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so i am a guy of zeros and ones. i like logic, maths and science. i am not religious at all and have no beliefs at all. , or so i think. 

the concept of "believing" something annoys me. i either know it or dont know it. and if i dont know it i either want to know it or will stay undecided until i do know it.

so in my discussions with religious people i always ask them, "why do you believe something, why not just accept the concept of either knowing or not knowing"? 

but is there really such a thing? can we really "know" something or is everything just a level of belief?

 

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6 hours ago, jfoldbar said:

so i am a guy of zeros and ones. i like logic, maths and science. i am not religious at all and have no beliefs at all. , or so i think. 

the concept of "believing" something annoys me. i either know it or dont know it. and if i dont know it i either want to know it or will stay undecided until i do know it.

so in my discussions with religious people i always ask them, "why do you believe something, why not just accept the concept of either knowing or not knowing"? 

but is there really such a thing? can we really "know" something or is everything just a level of belief?

 

 

I have a passing knowledge of organic chemistry so I know what a rearrangement reaction is in general terms.

I know the detail of some rearrangement reactions such as the allylic rearrangement.

But I am confident that there are many, many more that I do not know the details of.

Looking in the index to my text I see it refers to the favorski rearrangement.

I therefore have enough confidence to believe that there is a reaction called favorski, but I know that I do not know what it is or what it does.

 

How does that play with you binary definition?

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13 hours ago, jfoldbar said:

the concept of "believing" something annoys me. i either know it or dont know it.

I don't think this is true at all. This implies your knowledge is either 100% or 0%. Don't you think it's much more variable? I tend to look at all belief on a scale of trustworthiness. I believe in a testable scientific theory with a great deal more confidence (to use StringJunky's word) than I do something that has little evidence to support it. I can't trust faith-based explanations since they have nothing to support them other than people's willingness to believe them. 

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11 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I don't think this is true at all. This implies your knowledge is either 100% or 0%. Don't you think it's much more variable? I tend to look at all belief on a scale of trustworthiness. I believe in a testable scientific theory with a great deal more confidence (to use StringJunky's word) than I do something that has little evidence to support it. I can't trust faith-based explanations since they have nothing to support them other than people's willingness to believe them. 

 

Indeed it's far more subtle...

The placebo effect for instance.

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i hear you guys.

but if knowing is 'having high confidence' then that means the religious person 'knows' that god exists, and children 'know' that santa is real. religious peoples confidence is so high that they can often die for what they 'know'.

i argue to them that i 'know' that if i jump off a cliff im gunna hurt myself. but do i actually 'know' this or do i 'believe' it based on the idea that if everyone on earth decided to jump off that cliff almost every single one of them would get hurt, and the ons(s) that didnt were lucky.     those one(s) could argue that i didnt actually know it but believed it with great confidence

is there a definitive line between knowing and believing or is it just a scale certainty based on our previous experiences.

On 07/11/2018 at 7:01 AM, Phi for All said:

I believe in a testable scientific theory with a great deal more confidence

but, the believers of this world will argue that our belief in a testable scientific theory is still just that, a belief. 

i accept that 1+1=2. but there are people who would argue that is a belief, and that we dont really know for 100% sure, only 99.9%

 

so, back to the cliff analogy, if i use the averages of people getting hurt to calculate my chances of getting hurt, i can know with high confidence that i will get hurt.

similarly, the believer can use the averages of the people who have a high level of confidence in their beliefs,  to support their beliefs as being true. ie, can 10+ billion people all be wrong?

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4 minutes ago, jfoldbar said:

but, the believers of this world will argue that our belief in a testable scientific theory is still just that, a belief. 

Excuse me? I would say to them. It's all belief, but my scientific theory is testable, which makes it more trustworthy. That means if you don't trust it, you can actually study it to see what it says. You can test it to obtain the same results, you can discuss it with your peers to make sure you aren't being deceived, you can basically make sure it's worth any confidence you can place in it.

Let's see you do that, I would say to them, with your faith.

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16 minutes ago, jfoldbar said:

so, back to the cliff analogy, if i use the averages of people getting hurt to calculate my chances of getting hurt, i can know with high confidence that i will get hurt.

That sounds a more rational and scientific approach than your initial "I either know it or don't know it."

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19 hours ago, Strange said:

That sounds a more rational and scientific approach than your initial "I either know it or don't know it."

are you saying then that we dont actually know we will get hurt, but we calculate the chances of getting hurt based on past experience?

 

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8 minutes ago, jfoldbar said:

are you saying then that we dont actually know we will get hurt, but we calculate the chances of getting hurt based on past experience?

 

Pretty much. People have fallen from airplanes without a parachute and survived. People have fallen a few feet and died. You can calculate the rough odds for falling a given height but you can't know for sure what will happen.

This is how science works. Nothing is ever definitively proved. Every theory could, potentially, be overthrown by new evidence. Your binary approach just doesn't work.

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this also then means that 1+1 doesnt always equal 2. in the whole universe there may be a place where, if you had 2 apples and i gave you 1 apple you dont absolutely have 3 apples (excluding things like you lost it or ate it),

because,

19 hours ago, Strange said:

Nothing is ever definitively proved

 

 

i have had this discussion with a friend, and he   " suggest that mayby "facts" are just what the majority of people can agree on."

we can say its a fact that if i dont eat for 3 weeks i will be hungry, but is it really a fact, or is it something that 99.9% of us can agree on so we deem it a fact.

then, what agreement percentage is required for something to change from a belief to a fact?

i suspect, though, that there is no actual line between the 2. so in the grey fuzzy area where they meet, this then could mean the definition of what is "true/fact" can and will be different for some people. some peoples fact may not be another persons fact.

 

 

btw, my answer to my friend when he said that was, "99% of children believe in santa, so since they mostly agree, by your definition of fact he must be true".

so, im thinking the definition of fact must be a bit different to what he thinks.

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10 minutes ago, jfoldbar said:

this also then means that 1+1 doesnt always equal 2. in the whole universe there may be a place where, if you had 2 apples and i gave you 1 apple you dont absolutely have 3 apples (excluding things like you lost it or ate it),

We were talking about science. Mathematics is different. In mathematics things can be proved to be true or false (or it can be proved that no such proof is possible).

12 minutes ago, jfoldbar said:

i have had this discussion with a friend, and he   " suggest that mayby "facts" are just what the majority of people can agree on."

That's not far off. For example, one upon a time it was a "fact" that all swans were white. For millennia no one had seen anything other than white swans. There was no reason to think there was anything except white swans. 

And then people went to Australia and found black swans. 

Some "facts" are more certain than others but philosophers have been debating the nature of truth, reality and facts for thousands of years without coming up with any definitive answers. 

So there are no binary, black and white, answers to this meta -question, either. 

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so, if i understand you correctly, maths and science may clash in this scenario.

imagine i have 1 million red marbles. i put 1 marble each into 1million small sealed containers. i didnt leave the room so the containers were not tampered with. when im finished i randomly pick up a container and open it.

maths says the marble inside is still red.

but science says its possible it is now blue.

is this correct?

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8 hours ago, jfoldbar said:

so, if i understand you correctly, maths and science may clash in this scenario.

I wouldn't say they clash. We can establish proofs in science. We can then sue that mathematics in physics. But that doesn't mean we can prove anything (with 100% certainty) in physics. But that doesn't undermine the mathematical proof.

8 hours ago, jfoldbar said:

but science says its possible it is now blue.

Why?

Just because we can't know everything with certainty, doesn't mean we can't know anything with a very high level of certainty. (But what if the pigment is unstable and by the time you take the marble out, the colour has changed...)

The whole point is that not everything is as binary as you initially claimed. 

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11 hours ago, jfoldbar said:

i accept that 1+1=2.

But it doesn't

 

10 hours ago, jfoldbar said:

this also then means that 1+1 doesnt always equal 2.

 

But it doesn't, even in Maths.

 

Look at a binary truth table for addition.

1 + 1 = 0

 

;)

 

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Consider  the boardgame Cleudo.  Cluedo's concept of murder is finite and fully decidable;  Cluedo's rules of 'proof'  always lead to a single and unambiguous  conclusion as to "who killed" Dr black that is "true by  convention" and obeys the  classical logic law of excluded middle.   In other words, to have a proof that a certain murder hypothesis cannot be eliminated is to 'know' that the hypothesis is correct.    Before the game ends, all murder hypotheses that aren't yet eliminated are equally likely.  So it wouldn't make sense for a player to say that they "believe" any particular hypothesis, rather their only substantial beliefs refer to sets of hypotheses.   For example, they might believe the culprit was male if there were more male suspect cards still in play.  Hence  beliefs  in Cluedo reduce to sets of observations.

Now compare this game to the historical investigation as to who was Jack the Ripper.  Here our concept of murder is neither finite nor decidable.   For we do not have a finite and closed list of suspects and no matter how much we learn about the past we can never have a controversy-free constructive proof of who-did it.  At most we can say  that a state-of-the-art simulation of history that we determined through our current and fallible state of knowledge  suggests a particular person.   At this point, some people will take this simulation to be  the very definition of who did it, whereby their concept of truth regarding jack the ripper becomes truth-by-convention as in the game of Cluedo.     Others will abstain from accepting this convention and remain open minded.

Also, consider a computer game implementation of Cluedo that is played against AI opponents.   The computer could either generate the  truth  of the murder before the game is played, analogous to a realist's conception of history that is factually precise but unknowable.   Or the computer might  merely generate the cards held by each player, as and when each player requires them, analogous to the anti-realists conception of history as factually imprecise but knowable and determined through current activity.

Edited by TheSim

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