Notices
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Purpose of beliefs

  1. #1 Purpose of beliefs 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Spain
    Posts
    1
    We all have political beliefs, and sometimes just canít understand another's insistence on a different position. We might not comprehend why someone likes Beyonce when we prefer Bach. Some people are religious, others not, and never the twain shall meet. We hold and debate beliefs over just about everything.

    If we were totally rational, we would educate and correct each other instead of incessantly arguing. But then again, perhaps our differing beliefs and arguing about them is exactly the way in which we translate personal experience for the good of the tribe. Perhaps all these differences and tribal affiliations serve for our survival.

    Has any research been done on this?

    (Noting that philosophical debate is not very useful, since we need some objective means to stand outside of our own beliefs to work out what is going on.)


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,590
    Even if we were totally rational we would still need beliefs because being rational is not the same thing at all as having all the evidence necessary for certainty about anything. I can think of at least four kinds of beliefs:

    1. Beliefs based on empirical evidence, such as my belief in evolution by natural selection, or that the bus will come at ten to six.
    2. Beliefs based on empirical evidence but extrapolated mathematically beyond what the evidence can currently support. I suggest string theory would be in this category.
    3. Beliefs based on limited evidence, or evidence selectively perceived and interpreted. Political and economic beliefs might be in this category.
    4. Beliefs based on no evidence, which would include all religious beliefs.

    I would suggest the reason we need beliefs is that we donít have all the evidence and even if all the evidence was available we donít have the capacity to assimilate all of it. So we have to extrapolate in order to get along in our daily lives. Mostly this works.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    19
    People only believe in theories, people wonít believe in purple elephants.

    People donít believe in chaos.

    (Although you can make a person believe anything)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    England
    Posts
    14
    There are two forms of belief. One, usually described as evidence based, is healthy, eg.
    Before the moon landings their was dispute about whether the moon was ever volcanic. Two opposing groups formed, but when the astronauts brought back basalt the non volcanic group changed their stance.

    The other form of belief brings reality down to your own taste. As if the non volcanic scientists simply denied the existence of the basalt, just to maintain their earlier position.

    This is what religious people do regarding evolution etc, or all the conspiracy theorists, from 9/11 to Diana. -Deny the obvious to maintain a belief.

    Reality is down to your own taste/opinion in this second form of belief.

    There is a kind of pseudoscience lip service evidence game played by these believers, for the benefit of those without their visionary status. Evidence requirement must still be rather annoying to these believers though because they arrived at their conclusions in advance of any evidence.
    A criteria for reality like this means that you should really believe any old thing.

    Actually i'm pleasantly surprised that out of all the 100.000? moon landing workers there was'nt one dubious person who came forward and said:" You know I operated the camera on the film set" or something. They would have least got a pay day from some newspaper.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5 Re: Purpose of beliefs 
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    482
    Quote Originally Posted by tuppence
    We all have political beliefs, and sometimes just canít understand another's insistence on a different position. We might not comprehend why someone likes Beyonce when we prefer Bach. Some people are religious, others not, and never the twain shall meet. We hold and debate beliefs over just about everything.

    If we were totally rational, we would educate and correct each other instead of incessantly arguing. But then again, perhaps our differing beliefs and arguing about them is exactly the way in which we translate personal experience for the good of the tribe. Perhaps all these differences and tribal affiliations serve for our survival.

    Has any research been done on this?

    (Noting that philosophical debate is not very useful, since we need some objective means to stand outside of our own beliefs to work out what is going on.)
    You should read up on memes. Strange little idea that maybe such 'beliefs' have an evolutionary power in and of themselves.
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

    Fancy a game of chess?
    http://www.itsyourturn.com/
    Challenge me, Delphi, and join the Pythian games.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •