Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
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05-09-2013, 07:06 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
Conspiracy is much like religion (to which I think you may be availing too I and I, to get people to question things)

Don't let it consume you I and I. It's a waste of your life dude.

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

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05-09-2013, 07:07 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
(04-09-2013 02:28 PM)I and I Wrote:  What role does belief play into what we call facts? Example: Newtonian physics never got "demoted" to being non factual, there was a point where people stopped believing in it and for reasons started believing in something else.

Does belief trump facts if more people believe in something different than a fact? Example: if we all lived our lives as if Santa clause was real, this would have a profound affect on how our societies develop, social customs, etc simply from a belief in something. The fact that Santa isn't real in this case is irrelevant and non effectual on society in relation to the belief that Santa is real.

That would work differently: different philosophically than practically.

Philosophically, it would depend on how you define 'facts'. It tends to be defined from an assumed, almost omniscient, maybe realist, point of view, that there are things that are the case, kind of assuming, even maybe, that we can, to an extent, gain knowledge of what is the case.

Practically, however, maybe even still, more, philosophically, based how facts are defined and the nature of belief (the definition and practice), it can't necessarily work how it is supposed ideally.

If a fact is what is the case and a belief is what people accept as being the case, in practice, unless you are dealing with the perfectly wise and rational, things are not going to work out. People are going to make assumptions, i.e. have beliefs, and thus rely on a set of facts, even if there is nothing that can logically and/or rationally be assumed factual, maybe even reasonably, making facts practically dynamic and based on belief.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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05-09-2013, 08:01 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
(05-09-2013 07:00 AM)I and I Wrote:  
(04-09-2013 04:39 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Well, now.


That is not true (unless, of course, accepting the premise, one then believes it hard enough Rolleyes ). Nobody (no physicist) ever stopped 'believing' in it, and certainly not in the sense of 'believing' something else instead.

Newtonian mechanics are precisely as factual today as in 1700. There are situations (unknown and unknowable to Newton himself) in which it is insufficient, in which cases it has been supplemented (cf Lagrange, Hamilton); there are situations (unknown and unknowable to Newton himself) in which it is inapplicable, in which case it has been complemented (cf Einstein, Dirac).

Cool, pick whatever examples you feel are more fitting.

Now on to the topic, belief of a fact or disbelief of a fact can have profound differences on society. Non-belief can also have an impact on society. What merit do facts have if belief is still required?

Before people knew about photosynthesis (non-belief) the absence of a cultural belief in photosynthesis had different results in society on many levels. We regard photosynthesis as being a fact but if nobody knew about photosynthesis of nobody believed in it would it still be a fact?

Yes, it is still a fact whether anyone knows it or believes it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-09-2013, 08:32 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
In scientific terms a fact is an as-yet-incontrovertible observation. It is not necessarily possible for a given observation to have been made at a prior time. Were it to have been, is is assumed that the same data would be observed. This is indeed an assumption - it is the central assumption to the scientific method (reproducibility). It has generated many demonstrable results and has not been disaffirmed.

The merit of a given fact (which is essentially equivalent to the merit of acting out of belief in or recognition of a given fact) may be considered to lie its usefulness and efficacy in explaining, predicting, and influencing future observations.


Are we just doing this again?

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05-09-2013, 09:58 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
If a fact does not require a human to believe it, then to whom or what entity is say photosynthesis a fact millions of years ago?
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05-09-2013, 10:00 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
(05-09-2013 09:58 AM)I and I Wrote:  If a fact does not require a human to believe it, then to whom or what entity is say photosynthesis a fact millions of years ago?

Why do you think reality requires an observer?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-09-2013, 10:43 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
(05-09-2013 09:58 AM)I and I Wrote:  If a fact does not require a human to believe it, then to whom or what entity is say photosynthesis a fact millions of years ago?

I am unsure of your point here. I suggest you read an introductory text on the philosophy of science. I feel it would be tremendously edifying.

(05-09-2013 09:58 AM)I and I Wrote:  If a fact does not require a human to believe it...

As Chas notes this seems to be a supposition of an absolute objectivity, something which cannot be drawn from the previous remarks of anyone in this thread. It is not clear to me why you bring up such a premise.

(05-09-2013 09:58 AM)I and I Wrote:  ... then to whom or what entity is say photosynthesis a fact millions of years ago?

If indeed the above is to be construed as a response to prior statements, it is a fundamental misunderstanding. Knowing you, it may well be a deliberate misunderstanding.

Conclusions about the past are contingent on our basal assumption that the laws of nature do not change over time. We say something is factual if it is not controverted by any observable evidence; we - which is, implicitly, human observers in the present, and we shall leave aside for now the illusory nature of a common 'present' - may then conclude that photosynthesis occurred in the past based on direct observation in the present (as applied inferentially to the past) in addition to indirect observation of the past, through the established record of human observation throughout the historic era and paleobotanical evidence for times prior.

We do not (and cannot) say it was absolutely, objectively true (a claim made by no one ever). We say that it is assumed to be fact based on the preponderance of all observable evidence. Supposing something to be factual now, and supposing that the same phenomena existed in the past, we then conclude that the same thing was factual in the past. The most logical, most coherent, and most consistent explanation we can make for the growth of plants in the past - a rather well-attested phenomenon - is that, knowing the means of their growth today, such were the means of their growth in the past.

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05-09-2013, 10:59 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
To who or what was photosynthesis a fact to before humans were around, if something is a fact regardless of human belief or knowledge of it?

If one is arguing that something is a fact regardless of human knowledge or belief in that fact then explain how this is possible.
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05-09-2013, 11:24 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
(05-09-2013 10:59 AM)I and I Wrote:  To who or what was photosynthesis a fact to before humans were around, if something is a fact regardless of human belief or knowledge of it?

To plants.

Your inability to understand simple philosophy of science raises an age old dilemma: stupid, or disingenuous?

(05-09-2013 10:59 AM)I and I Wrote:  If one is arguing that something is a fact regardless of human knowledge or belief in that fact then explain how this is possible.

No one is arguing that. As you well know.

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05-09-2013, 11:35 AM
RE: Do facts require belief for it to be a fact?
(05-09-2013 10:59 AM)I and I Wrote:  To who or what was photosynthesis a fact to before humans were around, if something is a fact regardless of human belief or knowledge of it?

If one is arguing that something is a fact regardless of human knowledge or belief in that fact then explain how this is possible.

If you are defining 'fact' as human knowledge, then fine, have it it your way - but I equate fact with reality.

The reality is that photosynthesis was going on for three billion years before there were people to know this. That is a fact.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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