Re: [atheists-27] Atheist or Bright?

From: Mathew G.
Sent on: Friday, August 9, 2013 11:55 PM
Speaking of skepticism, I am very skeptical that self-labels are effective ways of communicating behavioral commitments.  There is only one way to communicate how we actively choose to behave and what behavior we seek from others towards us, and that one way is by our actions.  Anyone who, for example, thinks the priest, or rabbi, or minister, or whatever, has particular good behaviors and proper expectations of behaviors towards them merely because they claim to have particular religious beliefs is being naive.  FFRF publishes a newsletter about ten times a year with a "black collar crime blotter" section that shows that few if any religious self-labels, and certainly not theism, correlate very strongly with non-criminality (although I do not read it).

On Aug 9, 2013, at 10:24 PM, Don Wharton <[address removed]> wrote:

Something that I am noticing about this discussion is that no one is citing skeptic as a major term of identity.  I think most of us would be comfortable using the term to describe our approach to claims that are not fully confirmed by science.  However, there seems to be a bigger cultural difference than the with the other terms we are discussing.
 
There are a handful of topics that skeptics tend to focus on that we will seldom cover,  UFOs, homeopathy, anti-vaccination activists, etc.  We might be in agreement with them on all of their favorite issues but for some reason we don't find these topics as compelling.
 
Don
 
 
 

From: Mathew Goldstein <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, August 9,[masked]:50 PM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Atheist or Bright?

If the labels are humanist, freethinker, empiricist, and secularist then they are at least partially focused on behavior related attitudes.  However, labels like atheist, bright, theist, metaphysical supernaturalist, and metaphysical naturalist, are primarily 'how the universe works' conclusions.  The latter conclusions are related to the former attitudes because particular conclusions may favor some attitudes over conflicting attitudes. Some people start with their attitudes and base their conclusions about how our universe works on their attitudes instead of the other way around.  Yes, behaviors are important.  But our conclusions about how the universe works are just as important because they are the proper initial foundation for everything else, including for our behavior related attitudes. It is our best fit with the available evidences conclusions that should come first chronologically.

On Aug 9, 2013, at 4:20 PM, Martin Snowden <[address removed]> wrote:

Mathew,

What you are talking about is simply the passive internal understanding the world, on which I expect many on this list are in agreement. But in this discussion of labels what is more important is the active way we wish to behave in society, and of course how we wish society to behave to us.

Martin.

On 08/09/[masked]:59 PM, Mathew Goldstein wrote:
Yes, people do appear to choose their beliefs about how the world works at least partially for the sake of self-identity or various such social or psychological reasons. However, when we assert that an entity x exists, or an event y happened, we are actually making a factual claim about how the world works, we are saying x really exists in our best judgement. The only way to properly justify such beliefs is on a best overall (inferred) fit with the available empirical evidences.  Anyone who allows any other considerations to play a role in their reaching such conclusions about how the universe works is either making an epistemological mistake, or is knowingly being dishonest with themself and/or with others.

On Aug 9, 2013, at 2:10 PM, Brian L mailto:[address removed] wrote:

Socially, many seem to choose an identity label stating that they are well-meaning
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