22
   

Why do we deliberately fool ourselves?

 
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 12:25 am
Does anyone believe anything that they don't want to believe?
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 12:28 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

Does anyone believe anything that they don't want to believe?
yes, those who have figured out that understanding reality is the key to living in it. The way I got there was by way of a long spiritual path, and there might be other ways, but the spiritual path is the only one that I know for certain works.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 12:41 am
@hawkeye10,
I'm distinguishing between knowledge and belief here. Discarding beliefs in favor of overwhelming evidence is not quite the same as choosing a belief, I think.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 01:15 am
@FBM,
Surely there is no other viable definition of "knowledge" than "beliefs which work with respect to prediction and control"? And the definition of "evidence" would consequently be " agreed observation of what works".
An atheist like me for whom religion does "not work" at the psychological level cannot dispute that it does work for believers...for them, their very existence constitutes "evidence".

This is why I argue that the atheistic argument must be pursued by attempting to get agreement about the historical perniciousness of religion at the social level...i.e. at the level it does not work.

IMO Unless this pragmatic position on "knowledge" and "belief" is taken, these threads are doomed to go around in circles while religious fanatics continue to have the luxury of intellectual succour provided by parochial thinkers who think they are dealing with matters of "evidence" alone.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 01:22 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

I'm distinguishing between knowledge and belief here. Discarding beliefs in favor of overwhelming evidence is not quite the same as choosing a belief, I think.


there is a fair amount of science that concludes the majority of the time we are sure that we have rationally evaluated the evidence what we have really done is feed our bias in the game of convincing ourselves that we are right. The EGO and its need to get what it wants swamps everything.

I had very interesting experience in my young 20's when I was overwhelmed and confused. I decided that If I narrowed my list of what I know for sure to 20 things then I could figure out the rest. Then it went to 10 things because I count not come up with 20. Then three. I could do three, though I dont anymore remember what they were. I was then in Zen and was somewhat able to screen the Ego out. It was shocking how little I knew for sure once divorced from the EGOs games. Almost consistently we decide what we want to believe and they carry on, the alleged sifting of the evidence turns out to be mostly a rationalization for our bias.
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 03:51 am
@vikorr,
we are all fools in one way or another my friend.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 05:01 am
@fresco,
I more or less agree. I don't go with Plato's definition of knowledge as "justified, true belief," however. In the common formula:
P is true
S believes that P is true, and
S is justified in believing that P is true

The problem is verifying the first premise. If "P is true," then what need is there for the rest of it? In order to be a valid argument, "P is true" must be true, and the only way to know that is to already have the knowledge of its truth. Infinite regress. You need a criterion to evaluate the truth of the premise, but you need another one to evaluate the truth of the criterion, another one for that one, ad infinitum.

One more hair-split, if I may. Believers, if my past is any indication, want religion to give them an eternity in a blissful afterlife. In that sense, I don't see any evidence that it actually works for them. Not sure how such could be had.

As for evidence, I was speaking of the scientific sort, where the probability of error is graphed as an asymptote.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 05:03 am
@hawkeye10,
Yes, if you scroll up a bit and look at my earlier post about the Certainty Bias. There's Confirmation Bias, the Gambler's Fallacy, and all sorts of false memories that we're subject to pretty much on a daily basis.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 05:36 am
@FBM,
I believe this guy down the street has a hard-on for me, but i don't like to think about it.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2014 06:14 am
@Setanta,
I believe I'll have a beer.



No, wait. I like that one. Nvm.
0 Replies
 
room109
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2014 04:33 am
@FBM,
it's true depending on you mind.
0 Replies
 
room109
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2014 04:34 am
@FBM,
when you reply ..error.. then that means your mind is in error on truefulness, you might be intrested in the vedas where a sage says all is false, illusion. etc...
room109
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2014 04:35 am
@FBM,
inless that is ..not true..
room109
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2014 04:56 am
@room109,
we fool ourselfs in order to fool others
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2014 10:13 pm
@room109,
room109 wrote:

when you reply ..error.. then that means your mind is in error on truefulness, you might be intrested in the vedas where a sage says all is false, illusion. etc...


Including the knowledge claim that all is false/illusion?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2014 04:16 am
I call "having too much fun" on FBM.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2014 05:01 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

room109 wrote:

when you reply ..error.. then that means your mind is in error on truefulness, you might be intrested in the vedas where a sage says all is false, illusion. etc...


Including the knowledge claim that all is false/illusion?


What "knowledge claim that all is false/illusion?"

Any relation to the "knowledge" claim that all is not false...and not an illusion?"
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2014 07:06 pm
I'm also waiting for clarification from room109...
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2014 09:43 pm
@coincidence,
To assume and assert that people who believe in God are less intelligent than those who do not is insulting, but you've apologized so it's water under the bridge.

The world almost certainly would be a better place if people didn't try to impose their ideas on others, but not all those who believe in God do, and not all who do, believe in God. You might as well say the world would be a better place if there was no violence. This too would be a very good thing, but neither of these scenarios is going to exist in our lifetime or the lifetimes of many generations to come.

It is quite common to blame religion for many wars and to assert, as you have, that we would have far less if we had no religion, but it seems to me that this is a very facile argument (no offense intended).

True there have been quite a few wars in which religious differences were the ostensible reason for conflict, but how many wars have there been solely because the act of warring was a tenet of a particular religion, or a means by which a group of believers worshipped their god or gods?

Much is made of Islam being spread by the sword, and to a certain extent it is true but Muslims didn't conquer people, force them to convert and then move on to the next town or village.

The Crusades were motivated by much more than the sense of a sacred duty to liberate the Holy Lands from control by believers of a false religion. Many crusaders were motivated by the spiritual rewards promised and for some it may have been their sole reason for participating but for the majority who took up the cross; the primary motivation was the promise of material reward and political power.

Quote:
What leads to war? What leads to quarrelling among you? I will tell you what leads to them; the appetites that infest your mortal bodies. Your desires go unfulfilled, so you fall to murdering; you set your heart on something, and cannot have your will, so there is quarrelling and fighting.
—James 4:1-2


Humans are a territorial species competing with one another for limited resources, and we are a social species so we act in groups large and small. Aggression is hardwired into our psyches and is triggered far more often by desire for necessary resources, material riches and the obtainment of power over others than it is by the commands of gods or their priests.

Religion had virtually nothing to do with the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The Civil War, The Mexican-American War, The Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam or the first Gulf War. It had nothing to do with the French, Russian or Chinese revolutions except to the extent that in the first two, the Church was seen as an extension of the State, the Monarchy. The Persians didn't repeatedly invade Greece to impose Persian religious views on the Greeks, and Alexander didn't invade and conquer Persia and most of the known world to advance worship of Greek gods.

Genghis Khan, arguably the most successful conqueror the world has known, wasn't motivated by religion, and, in fact, religious tolerance was a fundamental principle in the manner in which lands conquered by the Mongols were ruled.

According to Charles Phillip and Alan Axelrod, writing in their Encyclopedia of Wars, there have been 1,763 major wars in recorded history and only 123 of them were fought over religious differences. Phillip and Axelrod estimate that only 2% of the overall casualties of all major conflicts were a result of "religious wars." I argue that all of these 123 wars had secular motivations as well as religious, and that in reality the secular dominated the religious, but even if they were all entirely motivated by religion, it simply isn't the case that we would "have a lot less wars" if there was no religion.

Spiritual beliefs may be a form of self-delusion, but it isn't necessary to that argument to mischaracterize their nature or influence on civilization. Certainly the priest caste in virtually every society throughout history has enjoyed the benefits of status and in many cases real power over people’s lives, and power that has frequently been abused. It also the case, though, that a great many individual members of this caste have provided great benefit to their fellows and to their societies in general.

It is important to distinguish between the tenets or teachings of a religion and the institutions that develop around practicing adherence to those tenets. It is rarely, if ever, the case that those within the institutions of major religions who abuse their power, adhere to the principles of their faith. I'm quite sure there have been madmen who have held power within religious institutions who done terrible things as a result of their insane zealotry, but they can hardly be said to represent true personifications of their faiths.

People are very capable of doing horrible things to one another and for many reasons that have nothing to do with their spiritual beliefs (self-delusional or not). Remove spiritual beliefs from the human experience and we wouldn't even notice an impact on the violence and destruction in the world caused by humans.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2014 10:17 pm
@FBM,
FBM wrote:
Could be related to the Certainty Bias.
Who enjoys being shown to be incorrect?
 

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