39
   

Destroy My Belief System, Please!

 
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 01:51 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
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.

One does not exclude the other. Every belief is a guess, but not every guess is a belief. Beliefs are guesses I have confidence in.

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

You are heckling about language without addressing any substance. If it makes you happy, feel free to treat "I believe in fact X" as synonymous with "I believe that X is a fact." In particular, I believe that "2+2 = 4" is a fact, that "Paris is the capital of France" is a fact, and that "the Goldbach conjecture is true" is a fact. But I find it pointless to state my belief in the first two propositions because I know they are facts. Believing that the former two propositions are true isn't wrong, it's just pointless.
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 02:31 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:
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.

One does not exclude the other. Every belief is a guess, but not every guess is a belief. Beliefs are guesses I have confidence in.


Okay...but I still am not sure why you don't want to call your guess a guess.

Every guess is a guess! Why not simply call a guess a guess...rather than a belief? Why do you call some guesses...beliefs?

Quote:

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

You are heckling about language without addressing any substance. If it makes you happy, feel free to treat "I believe in fact X" as synonymous with "I believe that X is a fact." In particular, I believe that "2+2 = 4" is a fact, that "Paris is the capital of France" is a fact, and that "the Goldbach conjecture is true" is a fact. But I find it pointless to state my belief in the first two propositions because I know they are facts. Believing that the former two propositions are true isn't wrong, it's just pointless.


You BELIEVE it???

I would think you know it.

And as you said, you would consider it pointless to state a belief where you know them to be facts.

So I take you back to your original post where you said, “Believe in facts…”

Why would you want to “believe” them…if you know them to be facts?

Which also brings us to the question I asked about “believe in.”

I am not heckling you, Thomas. I am trying to understand why an intelligent guy like you use the word “believe” the way you do. By now you realize that the question of the use of the word “believe” is something I consider very important…so you should understand why I ask you to consider your use of it…and why you are doing so.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 02:55 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
You BELIEVE it???

I would think you know it.

Again, you are implying a contradiction in terms when there isn't any. I believe, and know, that 2+2 = 4, and that Paris is the capital of France. I believe but don't know that the Goldbach conjecture is true. And I will say "I know 2+2 = 4" because knowing something implies believing it. To add that I also believe that 2+2 = 4 would be a waste of words, so I don't usually do it. But it wouldn't be false.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 03:22 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:
You BELIEVE it???

I would think you know it.

Again, you are implying a contradiction in terms when there isn't any. I believe, and know, that 2+2 = 4, and that Paris is the capital of France. I believe but don't know that the Goldbach conjecture is true. And I will say "I know 2+2 = 4" because knowing something implies believing it. To add that I also believe that 2+2 = 4 would be a waste of words, so I don't usually do it. But it wouldn't be false.


No...it would not be false…but it would, as you note, be a waste of words.

So when you said earlier, “Believe in facts…” "the facts" to which you referred meant stuff like “Goldbach Conjecture”…which may or may not be true…

…but does not mean stuff like 2+2=4 in base ten; Paris is the capital of France; I am typing in my den; the United Nation’s Headquarters is located in New York City; the Super Bowl this year will feature Denver versus Seattle; there is water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere; The Wizard of Oz starred Judy Garland; the standard unit of currency in the US is the dollar; the star Sol is the center of our Solar System; water is composed of atoms of hydrogen and oxygen; the Earth averages 93,000,000 miles distance from Sol; the main ingredient in an omelet is egg; Asia is the largest land mass on planet Earth; table salt is primarily composed of sodium chloride; water boils at 212 degrees at sea level…or any of that stuff.

I see.

Well then...about item #1...nothing I can see about it that seems out of place at all, Thomas.
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 04:08 pm
@Thomas,
There are obvious scenarios that should make you ditch your two-tenet religion... if you didn't... then you would either be super human or inhuman or both. I'm sure you can work out a scenario or scenarios which would make you ditch your tenets... can you?

Therefore if your tenets can be ditched you can't say that in the future you will always follow your two-tenet religion... therefore that would destroy your belief system.
Germlat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 04:17 pm
@ossobuco,
You're missing the previous irony.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 04:36 pm
@BeHereNow,
BeHereNow wrote:

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.


0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 04:43 pm
@BeHereNow,
BHN wrote:
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.

I ask BHN: Doesn't seeing into your own nature show that you are originally a Buddha, even before the birth of your parents?
roger
 
  4  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 05:48 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

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.


Is anybody reading beyond the first three words of the statement? Not many, from what I can see
blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 05:51 pm
nothing is worth consideration unless I believe it.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 06:43 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

rosborne979 wrote:
That would be the only challenge I could offer.

Thanks for trying!

Someone had to do it Smile
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 09:14 pm
@igm,
igm wrote:

There are obvious scenarios that should make you ditch your two-tenet religion... if you didn't... then you would either be super human or inhuman or both. I'm sure you can work out a scenario or scenarios which would make you ditch your tenets... can you?

Therefore if your tenets can be ditched you can't say that in the future you will always follow your two-tenet religion... therefore that would destroy your belief system.


This is the best challenge that I have seen in this thread. I would be interested in your answer, Thomas. If there are scenarios where you would abandon your tenets, maybe it would be wrong to characterize them as a religion or belief system.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2014 09:24 pm
To take to any port in a storm might not negate one's beliefs, so long as one gets back on track as quickly as possible.
0 Replies
 
BeHereNow
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 03:21 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
JLNobody I ask BHN: Doesn't seeing into your own nature show that you are originally a Buddha, even before the birth of your parents?
Siddhartha Gautama was not a Buddha before the birth of his parents.

Siddhartha became a Buddha.
So no, not BHN either.
All things are transient.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 08:42 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

Thomas wrote:

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.


Is anybody reading beyond the first three words of the statement? Not many, from what I can see


If they are FACTS, Roger, the term "if the balance of the evidence supports them" is unnecessary. You will not know they are facts so that you can "believe in" them...whatever the hell that means...unless all of the evidence shows them conclusively to be facts.

If you simply "believe in" what you suppose to be a fact...you are not actually following tenet #1.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 08:49 am
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
If you simply "believe in" what you suppose to be a fact...you are not actually following tenet #1.

Yes you do. We have been over this. I told you that if this distinction is important to you, you should consider my phrase "I believe in fact X" to be synonymous with "I believe that X is a fact". Consistent with my tenet, I believe that X is a fact if the balance of the evidence makes proposition X more likely than proposition not-X.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 08:54 am
@igm,
igm wrote:
There are obvious scenarios that should make you ditch your two-tenet religion...

Name two. No obvious scenarios come to my mind.

igm wrote:
Therefore if your tenets can be ditched you can't say that in the future you will always follow your two-tenet religion... therefore that would destroy your belief system.

That's conceivable, but it would depend on me getting confronted with these obvious scenarios of yours. So far that hasn't happened.
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 09:05 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:
If you simply "believe in" what you suppose to be a fact...you are not actually following tenet #1.

Yes you do.


I will suppose you meant to write "Yes you are."

Quote:
We have been over this.


If so...I did not buy your explanation the first time. I'll consider your second try.


Quote:
I told you that if this distinction is important to you, you should consider my phrase "I believe in fact X" to be synonymous with "I believe that X is a fact".


Which of course means that you do not KNOW fact X to be a fact...so you are (in one way or another) guessing that X is a fact...based upon whatever you consider to be "evidence" that it is. (Intellectually dangerous, that!)

Quote:
Consistent with my tenet, I believe that X is a fact if the balance of the evidence makes proposition X more likely than proposition not-X.


Ahhh...the fly in the ointment.

Example of what I mean: There are people who consider "the evidence" that there is a GOD...(EVERYTHING)...as evidence that it is more likely that there is a GOD...than that there are no gods.

And there are people who consider "the evidence" that there are no gods...(EVERYTHING...the same "everything" those other guys used)...as evidence that it is more likely that there are no gods...than that there is a GOD.

Your first tenet reduces to: "Believe" whatever you feel like "believing"...but if you can, rationalize it by pretending there is evidence for it.

I think you should discard tenet #1. It seems worthless...and seems more likely to lead to the hypocrisy of rationalization...than to any fundamental truths.

Even if you disagree with me, Thomas...I hope this was what you were heading for when you asked your title question...or made your request, whichever you consider it to be.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 09:12 am
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:
This is the best challenge that I have seen in this thread. I would be interested in your answer, Thomas. If there are scenarios where you would abandon your tenets, maybe it would be wrong to characterize them as a religion or belief system.

The scenario that came closest to making me abandon tenet #2 ("believe in values if acting on them increases the surplus of happiness over suffering, and for no other reason") is the case of infanticide.

Is baby-killing morally good or bad? On a strict utilitarian analysis, the answer sometimes seems to be "yes".
  • If the baby is too young to anticipate getting killed and be unhappy about it,
  • if the killing itself inflicts no physical pain on the baby, and
  • if the benefits to all other people collectively outweigh the harm to all other people,
then it's hard to see from a purely Utilitarian perspective what's wrong with infanticide.

So here is a test case that feels like a false positive to me. It makes me more uncomfortable with Utilitarianism than if the test had come out negative. And it does weaken my confidence in the Utilitarian part of my belief system that the test came out positive.

To be sure, "weaken" is not the same as "destroy". I try to keep emotions out of my ethical judgments, and so far, emotions are the only thing weakening my confidence in Utilitarianism. But I suppose it does go to show that there might be other test cases that will change my mind about being a Utilitarian.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jan, 2014 09:16 am
@Thomas,
Thanks, Thomas!
0 Replies
 
 

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