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Epistemic responsibility

Skepticalone
Posts: 6,093
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6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford

Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?

I welcome your thoughts and discussion.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
nothead
Posts: 371
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6/18/2016 7:10:00 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford

Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?

I welcome your thoughts and discussion.



Depends upon what you mean by EVIDENCE, sir.
skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,862
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6/18/2016 7:34:42 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford
Could you put up a link where he proves this claim with evidence? Thanks ur a peach...lol

Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?
When you can show a belief is what actually harms someone let me know. Until then lets focus on the bombs and guns and the bullets. You know, all the things science has contributed to making hurting others more convenient and efficient. Lol
I welcome your thoughts and discussion.

Cryo
Posts: 202
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6/18/2016 8:24:33 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
I don't know if I would say it was wrong. I mean, the belief itself could be factually wrong, but is the actual state of holding a belief with insufficient evidence morally wrong? I don't think so. Foolish perhaps, uninformed or misinformed, but I wouldn't say a person was right or wrong.

I would only apply right and wrong once the person took action based on that belief.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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6/18/2016 1:08:29 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?

Skep, thank you for the interesting video link, and also this great question. here are my initial thoughts.

In a modern world, we routinely rely on the information, knowledge and opinion of others to make decisions. Not all decisions are merely trivial or momentous, but many are significant: they can cost or gain us time, money, opportunity, and shape the futures of our family and children. Decisions about health, education, careers and other life-choices are good examples.

For convenience, let's separate those opinions and information we don't deliver under colour of authority from the ones we do. For our purposes let's define an authority as someone trusted to serve and inform our decision-making -- or else make decisions on our behalf.

All of us act in the role of authorities sometimes: as parents, as teachers, as doctors or lawyers, as local guides for a visiting relative, as counsellors, as the person running a help-desk, or as wait-staff explaining a menu.

In these roles, good intentions aren't enough. We need to be competent, honest, diligent and act in the interests of the person we claim to serve. If we are waiting table, and a customer allergic to nuts wants to know whether there are nuts in the salad, we cannot simply guess. We either have to find out using due diligence, applied competently and honestly -- or admit that we don't know.

It doesn't matter what we believe, or how well-meaning we are when we share it. What matters is our knowledge, which we could define as the accuracy of predictive information delivered within tolerance -- and whether we are honest about how competently and diligently we acquired it.

I think that there's no question that when people are placed in positions of trust, what matters is not what they believe, but what they know after due diligence -- due diligence being the amount needed to cover the risk of being wrong.

There are many cases where people devoted an ideology (let's say a religious ideology, though it needn't be), are so enchanted with how empowered, important and right it makes them feel, that they pay scant care to the ethical responsibilities associated with the risk of being wrong.

Whatever our responsibilities in general, I hold that it's always wrong to claim the authority of knowledge when all one has is only negligently or incompetently-tested conjecture.

Or put it this way: if you didn't want the authority of calling it knowledge, why not call it a conjecture? Else if you want the authority of calling it knowledge, then you are bound to the responsibilities accompanying that.

The areas of religion I think this most affects are the expertise of clergy, and the authority of 'witnessing'.

Depending on faith, clergy assume the authority to instruct others in all manner of significant life-matters for which they are not competent to instruct, whose knowledge they have not diligently investigated, and for which they shirk personal and professional accountability.

Similarly, when the religious 'witness', they aren't claiming conjecture, but knowledge. A witness isn't a guesser -- it's a person who has claimed to see -- observe -- know something.

You don't witness a conjecture, and you certainly shouldn't sell one. A conjecture is only one possible answer to a question that is by definition unresolved.

Any religious 'witnesses' who 'witness' to knowledge they don't actually have and can't say how it was tested, or why the testing was adequate, are dishonest and disrespectful. They may also be deluded, and run a high risk of being cruel and unjust to boot.

This is especially dangerous with kids, because children find it hard to know when parents, teachers and clergy are incompetent, lying or deluded.

I hope that may be useful.
missmedic
Posts: 386
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6/18/2016 2:59:59 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford

Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?

I welcome your thoughts and discussion.


People have slaughtered each other in wars, genocides, inquisitions, crusades, and political actions for centuries and still kill each other over beliefs in ideologies, politics, philosophies, and religion (and usually a combination of several reasons). These belief-systems, when stated as propositions, may appear mystical or genuine to the naive, but when confronted with a testable bases from reason and experiment, they fail miserably. I maintain that faiths (types of beliefs) create more social problems than they solve and the potential dangers from them could threaten the future of humankind.
Knowledge, observation, rational thinking, curiosity, and skepticism trump beliefs every time.
Willows
Posts: 2,034
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6/18/2016 3:19:48 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 2:59:59 PM, missmedic wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford

Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?

I welcome your thoughts and discussion.


People have slaughtered each other in wars, genocides, inquisitions, crusades, and political actions for centuries and still kill each other over beliefs in ideologies, politics, philosophies, and religion (and usually a combination of several reasons). These belief-systems, when stated as propositions, may appear mystical or genuine to the naive, but when confronted with a testable bases from reason and experiment, they fail miserably. I maintain that faiths (types of beliefs) create more social problems than they solve and the potential dangers from them could threaten the future of humankind.
Knowledge, observation, rational thinking, curiosity, and skepticism trump beliefs every time.

I agree completely. Could it be that people of a certain disposition are attracted to a religion in the first place in order to take comfort in or justify their thought processes. Morally wrong? I think so, we owe it to ourselves to be true to ourselves before we can be true to others.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
desmac
Posts: 5,078
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6/18/2016 3:28:49 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.

When someone who calls themselves Spirit and Truth lies about their age, can there be such a thing as truth?
Willows
Posts: 2,034
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6/18/2016 3:36:51 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.
Here we go again....a perfect example of somebody who is so morally corrupt on his belief that what he knows about truth (with a lower case "t") and reality could be written in headline type across a flea's testicles.
SpiritandTruth
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6/18/2016 3:40:14 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:36:51 PM, Willows wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.
Here we go again....a perfect example of somebody who is so morally corrupt on his belief that what he knows about truth (with a lower case "t") and reality could be written in headline type across a flea's testicles.

Why do you spout such vitriol? What is the problem you have with what I'm saying?
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
nothead
Posts: 371
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6/18/2016 3:43:12 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:36:51 PM, Willows wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.
Here we go again....a perfect example of somebody who is so morally corrupt on his belief that what he knows about truth (with a lower case "t") and reality could be written in headline type across a flea's testicles.

Fleas don't have testicles. They have what my wife calls is "nothing there." Whoops.
Willows
Posts: 2,034
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6/18/2016 3:47:44 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:40:14 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:36:51 PM, Willows wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.
Here we go again....a perfect example of somebody who is so morally corrupt on his belief that what he knows about truth (with a lower case "t") and reality could be written in headline type across a flea's testicles.

Why do you spout such vitriol? What is the problem you have with what I'm saying?
I don't have a problem with what you say but I think you have a problem about the word "truth". What you call vitriol is what we, in the real world call humour.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/18/2016 3:49:46 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:47:44 PM, Willows wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:40:14 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:36:51 PM, Willows wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.
Here we go again....a perfect example of somebody who is so morally corrupt on his belief that what he knows about truth (with a lower case "t") and reality could be written in headline type across a flea's testicles.

Why do you spout such vitriol? What is the problem you have with what I'm saying?
I don't have a problem with what you say but I think you have a problem about the word "truth". What you call vitriol is what we, in the real world call humour.

Well, why don't you actually address what I'm saying then?

The fact of the matter is, you have to take on faith that there is such a thing as truth.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/18/2016 4:15:34 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:28:49 PM, desmac wrote:
When someone who calls themselves Spirit and Truth lies about their age, can there be such a thing as truth.

I'm sorry, you want so bad to lord your age over me, I can tell.

Here, I fixed it for you. I'm 14 now. Hey, this is post-modern America. Anything goes. I'm also a trigendered raccoon.

You have to understand, I'm not the one lying about my age. The website is lying about my age. Spirit and Truth doesn't have an age, it's non-applicable.

And really, if having my name as "spirit and truth" offends you so much, why don't you pretend my name is Tootles the trigendered raccoon? Hey, you may think I'm a young punk, but 14 is pretty old in raccoon years.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
nothead
Posts: 371
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6/18/2016 4:18:26 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 3:47:44 PM, Willows wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:40:14 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:36:51 PM, Willows wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:22:07 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Yeah, you see, when it comes to believing in Truth, I think it is wrong to not believe this on insufficient evidence.

If you don't believe in Truth, where the hell can you go from there? What can even be counted as evidence?

Can you prove that it is true that there is such a thing as truth?

It's absurd.
Here we go again....a perfect example of somebody who is so morally corrupt on his belief that what he knows about truth (with a lower case "t") and reality could be written in headline type across a flea's testicles.

Why do you spout such vitriol? What is the problem you have with what I'm saying?
I don't have a problem with what you say but I think you have a problem about the word "truth". What you call vitriol is what we, in the real world call humour.

Maybe math isn't the only truth. Lab results are not the only truth. Otherwise we'd ALL be at the lab table of life.
desmac
Posts: 5,078
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6/18/2016 4:19:51 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:15:34 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:28:49 PM, desmac wrote:
When someone who calls themselves Spirit and Truth lies about their age, can there be such a thing as truth.

I'm sorry, you want so bad to lord your age over me, I can tell.

Here, I fixed it for you. I'm 14 now. Hey, this is post-modern America. Anything goes. I'm also a trigendered raccoon.

You have to understand, I'm not the one lying about my age. The website is lying about my age. Spirit and Truth doesn't have an age, it's non-applicable.

And really, if having my name as "spirit and truth" offends you so much, why don't you pretend my name is Tootles the trigendered raccoon? Hey, you may think I'm a young punk, but 14 is pretty old in raccoon years.

I don't care what lies you tell, about your age or anything else. 14 would seem more appropriate for your behaviour. Is it wrong to point out that someone who has the effrontery to call themselves Spirit and Truth would lie about something as inconsequential as their age?
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/18/2016 4:21:22 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:19:51 PM, desmac wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:15:34 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:28:49 PM, desmac wrote:
When someone who calls themselves Spirit and Truth lies about their age, can there be such a thing as truth.

I'm sorry, you want so bad to lord your age over me, I can tell.

Here, I fixed it for you. I'm 14 now. Hey, this is post-modern America. Anything goes. I'm also a trigendered raccoon.

You have to understand, I'm not the one lying about my age. The website is lying about my age. Spirit and Truth doesn't have an age, it's non-applicable.

And really, if having my name as "spirit and truth" offends you so much, why don't you pretend my name is Tootles the trigendered raccoon? Hey, you may think I'm a young punk, but 14 is pretty old in raccoon years.

I don't care what lies you tell, about your age or anything else. 14 would seem more appropriate for your behaviour. Is it wrong to point out that someone who has the effrontery to call themselves Spirit and Truth would lie about something as inconsequential as their age?

Maybe you should put your faith in God instead of creation.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
desmac
Posts: 5,078
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6/18/2016 4:25:32 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:21:22 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:19:51 PM, desmac wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:15:34 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 3:28:49 PM, desmac wrote:
When someone who calls themselves Spirit and Truth lies about their age, can there be such a thing as truth.

I'm sorry, you want so bad to lord your age over me, I can tell.

Here, I fixed it for you. I'm 14 now. Hey, this is post-modern America. Anything goes. I'm also a trigendered raccoon.

You have to understand, I'm not the one lying about my age. The website is lying about my age. Spirit and Truth doesn't have an age, it's non-applicable.

And really, if having my name as "spirit and truth" offends you so much, why don't you pretend my name is Tootles the trigendered raccoon? Hey, you may think I'm a young punk, but 14 is pretty old in raccoon years.

I don't care what lies you tell, about your age or anything else. 14 would seem more appropriate for your behaviour. Is it wrong to point out that someone who has the effrontery to call themselves Spirit and Truth would lie about something as inconsequential as their age?

Maybe you should put your faith in God instead of creation.

I believe in neither, as there is no verifiable evidence for either.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/18/2016 4:34:13 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:25:32 PM, desmac wrote:
Maybe you should put your faith in God instead of creation.

I believe in neither, as there is no verifiable evidence for either.

Ahaaah! Now we are back on topic.

So do you believe in anything? If so, what evidence justifies this belief?
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
desmac
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6/18/2016 4:36:38 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:34:13 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:25:32 PM, desmac wrote:
Maybe you should put your faith in God instead of creation.

I believe in neither, as there is no verifiable evidence for either.

Ahaaah! Now we are back on topic.


So do you believe in anything? If so, what evidence justifies this belief?

I believe in plenty, and yes, there is plenty of evidence.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/18/2016 4:38:08 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 4:36:38 PM, desmac wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:34:13 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:25:32 PM, desmac wrote:
Maybe you should put your faith in God instead of creation.

I believe in neither, as there is no verifiable evidence for either.

Ahaaah! Now we are back on topic.


So do you believe in anything? If so, what evidence justifies this belief?

I believe in plenty, and yes, there is plenty of evidence.

So you say. But since this is a topic on epistemology, why don't you explain to us what you consider to be evidence?
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,093
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6/18/2016 5:27:10 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 7:10:00 AM, nothead wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford

Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?

I welcome your thoughts and discussion.



Depends upon what you mean by EVIDENCE, sir.

Evidence - the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Skepticalone
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6/18/2016 6:15:15 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 7:34:42 AM, skipsaweirdo wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford
Could you put up a link where he proves this claim with evidence? Thanks ur a peach...lol

This statement comes from an essay in which he does provide ways that unsubstantiated belief can be harmful. http://people.brandeis.edu... That being said, I don't agree with the absolute way in which he phrased his statement, so let's not get into trivial disputes over wording. I think you'll notice my questions are not worded as strongly. Feel free to answer those should the original quote be too much to swallow.


Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?
When you can show a belief is what actually harms someone let me know. Until then lets focus on the bombs and guns and the bullets. You know, all the things science has contributed to making hurting others more convenient and efficient. Lol

Human motivations (and action) determine the use of the tool - not the other way around. On the other hand, beliefs do inform human motivations.

I welcome your thoughts and discussion.

This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
nothead
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6/18/2016 9:21:14 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 5:27:10 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 6/18/2016 7:10:00 AM, nothead wrote:
At 6/18/2016 4:07:51 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. -W.K. Clifford

Can it ever be morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? What if this hypothetical belief causes harm to others? Do we not have a responsibility to honestly evaluate evidence for, or against, a belief before we call it our own and subject other people to it?

I welcome your thoughts and discussion.



Depends upon what you mean by EVIDENCE, sir.

Evidence - the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

They know nuttin' at all honey.
Skepticalone
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6/18/2016 10:07:41 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 1:08:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:

For convenience, let's separate those opinions and information we don't deliver under colour of authority from the ones we do.

I found this part very interesting because it does qualify Clifford's statement in such a way as to allow for core assumptions - I exist, we can learn about reality, and models with predictive capabilities are more useful than models without predictive capabilities....

Did you have this in mind or did you make this distinction for another purpose?
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,093
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6/18/2016 10:14:05 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 2:59:59 PM, missmedic wrote:
I maintain that faiths (types of beliefs) create more social problems than they solve and the potential dangers from them could threaten the future of humankind.

I agreed with everything else, but this statement drew my attention. How do we determine if religion creates more problems than it solves? Do you consider any religious belief to be benign?

I hope you'll allow me to pick your brain. ;-)
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
missmedic
Posts: 386
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6/19/2016 3:05:02 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 10:14:05 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 6/18/2016 2:59:59 PM, missmedic wrote:
I maintain that faiths (types of beliefs) create more social problems than they solve and the potential dangers from them could threaten the future of humankind.

I agreed with everything else, but this statement drew my attention. How do we determine if religion creates more problems than it solves? Do you consider any religious belief to be benign?

I hope you'll allow me to pick your brain. ;-)

Throughout history, humankind has paid reverence to beliefs and mystical thinking. Organized religion has played the most significant role in the support and propagation of beliefs and faith. This has resulted in an acceptance of beliefs in general. Regardless of how one may reject religion, religious support of supernatural events gives credence to other superstitions in general and the support of faith (belief without evidence), mysticism, and miracles. Most scientists, politicians, philosophers, and even atheists support the notion that some forms of belief provide a valuable means to establish "truth" as long as it contains the backing of data and facts. Belief has long become a socially acceptable form of thinking in science as well as religion. Indeed, once a proposition turns to belief, it automatically undermines opposition to itself. Dostoyevsky warned us that those who reject religion "will end by drenching the earth in blood." But this represents a belief in-itself. Our history has shown that the majority of mass killings (regardless of how they got started), get justified by the religious beliefs of the leaders who started them, not from the rejection of religion. All things we know about the world, we can express without referring to a belief. Even at its most benign level, beliefs can act as barriers to further understanding.
nothead
Posts: 371
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6/19/2016 4:01:58 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 3:05:02 PM, missmedic wrote:
At 6/18/2016 10:14:05 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 6/18/2016 2:59:59 PM, missmedic wrote:
I maintain that faiths (types of beliefs) create more social problems than they solve and the potential dangers from them could threaten the future of humankind.

I agreed with everything else, but this statement drew my attention. How do we determine if religion creates more problems than it solves? Do you consider any religious belief to be benign?

I hope you'll allow me to pick your brain. ;-)

Throughout history, humankind has paid reverence to beliefs and mystical thinking. Organized religion has played the most significant role in the support and propagation of beliefs and faith. This has resulted in an acceptance of beliefs in general. Regardless of how one may reject religion, religious support of supernatural events gives credence to other superstitions in general and the support of faith (belief without evidence), mysticism, and miracles. Most scientists, politicians, philosophers, and even atheists support the notion that some forms of belief provide a valuable means to establish "truth" as long as it contains the backing of data and facts. Belief has long become a socially acceptable form of thinking in science as well as religion. Indeed, once a proposition turns to belief, it automatically undermines opposition to itself. Dostoyevsky warned us that those who reject religion "will end by drenching the earth in blood." But this represents a belief in-itself. Our history has shown that the majority of mass killings (regardless of how they got started), get justified by the religious beliefs of the leaders who started them, not from the rejection of religion. All things we know about the world, we can express without referring to a belief. Even at its most benign level, beliefs can act as barriers to further understanding.

Yes, you believe in a dogma of some kind. We all believe in some developed tradition of corporate dogma, whether political or sociological or religous.

As individuals we have the freedom to believe what we want to. But very few have a new set of beliefs. Most of us if not all consider something evolved over time, and this for a reason. Corporate evolution of thought just means that the subjective becomes more objective, as more people consider the same thing.

Reformation of beliefs and belief systems frequently means to get to the Core Premises and considering their truth or falsehood. And the fundamentals of any system are in fact true or false.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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6/19/2016 7:41:46 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 10:07:41 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 6/18/2016 1:08:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
For convenience, let's separate those opinions and information we don't deliver under colour of authority from the ones we do.
I found this part very interesting because it does qualify Clifford's statement in such a way as to allow for core assumptions - I exist, we can learn about reality, and models with predictive capabilities are more useful than models without predictive capabilities....
Did you have this in mind or did you make this distinction for another purpose?

While appreciating Clifford's sentiments, I think I started from a different place, Skeps. Moral philosophy often treats people as individuals navigating through their world by reason, accountable to nothing but their own integrity. Yet sociologically, we know that individuals navigate through their lives by the application of sometimes self-interested biases, accountable only when society holds them to account. When we consider the impact of bias on individual reason, we can expect to see a lot of selective justifications and excuse-making. We can see such special pleading in the argument of James, and I think that's something better avoided by not setting up 'always/never' black-and-white arguments as Clifford did in the first place.

Your approach -- to ask when (if ever) are personal beliefs publicly dangerous, how to detect when they are, and how to mitigate that -- is a better one, because it lets us engineer practical solutions. So we can take a sociological approach to consider when unexamined beliefs are at their most incontrovertibly dangerous, and work outward from there toward some practice, effective compromise.

In my view, the most dangerous unexamined beliefs are the those of people we trust with the authority to inform us or make decisions on our behalf -- surgeons, dentists, airline pilots, teachers, politicians, journalists, parents, even waiting staff -- pretty much anyone in an avocation of service to another.

We expect a level of diligence, competence, honesty, self-examination, transparency and concern for others as an operational ethic, and if they won't do that then there's a good case that they shouldn't be acting unsupervised, and perhaps some shouldn't be engaged in that vocation at all.

Since laziness, incompetent diligence and good intentions are nothing like adequate, we need an objective frame for the definition and evaluation of competence and diligence, and that means we need an objective frame to distinguish knowledge from mere conviction -- i.e. from beliefs we act upon in good faith.

That's okay though -- we have one. If you try and predict with the knowledge you have, then your predictions test your knowledge and the unexamined beliefs (i.e. those that are cherished but unreliable) and the beliefs that predict nothing (i.e. cherished but of no practical value) get winnowed out. Others can keep track of how well you predict, and in those cases where poor information or weak expertise might hurt someone, you can agree to (or be told to) only use the information and expertise objectively recognised as accurate.

That immediately takes out the hopeful, self-serving conjectures from any claim of authority. Meanwhile, you're still free to conjecture and pursue your own private beliefs without promoting them prematurely as truths, so that's a very practical compromise.

Another benefit is that this approach is already grounded in society's mores. We know that authority comes with responsibility and accountability -- we've embraced that principle since the Enlightenment, when we abandoned the Divine Right of Rule. The ethical frame is already in place. Ethically, it's a matter of clarifying what those responsibilities and accountabilities are, and it's a matter of social policy how they should be reviewed and enforced.

I hope that might be useful. :)