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I have a friend who's parents are atheists (I met them at a Unitarian church) but he converted to Islam, I think in part because he's subconsciously trying to piss off his father, who's an opinionated loudmouth (and they sort of have a similar temperament). That's beside the point I suppose. And he's very bright, he posted something about how his "research in grad school was on computational simulations of virus proteins" but he's starting to doubt that viruses exist because viruses are too small to be detected by a microscope. If that sounds crazy, all I can say is, I personally didn't go to grad school and I have no clue how to research such a thing, so I certainly can't challenge him (but I do believe viruses exist).

Anyway that's not the subject of this post. He challenged his Facebook friends to prove COVID-19 exists, and when I posted this article for him, he didn't respond to me, but told another commenter he didn't believe it (the last comment): [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

So I'm thinking, this is a misuse of philosophy. What do you all think?

altschmerz 9 May 22
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29 comments

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7

How old is he? Schizophrenia starts manifesting in the early 20's, and his thinking is quite bizarre. Perhaps he should be evaluated by doctors?

I think he's in his mid- to late-twenties.

@altschmerz I would ask his parents to check on this!

My first thought too, was mental illness.

@AnneWimsey I haven't been to the church in a while. I wonder if I have his mother's email address ...

7

Sometimes, you can't stay friends with people.
Sometimes, they change and can no longer be reasoned with.

Not everyone who comes into our life is meant to stay in it.
This person sounds like a really good example of that fact.

One of the commenters (the green one) did unfriend him, and let him know that he no longer respects him.

Generally I don't unfriend someone unless they really piss me off though, and since he's sheltering and wearing a mask when he goes out I'm not going to cut him off just yet.

@altschmerz That is absolutely your call to make.
I wasn't trying to tell you what to do.
You are the ONLY one who knows what is right for you.

@KKGator I know you weren't. šŸ˜˜

Have I told u lately how much I love u KK?šŸ™Œ

@Pralina1 Rightbackatcha, sister!!!

5

You said he is very bright. Sure about that ?

I thought he was! Like I said, I didn't do any research on viruses in grad school and he did, so he's smarter than me anyway, I'm thinking this is a case of an intelligent person using logical fallacies or something.

@altschmerz Well there are many types of itelligence and for someone to adopt the Islamic religion shows that his reasoning faculties are a bit doubtful'
To deny the existence of Covid19 smacks more of attention seeking than anything else.

Let just remember what Faith is. It's the suspension of rational thought. Most people are brainwashed in to believing in God when they are children. But when someone converts to Islam after being in a family of non-believers, then how can anyone be expected to take anything they say seriously.

5

Many people in this world. Many views, some good and some not so good. Sometimes you just can not get those with not so good views to see differently. At some point you just give up and go on your way. Do not let them being crazy cause you to go crazy.

4

My first thought is mental illness. How old is this person? He is in a science field and rejecting science. There are ways to view the virus, such as electron microscopy. I didn't take time to read the facebook stuff.

If he is rebelling against his father, chances are that eventually he will come back around to atheist, providing there is no mental illness involved.

So that's two votes for mental illness, four if I go by "likes".

@altschmerz I just read a little bit and see he questions the media and states people believe something just because the media states it. Well it is not the media that determined there was a pandemic. The media is just the messenger. Maybe he doesn't believe in covid but he must certainly realize that something is making people sick. It doesn't sound like a healthy conversation and I hope you don't spend too much time challenging him. Usually when they start blaming the media, it is either a tactic (Trump) or disordered thinking. I have a relative that is prone to believe all sorts of things. Sadly I have communications from that person blocked for now.

@itsmedammit well after his response to the article I posted, I decided not to engage anymore, because I quite literally don't know what to say. And last I checked nobody else is responding either, in fact the very last comment was "Nothing exists. There, solved it."

We have mutual friends from that church. I wonder what they think, as they didn't comment.

4

I think there are still enough people who are able to think, reason and are interesting that wasting even a minute's attention on this person is an act of ingratitude for both the human ability to reason and life itself.

I've wasted several minutes and will waste more, since I got him to answer me directly, but I can tell you I don't mean to be an ingrate. Also it seems Gator agrees with you that it's a waste of time.

3

smh

I was Netflix binging and found History 101. One episode was about HIV/AIDS. 35 million deaths and some people, like this person, still claim it's a conspiracy. šŸ™„

I think sometimes the willfully ignorant need to be left out of any conversation.

šŸ™„

3

I think he is a very confused individual and probably nobody can help him, or perhaps some very strong medication.

That's five votes for mental illness!

Seven

3

Personally, I wouldn't even bother with folks like that, a waste of your valuable time. There is strong evidence Covid-19 is very real, but if and when someone is locked into denial mode then nothing you could say or show them would make any difference.

Aside from one of his friends ā¤ļøing my comments, I haven't made any impression, so I guess I'll stop. I don't know what to make of this.

3

I understood from my time studying biology that viruses were visible by electron microscopes. Regardless, we can't see atoms either, but we have plenty of ways of detecting facts to verify their existence and their configuration. Viruses are no different.
[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

I thought the reason you suspect your friend converted to Islam of interest. Michael Shermer in his book "How We Believe" examined a number of factors influencing the beliefs of individuals. One factor he wrote about ws the beliefs of parents; a person very often maintains the beliefs taught to them by their parents with an exception. If the parents have a difficult or hostile relationship with one another or with the child. Under these conditions, the offspring will change their belief system from their parents. Shermer noticed that offspring of believing parents would become nonbelievers at higher percentages when their relationships with parents were seen as unsatisfactory. I see no reason why the opposite wouldn't also be the case.

That makes sense to me! Really the father has alienated SO many people at that church. Once after church I went out to lunch with the family, there's the mother just trying to have a good time and the father and son arguing loudly the whole damn time (this was prior to his conversion). I think he was a Christian for a while too.

If I was interested in having any further discussion with him on any of these topics I'd share your article with him, but as far as I can tell nothing will change his mind.

@altschmerz - I just did a Google search asking if viruses could be seen by an electron microscope. I thought the ncbi article to be a reliable source, but several others were available.

As for whether anything would change your friends mind, I don't see that as unusual. Actually, I think it might take time for the information to sink in. I know it probably would with me. I had a very stubborn father as well and one learns to guard against being mistaken under such a circumstance.

I came looking for this answer before putting it up.

@RussRAB I'm sure his father had a similar affect on him. His father is ALWAYS right, he knows EVERYTHING, he's the only one who knows anything LOL. Very hard to talk to him unless you agree with everything he says, I got into the habit of just smiling and nodding around him.

2

There's lots of things we can't see but know they are there. Electron microscopes can see viruses.

2

I thought they did image it with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SCM) ?

Well this is what he said (this was a separate post from the ones I screenshotted): "Viruses are 'too small' to be detected by optical microscope. And electron microscopy requires a sample to be metal-coated and in vacuum and beamed with a high energy electron beam, all of which are liable to destroy biological samples or at least distort the relevent features and information. There are no non-artistic representations, or really very few (and questionable) pictures of viruses available on Google. A metal plated 'virus' could be confused with an exosome."

2

It's a misuse of a brain and of time.

2

Hardly anyone on Facebook can prove COVID exists with the level of proof he is probably going to require.

My best friend works at a hospital and says he sees it every day. This anecdotal evidence is good enough for me, but Iā€™m not trying to get it passed peer review or anything.

Oh if I was interested in arguing with him, I'd bring up the footage of bodies being stacked into refrigerated trucks, testimony from people who are/were sick, people who have died, etc, but he's not going to buy it anyway.

IN FACT, looking at the comments, somebody did bring that up: "If it's fake walk into ICU where people claim people are sick from it this how you prove it is wrong."

His response?

"In terms of logic and rational discourse, I have no responsibility to disprove your claim. That's shifting the burden of proof. This is also logically fallacious."

I was recently in the care of EMTs and hospital workers.

If anyone doubts the virus is real, go to the hospital. It's never a pleasant thing but it's downright surreal today.

I had no idea how weird it is to not be able to see expressions on the faces of the people you are trusting with your health. šŸ™„

2

I haven't had time to read your entire post yet but one thing struck me...
He doesn't think viruses are real because they can't be seen in a microscope.
Before the invention of the microscope he'd probably say the same things about germs.
And wwhat about atoms?

Somebody brought up atoms to him. He responded: "you can actually 'see' atoms and there is a whole history of the development of the proof of the existence of atoms. I'm assuming that we both believe in atoms. That does not follow that we should both believe in the covid 19 epidemic"

What's the difference between viruses and atoms? Don't ask me, I know you need a microscope to see both of them.

2

If the virus happens to you, it is fake.
If I get sick by it, then it is real

twill Level 7 May 22, 2020
2

I wonder how long his faith in the Quran would last if he applied that type of thinking to it?

Well, the Quaran can be seen in a microscope so it checks out.

2

He is an idiot that knows nothing about ELECTRON MICROSCOPES that photograph the virus covered in proteins surrounding single cells like the corona around the sun

See my response to motrubl4u.

1

It's simple.
We have evidence that viruses exist.
We have no evidence God exists

You can't see him through a microscope!

You can't see God through a microscope but you CAN see Covid19 on an electron Microscope

1

Sounds nuts. If he gets the keys to the gun cabinet, leave town.

1

Reading that hurt my brain.

1

What does one say to someone who claims to be some kind of researcher yet denies the evidence based existence of viruses? You're fucked in the head!

1

I see nothing wrong with asking for proof. Seems like a smart guy.

SCal Level 7 May 23, 2020

So far you're the only one on this site who thinks so! But at least we agree that he's smart, which is why this pains me.

@altschmerz Well, some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs were made by people who challenged firmly entrenched standards of belief during their time.

Guys like Simmelweis, Pasteur, Gerson, Tesla, Copernicus, were all smart enough to know that everyone was wrong.

I'm not saying he's that guy, but how do I know? You've already stated that you are ignorant on the subject matter. So how do you know?

I did not know some of the facts he stated. Based on what we can see and conclude; his statements seem plausible, but maybe not probable. But I certainly don't have enough knowledge to insult him.

@BryanLV I was going to let this go, as so many people here suggested, but I can't. I've offered two more articles and tagged a scientist from that church that we're friends with, she can argue with him better than I can.

@altschmerz Probably wise.

This is crazy. They have even mapped the DNA of the corona Virus. IT'S REAL. Come on guys

1

Agree... misuse!

1

He can (mis)use philosophy the way he wants! It's nobody's knowledge! You shouldn't care! You shouldn't neither care whether he will go back to his senses or not! If you consider hem a 'friend' and you are truly worried, you've advised and told! Leave it there. If it's a fase, it will most likely pass(if he's 'bright' as you mentioned), if it doesn't he's free to fuck up his own life trying to get back at his parents! Unless you know for sure that he's planning on doing something violent! You know then who to call! (Not Ghostbusters)! If you and others try to haunt him, with good intentions, to deconvert, his subconscious mind would probably make him believe that his 'faith' "is true, otherwise you wouldn't bother!" Tell him to read more into that wrongly collected full of mistakes stuff called Islam and see how many times Killing is encouraged in his 'holy book', and no these are no interpretations! Kill the nonbelievers means Kill! And how at lease on 86 different occasions in his 'holy book' Muslim men are instructed on the how-to trade, obtain and use (underage) females! He doesn't mind his mum to be sold if a group of muslims were able to have the upper hand in his hometown? I'll go for a Vodka with Ice!

Well now, I think religion in general is shitty and exclusive, but I don't generally try to dissuade anyone from believing in it, since that's an exercise in futility.

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