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Author Topic:   The Nature of Scepticism
Faith
Member
Posts: 33714
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 16 of 271 (690851)
02-16-2013 9:54 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Straggler
02-16-2013 12:59 PM


Belief in anything always rests on some sort of evidence
Yes. I know. But presumably those with a more 'blessed are those who believe but do not see' approach to discerning what is real and what is not have a different take. It is they who the 'paradoxical and subversive' question was aimed at.

There is no such thing as a type of person who discerns "'what is real and what is not" on the basis of the Biblical "blessed are those who believe but do not see' approach" as you put it.* That refers to the specific instance of believing what one is told about Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead. Jesus chided Thomas for refusing to believe what the other disciples told him about seeing Jesus risen from the dead, which he ought to have regarded as ample grounds for belief in the resurrection. He was told this by many trusted friends. That's grounds, that's not an absence of grounds. By extension the entire Biblical record is also to be believed, which in the opinion of believers is soundly evidenced in hundreds of ways. There are LOTS of grounds for believing it.

{*ABE I should have said that "Blessed are those who believed but didn't see" merely describes the sort of evidence or grounds for belief that comes through the testimony of trustworthy witnesses. Some huge proportion of the things we know or think we know we know only through the testimony of others.}

You may or may not have grounds for believing what someone tells you. That's something you have to ascertain. Jesus thought Thomas should have had the good sense to believe such trustworthy witnesses.

Russell thought that there wasn't any basis for believing the Bible himself and included it among those things for which there were no grounds for believing it, but there ARE grounds for believing the Bible, Russell was just a wooden-headed literalist who required physical evidence where such evidence is irrelevant.

You reiterate your point in your post 10 to Phat:

Phat writes:

Ask me a question or two to get me going..

Is skepticism the approach taken by science? Is it paradoxical and subversive?

If we accept skepticism as an approach to considering claims, assertions etc. etc. where does that leave claims of the mystical and supernatural?

The mystical and supernatural generally involve internal experiences or one-time events that require you to believe those who claim to have experienced or witnessed them. There is nothing in principle faulty about this sort of evidence. You believe it or you don't according to various criteria you use to assess the credibility of the witness. Unfortunately there are those who refuse to believe anything they haven't themselves witnessed, especially if it involves something "supernatural."

Skepticism is always warranted when you have insufficient grounds for proof meaning also when you don't YET have them. The problem with Russell and others of his mindset is that they a priori decide to reject evidence of a certain sort or for a certain sort of phenomena based on bias. This is a misuse of skepticism.

We all need evidence for whatever we believe.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


He who surrenders the first page of his Bible surrenders all. --John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, Sermon II.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Straggler, posted 02-16-2013 12:59 PM Straggler has responded

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20263
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


(1)
Message 17 of 271 (690856)
02-16-2013 11:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
02-15-2013 1:54 PM


dead end? ... how far do you go?
"I wish to propose for the reader’s favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true". - Bertrand Russell, Introduction to Sceptical Essays

Is this an accurate reflection of scepticism? Is it the approach taken by science? Is it paradoxical and subversive?

Well, I would say that taken to the absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion, nothing could be trusted, not even your own senses, and that you end up not believing anything.

Therefore you take some things on trust, such as the trust that reality exists, or that empirical evidence represents that reality.

To my mind this requires a certain amount of open-mindedness, ... which in its absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion would mean believing everything. This would appear to be equally invalid.

Therefore you are somewhat skeptical of most claims ...

... and thus in the end you balance open-mindedness with skepticism in varying degrees according to your personal worldview.

(pink color added for emphasis below)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism

quote:
Skepticism or scepticism (see spelling differences) is generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts,[1] or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.[2]

Philosophical skepticism is an overall approach that requires all information to be well supported by evidence.[3] Classical philosophical skepticism derives from the 'Skeptikoi', a school who "asserted nothing".[4] Adherents of Pyrrhonism, for instance, suspend judgment in investigations.[5] Skeptics may even doubt the reliability of their own senses.[6] Religious skepticism, on the other hand is "doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation)".[7] Most[who?] scientists are empirical skeptics,[citation needed] who admit the possibility of knowledge based on evidence, but hold that new evidence may always overturn these findings.

A scientific (or empirical) skeptic is one who questions beliefs on the basis of scientific understanding. Most scientists, being scientific skeptics, test the reliability of certain kinds of claims by subjecting them to a systematic investigation using some form of the scientific method.[10] As a result, a number of claims are considered "pseudoscience" if they are found to improperly apply or ignore the fundamental aspects of the scientific method. Scientific skepticism may discard beliefs pertaining to things outside perceivable observation and thus outside the realm of systematic, empirical falsifiability/testability.
Similarly to science where it can be used misleadingly and then becomes pseudoscience, scientific skepticism can also be acted many ways impoliticly if it just looks like skepticism but in fact it is pseudoskepticism.


Now I don't believe anyone wants to return to the issue of pseudoskepticism ... unless you want to flog dead horsemeat () ...

... but one does need to guard against false skepticism (or confirmation biased skepticism).

A quick review for the new readers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism

quote:
Truzzi characterized "true" skepticism as:[5]

  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

While Truzzi's characterisation was aimed at the holders of majority views who he considered were excessively impatient of minority opinions, the term has been used to describe advocates of minority intellectual positions who engage in pseudoskeptical behavior when they characterize themselves as "skeptics" despite cherry picking evidence that conforms to a preexisting belief. Thus according to Richard Cameron Wilson, some advocates of AIDS denial are indulging in "bogus scepticism" when they argue in this way.[13] Wilson argues that the characteristic feature of false skepticism is that it "centres not on an impartial search for the truth, but on the defence of a preconceived ideological position".[14]


Now I would classify Truzzi's characterization as open-minded skepticism, and I would classify false skepticism as being more skeptical of an opponents position than you are of your own.

Also see Denialism ...

quote:
Denialism is choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth.[1] Author Paul O'Shea remarks, "[It] is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event".[2]

In science, denialism has been defined as the rejection of basic concepts that are undisputed and well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a topic in favor of ideas that are both radical and controversial.[3] It has been proposed that the various forms of denialism have the common feature of the rejection of overwhelming evidence and the generation of a controversy through attempts to deny that a consensus exists.[4][5] A common example is Young Earth creationism and its dispute with the evolutionary theory. [6]

The terms Holocaust denialism and AIDS denialism have been used,[7][8][9][10][11] and the term climate change denialists has been applied to those who argue against the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and that human activity is its primary cause.[12][13][14][15] ...


And denial is the first defense against cognitive dissonance -- where that "uncomfortable truth" conflicts with strongly held beliefs.

There, have I hit all the buttons yet?

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : ]


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Eli
Member (Idle past 1810 days)
Posts: 274
Joined: 08-24-2012


Message 18 of 271 (690859)
02-17-2013 2:18 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by kofh2u
02-16-2013 8:40 PM


Re: Evidence
It says the earth was made "in the beginning."

The earth came 10 billion years after the big bang.

If genesis is divinely inspired, whatever "the beginning" is describing is not the big bang.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by kofh2u, posted 02-16-2013 8:40 PM kofh2u has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by kofh2u, posted 02-17-2013 8:20 AM Eli has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 19 of 271 (690864)
02-17-2013 5:15 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by RAZD
02-16-2013 11:12 PM


Re: dead end? ... how far do you go?
RAZD writes:

Well, I would say that taken to the absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion, nothing could be trusted, not even your own senses....

I would suggest that doubting one's own senses to some degree is a very sensible approach. Because we are notoriously adept at wrongly interpreting that which we sense. I would argue that many of the methods of science (verification, peer review, repeatability etc. etc) are necessary exactly because individual perception is an incredibly unreliable means of distinguishing what is real and what is not. For example is this picture moving?

RAZ writes:

...and that you end up not believing anything.

I don't think a healthy doubt of the validity of one's own individual perception leads to that conclusion at all. Rather it leads to a more scientific approach when we want to most accurately and reliably discern what is real and what is not.

But I guess you are taking this to the solipsistic extreme based on some form of Cartesian doubt. But even Descarte himself threw that out on the basis that an illusion so perfect as to be indistinguishable from reality is reality. A difference without a difference. So we are left concluding that the solipsistic argument, that reality isn't real, fails.

RAZ writes:

Therefore you take some things on trust, such as the trust that reality exists, or that empirical evidence represents that reality.

No. We don't take these things on trust. Reality (of some sort) exists otherwise how on earth are you and I here conversing? Nor is the conclusion that empirical evidence is the most reliable method of discerning that reality an assumption. People have tried other approaches and they have been less successful. So on a very pragmatic level we aren't just assuming that empirical evidence represents reality we can demonstrate that this approach has been more successful than any other approach yet devised at investigating reality as we experience it.

These aren't assumptions. They are conclusions.

RAZD writes:

To my mind this requires a certain amount of open-mindedness, ... which in its absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion would mean believing everything. This would appear to be equally invalid.

On a very basic pragmatic level believing everything won't get you very far at all. Compared to skepticism it is obviously inferior.

RAZD writes:

...... but one does need to guard against false skepticism (or confirmation biased skepticism).

One equally needs to guard against those who are unable to cope with the fact that evidentially unsupported claims are unlikely to be correct no matter how unfalsifiable they are designed to be.


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Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 20 of 271 (690865)
02-17-2013 5:19 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by kofh2u
02-16-2013 7:41 PM


Re: of the various kinds of skeptism...
If you want to use Genesis as an example of that which a skeptical approach can be taken that's fine.

But this isn't a detailed discussion about the minutiae of the Genesis account.


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 21 of 271 (690866)
02-17-2013 5:31 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by Faith
02-16-2013 9:54 PM


Re: Belief in anything always rests on some sort of evidence
Faith writes:

The mystical and supernatural generally involve internal experiences or one-time events that require you to believe those who claim to have experienced or witnessed them.

I do accept that people have these experiences. But skeptically speaking there is absolutely no reason to believe or even accept the causal link that people make between these experiences and the thing that they are supposedly evidence of.

Why is some internal experience deemed to be evidence of Satan (for example) rather than evidence of undetectable telepathic beams emanating from the moon?

Faith writes:

There is nothing in principle faulty about this sort of evidence.

Well of course there is. If we ask people to pick lottery numbers (for example) on the basis of 'internal experiences' (gut feelings, hallucinations etc. etc. etc.) we can see that the results are indistinguishable from blind random chance.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Faith, posted 02-16-2013 9:54 PM Faith has responded

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 Message 22 by Faith, posted 02-17-2013 7:38 AM Straggler has responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 33714
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 22 of 271 (690872)
02-17-2013 7:38 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Straggler
02-17-2013 5:31 AM


Re: Belief in anything always rests on some sort of evidence
Faith writes:

The mystical and supernatural generally involve internal experiences or one-time events that require you to believe those who claim to have experienced or witnessed them.

I do accept that people have these experiences. But skeptically speaking there is absolutely no reason to believe or even accept the causal link that people make between these experiences and the thing that they are supposedly evidence of.

Why is some internal experience deemed to be evidence of Satan (for example) rather than evidence of undetectable telepathic beams emanating from the moon?

I can't respond to such a hypothetical example. WHAT experience are you aware of that has been presented as evidence of Satan?

My point was pretty simple, you either have cause/grounds/evidence to believe what a person tells you or you don't, much of it having to do with your assessment of the witness's personal credibility. If you don't give an actual example I have no way of judging your assessment of the validity of the evidence available.

Faith writes:

There is nothing in principle faulty about this sort of evidence.

Well of course there is. If we ask people to pick lottery numbers (for example) on the basis of 'internal experiences' (gut feelings, hallucinations etc. etc. etc.) we can see that the results are indistinguishable from blind random chance.

No, there is NOT anything IN PRINCIPLE wrong with this sort of evidence. IN PRINCIPLE. It depends on what exactly is described, what is claimed for it, etc. etc. etc.

{Gut feelings about lottery tickets are probably in the category of very unreliable indicators, and if you impose your own criteria on them you'll probably never get anything better than randomness, although there are some pretty striking examples where such gut feelings have been remarkably good indicators, even when the person who had them didn't know whether to trust them or not. I know of two people who had such experiences, one who won a big California lottery some thirty years ago and my own brother who had this strange feeling, about that many years ago as well. who had this strange feeling while walking through a Nevada casino that if he went and bet such and such on one of the games there he'd win. He did and he won $700. Can I prove it, no, but he was as amazed as anyone else that he had such a feeling and it led to a win, and what can I say, I believe him. He normally doesn't gamble at all, as I don't either, that was a one-time event. I don't think it was God who led him though. This was before he himself became a Christian but I don't think God would lead someone this way anyway. Whether it was some sort of "soul power" or psychic power or the devil I have no idea, but I have no reason not to believe him. Or the other person who won the California lottery, someone I'd met but didn't really know, who just "knew" after he chose his numbers that he was going to win. Of course this doesn't happen very often, and most of the time people have hunches that don't pan out, and how to tell the difference is probably untestable because the feelings involved are so nebulous in themselves.}

Again, there is nothing IN PRINCIPLE wrong with this sort of witness evidence to internal events. It's no more faulty in principle than somebody's telling you they have such and such a pain in such and such part of the body. There are no doubt more reliable ways of testing such claims than gut feelings about lottery tickets, but the principle is pretty much the same.

Sure, the person's interpretation of such experiences can turn out to be wrong, but you can't just dismiss the report of the experience itself, you have no reason to do that.

Take UFO abductions. There are quite a few reports of such experiences by now. Some of them have similar elements, which in itself ought to be some kind of evidence that such experiences have occurred whether the interpretation that UFOs are involved is reliable or not. Something about disc-like flying objects, bright lights, strange beings that fiddle with bodily organs. I've never studied these reports myself so I don't know how good the evidence is but if many people report similar occurrences I'm inclined to believe there is SOMETHING of an objective nature going on there even if I might come to a different interpretation of WHAT is going on than the prevailing view of them, and who knows. I'd be very wary of dismissing them as mere hallucinations, however.

I went through a period just before I became a Christian when I was open to hearing about such experiences and when you are open to them boy do you hear about them! The appearance of a being half angel and half devil in the bedroom of a follower of the guru Rajneesh, an experience of being saved from being hit by a car by an invisible hand, a Zen Buddhist meditator whose hand became a dragon's claw during a meditation, a frightening "vision" she couldn't get rid of for hours or something like that, the appearance of her teacher who had recently died sitting on her bed during the night. Were all these hallucinations? How do you know one way or the other? At the time I simply believed the people that these were qualitatively extraordinarily real experiences myself, though now now that I'm a Christian I also have explanations for them that you probably wouldn't take seriously either. During that same period I personally had an apparition appear in my room threatening to kill me, while I was in that twilight period just before sleep. Calling on the name of Jesus Christ made it suddenly vanish. That was the realest "dream" I've ever had it if was a dream and I don't think it was.

But maybe none of this is of any importance in this discussion anyway.

I mostly wanted to dispute any idea that there are no grounds for believing the Bible and now I'm disputing how the testimony of anything experiential or "mystical" is so easily dismissed.

Oh well.

Edited by Faith, : sick of having my careful posts answered with irrelevant nonsense

Edited by Faith, : restore post


He who surrenders the first page of his Bible surrenders all. --John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, Sermon II.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2013 5:31 AM Straggler has responded

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kofh2u
Member (Idle past 2139 days)
Posts: 1162
From: phila., PA
Joined: 04-05-2004


Message 23 of 271 (690876)
02-17-2013 8:16 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by RAZD
02-16-2013 11:12 PM


Re: dead end? ... how far do you go?

Well, I would say that taken to the absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion, nothing could be trusted, not even your own senses, and that you end up not believing anything.

Therefore you take some things on trust, such as the trust that reality exists, or that empirical evidence represents that reality.

Rene Descartes in 1620 ad established the rules for obercoming an initial State of Skeptism concerning the sum of all existence.

First he founded reality upon the observation that he MUST exist de facto he was "talking" to himself about the very subject of existence.
He, in thinking, evidenced himself as existing.

That is still all we got.

WAe are only certain because of Hard Evidence, that we exist because iy is this thinking that is really "us."
As infants, we explore sensations that come to out attention as thoughts about pain and pleasure which we did not think up or initiate.
Hence we are not alone, but in the company of some "other" thing that is sending thoughts to us call sensations.
Having most recently encountered these message coming into our mind, in contrast to nine months of solitary and sensationalist deprivation inside the womb, it is clear we now have some Other entity in our company.

We soon realize this "other" is almighty, and holds the power of both our survival and nurture in the balance.
This is that God the bible speaks of, the Reality whose image can form inside our mind if we accumulate The Truth.


This message is a reply to:
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kofh2u
Member (Idle past 2139 days)
Posts: 1162
From: phila., PA
Joined: 04-05-2004


Message 24 of 271 (690878)
02-17-2013 8:20 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Eli
02-17-2013 2:18 AM


Re: Evidence

It says the earth was made "in the beginning."
The earth came 10 billion years after the big bang.

If genesis is divinely inspired, whatever "the beginning" is describing is not the big bang.

Your reading comprehension is poor there, since the verse says things happened in The beginning.

One thing was the Heavens appeared, and the unformed matter that would become valid as a spherical ball had already been part of thos heavens.

Today, we say that the Universe BEGAN 13.5 billion years ago.
This corresponds directly with the first three words in genesis.


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 Message 18 by Eli, posted 02-17-2013 2:18 AM Eli has responded

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20263
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


(1)
Message 25 of 271 (690881)
02-17-2013 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Straggler
02-17-2013 5:15 AM


too far already?
Yep, your buttons are pushed.

I would suggest that doubting one's own senses to some degree is a very sensible approach. Because we are notoriously adept at wrongly interpreting that which we sense. I would argue that many of the methods of science (verification, peer review, repeatability etc. etc) are necessary exactly because individual perception is an incredibly unreliable means of distinguishing what is real and what is not. For example is this picture moving?

I don't think a healthy doubt of the validity of one's own individual perception leads to that conclusion at all. Rather it leads to a more scientific approach when we want to most accurately and reliably discern what is real and what is not.

Your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

No. We don't take these things on trust. Reality (of some sort) exists otherwise how on earth are you and I here conversing? ...

Are we or is it your imagination? Or do you take it on trust that your senses do give you some valid information (those ones you doubt above)?

Thanks for making my point.

... Nor is the conclusion that empirical evidence is the most reliable method of discerning that reality an assumption. People have tried other approaches and they have been less successful. So on a very pragmatic level we aren't just assuming that empirical evidence represents reality we can demonstrate that this approach has been more successful than any other approach yet devised at investigating reality as we experience it.

These aren't assumptions. They are conclusions.

Your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

On a very basic pragmatic level believing everything won't get you very far at all. Compared to skepticism it is obviously inferior.

Not trusting anything is superior to trusting everything ... according to your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

One equally needs to guard against those who are unable to cope with the fact that evidentially unsupported claims are unlikely to be correct no matter how unfalsifiable they are designed to be.

Be strong, you can do it Strags. After all, you have your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs. Once more into the breaches son.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by kofh2u, posted 02-17-2013 8:56 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
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kofh2u
Member (Idle past 2139 days)
Posts: 1162
From: phila., PA
Joined: 04-05-2004


Message 26 of 271 (690882)
02-17-2013 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by RAZD
02-17-2013 8:48 AM


Re: too far already?

Your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

Descartes did NOT have a world view in his approach.

What he did was found his own existence first, based solely upon the evidence that he was thinking, which he relized he indeed was.

From that point on, he used the Scientific Method.

As a baby he had observed that something was wiggling, because the sight sensations could be confirmed by totally different evidence in Feeling his toes.
He recognized and accept that seven different kinds of thoughts came unbidden into his thinking, obviously from that "other" entity he would call Reality.

He continued in this process and found he could deduce an image of Truth that meiated between his thinking and what was corrsponding to that image of Truth in that "other" entity not him.


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 27 of 271 (690883)
02-17-2013 9:17 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by RAZD
02-17-2013 8:48 AM


Re: too far already?
RAZD writes:

Your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

Are all world views equally valid?

If I decided that sitting in a room waiting for divine inspiration was the best path to discovering things about reality external to my own mind do you think it would yield equally valid results as the scientific method? Or not?

How do we decide which 'world views' are more reliable and accurate than others?

Straggler writes:

No. We don't take these things on trust. Reality (of some sort) exists otherwise how on earth are you and I here conversing?

RAZD writes:

Are we or is it your imagination?

Like I said before - Even Descrate himself disposed of Cartesian doubt as a valid argument. If you are going to base your entire 'open mindedness' argument on solipsism then I'd suggest you barely have an argument at all.

RAZD writes:

Or do you take it on trust that your senses do give you some valid information (those ones you doubt above)?

If there is any valid information to be had about a reality external to one's own mind then how else is one going to get any valid information about it?


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 28 of 271 (690884)
02-17-2013 9:25 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Faith
02-17-2013 7:38 AM


Re: Belief in anything always rests on some sort of evidence
Faith writes:

WHAT experience are you aware of that has been presented as evidence of Satan?

It is you who is citing internal experiences as a valid form of evidence. How about you give an example of such an experience and the thing you consider it to be evidence of?

Faith writes:

No, there is NOT anything IN PRINCIPLE wrong with this sort of evidence.

If the method of knowing something being cited cannot demonstrate that it results in conclusions which are any more reliable than blind random chance then use of the term 'evidence' is a misnomer.

There is very much something wrong in principle with calling something "evidence" when (at best) it amounts to nothing more than a subjective reason for belief.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Faith, posted 02-17-2013 7:38 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20263
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 29 of 271 (690889)
02-17-2013 12:29 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Straggler
02-17-2013 9:17 AM


Too far already? Yep
Are all world views equally valid?

If there is any valid information to be had about a reality external to one's own mind then how else is one going to get any valid information about it?

There are as many worldviews as there are people. What do you mean by "valid" -- that they are consilient with your views?

How do we decide which 'world views' are more reliable and accurate than others?

A general conformity of the consilience of many views would certainly give the impression of reliability and accuracy. The logical fallacy of popularity? Or just open trust\acceptance that everyone is experiencing the same reality at some basic level?

People generally appear to be open to trusting\accepting the worldviews of others that are similar to theirs, the greater the consilience of the views the greater they are open to trusting\accepting those worldviews. Problems arise when there is disagreement, not consilience, and this can lead to cognitive dissonance and loss of openness.

Like I said before - Even Descrate himself disposed of Cartesian doubt as a valid argument. If you are going to base your entire 'open mindedness' argument on solipsism then I'd suggest you barely have an argument at all.

Argument from authority? (... is that typo a Freudian slip btw?)

As I said before, however, taking skepticism to the "absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion, nothing could be trusted, not even your own senses" -- so once you trust yourself (cogito ergo sum), you have broken from complete skepticism, ... and taking open mindedness to, as I said before, "its absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion would mean believing everything. This would appear to be equally invalid."

So the question then becomes what is your personal balance between skepticism and open-mindedness.


skeptical ..................................... open-minded

Do you agree with Truzzi's characterization of "true" skepticism (see Message 17):

quote:
  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

Seems pretty rational to me.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2013 9:17 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2013 1:08 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 61 by DBlevins, posted 02-19-2013 1:03 PM RAZD has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 30 of 271 (690891)
02-17-2013 1:08 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by RAZD
02-17-2013 12:29 PM


Re: Too far already? Yep
If I decided that sitting in a room waiting for divine inspiration was the best path to discovering things about reality external to my own mind do you think it would yield equally valid results as the scientific method? Or not?

How do we decide which 'world views' are more reliable and accurate than others?

RAZD writes:

What do you mean by "valid" -- that they are consilient with your views?

No. In epistemological terms we are talking about a method of knowing that results in conclusions that are more likely correct than not.

For example - If a claim is made on the basis of no evidence whatsoever is it in your view:

A) Likely to be correct
B) As likely to be correct as incorrect
C) Likely to be incorrect

RAZD writes:

There are as many worldviews as there are people.

OK. But is every world view equally correct or are some more correct than others?

RAZD writes:

Do you agree with Truzzi's characterization of "true" skepticism.

Depends. For example:

RAZD writes:

No burden of proof to take an agnostic position

Depends what one means by "agnostic position". If, for example, you told me that a herd of undetectable ethereal elephants were congregating in my garden as I type I don't think that an agnostic position beyond trivial lack of philosophical certainty would be necessary.

Is lack of philosophical certainty "agnostic"...?

To all practical intents and purposes I am atheistic rather than agnostic about said herd of undetectable ethereal elephants congregating in my garden. But if lack of certainty qualifies as "agniostic" then I guess I am "agnostic".

What exactly do you mean by "agnostic"...?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2013 12:29 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2013 10:35 PM Straggler has responded

  
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