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Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Book Part 3

part 1
part 2

It is time to assess where we are.
A) Belief Precedes Truth, and
B) Science Is Not Inevitable.

What possibly can those mean together? I mean I do not even give anyone time to settle in; I just throw a mosh-mish in front of you and say, ""Eat hearty!"
My friends know the feeling.

What I am looking at are beliefs and the people who hold beliefs, for this is how I try to understand why someone would at heavenly trip narratives - Heaven is For Real and The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven - and either accept them as true or claim that they are false.

Now in our personal belief systems, we tend to believe before we even consider whether something is true or not.
As luck would have it, The Conversation has an article this month which deals directly with this.

The Conversation
How our morals might politically polarize just about anything
March 5, 2017 9.17pm EST


As America is more ideologically divided now than any other point in history, these results illuminate two things about the psychology behind political polarization.

First, people might think they are able to use their reasoning to decide whether, say, a minimum wage increase will have positive or negative consequences. However, moral impulses have likely already nudged people toward disagreeing with their opponents before any deliberative thinking on the issue has begun.

Second, the effects observed here are likely a passive process. Participants did not want to feel urges to make an error in the Stroop task, and they likely did not want to feel urges to contradict their own opinions in my studies. The urges just happen as a result of a morality-driven psychology.

These results suggest that efforts to bring those on the fringe closer to the middle will likely fall on deaf ears. A more optimistic interpretation is that polarization might have its roots in unintentional partisan urges. While there is no shortage of moral issues that lead to polarization, polarization does not necessarily result from the malice of those involved.
So I assert that Belief Precedes Truth.
Truth is always an after-thought in our quests. We usually seek an iconic presence that we "think" must be divine. On seeing the icon, we kneel. Proving truth is forgotten, for what need have we of truth now?

(By the way, I describe how I think things are; I do not prove anything!  To prove something implies that one has a robust verification procedure. That I do not have. Nor do you.)

Now we come to Science not being inevitable.
What does that matter?
It matters because I wish to use Science to demonstrate a complex belief system, capable of adaptations and change, which is vibrant and vigorous. I will claim that the fact that Science has a verification procedure of experiment and reduplication of experiment is what allows Science to make claims about Truth.

One of the reasons for this state of affairs is that most of the thinking and writing done about Truth in the past hundred years has dealt with scientific truth as defined by scientists and logical positivists and philosophers who want to be seen as scientists and mathematicians rather than philosophers. (Thank you, William Barrett.)

When we confront accounts like Heaven Is For Real, we naturally lean to a show-me attitude, being doubting-Thomases who were born at night, but not last night!
But if there is no way to demonstrate truth, how may someone show-me?

We shall contrast Science, as a People-and-their-Beliefs System with a well formed way to determine truth acceptable to people even outside the group of scientists - with Religion and Politics, which do not have a means of proving truth that is acceptable to people outside the group.

The reason behind this being that Truth is usually defined for everyone, whether it be well-defined or not; whether it uses experiment or syllogisms from dogma.

Even scientists do not agree all the time on all matters. There is considerable dispute on Dark Matter, which has not been observed yet, and there is great concern over theoretical constructs which cannot nor seem ever likely to be able to be subject to experiment forming the foundations of modern science.
Many people of science hold beliefs which are no more capable of experimental proof than the statements in Heaven Is For Real.

If we seek not to deny these good people, how shall we evaluate their beliefs?


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