you need to be skeptical of the skeptic reaction\position as well, and be able to look at the matter from different angles.
That's a good point. I believe (on nothing but anecdotal evidence) that no one is as objective and skeptical as he thinks he is. We prefer to think that cognitive biases are things that only affect other people's thinking, but we're just as susceptible as anyone else to believing whatever source tells us what we want to hear.
What we believe affects how we define facts and evidence, not the other way around.
I don't know how I could have gotten the idea you were, mike. Within the span of five minutes, you replied to two posts of mine, neither of which were addressed to you, employing the logical fallacies of tu quoque in one (Message 181) and non sequitur in the other (Message 27), and making no apparent attempt to engage with what I was saying in either.
Facts are concrete ... what you believe does not change the facts.
But facts also have contexts, and we interpret them according to what we already believe. It's not like we're data processors which perform operations on input. The way we relate to information, knowledge, and interpretations can vary widely depending on our personal and cultural backgrounds.
Facts and evidence of facts should change how one believes, if previous beliefs were proven wrong.
It's human nature to prefer the evidence that supports what we believe and de-emphasize or dismiss the evidence that contradicts what we believe. That's what I meant in my post: we can say we'll follow the evidence wherever it leads, but in reality we're the ones doing the leading.
I replied to "pop science" (your inference that it's false) with "pop bible".
I disputed that belief can alter the facts or the evidence of facts ... a premise you subscribe to and seem to believe and I don't.
I don't believe pop science is false, and neither do I believe belief can alter facts. What I was saying about pop science is that it's no substitute for the hard data that support theories we affirm such as the Big Bang or the evolution of species; it's just the best we can manage as amateurs. What I was saying about facts, as I've already made a futile attempt to clarify, is that they don't exist outside a context and we arrange and interpret them according to our personal and cultural backgrounds.
I guess you can consider my uncivil, since I did respond to you without agreeing with you ... but I don't understand how I didn't "engage" you? I countered your statements ... that's part of a debate, no?
It's clear you had no idea what I meant by either statement, but instead of asking me to elucidate you posted snide responses to them anyway. Since I've explained myself, you could try to engage with what I've said going forward. If you're interested in civil dialogue, that is.
I disagree about the cause and effect--explaining facts is the role of hypotheses and theories.
Let's not play dueling oversimplifications, though. It's one thing to describe the methodology of empirical inquiry properly, but defining science as an objective process of Baconian induction from unorganized observations is for schoolkids. The way we approach and interpret facts, and the way we define our knowledge and its limitations, are laden with cultural and personal baggage. If we don't acknowledge that science is a human endeavor with a socially embedded history, we're really not talking about the entire matter.
Your observation of the Sun's movement does not change the fact of the Earth's motion.
The point is that they're both "facts." We observe the Sun rising out of the eastern horizon and drop into the western horizon with such regularity that you could form testable predictions out of the phenomenon. As for the Earth's rotation, that's a scientific theory that humans created to explain observations like solar "motion." You consider the theory a fact even though it contradicts our observations.