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Huh. Via utforsker. Equally offensive to mainstream Monotheists and Pagans. Yet possessed of a very discomfiting bit of truth. Thoughts, anyone?

Also, today is the 7-year anniversary of my first day working at this organization. Why does this make me queasy?

Some people get motion-sick; I get inertia-sick.

Comments

_blackjack_
Feb. 24th, 2005 05:40 am (UTC)
Re: I ramble for too long
It really depends upon what "the likelihood of a proposition" is all about. When you're talking about making a judgement on something -- specifically a moral judgement (to a smaller degree, you could also be talking about an ethical judgement, I think, but moral judgements are what I'm addressing) -- it's necessarily subjective.

I'm not talking about moral judgments. I'm talking about matters of fact. At issue here is the tendency for people to rely on non-empirical, laregly emotional criteria like "faith" for knowlege of matters of external, material fact.

I'm really not sure that if you're looking for, say, the odds that a chemical reaction will have outcome X, or a coin will come up tails, or the explanation for why peas breed in certain ways has anything to do with faith, except in the weak sense of having or not having faith in a hypothesis.

Hypotheses don't require faith; they can be tested. At best, they require trust that the laws of physics will continue to function as they have for recorded history, which is a safe bet, as such things go.

Faith often makes people feel better -- or worse.

My pet hamster makes me feel better, but I recognize that my relationship with "Barfly the Hamster" essentially exists only in my brain. I don't for a moment believe that this pleasant fiction has an effect on the laws of physics or causality, or that it has any reity-in-itself.

Isn't that information, an effect on the material world?

The behaviors carry information; the ideas themselves do not. Now, some of these ideas may be the result of specific neurochemical states that could be measured and predicted, but the existance of a state of mammalian biological social-bonding does not make "love" an external res. Someone's brain may be wred to find the idea "there is a god" to be pleasing, but that idea has no predictive capacity in the material world. It tells the person nothing about the external universe.

I think many Deists would argue that rather than a folly, theistic non-interaction is Deism's greatest strength as a rational faith.

Only rational insofar as it doesn't violate logic. It is, however, a USELESS faith, in that the Deists' god is for all practical purposes the same as no god at all. It's like ordering a BLT, hold the bacon, lettuce, tomato and bread.

2. Who sez? By what means was this brought to my attention? Is the reporter credible?

Begging the question. You can't decide whether the reporter is credible without first defining the nature of credibility, which is what I was attempting to get you to do. How would you go about evaluating the following proposition given NO context:

"There exists a unicorn, which is pink, which is invisible, and which is under a desk."
chadu
Feb. 24th, 2005 07:16 am (UTC)
Re: I ramble for too long
I'm not talking about moral judgments. I'm talking about matters of fact. At issue here is the tendency for people to rely on non-empirical, laregly emotional criteria like "faith" for knowlege of matters of external, material fact.

Then I believe we're talking at cross-purposes here, because that's the end of the pool I was splashing in.

If you think I've been defending "the Grand Canyon was carved by the Deluge," then one of us is high.

My pet hamster makes me feel better, but I recognize that my relationship with "Barfly the Hamster" essentially exists only in my brain. I don't for a moment believe that this pleasant fiction has an effect on the laws of physics or causality, or that it has any reity-in-itself.

Do you feel I've been arguing the opposite? That a "pleasant fiction" has an effect on physics or causality?

It tells the person nothing about the external universe.

Fair enough. But it certainly helps many people live in it. . . and interferes with other people's ability to live in it.

It is, however, a USELESS faith, in that the Deists' god is for all practical purposes the same as no god at all.

No, it's quite useful. It explains "How did this all come to be?" in a way that satifies their need to believe and their observations of the world around them.

Actually, and correct me if I'm wrong, you seem to be arguing from a point that all faiths are a priori useless. Do you see the existence of (or the potential existence of) a useful faith?

You can't decide whether the reporter is credible without first defining the nature of credibility, which is what I was attempting to get you to do.

I'd say that credibility is based on past and current observances, plus any emotional responses stirred up by those observances, plus any standard operating procedures one follows (faith that all people are generally good, bad, self-interested, whichever). Thus, someone may have lied to me every time I've met them in the past, but then say something to me that I believe is true (based on what I'm currently perceiving and how I emotionally react to the person, the situation, and what is said).

How would you go about evaluating the following proposition given NO context: "There exists a unicorn, which is pink, which is invisible, and which is under a desk."

Given no context, it very well may be true. The person could be telling a fictional story or a dream (where for the purposes of the story, the statement is true); the person could be describing a game or other entertainment (where within the gamespace the IPU actually exists), the person could be lying, the person could be deranged, the person could be telling the absolute factual truth.

Without context, there's no way to tell, factually, since evidence relies on context.

So, absent absolutely all context (including if this occurence happened in external reality at all), I'd have to rely on my personal feelings and knowledge about the statement, as well as any assumptions I choose to make.

If I choose to believe the statement refers to a videogame, I feel an IPU could exist in such a state, therefore I believe that the statement is perfectly true.

If I choose to believe the statement refers to factual, external reality, I feel an IPU doesn't exist in such a state, therefore I believe that the statement is false.

If I choose to believe the statement is a parable or metaphor, I feel an IPU does exist in such a state, therefore I believe that the statement is true.

However, I'd like also to point out that this is a different question than if I personally experience meeting an IPU under a desk. That opens up a whole 'nother can of worms (though along the lines discussed above).

CU

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