Do not believe or act as if you believe.....

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wise acre, May 11, 2009.

  1. wise acre Registered Senior Member

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    unless the belief is supported by current authorities (science, your church, etc.)

    I would like to make a quick case for saying this is counterproductive.

    1) I think it is fine to explore beliefs that are not CONTRADICTED by current authorities. In fact, within science at least, this is part of advancement.

    Let's take meditation. Go back 100 years and some Americans probably came in contact with some Eastern ideas about meditation. They got the impression or were told that meditating might alleviate what we might call stress or otherwise improve the quality of life. This idea may not have cohered especially well with current science, but I do not think it direcly contradicted any. So the curious or intuitively drawn explored meditation and some found some positive effects.

    Decades later Western Science found that, in fact, meditation does seem to promote 'well being' in significant numbers of practitioners, even those trying simply as study subjects.

    It was not wrong of those people to explore a belief or practice that was not supported by current science.

    Now a stronger claim on my part.....

    2) I think it is fine to explore beliefs (or act as if one believes) contradict current science. Because in some cases this contradiction is only apparent.

    People noticing effects that seemed to support Lamarkian evolutionary ideas could have not investigated further, not wanting to be accused of being silly. But then the effects of epigenetics - processes that can seem Lamarkist, but are not - might not have been found out so quickly.

    I am sure there are other examples where scientists explored a hypothesis that seemed to contradict some current science. There have even been very uneasy periods when their research seemed to contradict current ideas - the particle wave issue, some quantum effects - and integration was a struggle.

    Later apparent contradictions could be placed in context.


    When it comes to individuals and beliefs, I often get the impression that when presented with a new idea - or starting to consider an insight one made oneself - the person SHOULD
    check immediately with authority - church, current scientific theory.

    If the idea/practice seems to contradict - or be based on ideas that contradict (or seem to!) current science or the church on is in

    time to cast it away.

    Likewise if the idea is not supported.

    The idea of exploring the ideas and seeing what happens is seen as, by definition somehow, irrational.

    Even though church founders - the Buddha, Jesus..... - and scientists explored these kinds of potentially contradicted things themselves, often what is now considered by authorities to be our great benefit.

    And how much time is one allowed to explore something before one must be considered irrational?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    It is your church. Not just any authority, but your church.

    If you don't consider your church to be an authority, then what are you doing calling it 'your church'?


    If you don't subscribe to any authority, if you don't acknowledge anyone or anything as your authority, then 'exploring new ideas' surely makes sense, is rational, possibly productive.

    But if you do subscribe to an authority, if you acknowledge someone or something as your authority, then 'exploring new ideas' may be counterproductive indeed, irrational; and you also will not reap the benefits promised to you if you followed your authority.

    IOW, you either believe that an alleged authority is worth it to be considered an authority; or you don't.

    You either believe that an alleged authority can give you good and sufficient guidance and that you do not have to look elsewhere - or you don't.
     
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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  7. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    Science rarely advances without someone saying "NO!" to the establishment, or at the very least encountering resistance.
    Many great advances were ridiculed by consensus science (or anti-science, in some cases) before people came to the realisation that the ridiculous idea was nothing of the kind.

    Many books have been written concerning this subject, appropriately called science philosophy. It's a very interesting study.

    That is hard to tell. A quick and dirty way to determine whether your hypothesis or theory is worth devoting time to would all depend on evidence, if any, and quantity and quality. Blind assumption based on nothing at all is not really a good idea.

    It is unfortunate that institutions of scientific orthodoxy often are oblivious to the fact their opposition has been in error, except in hindsight. How exactly does it happen?
    Perhaps much can be laid on ego and pride. People don't want to admit that something they've devoted much time and maybe money to studying and putting into practice (or teaching to others) is either flawed or incomplete. And being an outspoken critic of an unpopular theory that later turns out to be a good idea could only make things worse; being a leader of the opposition to advancement is liable to be something like being tarred and feathered after the fact.
    And of course, the exact opposite can be true, as well.

    Someone once made a remark along the lines of "the unpopular idea often only comes to prominence as the opposition dies off." Paraphrased...
    :shrug:
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  8. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Depends upon what the subject matter is about. Take as an example God. They still are discussing about an invisible being that controlls everything but scientists have yet to find any facts supporting the claim. Yet people still want to think God exists!
     
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Most people believe that everything happens for a reason. Its why scientists believe in cause and effect.
     
  10. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    By that I mean that people can lose face by embracing an alternate theory which turns out to be wrong.
     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    One of the errors that people who purport to support science make is that they believe science provides evidence for. It doesn't. It only falsifies or does not falsify a hypothesis. There is no truth value to science.
     
  12. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    Is this a response to the question about God and science?

    Well, you can start with the origin of the universe and the mysteries of it as at least a hint of something higher which cannot be explained and could be attributable to an act by a higher power.
    Or you could look at personal accounts of life after death, reincarnation, ghosts and spirits, as anecdotal evidence of a higher form of existence, which again could be attributable to a higher power.

    I think it depends on what you view as evidence, though a person's witnessing something is evidence, no matter what anyone wants to say. What is debatable is the quality and quantity of that evidence. You can have one or two accounts, or you can have thousands. The more there are, the more can be determined about something.

    Not having discovered a thing doesn't mean it WON'T be discovered.
     
  13. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose you are technically right, though I think this may be a little strong for everyday purposes.
    Maybe not?

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  14. sniffy Banned Banned

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    So if you are testing my turd for signs of bowel cancer are you saying that I should dismiss the results you present me with as untrue?
     
  15. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    Would she really want to do that? :bugeye:

    Assays, which is I guess what you would call such a test, are not always perfect. False positives happen, and tests can also miss something that is indeed there. They are generally accepted as accurate in most cases (often second confirmatory tests or analyses are required), but they are not perfect.
    Science, and medicine in particular, uses the tools and methods which are deemed best and most appropriate at that time (hopefully!), but "best treatment" today may be "second best treatment" tomorrow. Or may cease to be treatment at all.

    I think what she is getting at is that science generally can't prove anything absolutely, it can only disprove flawed ideas. Science is ever changing, not static and immovable. What is the absolute truth for centuries isn't necessarily the absolute truth tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  16. Sputnik Banned Banned

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    No, when the doctors get the hypothesis of you having a bowel cancer from your turd .... and an MR-scan shows a tumor .... and a biopsy from the tumor show it is a tumor .... then the hypothesis is not falsified .........

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    And when you die from the tumor, then it is still not proven to be a tumor........ :bawl:

    Luckily doctors think otherwise , and react as if it was proven to be a tumor , in their endless (lifesaving) naivity ......

    And 2+2 might not be 4 .......

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  17. sniffy Banned Banned

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    Why yes I think maybe she would....

    You what? Have I or have I not got bowel cancer? Yes or no? This is what I'd be asking the scientists because if I ask god the same question I probably won't get an answer any time soon.

    I know what she's getting at.

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    Anyway, cancer in my bowel as evidenced by my turd? Yes or no? True or false as determined by science?
     
  18. sniffy Banned Banned

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    You are not allowed to answer this hypothetical question....

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  19. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I saw a magic act where others, millions, saw a magicican cut a women in half! Would that mean that he actually cut her in half or was only a trick?
     
  20. wise acre Registered Senior Member

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    It's a good argument, but it does not hold for science. I need to start there. In science you are allowed to explore areas - barring contingent bosses, organizations, funders, etc. - even if it seems to contradict current science and certainly if it is not supported by current theory.

    As far as church or religious authority, you are correct if you keep that in absolute terms. But if you see my post as working on a transition point where one takes on a more flexible relation to that authority, I still think one is free to explore. And every religions or denomination under it is based on ideas made by someone who diverged from tradition and explored.

    EDit: and as you say it is YOUR church. And while many churches think this means you are theirs, the fact is that here the possessive pronoun is aimed at the church. You have decided that it has authority. This shows a great trust in yourself to decide. That same trust in yourself should allow you to explore things that seem of potential value to it. I realize many churches and members do not agree, but I am not in their churches and I see them being responsible for whom and what they give authority to. If they can give it to a priest, they can give it to something else. It is theirs to give. If they had skill to give it in one place, they have skill to give it elsewhere. If not, I am not sure why they trust their decision to give away so much power.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  21. wise acre Registered Senior Member

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    and people should lose face for following a mainstream theory that turned out to be wrong. But people think this relieves them of responsibility. People who, for example, thought there were problems with mercury fillings were for a long time going against mainstream dentistry and even science. Those who considered those people idiots for following alternative practices - removal of mercury fillings or the use of ceramic fillings - are now well supported for their practices.
     
  22. wise acre Registered Senior Member

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    So you think that on that issue we probably have whatever technology necessary to have resolved the issue and people should stop exploring that one. But what is your general rule?
     
  23. wise acre Registered Senior Member

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    Do you think people were in error when they had concerns about mercury fillings even though they were assured, for decades, that there was no danger? Should they have simply accepted that? Can it be rational, both for researchers and patients, in this instance, to explore other options, long before mainstream science notices that they may be on to something?
     

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