[ExI] Basis of Belief

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Feb 24 18:28:33 UTC 2008

Harvey writes

> giovanni santost wrote:
>> I completely disagree, the person of faith [strongly] believes that
>> reason, evidence, scientific thinking is not to be trusted,

It's not so simple. These people have great faith, if I may use
the word, in science in reason in huge other areas of their
lives. From chemistry professors to car mechanics, they're
just as interested in scientific thinking and evidence as we are.

> There is a misleading tendency in our brain to assume that everybody 
> else must see the same things we see.  When we look at evidence and reach a 
> conclusion, we falsely assume that other people looking at the same evidence 
> will reach the same conclusion.  This simply isn't true.  Different people 
> really do have difference values and beliefs.

That is quite so. And it can also be quite subtle the way that 
our priors, and (as you write) different world views affect
what looks like it should be a matter of plain logic.

> People really do believe in their religions, or their politics, or their 
> social theories.  Corporations really believe they are doing the right thing.  
> Criminals really believe they are innocent.

:-)  Well, not all criminals. They know very well they're breaking
the law and "trying to get away with something".  In only a few
cases do they feel truly justified (e.g. stealing from someone because
he's an SOB who done them wrong, or smashing equipment belonging
to evil corporations). In most cases, I surmise that they justify it as
a sort of game, in which they've played a clever move on someone.

> People really believe the latest 
> fad, urban legend, or pop theory making the rounds.  It is a mistake to 
> interpret other people in terms of our own worldview.  This leads to the 
> classic strawman fallacy where you see your own projection of the other  
> position and really have no understanding of the actual other position at 
> all.

Quite well said, thanks.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list