Reason, Or Ideology?
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21-12-2014, 11:52 AM (This post was last modified: 21-12-2014 12:07 PM by Peebothuhul.)
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
At work.

The above post is not about science and the poster has moved to using the word knowledge.

Big Grin

Much cheers to all.
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21-12-2014, 06:44 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(21-12-2014 11:52 AM)Peebothuhul Wrote:  At work.

The above post is not about science and the poster has moved to using the word knowledge.

Big Grin

Much cheers to all.

To be fair, the thread was originally about knowledge and/or belief, and how we arrive at it. It was never specifically about science. Science is one method of acquiring knowledge (and a very good one), but perhaps not the only one. In any event, the OP was not the one who brought science into the discussion, so I would say he is free to discuss knowledge/belief without reference to science.
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21-12-2014, 06:54 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(17-12-2014 06:09 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
(17-12-2014 05:57 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  But it seems silly to believe that there are Gods unless and until I have evidence of same. I don't see this as being presuppositional in any way.

What may be presuppositional (still haven't mastered this word) is what your disbelief is built upon, a theory that human reason is qualified to deliver meaningful answers on this particular question.

My disbelief is not really "built upon" anything. It's more of a negative thing than a positive thing; more of a passive thing than an active thing. As I've said previously, I don't claim to know that God doesn't exist. I just have no reason to believe that he/she/it does exist. This isn't really about reason or science or any specific method of acquiring knowledge/belief. I have not acquired a belief in God by any method. This is not to say it couldn't possibly happen. But it hasn't happened so far.

Note: I am using the word "reason" in two different ways in the two sentences in which I use it..
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21-12-2014, 07:03 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
I'm not attempting to control the conversation, which is free to go where it will, but for the record my original intent was to discuss our relationship with what we think we know. Along the way I've learned I need to upgrade the labels I've been trying to use to address these issues.

Some atheists/theists really are open minded and sincere in their inquiry, and would gladly edit their views in the face of new information and analysis. To me, this is a reasoning process. The loyalty is to the inquiry, and not to any particular position. The goal here is to advance understanding.

Other atheists/theists are dug in around a particular point of view, and put all their energy in to promoting and defending that point of view. In this case the loyalty is not to a real inquiry, but to whatever conclusion the poster has already arrived at. In this case the goal is to win a debate.

A confusion I see is that many folks, especially on forums perhaps, think they are doing reason because they are using logical arguments to promote and defend their fixed position. To me, to the degree one is locked in to any position, one is not really doing reason.

A further confusion to muddle the picture is that many posters will claim to be open to new information and analysis and may even sincerely believe they are, but a common sense observation of their actions reveals they are putting every single inch of their time, ability and energy in to promoting and defending a fixed position. The claim to be open minded seems more just another tactic in defense of their belief fortress.

To me, the real dividing line is not between theists and atheists, but between reasonable people on all sides who are sincerely interested in an inquiry, and the dogmatic fundamentalists on all sides whose only real goal is to win a contest with somebody else.
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21-12-2014, 07:11 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Quote:My disbelief is not really "built upon" anything.

This is a very common misunderstanding. Every belief and disbelief is built upon something. If we don't know what that something is, and haven't challenged that something, then we are not just believers/disbelievers, but blind believers/disbelievers

Quote: It's more of a negative thing than a positive thing; more of a passive thing than an active thing.

It is an active belief in the power of human reason to meaningfully address the questions at hand, just as the religious person actively believes their holy book is so qualified.

Your comment is really important imho, as it illustrates how deep our faith in human reason can be. It can be so deep we don't even realize it is faith, as we take the power of reason to address these issue as an obvious given. It's still faith, but more dangerous, a blind unexamined faith.

Quote:I just have no reason to believe that he/she/it does exist.

Yes, you have no reason to believe. You've examined the question using reason, and reason says "no proof of god" and so you disbelieve. But you haven't challenged your own chosen authority, reason.

Quote:I have not acquired a belief in God by any method. This is not to say it couldn't possibly happen. But it hasn't happened so far.

Fair enough. I hope it's clear to readers by this point that I'm not selling gods, but reason. And reason requires that we don't accept the qualifications of any chosen authority blindly, including reason itself.

If one is not challenging reason, one is not doing reason.
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21-12-2014, 07:20 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
Just a few observations here, not necessarily as a specific response to anything:

1. Yes, there are probably dogmatic atheists (on this forum as well as in general) as well as dogmatic theists, but good luck getting anyone on either side to admit to that. People always think that their "reasons for believing" are reasonable.

2. It has been suggested that human reason is (or may be) inadequate for arriving at knowledge about God. But what else is there? Revelation? Intuition? Meditation? I would suggest that these are all notoriously unreliable. Human reason (allied with observation and, when necessary, experiment -- basically the scientific method) may be the only reliable method (for humans) of acquiring knowledge. If it's not adequate for obtaining knowledge about God, I humbly submit that such knowledge may be unobtainable by humans.
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21-12-2014, 07:31 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(21-12-2014 07:11 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
Quote:I just have no reason to believe that he/she/it [God] does exist.

Yes, you have no reason to believe. You've examined the question using reason, and reason says "no proof of god" and so you disbelieve. But you haven't challenged your own chosen authority, reason.

Note that I specifically said I was using "reason" in a different way in this sentence. Someone's "reason" for believing in God could be that they read about him in the Bible, or that he spoke to them in a dream, or that he literally appeared to them. These are all distinct from "examining the question using reason". I actually have examined the question using reason, but I am (at least in theory) open to being convinced by something else. As I said, this hasn't happened yet. Therefore, I have no "reason" to believe. Any time someone believes something, they have a "reason" for believing it, whether or not that involves the use of human reason.

Quote:
Quote:I have not acquired a belief in God by any method. This is not to say it couldn't possibly happen. But it hasn't happened so far.

Fair enough. I hope it's clear to readers by this point that I'm not selling gods, but reason. And reason requires that we don't accept the qualifications of any chosen authority blindly, including reason itself.

If one is not challenging reason, one is not doing reason.

Believe it or not, I do challenge reason. In particular, I don't claim that it is infallible. It can and does lead us astray, especially when used abstractly (without the aid of observation and experiment). But observations aren't infallible either -- our senses can and do deceive us. Sometimes I question whether we are really capable of "knowing" anything at all. But as I said in my last post, reason is more reliable than any other method. It ain't perfect, but what else have you got?
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21-12-2014, 09:09 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(21-12-2014 11:43 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
(21-12-2014 11:35 AM)Paleophyte Wrote:  Assuming for the sake of discussion that it is not a good thing, what do you suggest as an alternative

We have learned that a more is better relationship with food sooner or later transforms from a good thing in to a bad thing.

Your analogy breaks down quickly if you aren't careful here.

"More = better" problems have been aptly demonstrated with information. Courtesy of the internet we have easy access to information on just about everything and as a result we have crime "epidemics", cancer "epidemics", autism "epidemics" and "epidemics" of just about anything you care to worry about. More data is not necessarily better as any decent scientist can tell you. One of the hallmarks of good experimental design is that it provides the information necessary to answer the question without cluttering your desk or blowing your research budget.

If information is analogous to food then knowledge would be more aptly represented compared to nutrition. Given the dismal states of even the industrialized nations we are nowhere near providing most people with too much knowledge. If anything, the opposite is true. Most of our worst politicians have been elected because too many people had too little knowledge and made knee-jerk voting choices.

(21-12-2014 11:43 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  As an alternative, I suggest we start learning that about knowledge as well. More does not automatically equal better.

I'm having a difficult time seeing an instance where that is true. Let's look at a fairly cut and dried example: nuclear weapons.
  • We do limit certain types of knowledge regarding the specifics of nuclear weapons in an attempt to prevent DIY. However, these limits are imposed because we have knowledge about how truly horrible the consequences could be if somebody like Timothy McVeigh could whip up a nuke in his garage. Moreover, the restrictions imposed are more or less specific to the manufacture of nuclear weapons and don't impede any other avenues of interest. Your average researcher doesn't know or care what types of alloy make the best thermal centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
  • Assuming for the moment that we accept the broader restriction of knowledge to prevent the knowledge of nuclear weapons completely you're dealing with a much bigger and thornier problem. It's insufficient to stop the test at Alamogordo, you have to prevent the entire Manhattan Project. Even that isn't enough, since you need to stop the underpinnings discovered by Fermi and Einstein. You have to keep E=mc2 from ever being discovered which means stalling large branches of physics in the late 19th century. Now you face a true dilemma in that you don't know what knowledge will be dangerous until after it's been uncovered. Atomic weapons aren't an obvious danger until after Hiroshima by which point you have to somehow undo half a century of scientific discovery.
  • Assuming once again that we're willing to accept what's rapidly becoming a pretty draconian system, who do we trust to make up the make up the lists of forbidden knowledge and ensure that they're enforced? The scientists? Never going to happen. The politicians? They're nearly the last people who should have that power. Religion? The only possible candidates worse than the politicians and they've tried and failed long ago. Inevitably you'll get somebody who'll do the research covertly for profit or under the guise of national security. After all that all you've managed to do is deliver the most dangerous forms of knowledge into the least trustworthy hands. The ones with no oversight and few morals. The first that anybody knows that there's even a problem is when a few capitols vanish as mushroom clouds and now we can't even understand the problem because of fifty years of missing knowledge. All hail the new Overlords.
Honestly, I don't see this not degenerating into an Orwellian nightmare.

Quote:Just as it took a great deal of effort to expand knowledge, it will likely also be a big challenge to learn how to limit knowledge.

I doubt that you could even if you should.

Quote:We won't make much progress on that so long as we are still blindly plowing forward with the "more = better" philosophy. A change will start with the first step of realizing more does not automatically equal better.

Actually, the first step will be in demonstrating that the problem is one of too much knowledge rather than too much ignorance.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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21-12-2014, 09:54 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(21-12-2014 09:04 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
Quote:Rational people do not have faith in reason, we have evidence that it works.

Now you're getting to the heart of it. Yes, reason works for very many things, this is true beyond all doubt.

That fact does not automatically equal reason being qualified for EVERYTHING.

Quote:We have evidence that the scientific method works - no faith is required.

Define "works".

Science has given us tools which now allow us to erase everything humans have created over the last 10,000 years in about 30 minutes. Science works?

Science has allowed us to change the climate in ways which may spin completely out of control and end civilization in the life times of those now young. Science works?

Science has given us the ability to explode both human populations AND human expectations (multiply one by the other) in ways that are totally unsustainable and that will inevitably lead to huge disappointments and crisis of epic proportions. Science works?

And this is only the beginning. Accelerating knowledge development in fields such as artificial intelligence, nano-technology, genetic engineering, and hundreds of other fields will unleash all kinds of unpredictable lethal dangers out of Pandora's Box. Nobody has a clue what will actually happen.

If, as is reasonable to predict, the fruits of science lead to the collapse of civilization, will we still be able to say that "science works"?

Your blind unexamined faith in science is a by-product of your blind unexamined faith in human reason. It is not all proven that the path we are on is leading to something that "works". You believe that on faith.

Stop chanting the memorized group consensus. Think for yourself. Challenge everything. Investigate everything. Kick every tire, turn over every box, and see what's really inside for yourself.

THAT is reason.

How is that rant at all responsive to what I wrote? Where did I assert any ogf what you are decrying?

Get a grip.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-12-2014, 09:58 PM
RE: Reason, Or Ideology?
(21-12-2014 11:13 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
(21-12-2014 10:06 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Faith provides nothing.

Faith, your faith in science, never ending knowledge development, and what you call "progress", provides you with a sense of comfort that things are headed in generally the right direction, a feeling you have a future you can look forward to.

It's the very same process that unfolds in theists as they create a trusted authority called "god" and a happy future they call "heaven".

We do not have faith in science, but you keep repeating that to comfort yourself in your ignorance.
The processes of science and faith are in no way similar.

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