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Flossy


Member

Posted Thu Mar 8th, 2007 7:20pm Post subject: Room 101
I was a bit suprised that no one had launched a room 101 thread! Here I put this right by talking about Stephens astute observation about all things co-incidental. if you cast your mind back to the conversation between Paul Merton and our guy, the topic of co-incidence comes up and Stephens explanation is a revelation in philosophic discourse. He junks not only superstious thinking but in turn destroys, for me, the notion of the after life and ghosts and ultimately god. It is a treatise for atheism par excellence!

It goes something like..........

Paul Merton "Your thinking about someone you haven't seen for fifteen years and the phone rings and it's them?"
Stephen "Wouldn't it be wierd if that never happened? During the course of a day I may think about 200 people. It would be strange if over my lifetime no-one rang who I was thinking about at any one time! Wouldn't that be wierd!"

Or something like that! in other words the chances of it not happening are more remote than it actualy happening which explodes the notion of supernatural forces at work. It's a natural co-incidence.

What do all you others out there think!

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Flossy


Member

Posted Tue Mar 27th, 2007 11:50pm Post subject: Room 101
Just thought I would get you looking in on the thread again in the hope I might stimulate a little chat around these questions!

Go on have a bash at the supernatural and superstitions, Britains Most Haunted and such shows.....OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

piThere's that piece of celebrity dust floating past the screen again! AAAAAGGGHHH!! This website is HAAAUUUNNNTTEEDD!!!!

BYE!!!

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ysabella


Member

Posted Wed Mar 28th, 2007 7:17am Post subject: Room 101
I see you making those shadow puppets, Flossy! Come out from behind the screen!

I started a thread about Stephen Fry the Skeptic by the way. C'mon by!

I found the Room 101 episode on YouTube (it's in three parts, link goes to part 1). Great viewing.

He made a lot of great points. I should watch that again one of these days.

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Flossy


Member

Posted Wed Mar 28th, 2007 11:36pm Post subject: Room 101
I dont see Stephen being a skeptic though! A skeptic to me is someone who is just "skeptical", about anything. Sure, skeptisism is a useful facet of any questioning mind and within that I think we are all skeptics of a sort but Stephen is a materialist philisophicaly as, in my opinion, his system of thought corresponds to a more coherent rounded theory of all things.

He might chip in at this point and put me right but that's just the way I see it.

He certainly comes from a left wing, satirical tradition, much like the Pythons and the Peter Cook's of this world. Not revolutionaries in the political, Marxist sense but rounded out thinkers who embace the critical nature of the Marxist dialectic.

The Fry and Laurie comedy is riddled with observations about class and full of ridicule for capitalists and upper class twits.

He may be softening in his dotage but this was the origins of his comic observations!.

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Thu Mar 29th, 2007 4:01am Post subject: Room 101
I dont see Stephen being a skeptic though! A skeptic to me is someone who is just "skeptical", about anything.

That's utter balls. A skeptic is someone willing to constantly re-examine their beliefs if faced with credible evidence to the contrary. It's not a person who goes through the day not believing anything they see.

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ysabella


Member

Posted Thu Mar 29th, 2007 5:14am Post subject: Room 101
Yeah, that would be perhaps a "cynic." Not a skeptic!

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trouser material


Member

Posted Thu Mar 29th, 2007 9:35am Post subject: Room 101
Yeah, that would be perhaps a "cynic." Not a skeptic!

Or a twat.

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Flossy


Member

Posted Thu Mar 29th, 2007 10:26am Post subject: Room 101
Well.......I remain skeptical about the whole thing!

But seriously.....

The dictionary definition of Sceptic, not Skeptic the US spelling, is:

"A person who habitually doubts the authenticity of accepted beliefs!"

That's someone who doubts for doubtings sake! It has become a "habit" and she/he is, to quote myself "just '"Skeptical"'.

Where I think Stephen sits, and again he can correct me, is more toward an all embracing theory of life and everything. Sure he will be sceptical of other accepted beliefs but that does not automaticaly make him a "sceptic" in the dictionary sense. Like us all he is probably naturaly sceptical of many things but not at the habitual level.

We all have a system of thought which evolves and matures with living and which is constantly challenged every day by many phenomena, but wether we conciously and scepticaly put our own thoughts and ideas to the test in that "habitual" way I would seriously doubt!

What you describe AxmxZ with regard to the constant re-examination of beliefs etc, is a scientific and materialist tradition. The scientist who, having argued for a particular theory for years, bows to the superior intelect when his ideas are overturned and no longer relevant to material reality. People of a religious bent tend not to be able to do this because thier religion requires that they accept a fixed dogma of set beliefs.

Scepticism, if you like, is the awakning of scientific thinking as represented in the ancient Greek tradition. It was a means of testing ideas in the face of human backwardness but reflected an early mechanical approach to scentific thought which itself became an accepted set of ideas. Scepicism was overturned as an all embacing theory by Aristotle, Hericlitus and Plato.

Today scepticism still occupies a fond place in our intelectual lexicon, it is still a handy tool, but we now know that scepticism alone does not enable us to appreciate and understand new ideas.

It may seem a bit piddly, because we are all sceptical in one way or another, but Ideas and opinions are many things but I have never heard them being described as a pair of testicles. I just cant get that image out of my head!

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ysabella


Member

Posted Fri Mar 30th, 2007 9:40pm Post subject: Room 101
I don't give a crap what your dictionary says. There is no one dictionary definition, there are buckets of different ones. I could pull three out that say something completely different. And if you ask three self-proclaimed skeptics, you will get three different answers. Trying to get ordinary skeptical types to agree on anything is like herding cats.

Incidentally, I spell it 'skeptic' because I am American - feel free to spell it Britishly, of course. I can translate.

In any case, I'm not putting it forward as a philosophy (philosophical skepticism is a whole other beast of a thing). As for Mr.Fry's personal philosophy, I couldn't possibly comment, as I'm far from knowing him well enough. However, it's easy to see that he does take a skeptical tack on some things, such as astrology and New Age. And collectible plates.

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Fri Mar 30th, 2007 10:37pm Post subject: Room 101
Sorry, but I'm going to have to poo-poo your dictionary definition as well. The kind of skepticism Stephen partakes is more along the lines of skepticism practiced and preached by everyone involved in the Skeptic magazine and the James Randi Foundation. It doesn't mean he has no beliefs or doubts for doubt's sake.

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Flossy


Member

Posted Sat Mar 31st, 2007 12:09am Post subject: Room 101
Steady on people!

Cant a guy raise a few ideas without getting his head bitten off?

Please dont dismiss my opinions as "balls" or be so direspectful to not give a "crap" etc!

I was merely pursuing a discusion round the question of scep-skeptisim which, within the spirit of the debate, has raised my awarenes of it's meaning and history!

Indeed there are many dictionary definitions of a sceptic and an appology is in order for trying to mistakenly pin it down to one, and I may have come over a little purist with the British spelling which I truly dont care about one way or another.............Yo?

But!

If I am wrong about something I will be the first to admit it, and if I think the discussion can be furthered and deepened then I will proceed as far as my brain will carry me. But please refrain from the use of crass dismisal of anothers ideas/opinions! That surely will not do here on this site!
Fine on a light hearted subject for jibes and the odd friendly expletive but not during a serious debate.

With friendly regards, Flossy!

Moving on!

OK! Well.......I think where my error lies, if I have made one, is thinking you were trying to define Stephen as being merely a sceptic, as though that was all he was. I failed to take into account the phrase, the person as the sceptic, meaning that, "part" of their questioning make up is scepticism and we can separte that side out for examination. I had the feeling that you were trying to describe Stephen in that way alone, when clearly he is, like all of us, much more than just a sceptic. See what I mean?

Does that make a little more sense?

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Sat Mar 31st, 2007 2:41am Post subject: Room 101
I think there's another component to this. In the minds of a lot of other self-professed "card-carrying" Skeptic-magazine-reading Skepticality-podcast-subscribing nonsense-combatting skeptics - saying you're a Skeptic is almost akin to professing a faith. Or an anti-faith, as it were. Like admitting to being in a certain political party. Not because they want to be cliqueish but because, in America at least, they are so generally villified and despised. Secularly minded people comprise something like 10% of the American population. So when you say, "I'm a skeptic" in the States, that's almost like a battle cry. It means being against widespread fraud like "psychics", against the attempts of Church on State in the public sphere, etc. etc. And as far as I can tell from Stephen's writings, interviews, the "blasphemy debate" he did with Hitchens etc., he's the kind of skeptic who very actively reviles these things as well as opposed to simply saying "Meh, I don't really buy into anything." Because there are things that are deeply important to self-professed skeptics, political issues, intellectual issues etc. - things that they wholeheartedly believe in. And so to say they don't believe in anything, and that Stephen doesn't because he calls himself a skeptic can be interpreted as being somewhat insulting to their collective intelligence.

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Crazy_in_a_box


Member

Posted Sat Mar 31st, 2007 4:30am Post subject: Room 101
Well Im sceptical as to whether the whole lot of you are sceptics or skeptically challenged..... In any case lets all skeptically agree to sceptically disagree. that way I dont skeptically have to keep randomly using the word sceptical and changed how it is spelt in order not to offend any sceptics that may roam around this thread... skeptically.



good night

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Flossy


Member

Posted Sat Mar 31st, 2007 12:36pm Post subject: Room 101
I think there's another component to this. In the minds of a lot of other self-professed "card-carrying" Skeptic-magazine-reading Skepticality-podcast-subscribing nonsense-combatting skeptics - saying you're a Skeptic is almost akin to professing a faith. Or an anti-faith, as it were. Like admitting to being in a certain political party. Not because they want to be cliqueish but because, in America at least, they are so generally villified and despised. Secularly minded people comprise something like 10% of the American population. So when you say, "I'm a skeptic" in the States, that's almost like a battle cry. It means being against widespread fraud like "psychics", against the attempts of Church on State in the public sphere, etc. etc. And as far as I can tell from Stephen's writings, interviews, the "blasphemy debate" he did with Hitchens etc., he's the kind of skeptic who very actively reviles these things as well as opposed to simply saying "Meh, I don't really buy into anything." Because there are things that are deeply important to self-professed skeptics, political issues, intellectual issues etc. - things that they wholeheartedly believe in. And so to say they don't believe in anything, and that Stephen doesn't because he calls himself a skeptic can be interpreted as being somewhat insulting to their collective intelligence.

Brilliant!! Well said!

Take for example a quote from my very first contribution to the this site...........

"To raise a political idea, challenge someones belief system, to talk about art, music, theatre, to broach any of these subjects with your average Joe can envoke a tirade of abuse. The Murdoch media syndrome is generating a population of mental mutants who just quote from the pages of the Sun (British right wing tabloid) when they need a quick opinion. Any attempt at independant thought is viewed with suspicion! This is not the fault of " the masses" but represents the systematic emptying out of peoples intelligence, to subordinate the population into accepting consumerism which will ultimately lead to our distruction if we dont do something about it!"

Scepticism, like Marxism like Materialism like Science or any rational philosophy, is under attack from the religious right. Through the control of the media these demagogues assert thier irrational agenda which subordinates peoples minds to religiosity and predjudice. It's called divide and rule, pitting one section of the population against another through the imposition of ideas and playing on peoples fears.

In Britain for instance there is a govt move to give trust status to our high schools which will enable business interests to buy into education which will give them influence over our curriculum. It is already clear that certain business types with religious fundamentalist views and who believe in creationism are already lining up to invest. They will be able to push their ideas through and challenge the scientific foundations of our understanding of history and biology and physics and archeology and literature, pushing religious education further to the center of the curriculum.

This fits perfectly with the idea that they in effect groom the youth into accepting these ideas which supposedly creates a maliable and unquestioning work force.

I do believe that your country has been operating this system for years. The trouble is though it doesn't work! Young Americans are no less questioning than any other groups of young people around the world. You can fill peoples heads with anything you want but it's the social, material questions which determine peoples conciousness such as housing, health, jobs and money!

Having to struggle against irrationality is damed inconvenient and represents a set back for human thought but there are millions of Skeptics and Athiests and Materialists and Scientists. They just aren't very well organised and cant agree that the common enemy is the capitalist class and that power needs to be wrested away from them and replaced with a workers democracy, that is a democratic system which involves the organisation of our rescources at production and distribution level. Basically a democratic plan decided by the people themselves, in the workplaces and housing schemes!

Skepticism has it's role to play in this. It can be the first and awakening thoughts for someone who is begining to question his/her world. We all go through this phase, but if you want to understand society in all it's manifestations then you need to embace the history of ideas and their impact upon the world!

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ysabella


Member

Posted Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 9:15am Post subject: Room 101
Actually, no. Not even close. I can't agree with you there in the slightest.

Although I have courteously avoided using the kinds of words you find objectionable. I hope you will note that.

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