My online arguments with people

Considerations of religious issues in general

My online arguments with people

Postby Elliott » 29 Apr 2013, 21:40

I'm starting this thread as a repository for my various nasty encounters with liberals, leftists and other discursional nemeses on the Internet. This is so that I can vent my frustration without contaminating other threads.

Right now, I just had this New Atheism-related argument on Facebook...

MY FRIEND: If anyone's interested...there's a petition going around right to abolish religious observance in non-denominational schools.

ME: I would be strongly against this. If parents don't like something, they can move their kids to another school. I was never religious, but I greatly value that I was versed in Christianity at primary school.

PERSON3: Elliott, havent you got this the wrong way around? Shouldnt parents that wish to indoctronate their beleif systems onto a child be the ones that should move their kids to a religous school?

ME: Do you know any parents who don't have belief systems that they wish to indoctrinate into their children?

PERSON3: I think there are plenty of people that go out of their way to avoid it.

ME: People might SAY they want their kids to "think for themselves" but what does that actually mean? What it means is they want their kids to grow up to agree with them but without them (the parents) ever being "oppressive" etc., which of course is an impossible dream. And how possible is it for people to reach reliable conclusions, given the limitations of human nature, given the fact that most of us aren't rational, the fact that most of us are at least slightly irresponsible and selfish and biased? It's not very possible. I think it is largely a delusion that people think for themselves, especially on matters of morality; what ends up happening is they either go with the flow of morality in their environment, or they purposely reject all morality as outmoded and just too complex. As for religion and freedom of thought, you're caricaturing of course! While I agree that any religion (or political ideology etc.) has the power to become oppressive and controlling of thought, I think it is not a coincidence that the free-thinking West was forged by Christianity.

PERSON3: But in all seriousness, we have state funded religious schools in Scotland. If you want that for your kids, that fine, send them to these schools. Let the rest of us get on without the dogma that stigmatizes gay marriage, attempts to blunt stem cell research and prevents euthanasia!

ME: It sounds like you have quite a lot of specific beliefs with which you would (let's be honest here) indoctrinate your children. Maybe you should send them to a state-funded liberal/progressive school so that my kids don't have an education with all of that stuff?

PERSON3: I think you are making a fairly large assumption there matey. I don't have kids. Clearly a touchy subject for you. I understand.

ME: What? I'm not quite sure what you're saying.

PERSON3: That I would indoctrinate a child.

ME: Well, I only say that because you seem quite steadfast in your, ahem, beliefs. ;) And for what it's worth, I will certainly be "indoctrinating" my own children as much as possible. That's what any responsible parent would do, after all.

PERSON3: You seem like a bit of a c**t mate so I'm going to leave this thread

ME: Another liberal who can't argue rationally! Nice talking. :)
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Elliott » 10 Jun 2013, 20:48

An argument with two people who advocate mass immigration and say that Brits have no right to complain about it:

MADMAN1993: because the brits really stayed within thier borders

ME: So is mass immigration into Britain punishment for the Empire?

MADMAN1993: well no, of course not.
it is just putting things in perspective, brittian isnt a victim and people acting like brittain is all perfect and is being invaded by other countries only listen to their own language.

ME: Of course Britain isn't perfect. But no country is - especially not African and Arab countries. They are very far from perfect. So why does Britain have to suffer? Why not Arabs, for enslaving more blacks than the British ever did? Why not Turkey, for having the Ottoman Empire which routinely carried out genocide? Why is it only white countries that have to suffer mass immigration and radical demographic change?
PS. It's spelled "Britain".

MADMAN1993: britain doesnt suffer from it, its just something that is around.
and of course the other countries arent perfect, but in britain (and most western countries) there just are a lot of jobs most people dont want to do. also, we are far more civilised than some of those countrys, so people who cant safely live there (gay people, people with a different religion etc) come here.
of course not all of them are good people, but neither are the original inhabitants f a country

ME: Britain doesn't suffer from mass immigration? Oh, come on. Two weeks ago a soldier was beheaded. White girls are being raped by gangs of Pakistanis. 50% of Muslim men and 75% of Muslim women are on the dole (according to the ONS). Whole areas of our cities and towns are being Third World-ified and becoming no-go zones for whites. We are suffering from mass immigration. And no, most Third World immigrants are not gay.

SAM: You cannot blame Lee Rigby's death on immigration you absolute IMBECILE. What it was was a terrible case of extremism, which incidentally wouldn't have happened if we weren't fucking around in other peoples countries thinking we are some kind of super power (when we are actually fuck all) and as for these gangs raping people, that's happened for decades with white gangs black gangs indian, Asian, some people are sick, that's just the way the world is and blaming immigration is not the answer!!

ME: "What it was was a terrible case of extremism, which incidentally wouldn't have happened if we weren't fucking around in other peoples countries"
It also wouldn't have happened if we weren't allowing Muslims or low IQ Nigerians into Britain, would it? Or would Lee Rigby somehow have been killed by them anyway? No? Right, so we CAN blame his death on immigration. You are just kidding yourself.
As for the rape gangs, surely you can see that there is a special problem here with Muslim rape gangs?

SAM: dont tell me im kidding myself you ignorant prick, I'de like to bet ive seen a lot more of the world than you have, I walked across the whole of spain in fucking jumper!! Let me guess your probably a member of the EDL arent you?? 99% of muslims are good honest HARD WORKING people who provide for their kids and spend money that goes back into our economy, if this country realised that we are not some super power, or world police force Lee Rigby would not have been killed.

ME: Sam, you have so far called me an "absolute IMBECILE" and an "ignorant prick", amongst a lot of semi-literacy. I am tempted to ignore you until you write with some courtesy, but for now I will say this. No, I'm not in the EDL. No, you do not come across as more worldly than me. No, 99% of Muslims are NOT hard-working. The ONS stated that 50% and 75% of Muslim men and women were on the dole. Google "How fair is Britain?" and you will find a report stating that only 1 in 4 Muslim women works.

SAM: haha nice attempt there to try and take the higher ground. But I fail to see why I should be courteous to someone who talks utter garbage. blaming immigration for Lee Rigby's death!?, if you do your research you will find that Michael Adebolajo was born and raised in the UK brought up in Lancashire by a hard working family. that's just one point which I can follow up with so many more. As for your statistics I think you need to find something better and more interesting to do with your life.

ME: So you have no answer to those statistics about Muslims being on the dole? I see. Well, let's just agree that they are mostly not hard-working. As for Adebolajo, he is a textbook example of how difficult it is to integrate immigrants who are vastly different from us, especially when Islam is available as a reason for them to despise us. PS. You should be courteous to everybody, even people with whom you disagree; for, you see, you are not the only good person on Earth, Sam.

SAM: your possibly the most pathetic person I've ever communicated with, I don't normally get involved with arguments on youtube, i've just returned from a 600 mile walk where I met beautiful people from all over the world, so clearly I have better things to do with my time normally, which is why i'm done with you and this will be my last comment. All I can say is that people with opinions like yours are dangerous, and personally I think it all comes from the thatcher era.

ME: Sam, you are deeply insecure and should not debate people on subjects that are this important to your sense of self-worth.

SAM: hahahah I wasn't gonna write another comment as I said, but I just wen't onto your profile and had a look at your likes, and you've liked several EDL videos, and for me that tells me everything I need to know about you, im done now, I've got some ironing to do which is much more important and more enjoyable than talking to people like you.

ME: Sam, if you were actually interested in debating, you would realise that my "liking" a few EDL videos (big deal) doesn't tell you anything about me that you didn't already know from my comments here (ie that I'm anti-Islam and think immigration has gone too far). But of course you're not really interested in debating. It's over your head. You're just interested in name-calling.
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Gavin » 10 Jun 2013, 21:04

Wow, what a closed-minded person there. He made a fool of himself. You, however, handled yourself admirably, in my opinion. You stayed calm in the face of blatant insult, presented facts... in fact, in the end, he just had to run away. I think you gave him something to think about, which is the key.

The reaction really shows how invested these people are emotionally in their beliefs, doesn't it? It takes a whole salvo of facts to penetrate the delusional shell they construct. Then they react with pique, but as I say they might think about some of the points.

I say this because I think you made a lot of good points, although I'm perhaps not quite as anti-immigration as you are. I just think that i) there has been far too much of it - and ii) the government dismally failed to oblige people to integrate and adopt our culture. Further, if those who had come here from the third world and could not, or would not, work productively had not not been given such copious benefits, they would either have been imprisoned or have needed to go back home. Then we wouldn't have had the problems we have now. Thus, leftism is our number one enemy, I believe.
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Nathan » 10 Jun 2013, 22:26

Why do you get into these arguments, Elliott? I can't see what there is to gain from engaging with people who by not physically being there in front of you don't have anything holding them back from being abusive, or putting loads of exclamation marks and capital letters in there as if that validates their point, or simply trolling you to waste your time.

If you are essentially wanting to convert people, then you would get a much wider audience and be spared long-drawn, quite pointless back-and-forths with people who have no interest in sincere, non-shrill debate, and by the low level of intelligence as indicated by their literacy level are just unquestioningly taking the only socially-acceptable viewpoint anyway by joining the Guardian comments sections and simply making fun of liberal beliefs at their source rather than engaging the useful idiots head-on. I can't see those people having such cultural Marxist beliefs in the 1950s when they would have been considered extreme, and I doubt they would have them in the 2050s either after they have gone up in flames.

I know a lot of the best comments get deleted, but one fruitful thing about the Guardian comments pages is that you have an audience of thousands/tens of thousands, and because of the 'recommend' section, a hard-hitting remark gets rewarded by a high recommend score by all the conservatives who go on there, a visible reminder to even the most diehard liberals that their views are being marginalised and laughed at even on their own territory. To give one example, the best-rated comment on this article entitled "Is British theatre getting better at depicting race on stage?":

Is anyone really bothered? This leftie obsession with race and the witchhunt-like hysteria over perceived racism in every corner just reinforces the idea of differences between us and does more harm than good


It must have taken the poster under a minute to think of that and write it, yet if we're thinking in win-lose terms, he quantifiably won the argument, and thousands of people saw the proof and got the sense of which way the tide of public opinion is turning. If you can get in there early and be one of the first few comments, the recommend scores can easily rack up - excellent ammunition for if later on you get a liberal try strawmanning you and your comment is on 50 recommends and his is on two and it's meant to be his online spiritual home!
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Nick » 10 Jun 2013, 23:36

Three important points to consider:

1. There is nothing to gain from random fights with strangers on the internet. In fact, you better use your energy by becoming active in a political party, give lectures, educate friends and family, bring these topics up during family dinner. Bottom line: leave the anonimity of the internet and get active. Do things. But then years of campaigning have taught me that 99% of the people who will agree with you as long as you are in the room with you, immediately fall back into being flakes once they leave that room. Even if they make promises, they won't get things done. The only benefit one has from arguing with strangers, is to formulate some powerful arguments and save these in a word document. This way I stored up to 10.000 pages of notes and arguments, pulled from internet discussions, blogs, articles, romans novels, philosophical works of history, anything I encountered and considered useful or worthy in my quest.

2. You will eventually run into arguments like "foreigners are only here because white boys wouldn't do the dirty work", which is a blatant lie, considering the shortage of labour power when rebuilding Europe after the war, also the first immigrants were never meant to stay here, but were supposed to go back. Hence it was not a point of policy to familiarize immigrants with Western language, history and values. Only with later socialist governments they suddenly changed plans and had them stay and bring their families over, even though labour was already being replaced by machines, leading to unemployment and use of welfare. You will dismantle those arguments, people will run away.

3. People definitely have to stop saying nonsense such as "at least you gave him something to think about, now he will question himself; you achieved something." This is the feelgood rhetoric people give you because they are too weak to face the truth. Truth is that 20 seconds later after the ironing, guy will be watching a funny cat video and completely forgot about you and your facts. They ignore what is inconvenient for what they desire to be true, regardless of objectivity. People in general have a big self-pride and a crappy memory.

Those who spout the rhetoric "people will learn and improve if you prove them wrong" are fools. Power forges history, not strength of argument. Christianity and Islam are irrational, believing that wine can be blood and wine at the same time, that prophets can be teleported through time and space with the will of God. They are so powerful because they are so intolerant, forced people to convert. In the time of Augustine, the Ancients allowed their religion to mingle with other religions and philosphical teachings. Yet Christianity was exclusive: one baptising, then one confession, and that was it; one had to renounce all the rest. Charlemagne had capitulare saxonum, meaning he forced the Saxons to convert or die. Islam same story; punishment for leaving the faith is death (says sharia). Ancient religions founded upon rationality such as Epicurism, Stoicism, Sceptics, are nowhere today, yet the most dogmatic ones, are everywhere. My proof shall be a quote by Tertullian: "I believe it, because it is absurd."
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Nick » 11 Jun 2013, 00:00

Three important points:

1. It is more useful to bring up these topics during family dinners, speak to your friends, become politically active, educate, give lectures, provide courses. The only thing you get out of discussions with online strangers who completely oppose your outlook, is that you formulate arguments, which, if they are sufficiently striking, can be saved in a word document for future consultation. This way I gathered 10.000 pages of notes, excerpts, citations and fragments taken from blogs, philosophy works, literature, history books, and anything useful I encountered.

2. Don't kid yourself that you changed this persons outlook or broadened his perspective by opposing him. He will go back to ironing, then 20 seconds after that will be obliviously watching a funny cat video. People practice double-think, meaning their minds blank out those facts they do not wish to perceive, when they are not compatible with what they already believe.

3. Objective thinking rarely prevails and those who tap you on the shoulder saying: "Good job, you gave him something to ponder on!" are fooling themselves with feelgood rhetorics. Power of argument did not form history: intolerance and irrationality did, strength of will more than power of reason. Christinity was exclusive; one baptizing, then one confession, that was it; one had to discard all the rest. Yet the religions based upon reason, Stoicism, Epicurism, Scepticism, today are nowhere to be seen. Charlemagne converted the Saxons to Christianity by forcing them to convert, the lex capitulare saxonum beheaded all those who did not. Then Islam has children born into the religion and sharia condemns those who leave to death. Intolerance, exclusiveness, raw power of will imprinted the prevailing outlooks upon history and the world, not superiority of argument.
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Gavin » 11 Jun 2013, 00:17

Nick, you cannot be sure that "Sam" did not go away with a slight dent in his emotionally held views.
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Rachel » 11 Jun 2013, 03:40

I thought you argued very well with Sam. I loved it when he said:
"people with opinions like yours are dangerous, and personally I think it all comes from the thatcher era."
The bit about Thatcher era gave me a good chuckle. :)
Why do some people think that everything "bad" in the world that they disagree with is the fault of Thatcher?
It happens even on subjects that have nothing to do with Thatcher's era like immigration and the machete killing you were both discussing. They'ed blame the weather or irregular bowel movements on Thatcher.

I used to have arguments on youtube but I found that even if I won the argument it just upset me so I stopped.
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Joe » 11 Jun 2013, 06:11

Nick,
Just a couple of comments and a question or two.

1. Actually it is neither power nor strength of argument that forges history. Ideas move events. Christianity had less than no power when it began and yet 2000 years hence we still number our years relative to the birth of Jesus. Martin Luther had only the power of his theological convictions when he stood against the combined might of the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire. The reformation he spawned within just a few short years changed the entire landscape of western civilization and made the great popular revolutions of the 18th century possible. The idea of freedom brought forth Magna Carta and The Glorious Revolution to England.
2. By what measure do you declare Christianity irrational? My reading of the historical record and philosophical evidence forces me to conclude that it is unbelief that is irrational.
3. I do not get the connection of a 4th century African bishop and the 8th century European emperor. Where in his writings does Augustine propose advancement of Christianity by force of arms?
4. The use of “dogmatic” and “intolerant” as pejoratives with reference to Christianity – or Islam for that matter - betrays an ignorance of the very nature of religious belief. A belief system absent a core of central, inviolate axioms or “dogma” is not worthy of consideration. One may not rightly define himself a Christian and yet deny the deity of Christ. I am not intolerant of anyone’s beliefs save those who wish me to bastardize mine in order to comfort them.
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Gavin » 11 Jun 2013, 09:36

I should say I agree with Nathan that, while it may be possible after hammering away for some time and being "liberally" insulted, to get at least plant a small seed of doubt in these people's minds (arrogant though they are), it isn't worth the time. I never do it.

It's just not worth it for one random individual. I would never give them that much of my time. As Nathan says, if one feels the need to do it, one could go for the biggest audience, at The Guardian, where happily fact-heavy posts tend to be voted up despite the paper's leftism.
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Nick » 11 Jun 2013, 10:53

Dear Joe,

Thank you for your reply, now at least there can be a proper exchange of thought. How excellent that you fall back upon history to carry the narrative. Because I just love history and the infinite sea of facts it offers to substantiate arguments.

About point 1: The Reformation is the perfect argument that power shapes history. The landlords that took Luther's side not only had [1] the religious motivation that Luther's theological convictions were the right ones, but also [II] the political motivation; if the pope was a usurper, this meant the emperor backed a corrupted lord, which made rebellion against the emperor legitimate, which allowed the landlords to claim sovereignty over their domains. Finally, there was [III], the economic motivation. If the catholic church was wrong, the lords were allowed to take their lands and add them to their own domain.

This also applies to Britain. The Act of Supremacy by Henry XIII was there only because he wanted to divorce and marry for the so-manieth time, and the pope disagreed thus Henry decided to be his own pope. This allowed him to sell the lands owned by the Church. Which is roughly why Britain has Always had such strong anti-Catholic traditions; because if the catholic church ever came back, much of these "Whigs" would lose their lands. Jan Without Land ripped up the Magna Carta when he saw it; the one that exists today is a copy drawn up many years later. The core concepts of Britain's history are decided by the power plays of others: for example between Vikings and Normans (Domesday Book and Court of Common Pleas) and between Willem III and Louix XIV (Glorious Revolution and Bill of Rights).

2. The irrationality of Christianity. Not only are there some basic points "belief of miracles that turn water into wine" (why would an omniscient and omnipotent God override the laws of the universe, if he created these himself at the beginning of the universe; else he would have created these laws differently at the beginning of time). Also if you proposition an entity of which you say he is the highest entity imagineable and transcends human reason, it consequently follows that the human intelligence cannot claim anything intelligently about this being. Spinoza argued extensively that basically we project human wishes and desires upon the cosmos, believing that whales were created to feed us, because we design artefacts for purposes. Then, because our abilities are not equal to our desires, we postulate a cosmic entity that also designs things with intrinsic ends.

There is the causality argument: Humans tend to believe in some holy events and destinies. For example when aid comes ones way at an unexpected moment. One tends to think this was the work of a higher cause, and that the divine intervention elevates this moment beyond history so that it becomes Destiny. However an act Always influences all other acts. For instance if I would go 10.000.000.000 years back in time and cut down some random trees, moved rocks and killed animals, the world would look substantially different today. Classic example: a man wakes up because of a nightmare, goes to walk in his yard, lightning hits the house, everything burns down. He says: "This was an act of the hand of God; it proves it was not my time yet." His intuition is that his life was touched by a higher order, whereas in fact events are moved only by causality. Because this man has seeds of trees sticking to his feet, eventually some trees will grow where they would not if he had died. And so eventually the whole world becomes moved by the hand of God. Which means that everything that happened in life is Destiny, and this makes all events equally special and holy and elevated beyond history. This contradicts with the intuition that leads people to believe in higher orders in the first place, meaning the unexpected events that steer them away from destruction (by the way I came up with this argument when I was six years old and my aunt told me about religion because she believed).

Then there's of course the argument that the moral aspects of humanity can everywhere be traced back to the Ten Commandments. I experimented with this in a dialogue:

She raised her eyebrows and said; “We’re not quite there yet Nick. First let me rephrase the question before we get further sidetracked – what has philosophy to say on divine revelation? And go slowly and do it in steps.”
“Well it begins as philosophy often does – with a question.” I replied.
“Then what’s the question?”
I wiped the smirk of my face and looked at her sincerely now, “It’s a quite complicated question,” I said, “I know of no other way to formulate it, and I don’t want to irritate you since you explicitly told me to go slow.”
“Just shoot,” Claudia insisted.
“How can a divine spiritual being give knowledge of his aims to mankind without violating the causal mechanical laws governing the material universe that normally sufficiently account for any occurrence – without acting in contradiction to his own omniscience when he set up that universe and the material laws governing it? In other words there would be no room for divine revelation in a material universe, or it would contradict with the omniscience of that universe’s creator.”

“What do you mean by that?” Claudia asked.

“Well, let me answer by raising a query:
‘How do people, ordinarily, gain knowledge, how do they come to their judgment about what to do and how to act?’
The answer is this knowledge comes from the world and is conveyed to their minds through their senses. This knowledge then leads to action through a series of expectations, calculations as well as trial and error.
Now if divine knowledge, religious teachings, were to have a special and more authoritative status among the tons of other information -which comes to us through our senses and through our interaction with the world- they would have to come from a source distinct of all those other sources of information. (For example the Bible is often said not to be the writings of ordinary men like any other book, but to have been written through divine inspiration.)

Therefore the divine would have to manifest itself within the world. (For example when Mohammed left the material world to enter the spiritual world, where he was made to read the rules written by Allah.)

So then this sort of information must have interacted with his brain – with the brain of whoever receives the divine revelation.

However this is impossible within a causally closed domain, where the laws of nature, such as gravity, normally sufficiently account for the movement of every atom, which includes the movement of the atoms within our brain – different constellations of atoms generally mean different thoughts. Our personalities and experiences can change quite intensively due to neural interference.

To say that a force outside of the natural laws which govern the physical domain could alter our thoughts, as the divine giver of wisdom would do, therefore means two things: Overdetermination, firstly, and secondly that it is in contradiction to the divine being’s omniscience.”

“Alright,” she said, “I understand the overdetermination part. You’re saying that in case a non-physical property has detectable influence on anything, that thing has to be physical. If it is physical, it is already submitted to laws of nature that sufficiently account for its behaviour and its states: Non-physical properties are overdetermined.”
“That’s right,” I said; “saying that a force beyond the creation can intervene within the creation, signifies a contradiction within the divine being’s omniscience. Think about it . . . Why would an all-powerful, omniscient God at a point in time interfere with the immutable laws of nature He himself created at the beginning of time? Unless of course He found it a necessary response to some unforeseen event, which is in contradiction to His omniscience.”
“I suppose those natural laws are always the same,” she said, “so that He could foresee how everything would turn out the very moment before He created it. If the divine creator wanted things to turn out differently I guess He would have made them differently. Still, exactly what do you mean by saying that the material universe is causally closed, and that any spiritual influences upon it are automatically overdetermined?”
“Well,” I replied, “I think it means three things. First, it is hard to see how something that is material, is not in some way subservient to natural laws. Second, if a property mentioned in a law of nature were not physical, it is hard to see how it can be caused by, or have effect on, a thing that has a physical existence and is consequently subservient to the laws of nature. Third, without a detectable influence of a property on the world, humans have no reason to assume the existence of the property. Detectability of a property requires that it in some way interacts with our senses, and since our senses can only process physical input, the property itself must also be physical.”
“By these three premises, I take it, you are pretty much saying that anything that can have an effect on the world, must have a physical existence.” She summarized; “Like energy, too, because matter can be transmuted into energy, as I’m sure you know. For example some kilograms of mass vanish when a nuclear bomb goes off. And light is also susceptible to gravity. Our thoughts, which is what happens in our brains, is thus also part of material existence. Then, an energy that were not material, would be unable to interact with our bodies. Yet that’s what people say about divine revelations and spiritual knowledge, that they influence our actions through our minds or our souls, which are then somehow conceived as distinct from our physical brains.”
“Yet,” I concluded, “a mental event had to be a completely physical event; for if a non-physical factor would exercise influence over an event, that influence would automatically be overdetermined within a completely closed physical domain.”

3. The point of Augustine refers to the exclusivity of the doctrine, which Christianity has in common with Islam and Judaism. The point of Charlemagne refers to the use of brute force to spread it.

4. You call me ignorant yet you conflate dogmas with axioms. An axiom is a principle of reasoning one must necessarily assume to move to a next step of reasoning. An axiom is a principle one must resort to using to deny its validity (as Protagoras does in his famous reasoning on being and nothingness, he makes use of an axiom he denies later on in the reasoning, rendering his argument invalid). Dogmas are things such as "mysteries"; (Augustine) water turning into wine, wine being wine but then in essence also the blood of Christ, fish and bread multiplying, walking on water . . . Ex Falso Sequitur Quodlibet . . . "I believe it because it is absurd" (Tertullian). The divine nature of Christ, the fact the Bible is divine revelation and not just come up with by desert tribes, are assumptions that are nowhere logically necessitated. Therefore they are not axioms but dogmas; they will only be embraced by those who are willing to embrace them. "How do you know what is written, is truly the word of God?" "Because it is written."
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Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Elliott » 11 Jun 2013, 15:18

To return to the question of whether there's any point getting into online arguments with people, I partially agree with Nathan and Nick but stand by my guns that there is some point to it.

I think there are two broad categories of people, with regard to political positioning:

  • believers - people who are committed to a political position
  • non-believers - people who watch the debate, aren't committed, maybe change their position by the year, etc. Swing voters, basically.

You might never persuade liberals in the first category, but liberals in the second category could well be swayed by the arguments they see online. For that reason alone, I think it is worth fighting. To step back and just let the liberals have free sway on the grounds that you can't dissuade them, is to cede the entire debate to them and allow them to enrapture the non-committeds, who will naturally assume (from what they see) that there really isn't a debate to be had, a consensus has been reached, and the liberal way is the way.

That alone would make it worth taking liberals on. But there's another reason, much more personal: I don't like how cocksure of themselves they are. I don't like their air of incredible smugness, confidence and arrogance. I don't like that they believe themselves the only good people in the world. Look at Sam's comment above - "I fail to see why I should be courteous to someone who talks utter garbage" - he is so comfy in his beliefs that he thinks of you and me as untermenschen whom he can freely disrespect. Even as I wrote well and thoughtfully, he felt himself superior and perfectly entitled to talk down to me, even though it was perfectly obvious that I was more intelligent than him.

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I find that infuriating. These people are riding roughshod over every debate. The attitude that conservatives should just let them get on with it is a defeatist attitude. Conservatives have been letting these people get on with it for a century now. We have never stood up for ourselves or our position, with the result being that liberals dominate our societies now. This is a battle and every time we "let them get on with it" we are ceding ground to them.

Of course, it would be psychologically suicidal to try to enter every debate with these people. And I agree that one should pick one's fights. I also agree that the Guardian is probably the number one place where one's comments, if they survive, will have maximum effect (rather like that one tiny vulnerable point in the Death Star).

It's also true that I personally go through phases. Sometimes I just can't be bothered getting into arguments. It can be exhausting, after all, and even quite disturbing to know that someone else despises you. But sometimes I feel very "up for it", such as yesterday. I usually have two, maybe three, arguments like this per month. It's not a daily thing.

One other reason to do this, of course, is purely as an intellectual exercise: it helps you get to grips with the types of people we're dealing with. Sam, for example, clearly pins his identity on his liberalism. It is essential to him that he is the guy appealing for open-mindedness while all around him are being knee-jerk and narrow-minded. That's his image of himself. He's a freedom fighter, and he's happy while everyone else is miserable etc., because he understands life, he grasps life with both hands, etc., tries something new every day, hikes across entire countries, probably even does the ironing joyfully. He is a fool, of course. He has never analysed anything in his life. Is it right to allow people like him to win the debate by default, due to our withdrawing from it? What is everyone else going to take from that? Clearly, that there is only one way to successfully "deal" with mass immigration, and that is Sam's way: accept it and celebrate it, even if it means your women get raped.

Of course, it could well be that these arguments are irrelevant anyway because it'll all be swept away by real-world events. I don't know.

In the meantime, it should be shown that there are different ways to view the world. When I think of myself at 18, so utterly liberal, I think what I really needed at that age was to be exposed to conservative ideas so that I could see life wasn't all black and white. I wasn't exposed to them until 21, and in the meantime I just lived in blissful (but poisonous) ignorance. That was unnecessary. So, I want to do my bit to help other 18 year-olds realise that sanity isn't necessarily defined by hippie liberal ideas.

PS. Thank you to Rachel and Gavin for your compliments.
Elliott
 
Posts: 1800
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Nathan » 11 Jun 2013, 16:07

I see your point about the need to provide a rational alternative to the prevailing views, but all I'll say is that you must be much more patient than me - there is just no way I could be bothered getting emotionally involved in a discussion with an anonymous stranger who has no intention of truly listening to the other side anyway and will just bring out the insults at the first opportunity.

Have you tried just redirecting such people here? There is already that much decent thought on this site to have a chance at swaying people's view at no additional psychological cost to us, since the other side of the argument has already been presented.

About real-world events washing liberal beliefs away, I do believe that will happen, whether it's a financial collapse due to misguided welfare spending, more riots, more terrorist bombs, or just the BBC propaganda increasingly misjudging public opinion.

I have a question for the older members on here: how do the typical views of, say, university students you meet now compare to those of 30 or 40 years ago? I was at university just after the Iraq war and before the austerity cuts began to kick in, so perhaps the least political era around, but while there certainly weren't many conservatives to be seen, the student stereotype of a few decades ago of sit-ins, protest marches, dreadlocks, bra-burning and knee-jerk, strident opposition to anything conservative or traditional seemed from a very distant and quite absurd age. I do have hope that the generation born after about 1980 will be much more conservatively inclined in middle age than their parents have been.
Nathan
 
Posts: 880
Joined: 08 Dec 2012, 17:58

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Paul » 11 Jun 2013, 21:17

Elliott wrote:
That alone would make it worth taking liberals on. But there's another reason, much more personal: I don't like how cocksure of themselves they are. I don't like their air of incredible smugness, confidence and arrogance. I don't like that they believe themselves the only good people in the world. Look at Sam's comment above - "I fail to see why I should be courteous to someone who talks utter garbage" - he is so comfy in his beliefs that he thinks of you and me as untermenschen whom he can freely disrespect. Even as I wrote well and thoughtfully, he felt himself superior and perfectly entitled to talk down to me, even though it was perfectly obvious that I was more intelligent than him.

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I find that infuriating. These people are riding roughshod over every debate. The attitude that conservatives should just let them get on with it is a defeatist attitude. Conservatives have been letting these people get on with it for a century now. We have never stood up for ourselves or our position, with the result being that liberals dominate our societies now. This is a battle and every time we "let them get on with it" we are ceding ground to them.


That's absolutely correct Elliott. Or at least that approach works for me too. I couldn't be spoken down to like that for long, certainly not by dolts, the like of which you quoted. I admit I have put up with some of it (we all have) but have always felt it important to get a word or two of my own into the mix. It's not difficult either as you have noticed - you are after all, dealing with fools. They aren't educated either because all of their learning has been at the feet of other fools. They may have some intelligence but it has been (probably forever) suborned by foolish ideas. They will lose a war or words every time and their default position is to spit out their dummy and become sulky and/or aggressive.

Moreover, is it right to concede all the time and spend your life lurking in the shadows? It's a form of cowardice and will wear you down. We need to stand up to (potential) despots, as brave men and women have done so in the past, lest they take over completely.

Elliott wrote: It's also true that I personally go through phases. Sometimes I just can't be bothered getting into arguments. It can be exhausting, after all, and even quite disturbing to know that someone else despises you. But sometimes I feel very "up for it", such as yesterday. I usually have two, maybe three, arguments like this per month. It's not a daily thing.

One other reason to do this, of course, is purely as an intellectual exercise: it helps you get to grips with the types of people we're dealing with. Sam, for example, clearly pins his identity on his liberalism. It is essential to him that he is the guy appealing for open-mindedness while all around him are being knee-jerk and narrow-minded. That's his image of himself. He's a freedom fighter, and he's happy while everyone else is miserable etc., because he understands life, he grasps life with both hands, etc., tries something new every day, hikes across entire countries, probably even does the ironing joyfully. He is a fool, of course. He has never analysed anything in his life. Is it right to allow people like him to win the debate by default, due to our withdrawing from it? What is everyone else going to take from that? Clearly, that there is only one way to successfully "deal" with mass immigration, and that is Sam's way: accept it and celebrate it, even if it means your women get raped.


Yes, some days I am 'up for it' more than others. It just infuriates you sometimes and you need to release a pressure valve. You can do it sensibly of course, a steady release of steam. Much better than the pressure gets too much and one blows up - or breaks down.

I go on the attack (more likely defence) once or twice a month I suppose. Alternatively, on other days I just can't be bothered. You can turn this to advantage too (though not online, only in person) by displaying complete indifference but in such a way as to indicate the ideas are so foolish as to be beneath you. This may also draw petulant behaviour but with some subtle management this can usually be exposed for what it is - the sulks of an emotionally retarded person. Of course that probably makes them hate you all the more.


Elliott wrote: In the meantime, it should be shown that there are different ways to view the world. When I think of myself at 18, so utterly liberal, I think what I really needed at that age was to be exposed to conservative ideas so that I could see life wasn't all black and white. I wasn't exposed to them until 21, and in the meantime I just lived in blissful (but poisonous) ignorance. That was unnecessary. So, I want to do my bit to help other 18 year-olds realise that sanity isn't necessarily defined by hippie liberal ideas.


Correct again. You're on shaky ground when debating with people in their late twenties (I suppose) onwards though. They are far more invested in their ideas, which have soaked into them thoroughly. Imagine arguing with someone aged fifty - especially a dyed-in-the-wool female.

I was more liberal aged 18, or rather more left-wing. I counter that statement though by saying - I was merely less right-wing. It's more natural at that age, but 'less right' rather than 'more left' applies to me - but only because I was exposed to conservative and right-wing views and attitudes at school. Truly then, the influence of education at a young age will persist - which is pretty obvious really.

As I've said in another thread, I winessed the build up to, and the enactment of the Miner's Strike in Britain in 1984. I was then aged 21. There was so much rubbish spouted, so many lies, that it undermined any genuine grievances the miners (and by extension other working class trades) may have had. It was purely political and went beyond the remit of an industrial dispute. I saw all this more or less straightaway and tried to balance the argument in some of the (many) discussions that abounded at the time - and since in fact, generally to no avail.

In a way, it was good for me to witness. It merely reinforced my 'fascist' attitude and drove away any lingering vestiges of leftism. I became self-employed the year after, one of the 'bosses' and an exploiter of peasants and have never looked back.

Imagine I had gone to university then, I've often wondered. And then got a job in say - the Civil Service (even teaching) or some other place whereby offices full of modern and shark-like females would be present. How ghastly. I couldn't possibly have stuck with that.

I'll quote again a phrase often used by a character in some of Dennis Wheatley's novels, one which I always pondered and admired from aged about twelve:

'If a man is not a communist by the age of twenty, he has no heart. If he is still a communist by the age of thirty, then he has no head'

Like the character in the novels, I always like to think I was heartless! This is not strictly true in every instance but it holds pretty well all the same. Aged 21, I would have had the agitators on picket lines whipped for some of their behaviour, especially the ones who weren't miners and were agitating for political reasons or for the hell of it.

Corporal punishment at school is no doubt part of it. Obviously, such 'abuse' has turned me into a heartless monster who revels in violence! I've had that said to me a few times, as you may imagine - by people who by rights should have been, at times, criminally prosecuted for violence!

Nathan wrote:
Have you tried just redirecting such people here? There is already that much decent thought on this site to have a chance at swaying people's view at no additional psychological cost to us, since the other side of the argument has already been presented.


I haven't directed people here (that might be a bridge too far) but I have occasionally directed a couple of people to Dalrymple. The 'tame' topics first, notably the articles about litter. Surely the kind of litter one sees everywhere in the UK is a cause that should appeal to everyone?

One of them said - "Don't bother, I've heard all the rhetoric before".

Rhetoric? It infuriated me, but I left it at that.

The other one said - "Huh, a doctor eh? Obviously a Thatcherite. The kind of Middle-Englander who has ruined this country".

Astonishing or what? They didn't even read the 'tame' articles but came to an immediate judgement merely because TD is a doctor. As if they despise doctors. They probably do ....... until they need one themselves. The bottom line is doubtless the fact that TD earns more money than they do. That automatically means he's a Tory, or even worse - a Thatcherite. Enough said - the man is evil and hasn't wrote anything of worth.

I haven't attempted again to 'educate' these two individuals, or at least not via the writings of TD. They dont deserve him. Let them remain reading whatever slush it is they read.

Nathan wrote:
I have a question for the older members on here: how do the typical views of, say, university students you meet now compare to those of 30 or 40 years ago? I was at university just after the Iraq war and before the austerity cuts began to kick in, so perhaps the least political era around, but while there certainly weren't many conservatives to be seen, the student stereotype of a few decades ago of sit-ins, protest marches, dreadlocks, bra-burning and knee-jerk, strident opposition to anything conservative or traditional seemed from a very distant and quite absurd age. I do have hope that the generation born after about 1980 will be much more conservatively inclined in middle age than their parents have been.


I've probably 'met' more graduates on this forum in the last couple of years than in the last twenty years in real life. Nontheless I know a handful, more or less my age. I've also met or at least experienced quite a few graduate level primary school teachers, mainly female. The latter seemed vacuous (with one or two exceptions) and I shudder to think of being wed to any of them.

Of the ones I know otherwise....! How to say this? They are fools for the most part.

One of them is the 'rhetoric' commenter quoted above.

Another one is now massively into conspiracy theories.

Yet another is a complete Marxist and always has been. He's 3 or 4 years older than me and was in his absolute element during the Miner's Strike. He really would adore a re-enactment of that episode. I haven't seen him yet since Thatcher died. It's going to be a sticky moment. Having said all that, we have always got on well enough. I don't think he wishes to fall out with me, which I appreciate. I return that sentiment. He's currently got his hands full with campaigning against the austerity cuts and against these plans for gas 'fracking'. He still goes on marches and demo's, waving banners and chanting slogans and yet he's approaching 55 years old. More than anything else I wonder how he is not utterly weary with it and completely bored.

He's mentioned the UAF brigade, with whom he would wish to identify more than ever he would (perish the thought) the EDL, or even centre conservatives. But he is a tiny bit scathing about the UAF - but only because they aren't eloquent enough and have just generally a single word in their vocabulary............ Nazi! I've asked him how he can possibly put up with fools like this. He is intelligent, quite well informed and at least hasn't spent the last 30 odd years dumbing-down and allying to mindless trivia.

What's also a little remarkable is that he has run two successful local buinesses (one a booming printing business, until personal PCs and printers and all the tools took away a lot of business) and also the fact that his father (now deceased) was once a local magistrate and a businessman himself - and a definite conservative I'm almost sure.

I like him and get along with him on the occasions we may bump into each other - as long as we avoid politics. It's all rather sad.
Paul
 
Posts: 512
Joined: 02 Aug 2011, 11:37
Location: Lancashire, England.

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Paul » 11 Jun 2013, 21:49

Rachel wrote:I thought you argued very well with Sam. I loved it when he said:
"people with opinions like yours are dangerous, and personally I think it all comes from the thatcher era."
The bit about Thatcher era gave me a good chuckle. :)
Why do some people think that everything "bad" in the world that they disagree with is the fault of Thatcher?
It happens even on subjects that have nothing to do with Thatcher's era like immigration and the machete killing you were both discussing. They'ed blame the weather or irregular bowel movements on Thatcher.

I used to have arguments on youtube but I found that even if I won the argument it just upset me so I stopped.



Chuckle myself Rachel - an excellent observation as regards the 'Thatcher Principle'.

What is wrong with them? And how 'great' (whether you agreed with her fully or not) has Thatcher turned out to be? I hope they go to their graves anguishing about Thatcher. Serve them right.

Before MT, the only PM of the UK that may have been mentioned is Churchill. Nobody else, good or otherwise, has commanded such presence. It's as if Billy Pitt (either) or Benjamin Disraeli never existed. I admit that would require a knowledge of some history, which lots of people don't have.

Truly then, it seems destined that MT will live forever!

Imagine if MT had been the PM sometime before 1978/79 and thus how well I would have done in History O level. Mind you, I got a grade A anyway.

Two of my essays for that O level were about Ben Disraeli - Domestic Policy and Foreign Policy. Another was about William Ewart Gladstone. Kids today must have it easy - they could write reams about Margaret Thatcher. Presuming they can write essays these days.

A horrible thought: Imagine sitting an O level and writing an essay contrary to the popular belief about Thatcher. Or even a balanced view. And then getting marked down and failing the exam because the examiners who marked the paper were all indoctrinated by Marxism.
Paul
 
Posts: 512
Joined: 02 Aug 2011, 11:37
Location: Lancashire, England.

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