• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Attention Trump Supporters & Sundry Conspiracy Aficionados!

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,618
4,244
126
Comments on the essay:

These points are made with reference to the arguments presented by Uribe regarding is analysis of in the essay by William Kingdon Clifford.

Clifford makes 3 points.

Argument 1

A. To me belief it is raining or that taxis don't take credit cards isn't what I would call belief. I would simply refer to such things as factual information, information that can be validated by testing. But I do agree that beliefs defines our personal reality, they determine our actions. But there is more to it than that. My sense of things is that belief is actually feeling and we don't actually always know why we feel or what we feel. This means that we don't always know what we actually believe and especially why. We operate, in my opinion, on unconscious feelings that motivate unconscious or unexamined opinions. To say, therefore, that it is always wrong to believe without evidence is all well and good, but not so easy to realize and that we can will it is just another wrong notion we may believe.

B. That belief as a social animal implies ethical responsibility to others is undoubtedly of great moral importance but this leads to a fear of wrong social belief, the need to conform to public opinion least one be seen as dangerous. It is this very fear of difference, I believe, that blocks conscious awareness of how we have been conditioned to believe what we believe rather than forming those opinions based on our own rational analysis. This is because the stakes were very high as children also, long before we could reason.

C. When it comes, then, as to whether wrong beliefs in all cases can lead to disastrous consequences, this isn't due so much to some change in the imperative to believe sensibly so much as the result of how much damage a single mad man can do as a result of technology. But they do march hand in hand and make more urgent the need for such a moral imperative.

Argument 2

A. I like the term 'epistemic alertness' to describe what I would call the need to be consciously aware of what I call our unexamined assumptions, things we unconsciously believe that create our motivations below conscious awareness, but the problem for me is that I see no way other than to warn about this as a problem rather than refer to it as a moral imperative. One simply demand, even of oneself, that one know what is motivationally hidden from our conscious awareness. It takes enormous curiosity or excruciating need to dredge up these things. And this is the problem. But one can easily understand the need for care in what one accepts as truth simply by an effort of will. But this requires a willingness to break with one's prior conditioning to accept rather than independently access. The problem is especially difficult if you have been conditioned to believe yourself to be unworthy of independent thinking. "God knows best." Well fine, but what does God actually think, not what somebody told you He does.

Argument 3

A. As far as not polluting the well of collective knowledge is concerned, I believe that such pollution, if that is the right word and I don't think it is, that has been going on forever and our collective knowledge is as fucked up as everything else.

Personally, I would look in a different direction for answers as to how to correct the imbalance between critical thinking and credulity and that would simply be in understanding the nature of belief itself. What is belief and why do we believe. I believe that belief is an unnecessary moral imperative, that we are conditioned to believe in believing, that belief is has been irrationally defined as a necessity of healthy ego identity, that the feeling that what we believe to be what we should believe is what makes us OK as people.

When I examined what I believed as a young man to be provably correct I discovered that not one thing that I believed could be proven. I lost both my sense of security, my optimism that life is good, and any hope I would ever be happy. I realized there is no such thing as good and evil. I found that when everything that is false is lost, what is left is what can't be taken and that isn't thinking you know or believing, but that real knowing is the experience of the simple joy all animals feel in being. I know nothing and I call that reality. It is needing to know that is the problem. There is no such real need.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,618
4,244
126
Yes, but, they do not think they are and thus the title of the article does not fit. Sure, there are a large number of people that believe claims and have no evidence.

The argument this article is making is 100% valid in the context that you should form your beliefs from evidence. The issue is with the OP is that he does not understand things as well as he believes which is why he makes the argument about the political Right as he sees it.

The people that he is bringing up are not people that have beliefs that are unsupported. The data they use is not factual, not well supported if at all supported, but, its data.

The OP understands that people are basing their beliefs on what he calls lies, which is another way of saying their beliefs are based on invalid data. The mistake Perk makes is not realizing the implications. What we have are people that are forming and holding beliefs on information that is not credible.

Thus, the issue for those people is not that they need to seek information to back their claims, its that they need to seek valid and credible sources. That is a very large distinction that the OP appears not to be able to make and or understand.
I believe that the mistake you are making lies in the belief in incorrect data, that people like Trump supporters of Flat Earthers believe as they do because they buy into false data, and thinking it is correct data claim fake news about anything that contradicts them. The problem I see with this is that while it has superficial appeal, precisely the reason you do not know how to address it is because your diagnose is too shallow. It isn't that they believe false information and avoid corrective information thinking they already know the truth. They do that all right but for a reason that explains why that happens. They believe what they believe because they have emotional needs that those beliefs satisfy they do not know they have and therefore they can't help themselves. They have an emotional need those lies satisfy, a need for self importance that believing as a group in opposition to reality gives them a sense of belonging. It is the outrage their contrariness produces that is the source of their gratification and keeps them addicted to their insanity. They didn't just happen to fall for imbecilic thinking, they were ripe for the contempt thinking like that would bring them. It makes them feel as if they are getting even by actively reveling in their inability to be reached by factual reasoning.

So they don't need real data. They need to see what makes them tick and how it prevents them from having any any real feelings of self respect. They chose negative attention over the love of knowledge and they do so because they were damaged as children and made to hate themselves. Only then will real data look real.
 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
894
126
I believe that the mistake you are making lies in the belief in incorrect data, that people like Trump supporters of Flat Earthers believe as they do because they buy into false data, and thinking it is correct data claim fake news about anything that contradicts them. The problem I see with this is that while it has superficial appeal, precisely the reason you do not know how to address it is because your diagnose is too shallow. It isn't that they believe false information and avoid corrective information thinking they already know the truth. They do that all right but for a reason that explains why that happens. They believe what they believe because they have emotional needs that those beliefs satisfy they do not know they have and therefore they can't help themselves. They have an emotional need those lies satisfy, a need for self importance that believing as a group in opposition to reality gives them a sense of belonging. It is the outrage their contrariness produces that is the source of their gratification and keeps them addicted to their insanity. They didn't just happen to fall for imbecilic thinking, they were ripe for the contempt thinking like that would bring them. It makes them feel as if they are getting even by actively reveling in their inability to be reached by factual reasoning.

So they don't need real data. They need to see what makes them tick and how it prevents them from having any any real feelings of self respect. They chose negative attention over the love of knowledge and they do so because they were damaged as children and made to hate themselves. Only then will real data look real.
How is what you said in contradiction to what I said?
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,618
4,244
126
How is what you said in contradiction to what I said?
You said they need to seek valid and credible sources after saying they don't see such sources as valid and credible so there is no sense in saying they should seek what they can't actually recognize even looking directory at it. That means then that instead of seeking valid information they should be informed instead of the nature of their blindness. They won't like that either but they will never escape their prison unless they are somehow exposed to this as their inner condition. Believing you are looking for truth and are capable of recognizing it when you see it and considering the idea that you actually don't want to see the truth because of what it will cost emotionally, are two different states of mind and have different potential for awakening.
 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
894
126
You said they need to seek valid and credible sources after saying they don't see such sources as valid and credible so there is no sense in saying they should seek what they can't actually recognize even looking directory at it. That means then that instead of seeking valid information they should be informed instead of the nature of their blindness. They won't like that either but they will never escape their prison unless they are somehow exposed to this as their inner condition. Believing you are looking for truth and are capable of recognizing it when you see it and considering the idea that you actually don't want to see the truth because of what it will cost emotionally, are two different states of mind and have different potential for awakening.
How do you inform them? As you said, their bias is driving them toward believing something that they want to believe. They are filtering everything that they see and all data through their bias. They believe they are informed and you telling them they are not and what you think they should know will be dismissed.

I did not go deeper into their issues because I only needed to go far enough to show how his perception is flawed in terms of his argument. None of what I said conflicts with what you said, yet you said I was wrong. Why do you think that I am wrong? Is it because I did not explain further and offer a solution?
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,618
4,244
126
realibrad: How do you inform them?

M: I said it would be difficult to inform them but that What I call information isn't what you are calling it. You say for example:

r: As you said, their bias is driving them toward believing something that they want to believe. They are filtering everything that they see and all data through their bias. They believe they are informed and you telling them they are not and what you think they should know will be dismissed.

M: You do not distinguish that what I call informing them is not what you suggested they needed to be informed of, that they adsorb faulty data and need to go for real data instead, something they will never do because they don't believe their data is false. What I would inform them of is that they are motivated to adsorb false data for ego gratification purposes and that they won't be able to escape that hell without recognizing this as what motivates them. You are asking they see correct data and I am asking they see they are motivated not to see period. You want to engage them on the level of argument and I am telling them they are hopelessly lost if they wish to live without self understanding. I am engaged in stating facts about their condition, not trying to provide facts that prove them wrong. They won't have any of that. And that is their reality. I have no belief in any reality I want them to see. I only suggest they will be safe without their need, that everything is perfect and always has been. There is only love.

r: I did not go deeper into their issues because I only needed to go far enough to show how his perception is flawed in terms of his argument. None of what I said conflicts with what you said, yet you said I was wrong. Why do you think that I am wrong? Is it because I did not explain further and offer a solution?

M: As I recall you said you don't know a solution that would actually work. I described why people are blind, that they feel a need to be. I suggested that need isn't real, that it is only a feeling. You can't make people feel what they do not want to feel, but you can explain to them that is their real condition and that at root this leads to self deception and misery. The answer to defensiveness is to lose the need to defend. All I am saying is that that is possible and that I know that it is because I lost all those battles. I won the moment I gave up.

Basically, you are wrong because you feel being wrong is a defect and it makes you want to argue on the basis of that false notion you believe in. I am giving you that information. The price of carrying away what I have said is your assumptions. It was a killer of a price for me.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY