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beliefs

 
 
yitwail
 
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 10:03 am
perhaps this topic belongs in the Spirituality & Religion forum, but i thought it might generate more discussion in this forum. since i'm of the persuasion that no belief is preferable to a possibly false one, i'm especially interested in reading other viewpoints. this being the first thread i've created entirely of my own volition, i hope many of you will indulge me.

no less a thinker than Socrates seems to have shared my position on the question--i extrapolate this from his famous anecdote about the Oracle of Delphi pronouncing him the wisest of all men, which prompted him to seek out & question anyone with the reputation of wisdom, only to find that none actually possessed any wisdom, and reluctantly conclude that he was indeed wiser in the sense that he, Socrates, at least did not suffer from the delusion of possessing wisdom.

i have a theory about the origin of my own skepticism. i was a conscientious student, and the schools of my day emphasized the value of knowing the correct answer, so i became conditioned to remain silent rather than guess when i was unsure of an answer to a question. i also happen to be agnostic in matters of religion, but i feel that's as much a result of careful reflection as of ingrained skepticism.

[Edited postscript: i should have expanded choice 'no' to read 'no, uncertain belief is preferable to no belief' but alas, once a poll's been created there seems to be no way to edit it.]
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djbt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 10:43 am
Interesting...

Just to check, what do you mean by 'belief' in this context, are you refering only to religious/spiritual beliefs, or belief in general?

If you mean belief in general, I would have to say that there are instances when uncertain belief is better than no belief, since I know nothing for certain, and don't want to believe nothing.

I would say that no belief is better than uncertain belief in something highly unlikely, but worse than uncertain belief in something that is likely.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 10:47 am
Yit, it's great to see you create a thread. I'm bookmarking for now. I must think it through.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 10:51 am
bm
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 10:54 am
djbt wrote:
I would say that no belief is better than uncertain belief in something highly unlikely, but worse than uncertain belief in something that is likely.


that's rather sensible. i would characterize that as my third choice, varies from case to case.

to answer your question, i'm addressing beliefs in general. and as you've pointed out, there may be instances where belief is clearly undesirable or not. what i'm looking for, i guess, is which of the choices best describes a person, on a continuum from skeptical to trusting (that's not quite an antonym, but i want to avoid the negative connotations of 'credulous')
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 10:56 am
ebrown_p wrote:
bm


who or what were you directing this to?
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djbt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 12:03 pm
yitwail wrote:
i would characterize that as my third choice, varies from case to case.

I agree, and have voted accordingly.

By the way, I'm not up with the acronyms, but I think 'bm' means 'bookmarked', meaning ebrown_p is interested in the thread, but doesn't have time to post yet. I think.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 12:12 pm
that makes sense, but i think it can also represent bowel movement, if you'll pardon my french.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 12:12 pm
Yes, that's what eBrown meant, Yit. djbt is correct with one exception; bm is not an acronym. Hee hee!

Here's an acronym, and I guess my beliefs have been colored somewhat by that:

WASP. (white anglosaxon protestant)

When I was a child, I never believed what people told me about the wrath of God, because it didn't make sense to me. I have moments now of that still small voice of calm that seems to cover me in a crisis. I still contend that I have never betrayed my one philosophy, and that is:

I would never wound another's soul.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 12:20 pm
that's a philosophy i agree with wholeheartedly, letty. in my case though, i'd have to amend it to "never wound another's soul knowingly." fallible mortal that i am, i do give offense inadvertently from time to time.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 12:30 pm
I know, Yit. We all do. I think it has more to do with misunderstanding, however. When my passions become too much, I just stay away from either threads here, or people with whom I become angry in real life. I know, that sounds cowardly, but it's just the way that I am.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 12:45 pm
i'd call that wise, rather than cowardly. but fools go rushing in, you know. in my case, i go in carefully, but find it hard to resist the impulse to get my 2 Cents in.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 01:01 pm
I think it's a man thing, Yit. When I do nothing but sit around and think, now that's dangerous.

One further serious note. I have never seen anything that was resolved by unbridled anger. It's quite consuming, but I think everyone has a right to disagree in a controlled way that makes sense, understand?
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djbt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 06:34 pm
Letty; I like your philosophy there, to never knowingly cause harm. Yitwail, does that count as a belief by your definition?

And as a sidepoint, why do you say bm is not an acronym?
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2005 10:15 pm
"never cause harm" seems to me more of a goal than a belief; moral precept might be a good description. of course, it could be based on an underlying belief, such as those who cause harm will be punished in the afterlife or in their next incarnation.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2005 05:15 am
djbt, an acronym is a word that represents several words:

For example, bm is not a word, understand? It is simply two initials that represent a book mark. On the other hand, WASP is not only a word in itself, but it also stands for:
white-anglo saxon-protestant.

Yit, it is difficult to separate fear from morality. I suppose the best way is to examine exactly the "why" of our intentions.
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2005 05:23 am
I do not understand the angle of this discussion. I am not sure that it is possible to have no belief. No matter what goes on you have to believe something. And that something is no doubt not the truth, so you're right back with the religious fanatics.

To clarify, think about all the things scientists "knew" before Einstein published his article in 1905 for instance. A lot of the "truth" had to be modified in the wake of that theory. So knowledge, belief, who's to say what is what?
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AngeliqueEast
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2005 05:27 am
Book mark
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2005 05:40 am
Re: beliefs
yitwail wrote:
perhaps this topic belongs in the Spirituality & Religion forum, but i thought it might generate more discussion in this forum. since i'm of the persuasion that no belief is preferable to a possibly false one...


That's certainly correct. One particularly glaring instance is evolutionism, which many third-rate "scientists" buy into chiefly because they find the most common alternatives unacceptable on a purely philosophical basis. They'd be vastly better off simply admitting that they don't really know how our complex biosphere got here than making themselves look like idiots by trying to defend an idiotic theory.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2005 05:51 am
There you go again gunga.
If by "third rate scientists " you mean recipients of Nobel Prizes, then Ill say ok.
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