Topic: Belief and Evidence

At our November meeting, a member proposed the following questions: Why do we have beliefs? Why don't we base all decisions on reason and evidence?

These questions were posed in the spirit of a broader consideration about belief, beyond a religion or a system of beliefs.

The group voted in favor of discussing these questions, so I've posted the topic for this meeting as "Belief and Evidence" so that we can explore these questions.

All members are encouraged to RSVP, but please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. 

We will meet on the second level of the Barnes & Noble store, to the right of the cafe counter area in the back of the store (but not in the cafe itself). You will see a circle of folding chairs (and possibly a folding table) if you walk up to the cafe counter and then look to your right to the back wall of the store.

Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to change your RSVP to provide others with an opportunity to RSVP for this meetup.

I look forward to seeing you!


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  • Jeff

    At least I believe it was great.

    1 · December 12, 2013

  • JC

    Hi Nancy, Interesting comment, I hope you/we have a chance to expound on this at one of our meetings.
    Get well soon!
    JC

    December 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    3:30 pm - still have not recovered sufficiently from cough, will not be able to attend.

    December 12, 2013

  • nancy s.

    Sorry to have missed this interesting meeting tonight, but still not over some health issues. I am very interested in tonight's topic though. I respect all points of view. Though after personally having many spiritual experiences, throughout my life, beyond visually and tactile hard scientific evidence, I have no doubt that there is an eternal existence much greater than we can scientifically prove. But each one of us has the free will to find out for themselves what their belief systems are, if any. More power to you all, in that quest.

    December 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      take solace that today dec[masked], Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan which is one of the premier investment bank in the world, said "God bless you" in response to budget agreement between republican & democrat (not guaranteed as it must pass the house & senate). I myself is atheist but I recognize that 90% of the world are theists - including many of the smartest in the world. After visiting many atheist meetings, I have concluded that atheists themselves are mostly believers too except it is not in the belief of god. They happen to believe in the right scientific arguments but they do not know that they do not understand. Hence the many posts on beliefs.

      December 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    If it is possible for us to reduce beliefs & in its place use evidence & probability as a guide, would we have less discord & disagreements?
    Can we replace gridlock in government & its place achieve progress?
    Why do we have to take sides as democrats or republicans - why not choose what is the right thing to do? It is not so simple.... because to have truth we must take time to study the facts - rather than listen to whomever sounds good to us or to sound bites that lie. Just because it makes sense does not mean that it is true.

    Last post till our meeting. Hope everyone comes with utmost sincerity & a true desire for truth. Most of all - civility on a sensitive subject.

    "The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs" my favorite description of philosophy http://www.thefreedictionary.com/philosophy

    December 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    P5 - health medicine paradox

    The US leads the world in medicine & health research.. http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2011/03/23/the-most-innovative-countries-in-biology-and-medicine/

    Yet we are 51st in longevity per CIA factbook (big data of the world paid by our taxes)..
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

    How come? Is it possible that what we "believe" as healthy is wrong? Does belief eclipse reason?.... such that facts don't matter much, it is our "filter" of the same exact facts that really counts? Here is an MIT tech review article http://www.technologyreview.com/view/522111/how-to-burst-the-filter-bubble-that-protects-us-from-opposing-views/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20131202

    Is cholesterol a symptom rather than a cause? much like a fever is a symptom to flu? such that taking aspirin merely suppress the fever but not the flu? How do know - belief?

    December 4, 2013

  • Jeff

    Candice has graciously extended her spot to me, and I will be attending on Dec 12.

    November 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Post-4 Gold
    as an investment hedge - a hedge means that gold should not go down in value or it should go in the opposite direction of your other investment. This is not true. Gold goes up or down just like anything else. Today on[masked] it went down when stocks went up. In fact it had gone down 35% from its high in 2011. So why do uber smart experts call it a hedge? ..because it is their belief?

    as an investment - true that if you know the timing from hindsight, you would have made 700% from its low of $250 in 1999 to its high of $1900 in 2011, but you would also have lost a lot of money from its high of $825 in 1980 to its low of $250 in 1999 but worse you would have not recovered your money for 28 years till 2008. So why the utter certainty of these experts? Feelings over-ride reason? I feel it in my bones? Belief?

    November 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Post-3 Global Warming

    Scientist are almost unanimous that the cause is CO2 as in a greenhouse effect. But how precisely? as there are no physical barrier as there are in a real greenhouse. And what happens to the heat that is generated by every single CO2 producing event. Massive tundra decomposition, cooking from wood fire, gas or electricity, every car engine produces a lot of heat, etc - so where does the heat from 7 billion people go? So do we simply believe the greenhouse effect without further explanation? Scientist may be correct but how do we the people get around to believing it without good explanation? Is it possible that all the increased heat produces more clouds that in turn shade us from the sun and in turn stop or reverse increased temperatures? Is that why there is no average temp increase since at least 2010? So why do we belief? Trust in higher authority? If so, there are other experts that differ. So now whom do you believe? and why?

    November 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Post-2 The economy

    but first I'd like to skip religion as by definition religion is faith which is a set of beliefs. There is no argument with beliefs or it is going to be an endless one. Back to the economy. Even among top economists on TV, they are not only split but are in 2 very opposite directions. How can that be? Or else, at least one has got to be wrong. Possibly both wrong. And the simple question is this, how then can the general public decide who to believe? How do you make a decision on which side you are on & why?

    November 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Post-1 Belief & Evidence..
    personally I think differing beliefs is at the root of all human disagreement ranging from religion, politics, economy, medicine etc etc. It is the single reason for the incredible polarization we are experiencing today. I'd like to present a few examples in the following numbered posts. Feel free to use your own examples and I'd like to donate my talk time in the meeting to others as time is so limited and I really would like to listen to what others think. Meaning I will not speak much at the meeting. The following posts may be spread over a few days as I am getting ready for hike in 30min.

    November 21, 2013

  • Jeremy S.

    I'm looking forward to joining you guys again!

    November 19, 2013

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