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Huh Just hit me, all these years I've been asking believers in everything from deities to Sasquatch to do the impossible....
PROVE IT. A belief, IMHO, can only maintain that status as long as there isn't any proof of it. 

However I feel justified asking for proof whenever there are unsubstantiated facts written in to the language of the belief. I ask if this also an errant approach? Are unsubstantiated facts also beliefs and should I feel justified asking for their verification? It's a double edge sword. I'm practically forced to accept all the tenets of a belief unquestioningly*. I guess what bothers me is that God is a belief but so is  a 'loving' God and I shouldn't question either. Seems to me that overall, people must be content in just believing, proof not being considered an option. Should believers be left alone to their own devices or am I wrong thinking this is an epiphany of sorts?  Confused

* don't think I've ever typed this word before...lol
(Feb 25, 2018 02:59 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: [ -> ][...] It's a double edge sword. I'm practically forced to accept all the tenets of a belief unquestioningly*. [...]


It could occasionally be a case of our conflating the existence of _X_ with the function of _X_ (and thereby a misplaced emphasis on validating the former).

Aside from coercion and penalty, even governments and moral customs (or just social order in general) depend more on people voluntarily believing in a "should" rather than the difficulty or outright inapplicability of proving a "should" to them.[*] Also, there may be other concepts which don't quite equate to being so prescriptive but which nevertheless are important to maintaining the longevity of a community or faction.

As background from whence this stems... There was a "ghost stories" chapter in one of the Foxfire books in which its samplings of the Appalachian folk of that day seemed surprisingly unbelieving of phantoms (or "surprising" to those who seldom interacted with pragmatic rural citizenry in a significant way). If the ancient agrarian masses were likewise heavily empirical and not much receptive to the intellectual schemes and generalized creations of royal administrations and their scholarly elite (their "immaterial" projects so to speak)... Then it would pay to reify those descriptive constructs as something the crowd could observably relate to. Change them into powerful, concrete personhoods or other phenomenal beings delivering tangible blessings / curses. Commissioned priestly classes would erect statues of deities and sub-deities to instantiate them as physical shapes in the minds of their recruited followers. Potentially one for each popular or necessary concept (goddess of justice, god of war, god of commerce, etc). In turn these cults incubated leadership roles for local communities.

But the justification for going the extra step of presenting these "rational constructs" as corporeal-like agencies (gods, mystical yet physically intruding forces, etc)... Perhaps boils down to what a "belief system" that goes beyond mere ideology (just having regulating ideas and conditioning rituals as its toolkit) is using its abstractions treated as particular, concrete beings for. Or more to the point, if its administration truly needs to introduce the latter in order to manage either its club membership or national population. People of the modern era, for example, don't seem as much to require the reification of concepts into divinities. They have capacity to apprehend and conform to important abstractions in their more or less original form.

If a belief system originally consisted purely of "ought" motives intended to achieve meaning, order and goals... Then, again, those are usually resistant to "proof" anyway, in light of a universe which isn't even conscious of humans existing, much less issuing instructions and directions to them. (Which is to say, that problem potentially still lingers even after the prescriptive inventions are converted to fabulist stories and mythical existence as non-general creatures.)

Hobbies or passionate interests like paranormal phenomena are more contingently evolving pursuits rarely having formal preconditions strictly guiding their development. So we'll set them aside here as completely conforming to the reasons and administrative method above.

- - - footnote - - -

[*] Steven Weinberg: Further, science can never explain any moral principle. There seems to be an unbridgeable gulf between "is" questions and "ought" questions. We can perhaps explain why people think they should do things, or why the human race has evolved to feel that certain things should be done and other things should not, but it remains open to us to transcend these biologically based moral rules. It may be, for example, that our species has evolved in such a way that men and women play different roles - men hunt and fight, while women give birth and care for children - but we can try to work toward a society in which every sort of work is as open to women as it is to men. The moral postulates that tell us whether we should or should not do so cannot be deduced from our scientific knowledge. --Can Science Explain Everything? Anything?

~
(Feb 25, 2018 02:59 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: [ -> ]Huh Just hit me, all these years I've been asking believers in everything from deities to Sasquatch to do the impossible....
PROVE IT. A belief, IMHO, can only maintain that status as long as there isn't any proof of it. 

However I feel justified asking for proof whenever there are unsubstantiated facts written in to the language of the belief. I ask if this also an errant approach? Are unsubstantiated facts also beliefs and should I feel justified asking for their verification? It's a double edge sword. I'm practically forced to accept all the tenets of a belief unquestioningly*. I guess what bothers me is that God is a belief but so is  a 'loving' God and I shouldn't question either. Seems to me that overall, people must be content in just believing, proof not being considered an option. Should believers be left alone to their own devices or am I wrong thinking this is an epiphany of sorts?  Confused

* don't think I've ever typed this word before...lol

We could go with the notion that a thought is still a thing even if not physical and even if apparently untrue after holding it up against the background of the known.  It could have existence on an abstract level.

Then there is another notion that if a belief doesn't hurt other people it is tolerable.

Another notion that was poignant to me was how questioning someone's belief apparently can be more bad for that person than good.
(Feb 25, 2018 02:59 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: [ -> ]Huh Just hit me, all these years I've been asking believers in everything from deities to Sasquatch to do the impossible....
PROVE IT. A belief, IMHO, can only maintain that status as long as there isn't any proof of it. 
Aside from internally consistent logic, like mathematics, there is no such thing as proof. Only evidence. But yes, a preponderance of evidence that is colloquially accepted as proof doesn't require much, if any, belief. So while such colloquial proof and belief are not opposites, there is a gradient of evidence, with increasing amounts approaching proof and decreasing amounts approaching pure, unsubstantiated belief. Most things lie somewhere in between.
Quote:However I feel justified asking for proof whenever there are unsubstantiated facts written in to the language of the belief. I ask if this also an errant approach? Are unsubstantiated facts also beliefs and should I feel justified asking for their verification?
It depends on the claims being made. If the unsubstantiated claim is of something physical, which would necessarily leave a physical trace, asking for such evidence is justified. But if the claim has no physical element, not so much. This is why some cryptid believers have started claiming all their "sightings" might not be physical either. It would be justified if it wasn't obvious it was just a backpedaling cop-out.
Quote:It's a double edge sword. I'm practically forced to accept all the tenets of a belief unquestioningly*. I guess what bothers me is that God is a belief but so is  a 'loving' God and I shouldn't question either. Seems to me that overall, people must be content in just believing, proof not being considered an option. Should believers be left alone to their own devices or am I wrong thinking this is an epiphany of sorts?  Confused
Well, you have to tacitly give the notion of god some credibility before you can doubt the existence of a specifically "loving' god. Otherwise, you should just argue against a god existing at all. Unless you actually believe in an evil god.
(Feb 25, 2018 02:59 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: [ -> ]Huh Just hit me, all these years I've been asking believers in everything from deities to Sasquatch to do the impossible....
PROVE IT. A belief, IMHO, can only maintain that status as long as there isn't any proof of it. 

However I feel justified asking for proof whenever there are unsubstantiated facts written in to the language of the belief. I ask if this also an errant approach? Are unsubstantiated facts also beliefs and should I feel justified asking for their verification? It's a double edge sword. I'm practically forced to accept all the tenets of a belief unquestioningly*. I guess what bothers me is that God is a belief but so is  a 'loving' God and I shouldn't question either. Seems to me that overall, people must be content in just believing, proof not being considered an option. Should believers be left alone to their own devices or am I wrong thinking this is an epiphany of sorts?  Confused

* don't think I've ever typed this word before...lol

I think it's all about intentionality.

"Intentionality is the quality of mental states (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs."

John Searle said it best when he said that our mind has the capacity to represent. It does that in a variety of ways and belief is one of the most important.  Belief and desire are sort of matching concepts because with belief we represent how things are or how we think things are.  That has a direction of "mind to world" fit.  The mind is supposed to fit the world, but with desires we represent, not how we think things are, but how we want them to be.  This has a "world to mind" direction of fit.  The world is supposed to change to match the mind.  Well, how then does all this work in regards to intentionality.

Beliefs are characteristically justified.  Beliefs require justification in a way that desires and hunches don’t. Beliefs are characteristically justified by a position within a network of other beliefs, and other intentional states, and above all, a network that contains perception.

The remarkable thing is that with beliefs there’s a peculiar rational constraint in that the belief is not only caused by perception, which is often the case, but the belief itself is subject to rational assessment depending on, not just what you’ve seen, but what you’ve read, and what you know otherwise, what seems reasonable, and what evidence you may have. So, the belief may only exist within a big network of other beliefs and other mental states. One part of the network, such as my belief that I’m in the United States only makes sense in relation to the whole network.  I have to believe that the United States is a country. Belief is part of a vast network of intentionality. You can really only understand it by seeing how the network works, and how it’s constrained by rationality and by perception.

The whole system works against a background of presuppositions.  I think that for a lot of people the belief in god is a kind of background presupposition. They make sense of their lives on the presupposition that there is a divine force.  There was a period in my life when I accepted something like that when I was a small child, but later on I realized that there was no rational ground for that whatsoever.  A lot of people think that they don’t need a rational ground for it, and that it’s about faith, but faith is not a reason, not a ground for accepting something.  My acceptance that there is a world that exist independently of me is not at all like the belief in a god.  It’s not specific to this or that view.  It just says that when you investigate how things are there’s a way that they are that enables you to investigate. The belief in god presupposes the belief in an external reality.
Quote:the belief itself is subject to rational assessment

I'd like to believe that.

Isn't this just more or less what I'm saying? If I think it's senseless to ask believers for proof then why even rationally assess it? Only those who feel like me will listen, maybe.
(Feb 26, 2018 08:27 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:the belief itself is subject to rational assessment

I'd like to believe that.

Isn't this just more or less what I'm saying? If I think it's senseless to ask believers for proof then why even rationally assess it? Only those who feel like me will listen, maybe.


I think that some people are more trusting and less skeptical than others because trust plays an important role in cooperation, which is necessary for our survival, but holding onto a belief without any suitable grounds merits critisim. If you want others to accept something as being true, you should gather more evidence. Questioning people that we trust may be uncomfortable, but if someone feels justified in holding onto a belief, and wants others to accept it, they should seek more evidence.

Like science, all belief systems should be self-correcting an open to criticism. I mean, after all, they are stories that attempt to define a sense of reality, and we should want a process that allows consistently closer approximations, right?
What it comes down to is....if a belief is proven true then it no longer remains a belief. I guess I'm questioning whether it was ever a belief in the first place if that's a true statement. Oxymoronic in a way, actual fact can be a belief. Therefore false and true facts are both belief candidates but only false facts are always beliefs. I feel another epiphany coming on.....I think circular reasoning got me this time and I'm back to where I started. Belief can do that to a guy. Back to asking for proof. I feel better.
(Feb 28, 2018 04:48 AM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: [ -> ]What it comes down to is....if a belief is proven true then it no longer remains a belief. I guess I'm questioning whether it was ever a belief in the first place if that's a true statement. Oxymoronic in a way, actual fact can be a belief. Therefore false and true facts are both belief candidates but only false facts are always beliefs. I feel another epiphany coming on.....I think circular reasoning got me this time and I'm back to where I started. Belief can do that to a guy. Back to asking for proof. I feel better.


Why not garner peace for yourself the way an eliminative materialist would? The issue of beliefs having values (true/false) becomes irrelevant if there are no beliefs. Still treating beliefs or mental states in general as if they exist is sort of like continuing to buy cat or dog food after the pets are gone. Or akin to persist wrestling with a ghost in the attic after discovering it is an old mannequin covered by a sheet.

https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/millsonph...n-beliefs/

. . . [Paul] Churchland’s theory of eliminating all mental states is too severe, in my opinion. Eliminativism’s argument focuses on how beliefs and desires are a part of folk psychology, but since folk psychology is false, so are belief and desires. I have an issue with this conclusion. How can beliefs and desires not exist? I can form a belief in almost anything, and I can desire many things. In this moment, I am hungry and desire a slice of New York pizza. Is this desire false? I believe that beliefs and desires exist. If I believe that beliefs and desires exist, how is it possible that these two do not exist? Eliminativists believe that beliefs don’t exist… Eliminativists also state “there is nothing more to the mind than what occurs in the brain”. When I approached some peers of mine and asked them what is the first thing that you think of when I say the word “mind,” all of them responded immediately with “my brain.” This belief relates to the eliminativist, but does not necessarily coincide or contradict this viewpoint. Some individuals may believe that there is more to the mind than the brain, but others choose not to.

https://www.cengage.com/philosophy/book_...hland.html

. . . Secondly, Churchland discusses eliminative materialism. Eliminative materialists doubt that our common-sense understanding of psychological concepts will match neatly with underlying physiological mechanisms. That is, a neuroscientific account of mental life may not mesh well with the concepts we use to describe our mental life in other contexts. To illustrate this point Churchland discusses a number of historical examples of concepts that were eliminated by advancing science. For example, people used to think that there existed a substance called "phlogiston" in woods and metals; they believed that wood burning or metal rusting was just phlogiston being released into the air. However, better science revealed that burning and rusting were the result of wood and metal gaining oxygen, not losing phlogiston. Thinking that phlogiston existed and could be explained was a mistake; it was therefore eliminated from our ontology. Eliminative materialists think that the same is true of concepts like belief, pain, sadness, and so forth. As we better understand neuroscience, we can eliminate those concepts in favor of concepts that map physiology directly. As he did with functionalism, Churchland concludes his discussion of eliminative materialism by noting considerations that weigh in favor and against it.

- - -
Quote:Why not garner peace for yourself the way an eliminative materialist would? The issue of beliefs having values (true/false) becomes irrelevant if there are no beliefs.

Sounds like a plan although I often practice something similar.....just because I think it doesn't mean I believe it.

I wonder how Einstein would feel today? He comes up with the cosmological constant, then retracts it and now that he's gone, the damn thought is making news again, as in some scientists think he was right. To summarize...He believed he was right, they believed he was wrong, they believed they were right, he believed them, and now they believe him*. A belief is like a quantum particle...just never know where it's going to be.

* going on 8 years old, don't care if it's true or not but....https://www.space.com/9593-einstein-bigg...turns.html
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