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Well, the purpose of my comment was to clarify my views as the author of the link. Do I understand correctly that you disagree that the discussion format can influence the quality of the discussion?

I came across this site and it seems quite interesting to me. I believe that the discussion format can influence the discussion itself a lot. Not sure whether exactly the Kialo format is optimal but I consider Kialo as at least a promising attempt.

Discussions about religion seems to me to be equally unproductive in general.

In the global society? I agree.

Yes, in the global society.

The subtext I'm picking up from our exchange is that you object to the site's endorsement of atheism, but are reluctant to challenge it overtly for fear of social sanction (downvotes, critical comments, etc.). So instead of challenging it, you are raising the overt topic of the site's unwillingness to endorse a specific political ideology, and taking opportunities as they arise to implicitly establish equivalences between religion and politics, with the intention of implicitly arguing that the site's willingness to endorse a specific religious ideology (atheism) is inconsistent.

Perhaps, partially. But I don't think that it is accurate. I did not choose the political topic just as a cover. I have opinions about both topics. I like controversial discussions about both of them. I consider myself as an atheist and I have my favorite political direction (I won't mention it, I respect rules of the site). It just do not seem to me that my philosophical opinions are more rational than my political opinions.

I do not object atheism of the site. I like atheist sites. But it seemed to me that the site claim to be "atheist because of rationality". If it was true it would be very nice indicator supporting my opinion. On the other hand, for example a variant of the "Committee for Skeptical Inquiry" in my (mainly atheist) country forbids itself to talk about religion and some of its major members are Christians. So I asked here and got an answer.

Thank you for clarifying a history of the site and the community. I expected something of that.

But I wasn't sure how much the local community is resistant to biases (and how it is confident in that), so the original question was perhaps a bit indirect.

mentioning religion without directly saying it is false or bad would almost always be heavily downvoted, even if you did not assert that it was true

So I am glad that I haven't been heavily downvoted yet. Religion is false, of course :-)

I find it extremely unlikely. It certainly hasn't in the past.

You mean that it didn't happen here or in the global society? Discussions about religion seems to me to be equally unproductive in general.

I can imagine that if the site endorsed a political ideology its readers would may become biased forward it (even if just by selection of readers). Surely, it is not the intent of the site. But there is a possibility that that happened with the religion issue...


I am a bit surprised that contemporary politics is kind of suppressed here (by FAQ). Well, I understand the reason that it is a controversial topic in society. I get that people tend to be biased in it. This is just because it is such a wide topic and lot of people have a political standpoint. I agree that it is probably better to train rationality on less known topics.

So, what is confusing me?

I think that there is another topic with a similar controversy level in society: Religion. I can see the analogy. In my view, arguing with a religious person is similar to arguing with a political "opponent". Both topics are very complex (from philosophical standpoints through world issues to daily life). There can be many misinterpretations, lot of uncertainty, and other problems.

Isn't the "Quaker Republican" example an argument against discussing religion as well? I think that the article could be simply modified. "A Christian may read your blog so be careful and do not address the philosophy as a whole piece", "you should rather discuss ancient religions", and so on.

Despite of it, I did not met a warning before promoting atheism here. Why?

I can see a correlation. By surveys, readers of the site mostly consider themselves as atheists but their political leanings are colorful (social democratic, liberal, libertarian). Yet, the causality is not so clear for me. What do you think? Would the site end up with a similar "rational" political consensus if political discussion went through?

I expect that "truth" in this context just mean "opinion what the truth is" which can not be easily verified nor refuted and despite of it both debaters are pretty confident in their opinions. In this case a response can be something like "I would prefer word "opinion" but I hope we understand each other ;-)"

For more accurate response I need some examples. I don't realize coming across this phrase in a discussion.

To be honest, your comments confuse me. I knew about the link but I didn't see a connection between the link and experimental method and where the citations in the link came from. I am not sure what you mean by "anything like that" in your last comment and I am not very interested in it.

But I prefer to keep the original problem: If looking up a result in a math book could count as an experiment what is the (broader) definition of an experiment, then?

Please, be more specific. I am not sure exactly what are you responding to. Do you mean that a math proof (or knowledge of it) can be considered as experimental method in some sense?

I see. It seemed to me that it was about the experimental method which did not fit to a mathematical statement. I understand the possibility of being mistaken. I was mistaken many times, I am not sure with some proofs and I know some persuasive fake proofs... Despite this, I am not very convinced that I should do such things with my probability estimates. After all, it is just an estimate. Moreover it is a bit self-referencing when the estimate uses a more complicated formula then the statement itself. If I say that I am 1-sure, that 1 is not 1/2, it is safe, isn't it? :-D Well, it does not matter :-) I think that I got the point, "I know that I know nothing" is a well known quote.

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