Author Topic: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate  (Read 20336 times)

Offline Mark H

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Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #180 on: December 06, 2010, 11:26:53 AM »
C

You make some good points, but I don't think they can be proved. People may only appear to change belief. If you don't want to look at something, you can close your eyes or turn your head; the brain can do the same thing. It closes its eyes to something and then the person appears to change his mind. That's more a way of coping than a fundamental change of belief. Before having my own company I worked as manager in a large corporate and then as a director of a number of SMEs. I never once believed the management twaddle that was spouted (and that I had to spout) and I suspect very few managers did. They appeared to though.  :)

Here's and example of an innate belief that I think each person inherits. Look after you and yours first. There's a good reason why we would evolve like that obviously. I think there is very little in a child's upbringing to reinforce that view. In fact, we tend to tend to preach and teach the opposite. You could argue that being brought up in a family unit creates the belief, but it extends beyond that to: the tribe, country, race, and especially species.

The above also helps explain your feed the world problem: it may be logical to feed the world, but it is contrary to the innate belief that you put you and yours first.

M
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Offline Conanthedoylarian

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Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #181 on: December 07, 2010, 09:58:19 AM »
Hi Mark

It's not currently possible to read someone's thoughts and see whether they've “really” changed or not, I fully accept.  And I cannot cite the many case histories I have on file without breaching confidences, so I'll have to ask you to accept for now, that I was not referring to coping tactics, but to cases where there were some observable indication that a change of belief had occurred.  By this I mean the resolution of problems that had been supported (or, indeed, entirely created) by a belief  OR where the “apparent” belief change also resulted in changes of behaviour(s) that are not under conscious control, implying more than a sham had occurred.  And I would suggest that this kind of observation will eventually render the practical techniques described above provable.  Indeed, this kind of work is already under way.

We've all seen the rubbish corporate speak that people play lip service too.  I have a shelf of fading books which were required reading when I had a sales job many years ago.  They claim to be about positive thinking, but essentially were used to create a pollyanna type of blinkered mentality which employees were required to espouse.  Interestingly, the only company I ever worked for where this kind of philosophy was believed by the higher management, failed due to not preparing for foreseeable problems.

Science says people are born with two fears: fear of loud noises, and fear of falling (often cited as fear of heights).  This was established by systematic research.  We are also all born with a number of behavioural programs, and these are, in principle, open to scientific investigation and verification.  As such, I would have thought they would fall into the category of observable and checkable facts which you ruled out of your definition of belief earlier.  I suggest that instinctive behaviours, indeed even autonomic behaviours (e.g. I believe I should inhale regularly) would fit the common dictionary definition of “belief”, but not the modified one you stated in support of your point earlier.  So I don't really see that the “look after yourself and yours first” supports the idea that beliefs, as you define them, are innate.

Offline Mark H

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Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #182 on: December 07, 2010, 10:29:03 AM »
C

I'm not clear why you dismiss innate beliefs and yet accept behavioural programs. Why is one more likely than the other?

M
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Offline Conanthedoylarian

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Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #183 on: December 07, 2010, 11:55:55 AM »
Mark

On this point, we are back to semantics and definitions which appeared to raise ire in you earlier.  At the risk of doing this again – here goes:

At the start of this thread

V

All beliefs are innate. The reasons people give for their beliefs are simply ways of justifying those beliefs -- first to themselves and later to others. Imagine if you had the God gene but were incapable of establishing a reason for your belief in God! You'd go bonkers. That's why the beliefs of others seem so illogical: because they are illogical; it's a form of self delusion.

I state the above as fact, but of course it is no more than ... my own justification of my belief that beliefs are innate and delusional. But in a way that proves my point.

M

you made what appeared to me to be a generalisation that ALL beliefs are innate and delusional.  You then (by implication) removed anything verifiable from your definition of belief.

I would distinguish between a belief (God is good) and an observable fact that can be reproduced (being hit by a bus will cause you damage). Your argument is an example of a straw man fallacy. I state that beliefs are delusional, but instead of arguing against that position you instead argue against the position that observable/reproducible facts are delusional, which is a distortion of what I proposed.  :)

Mark



This narrower definition appears to me to exclude what I am calling “behavioural programs” (to avoid confusing the issue by switching the definition of “belief” mid post, and to stick within the parameters of the definition you advocated earlier), as they are of the same order of idea as “Being hit by a bus will cause you damage.”

That only leaves a range of beliefs which are held without adequate supporting evidence (“Everybody hates me”, “God is good”, and “Celery is edible”, for example) yet still hold a significant influence on individuals and societies.

I assert that these beliefs are not innate, nor are they behavioural programs, nor need they necessarily be delusional (they may simply be accurate but unproven).

Hope this clarifies what I am saying.

Offline Mark H

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Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #184 on: December 07, 2010, 12:49:50 PM »
Quote
you made what appeared to me to be a generalisation that ALL beliefs are innate and delusional.  You then (by implication) removed anything verifiable from your definition of belief.

My initial post was (I thought obviously) not a serious proposition as at that point it did not consider this a serious thread. So you can forget that and never refer to it again.  :)

I do however believe that some of our beliefs are innate and that when those beliefs are both strongly held and counter intuitive, the brain compensates to make them appear more rational. From my own POV a propensity to believe in a benign and all powerful God clearly falls into this camp. I'm happy to accept that I too may be fooled by my own brain into thinking that vegetarianism is rational when in fact it is not. I don't see how I could not consider that a possibility. In practical terms it makes no difference though.

My argument is not particularly scientific, it's based on observation of how people behave. And yet nothing I have read here or elsewhere gives me any reason to believe my assumption about innateness and brain trickery is false.

M
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