Questioning an Assumption
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05-10-2011, 09:58 PM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
(05-10-2011 09:42 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Is there empirical evidence that basing our beliefs on empirical evidence and empirical evidence alone is demonstrably better

Circular. To prove empirical evidence with empirical evidence has to include the possibility that empirical evidence may not stand otherwise empirical evidence is neither. The bible is the word of god because the bible tells me so.

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05-10-2011, 11:53 PM
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

The very fact that you asked for evidence to show that living by evidence is a good idea, shows that you already agree that evidence is a good idea upon which to base your beliefs. So, why should I bother with a characteristically long-winded argument about something which we both already believe?
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06-10-2011, 07:22 AM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Hey, Defacto.

It's not at all circular. Claim: basing one's beliefs on evidence is better. Evidence: ?

Hey, Sines.

One can use and appreciate evidence without elevating it as I have suggested some have. I base a lot of my beliefs on evidence but I don't believe that it is the only thing to base beliefs on or that it's even required to base beliefs on them. But that's my opinion. I'm just asking if there is evidence to support the claim that basing beliefs on evidence only is better.

I'm not prescribing anything here. I'm simply asking, is a position that many people hold as true based in evidence, or is it received wisdom?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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06-10-2011, 07:53 AM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Well, since apparently you're letting me use evidence to justify evidence...

Evidence has a history of working. When I pay attention to evidence, I get results. In fact, my results are the one thing I can be sure about, 100%. Following evidence, has allowed me to alter my emotional state for the better.

On the other hand, people who followed faith have died waiting for a miracle to save them. I don't know if that's what you mean by 'non-evidence based ways of knowing' or whatever.

But evidence has the best track record. Please show me any other way of knowing that has produced results.
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06-10-2011, 08:20 AM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Hey, Sines.

You're missing the point of this. I'm not asking why evidence is good. Of course it's good. Evidence allowed a haematologist to tell me she didn't think I had lymphoma. The value of evidence is incontrovertible. I’m not asking anyone to defend the value of evidence. Evidence has value, but is its value so great that other ways of knowing and believing are utterly devalued because of it? Does eliminating those ways and replacing them with evidence-based belief make life better? Is it better? If so, is there any evidence to support that notion?

The question has to do with the claim that basing beliefs on evidence, to the exclusion of everything else, is better. That's a claim. I'm asking if it's the kind of claim that is based on evidence, ie, the evidence pointed to it and that's why people believe it, or if it is just received wisdom. Is it just something that people believe and assume is true because someone they respect said it, or because they feel it's self-evident, or because their belief system precludes other viewpoints, or is there a scientific basis for it?

Quote:Please show me any other way of knowing that has produced results.

Check out the Wade Davis video above. It discusses the Australian Aborigine notion of the Dreaming, a demonstrably false notion that produced a rich, vital and sustainable culture and a notion that Western thinkers thought was valueless. I'm not saying that's the single example, that's just one. But the claim is that an evidentiary based lifestyle is necessarily better than that sort of lifestyle. I'm asking if there is supporting evidence for such an assumption and if yes, then what is it, or is it just an assumption that people assume is true?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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06-10-2011, 08:38 AM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Don't have time to watch that at the moment, but, what you seem to be saying is that whether or not it's better to believe things that might not be true? If that's correct, then my short response is that believing things that aren't so can make you happy, right up until you ram head-first into reality. At which point you're miserable.

If you try to believe in whatever the evidence shows, maybe you'll be more miserable in the short term, but you can more aptly change this reality you don't like, and avoid it's pitfalls.

The evidence based person sees they are sick, get painful medical care, and are healed in the end.

The faith based person sees they are sick, prays and is happy knowing they will be healed, but die in the end.

Again, if I'm wrong about what you're asking, I apologize.
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06-10-2011, 09:54 AM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
(06-10-2011 07:22 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Defacto.

It's not at all circular. Claim: basing one's beliefs on evidence is better. Evidence: ?

Okokokok... I know that... geees.. Just testing you.

No, there is a nice little conundrum here but I'll save it. You guys have a good thread going I won't hijack it with nonsense.

As you were....

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06-10-2011, 12:13 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2011 01:54 PM by Sines.)
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Right, watched the germane part, as you say.

It is interesting. Although the same result could have been achieved by mentioning Buddhism.

You see, 'evidence' is not just the evidence of what the natural world is. Me? I'm far more content and happy when I understand the world, so I can avoid it's pitfalls and find it's glories.

These people, as well as buddhists, just don't care in a sense. They've found a way to not concern themselves with the gross reality of the world, and still be content. But these people didn't just happen to come across this mindset. It had to be discovered or developed. And it has evidential support (presumably) that it works.

In this sense, it's more of an internal thing. They're not denying reality like the faithful theist, they are simply unconcerned with it, to a large degree. And this does, apparently, make them happy.

So I do kind of see what you're getting at. If these people have indeed found a way to be happy without understanding reality, and happy with accepting the pitfalls that come their way as a result of their ignorance, then under what basis can I say they have a bad culture? Knowledge is not an end in and of itself. Happiness and the avoidance of suffering is. It just so happens that knowledge is an excellent tool to achieve those ends. If someone found another way to be happy and avoid suffering, well... good for them.

That all being said, I also happen to care what's true. Knowing things, and knowing that I have a solid basis for that belief, makes me happy. And further more, while happiness is subjective, truth is not. So while these people may or may not be more happy than I, they are still wrong. And I wouldn't want to be as wrong and uncaring about the world as they are. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, but only if you don't know it.

So you are right, to some degree. However, I would like it clarified that, one, I don't know for certain whether or not these people are happier than I, or if their beliefs don't lead them into self-detrimental actions. And two, this is an unusual case, and the religions I tend to rail against do NOT fit this schema, as their beliefs can, in the end, actually cause suffering.
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06-10-2011, 01:37 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2011 01:53 PM by mysticjbyrd.)
RE: Questioning an Assumption
Quote:Evidence has value, but is its value so great that other ways of knowing and believing are utterly devalued because of it? Does eliminating those ways and replacing them with evidence-based belief make life better? Is it better? If so, is there any evidence to support that notion?

Yes, that is common sense.

Evidence tells me that if I put my hand in fire, it gets burned, so I do not do it.
Another person has faith that fire is not hot and sticks his hand in it...despite what is faith tells him, his hand now has 3rd degree burns. That is called reality.

Everything known in the universe has a natural cause. Evidence lets us understand the universe.
On the other hand, faith does not explain ANYTHING at any level.
As long as we live in a natural world, evidence will always be superior to faith.


Lets try a more realistic example,
A stranger in a robe comes up and asks to give my son/daughter some special lectures. Based on evidence, I tell him to go the hell away.

A robed man ask the same question of a man of faith, and of course he hands his kid over. Well, it turns out the man in the robe is a catholic priest.

Logic and reasoning couple with evidence tells us not to hand our kids over to a sexually repressed male stranger.
Faith tells them to do the exact opposite. He is a man of god, he is a step from saint hood, thus my children will be in good hands.


You can name countless of stupid things people do because they are GUIDED by faith, rather than evidence.
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06-10-2011, 03:26 PM
RE: Questioning an Assumption
I have been busy and not been on the forum for a while so I just saw this post for the first time today.

My answer will seem simplistic because I imagine that I'm a very simple person. I assume that the only way I can accurately judge truth verses untruth is by examining evidence.

I realize I could be a brain in a jar and that no evidence I think I have is necessarily real. But what alternative have I? If I cannot test my reality based on evidence (and at least think I have truth) then what point is there to truth? I suppose I will argue from ignorance, if we cannot discern truth through examination of evidence then what other method can we use?

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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