How does belief actually work?

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Sir-Sister-of-Suck
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How does belief actually work?

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:51 pm

I've, probably ironically, had a lot of swaying thought on this topic for a long time. Originally I had generally believed that the argument between whether 'agnosticism is just atheism' was pretty clear based on the law of excluded middle; Either you're an atheist, or you're a theist, because you either believe in god or you don't. Even if you specifically believe that god does not exist, you still don't believe in god, ergo, even this more radical belief would be considered atheism.

At the same time, I thought it was more nuanced than 'I believe this for certain' or 'I believe against this for certain'; I think it's on a constantly changing spectrum of percentages, a lot of it having to do with your current psyche. If someone asked you if you were at all superstitious or believed in supernatural things, you'd probably have a very clear-cut answer on the matter. And I don't think you'd be lying, because I think those would be your actual true thoughts in that very moment. However, if you were in a scenario which changes the importance of that information drastically, say you were out in the woods in the dark by yourself and heard some rustling in the bushes, I think you'd have a more general feeling of superstition about things. Just based on how human psychology works. I don't think this contradicts your former answer, I just think it's changed.

More recently, I was talking to a psychologist who presented a theory that really changes the way I've thought about it, in this sort of dichotomous way. We think of our brains as one unit only capable of one thing or another, when it's in fact of collection of processes. It just does not operate in the way that the concept of a 'philosophical mind' does. He finds that having a sort of chart measuring belief like a political compass is fundamentally flawed altogether, and is mostly just for convenient, conversational purposes. If we were to find a way to assign certain neural pathways to a particular belief and scientifically quantified our beliefs based on neurology, I think we'd be surprised by the results to say the least. With this in mind, it may very well be that there are portions of our brain responsible for 'superstitious belief' and another portion dedicated to something along the lines of 'atheistic non-belief'. It's interesting, because this makes me think of some of our belief in a way that does not call for a dichotomy.

But how do you guys believe belief truly works?

ken
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by ken » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:57 am

I choose whether to believe any thing or not. I choose neither to believe or disbelieve any thing, instead I look at things. When I look at belief I notice that belief, itself, tries to change, distort, fog, muddy, and/or completely block the actual truth from being seen.

Of course a belief, may n fact be a true representation of the actual truth of some thing, but this belief will still be in a way distorting and/or blocking the actual truth of ALL things from being seen, and understood.

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Harbal
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Harbal » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:31 am

Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:51 pm
say you were out in the woods in the dark by yourself and heard some rustling in the bushes, I think you'd have a more general feeling of superstition about things.
You mean like adopting the irrational belief that there may be a badger rummaging about in the undergrowth?

surreptitious57
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:49 pm

Sir Sister wrote:
Either you re an atheist or you re a theist because you either believe in god or you dont. Even if you specifically believe
that god does not exist you still dont believe in god ergo even this more radical belief would be considered atheism
I am an atheist but my position with regard to the existence of God is not predicated upon belief. My position is therefore that I do not think God
exists rather than I do not believe God exists. Belief is an article of faith that requires absolutely no evidence for any position at all but I have no
time for it myself for it is epistemologically worthless. What determines whether something is demonstrably true or not is not belief but evidence

Impenitent
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Impenitent » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:10 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:31 am
Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:51 pm
say you were out in the woods in the dark by yourself and heard some rustling in the bushes, I think you'd have a more general feeling of superstition about things.
You mean like adopting the irrational belief that there may be a badger rummaging about in the undergrowth?
as long as he isn't rummaging about in underwear...

-Imp

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Harbal
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Harbal » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:24 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:10 pm
as long as he isn't rummaging about in underwear...
No, we wouldn't want to be badgered, would we.

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Sir-Sister-of-Suck
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:22 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:31 am
Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:51 pm
say you were out in the woods in the dark by yourself and heard some rustling in the bushes, I think you'd have a more general feeling of superstition about things.
You mean like adopting the irrational belief that there may be a badger rummaging about in the undergrowth?
I made this thread months ago, but I think my point was that you'd still have irrationality about it even though it may be something relatively harmless like a badger. I wasn't implying you'd think it was a ghost.

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Sir-Sister-of-Suck
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:38 pm

ken wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:57 am
I choose whether to believe any thing or not. I choose neither to believe or disbelieve any thing, instead I look at things. When I look at belief I notice that belief, itself, tries to change, distort, fog, muddy, and/or completely block the actual truth from being seen.
What is the exact mechanism of 'choosing to believe'? How can I read something, and decide whether or not I'd like to believe it? What muscles do I have to contract in my head, or what bodily function do I have to perform in order to 'choose' to believe in something?

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:36 pm

Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:51 pm
I've, probably ironically, had a lot of swaying thought on this topic for a long time. Originally I had generally believed that the argument between whether 'agnosticism is just atheism' was pretty clear based on the law of excluded middle; Either you're an atheist, or you're a theist, because you either believe in god or you don't. Even if you specifically believe that god does not exist, you still don't believe in god, ergo, even this more radical belief would be considered atheism.
I think the clearest way to think of this is to see agnosticism as a class of atheism. It says how you are an atheist - because you think the question is not answerable.
Atheism not believing. Agnosticism is saying why.
I think you would get yourself into a problem is you say "atheism is believing that god does not exist" as that implies belief. Whilst that might describe some atheists it is rather a question begging position- what do you mean by god in the first place.

At the same time, I thought it was more nuanced than 'I believe this for certain' or 'I believe against this for certain'; I think it's on a constantly changing spectrum of percentages, a lot of it having to do with your current psyche. If someone asked you if you were at all superstitious or believed in supernatural things, you'd probably have a very clear-cut answer on the matter. And I don't think you'd be lying, because I think those would be your actual true thoughts in that very moment. However, if you were in a scenario which changes the importance of that information drastically, say you were out in the woods in the dark by yourself and heard some rustling in the bushes, I think you'd have a more general feeling of superstition about things. Just based on how human psychology works. I don't think this contradicts your former answer, I just think it's changed.

More recently, I was talking to a psychologist who presented a theory that really changes the way I've thought about it, in this sort of dichotomous way. We think of our brains as one unit only capable of one thing or another, when it's in fact of collection of processes. It just does not operate in the way that the concept of a 'philosophical mind' does. He finds that having a sort of chart measuring belief like a political compass is fundamentally flawed altogether, and is mostly just for convenient, conversational purposes. If we were to find a way to assign certain neural pathways to a particular belief and scientifically quantified our beliefs based on neurology, I think we'd be surprised by the results to say the least. With this in mind, it may very well be that there are portions of our brain responsible for 'superstitious belief' and another portion dedicated to something along the lines of 'atheistic non-belief'. It's interesting, because this makes me think of some of our belief in a way that does not call for a dichotomy.

But how do you guys believe belief truly works?
Belief is to be avoided at all costs. Belief is to Faith what Knowledge is to Reason.
Belief is faux knowledge, it succumbs to choice and inclination. Knowledge has to be able to stand alone and is testable.
Generally the ideas can be interchangeable, but where is comes to uncertainty or preference we tend to use ' I believe', where it comes to matters of fact we tend to use 'I know"

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:43 pm

Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:38 pm
ken wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:57 am
I choose whether to believe any thing or not. I choose neither to believe or disbelieve any thing, instead I look at things. When I look at belief I notice that belief, itself, tries to change, distort, fog, muddy, and/or completely block the actual truth from being seen.
What is the exact mechanism of 'choosing to believe'? How can I read something, and decide whether or not I'd like to believe it? What muscles do I have to contract in my head, or what bodily function do I have to perform in order to 'choose' to believe in something?
It's about how the idea appeals to you and your preexisting set of beliefs.
Once you have one false belief it tends to mean that you collect others. So one absurd religious story so believed tends to attract others until you end up with an accretion of garbage.

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Harbal
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Harbal » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:48 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:43 pm
an accretion of garbage.
Or, as the man in the street would say: an increasing amount of rubbish.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:04 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:48 pm
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:43 pm
an accretion of garbage.
Or, as the man in the street would say: an increasing amount of rubbish.
You've no poetry in your heart.

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Harbal
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Harbal » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:09 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:04 pm

You've no poetry in your heart.
Either that or you had a better education than me.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:17 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:09 pm
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:04 pm

You've no poetry in your heart.
Either that or you had a better education than me.
Or both.

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Harbal
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Re: How does belief actually work?

Post by Harbal » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:25 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:17 pm
Or both.
Well I've never been able to see the point of poetry and I did leave school at 15 so yes, guilty on both counts.

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