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Belief

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cripes
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cripes
Posted 06/01/10 - 9:33 AM:
Subject: Belief
If belief is not an evolved adaptation, then what is it, where did it come from and why does it exist?

Human children as well as young of other species blindly accept what the parents or other authority figures assert. Its instinctive. As the human brain develops with age humans have the capacity to weigh whether or not to accept whats told to them as truths (if its chosen to exercise that ability) while animals are denied that choice. Other animals remain instinctive while humans reflect and consider. Both have upsides and downsides, IMO.

Belief
Belief Be*lief", n. [OE. bileafe, bileve; cf. AS. gele['a]fa.
See Believe.]
1. Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance
of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without
immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or
testimony; partial or full assurance without positive
knowledge or absolute certainty; persuasion; conviction;
confidence; as, belief of a witness; the belief of our
senses.
[1913 Webster]
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 06/01/10 - 10:09 AM:

I recommend 'The science of Discworld' I, II en III by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart en Jack Cohen, for a very interesting take on this subject (and then some).

Especialy the idea of 'pan narrans' instead of 'homo sapiens'. We are 'pan narrans', the story-telling ape. We instinctively tell eachother stories to make sense of the world, to keep our head, and to progress. But it is important to know what and why the stories are. Lest, of course, you get mindless copying of other people's stories. Which leads to all the mishaps of tradition and religion throughout history.
libertygrl
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Posted 06/02/10 - 12:21 AM:

i wouldn't be surprised to learn that specific neurons exist which control how we form our beliefs. it's a dangerous concept, though, that threatens the way we define our humanity. it could suggest that a simple flip of the switch, using pharmaceuticals or electromagnetic stimulation or whatever other tools the neuroscientist may have in his or her handy toolbox, could turn a gun-toting bigot into a tree-hugging hippie and vice versa. is this a good thing? who should get to make these kind of life-altering decisions?
Thinker13
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Posted 06/05/10 - 2:14 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
is this a good thing? who should get to make these kind of life-altering decisions?


No it isn't. No one should get to make this ideally. Nothing corrupts more than power and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Practically, most powerful will get these kind of decisions( or they have already gotten these. May be some illuminatis or elders of Zion or some reptilion humanoid are responsible for our current belief system. I am not exempt from this idea that conspiracy theorist might well be correct. Though I do not have any evidence to support this belief of mine).

Thank you,

Thinker13
praxis
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Posted 06/10/10 - 1:53 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
i wouldn't be surprised to learn that specific neurons exist which control how we form our beliefs. it's a dangerous concept, though, that threatens the way we define our humanity. it could suggest that a simple flip of the switch, using pharmaceuticals or electromagnetic stimulation or whatever other tools the neuroscientist may have in his or her handy toolbox, could turn a gun-toting bigot into a tree-hugging hippie and vice versa.

Who needs pharmaceuticals or whatever, we can make people fly jetliners full of civilians into large buildings full of civilians with old fashion techniques. That's just one iconic example, there are many more examples.

Is it a good thing? It's certainly not ideal.

Who should get to make these kinds of life altering decisions? I would think that there would be a good reason for taking such dramatic developmental control. Desperate times call for desperate measures, that sort of logic. We might ask if it's worth the price.

libertygrl
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Posted 06/10/10 - 10:05 PM:

interesting thoughts well spoken praxis
cripes
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cripes
Posted 06/11/10 - 2:20 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
i wouldn't be surprised to learn that specific neurons exist which control how we form our beliefs. it's a dangerous concept, though, that threatens the way we define our humanity. it could suggest that a simple flip of the switch, using pharmaceuticals or electromagnetic stimulation or whatever other tools the neuroscientist may have in his or her handy toolbox, could turn a gun-toting bigot into a tree-hugging hippie and vice versa. is this a good thing? who should get to make these kind of life-altering decisions?

praxis wrote:

Who needs pharmaceuticals or whatever, we can make people fly jetliners full of civilians into large buildings full of civilians with old fashion techniques. That's just one iconic example, there are many more examples.

Is it a good thing? It's certainly not ideal.

Who should get to make these kinds of life altering decisions? I would think that there would be a good reason for taking such dramatic developmental control. Desperate times call for desperate measures, that sort of logic. We might ask if it's worth the price.

Isn't morality sufficient enough? Thats what it (morality) should be doing ideally, isn't it.
praxis
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praxis
Posted 06/11/10 - 1:37 PM:

Hi Cripes,

I don't know what you mean.
cripes
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cripes
Posted 06/11/10 - 2:19 PM:

Isn't our method of programming a 'gun-toting bigot into a tree hugging hippie and vice versa' with morality rather than pharmaceuticals? Morality is a social adaptation that flips the gene switch, just perhaps not as quickly, but probably more effectively over the long haul.
praxis
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praxis
#10 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 06/11/10 - 3:17 PM:

Still having some trouble interpreting what you're saying, Cripes.

It sounds to me like you're suggesting that we can program with morality. I hadn't ever thought of it in that way, if that is what you're suggesting. It would certainly seem to be true in at least the sense that anyone who would intentionally condition a child to be a killer, for instance, would be imparting onto that child their own sense of morality.

People can be unwittingly manipulated into suppressing their empathy for others, it might be noted, and perhaps to a larger degree their overall moral sensibilities. There are many studies in the social sciences that demonstrate this.

In a sense I think that genes are at the heart of morality. They seem to have the singular purpose of perpetuating themselves and will adopt any strategy that helps them do that most effectively. That could mean an expression of selfish behavior or cooperative behavior, depending on the circumstances I guess. Cooperative behavior seems to be most sustainable, but people tend to be greedy and short sighted. I blame my genes for those tendencies in myself. grin
libertygrl
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#11 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 06/16/10 - 11:21 PM:

cripes wrote:
Isn't our method of programming a 'gun-toting bigot into a tree hugging hippie and vice versa' with morality rather than pharmaceuticals? Morality is a social adaptation that flips the gene switch, just perhaps not as quickly, but probably more effectively over the long haul.

the ever-present problem with morality is that by its very nature of manifesting the essence of free will, people don't always come to a satisfactory agreement as to what the moral thing to do is. in other words, morality is always about making a choice - there is no absolute authority on morality, no ultimately objective morality. so there are bound to be those who will think that re-programming people's brains against their wills is a great idea.
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