Throughout the months that I've been on here, I've been privy to some very interesting discussions; many of which have been great fun, and others of which have given me much to think about.  As for the latter, I was recalling someone's plea for advice on figuring out how to find the truth when confronted with multiple conflicting sources of information.

    As atheists, we pride ourselves on our ability to reason and to be rational, but with so many different views in the world, it can be hard to reach a solid (albeit tentative) conclusion on any issue.  I'd like us to discuss our ideas here for the methods that we use to figure out what makes sense, and what doesn't.  

 

My best advice would be this~ Familiarize yourself with logical fallacies; those are ways of reasoning that at first glance make sense (sometimes) but upon further inspection are false.  Almost every claim for the efficacy of religious beliefs is based on one or more logical fallacies, but also many other ideas and thoughts found in everyday life can be traced back to those as well.  The better you are at spotting them, the easier it will make forming an opinion or idea on a topic. 

 

A great place to learn what the logical fallacies are is the Iron Chariots wiki.  If you learn them well, it will open up a lot of doors as far as reasoning and understanding.

 

What advice do you have for our fellow atheists who have trouble figuring out what makes sense and what only sounds like it does?

 

pic related, mfw (my face when) I'm presented with a LF in discussion

Tags: atheism, fallacies, logic, logical, reason

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I agree with that whole-heartedly.  I think our best option, at least as non-professional individuals, would be to compile our experiences that impacted us most when leading to disbelief [unfortunately, I never believed, so I have not as much to contribute].  Once we have a good sample to pull from, maybe we can find some general commonalities that superficially led to atheism, but also underlying fundamental concepts that lead to it as well.  If you want to effectively attack something, you must first analyze the successful attempts to find its weakness.  We know the weaknesses in the arguments, but now we need to effectively "weaponize" those and find where they really hit in the human mind [pardon the "militaristic" jargon].

~  Many people leave their faith for vastly different reasons, but I think that there are several key, underlying factors that lead some people away while leaving the rest.  We should work to find out what those factors are and utilize them [if ethically possible].

I should mention that we should not only read books that pertain to Atheism, but also books that are against it.  I read "The Case for Christ" recently.  It was awful.  But now when I debate that book with my Christian friends, they can't tell me, "Well you haven't even read that book!!"

 

Score one for the atheist.

I have tried, but I get furious - I was reading one about evolution, where the author had clearly understood evolution and then worked hard to confuse and discredit it. It's so damn hard!

I am stumbling through the Bhagavad Gita though... It's interesting. I might give the Koran a go.

Think of it this way.. by reading books that make us furious (such as The Case for Christ) it gives us more leverage when challenging a religious person to step out of their comfort zone.  We can say, "Well I read books from BOTH sides of the spectrum.  Can you?"  It might be enough of a challenge to get them reading Dawkins or Harris or the like.
But there are many well written books - I think there might be a danger of reading poorly-written, unsophisticated books that we will consider theists to be unsophisticated. They aren't they just believe things different to us.
Exactly!  It's important to find those.

I feel very passionate reading you I use to read books of criticising oreligions in the past...

also I have this desire of experiencing what it's called spirituality through opening chakras exercises...so I read alot of NLP books..I'm practicing spirituality in a scientific way to control the body energy..

maybe some might not agree with me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs_DuZigRzY&feature=related

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRnHI62yekM

I'm sorry for the typos..

Your post got me so interested, I wrote a blog on how to convert people to atheism with nlp?

http://www.explonential.com/how-to-convert-people-to-atheism-using-...

Wow, that's the kind of thing that I adoor much.

thanks for sharing.

Wow, Neuro Linguistic Programming.  Interesting blog, Explonential.  I wish I'd read it yesterday when I was talking to my best friend (a devout Christian) about Robert Bentley.

Oh I talked to my Hari Krishna mate for a good 3 months before giving him 'A Short History Of Nearly Everything' - I'd be surprised if one conversation would do it. There is also something peculiar about us humans reluctance to alter our beliefs in public that I'm desperate to uncover...

 

Thanks a lot though!

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