Re: [atheists-331] YouTube lecture video, "Faith: Pretending to know something you don't know" by Dr. Peter Boghossian

From: Cathy M.
Sent on: Sunday, January 20, 2013 6:16 PM
Paul, 

Your posts and conversations continue to teach me a good deal. Thank you!

Cathy

On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 5:10 PM, Paul S <[address removed]> wrote:
Bob,
I had not heard of 'tit for tat' as scientific term before, but I found it on wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat
Good article. Thank you for enlightening me.
I suppose in light of reading this, I do use tit-for-tat with people I encounter regularly.
I exercise my faith more with strangers, who might be a single encounter. Tit-for-tat says trust each new stranger at first if I am likely to see them again, or use another strategy otherwise. (This other strategy would incorporate evidence about how often strangers burn me.) In a sense, I do this too, but my faith makes me use an increased likelyhood of forming a relationship (especially when I am hoping to form a new relationship).

Darrick,
Do you realize that you removed the word "than" from after "often" in translating my quote? That word was key in what I meant to say. And I think you meant to delete "to believe" when translating.

Maureen,
Thank you for thinking about my message. I think what the discussion shows is that one/I can be atheist, even a militant atheist, without being much of a skeptic. [I don't need reason to arrive at atheism (not that I am against reason). To me, atheism is the status quo/default belief and traditional religious stories are silly.] In case you didn't know, almost all people in this group are also in the Greater Lowell Area Skeptics Society on Meetup.

-- Paul



On 01/20/[masked]:12 PM, Darrick Fauvel wrote:
To me, faith has become such a weasel word for "believing to know something without knowing," that I really avoid using it. Instead, I replace the word faith with "reasonable expectation." In this way, let me try to rephrase Paul's example and account for Bob's probability.

From:
"I believe that people will follow through on their commitments to me more often than past evidence shows."

To:
"I have reasonable expectations to believe that people will probably follow through on their commitments to me more often based on past evidence, but not always."

I know. It's a bit more cumbersome, but I think it is based on good reason.

I really don't like using the faith word or hearing it. When I hear someone use it, I see it as a badge of ignorance.
And that reminds me of this, http://youtu.be/-lj056ao6GE :)

~Darrick





On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 11:45 AM, Robert Terrace <[address removed]> wrote:
You want a different outcome so you practice self delusion.

Sorry Paul. This kind of faith doesn't work either. 

Only faith generated from past evidence is acceptable. Even then it might be wrong because probability is never absolute. 

Psychology shows that 'tit for tat' is the most successful strategy. Start out positive but rely on evidence. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 20, 2013, at 11:21 AM, Paul S <[address removed]> wrote:

I like Darrick's posed question more than the video. The video seems to be about attacking the assertion/stereotype that faith must be positive, and the lecturer changing the definition just seems to be a step in the attack. I was never in on the starting assertion, so I am stopping the video after ten minutes.

I find the question interesting because, although I am an atheist, I also have faith. I have faith in people, even strangers. My faith could fit either definition. I usually state it with the first:
"I believe that people will follow through on their commitments to me more often than past evidence shows."

My initial problem with the second (proposed) definition is that the word "know" often connotes black-and-white thinking, whereas to me, and any AI programmer, knowledge is probabilistic. But, if I can get over that hiccup, I like the new definition.
When I (try to) look back on my times of faith objectively, I cannot really discern my belief, only my actions:
"I act--'pretend'--that I have knowledge different from what I actually have."

Since I have now shared my faith with you all, I might as well briefly defend it:
I find that, if after someone comes through for me, he finds out that I was doubting him, then the relationship develops worse than if I was not doubting him. One could counter that I should act rationally and then keep my doubt secret, but I am a very open person bad at keeping secrets. The only way I have had decent success keeping secrets is by changing the truth. I mean "changing the truth" in the RNC 2012 sense: They were lying through their teeth, but not in a way that would set off a polygraph. see Jon Oliver's extraordinary report:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-30-2012/rnc-2012---the-road-to-jeb-bush-2016---we-can-change-that

I also have faith in some sports teams, which has been aggravating Melissa a bunch lately--heathen!--but that is for a different post.

--Paul


On 01/20/[masked]:47 AM, Darrick Fauvel wrote:
Hi Everybody,

I came across an enlightening 38 minute lecture video on YouTube entitled, "Faith: Pretending to know something you don't know" by Dr. Peter Boghossian, so I thought I would share it. I think Dr. Boghossian makes a great case for changing the commonly used definition of faith, "having a belief without evidence," to "pretending to know something you don't know."

What do you think about his proposed definition change?

Also, there are number of other YouTube videos of Dr. Boghossian that you might also like, including:

You can also find more about him on his podcast and website at http://www.philosophynews.com/.

~Darrick




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