2010, July 15 by David Nielson The last one was too complicated, apparently. Really folks, just one simple question: is everything that you believe actually true?
True? How the hell do you know if it is or not? Beliefs, unlike the tensile strength of steel, or the boiling point of water, can not be tested with reliable results that can be anticipated, measured or recreated. Belief, by its very nature is subjective and largely unverifiable.
Of course it is. And it will keep on being "true" (quite aside from what is demonstrably or otherwise so in the universe) as long as I believe it is…or maybe that isn't the real question?
@Donovan: That's ridiculous. It's deserving of insult. People believe things that are demonstrably "not so" and that's what I'm asking about. Is everything you believe demonstrably "so"?
When you say, "is everything you believe demonstrably so", are you referring to such a thing as believing that Obama was not born in Hawaii? Or that The New Black Panther "controversy" can't be pinned on Obama because the case was dismissed early January '09 before Obama was sworn in? If this is what you are asking, then the answer can be: I believe in what is demonstrably "not so" because I disbelieve your demonstration that what I believe is not so. Or . . . What I believe affirms some part of who I am and therefore rejecting the belief will reject me. Or . . what I believe is necessary to do, say, achieve what I want, so I will willfully believe in what is "not so".
How about them apples?
Kenton, yes, that's more what I'm getting at. But you're both over-thinking the question a little. Can you point to something that you hold as true that isn't actually true?
Asking if I believe it is true (you can't ask me at the same time if it is, because if I believe it is true, IT IS!), or if it is so (that which is and isn't exactly the way it is and isn't quite aside my beliefs) are two very different questions. To the second one, I must answer that only a god can say that all he believes is so. Being merely human, I believe a full 90% of the true things I believe are likely not so the way I believe them. I'm ok with that.
"can you point to something that you hold as true that isn't actually true?" – That's like asking a fish if it is in water, or asking the pope to forswear the euachrist. To be conscious of believing something is true and being conscious that the very same thing is not, would require being conscious of one's own double-think. I don't see how that is possible.
Of course it is. That's what awareness looks like in action. Which is why I'm ok with the awareness that most of what I ardently believe to be true is very likely not so.
Perhaps the conversation for truth isn't the most useful place to spend one's time?
I believe what my brother is referring to is the phenomenon that has been observed and studied and was summed up in this article. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jul/03/confirmation-bias-scientific-evidence
And if you don't want to bother reading that, George Orwell gave us a quote that states it quite nicely: "We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."