Evidence
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06-06-2012, 11:35 AM
RE: Evidence
(06-06-2012 10:59 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I find it interesting that this thread has become about judgement and conversion. It would seem that many people find it hard to think in terms other than evidence.

I imagine that therein lies the great disconnect.

There seem to be some stories of just speaking to Theists for the sake of speaking, the nature of which is really what I've been after, but there seems to frequently be a "but" caveat that brings people right back to the primacy of evidence.

This just popped into my head, so take it with a grain of salt, but it's almost like there's a sense of stewardship over the Truth. That it is too important to entrust to those who don't believe in the primacy of evidence. And, perhaps, a presupposition that there is nothing to be gained by engaging with those that come to their truths through avenues other than evidence.

Perhaps it's simply a bridge too far, as some have already suggested. I hate to think that that's the case. Colour me an optimist Cool

Does anyone have any stories, a story, where someone offered a spiritual experience, a story of communion with God, suggested that a miracle had occurred, shared an undemonstrated belief, or anything of that nature, and where your reaction was to accept it? Not necessarily accept it as the Truth, but rather to entertain it in terms of not feeling the need to deconstruct it through the lens of evidence?

Hey, Stevil.

That was an interesting story about scientific bias. My understanding is that around the 70s or 80s or so, there was a similar rejection of black hole theory. It's an interesting subject.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
My buddy is a non-dualist (both of us spent some time in the Advaitist Hindu camp) and he would do the kind of "accepting" you're describing.

As a non-dualist, he accepts everything. E.g. "it's all good"

However, he does still try to advocate for evidence-based thinking, ethical behavior, etc.

And when he does, I poke fun at him for abandoning his non-dualist doctrine ; )
(not really, but I probably should)

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06-06-2012, 11:44 AM
RE: Evidence
Truth is subjective, fact is not.

When discussing facts there is no reason to state a belief that has yet to be validated.

I'm comfortable discussing beliefs with people without getting into the details, but if at any point someone is going to state something as fact in a confrontational manner, the discussion then becomes debate. Debate as I previously stated is a competition.
I firmly believe that if you are entering into a debate with someone and you state something as fact it is your responsibility to back it up with evidence.

However if you do not, I don't expect you to drudge up links or newspaper clippings. General conversation is general conversation. It typically doesn't escalate into debate. At least not for me. I can take sentences as personal belief or "truth" if you will. No skin off my hide.

That's why I can have a theological conversation with KC, because he states things as true for him. Not for everyone.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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06-06-2012, 11:48 AM
RE: Evidence
There have been plenty of times where someone has professed some experience to me that I have accepted. And by accepting, I mean that I accept the fact that they believe it means or was what they thought it was (that sounds funny). Just because I don't believe it, doesn't mean I don't think they believe it, I just don't think they believe it because it is the most likely answer and is highly unlikely to be true.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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06-06-2012, 05:50 PM
RE: Evidence
(06-06-2012 01:17 AM)Stevil Wrote:  There is an interesting book that I read once called "Quantum Legacy", it talks about the scientific community and the key people and key papers that were published and widely accepted and lead to Quantum Mechanics. It wasn't a deeply scientific book, it doesn't try to teach the reader how to understand Quantum Mechanics, it just references the key people and the key papers. But it talks about the people, their upbringing, their relationships with each other.

For me the interesting part was how reluctant these scientists were to hear new ideas. Someone comes up with a model and creates a visualisation e.g. Bohr and his model of the electrons orbiting the atomic nucleus. Scientists come to believe in this model, well of course, because it matches the observations and it seems logical. Heisenberg came up with a theory for the atom explaining them to a greater detail than Bohr's model however he used matricies to work it out. The scientific community didn't like Heisenberg's theory, they didn't like using matricies and they didn't like not having a visualisation. Plank came up with an alternative, which fit the evidence as well but his didn't use matricies, so the community liked his theory.
Anyway, what I got out of the book was that these scientists could see several theories, all of which fit the observations, but because of certain beliefs that they had, they threw some out the window and accepted others. Over time (years) the evidence finally showed that the ones thrown out the window were the right ones, so the scientists were forced to change their beliefs.
It seemed from the book that Albert Einstein was good at accepting theories that matched the observations and not hanging onto his own beliefs so much, he fell into the trap of beliefs at times too, but not quite as much as others.

We're all victims of bias... all of us. That's why we depend on the scientific method -- it weeds out personal bias. That's why these "beliefs" were accepted in time after their initial denial.

It's also not always as clear-cut, black & white as "I like this scientific theory so I'll accept it". Even after Galileo 'proved' a heliocentric system, it was not accepted by the scientific community for another 50 years because the math didn't work out -- he posited circular planet orbits but they're actually elliptical. It wasn't just because of the Catholic Church forcing him to recant =)

To take an example you listed, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle was ahead of its time... when he posited it, it came before the evidence that supported it (with the invention of the electron microscope). So it might help to have all of the facts before theorizing about where the scientific community derives its "beliefs" from. I haven't read the book, but it's probably fair to guess that the author's thesis would not have been supported by all of the facts, and so he or she cherry-picked them.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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