Poll: When I say that I believe something, I mean that…
… I’ve got enough evidence suggesting a notion but I am unsure of its certainty.
… I am sure about the certainty of a notion regardless of what evidence may suggest.
[Show Results]
 
Believing versus believing
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
24-04-2014, 05:30 AM
Believing versus believing
I often hear people claim that they believe (or not) some notion, but the verb is generally used in one of two rather mutually exclusive ways.

For example, we were once preparing a party and I asked whether a specific couple were coming. The answer was something like “I believe they are”. Upon further investigation, I learned that the sentence could have been rephrased to something like “I have sufficient information in my brain suggesting the likelihood of their attendance, but I will not know until they actually arrive”. In that case, the use of the verb “believe” seemed to imply suspicion without knowledge.

However, in other situations, the verb may be seemingly used as some sort of synonym for knowing. Quite often, this usage includes the preposition “in” before the direct object. For example, when some people declare that “I believe in my god”, it generally means that “I know that my god exists and there is nothing you can say that will make me change that opinion”. But the preposition is not a requirement, people can say “I believe that my god created the universe in six days” meaning that they somehow know it to be true. It is from this second usage that I suspect we get words such as “belief”. Someone’s beliefs are the set of notions that they consider to be true.

But believing is not knowing. For example, the other day I got up from where I was sitting and my dog went straight to the door. She believed that we were going for a walk, but I knew I was going to the bathroom. It could be argued that she had enough evidence to suggest that we might be going for a walk when she saw me getting up; after all, when we go for a walk, the action usually involves me getting up from somewhere. Plus, she probably wanted to go for a walk; she seems to enjoy it. I don’t know if the expression can be accurately applied to dogs, but I’d say there was a bit of wishful thinking in her belief too; she wanted it to be true that we were going for a walk.

But she was mistaken. No matter how much we may want something to be true, how fervently we may hold on to our beliefs, there is always the possibility that we are mistaken.

Although she wasn't fully mistaken. Not too long after that we did go for a walk and she enjoyed it, except for the part when she fell into a pond, but that is a different story.

When you say that you believe something, what do you mean?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like living thing's post
24-04-2014, 05:36 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
If I say it I generally mean it. Sadly what I believe often turns out to be false.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-04-2014, 05:46 AM (This post was last modified: 24-04-2014 07:32 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Believing versus believing
Isn't it generally accepted, by people who accept these things, that knowledge is a subset of belief in that people believe many things, some of which they know to be true.

(I think that was from Matt Dillahunty (Atheist Experience)).

However, this atheist's experience having recently got to know a Jain (a brilliant mind and lovely/loving person in many respects) was that some people "choose to believe" their beliefs even though they know them to be irrational.
That would be a very different looking Venn diagram.

Consider

EDIT:
Also...
(24-04-2014 05:30 AM)living thing Wrote:  ...
she probably wanted to go for a walk; she seems to enjoy it. I don’t know if the expression can be accurately applied to dogs, but I’d say there was a bit of wishful thinking in her belief too; she wanted it to be true that we were going for a walk.
...

... you are beginning to remind me of someone... namely The Ruler of the Universe.

Please let us know if you approve the destruction of Earth before the program is finished.

Thanks.

Dodgy

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like DLJ's post
24-04-2014, 07:02 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(24-04-2014 05:30 AM)living thing Wrote:  I often hear people claim that they believe (or not) some notion, but the verb is generally used in one of two rather mutually exclusive ways.

For example, we were once preparing a party and I asked whether a specific couple were coming. The answer was something like “I believe they are”. Upon further investigation, I learned that the sentence could have been rephrased to something like “I have sufficient information in my brain suggesting the likelihood of their attendance, but I will not know until they actually arrive”. In that case, the use of the verb “believe” seemed to imply suspicion without knowledge.

However, in other situations, the verb may be seemingly used as some sort of synonym for knowing. Quite often, this usage includes the preposition “in” before the direct object. For example, when some people declare that “I believe in my god”, it generally means that “I know that my god exists and there is nothing you can say that will make me change that opinion”. But the preposition is not a requirement, people can say “I believe that my god created the universe in six days” meaning that they somehow know it to be true. It is from this second usage that I suspect we get words such as “belief”. Someone’s beliefs are the set of notions that they consider to be true.

But believing is not knowing. For example, the other day I got up from where I was sitting and my dog went straight to the door. She believed that we were going for a walk, but I knew I was going to the bathroom. It could be argued that she had enough evidence to suggest that we might be going for a walk when she saw me getting up; after all, when we go for a walk, the action usually involves me getting up from somewhere. Plus, she probably wanted to go for a walk; she seems to enjoy it. I don’t know if the expression can be accurately applied to dogs, but I’d say there was a bit of wishful thinking in her belief too; she wanted it to be true that we were going for a walk.

But she was mistaken. No matter how much we may want something to be true, how fervently we may hold on to our beliefs, there is always the possibility that we are mistaken.

Although she wasn't fully mistaken. Not too long after that we did go for a walk and she enjoyed it, except for the part when she fell into a pond, but that is a different story.

When you say that you believe something, what do you mean?

This is interesting to me. When I deconverted (age 10 ) one of the things I thought about is "the believing business". Not "believing" was the most despicable thing on earth according to the nuns.

To me the word meant: "I have no knowledge but I choose to think that...." It wasn't til much later that I ran into different interpretations, but that is the meaning I attached to it then, based on what I heard and saw from the nuns.

I still have that meaning as primary definition in my head, and I tend to "believe" nothing. The case of "I believe I am going to go to the store later" translates to me as "I think I am going to the store later".

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Dom's post
24-04-2014, 07:58 AM (This post was last modified: 24-04-2014 08:02 AM by Seldon.)
RE: Believing versus believing
I don't feel as though the poll options work for me because as we all know here there are plenty of people who believe in things with absolutely no evidence, there are those who believe in things with lots of evidence, there are those who don't believe in things that have no evidence and then there are those who infuriatingly don't believe in things that have plenty of solid evidence. Belief to me is exactly just that, feeling that you know something to be correct. Whether or not that belief is upheld by supporting evidence or not doesn't change how sincere the believer's belief is. No matter how silly lol. For me personally though, I don't claim to believe things without evidence...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Seldon's post
24-04-2014, 08:00 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
Outside of religious contex, for me it is your option 1 in the poll. More or less the short version of "Based on what I know on the subject and how I interpret that information I think this outcome, but do not know for sure."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-04-2014, 08:02 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(24-04-2014 07:58 AM)Seldon Wrote:  I don't feel as though the poll options work for me because as we all know here there are plenty of people who believe in things with absolutely no evidence, there are those who believe in things with lots of evidence, there are those who don't believe in things that have no evidence and then there are those who infuriatingly don't believe in things that have plenty of solid evidence. Belief to me is exactly just that, feeling that you know something to be correct. Whether or not that belief is upheld by supporting evidence or not doesn't change how sincere the believer's belief is. No matter how silly lol. For me personally though, I don't claim to believe things without evidence...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-04-2014, 08:04 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
This was an accident ^^^

I believe that I am rubbish at even the most basic computing tasks haha Facepalm
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Seldon's post
24-04-2014, 10:45 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
Hello Banjo, how’s that blood count? I hope it’s on the rise.

(24-04-2014 05:36 AM)Banjo Wrote:  If I say it I generally mean it. Sadly what I believe often turns out to be false.
If you say it [that you believe something], you generally mean it [that you consider something to be true]. Sadly, what you believe [consider to be true] often turns out to be false. Is that what you are saying?

Yes, we all make assumptions every once in a while that turn out to be false; at least I know I do. That is part of learning, isn’t it? Life has learned all its knowledge through a process of trial and error, why should we be expected to learn any differently?

But judging from the bits of your view I have read so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if your assumptions were operational rather than foundational; you make certain assumptions based on their perceived likelihoods (in turn based on your past experiences) in order to make some sort of decision, allowing your brain to operate without getting stuck in a specific situation. By contrast, foundational assumptions are those on which the rest of one’s mental model of the universe relies. Typical foundational assumption: “God exists”.

Would you say that you sometimes hold operational beliefs that turn out to be mistaken? Do you have any foundational belief?

Thanks Banjo, take care.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-04-2014, 10:53 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(24-04-2014 05:46 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Isn't it generally accepted, by people who accept these things, that knowledge is a subset of belief in that people believe many things, some of which they know to be true.
I don’t know. Is it? You’d have to ask people who accept these things, I am more of the type that is reluctant to accept things.

As I’ve said elsewhere, I view knowledge as the information contained within a structure (as an arrangement of matter in space and/or a pattern of change over time) that a living object may use in order to attempt to increase the stability of its own structure. Beliefs, on the other hand, are abstract notions considered by some to reflect the structure and/or behaviour of reality.

I can see how both sets may overlap, because the knowledge in my mind, for example, is in the form of abstract implications conveyed by the motion of material structures in my brain, and some of those notions may actually reflect the structure and/or behaviour of reality (or maybe not). But I wouldn’t say that knowledge is a subset of belief, because there is a huge set of knowledge that seems to have nothing to do with belief; the knowledge in our genes.

A molecule of RNA in its working context may contain the appropriate arrangement of “atoms” in space to encode a subunit of human hemoglobin (making it knowledge in my view), or not; a molecule of RNA may contain an arrangement of matter that conveys no further implications. I can see how nucleic acids can contain knowledge, but I don’t see how they might hold beliefs.

Or maybe they can, please do not believe whatever I may say.

(24-04-2014 05:46 AM)DLJ Wrote:  However, this atheist's experience having recently got to know a Jain (a brilliant mind and lovely/loving person in many respects) was that some people "choose to believe" their beliefs even though they know them to be irrational.
That would be a very different looking Venn diagram.
I suppose people may take some obviously irrational notions as truths through embracing an ideology. We had TarzanSmith believing in transubstantiation because he or she embraced the Catholic ideology.

(24-04-2014 05:46 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Also...
... you are beginning to remind me of someone... namely The Ruler of the Universe.
Do you think it is time to go to the psychiatrist? I kindly and respectfully mean you, not me; I don’t believe in rulers of the universe.

I’d like to clarify that “my” dog is not a cat and the name I use to call her is nothing like “The Lord” (I don’t believe in authorities and I’d never use that word I deem ridiculous in reference to a living being). But I am as sure as I can be about her existence beyond my brain, because the solipsistic view of the universe doesn’t make any sense, at least not if you take the time to learn and understand how biological systems interact with their external environment.

Please ask your ruler of the universe to not be silly, of course there are things out there. Not long ago, I was walking while chatting to a friend instead of paying attention to my surroundings, and I slammed my face into a parking meter. I looked ahead with just enough time to see that I was about to eat a large piece of steel, but not enough to slow down my motion in the slightest. I was knocked backwards, but with less energy than I carried in my approach because part of it remained for a while in the oscillating parking meter, before being dissipated by the different molecules in the air around us.

But I did once declare in this forum that I had spoken to a tree, is that it? I was making it up; I don’t ask trees for their opinions about human abortion because that would be stupid, they are trees. They are not equipped to extract the abstract implications I encode into the periodic variations of air pressure when I speak. I do, however, often speak to my dog as if she were a human being (she even reacts to her human name), and then I reply as if I were her, simply for fun. Sometimes “she” comes up with crazy things; the other day I imagined her telling another dog that she hates the smell of wet human.

Or maybe I should go to the psychiatrist :-)

(24-04-2014 05:46 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Please let us know if you approve the destruction of Earth before the program is finished.
Sorry, what program?

It doesn’t matter whether I approve or disapprove the destruction of Earth, because the planet will not last for ever anyway. If there is something I would approve in relation to this issue, that is that we stopped fighting for our individual greatness and we started cooperating to prevent that the future of the planet implies the end of the only pocket of life known to us in this increasingly disordered universe.

Cheers DLJ, have a good time!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes living thing's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: