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
26-04-2014, 07:34 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 07:10 AM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  ...
Here is the address:
http://ebookee.org/On-Being-Certain-by-R...27283.html

That looked better.
It took me to a 'download' page rather than installed a load a poo before taking me to a game thing
(no porn involved... why view porn when you live with porn stars?!?!?)

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes DLJ's post
26-04-2014, 09:00 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 04:49 AM)living thing Wrote:  Hello again, Dom.

Do you always wear a rain coat when you leave your house? Regardless of the time of the year, the look of the sky and how long you’re going to be out? I don’t know, maybe if you’re going to take the rubbish out on a clear blue summer day. If you do, I guess you’re obsessed with not getting wet, although I’m almost sure that you base it on your previous experiences having got annoyingly wet in a variety of situations outside your house. But if you don’t wear a rain coat when you take the rubbish out on a clear blue summer day, that probably means that you are judging it most likely that you will not get wet during the short operation, based on the circumstances.

What about inside the house? Are you worried of getting wet inside your house? If you don’t wear your rain coat inside the house, that probably means that you do not judge it necessary, based on the fact that there are walls and a roof around you that will stop any rain outside from reaching you.

You know yourself better than I do; in fact, I don’t know you at all, only a little of your opinion. So if you say that you sometimes make decisions based on absolutely no evidence, all I can do is wish you good luck, because you’ll need it. However, if you base your decisions on any sort of evidence (including what you know about yourself, about the speed at which the weather can change in your surroundings, etc.) then you are basing your decisions on an amount of evidence that is sufficient, in your view, to make certain assumptions.

When you said that if you claim to believe that you are going to the store later, you mean that you think you will, I took it as meaning that there is something that makes you think so (maybe you’ve just run out of something, or you like the person who works there, or whatever) although there are other factors to be considered which might cause you not to go to the store; otherwise, if you knew you had the need/desire and the ability to go, you might have said “I know I’m going to the store later”, although you might have been lying, because our immediate future is always unknown. I might say to a friend “yes, yes, I know I’m going to the party, I’ll pick you up on my way” and then have a heart attack, and not pick up my friend on my way anywhere, despite all my purported knowledge.

Nevertheless, if your view of the word “belief” is that of a notion that is taken as a truth based on disputable or no evidence, then I can agree with your view; many people hold their beliefs based not on evidence, but on their confidence in an authority. “I don’t understand what this means”, someone might think, “but I’ll take it as a truth because X says so, and he/she probably knows”. Yeah, I think that happens too.

I’m not sure we’re disagreeing in the notions we’re describing, just on the words we use to describe them. In any case, I thank you for the exchange.

Have a hopefully dry day, but not too dry; we all need water.

You actually think there are no decisions you base on no proper evidence? What if you are in an ice cream store and you want ice cream, but you are not familiar with any of the flavors? Will you walk out because there is no sufficient evidence that you will be satisfied if you buy some? Or will you take a "leap of faith" and purchase one to see if you may like it? Will you believe (assume) that you will have a great experience anyway?

I bought a plant yesterday that just struck me as interesting. I don't know any of it's requirements, have no idea of where I can place it in my garden - the wet area, the well drained spots, sun or shade etc. I just bought it on a whim. I believe it's going to please me. No evidence here, it may die in short order if I stick it in the wrong spot.

Sufficient evidence is not always available, we make choices because we "believe" that they will work out , for no good reason at all, every day.

Re. the rain coat: 2 dark clouds are not really an indicator of rain. They just remind me of rain. They are not proper evidence of anything. It is not a rational decision to take the coat. It's not even a hunch. Yet I believe it could rain and I don't want to be caught without a coat in a downpour. I am taking precautions, I am not acting on proper evidence, there is not enough evidence to base this decision on.

So, I still oppose the term "enough" evidence. What exactly is enough evidence? Would two dark clouds be enough evidence for you? Apparently they suffice for me even though they mean nothing in reality. Is that evidence then?

[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
26-04-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
Hello again, Dom.

I am not questioning the idea that you make assumptions for no reason at all; if anyone here is well suited to describe your behaviour, that is you, not me. But in that case, I’d say your use of the verb “believe” is very similar to the second option in the poll. If you grab your rain coat when nothing suggests rain, you are behaving as if it were a certainty that it is going to rain, regardless of what the evidence may suggest. The second option does not contain the word “enough” that you seem to oppose so much, and it includes the disregard for evidence on which you also insist, so I don’t really see why the second option wouldn’t work for you.

And if you never use the verb as suggested in the first option, that is ok, you don’t have to. But other people have, so I assume that the first option is also applicable, even if not in your case.

If you still think that none of the options work for you, let me please ask you: how would you have worded a third option in the poll so that it included your use of the verb “believe”?

Thanks for your patience. Have fun!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-04-2014, 05:57 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 04:55 PM)living thing Wrote:  Hello again, Dom.

I am not questioning the idea that you make assumptions for no reason at all; if anyone here is well suited to describe your behaviour, that is you, not me. But in that case, I’d say your use of the verb “believe” is very similar to the second option in the poll. If you grab your rain coat when nothing suggests rain, you are behaving as if it were a certainty that it is going to rain, regardless of what the evidence may suggest. The second option does not contain the word “enough” that you seem to oppose so much, and it includes the disregard for evidence on which you also insist, so I don’t really see why the second option wouldn’t work for you.

And if you never use the verb as suggested in the first option, that is ok, you don’t have to. But other people have, so I assume that the first option is also applicable, even if not in your case.

If you still think that none of the options work for you, let me please ask you: how would you have worded a third option in the poll so that it included your use of the verb “believe”?

Thanks for your patience. Have fun!

I didn't describe a situation where nothing suggests rain - there were two small dark clouds. That is "enough evidence" to take precautions against rain, as well as "enough evidence" that it will not rain, depending on what you wish to believe.

Do you see what I am saying here? The "enough evidence" is fairly irrelevant in many situations for you and me and everyone, we will believe what we want to believe as long as there is evidence. Many things in life are not cleanly defined, there are pros and cons for many things, and we have to make choices no matter whether evidence is "enough" or not.

I am only objecting to one word in your phrasing - "enough".

[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
26-04-2014, 05:58 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
Hello Full Circle.

(26-04-2014 06:57 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  ...
Fun exercise.
Oh yeah, exercise is fun when it can be comfortably performed while sitting at the computer! Big Grin

I think we both understand your sentences pretty much in the same way, although you bring up a term that could be clarified further, as DLJ pointed out. In the original second sentence (“I believe she said she was going to bake another apple pie but I don't believe her”) I took the second usage as meaning that you didn’t believe that specific claim she made, but I didn’t extract the notion of distrust; it could be that you knew that there were no apples left.

However, when you now say that you don’t trust her, I don’t get the impression that you’re disbelieving one particular claim, but that you have reasons to doubt her claims in general. Is that a connotation you were trying to convey? If it isn’t, it might be worth adding clarifications like DLJ's regarding trust in people, to avoid misunderstandings. Nevertheless, in the rest of the uses I think we are both describing the same distinction. The verb “believe” can be used as a declaration of faith, or as a synonym for think, estimate, suppose, be under the impression, etc.

But I don’t think the word “belief” is as ambiguous as the verb “believe”. When I see the noun used, it generally seems to imply the acceptance of a notion as a truth. When someone says “it is my belief that blah blah blah” it generally appears interchangeable with “I consider it a truth that blah blah blah”. Have you noticed anything similar?

I haven’t eliminated the word from my vocabulary, but I hardly ever use it in positive sentences about my own view because I don’t consider my view to be necessarily a truth, so I use synonyms implying uncertainty instead. I don’t mind using it to declare that I don’t believe this or I don’t believe that, and I use it in reference to other people’s views if those people claim to believe things. But I wouldn't mind it if the word ended up being forgotten.

Thanks for your clarifications, Full Circle. Have a good time!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-04-2014, 06:07 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
(24-04-2014 05:30 AM)living thing Wrote:  When you say that you believe something, what do you mean?
I like you living thing, I can tell that you are a thinker.

Yes a couple of definitions of belief here.
1. used as a synonym for suspect or expect.
2. used as an indication that I am discounting plausible alternatives i.e. being close minded.

I choose to use the word suspect or expect.
e.g. I suspect there is life on other planets.

I don't like the idea of being close minded so I don't knowingly choose to discount plausible alternatives.
I think when religious people say that they believe their particular god created the universe they know that this isn't fact and they know there are other plausible alternatives but they choose to have faith and believe that it was their god, thus they close their minds to the plausible alternatives.

It also leads to the question of what does a person mean when they say "I have faith"?
I think faith means optimism. e.g. I have faith that if you try hard you will pass the test. It also indicates a level of trust without full knowledge.
It is akin to wishful thinking.

So having faith and belief is close minded wishful thinking.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Stevil's post
26-04-2014, 06:57 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  I didn't describe a situation where nothing suggests rain - there were two small dark clouds.
But you regarded them as "not proper evidence of anything. It is not a rational decision to take the coat. It's not even a hunch." Can the two clouds be considered evidence or not?

If they can, then you are using the verb "believe" as suggested in the first option, because even if those two clouds may be evidence for the possibility of rain, you cannot be certain that it will rain until it actually starts to rain. If the evidence provided by the clouds is so flimsy that it can be disregarded, then you are using it as suggested in the second option, because you are behaving as if you knew that it will rain, without regard for the evidence.

Is it really so difficult to understand?

(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  That is "enough evidence" to take precautions against rain, as well as "enough evidence" that it will not rain, depending on what you wish to believe.
Of course, the evaluation of likelihoods is a subjective process that depends on the perspective of the person who considers it. You are likely to concede importance to two clouds, because you know that you hate getting wet. I may not give it importance for my own reasons.

But none of that changes the fact that the verb "believe" can be used to imply uncertainty (when used as a synonym for estimate, suspect, etc.) or implying perceived certainty (for example, when some religious people claim to believe that atheists will burn in hell).

(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  Do you see what I am saying here? The "enough evidence" is fairly irrelevant in many situations for you and me and everyone, we will believe what we want to believe as long as there is evidence. Many things in life are not cleanly defined, there are pros and cons for many things, and we have to make choices no matter whether evidence is "enough" or not.
If you have any evidence whatsoever about something, and that causes you to behave in some way, then I'd say the amount of evidence you have is enough for you to make your assumptions, meaning that you don't need learning any more data in order to make those assumptions. What else can "enough" mean?

Let us imagine that we are both going for a hike and we're about to leave. You look outside and see two clouds in an otherwise blue sky. You know you hate getting wet, so just in case, you grab your rain coat. I, however, may consider the time of the year, the local pluviometry, the weather forecast, the weight of my rain coat, the estimated duration of the hike, the likelihood of finding shelter if it rains and the fact that I don't really mind getting wet if we don't, and leave my rain coat behind. For you, those two facts ("it is possible that it will rain" and "I don't like getting wet") are enough to make your decision. For me, the fact that there are two clouds in the sky is not enough to make me think I'll be annoyed by getting wet.

Facts are discrete entities; you can take many into account, or you can take a few. Once you've taken into account a number of facts that is sufficient to cause you to make an assumption, I call that enough.

(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  I am only objecting to one word in your phrasing - "enough".
And what exactly do you mean? That you will refrain from using the word in the same way I use it? Great! I am not interested in changing the way you speak.

Or are you somehow implying that I should change the way I speak, simply because you don't like it? It may be that you don't understand what I'm saying; other people have chosen that option in the poll and they didn't seem to have a problem with the phrasing.

So what exactly do you mean when you say that you object to one word in my phrasing?

Thank you.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-04-2014, 07:18 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
Hello Stevil, thank you very much for the nice remark. People are very friendly in this online forum.

I like your definitions. They are very explicit, although I wonder how exactly do you personally judge plausibility.

(26-04-2014 06:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It also leads to the question of what does a person mean when they say "I have faith"?
I think faith means optimism. e.g. I have faith that if you try hard you will pass the test. It also indicates a level of trust without full knowledge.
It is akin to wishful thinking.
I think I see the link between optimism and wishful thinking, and having faith always seems to imply the hope for a positive outcome (I don't think believers in heaven have faith in hell, unless they view it as the positive outcome) although you'd have to ask people who have faith in stuff; to be honest, I've been surprised enough to put my faith in very little.

In your view, would you say that faith implies a lack of understanding at some level? In other words, when an architect calculates the distribution of forces in a building design prior to its construction, would you say he or she has faith in the building's resistence?

Thank you Stevil. Have a good day.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-04-2014, 07:57 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 06:57 PM)living thing Wrote:  
(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  I didn't describe a situation where nothing suggests rain - there were two small dark clouds.
But you regarded them as "not proper evidence of anything. It is not a rational decision to take the coat. It's not even a hunch." Can the two clouds be considered evidence or not?

If they can, then you are using the verb "believe" as suggested in the first option, because even if those two clouds may be evidence for the possibility of rain, you cannot be certain that it will rain until it actually starts to rain. If the evidence provided by the clouds is so flimsy that it can be disregarded, then you are using it as suggested in the second option, because you are behaving as if you knew that it will rain, without regard for the evidence.

Is it really so difficult to understand?

(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  That is "enough evidence" to take precautions against rain, as well as "enough evidence" that it will not rain, depending on what you wish to believe.
Of course, the evaluation of likelihoods is a subjective process that depends on the perspective of the person who considers it. You are likely to concede importance to two clouds, because you know that you hate getting wet. I may not give it importance for my own reasons.

But none of that changes the fact that the verb "believe" can be used to imply uncertainty (when used as a synonym for estimate, suspect, etc.) or implying perceived certainty (for example, when some religious people claim to believe that atheists will burn in hell).

(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  Do you see what I am saying here? The "enough evidence" is fairly irrelevant in many situations for you and me and everyone, we will believe what we want to believe as long as there is evidence. Many things in life are not cleanly defined, there are pros and cons for many things, and we have to make choices no matter whether evidence is "enough" or not.
If you have any evidence whatsoever about something, and that causes you to behave in some way, then I'd say the amount of evidence you have is enough for you to make your assumptions, meaning that you don't need learning any more data in order to make those assumptions. What else can "enough" mean?

Let us imagine that we are both going for a hike and we're about to leave. You look outside and see two clouds in an otherwise blue sky. You know you hate getting wet, so just in case, you grab your rain coat. I, however, may consider the time of the year, the local pluviometry, the weather forecast, the weight of my rain coat, the estimated duration of the hike, the likelihood of finding shelter if it rains and the fact that I don't really mind getting wet if we don't, and leave my rain coat behind. For you, those two facts ("it is possible that it will rain" and "I don't like getting wet") are enough to make your decision. For me, the fact that there are two clouds in the sky is not enough to make me think I'll be annoyed by getting wet.

Facts are discrete entities; you can take many into account, or you can take a few. Once you've taken into account a number of facts that is sufficient to cause you to make an assumption, I call that enough.

(26-04-2014 05:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  I am only objecting to one word in your phrasing - "enough".
And what exactly do you mean? That you will refrain from using the word in the same way I use it? Great! I am not interested in changing the way you speak.

Or are you somehow implying that I should change the way I speak, simply because you don't like it? It may be that you don't understand what I'm saying; other people have chosen that option in the poll and they didn't seem to have a problem with the phrasing.

So what exactly do you mean when you say that you object to one word in my phrasing?

Thank you.

I say that I object to picking what would normally the option I would pick in your poll because of the word "enough". I would pick the option if it didn't have the word "enough" in it. It has nothing to do with your thinking, I am only trying to explain why I cannot pick the option.

In our example, even though I am totally aware that the presence of two dark clouds is not enough evidence to base a belief of imminent rain on, I choose to do so because I don't have time to go look at a forecast or whatever.

I base the belief on evidence, even though I am fully aware that it is not enough evidence.

We are kind of talking past each other here...

[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
27-04-2014, 12:05 AM (This post was last modified: 27-04-2014 02:02 AM by Stevil.)
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 07:18 PM)living thing Wrote:  Hello Stevil, thank you very much for the nice remark. People are very friendly in this online forum.

I like your definitions. They are very explicit, although I wonder how exactly do you personally judge plausibility.
It's in the eye of the beholder.
If you don't think that there is any other plausible explanation then you consider something to be a fact e.g. lots of people consider evolution to be fact. They don't believe in evolution but instead they consider evolution to be fact.

However if you think there are alternatives but you choose to disbelieve them then you have belief in your chosen option. e.g. Creationists realise that evolution is a plausible option however they choose to disbelieve thus they believe all creatures were created fully formed, instantaneously. They don't consider this to be fact but instead they consider it to be their belief.

(26-04-2014 07:18 PM)living thing Wrote:  In your view, would you say that faith implies a lack of understanding at some level? In other words, when an architect calculates the distribution of forces in a building design prior to its construction, would you say he or she has faith in the building's resistence?
Faith is a result of personal recognition of lack of knowledge rather than a lack of understanding. If a person misunderstands something then they may think that they have a full understanding. They build according to their understanding but consider their understanding complete so they think the building is sound.

IF the building collapses, they don't say that their faith failed them, it was their understanding that was faulty. They didn't think they were invoking faith, but when you are invoking faith you generally know it. You know that there is a gap, but you optimistically consider that things will turn out well.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: