Yeah, but, why

I got together with a few friends I don’t see too often recently, and noting that they were some of the most thoughtful people I know, I pointed out how the weirdest thing I’ve found as I get older is, people don’t seem to know why they believe what they do. It’s like they don’t even think about it. If they talk about something they read or heard, and how true they think it is, they can’t answer a simple question about it. So, my question is, if I asked you why you think something is true, just say generically, what would you say?

If you want to cheat a little, here’s a starting point http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/critical-thinking-where-to-begin/796

...if I asked you why you think something is true, just say generically, what would you say?
Here are some things I believe and why I believe them:
  • My children love me -
    • They act like they love me. Sure they say it, but their actions are far louder.
  • Capitalism is not great-
    • It is a consequence of capitalism that, all other things being equal, the most narcissistic, psychopathic, greedy people will rise to the top and be most 'successful. Not that any other system is immune to that phenomenon, but with the right checks and balances, it can be reduced.
  • Earth is a sphere-
    • I have no reason to believe that everyone involved in any science or profession that is impacted by the shape of the earth is lying. (For example, would it be possible for every airline pilot and person involved in building satellites to be in on it?)
I believe most things through experience because every aspect of life involves believing things like gravity, sun coming up, my fuel gauge is accurate, and a million other things. Some are natural and have been studied and explained by scientists, who's explanations I trust (even if I don't understand them). Other things have been engineered and designed by people using knowledge discovered by scientists, and I trust those things to work (even if I don't understand how they work). And yet other things are personal and depend purely on my experience, which I simply trust (how could I not?)

There are things that I believe, but only to a certain degree (like my fuel gauge working) because I know it is possible that it could fail. But that knowledge is incorporated into my belief, so I should say that it probably won’t fail.

I didn’t read the cheat-sheet, so I don’t know if that’s the kind of answer you’re looking for.

That was good. No grades for this though. Glad you didn’t “cheat”.

What you included, that the Critical Thinking group does not, is most of our knowledge comes from personal experience including the people around us that we trust. That sounds a bit dangerous, and can be in isolated situations, but the world is not isolated. The danger of only having one pastor or one local authority have control over you is far less than it ever has been. We have tried to eliminate problems like that with things like Radio Free Europe, and it seems to have worked. Even when countries try to isolate people, like China’s internet restrictions, the people know it’s happening.

As long as you do a little fact checking on your smarty pants Uncle Joe now and then, it’s a safe bet that just being out there interacting with average people will supply you with much of the information you need.

The danger of only having one pastor or one local authority have control over you is far less than it ever has been.
This is unfortunately balanced out by the multiple sources of false information at our fingertips. We've gone from a small community with a few sources of false information, to a global community with many sources of false information.

Fact checking my Uncle Joe is only useful if my facts are, in fact, true. I’ve been ‘fact checked’ and ‘proven’ wrong on a few occasions, but the ‘facts’ used were bogus, found on anti-vax websites and some Christian versions of science websites.

It would be interesting to hear how those who tried to proved me wrong determine what they think is true.

And what about things more mercurial that you can’t really fact check?

Xian: "And what about things more mercurial that you can’t really fact check?"
I don't know exactly what you're talking about, but since almost all of your posts are about fluffy spiritual things, I'll assume you're talking about them here too.

Questions like, “Are we in the matrix?”, “Are nouns illusory?”, “Is there a purpose to life?”, “Are thoughts real?”, might be interesting to think about, but they have no bearing on our lives.

Because they’re inconsequential to anything, my answers to those questions are not firm beliefs, but rather statements that make sense to me based on experience and what I’ve learned. I could be wrong or right, but since there’s no consequence to being either, I lose no sleep over it.

Spending your life obsessing about mercurial things that can’t be fact checked will impact your life by wasting valuable time and energy, but it’s the obsession, not the mercurial things, that has the impact.

 

Your asking a question about human factors. Example - If you ask me if I thought it was true that there was no way Trump could win again. I would generally disagree. Now if a lady of interest asked the same question, I would totally agree. If a twentyish kid, I would disagree. If an elderly person, I would agree.

What would I say? No way or you bet.

Point being. This is not a life or death situation.

This idea you have, should not have come as a surprise to you. People having views on subjects they know nothing about is common. What we should not be seeing is kids graduating high school that have no depth of knowledge. Or people graduating college having a point of view that is not theirs and no skills to question their repetition logic ways.

MikeYohe: "Your asking a question about human factors. Example – If you ask me if I thought it was true that there was no way Trump could win again. I would generally disagree. Now if a lady of interest asked the same question, I would totally agree. If a twentyish kid, I would disagree. If an elderly person, I would agree."
The question is "Why do you think what you believe, is true?", not "Do you ignore what you believe and only tell people what they want to hear?". Hopefully you have good reasons for believing the things you believe. Let's hear your reason(s).
"What we should not be seeing is kids graduating high school that have no depth of knowledge. Or people graduating college having a point of view that is not theirs and no skills to question their repetition logic ways."
I agree with the first part, but we do anyways (my kids are suffering this problem as I type this). The second part is quirky, so it's hard to comment on. First, no one can have a point of view that's not their own- if you have one it's yours. Second, I'm guessing you mean graduates aren't skilled in logic, and I would have to plead ignorance on that since I don't know enough graduates to know one way or the other.

 

π, you’ve made this a pretty good read. Now, its me who’s got nothing to add, but a few things to absorb. Thanks.

Such questions do have an impact on our lives because we take the answers to them for granted, much like the existence of love or that we believe we love people but really it’s just traits we love.

That would be a good exercise for you Xian. How do you know you love someone or not?

CC: Now, its me who’s got nothing to add, but a few things to absorb.
I think most of us would answer in similar ways, so you'd just be repeating what I said.

It’s the ‘different’ thinkers like Mike and Xian who have the ability to make this more interesting.

This is a difficult question to answer because we rarely talk about our own thought processes, and it’s hard to accurately say what you mean.

We all think we know we know what we know, but saying why we are justified in thinking we know what we know, is not easy. (That sentence is an example of how hard it is to say what you mean… I don’t even know if it says what I think it does.)

And how do you make a Pi symbol? That’s neat.

I wonder if I could change my name to πrat.

“Such questions do have an impact on our lives because we take the answers to them for granted”

No, they don’t.

You think they do because you let them. It’s you who gives them the power to affect your life. I guarantee you that none of the ‘deep’ questions you ask have an iota of influence on my life.

It’s like a phobia or an obsessive compulsive reaction- the trigger isn’t the problem, it’s the phobia or obsessive compulsive reaction that’s the problem. If I have a phobia of spiders, spiders aren’t my problem. If I have an uncontrollable urge to wash my hands every 10 minutes, dirty hands isn’t my problem. In both cases it’s me who is the problem.

Philosophical questions are powerless if you give them no power. For example, wondering if a gravel truck is illusory, is useless in everyday life. But doing mental calculations to judge if the one coming down the street will squish you like a bug when you cross, is not useless. The first question is philosophical (useless) and the second one is based on reality (very useful).

How DO you make a pi symbol?

Tim, option p (MacBook) π

Or if you want to be fancy add shift key ∏

For more fun, start changing fonts :slight_smile: