Mike

On Being Able to See Another’s Viewpoint

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Fairly recently I met two men who claim to believe wholeheartedly in the Flat-Earth hypothesis. I don’t say I became interested in accepting it as a viable description of reality. What interested me was my acquaintances’ apparent sincerity and their determination to hold to the hypothesis as unassailable truth. In an attempt to understand them I tried to approach the subject as if I were unfamiliar with everything I have learned since childhood, and to start over with merely my own observations of nature and the conclusions I would normally arrive at--this without access to Round-Earth tradition or the experiments I have replicated over the years that support it. My intent was not to disprove their views, but to "see" them if I could.

It was a singular experience for me: simultaneously an enlightening and a frustrating one. On one hand I became friends with these two men. (I met them at different times, and each lives in a different part of the world far from where I live.)  I think I got closer but despite my efforts I cannot believe what they believe.  Still, I feel like we have a tentative mutual respect at lease compared to most people I've observed who argue for-and-against each of the opposing hypotheses. On the other hand, I experienced a kind of helpless feeling that comes from seeing the identical real-life phenomena as the others see, but failing utterly in the end to agree on the causes, effects, and meaning.

 

Have you experienced this?

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My free-time hobby is learning about different faiths and the people who believe in them.  That is very much seeing another person's viewpoint.  I've learned that in order to walk in someone else's shoes I need to take mine off first- shelf my objections, my bias', and whether or not I think their beliefs are bunk.  Instead, learn their reasoning and their world as they see it: what's important, what's beautiful, what's worrisome, what's not worth bothering with.  From this experiences I've tremendously came to more understand and respect my fellow man and their beliefs.   While I may totally disagree with their beliefs, I do see God moving in their lives and from their lens I learn my about my beliefs.  It is a wonderful experience.  

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I've had discussions with flat earthers. The thing about theories is they are just that. But if mankind is ever to progress, it is essential to see things from all points of view, especially those never before considered. It is essential in determining truth. Or one can simply inquire of the Lord as did Abraham, Moses and others. But since that isn't something most people do, we tend to rely on observable information to come up with conclusions. But truth is knowledge of things as they are and have always been. In any case, I've asked more questions than they can provide answers. For example, if the earth is flat, are all other planets flat, too? And if so, how do they account for Saturn's rings? If the moon is flat, it's interesting that we have images of the far side of the moon, too. How do flat earthers account for seasons? It's not too difficult to see things from another person's point of view. If you get enough points of view from enough people, once in a while you learn the truth rather than all kinds of individual theories.

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I am just curious... who are these flat earthers, exactly?  

I do recall a Saudi fatwa from the 90s interpreting the Quran (very narrowly) as saying the Earth is flat.  I think most of my highly educated Muslim friends got a good laugh out of that one.

Also, how do they explain modern intercontinental airline flight?  Because i have personally flown to Asia both by going East from America and West from America.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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6 minutes ago, DoctorLemon said:

I am just curious... who are these flat earthers, exactly?  I do recall a Saudi fatwa from the 90s interpreting the Quran as saying the Earth is flat.

My earth is kinda lumpy.  And there are holes in it (where the dogs liked to dig).  I'd like it very much if it were flat(ter).  When I was growing up, we lived on a steep hill - which was great in winter, and horrible when it came time to mow the lawn, but it was definitely not flat.

7 minutes ago, DoctorLemon said:

... i have personally flown to Asia both by going East from America and West from America.

Didn't your arms get tired? :P

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2 minutes ago, zil said:

My earth is kinda lumpy.  And there are holes in it (where the dogs liked to dig).  I'd like it very much if it were flat(ter).  When I was growing up, we lived on a steep hill - which was great in winter, and horrible when it came time to mow the lawn, but it was definitely not flat.

Didn't your arms get tired? :P

Touche!

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5 hours ago, DoctorLemon said:

I am just curious... who are these flat earthers, exactly?

I was able to get onto a flat earther website about 10 years ago.  They had a FAQ for newcomers and disbelievers.

First, there were the questioning authority type rationale.  Have you performed an actual gravity test to determine how gravity works?  Have you gone all around the world each hour to know where the sun goes?  Have you actually been the pilot on a plane?  How do you know the pilots actually went over the path you thought you did? That kind of thing.  If you say yes they think you're lying.

Which brings us to the next level - Conspiracy theory.  The moon landing was faked.  You can see individuals standing outside the windows of the moon lander and lunar module, as well as in the reflections of the astronauts' visors.

Then they have their alternative science explanations such as the earth accelerating through space instead of "gravity".

Finally, they have the doesn't make any kind of sense  kind of logic.

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11 hours ago, Mike said:

On the other hand, I experienced a kind of helpless feeling that comes from seeing the identical real-life phenomena as the others see, but failing utterly in the end to agree on the causes, effects, and meaning.

Have you experienced this?

My goal is to always try and understand the other person's viewpoint when someone disagrees with me (I don't always succeed).  This practice has lead to interesting results.  Sometimes it has lead me to a place of uncertainty and confusion....for example, once, for a class, I decided to write a paper on pornography and whether or not it leads to violence.  In the paper I was required to share opinions from other sides.  At first it was hard to find anything pro-porn, but then I did and I was very surprised and bewildered.  When I say bewildered, I mean, I could understand where they were coming from and THAT was really uncomfortable.  In the end, I came back down solidly on the anti-porn side, but what a ride.  I have a friend that talks to me about what it is like to be a gay.  Phew, that is a really tough one when I really walk in their shoes!  

Even though these explorations sometimes make me feel uncertain and confused, in the end, I think I am stronger, dare I say wiser? and more empathetic for having made the journey.  I will keep trying to see the other point of view, because the results are worth the sometimes awkward journey. 

The times when I find myself "failing utterly in the end to agree . . ." or understand is with politics.  Seriously. I try to consider both sides fairly, but sometimes I just have to scratch my head. :) 

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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1 hour ago, LiterateParakeet said:

The times when I find myself "failing utterly in the end to agree . . ." or understand is with politics.  Seriously. I try to consider both sides fairly, but sometimes I just have to scratch my head. :) 

I sure can relate to this! And for me it is a kind of relief to read from your post and also from @Jane_Doe's post that I'm not alone in these kinds of experiences. I mean I never fancied for a second that I was the only one, it's just that it's nice to read that other people can relate to *me* as well. If that makes any sense, haha. :)

 

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I'm experiencing one right now at the Creationism thread.  On what constitutes Science.

Mormonhub is also great at having irreconcilable discussions on what the LDS Church teaches.  Which is kinda interesting when all parties in the discussion are card-carrying Mormons.  That same Creationism thread is having one on what the Church teaches regarding evolution.

In any case, these things are not bad when approached with compassion.  When we desire to teach and learn rather than bludgeon the other with our intelligence.

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6 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

My goal is to always try and understand the other person's viewpoint when someone disagrees with me (I don't always succeed).

My goal as well, to a point. Frankly if you deny the holocaust or think that 9/11 was an "inside job" than I have absolutely no interest in seeing your point if I'm being totally honest. 

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3 hours ago, MormonGator said:

My goal as well, to a point. Frankly if you deny the holocaust or think that 9/11 was an "inside job" than I have absolutely no interest in seeing your point if I'm being totally honest. 

If I could just tell you about my alien abduction experience, maybe you'd understand.

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On ‎1‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 3:13 PM, Mike said:

Fairly recently I met two men who claim to believe wholeheartedly in the Flat-Earth hypothesis. I don’t say I became interested in accepting it as a viable description of reality. What interested me was my acquaintances’ apparent sincerity and their determination to hold to the hypothesis as unassailable truth. In an attempt to understand them I tried to approach the subject as if I were unfamiliar with everything I have learned since childhood, and to start over with merely my own observations of nature and the conclusions I would normally arrive at--this without access to Round-Earth tradition or the experiments I have replicated over the years that support it. My intent was not to disprove their views, but to "see" them if I could.

It was a singular experience for me: simultaneously an enlightening and a frustrating one. On one hand I became friends with these two men. (I met them at different times, and each lives in a different part of the world far from where I live.)  I think I got closer but despite my efforts I cannot believe what they believe.  Still, I feel like we have a tentative mutual respect at lease compared to most people I've observed who argue for-and-against each of the opposing hypotheses. On the other hand, I experienced a kind of helpless feeling that comes from seeing the identical real-life phenomena as the others see, but failing utterly in the end to agree on the causes, effects, and meaning.

Have you experienced this?

 

I am always interested when I cross roads with someone that has a different view of things than I do.  But my interest is not really in their conclusion but rather the journey they took to get there.  Imbedded in our thinking, everyone had pieces of their puzzle that are not well thought out and things they filter in order to reach their opinions but some do not have a process to vet their opinions.  They just have them because they want them.

There are two basic responses to questions – 1. Joy and excitement at being able to explain themselves to someone.  2. Anger and resentment someone asks for an explanation.  It is generally my understanding that the weaker someone understands something they believe; the more concern they are to be challenged or questioned. 

The sad thing about many that get angry is that they want to blame you for them being upset or they may wish to “make” you believe them.  For the record I consider opinions that fear criticism and lash back as being the least desirable to explore.  Even among my fellow LDS that touts scripture I will sometimes ask a question like “if something is in scripture; do you automatically believe it?”  Or like “if something is not taught in scripture will you consider believing it anyway.”  I want to understand their process not their conclusion – once I understand the process – I can draw my own conclusions.

Though I have received strong witnesses of scripture – I still feel I have to continue to study and seek and ask my Father in Heaven if I am understanding what I think I am understanding correctly.  Most often the answer is that either I understand incorrectly or that - even if I am right or on the right track – I still need to continue to study to improve my understanding.  Almost never do I get the response that I got it and my quest is done.  To be honest – I am often amazed when someone believes they got the whole package and their quest is done.  In essence that G-d told them something different.  Again being honest – I am convinced when someone quits looking for truth it is not because they have found it but rather it is because they are not really interested in it. 

 

The Traveler

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2 hours ago, Sunday21 said:

I am sorry this happened! ?

Yeah, then another person who is one of my friend's close friend from his old home kept on saying "your little god" and "your stupid god", etc., on a discussion about the Pro-Life March.  And to put icing on the cake, she called me a bigot.  I mean, she's displayed bigotry yet she didn't know it.  I've simply discussed when a person becomes a person with inalienable rights to life and she calls me a bigot.  So, I guess if you're atheist you're not a bigot but if you're religious you are.  I know @Godless doesn't subscribe to that logic.

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3 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Yeah, then another person who is one of my friend's close friend from his old home kept on saying "your little god" and "your stupid god", etc., on a discussion about the Pro-Life March.  And to put icing on the cake, she called me a bigot.  I mean, she's displayed bigotry yet she didn't know it.  I've simply discussed when a person becomes a person with inalienable rights to life and she calls me a bigot.  So, I guess if you're atheist you're not a bigot but if you're religious you are.  I know @Godless doesn't subscribe to that logic.

Some people can't tell when they are acting crazy!

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9 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Yeah, then another person who is one of my friend's close friend from his old home kept on saying "your little god" and "your stupid god", etc., on a discussion about the Pro-Life March.  And to put icing on the cake, she called me a bigot.  I mean, she's displayed bigotry yet she didn't know it.  I've simply discussed when a person becomes a person with inalienable rights to life and she calls me a bigot.  So, I guess if you're atheist you're not a bigot but if you're religious you are.  I know @Godless doesn't subscribe to that logic.

I'm sorry that happened to you. Closed-mindedness and bigotry know no religious (or political) bounds. 

Just this morning I found myself scratching my head at the latest case of hashtagtivism, #deleteuber. In short, liberals were mad at Uber for continuing service to JFK airport whike cab unions were striking in protest of Trump's travel ban. They even went so far as to accuse Uber of "scabbing". I just don't get it. I mean, I do technically. I understand the argument. I just think it's stupid and naive. 

Another interesting fact, apparently aviation engineering school subjects one to a great deal of debunking of vapor trail conspiracy theories. One of my employees recently finished such a school and was appalled by how prevalent such beliefs are.

Edited by Godless

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My husband has an atheist nephew who he gave a lot of love and care to when he was a kid, in unstable environments. I did too, actually. We asked when we could see them this Christmas and meet his new baby, and we got a big blow-off. We were later told by another relative that this nephew has decided that he hates religious people, including family, and wants nothing to do with any of us.

Because we discriminate... and exclude... yeah.

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Personally, I find it easiest to see another's viewpoint if I'm close enough to see where they're standing / sitting, but not so close that I can't see where they're standing / sitting.  To see from another's viewpoint, I generally find it necessary to first memorize their exact position, and then shove them out of the way (so I can claim said position).  Of course, if their height differs significantly from mine, then I have to find things to stand on, or kneel, or some more awkward thing.  Generally, I'm not sure it's worth it. <_<

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On 1/21/2017 at 11:49 AM, zil said:

My earth is kinda lumpy.  And there are holes in it (where the dogs liked to dig).  I'd like it very much if it were flat(ter). 

Didn't your arms get tired? :P

You better get busy with your iron to get rid of the wrinkles

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9 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I figure there's only one point of view I need to really understand.

Thanks! I love you too dude! Very nice of you to say! 

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