Questioning an Assumption
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04-10-2011, 09:10 PM
Questioning an Assumption
An idea is championed by Dawkins and others of his ilk. The notion is this: the strength of the belief should be commensurate with the amount of empirical evidence. The idea is that this is a better way to live. It's that assumption that I'm curious about.

Speaking scientifically, not emotionally or from within our cultural bias, what is the evidence that it is better to live our lives and organise our cultures based only on evidence?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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04-10-2011, 09:29 PM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Good question Ghost.
I doubt you could find a whole lot of scientific data even pertaining to the subject let alone in favor of evidence based joy.
My guess would be that at the very least it might have been a safer world without faith based organizations present. That would certainly have been better for the world. But at the same time it's all in how one weighs things. Our population would be certainly more out of control if there hadn't been any religious massacres in our history. But maybe we would have found another reason to kill one another based on evidence.

"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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05-10-2011, 12:08 AM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
(04-10-2011 09:10 PM)Ghost Wrote:  An idea is championed by Dawkins and others of his ilk. The notion is this: the strength of the belief should be commensurate with the amount of empirical evidence. The idea is that this is a better way to live. It's that assumption that I'm curious about.

Speaking scientifically, not emotionally or from within our cultural bias, what is the evidence that it is better to live our lives and organise our cultures based only on evidence?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Some atheists look on scientism as a dirty word as they see a connection with religion. They are unable to see through the forest for the trees.

While secular prophets such as Dawkins , Dennett, Hitchens et al ridicule all aspects of religious thought, the science they push is not perfect, as any reputable scientist will agree, high degrees of probability: rather that, being the case.

The massive power of science coupled with what seems to be a muddled ethical approach is worrisome, to say the least. Post Hiroshima W.W. 2, Einstein stated, had he appreciated the devastation, he would have preferred to have been a cobbler.
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05-10-2011, 07:21 AM (This post was last modified: 05-10-2011 07:28 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Questioning an Assumption
What values, quantities or qualities does Dawkins compare when arriving at "better" and "worse"?
What do you consider good and bad ways to live?
I could probably construct a mind-model of a society that lives well (according to my preferences) with a spiritual guiding principle and another that lives equally well with a scientific one.
Humans will kill one another, no matter what. Might they have controlled the population more effectively and efficiently with science than they did with religion? Fer sure!
What makes a society viable is not which kind of system they adopt, but the degree to which the population adheres to its tenets - the degree of consensus and co-operation within that society. And that holds true, whether its aggressive, friendly or indifferent toward other societies... and each of those attitudes may be consistent with empirical or spiritual organization.

Quote:Post Hiroshima W.W. 2, Einstein stated, had he appreciated the devastation, he would have preferred to have been a cobbler.

What a facile sentiment! The whole point of genius is being able to see farther ahead than stupid people can. Therefore, the thing geniuses do more than any other thing they do is put their best work in the hands of the stupid people who run nations and hand out grants. Then they emerge from the laboratory long enough to accept awards and make regretful noises.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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05-10-2011, 09:24 AM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
They say ignorance is bliss, but I must admit I disagree. Because I am pretty happy with my life right now and I hope that does not mean that I am more ignorant than I think I am. On a more serious tone, I tend to value truth more than anything else (information wise) and knowing something or knowing that I do not know something tends to comfort me more than false hopes I cannot justify. There was always this nagging feeling when I was a believer that believing my dead relatives were happier dead was bull$&it. Knowing they are gone forever is not exactly a comforting thought, but it is preferable (for me) to lying to myself for the sake of making myself feel better.

“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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05-10-2011, 04:05 PM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
(05-10-2011 07:21 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  What values, quantities or qualities does Dawkins compare when arriving at "better" and "worse"?
What do you consider good and bad ways to live?
I could probably construct a mind-model of a society that lives well (according to my preferences) with a spiritual guiding principle and another that lives equally well with a scientific one.
Humans will kill one another, no matter what. Might they have controlled the population more effectively and efficiently with science than they did with religion? Fer sure!
What makes a society viable is not which kind of system they adopt, but the degree to which the population adheres to its tenets - the degree of consensus and co-operation within that society. And that holds true, whether its aggressive, friendly or indifferent toward other societies... and each of those attitudes may be consistent with empirical or spiritual organization.

Quote:Post Hiroshima W.W. 2, Einstein stated, had he appreciated the devastation, he would have preferred to have been a cobbler.

What a facile sentiment! The whole point of genius is being able to see farther ahead than stupid people can. Therefore, the thing geniuses do more than any other thing they do is put their best work in the hands of the stupid people who run nations and hand out grants. Then they emerge from the laboratory long enough to accept awards and make regretful noises.

Well given that the term 'genius' is applied, in some cases, to those who choose to provide their intellectual prowess to assist mass genocide, then it follows that they must be evil geniuses and hypocrites of the worst order.
The incinerating of, and blowing people into smithereens has not, and never will,lead to a peacefull world order.
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05-10-2011, 05:57 PM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Matt, you are a total asshole. I was having a perfectly fine evening, then you go and say some shit and get my brain running on overdrive. I think I blew an O-ring.

You are one intellectual SOB pal.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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05-10-2011, 06:18 PM (This post was last modified: 05-10-2011 06:25 PM by mysticjbyrd.)
RE: Questioning an Assumption
(04-10-2011 09:10 PM)Ghost Wrote:  An idea is championed by Dawkins and others of his ilk. The notion is this: the strength of the belief should be commensurate with the amount of empirical evidence. The idea is that this is a better way to live. It's that assumption that I'm curious about.

Speaking scientifically, not emotionally or from within our cultural bias, what is the evidence that it is better to live our lives and organise our cultures based only on evidence?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

You know the most fascinating thing about assumptions?
The person who declares someone else has made an assumption, almost always forms a rebuttal solely based on the reverse assumption.


Secondly, I have watched a lot and read quite a bit of Richard Dawkin's work, and I am unaware that his position is as you described.
I think you are arguing to a straw man.
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05-10-2011, 08:53 PM (This post was last modified: 05-10-2011 09:01 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Questioning an Assumption
It didn't sound like an argument to me. It sounded like a question.
Quite an interesting question, which, for me, usually means a lot more questions.

I have a glimmer of an answer, though, on the purely evidence-based life.
I think it's impossible for human beings. There is too much going on in our brains that we're not consciously aware of; too much that goes directly from perception to response, without waiting for analysis. Probably because, in our early development, we had to respond instantly to danger and opportunity, we have come to rely on reflex and intuition. I don't think those attributes will recede and be replaced entirely by deliberate calculation for quite a while yet.
But we could make faster progress toward a stable social organization and less hectic, less anxious personal lives if we took more care to develop cognitive skills.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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05-10-2011, 09:42 PM (This post was last modified: 05-10-2011 09:52 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Hey, Jbyrd.

Quote:You know the most fascinating thing about assumptions?
The person who declares someone else has made an assumption, almost always forms a rebuttal solely based on the reverse assumption.

You know the funny thing about assholes? They're like opinions. Everyone's got one and they all stink but yours Cool

Maybe I am unfairly attributing something to Dawkins. I don't think I am but I have a massive headache so I'll just leave it at that. That being said, is this truly an argument that you've never encountered before? The truth is, my interest in this was sparked by a moment in the rather excellent film, "The Nature of Existence," in which an Atheist said something to the effect of, "The ____ of the belief should be based on the strength of the evidence," or something like that. Man I'm tired.

My question here is simple. Is there empirical evidence that basing our beliefs on empirical evidence and empirical evidence alone is demonstrably better, or is that just received wisdom?

Hey, Peterkin.

Quote:What makes a society viable is not which kind of system they adopt, but the degree to which the population adheres to its tenets - the degree of consensus and co-operation within that society.

For the record, that's brilliant.

Hey, Stark.

Suck hot rational inquiry Cool

ON EDIT:

Here's my boy Wade Davis talking about Australian Aborigines. The first 3:35 of it is the most germane (although all seven episodes are spectacular. He paints a very clear picture of a people whose way of life seems to challenge the idea that a life of empiricism is necessarily better.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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