to expect.

    It was once claimed by the Australian Prime Minister that every child has a right to be loved. However, there are many such things that it would be nice to have, like every child being loved or everyone having £1000,000.00 but just because something would be nice to have it does not automatically follow that we have the right to it i.e. that someone has the duty to provide us with it.

    There are two kinds of rights, namely, claims and liberties.

    1. Claims are entitlements or positive rights such as contracts where if you have a claim on something that implies that someone other has a duty to provide you with it. If one side of the contract is fulfilled then there is a claim with regard to the other side.

    2. Liberties are weaker types of rights. If you have a liberty to live then it just means that others must not inhibit you or interfere with you in your exercising of that liberty. Others are not obliged to provide you with anything – they simply cannot inhibit.

    Rights and claims are irrelevant to the issue
    The idea that we have a claim on our beliefs, the idea that our right to believe what we want is a claim, is absurd - it just doesn’t make sense. What would it mean to say that you have a duty to provide me with a certain belief? For example, I’d like to believe that I’m immortal, but I can’t, and if nobody can provide me with that belief then who do I sue for failing to give me that belief?

    So, if we have a right to our beliefs – they must be a liberty, not a claim. It must mean that others have a duty not to force us to change our beliefs. Now, you might be sympathetic to this idea, you might think that nobody should force anybody to change their beliefs about anything. But this is a hopeless ideal, because the only way to get beliefs is to have them forced upon you.

    Elimination of the need for protection of opinions

    Choosing our opinions
    Believing something is not a matter of choice. You can test this for yourself – try to believe that you are the king of England or that you can fly. Believing is not like dressing. You can’t pick the beliefs that suit you. Believing something is more like getting freckles, stand out in the sun and they are forced upon you.

    Political coercion
    Beliefs are not forced upon you by threats of violence or other penalties. That kind of force, political coercion, cannot change what you believe. If you are threatened to be fed to the lions if you do not give up your belief that London is in England, you may say that you no longer believe it, but the threat will not actually have changed your belief, you’ll be merely lying to save yourself.

    Sensory-evidence and argument
    Beliefs can be acquired and changed only in certain ways, most often they are forced upon you by the interaction of your senses with reality. Few of you will now believe that I have a large tattoo of Hillary Clinton on my stomach, but if I were to open my shirt and reveal one you would soon believe it and, importantly, with no choice in the matter.

    Even when beliefs are not acquired directly from our senses, but are instead arrived at by a process of considering evidence and arguments, it still is not a matter of choice what you end up believing. Either the evidence or the arguments convince you or they do not - we can’t choose how our minds will react to these arguments any more than we can choose how our skin freckles in the sun.

    In short, our beliefs are not formed and changed by either personal choice or political coercion such as threats and bribes. They are formed and changed by the force of argument and evidence including what comes directly via our senses.

    Perverse implications
    So a right to hold onto your beliefs is not a protection against political coercion – it’s a protection against evidence and argument, it obliges other people not to prove you wrong.

    Being nasty to someone who holds a belief you differ with is very different from critiquing those beliefs. One just should never be nasty, whether the matter is one of differing opinions or not. Everything can be questioned without ever any need for nastiness. We argue to get at the facts and we quarrel to get at each other – one should never quarrel.

    We cannot simultaneously have a right to hold our opinions and a right to express them, these rights are quite at odds with each other. If you are to respect my right to my opinions you must not say anything that might change my mind. You would need to remain silent, as I, lest we inadvertently change each others beliefs - thus violating each others rights.

    The right to your own opinions therefore creates intellectual protectionism. It shields belief from competition with other beliefs and this intellectual protectionism promotes falsity because it shields false beliefs from public refutation. The idea that people are entitled to their opinions is the enemy of intellectual progress. That’s why it is not just a silly idea but a dangerous idea.

    Scenarios obviating the irrelevance
    If you consider ordinary everyday beliefs then the idea that people violate our rights by changing our opinions is clearly absurd. No one thinks there either is or should be such right.

    Consider the example of a friend crossing the road who is obviously of the false belief that there are no cars coming – are you obliged to let her keep that belief? Obviously not – in fact she would thank you for changing her beliefs.

    The list of matters on which no one seeks protection of their beliefs is almost endless, no one will complain if the butter is not where they think it is or if they have not received the change that they were owed or that they have got a crumb on their lip. In all such matters no one is an intellectual protectionist.

    Arbitrary invocations of the irrelevant right
    Yet on certain matters many people do take this alleged right to hold an opinion seriously. Some beliefs are deemed special and their robust scrutiny is constrained – either by good manners or corporate codes of conduct or in some cases by the law. The culture of respect for beliefs that are associated with our supposed identities means that someone with utterly preposterous beliefs can go through even a university degree without having them ever challenged. This typically involves topics such as religions, sexes or sexualities. The law even goes so far as to charge people for inciting religious hatred or hatred on the grounds of criticism of sexuality – this is not the inciting of a racial crime but merely the crime of inciting feelings in people.

    Invoking the right is only necessary when our beliefs are false
    We all should of course dislike racial hatred or hatred of differing sexual beliefs but we should all dislike the protection of our beliefs even more - because once the idea of intellectual protectionism is accepted all sorts of people will seek it for their beliefs. And, as with economic protectionism, those who get preferential treatment will be those who need it and who can lobby successfully. Keep in mind that the truth never needs protection – in this context it is only falsities that do.

    Intellectual protection will be sought by people with obviously false beliefs and will be achieved only when enough people, or when important enough people, can be gathered to give it political influence.

    So, perversely, the more widespread a falsity the more likely it is to be protected.

    The politics of protectionism is never required to protect true beliefs, true beliefs do not need protection, instead we should give up on the whole idea of opinion rights, the answer is in fact to deny that anyone has a right to his opinion.

    The Irrelevant Right
    The cliché is most often employed fallaciously in defence of some evidently inconsistent or blatantly false opinion. Two people might be debating and disagreeing over the reasons for George Bush’s invasion of Iraq and just after the moment one participant demonstrates an inconsistency between two claims, or a claim and its implications, made by the other participant the other participant retorts “Well, I do have a right to my own opinions”. The fallacy is in the assumption made by the second participant that such a retort somehow constitutes a satisfactory reply to the identified inconsistencies. The fact actually is that such a retort is utterly irrelevant. The discussion is about an invasion of Iraq and not about people’s opinion rights. Bringing up the matter of opinions rights in the middle of a discussion on reasons for an invasion of Iraq is just as relevant to the topic as changing the subject to the matter of whether whales are warm blooded or whether in fact it does, in Spain, rain mainly on the plains.

    People do not appeal to the right when they are admitting that their opinion is false. The right is only appealed to when a person wishes their opinion to be considered a true opinion or an opinion that in some mysterious personal way should remain a truth of sorts.

    Interpreting the cliché to exclude the possibility of falsity – that is to mean that we are entitled to have all our opinions be true – has its own unavoidable problems. The entitlement cannot be used to decide who is correct in the debate – if both participants have a right to their own true opinions, but the two participants disagree, one of them must be suffering a rights violation as in at least one of them must have a false belief. So even if we had the right to true beliefs, that would only show that it is a right violated all the time, on precisely those occasions when our true opinions are in fact false.

    In any dispute, to know whose right to a true belief is being violated we would first need to work out whose belief is false. That is, we would need to settle the original dispute and a diversion on the matter of rights would get no one closer to answering the question of whose beliefs are false and therefore whose right is being violated.

    Equivocating on the word “Entitlement”
    In the one sense the word "entitlement" in the expression “We are all entitled to our own opinions” has a political or legal interpretation. This interpretation in fact means that everyone, in a democratic society, is fully entitled to EXPRESS any opinion they might wish to share no matter how groundless that opinion might be. The right to express an opinion is very different from the right to hold an opinion. The right to express any old weird opinion is not in any way the same has the right to hold the opinion on the grounds that it is also true. But this is not what people mean when they appeal to any opinion rights – they don’t mean to say “Yeah, I know my opinion is obviously false but none the less I like to exercise my democratic right to express any old nonsense uninhibited, if you don’t mind”. What they normally mean, confusedly, is that since they have the right to express any old opinion no matter how absurd their every opinion might be they anyhow therefore should be considered equally as valid as any other.

    In the second sense of the word “entitlement” in the expression “I am entitled to my opinion” it has an epistemic interpretation in that because the opinion is a justified true belief supported by argument and evidence the entitlement is like a right to boast which depends on having done something worth boasting about which can only be conferred upon you by your antagonist if he or she is persuaded.

    Here is a syllogistic illustration of this confusion by unwitting equivocation…

    1. If someone is entitled to an opinion then her opinion is well-supported by evidence and argument.
    2. I am entitled to (express) my opinion (as is everyone in a democratic society).
    3. Therefore my opinion is well-supported by evidence and argument.

    The syllogistic argument above is in fact no better than this syllogistic argument…

    1. Hot dogs are better than nothing.
    2. Nothing is better than a life of eternal happiness.
    3. Therefore hot dogs are better than a life of eternal happiness.

    People therefore appealing to any right to hold their opinions, just when a possibly inconsistency is being highlighted for scrutiny, are unwittingly equivocating – they are confusing the political sense of the word with the epistemic sense of the word and thereby effectively changing the subject to a topic utterly irrelevant to the matter at hand. It would be cruel to diagnose them as suffering from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), but it would be in order to request that they stay focused on the topic at hand.
    Jibberish aside, I did not read the whole thing, I AM entitled to my opinion. I will own it as my own. Whether any philosopher, politician, prophet, wants to disagree it does not matter. I have an opinion. I can espouse my opinion or hide it, based upon personal discretion, but the opinion holds.

    In the USA, the first amendment promises a legal RIGHT to an opinion. That is just how it is, you do have a right to an opinion, that is the law of the land.
    "You boys are really making this thing harder than it has to be". Me

    "Who ARE you people? And WHAT are you doing in my SWAMP!?" Shrek

    Service calls submitted after 3PM will be posted the next business day.

    I give free estimates [Wild Ass Guesses] over the phone.

    "I am sorry for interrupting, please continue with your quarreling" Some chick on TV

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    columbus, OH
    Posts
    2,039

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    columbus, OH
    Posts
    2,039

    You do not have the right to your opinions!

    I take an agnostic approach to most things. Some things I cant shake. Our human since of touch and sight is very tempered and specified. I feel scientific test equipment is equally as limited. We know nothing, agnostically speaking. I was their so i guess I know something you dont

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