RE: Natural Order & Belief

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 20:41:38 +1100

I think the trap is to look for absolute certainty. Can I be absolutely certain that
most dogs have four legs? No: there may have been a conspiracy to keep from me
the fact that most dogs have six legs. Can I be absolutely certain that God did not
create the world 6000 years ago? No: God may have done just that and planted
evidence to make it look as if the world is much older in order to test our faith. Does
this then mean that these two beliefs, that most dogs have four legs and that God
created the world 6000 years ago are equally valid? No: we may not be able to attain
absolute certainty about any empirical belief, but we can bet that some beliefs are
much more likely to be true than others.
Stathis Papaioannou
> Stathis:
> I try a 'funny' aspect.
> Not in Tom's rather utilitarian point (whether it is good or bad, making a
> person happy or inspired) but upon your questioning the 'truth' in (among
> others) religious stories.
> Consider 'numbers' as religion. How many of us (you?) had a 'revelation'
> about numbers per se? Mostly accepted the bible of Plato and the teachings
> of math-teacher priests. It became a belief-system - no argument.
> Is it "true"?
> Does it 'exist' in the universality?
> Of course, the idea "lives" in minds so it exists. There is no postulate
> that an 'existing' idea has to be "matter-physics" based. The 'mental world
> is part of the 'demental' (as you know from your profession<G>).
> Religion lives in minds, ergo the 'facts' included are true. It can be read
> in "script" and inventive people say they have revelations just like what
> Newton's apple brought up.
> We have a belief system that religion is 'not true', others: that 'religion
> is true'.
> I don't believe in AR: does it make it 'untrue'?
> We formulate our mindset upon stories figmented by primitive observations of
> what ancestors saw and speculated.
> So do religious people on other wavelengths.
> Can you ask Zeus upon Athenae? I asked Bruno upon numbers. Many people do
> not share MY belief ystem of the wholeness. Does it make it untrue? In who's
> terms?
> Everybody has a certain level of 'faith' in HIS OWN belief.
> Even the 'utilitarian' aspect is personal. The smallpox virus instigated the
> social structural renovation of the western world. We judge within our
> momentary personal interests.
> Maybe the demise of humankind is a good thing for the biosphere.
> Opimistically yours
> John
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:20 AM
> Subject: RE: Natural Order & Belief
> Tom Caylor writes: (skip)
> SP:
> > > The problem with religious beliefs is not that they are bizarre (after
> > > all, many
> > > scientific theories at first glance are just as bizarre) but that there
> > > is no reasonable
> > > basis for deciding whether they are true. People usually choose
> > > religious beliefs because
> > > they would like them to be true or because their parents brought them up
> > > that way.
> > > It may be interesting to know if a religious belief makes a person
> > > happy, has inpired
> > > good deeds or great art, and so on, but the specific question I want
> > > answered is whether
> > > it is true. For example, it is true that the smallpox virus causes a
> > > severe illness which has
> > > killed million of people over the centuries, and this is true regardless
> > > of whether it is good,
> > > bad, interesting or whatever. I would like to know whether it is the
> > > case that Jesus rose from
> > > his tomb after being crucified or Athena sprang from Zeus' head after
> > > Hephaestus struck it
> > > with an axe, and I would like to know this independently of whether it
> > > makes an interesting
> > > or inspiring story.
> > >
> > > Stathis Papaioannou
> (TC - skipped)
> SP:
> When I am confident about some empirical belief, I am confident that a
> perfectly fair,
> disinterested observer given the same evidence that I have will come to the
> same conclusion
> that I do, or at least entertain it as a serious possibility. For example,
> if I am confident that
> the Quran was written in Arabic in the 7th century, then I am confident that
> any reasonable person
> who went to the trouble to investigate the matter would agree with me. If I
> am a Muslim, I
> may be as certain about the evidence supporting that the Quran is the word
> of God as I am
> about the evidence supporting that the Quran was written in Arabic in the
> 7th century. However,
> while as a Muslim I may be just as confident that a reasonable and
> disinterested observer would agree
> about when the Quran was written, I would be far less confident that he
> would agree about its
> divine origin (and perhaps be converted to Islam). This presents a problem:
> I can't say that both
> my beliefs about the divine origin of the Quran and when it was written are
> epistemologically
> equivalent and empirically equally well founded, but hold that a
> disinterested observer would likely
> accept one but not the other. I have to say that one of my beliefs is *not*
> as firmly rooted in the
> objective evidence as the other, but that in order to drag it up to the same
> level of believability, it
> requires something in addition which even the perfectly fair and
> disinterested observer lacks: namely,
> faith. And when you allow faith to tip the balance in these equations,
> anything at all can be taken as
> true.
> Stathis Papaioannou
> _________________________________________________________________
> >
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Received on Wed Nov 22 2006 - 04:41:56 PST

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