Why do you desire truth?
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13-05-2017, 06:45 AM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(12-05-2017 07:41 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  In the specific example of religion, we know that religion often has useful (in a Darwinian sense) contributions that it makes on a tribal species level, in giving a uniform set of behavioral expectations and a sense of unified purpose that may give them an edge over less-homogeneous groups.

That is true, but it is that uniform set of behaviors and purpose that conveys the advantage. I would hold that replacing the central pillar of woo that it is woven around by a reasoned understanding of those advantages would accomplish the same thing without need for the fantasy. I see the false beliefs as ultimately limiting because wherever they do not match closely enough with reality they will inspire behavior that is counter-productive.

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13-05-2017, 06:48 AM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(12-05-2017 05:13 PM)Cosmo Wrote:  I agree with the point you were trying to make Tom. Biologically, deception can be just as valuable to survival as truth. Smile

Deception can be advantageous to the deceiver but not so much to the deceived. The question of whether it might be beneficial to make others believe something that is false is quite different from whether it is beneficial to avoid believing false things yourself.

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13-05-2017, 06:51 AM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(13-05-2017 06:45 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(12-05-2017 07:41 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  In the specific example of religion, we know that religion often has useful (in a Darwinian sense) contributions that it makes on a tribal species level, in giving a uniform set of behavioral expectations and a sense of unified purpose that may give them an edge over less-homogeneous groups.

That is true, but it is that uniform set of behaviors and purpose that conveys the advantage. I would hold that replacing the central pillar of woo that it is woven around by a reasoned understanding of those advantages would accomplish the same thing without need for the fantasy. I see the false beliefs as ultimately limiting because wherever they do not match closely enough with reality they will inspire behavior that is counter-productive.

And I would argue counter to that. In terms of imbuing your tribe with a common purpose, reasoned understanding requires intelligence on the part of all tribe members. While you are holding your democratic assembly persuading your fellow citizens of the necessity of war, Philip of Macedon invades via the back door. (Admittedly Philip of Macedon was also not helluva religious IIRC but he was a despot).

Religion is too big of a lever for a political leader to ignore, and it works better than rationality IMO for some purposes. I want to destroy that lever, I think it represents a clear and present danger to modern society.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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13-05-2017, 07:07 AM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(13-05-2017 06:51 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(13-05-2017 06:45 AM)unfogged Wrote:  That is true, but it is that uniform set of behaviors and purpose that conveys the advantage. I would hold that replacing the central pillar of woo that it is woven around by a reasoned understanding of those advantages would accomplish the same thing without need for the fantasy. I see the false beliefs as ultimately limiting because wherever they do not match closely enough with reality they will inspire behavior that is counter-productive.

And I would argue counter to that. In terms of imbuing your tribe with a common purpose, reasoned understanding requires intelligence on the part of all tribe members. While you are holding your democratic assembly persuading your fellow citizens of the necessity of war, Philip of Macedon invades via the back door. (Admittedly Philip of Macedon was also not helluva religious IIRC but he was a despot).

Religion is too big of a lever for a political leader to ignore, and it works better than rationality IMO for some purposes. I want to destroy that lever, I think it represents a clear and present danger to modern society.

I was not trying to say that religion wasn't a useful tool or that it isn't much easier to leverage religion than it is to leverage reason. I was only saying that the benefits of religion in terms of social cohesiveness don't themselves require religion so any argument that we need religion based on that is fallacious.

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14-05-2017, 11:16 AM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(13-05-2017 04:50 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I watched the TED video. The lecturer Donald Hoffman made sense until the end, when he jumped to all sorts of unsupported conclusions.

Yes, he kind of goes off the rails at the end.

(13-05-2017 04:50 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Yes, our perceptions of the world are constructed. Yes, we process the constructed information by symbol manipulation. Yes, we are cuing from reality for our own selective purposes.

That still doesn't mean our admittedly partial information doesn't come from reality itself. Nor does it mean our brains are not causal.

I don't know what you mean by 'causal' here. If you mean that our brains are caused by truths in reality rather than mere signs of fitness, then no it doesn't necessarily imply that our brains aren't at some level partially causal. They may be. But the point of his experiments is that evolution wouldn't select for those traits, so they would have to be explained. Your simply declaring them is hardly an argument.

(13-05-2017 04:50 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  In fact it means the reverse. The reason our brains are causal is exactly because they are selective. We introduce our own selective purposes into the world to change the world in ways that benefit us.

I don't know what you mean here. Causal? Selective? It sounds like you're using your own private language. Regardless, you're not so much arguing the case here as doubling down on the assertion that our brains pick out features of reality. Whether that is true or not is not evident from your argument.

Two questions appeal to me from the subject of the video.

First, is this non-reality type of brain construct primarily true of super stimuli like snakes, and spiders, and sex, or is it more generally true of all the stimulii that we process. In other words do our cognitions reflect reality more the less loaded the stimulus is?

In particular, in the experiments that he ran, he introduced a distinction between reality preserving traits and fitness preserving traits. The question to my mind would be whether such a distinction itself is realistic. Can you separate out truth bearing properties from fitness bearing properties? Much of the argument in this thread has been that they are one and the same. What if they are different, as the video holds? Would our past have any reason then to select for a 'causal' mind then?
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14-05-2017, 12:11 PM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2017 12:17 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(14-05-2017 11:16 AM)big green mouth Wrote:  I don't know what you mean here. Causal? Selective? It sounds like you're using your own private language. Regardless, you're not so much arguing the case here as doubling down on the assertion that our brains pick out features of reality. Whether that is true or not is not evident from your argument.

Our perceptions of reality are always selective in accordance with our interests, and couldn't be otherwise since the details we are surrounded by are always overwhelming of our processing abilities. Animals' interests are almost always in accordance with survival, energy conservation, and procreation. The exceptions, of course, are humans, who have the luxury and mental capacities to pursue all sorts of aspirational interests, including the pursuit of truths beyond our immediate material interests. Since I can fulfill my material interests in so many and varied ways, I can choose between the ways, and even the extent to which, I pursue them. At a point, understanding the world at large is adaptive culturally, even if unnecessary for the basics physically.

So yes, I am speaking my own language because this is the way I actually think.
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15-05-2017, 08:25 PM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(13-05-2017 07:07 AM)unfogged Wrote:  I was not trying to say that religion wasn't a useful tool or that it isn't much easier to leverage religion than it is to leverage reason. I was only saying that the benefits of religion in terms of social cohesiveness don't themselves require religion so any argument that we need religion based on that is fallacious.

In terms of survival any variety of human aims, a belief is only as important as it's ability to drive behavior, to be motivating force for actions that are conducive to the aim in question.

Reason might lead you to some fact of reality, but if the fact doesn't produce the necessary actions, you're dead. Many of us may know about the importance of a healthy diet, and exercise, but the facts alone for us here are unable to motivate many of us to live healthy lives.

It's power of any particular belief, true or false, to motivate us that matters. A true belief might not be expedient, might be neutral in terms of producing the necessary actions, or maybe even counter productive. In fact, those that often are in the position of motivating individuals, less often appealing to what true, and more often appealing to values, such as telling soldiers they're fighting for freedom and democracy, and not for economic reasons, etc...

In fact if as you say falsehoods are counterproductive, you'd think evolution might not have selected for brains that are not just easily misled, but reluctant to be convinced otherwise.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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15-05-2017, 11:07 PM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(15-05-2017 08:25 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In terms of survival any variety of human aims, a belief is only as important as it's ability to drive behavior, to be motivating force for actions that are conducive to the aim in question.

Utilitarianism is a slippery slope, Tomato.
We get you're down to trying to justify your nonsense by it's usefulness.
Some day when you get yourself a real degree, and they require Ethics and Philosophy, you may find out what's wrong with Utilitarianism.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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15-05-2017, 11:38 PM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(15-05-2017 11:07 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 08:25 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In terms of survival any variety of human aims, a belief is only as important as it's ability to drive behavior, to be motivating force for actions that are conducive to the aim in question.

Utilitarianism is a slippery slope, Tomato.
We get you're down to trying to justify your nonsense by it's usefulness.
Some day when you get yourself a real degree, and they require Ethics and Philosophy, you may find out what's wrong with Utilitarianism.

Well ya know, go down that road far enough you start writing papers about how to solve the Jewish problem. Dodgy

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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16-05-2017, 06:18 AM
RE: Why do you desire truth?
(13-05-2017 07:07 AM)unfogged Wrote:  I was not trying to say that religion wasn't a useful tool or that it isn't much easier to leverage religion than it is to leverage reason. I was only saying that the benefits of religion in terms of social cohesiveness don't themselves require religion so any argument that we need religion based on that is fallacious.

That's arguable as well, a variety of religious beliefs might be quite important for certain groups social cohesiveness, and alternative secular beliefs might not have worked as well.

Perhaps some groups respond quite well, to beliefs in eternal values, that universe has a moral arc and purpose, that their partaking in some divine purpose. Where secular, localized alternative beliefs, might lack a similar potency.

We might even be able to say that declines in religion, and diminishing social cohesion go hand in hand. That non-religion favor the more individualistic, than those reliant on communities, and their cohesion.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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