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Destroy My Belief System, Please!

 
 
Thomas
 
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:03 pm
I try, and sometimes manage, to live my life by a minimalistic, two-tenet religion.
  1. Believe in facts if the balance of the evidence supports them, and for no other reason.
  2. Believe in values if acting on them will tend to increase the overall surplus of happiness over suffering, and for no other reason.
Today, I drew a blank when trying to answer a question by correspondent Calamity Dal: "What is the most difficult argument against your belief system, and how do you resolve it?" You see, I am not aware there are any arguments against tenet #1. So can you help me out and pitch me some? And while you're at it, why don't you give me some against #2, too? Although I am aware of some arguments against it (Calamity Dal's thread did not touch on it), I figure it can't hurt to have all the arguments against my belief system in one spot. That way, I have them handy when I need to address them.

So without further ado: Why should I ever believe in facts that the balance of the evidence does not support? Why should I ever believe in values that, when acted on, increase suffering or diminish happiness overall? Or as I said in the first place: Destroy my belief system, please!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 35 • Views: 39,430 • Replies: 830

 
BeHereNow
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:10 pm
@Thomas,
Begging the questions, is absolutely a fallacy, and a real problem for rationalists.

Who gets to decide what there "facts" are that you believe.
Oh, that's right, YOU DO.

I'm getting tired, that's enough.
BeHereNow
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:13 pm
Okay, one more.
Quote:
2.Believe in values if acting on them will tend to increase the overall surplus of happiness over suffering, and for no other reason.
Who get to decide what is happiness and what is suffering.
Oh, that's right, YOU DO.

Ever hear of a stacked deck?
You sure have one, and that should be a problem for a fair deal.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:22 pm
@BeHereNow,
BeHereNow wrote:
Begging the questions, is absolutely a fallacy, and a real problem for rationalists.

Who gets to decide what there "facts" are that you believe.
Oh, that's right, YOU DO. [skip to next post]

Who gets to decide what there "facts" are that you believe.
Oh, that's right, YOU DO.

Both these points are true about every belief system. So even if I assumed, for the sake of the argument, that what I'm saying constitutes question-begging --- why single out rationalists for being guilty of it?
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:24 pm
Then take off, hoser.

Thomas, i was just thinking today how burdened this place is by people who come here to discuss beliefs, often in an ambush thread, and thinking it will never end, because new people will show up, and start the process all over again.

And then you have to start this thread. Fie on thee, Thomas.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:25 pm
@Setanta,
Sorry you don't like it, boss.
Germlat
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:27 pm
@Setanta,
Kiss up...you could only wish you could make as much as Thomas....only in your dreams
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:30 pm
@Thomas,
Aw . . . don't worry about it, it will probably end up being just as entertaining as all those other threads.

Now for a musical interlude . . . live on Sesame Street, no less!

Germlat
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:33 pm
@Setanta,
I doubt he's worried! Getting a feel here.
BeHereNow
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:51 pm
@Thomas,
Quote:
Both these points are true about every belief system. So even if I assumed, for the sake of the argument, that what I'm saying constitutes question-begging --- why single out rationalists for being guilty of it?
My understanding - and I may be wrong - is that that is the whole point.
No perfect belief systems, only what fits the person.

If your lead was "my system has the same flaws as every other system....", but is there anything especially wrong with mine?
I would have agreed, yep, yours is like everyone else's, it works perfectly fine FOR THEM, glad I do not have to adopt it as my own.
Mine is much more troublesome, many little quirks, not so black and white, but I like it. You wouldn't, but you don't have to.

Me, I do not think I am the source of other people's happiness.
I know they are not the source of my happiness, so stands to reason I am not the source of theirs - by my belief system, you are free to feel otherwise.
Same with suffering.
Desire is the cause of all suffering.
You cannot eliminate desire in me, so not your fault if I suffer.

As for rationalists having a special problem with fallacies-
Religionists (I am not one) say "The Bible tells me so." - appeal to authority, straight up fallacy, but their whole system is built on that or similar.
Begging the question as well, but they do not claim to be rationalists, look to other places for Truth.
If your system is working, stick to it, just do not suggest it is flawless.


~ ~ ~

A special transmission outside the scriptures;
Depending not on words and letters;
Pointing directly to the human mind;
Seeing into one's nature, one becomes a Buddha.

edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:55 pm
My beliefs are too much like yours. I see no need for questioning them overmuch.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:58 pm
@Thomas,
“Believe in facts…”

“Believe in values…”

The words “believe” and “belief” ought to be banned from the language. The expression “Believe in…” is like fingernails being applied to a blackboard.

What exactly do you mean by “believe in facts?”

Let us assume that the expression 2 + 2 = 4 in base 10….IS A FACT.

What would you possibly mean with, “Believe in 2 + 2 = 4?”
rosborne979
 
  4  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:04 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
"What is the most difficult argument against your belief system, and how do you resolve it?"

Your belief system is predicated on Naturalism, so the only meaningful challenge to your belief system would be at its base; the assumption of Naturalism itself.

For example, someone could claim that the universe was governed by magic that superseded our ability to recognize reality itself, and that your claim of knowing Facts and Evidence is just a delusion. Yet there is no Evidence you could use to demonstrate Evidence itself, no Reality which supersedes Reality from which to base an argument.

That would be the only challenge I could offer.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:09 pm
Oh cool . . . anther musical opportunity . . .

neologist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:10 pm
@Thomas,
We all suffer from some form of confirmation bias as a result of our inherited imperfections. IMO, it is incredibly difficult to escape bias while evaluating 'facts', 'beliefs', or faith.

The proof of this lies in the level of emotional rhetoric we find in threads such as this.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:17 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
What exactly do you mean by “believe in facts?”

Let us assume that the expression 2 + 2 = 4 in base 10….IS A FACT.

What would you possibly mean with, “Believe in 2 + 2 = 4?”

The fact that "2+2 = 4" is a bad example to illustrate what I mean. There is no point in believing in something that has already been established as a fact. So instead of "2+2 = 4", consider the Goldbach Conjecture.

Conceived in the 1700s, the Goldbach conjecture states that every even number greater than three is the sum of two prime numbers. (For example, 4 = 2+2, 6 = 3+3, 8 = 3+5, 10 = 5+5 = 3+7, and so forth for all even numbers.) Clearly, the Goldbach conjecture is about a fact: either every even number does have that property, or there exists an even number that doesn't. Over three centuries have passed since the conjecture was first published. But so far, nobody has found a mathematical proof (establishing its truth), or a counterexample (establishing its falsity). By the mathematicians' standard of proof, then, the truth of the Goldbach conjecture still is a genuinely open question.

And yet I am convinced that the Goldberg conjecture is true, based on statistical arguments about the distribution of prime numbers. Indeed, I am sufficiently convinced of it that I would bet my life that nobody will find a counterexample within the next 50 years. (What happens after 50 years? Only that I won't have much of a life to bet. Otherwise I'd keep betting.) That's the sense in which I believe, without actually knowing, that the Goldbach conjecture is a fact.
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:17 pm
@Setanta,
We need to make this thread more cinematic!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:28 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:
That would be the only challenge I could offer.

Thanks for trying!
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:35 pm
@Germlat,
You are missing irony and/or teasing.


Thomas - no challenges from me on that at this time.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:45 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:
What exactly do you mean by “believe in facts?”

Let us assume that the expression 2 + 2 = 4 in base 10….IS A FACT.

What would you possibly mean with, “Believe in 2 + 2 = 4?”

The fact that "2+2 = 4" is a bad example to illustrate what I mean. There is no point in believing in something that has already been established as a fact. So instead of "2+2 = 4", consider the Goldbach Conjecture.

Conceived in the 1700s, the Goldbach conjecture states that every even number greater than three is the sum of two prime numbers. (For example, 4 = 2+2, 6 = 3+3, 8 = 3+5, 10 = 5+5 = 3+7, and so forth for all even numbers that exist.) Clearly, the Goldbach conjecture is about a fact: either every even number does have that property, or there exists an even number that doesn't. Over three centuries have passed since the conjecture was first published. But so far, nobody has found a mathematical proof (establishing its truth), or a counterexample (establishing its falsity). By the mathematicians' standard of proof, then, the truth of the Goldbach conjecture still is a genuinely open question.

And yet, based on statistical arguments about the distribution of prime numbers, I am convinced that the Goldberg conjecture is true. Indeed, I am sufficiently convinced of it that I would be willing to bet my life that nobody will find a counterexample within the next 50 years. (What happens after 50 years? Only that I won't have much of a life to bet by then. If I did, I'd keep betting.) That's the sense in which I believe, without actually knowing, that the Goldbach conjecture is a fact.


I understand that you guess the Goldback conjecture is a fact...but I am not sure why you don't want to call your guess a guess.

In any case, that really was not the question.

The question was: What exactly do you mean by "believe in facts?"


I gave you what is more certainly a "fact" (2+2-4 in base ten) than the Goldbach Conjecture....and I asked, What would you possibly mean with, "I believe in 2+2=4?"

Let's try another "fact" that is more certain than the Goldbach Conjecture.

Paris is the capital of France.

What would you possibly mean with, "I believe in Paris being the capital of France?"

I am, in part, trying to understand the use of "believe in."
 

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