One Basic Rule - PLEASE READ

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James81

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Don't give her any more ideas, Roger.

Please.

Although, I do like the One Rule to Ring Them All.

Would it be like a dinner bell, or a cow's bell?

Cowbell, of course!

cowbell.gif
 

Smiling Ted

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Respect for each other, and for beliefs sometimes alien to ourselves, is the order of the day here.

We're going to have very little tolerance for sweeping generalizations about religions -- for example, if you believe Mormonism is a cult, that's fine--believe whatever you want. But keep it to yourself in the course of conversations in this room.

Okay: "What's up with the emphasis on eating Kosher that I sometimes see the media going on about, wrt Jews? What's that about?"

Not Okay
: "I'm sorry. I just think refusing to take your kid to the doctor is child abuse and people who claim that their religion demands that they trust God for healing deserve to be prosecuted by law."

Cool. But what if someone makes a claim backed up with erroneous data? Can we point that out?
 

MacAllister

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Certainly, I think we have to be able to talk about and question presented data. Calmly and politely.

Data being altogether different than personal anecdote, of course.
 

small axe

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Can we at least argue and insult each other about the correct way to pronounce the word 'data' ???

Oh, wait ... we're just reading it here, we are all free to pronounce it in our heads however we want. :)

Nevermind.

Darn -- one good rule and suddenly the place is a Utopia or something!
 

Monkey

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Excellent rule, Mac.

I really don't think this forum would work without it.
 

Dommo

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I have a question, and it to an extent has to do with the original topic brought up by Reilly. I understand that he seemed to be kind of snarky, but I think the direction he was going needs to be addressed a bit more clearly.

To what degree can you argue philosophically in opposition to something, if you make your statements based on logic and hard data. I'm not talking about trying to pull rhetorical rabbits out of my ass, but actually backing things up with hard science. I'm not trying to be a smartass here, but suppose a religion makes the claim of 2+2 = 1. I can easily refute the statement, via mathematical proof(which can be proven true).

The question is this. Is using math/science/logic to prove, or falsify a statement acceptable on this board?

I understand that doing this could be construed as an attack on a person's beliefs, but is it inappropriate if I can prove something to be true or untrue? I'd do this only in specific circumstances, where the math/data does suggest what condition the statement is(true, false, likely true, likely false, or unknown).

So before you lay the banhammer on me in this forum, Mac, I want you to be aware that so far I've behaved myself in this forum, and I plan on continuing to do so. However, I'd like to have a bit more of a specific boundary line to follow, and I figure it probably wouldn't hurt for this bit of clarification to be public, that way if other people people are wondering the same thing they'll have some answers as well. I think a civil discussion is important, but I don't think civility should be emphasized to the point where people can't speak what is provably true/false.
 

MacAllister

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No ban-hammer, Dommo. It's a reasonable question. I'll take a crack at answering.

This works fine:
"X, Y, and Z offer compelling evidence to me that A, B, and C are true, beyond any doubt I might otherwise have."

What doesn't work in this room:

"No, you're wrong, because here I present X, Y, and Z as evidence of my rightness and your wrongness."

So let's take your own example:

"Hmm. My own understanding of mathematical laws suggest strongly that 2 + 2 = 4, not 1"

That's completely fine, and you'll not find yourself shown the door in expeditious fashion.

"Well, no. 2+2 doesn't equal 1, never has, you're wrong, and here's my proof..." This will, indeed, result in fairly swift revocation of your invitation to participate here.

You'll note the "you're wrong and I'm right" nature of both examples of discourse that's just not going to ever be acceptable in this room. However, that's not at all to say that you can't delve into the mysteries around other's beliefs, without embracing them. It really isn't that hard to say, "Are you willing to explain to me about X, because my own experience is more like Y?"

There's actually a Boolean algebra proof that 1=2, you know? So things aren't as simple as all that. Especially not math.
 
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Dommo

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Not to get nitpicky, but boolean algebra prohibits you from ever having the value of two, because by its nature it's in binary. I've spent a lot of time doing boolean algebra(constructing logic circuits to things like add and subtract), and it's a strange beast, but fascinating in its own way(essentially all computers are based on it). Boolean basically means you can only have two conditions, a true and a false. Mathematics might have uncertainty in it(I'm familiar with doing mathematical models where that certainly is a reality), but the basic bits of it are pretty rock solid, and even then with the uncertainty I can often say how uncertain it is.

1+1 = 1 (The + simply means OR)

So right there I attacked a belief :p. lol

I'll shut off the smart ass now.
 
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MacAllister

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Boolean basically means you can only have two conditions, a true and a false. Mathematics might have uncertainty in it(I'm familiar with doing mathematical models where that certainly is a reality), but the basic bits of it are pretty rock solid, and even then with the uncertainty I can often say how uncertain it is.

1+1 = 1 (The + simply means OR)


Oh, Boolean algebra is tricky stuff. That's sort of my point. It doesn't mean what it looks like, if you're using arithmetic values instead of logic. That can be true of many conversations where I think I understand your value for X, because I've done lots of my own solving for X over the years, but I actually do not--because we're not actually using the same system at all.

We all bring different systems, understandings of values, and operating principles into this room.

(On a peripherally related tangent, did you see the paper a few years ago about solving the Robbins problem?)

Essentially, what I said early on about there being no room here for "I'm right and you're wrong" still pretty much holds true. But certainly, on the question of algebra, mathematicians have been known to have fistfights over rather more esoteric stuff than we're likely to be discussing.

Heh, and just because it's late, how about this hoary old math conundrum, just for fun:

Given a = b

multiply both sides by a
a^2 = ab
subtract b^2 from both sides
a^2 - b^2 = ab - b^2
factor each side
(a + b)(a - b) = b(a - b)
divide both sides by (a - b)
a + b = b
since we know that a = b
b + b = b
sum left side
2b = 1b
divide both sides by b
2 = 1




There is, of course, a fallacy present. But it sure looks a lot like something that it isn't, you know? But we're left with a situation where the conclusion 1+1=1 is demonstrably true, while 2=1 is demonstrably false, because they're not actually talking about the same things.
 
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MacAllister

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I am sooooo saving that last post to kill other threads with, in the future. Heh.
 

Roger J Carlson

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He, and just because it's late, how about this hoary old math conundrum, just for fun:

Given a = b

multiply both sides by a
a^2 = ab
subtract b^2 from both sides
a^2 - b^2 = ab - b^2
factor each side
(a + b)(a - b) = b(a - b)
divide both sides by (a - b)
a + b = b
since we know that a = b
b + b = b
sum left side
2b = 1b
divide both sides by b
2 = 1

There is, of course, a fallacy present. But it sure looks a lot like something that it isn't, you know?
The fallacy, of course, is that if a=b, then dividing both sides by (a-b) divides both sides by zero, which is an illegal operation.

Although I am not (thankfully) a mod of this room, my understanding is that its purpose is to discuss your own beliefs rather than to disprove someone else's. To say, 'this is why I believe 2+2=4 rather than 1', and not 'this is why people who believe 2+2=1 are wrong'.

But arithmetic is a poor analogy. The rules are cut and dried. A better one may be Geometry.

The statement that parallel lines will never meet depends on your basic assumptions, namely Euclid's Fifth Postulate. The Fifth Postulate cannot be proven, it must either be accepted or not accepted. If you accept it, then parallel lines will never meet. If you do not, then parallel lines MAY at some time meet. (ETA: Euclid's Fifth, by the way, is the point at which non-euclidean geometries diverge from euclidean geometry.)

This is the problem with religious/spiritual discussions. If you do not believe the same basic assumptions, then you can't prove anything. This includes the belief that science and logic can ultimately explain any phenomenon. If everybody believes that, then you can prove or disprove things with science. However, not everybody does, and so such proofs are useless.

So the emphasis here is to explain your own beliefs and the foundations for them, rather than to disprove another's.

For what it's worth, I am equally contemptuous of people who try to disprove science based on the Bible as I am those who try to disprove the Bible based on science.
 
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Medievalist

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The statement that parallel lines will never meet depends on your basic assumptions, namely Euclid's Fifth Postulate. The Fifth Postulate cannot be proven, it must either be accepted or not accepted. If you accept it, then parallel lines will never meet. If you do not, then parallel lines MAY at some time meet. (ETA: Euclid's Fifth, by the way, is the point at which non-euclidean geometries diverge from euclidean geometry.)

This is the problem with religious/spiritual discussions. If you do not believe the same basic assumptions, then you can't prove anything. This includes the belief that science and logic can ultimately explain any phenomenon. If everybody believes that, then you can prove or disprove things with science. However, not everybody does, and so such proofs are useless.

So the emphasis here is to explain your own beliefs and the foundations for them, rather than to disprove another's.

Quoted for truth; emphasis mine.
 

MacAllister

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A much better analogy, Roger, thank you! I was terrible at geometry, so it's not the first thing I think of when I want to construct a metaphor.

Heh. Heheh. "Construct a..."

Never mind.
 

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I am new to this site, my story has something in it I fear 'might' offend. And I hoped to rationally discuss it with others here. I saw this section and read the obligatory first thread - The One rule.

OMG! This thread is exactly why I am scared I am going to have every person who holds the Old Testament sacred coming after me, trying to cave in my head with their scriptures. You're already arguing, about being civil.

Mac it started so well, you wanted to make sure we respected each others beliefs. You tried to give examples of what would and wouldnt fly, and the first person to post got the boot... What did they do - They asked why your second example was so bad. And like any religious debate it blew up (At least one of you didnt blow the other up)

Oh wait, sorry, I hope I didn't offend and Irish or Muslims.

Oh bugger, I definately shouldn't have written that!

Should I now launch into a great epic apology where I explain I know Islam doesn't condone terrorism but is the product of a fanatical few... ... point out that I have nothing against the Irish, some of by best friends are Irish. I love the stupid sods.

I think I'm going to enjoy browsing "Comparative Religious Philosophy Discussion"

My 2-cents? It's labelled both 'Comparative' and 'Discussion' Discussions arent much fun nor are they comparative when every post 'Must' read:-

"I agree"
"Yes - Well said"
"I think your right too"

Because the people who didn't agree weren't allowed to say how they feel.

Bring on the debate, MAC you seem to have your heart in the right place, I have no problems with you being the one that decides what is debating/arguing and what is attacking/slandering.

I also laughed when one of the first things in the thread was.

"for example, if you believe Mormonism is a cult, that's fine--"

I could take offence to that... Well I could argue that as the husband of a disfellowshipped Mormom I do.

You could reply that I took that string of words completely out of the context it was written in. (Never seen a sermon do THAT before)

And neither one of us would be debating what we wanted to discuss. Just arguing about some stupid crap with no substance.
 
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Ralf_Smith

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I am currently fleshing out my outline, perhaps hours of fleshing out 'concept' into hundreds of words caused that embarrasment of verbosity. So sorry, I swear I'll preview my posts in future :flag:
 

Medievalist

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I am new to this site, my story has something in it I fear 'might' offend. And I hoped to rationally discuss it with others here. I saw this section and read the obligatory first thread - The One rule.

You know, you're new here, and so you probably don't realize this -- but--

Don't assume that you know everything that goes on based on what you can see.

You don't.

And you really really ought to spend a while reading and "lurking," and reading the Newbie's Guide, because your thrashing around in the dark a bit.
 

Ralf_Smith

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I HAVE been thrashing. sorry

Medievalist I accept I have been 'Posting' at a higher percentile to 'Lurking' than I'd usually expect from myself. I like to think you got the term 'Lurking' from a post I left at the 'Newbie Forum' for 'sdegouges' this morning ?

"keep talking, keep asking. My learning curve has gone vertical with all the replies and help from these people." I said. How presumptuous of me, being a newbie myself.

You're right, I am new here. 'Lurking' might be part of the vernacular here and I used it like I knew what it meant? I did read the newbie guide, first thing I did. And I just read it again because from your post it seems I've stepped out of line - I'm sorry (though I'm still too thick to see how) I did a fair bit of reading and 'lurking' looking for answers to questions I have before I joined, because I don't know SO MUCH - Once I was able to post, I found out just how willing people here are to answer if I just asked. And for the 1 day I've been a member it's all been pouring out.

I didn't preview that massive post as in quick reply there is no 'Preview Post' button. I hit 'Post' and realised as soon as the screen reloaded that I'd had a case of verbal diarrhoea. Perhaps adding another post trying to apologise just heaped more dung on an already steaming pile? This post is threatening to go the same way, so I 'should' shut up now.
It's obviously from what you've said to me that I didn't communicate effectively. You say I'm thrashing around in the dark? Your right, I'm flailing around because I'm in the dark, thats why I'm here. You said I assume I know everything that goes on based on what I can see. And helpfully pointed out that I don't, your wrong and right respectively.

Mac please weigh in on this, if I've stepped out of line please point out how.

Medievalist this thread isn't the forum to bash upstart newbies (I DO know that) I will not post on THIS thread again, so send me a PM and abuse me there. Would love to hear your rationale.
 

MacAllister

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Heh. No worries, ralf. We all read our own stuff with the disadvantage of knowing what we meant to say, rather than how the words read, to others--at least until we've had a lot of practice. But that's why we're all here, right? To practice on each other, to learn to read more effectively, write more efficiently, and think more clearly.

("Lurking" has long been the term for observing and reading, but not posting. Going way back to usenet and the like, twenty-ish years ago.) Welcome to the Cooler. Just slow down a wee bit, and think things through before you hit the post button. And you can always go back and edit, if you think better of what you said, later on.
 

Roger J Carlson

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Just slow down a wee bit, and think things through before you hit the post button. And you can always go back and edit, if you think better of what you said, later on.
Also, if you hit the Go Advanced button rather that Post Quick Reply, you'll get the option to preview the post.
 

Usagikitti

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you all are bleeding bonkers and it is great! That math though was about to make a blood vessel burst so I had to just skip it. Oh yeah, you all are wrong I am write, nany nany boo boo. HA HA HA HA

I do believe I found my home. Who thought a bunch of nutters hung out in the christian section? This is awesome! Who says God - whichever, whoever or how many you believe in - doesn't have a sense of humor?