Best forum area to set up discussion on cosmology / size, age, mass and other attributes of universe?

Hi - recently there was a thread on some aspects of this topic, and there was interested discussion by several people but I think it got bogged down, there were accusations of trolling, etc.  I didn't have time to follow the whole thing, and then the thread was terminated.

I'm wondering if we might be able to reframe the question/discussion and continue it in a way that doesn't run into quite so much trouble.  I guess that will be up to us and the moderators, but if I'm proposing to start a thread, is that best placed here in the Water Cooler area?  Or put it in Philosophy?  Or is there an area where broader science questions are usually discussed here on Atheist Nexus?

I do have a couple of views on this topic.  They are not super well-developed, and I don't have an in-depth understanding of any modern science on it, but I think it's a natural topic for some consideration.

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My pleasure and thanks, Idaho

John, out of all the people I know. You are definitely one of them.


I kid, thank you. You rock my friend, great post.

Many thanks sir! I am flattered.

All, I've started a thread in the science forum.  It's very explicitly not meant as a be-all end-all, but just kind of as my attempt to follow through on the work that was done here by myself and my fellow forum participants to give an idea of what they'd like to see, and to put forth some of my own thoughts as to "discussing the discussion" and then to offer up a couple of the areas that are of interest to me on a long-term basis.

http://atheistnexus.org/forum/topics/discussing-some-aspects-of-cos...


regarding the previous thread that many had difficulty with, I wanted to point out that the question framed was not entirely a physical sciences one:

"Do You Need The Universe To Have Had A Beginning?"

so, basically:
a) the framing of the matter seemed to me to be opaque... unclear as to what they were really after.
b) purely on the face of it, the thread is not about the physical sciences, but psychological.
c)  there does seem to be a physical sciences aspect implied by the question - the author seemed (keeping in mind my point about opacity) to be making an assumption about a debatable hot-button physical sciences topic, but at the same time seems (keeping in mind my point about opacity) to imply a psychological deficiency in folks who do not agree with that assumption.  The question seemed to be significantly loaded.

Ok I've asked a loaded question or two here and there, it's one approach to rhetoric and discussion.  I'm not entirely sure what the author was after.  I did enjoy aspects of the discussion, but at other times I was either confused or thought I saw warning signs and decided not to invest further.  In any event, perhaps the most important thing is that it came across that many people have a desire to discuss various aspects of cosmology and cosmogony, and related aspects, up to and including (in my case) some of the social sciences aspects.

I would agree with your assessment and your desire to avoid that situation going forward. This is why John and I suggested the rules that we did.

Permalink Reply by BenGee 1 hour ago

I would agree with your assessment and your desire to avoid that situation going forward. This is why John and I suggested the rules that we did.

Well, I certainly do believe in rules against attacking the person.  Is this not already part of the overall forum rules?  I also think it's important to self-monitor a fair amount so that the forum owners/moderators are not required to step in much.

With that said, it's possible I will change my mind to some extent, but at first look, I do not personally think much of the idea of establishing some complicated extra set of rules for discussing certain topics.  I like to guard my own counsel and sometimes run into situations where folks dismiss my points as poor, in their opinion.  Ok, sure, that's their opinion, and I'm fine if they don't want to discuss that point with me further or even if they just don't think much of me and don't want to discuss with me personally further.  However, if they then have the right to exclude me from further discussion with others (if not with them) then no, I'm not ok with that.  Also, I find it's best if I can just speak freely... I'm not going to check against some complicated rulebook every time I want to think outside the box on some point, science or otherwise.

Sure, I can see how it could be annoying if science professionals or other highly knowledgeable people in science don't want their time wasted wading through posts they regard as kind of tinfoil hat callibre.  Perhaps then you or someone else might want to set up your own atheist/science discussion group, with rules as you mentioned.  Long-term, I might be interested, I don't know.  Or, perhaps there could be some compromise in the rules-setting.  I guess I'd point out that rules against irrational discussion, or the like, beg the question of who is the arbiter of that.  

[The fact is, unfortunately, I have time constraints that are putting the kabosh on frequent discussion, so even if I did apply to be part of the discussion, I'm not sure how much I could give to it.]

Well, I understand your point. The rules we suggested seem reasonable to me, are well within the over all forum rules. I am a big proponents of the freedom of speech, however I fail to see how encouraging people to remain objective, avoid false equivalence ect would somehow limit free speech or weigh the discussion down. I'm not scared of tin had silliness, in fact at times I quite enjoy it at times. I do however acknowledge when I'm engaging in fanciful thought and distinguish it from reality. I don't give it a false equivalence placing it on par with reality.

I agree that the OP of the thread you mentioned was in fact framed in a more philosophical sense, however it was highly manipulative and leading. It's goal was to trick people into buying into the EU book the OP writer wanted to sell. I'm very aware and sensitive to manipulative tactics like that since I grew up in an environment where people would always use such tactics. I am compelled to stand up and call people out when they do this. The discussion was not in good faith, it was no different than so many other forms of apologetic, trying to catch people on an idea they prolly have not put enough thought into, while simultaneously weeding out those less receptive to prostilization by the OP. The OP then would approach people in private messages to give the sales pitch and manipulate the gullible into accepting his position. There is a ton of evidence that he did in fact respond to any gullibility in private messages rather than out in the open. This is done so that no one can call him out, separate people from voices of reason so you can more easily control and manipulate them. I am very passionately against these actions. I'm acutely aware of when its happening thanks to my background.

These are the reasons why I suggest and support some basic common sense, social contract n stuff, (lol) with my peers here on A/N regarding how we approach things. It's not to stifle discussion or prevent more tin hat theories from being thrown around, its simply to remain honest, non manipulative, and objective. Tin hat people hate to be challenged at all, and I'm going to challenge them, I really have no choice in that because of my personal commitment to intellectual honesty and integrity. 

I see no complicated rules here. I see nothing beyond re-iterating that we should be honestly upfront about what we are really talking about. And that we agree not to insult one another personally, professionally, or otherwise. No attempt at limiting the discussion in any way was mentioned. In fact I made it plain that I personally advocated open discussion of all topics. All I asked was that opinion not be passed off as scientific fact, and that known pseudoscience not be passed off as valid science. There were no rules against irrational discussion proposed, only that no emotional rants be passed off as factual evidence. And, these comments were only suggestions for fair play to avoid the unfortunate issues you mentioned. My use of the word "Rules" was not intended to mean laws, but suggestions for decent behavior that were sadly ignored previously and lead to much unpleasantness. There was no talk of excluding anyone or anything. I did suggest we not waste time on "I am right" repetitious arguments.   I see these suggestions are objectionable so, I'll opt out. Wow.

No need to opt out just yet John, I agree we form social contracts every day wherever we go. One could call them rules, though they aren't really anything formal. Just generally agreed upon standards to ensure everyone can get along and co exist. I'm sure the people here are reasonable and will understand what you're trying to say :)

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