Rationalism at work

Personal Anecdotes in Rationalism

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Rationalism at work

#1  Postby HughMcB » Sep 29, 2011 5:46 pm

I often see some people on this forum feign away from changing their opinion on something when proven or sufficiently demonstrated to be wrong, presumable to "save face" or out of pride. This seems like a shame to me as the very purpose of rationalism is to use reason to assess, justify or perhaps re-evaluate one's beliefs or points of view. I think all too often we forget that changing one's opinions to more accurately reflect reality based on reasoned evidence is something to be celebrated and admired, certainly not something to feel ashamed about or to be a stubborn areshole about.

So come one then, can the good people of RatSkep regale us with their tales of beliefs or views that they may of held in high (or low) regard that they subsequently realized was a bit thick and therefore have done a 180, 270 or perhaps an inverted backflip into a three quarter tuck?





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Re: Rationalism at work

#2  Postby babel » Sep 29, 2011 5:51 pm

I find it much harder to admit being wrong in real life than online. I think it's mostly because online, you can take the time to sit back, think it through (cool down a bit, sometimes) and reassess your position.
In real life, I tend to get wound up if the discussion is too heated.

And yes, you may go first Hugh.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#3  Postby HughMcB » Sep 29, 2011 6:31 pm

To your first point I do agree, but I do change my opinion in real life probably more than online. Not because of my willingness to do so, but usually because online if I'm uncertain about something I will research it before proceeding, therefore I tend to be completely wrong, a lot less. :razz:

Whereas in real life I just go with whatever old twoddle is in my head and often am proved wrong by an even smartier pants than me. :teef:

I can remember one of my first experiences with this community (on the RDF forum) of being ripped a new one by none other than our lovely Tim O'Neil for promoting the Jesus aka Mithras line. Of course Tim (very gently ;) ) reminded me how full of shite I was and upon further investigation I realized that I was indeed hemorrhaging with excrement. :lol:

I'm very thankful for that, as I prefer to be correct in all my subsequent debates on such a topic rather than propagate flawed thinking.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#4  Postby reddix » Sep 29, 2011 7:24 pm

:popcorn:

I might know of some example but I'm interested in what others have to say first.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#5  Postby Dracena » Sep 29, 2011 7:48 pm

Face loosing time eh? Right, I'll go soft on myself to begin with, by talking about something atleast connected to rationalism.
Altough I hesitate to assign certain characteristics to what country one is from, it can be argued that Swedes in general don't understand sarcasm, humour, when someone is actually joking (without explicitly telling a joke) we think they are serious (especially talking to native english speakers).

Since moving to Ireland I've certainly made an arse of myself at times because I do posess that characteristic in combination with being a bit hot headed.Some Irish are aware of this and so they've had lot of fun 'taking the mickey/piss' . :oops: :lol:
The upside of this is that my bull shit detector has been systematically upgraded and, believe it or not, I take things a bit lighter than I used to.The pain of being embarrassed is a small price to pay and is as easily forgotten as those of childbirth. :whistle: :dance:
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Re: Rationalism at work

#6  Postby mraltair » Sep 29, 2011 7:58 pm

reddix wrote::popcorn:

I might know of some example but I'm interested in what others have to say first.


What reddix said. :)
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Re: Rationalism at work

#7  Postby mindhack » Sep 29, 2011 8:47 pm

Dracena wrote:Face loosing time eh? Right, I'll go soft on myself to begin with, by talking about something atleast connected to rationalism.
Altough I hesitate to assign certain characteristics to what country one is from, it can be argued that Swedes in general don't understand sarcasm, humour, when someone is actually joking (without explicitly telling a joke) we think they are serious (especially talking to native english speakers).

Since moving to Ireland I've certainly made an arse of myself at times because I do posess that characteristic in combination with being a bit hot headed.Some Irish are aware of this and so they've had lot of fun 'taking the mickey/piss' . :oops: :lol:
The upside of this is that my bull shit detector has been systematically upgraded and, believe it or not, I take things a bit lighter than I used to.The pain of being embarrassed is a small price to pay and is as easily forgotten as those of childbirth. :whistle: :dance:


I don't know if it's a national thing, I'm from the netherlands, but I too have difficulty understanding sarcasm and tend to take things too seriously. I often feel silly when it turns out someone was joking and I missed it completely :oops:
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Re: Rationalism at work

#8  Postby HughMcB » Sep 29, 2011 8:52 pm

It is rather strange, even here in Canada the concept of me taking the piss out of someone for merely shitzengiggles seemed so foreign to many people. Like I was a monster!
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Re: Rationalism at work

#9  Postby Mister Agenda » Sep 29, 2011 9:07 pm

I was initially skeptical about Global Warming, but I have been convinced that the phenomenon is real and humans have been contributing significantlly to it. I still have reservations about the short-term predictive power of climatology, but am keeping track and am willing to be swayed further if it develops a consistent track record.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#10  Postby Weaver » Sep 29, 2011 9:08 pm

I think the poster that most comes to mind with arguing a topic to it's very end, but finally admitting he was wrong and going on to argue with others from his newly-agreed correct position is willhud9. He more than anyone else I know - including myself (though I don't think I've been quite as wrong as he was :whistle: ) has shown an admirable ability to say "OK, you're right, I was wrong, and I see now how and why."
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Re: Rationalism at work

#11  Postby MacIver » Sep 29, 2011 9:10 pm

I don't have any such experiences. Not because I never admit to being wrong, but because I'm never wrong...

Actually, there's been a few. Most of them concerning some complicated science. I'll of read the first few paragraphs of a New Scientist article and assumed I was now an expert on the subject.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#12  Postby mindhack » Sep 29, 2011 9:38 pm

Mister Agenda wrote:I was initially skeptical about Global Warming, but I have been convinced that the phenomenon is real and humans have been contributing significantlly to it. I still have reservations about the short-term predictive power of climatology, but am keeping track and am willing to be swayed further if it develops a consistent track record.


A bit off topic sorry, but felt compelled to add..

..you were right to be skeptical about global warming. It's not an accurate denominator for what's going on with the "weather". It's more accurate to call the proces global climate change.

Even better would it be to call it...

the emergent proces of rapid destabilization of life-support systems

sorry, just sayin', continue...
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Re: Rationalism at work

#13  Postby Mister Agenda » Sep 29, 2011 9:39 pm

LOL, noted!
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Re: Rationalism at work

#14  Postby MacIver » Sep 29, 2011 11:11 pm

mindhack wrote:
Mister Agenda wrote:I was initially skeptical about Global Warming, but I have been convinced that the phenomenon is real and humans have been contributing significantlly to it. I still have reservations about the short-term predictive power of climatology, but am keeping track and am willing to be swayed further if it develops a consistent track record.


A bit off topic sorry, but felt compelled to add..

..you were right to be skeptical about global warming. It's not an accurate denominator for what's going on with the "weather". It's more accurate to call the proces global climate change.

Even better would it be to call it...

the emergent proces of rapid destabilization of life-support systems

sorry, just sayin', continue...


But the world is warming. It's just silly folk take it literary and think that because last winter was cold or whatever that means it doesn't exist.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#15  Postby Animavore » Sep 29, 2011 11:19 pm

Too many to recount.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#16  Postby mindhack » Sep 29, 2011 11:48 pm

A little late, but happy birthday Mac!

No. It's not what it's about. It's the change itself we should be worrying about, not the alleged warming. You're doing the same thing as the silly folk. ooooohhh.. wait-a-minute!! thread...title....- my earlier post-...you're shitting me, right? :clap:
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Re: Rationalism at work

#17  Postby Spinozasgalt » Sep 30, 2011 1:29 am

I was once a thoroughly convinced moral nihilist or subjectivist and thought I had knockdown arguments to support it, but it turns out I was wrong and the morality debate is far more complicated than I originally thought. I think I can safely say I've remedied my ignorance there.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#18  Postby rEvolutionist » Sep 30, 2011 2:58 am

Spinozasgalt wrote:I was once a thoroughly convinced moral nihilist or subjectivist and thought I had knockdown arguments to support it, but it turns out I was wrong and the morality debate is far more complicated than I originally thought. I think I can safely say I've remedied my ignorance there.


Nah, you were right the first time. So do you have the stones to admit you are wrong now? :razz:
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Re: Rationalism at work

#19  Postby Spinozasgalt » Sep 30, 2011 3:09 am

Well, I never said nihilism was incorrect, only that I was mistaken to think I had knockdown arguments against its opposite number. So, technically, my inner pedant was on guard duty when I wrote that. :smug:

But yeah, I can pretty much diffuse all of the old arguments I had.
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Re: Rationalism at work

#20  Postby Paul G » Sep 30, 2011 1:30 pm

I thought voting Lib Dem was a good idea and tried to convince all my friends to. I was wrong.
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