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Wertbag

The gullible

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1 hour ago, Jane said:

 

 

It is not logical to believe something that you cannot prove. That's all.  The whole concept of faith always bothered me as a Christian.  It's amazing how self deluded I must have been at one point.  

 If you were not there and saw it for yourself , nor can you repeat some experiment that comes out the same way ( like verifying gravity on earth for example) , and all you have is someone else's word for it that it is true , it is not necessarily true.  They could lie to you, they could be mistaken.  Make sense now?    He gave the example of the earth being flat.  I KNOW for a fact the earth is not flat. A simple proof would be surveying works and it take curvature of the earth into account.  Plus you can sort of see it flying from one side of the planet to the other. There is no edge.  Plus nobody gains anything from the earth being round.  So why lie about it?  Many countries have satellites in orbit also.   They work.  There are many ways to prove the earth is not flat is my point.     BUT, at one point in time hundreds of years ago, almost everyone believed the earth was flat and they took this as a fact.  To them, it was true.  Even if they couldn't prove it. Because they did not have proof that it was round.   Nothing is a fact until proven.  That's all.  

 

 

 

I agree with the general sentiment expressed here,  but not quite with the minutia.

 

We all believe many things that we cannot prove. I believe you exist in the real world.  I can't prove it. But we're having a conversation on the internet,  and it seems to me most likely that you are an actual, real, intelligent human being. But this does not need to be the case. You could be a bot. I could be dreaming. The internet could be run by a cabal of aliens. Etc, etc.

 

Nevertheless,  it is logical for me to believe that you exist in the real world. On certain reasonable assumptions,  it follows, by the usual rules of logic,  that you probably exist. Again,  I can't really be sure,  but I think it's quite likely. And I'd hazard that you agree with me here. 

 

Proof is a tricky concept. Pretty much everyone I know who has studied science,  philosophy, or mathematics (and that's not a short list, for what it's worth) agrees with me when I say that true proof is only really a thing in formal logic. In the real world,  we make do with sufficient evidence. Which is a fancy way of saying that we believe things to be facts when we are convinced that they are facts. (Aside: this is one of the reasons why I've been maintaining for a while that knowledge reduces to firmly held belief.  A topic for another conversation, perhaps.). But your original assertion was that "you are only gullible if you believe something that nobody can prove". And you called this a fallacy. I would contend that we all believe many things which no one can prove.  Indeed,  we all profess to know many things which no one can prove.  No fallacy is necessary, and this does not make us gullible. This is completely normal human behavior. 

 

Fallacies come to bear when we claim to know something which contradicts evidence, experience, or logical argument which is based on evidence/ experience. And gullibility comes into play when we are willing to believe whatever anyone might say without any basis in evidence,  experience, or logical argument based on such. But it is clear to me that this is quite separate from believing things which can't be proven.

 

Now,  please don't misunderstand me here. I'm not advocating for religious faith.  Religions make specific claims which contradict evidence,  experience, and logical arguments. To have faith in a religion is to maintain that the religion is true in spite of this. This is very different from normal truth claims.  It may be the case that I can't properly prove most of the things that I believe, or even that I profess to know.  But.  These things don't contradict reality as we all experience it. Therein lies the difference. 

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48 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Some forums do not allow denial of certain topics - that is true. That is not us though.

 

I've gone ahead and posted a topic in the Science forum if you'd like to present your opening argument there

 

I look forward to having a discussion with you. As always everyone is welcome to join in.

 

tomorrow, it's getting past my bedtime here, I have recovered enough to milk the goats in the morning so I have to get up, but ok, if you want to discuss this, we can.  Promise it won';t turn into ugly personal attacks and name calling?  

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32 minutes ago, Jane said:

 

tomorrow, it's getting past my bedtime here, I have recovered enough to milk the goats in the morning so I have to get up, but ok, if you want to discuss this, we can.  Promise it won';t turn into ugly personal attacks and name calling?  

 

I don't do personal attacks or name calling (unless someone else starts first and they are being a total a-hole!) But this is in the Science forum. We expect a modicum of decorum there.

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21 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

I don't do personal attacks or name calling (unless someone else starts first and they are being a total a-hole!) But this is in the Science forum. We expect a modicum of decorum there.

 

Butthole!!! 

 

(just joking)

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2 hours ago, Jane said:

BUT, at one point in time hundreds of years ago, almost everyone believed the earth was flat and they took this as a fact.

 

 

 Incredibly, since the time of the ancient Greeks, 300 b.c. or so, educated people in the western world all knew the earth to be a sphere.  Eratosthenes actually made a fairly good measurement of its diameter.  You can see ships disappear over the horizon; the shadow of the earth on the moon during an eclipse is always a circle no matter what the position of the earth is; and so forth.  In grade school I was taught that Columbus was a genius because he knew the earth to be round when everyone else thought it was flat; in reality, he was a kook because he insisted that it was much smaller than everyone else understood it to be.  So the modern flat earthers might as well be neanderthals, if they aren’t even dumber than that.

 

As to the original subject, I think that when people do something that seems crazy, they are usually reacting to something else equally crazy.  There was a Lenin because there was a czar, and so forth.  There are conspiracy theorists because authorities sometimes lie.  If you don’t have the intellectual wherewithal to properly evaluate reality, you might react to such authority with suspicion and a herd-like “I will not be fooled” attitude.

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