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Attention Trump Supporters & Sundry Conspiracy Aficionados!

Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
44,470
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Believing without evidence is always morally wrong

^^^ So states the somewhat provocative title of this article:

"Everyone would agree that our behaviour is shaped by what we take to be true about the world – which is to say, by what we believe. If I believe that it is raining outside, I’ll bring an umbrella. If I believe taxis don’t take credit cards, I make sure I have some cash before jumping into one. And if I believe that stealing is wrong, then I will pay for my goods before leaving the store.

What we believe is then of tremendous practical importance. False beliefs about physical or social facts lead us into poor habits of action that in the most extreme cases could threaten our survival. If the singer R Kelly genuinely believed the words of his song ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ (1996), I can guarantee you he would not be around by now.

But it is not only our own self-preservation that is at stake here. As social animals, our agency impacts on those around us, and improper believing puts our fellow humans at risk. As Clifford warns: ‘We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to …’ In short, sloppy practices of belief-formation are ethically wrong because – as social beings – when we believe something, the stakes are very high."

[...]

"In a world in which just about everyone’s beliefs are instantly shareable, at minimal cost, to a global audience, every single belief has the capacity to be truly consequential in the way Clifford imagined. If you still believe this is an exaggeration, think about how beliefs fashioned in a cave in Afghanistan lead to acts that ended lives in New York, Paris and London. Or consider how influential the ramblings pouring through your social media feeds have become in your very own daily behaviour. In the digital global village that we now inhabit, false beliefs cast a wider social net, hence Clifford’s argument might have been hyperbole when he first made it, but is no longer so today."

"In turn, this enormous pool of stored belief is used by algorithms to make decisions for and about us. And it’s the same reservoir that search engines tap into when we seek answers to our questions and acquire new beliefs. Add the wrong ingredients into the Big Data recipe, and what you’ll get is a potentially toxic output. If there was ever a time when critical thinking was a moral imperative, and credulity a calamitous sin, it is now."

I run into people with whom I simply cannot have a productive political conversation, simply because they live in a Fox-induced coma of "alternative facts" . . . "facts," like Hilary Clinton's pizza store basement based sex ring, that the most credulous of them violently act on!

These lies, often led and fed on a daily basis by our President himself, present a clear and present danger to our country. :(




 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
894
126
I'm wondering what you think was the point of this.

Someone that believes in incorrect things, likely did so because they believed inaccurate "evidence". Watching a movie like loose change where claims are made, but is not supported by reality leads people to believe things that are not true.

Would you say a claim is evidence, or do you think people have beliefs that they come up with that are not based on what they think reality is?
 

SKORPI0

Lifer
Jan 18, 2000
17,273
1,346
126
Lies can easily be "manufactured" by unnamed sources and still be believed by misinformed people depending only on what they see/read on TV, social media, newspapers. A lot of people from whatever background tend not to check for verifiable "facts" and fall whatever is presented to them as "the absolute truth". Someone can be biased because they believe that the political party they affiliate with has moral values while the other party lacks it. Data from polls can be presented to show a candidate is leading overwhelmingly , but in the end people will see the truth behind the lies and do the right thing. It's been 2 tumultuous years since a widely unliked/idiotic/vilified President was elected and still to this day the other candidate couldn't fathom and accept the loss of what they believe was "my turn", how presumptuous was that?. Now the US is the laughing stock around the world because of this. o_O:rolleyes:
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
62,340
14,563
136
Lies can easily be "manufactured" by unnamed sources and still be believed by misinformed people depending only on what they see/read on TV, social media, newspapers. A lot of people from whatever background tend not to check for verifiable "facts" and fall whatever is presented to them as "the absolute truth". Someone can be biased because they believe that the political party they affiliate has moral values while the other party lacks it. Data from polls can be presented to show a candidate is leading overwhelmingly , but in the end people will see the truth behind the lies and do the right thing. It's been 2 tumultuous years since a widely unliked/idiotic/vilified President was elected and still to this day the other candidate couldn't fathom and accept the loss of what they believe was "my turn", how presumptuous was that?. Now the US is the laughing stock around the world because of this. o_O:rolleyes:
Blame the victim of the most outrageous political smear campaign of our lifetimes.
 
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tweaker2

Lifer
Aug 5, 2000
12,359
3,735
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The only difference between Trump's lies and those of a three year old getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar is that when Trump gets caught and tells lies to worm his way out of being caught red-handed there are literally millions of folks who will take his word for it, OR, completely ignore his behavior because he's their pampered spoiled brat child who can do no wrong no matter if that child cannot play well with other children and is wont to create chaos and then exploit it for maximum effect whether it be for profit or mere entertainment value.

Trump has conditioned his supporters into allowing, nay, cheering him on to lie at will and to alienate our allies all while befriending our perceived enemies. How in the name of Hell they let him get away with crippling shit like that when they'd be howling mad if a Democrat did anything remotely similar in behavior and deed is worth billions if "it" could be bottled and sold as the miracle snake oil elixir of all time. Although in reality, it's not Trump that's the real danger; it's his supporters and enablers in the Repub controlled Congress that are the real problem.

*edited for verbiage
 
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Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
44,470
4,318
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I'm wondering what you think was the point of this.
Of course you are!

It is awesome the industriously clueless responses your brain manufactures, and then inflicts on threads here. You are likely not that stupid, but many of your posts are virtually indistinguishable from those of a truly stupid person.

You are all too often an infinitely annoying pestilence too truly entombed in your own amazingly baroque cluelessness for you to even begin to understand how futile it is to engage you.

To do so is to go down a creepy cul de sac of derailment from which there is no return.

You consistently derail threads in a manner any actual troll would be envious of! That you can repeatedly do so, seemingly without conscious intent, bulletproof immune to understanding that you do so, is a testament to your unique weirdness.

If two of "you" met, I can only imagine there would be an "event horizon" implosion that might end the universe.

You will no doubt respond about how angry I am (with you), without ever understanding just why that may be. :eek:
 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
894
126
Of course you are!

It is awesome the industriously clueless responses your brain manufactures, and then inflicts on threads here. You are likely not that stupid, but many of your posts are virtually indistinguishable from those of a truly stupid person.

You are all too often an infinitely annoying pestilence too truly entombed in your own amazingly baroque cluelessness for you to even begin to understand how futile it is to engage you.

To do so is to go down a creepy cul de sac of derailment from which there is no return.

You consistently derail threads in a manner any actual troll would be envious of! That you can repeatedly do so, seemingly without conscious intent, bulletproof immune to understanding that you do so, is a testament to your unique weirdness.

If two of "you" met, I can only imagine there would be an "event horizon" implosion that might end the universe.

You will no doubt respond about how angry I am (with you), without ever understanding just why that may be. :eek:
So is that a no, that you wont explain?
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
126
To follow through on the thought a statement is made with the consequence that every religious or spiritual person who cannot scientifically demonstrate their faith are morally wrong.

I'm not agreeing with that, at all.
 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
894
126
To follow through on the thought a statement is made with the consequence that every religious or spiritual person who cannot scientifically demonstrate their faith are morally wrong.

I'm not agreeing with that, at all.
See post 6 for your response.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
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See post 6 for your response.

The problem is with "always" and an overbroad context. I would say that following leaders when there is no evidence provided. If Trump says "these are terrorists" or Obama makes a claim about a cop being a racist because a Cambridge professor accuses him. In both cases were wrong and unacceptable.

But this is here and now and I've never seen such outrageous and intentional misleading of the public, and that's what is always wrong.
 

Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
44,470
4,318
136
To follow through on the thought a statement is made with the consequence that every religious or spiritual person who cannot scientifically demonstrate their faith are morally wrong.

I'm not agreeing with that, at all.
I said in the OP that the title was intentionally provocative. Sadly, the title is clickbait, where titles in articles are often not even chosen by the author but by a web editor trying to grab your attention.

To answer your question, you would have needed to read further, to wit (bolding mine):

"False beliefs about physical or social facts lead us into poor habits of action that in the most extreme cases could threaten our survival."
The author is NOT talking about the realm of religious belief, a realm wherein what physical or social facts we have are not conclusive either way, a realm wherein belief is paramount. He is restricting his critique to the profane world, where physical and social facts damn well do matter.
 

Blackjack200

Lifer
May 28, 2007
15,993
1,679
126
The problem is with "always" and an overbroad context. I would say that following leaders when there is no evidence provided. If Trump says "these are terrorists" or Obama makes a claim about a cop being a racist because a Cambridge professor accuses him. In both cases were wrong and unacceptable.

But this is here and now and I've never seen such outrageous and intentional misleading of the public, and that's what is always wrong.
No, they're not. Obama's comments stopped short of calling the officer racist, and he would have been entirely correct in doing so.

Edit: yet another lazy example of trying to find examples on both sides. If you want to criticize Obama for shit that Trump has done, all you have to do is look at what he did with immigration and deportations, or violent foreign intervention, or surveillance, etc. etc.
 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
894
126
The problem is with "always" and an overbroad context. I would say that following leaders when there is no evidence provided. If Trump says "these are terrorists" or Obama makes a claim about a cop being a racist because a Cambridge professor accuses him. In both cases were wrong and unacceptable.

But this is here and now and I've never seen such outrageous and intentional misleading of the public, and that's what is always wrong.
When my cashier says the world is ending next Tuesday I find it funny. When my president does it, I feel very different. What's when worse is how willing people are to excuse it.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
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No, they're not. Obama's comments stopped short of calling the officer racist, and he would have been entirely correct in doing so.

Edit: yet another lazy example of trying to find examples on both sides. If you want to criticize Obama for shit that Trump has done, all you have to do is look at what he did with immigration and deportations, or violent foreign intervention, or surveillance, etc. etc.
Yet the professor was the victim of racism exemplified by the officers action. That's a difference without a distinction and my oh my how people got up in arms about this racist cop. The dog whistle was in the hands of others and if not for the members of the community regardless of race who came forward and supported this officer and denounced the prof as nothing but a trouble maker it would have stuck. That BTW is how Trump works by bringing out that whistle and sonova gun works.

I don't care who operates on the lack of facts, taking actions to potentially harm another is wrong. Obama was wrong. There is "well both sides". The difference is that Obama didn't think, he assumed, and that was his mistake. It wasn't a matter of policy or an evil nature and he didn't live to so such things.

Trump is just a reprehensable creature.
I said in the OP that the title was intentionally provocative. Sadly, the title is clickbait, where titles in articles are often not even chosen by the author but by a web editor trying to grab your attention.

To answer your question, you would have needed to read further, to wit (bolding mine):



The author is NOT talking about the realm of religious belief, a realm wherein what physical or social facts we have are not conclusive either way, a realm wherein belief is paramount. He is restricting his critique to the profane world, where physical and social facts damn well do matter.


I agree with your sentiment but I don't think that's what the piece in question states.

I'll cite this.

"This might seem strange given that we are talking about a Victorian Briton whose most famous philosophical work is an essay nearly 150 years ago. However, reality has caught up with Clifford. His once seemingly exaggerated claim that ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence’ is no longer hyperbole but a technical reality."

In my estimation "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything" is about as clear a point as can be made, as all-inclusive as possible.

I don't believe for one minute that you utterly dismiss spiritual people as morally wrong always, everywhere no matter who they may be as also implied by "physical" used in your quote. I find it hard to argue that what I have quoted leaves much wiggle room for a strong argument to the contrary.
 
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,592
126
When my cashier says the world is ending next Tuesday I find it funny. When my president does it, I feel very different. What's when worse is how willing people are to excuse it.
What do you think the result would be if everyone like you believed Mexican immigrants are murderers and rapists? What do you think the result would be if everyone like you thinks refugees being nothing but disease and gang members? What do you think the result would be if everyone like you believed the Democratic party is out to destroy America? Are you that ready for war? Is making America great again based on subjugation of anyone who doesn't agree with Trump? Because, that's what I'm hearing.
 

cfenton

Senior member
Jul 27, 2015
277
99
101
I agree with your sentiment but I don't think that's what the piece in question states.

I'll cite this.

"This might seem strange given that we are talking about a Victorian Briton whose most famous philosophical work is an essay nearly 150 years ago. However, reality has caught up with Clifford. His once seemingly exaggerated claim that ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence’ is no longer hyperbole but a technical reality."

In my estimation "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything" is about as clear a point as can be made, as all-inclusive as possible.

I don't believe for one minute that you utterly dismiss spiritual people as morally wrong always, everywhere no matter who they may be as also implied by "physical" used in your quote. I find it hard to argue that what I have quoted leaves much wiggle room for a strong argument to the contrary.
The claim seems to be that their beliefs are morally wrong, not that they are bad people. Most of us do things that are morally wrong, at least occasionally, but few of us are bad people. I think the claim is extreme, but it's certainly true that holding beliefs without evidence is an epistemic failure, if not a moral one. If holding beliefs without evidence leads to harm, then those beliefs are also morally problematic. So, for example, starting a war because of a religious belief is morally wrong.
 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
894
126
What do you think the result would be if everyone like you believed Mexican immigrants are murderers and rapists? What do you think the result would be if everyone like you thinks refugees being nothing but disease and gang members? What do you think the result would be if everyone like you believed the Democratic party is out to destroy America? Are you that ready for war? Is making America great again based on subjugation of anyone who doesn't agree with Trump? Because, that's what I'm hearing.
Those things would be horrible. What do you mean by people like me?
 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
17,759
2,867
126
Believing without evidence is always morally wrong

^^^ So states the somewhat provocative title of this article:

"Everyone would agree that our behaviour is shaped by what we take to be true about the world – which is to say, by what we believe. If I believe that it is raining outside, I’ll bring an umbrella. If I believe taxis don’t take credit cards, I make sure I have some cash before jumping into one. And if I believe that stealing is wrong, then I will pay for my goods before leaving the store.

What we believe is then of tremendous practical importance. False beliefs about physical or social facts lead us into poor habits of action that in the most extreme cases could threaten our survival. If the singer R Kelly genuinely believed the words of his song ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ (1996), I can guarantee you he would not be around by now.

But it is not only our own self-preservation that is at stake here. As social animals, our agency impacts on those around us, and improper believing puts our fellow humans at risk. As Clifford warns: ‘We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to …’ In short, sloppy practices of belief-formation are ethically wrong because – as social beings – when we believe something, the stakes are very high."

[...]

"In a world in which just about everyone’s beliefs are instantly shareable, at minimal cost, to a global audience, every single belief has the capacity to be truly consequential in the way Clifford imagined. If you still believe this is an exaggeration, think about how beliefs fashioned in a cave in Afghanistan lead to acts that ended lives in New York, Paris and London. Or consider how influential the ramblings pouring through your social media feeds have become in your very own daily behaviour. In the digital global village that we now inhabit, false beliefs cast a wider social net, hence Clifford’s argument might have been hyperbole when he first made it, but is no longer so today."

"In turn, this enormous pool of stored belief is used by algorithms to make decisions for and about us. And it’s the same reservoir that search engines tap into when we seek answers to our questions and acquire new beliefs. Add the wrong ingredients into the Big Data recipe, and what you’ll get is a potentially toxic output. If there was ever a time when critical thinking was a moral imperative, and credulity a calamitous sin, it is now."

I run into people with whom I simply cannot have a productive political conversation, simply because they live in a Fox-induced coma of "alternative facts" . . . "facts," like Hilary Clinton's pizza store basement based sex ring, that the most credulous of them violently act on!

These lies, often led and fed on a daily basis by our President himself, present a clear and present danger to our country. :(
God damn spherical earther. Next thing you'll chatten up our women folk.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
126
The claim seems to be that their beliefs are morally wrong, not that they are bad people. Most of us do things that are morally wrong, at least occasionally, but few of us are bad people. I think the claim is extreme, but it's certainly true that holding beliefs without evidence is an epistemic failure, if not a moral one. If holding beliefs without evidence leads to harm, then those beliefs are also morally problematic. So, for example, starting a war because of a religious belief is morally wrong.
What happens if one believes in doing good regardless of the reason as it could be argued that good is of necessity arbitrary whether assumed to be from God, an individual or societies? One might be in error and yet do what is seen to be good in a society, perhaps because of that "mistake". I would argue that morality is not a type of thing appropriately pronounced in this context, that it is in itself not applicable. I would also argue that this is not an epistemological failure, because epistemology is not entirely about objective reality. Knowledge is of many sorts.

I suggest Russells "Problems of Philosophy" which does a nice job of bringing doubt to any claim of knowing objective reality with not a teapot but a table.

Anyway, we come to a question of the basis of why acts are not moral if they are not based on evidence is an appropriate metric.
 

Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
44,470
4,318
136
"This might seem strange given that we are talking about a Victorian Briton whose most famous philosophical work is an essay nearly 150 years ago. However, reality has caught up with Clifford. His once seemingly exaggerated claim that ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence’ is no longer hyperbole but a technical reality."

In my estimation "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything" is about as clear a point as can be made, as all-inclusive as possible.
Except, as noted, the author was explicitly talking about "always, everywhere, and for anyone" SOLELY WITHIN THE STATED REALM of physical or social facts. You seem to miss that all important caveat which defines the scope of the author's discussion, even though I posted it.

I don't believe for one minute that you utterly dismiss spiritual people as morally wrong always...
Gosh, Rich, thanks! :p No need, though, for I am one of those "spiritual people" myself. Yet I am secure in my spirituality, so I wasn't triggered into thinking the article was attacking spiritual people or the realm of spiritual belief, as you were.

The author explicitly confined his article to the realm of that which can be conclusively fact checked. The spiritual world cannot be conclusively fact checked.

No matter how or what you or I or anyone believes spiritually, no one person can conclusively prove what they believe to any non-believer with . . . facts.

As a deeply spiritual person, that doesn't bother me one whit. You can't argue belief and I don't try. Which is probably why I was better able to read this article and not be defensively triggered by it. The author is exclusively talking about the physical plane, not the spiritual.
 

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