Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rules, Play by the Rules!

This post was inspired by my fellow blogger Sabio Lantz at this post. Here is a small exerpt.

" I laugh at my mind constantly. She (my mind) is so silly, so primitive, so deluded, so stubborn, so dull. I mean, how many times have I told her something is not true or not so and yet she keeps coming back with the same perceptions and conclusions. She is totally unruly."

What game do you play?

I find it interesting that when we come to blog with others we forget what game they are playing and by what rules they play. We then attempt to insert our rules into their game. This is true for most of us, be it Atheist, Theist, Deist or what have you. Sometimes its like  a football player coming to a baseball game. The collisions may be fun to watch but they have little to do with the actual game being played. I wonder, if there is not a consensus on the game and the rules, is it actually possible to enjoy playing?

In any game are the rules absolute?

The rallying cry of the absolutist. "Its not fair, youre not playing by the rules". Is it possible for anything to be absolute? Regardless of what game we play or subject we study there is always something we let slide by. Using football as an example again, there are many times that players hold other players(which is against the rules). Now because it may not have been blatant the referee will overlook it and allow them to continue to play. When involved in our blogging discussions many times we overlook the rules of engagement. Scientists demean Creationists because science doesnt back their story. The problem with this is many Creationists are not playing by those rules. The flip side to this scenario is blatantly obvious too. Faith isnt part of the rules for Scientists. Is it any wonder that they have a hard time playing together? Different games with different rules.

Is cheating or stretching the rules bad?

Interestingly enough, even within a certain domain(game) the rules very often get stretched a bit. This is very evident when looking at multiple versions of the same Theistic doctrine. Seems there are many ways to play a similar game. Funny thing is, Science isnt immune to this way of thinking either. Many times things dont react(scientifically) exactly the way the scientists first thought. So like any good gamer they adapt to the situation and add or subtract some "Rules". I guess we could consider that Evolution.

Evolution or Adaptation

When looking at each others belief system it may be prudent to realize that they cant be absolute. Because just as we are evolving, so are our beliefs. There only seems to be one absolute to life and that is it does not remain static, it is always in flux.

So  the next time you feel your mind to be a little "unruly", just remember she may not be playing the same game you are.


Sabio Lantz said...

Thanks for the mention, I think ;-)

It is difficult without tone of voice, subtlety of gestures and the give-and-take flow of normal conversation, to really have a feel for your fellow bloggers. Sarcasm, humor, sound bites and such are ripe for misunderstanding those these can be the spice of normal face-to-face conversation.

Concerning science and religion. Religion often pretends to play science in order to gain credibility in a world dominated by science. The religionist often makes empirical claims, embraces logical arguments and demands consistency. But often, when the going gets tough, they run back to "faith". This is not simply a difference in rules. This sort of activity needs to be called for what it is. Mind you, when science-lovers (I am one) are so enamored by their tool that they fail to see its blind spots -- politics, vested-interests, and many other human frailties, they too need to be called for what they are doing.

I am not sure what you mean by:

"When looking at each others belief system it may be prudent to realize that they cant be absolute."

But if you mean, "We have to be careful to realize we all have blind spots, so let's try to recognize and fix them." Then I agree. But, I you mean, "No one is perfect so why don't we all just get along and stop arguing." I disagree.

But I like your conclusion when you quoted Heraclitus (~500BCE):
"Change is the Only Constant"

Harvey said...

"Concerning science and religion. Religion often pretends to play science in order to gain credibility in a world dominated by science. The religionist often makes empirical claims, embraces logical arguments and demands consistency. But often, when the going gets tough, they run back to "faith"."

It seems to me that the real difference between science and religion has to do with the motivation to engage in a dialogue in the first place. In the ebst of all worlds, the scientist seeks only to arrive at the truth in the matter under consideration. The religionist most often seeks to convince his/her opposite number that his/her faith is correct and/or that said opposite number should agree with him/her. Since the only way in which believers can get affirmation (at least in this life) that they "have it right" is to surround themselves with like minded individuals, their motives in these dialogues have significant impact on "the rules" they choose to go by. The scientist, on the other hand, needs no other motive than to try to explore this universe and, perhaps, to impart that understanding to others. In the end, the scientist's success in any of this does not have any bearing on reality; it is what it is.

Tit for Tat said...

Hi Sabio

Ah geez, the mention was both because I like your writing and I also like to do something playful pokes at ya. ;)

The problem with either view is that if they take their rules into the other guys game they cant play well together. Now if you create a game where the rules allow for both them that is a different story. It is reasonable to conclude that science's rules dont apply in all scenario's. The blind spot is just that, believing that Science holds all the answers. That my friend, to this point in our history, is not factually correct. I would agree that it does a much, much better job than religion.


Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you in regards to many religious seekers trying to meld both science and their faiths, hoping to rationalize it. Obviously they havnt done a good job with that. I though, believe it possible that science could potentially prove that there is intelligence behind the origins of the Universe that we see and know. This to me seems very logically and reasonably possible.

Luke said...

spoken as a lover of both science and religion:

they are compatable yet seeking different things. science looks for facts and measureable data, empirical evidence. religion goes on a different set of rules, namely intuitive things that are ultimately unmeasurable. science agrues that the world is rational yet religion, in it's best forms, points out how irrational the world is.

putting the two together would result in a quest for truth which recognizes that we can't know or explain everything nor should we. but that shouldn't keep us from try'n. thus is the paradox of being.

Tit for Tat said...

Well said Luke. Though I would imagine a better term for religion would be spirituality. The latter focuses more on the "not knowing" part.

Sabio Lantz said...

Again, I think many religionists pretend to play the science game by the science rules. That is my point. We certainly don't want to say, "Awww, heck, we all have a limited perspective, so why can't we all just get along." Because religions often try to suppress truth. This must be spoken out against. There are those who are religious and don't try to suppress truth and focus on the "knowing", as you say, and it is not them of whom I speak.

I feel may religionists (the majority) do not have compatible epistemologies. And when religion pretends to be empirical and makes empirical claims like "Jehovah answers prayers" or "God cares for us" then we need to make them prove their claims. Cause either there is a Jehovah who answers prayers and cares for us or there ain't. (and I am not talking about the inner life, but the external magic prayers prevalent in all religions).

mac said...

Rules? I don't need no stinking rules!

I like this post.
We can well remember that others operate under different rules than we do, especially here, in the blog mines.

I have caught myself inserting my rules into anothers game. I try, however, not to.... Sometimes, I slip.

Like here:
I would not say how I disagree with you on the possibility of an inteligent creator, that the idea is absurd....CRAP ! I'm doing it again ;-)

Anonymous said...

I like rules, I think we all like rules to help guide us in some way...and in discussion on blogs we wish everyone knew what everyone else was talking about or where they were coming from. Discussion means we have to put some work in to understand one another and where each of us are coming from (in the convo).

I find my most problems in discussion are when someone assumes something about the other person speaking and does not care to meet them on their plain. You can try and build that bridge - but it fails sometimes because some people are just not that ready for that kind of openness.

I like debate and argument - and I don't mind disagreements - heck - without them how would I learn more about a certain way of thinking or the depth of an discussions this can all get fleshed out.

I don't think we all need to agree on everything - I would hope on the important things in life we would this freedom of speech and defense of one's right to think and speak for themselves. I think we do have some rules...maybe we just don't say them a lot (they go unspoken and as unwritten rules of respect).

I guess we just need to learn to live with differences and not take them too personally...that is the rule I always bring to the game.

Luke said...


i guess i would rather believe that there is a God who chooses to say "no" than nothing. plus the idea that there is nothing else out there seems lonely to me and leaves many to just blame themselves when crisis happens. and it's not an "if" a crisis occurs, it's "when."

of course, as John pointed out, i maybe operating under "spirituality" rather than "religion." or my understanding of religion is rather esoteric. either way.. i could be wrong, that's why i gotta buy you a beer sometime before one of us figures out who is right (aka dies).

chris said...

Science is good! Spirituality is good! Religion scares me!