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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?      Home login  
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 patrick28t
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 2
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
Eh, my life would be too complicated if I didn't take some things for granted.

Example: conservation of mass/energy

I'm not sure how to prove such a thing, besides the observations that people make.

I'm an atheist.
 POFisLOL
Joined: 9/1/2012
Msg: 3
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 1/31/2013 11:14:08 PM
Without beliefs, how would you ever have the drive to prove or disprove anything? Speaking of which, can you even think without beliefs? They are a fundamental part of association which in turn is a fundamental part of our cognition. You can't even speak without the belief that the sound you produce holds a certain meaning :)

Just don't believe in anything that is scientifically false and you should be fine.
 thewhowhobrokethepot
Joined: 12/16/2011
Msg: 4
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 1/31/2013 11:35:41 PM
Atheism is believing there are no deities...
You are still a believer, Mister...:)
 Back.up
Joined: 1/7/2013
Msg: 5
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 12:30:59 AM
well said the who - believing in nothing is to believe in something.
 LennyPane
Joined: 2/2/2011
Msg: 6
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 12:31:22 AM
^^ Hehe you guys are so clever. It's a belief just like not collecting baseball cards is a hobby and 'off' is a television channel.
 aussieblues
Joined: 11/22/2011
Msg: 7
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 1:00:12 AM
There goes science and empirical knowledge..........
 Back.up
Joined: 1/7/2013
Msg: 8
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 1:21:34 AM
there is an intrinsic link between athiesm, science and empirical knowledge?
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 9
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 4:47:03 AM
I think you are trying to take what Atheist means, passed it's own definition, OP. Rather sloppily, too.

"Atheist" simply means "doesn't see a god." It doesn't mean "adamant about refusing to believe anything about any subject area."

You were sloppy, in failing to define what you mean by the rather non-specific word "beliefs" as well. For example, I have a "belief," that logic is an excellent tool to use to figure things out about situations I'm unfamiliar with, using a combination of previous vaguely related experiences, experimentation, and active involvement.

Back to the drafting table for your "poster" of admonitions, I think.
 RussArtLover
Joined: 5/13/2010
Msg: 10
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 6:03:14 AM
I think belief is the wrong word for some things. Often people accept as fact things they are taught rather than accepting them as information to be tested at some appropriate time. Belief would be a temporary situation if needed for survival until they got the test results.
 J_bird61
Joined: 10/22/2011
Msg: 11
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 7:30:21 AM
Everyone on this earth has a belief system.
Striving to have NO beliefs is impossible because at the very least, that in itself is a belief system.

I'm not sure what exactly you're getting at/asking.
Maybe what you're asking is - should an atheist be non-committal or have no faith in anything? When really an atheist has a belief there is no God/deities. Which in my opinion, is impossible as well. Everyone serves a "god", just depends which one it is. In this context, I'm using "god" as defined by principle object of faith.

Or perhaps it's the word faith you are stumbling on? And again, everyone has faith in SOMETHING. Everyone is fairly sure something will happen, be it for good or bad.

Sounds like you're questioning your belief's or maybe redefining them - has something large happened in your life?
 Maverick325
Joined: 5/1/2011
Msg: 12
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 9:19:36 PM
It's not about refusing to believe stuff. It is about refusing to believe stuff UNLESS there is good evidence for it. Or, in some cases, maybe it doesn't matter to you that much if your beliefs are true. Like, if you tell me your name is Joe, I'll take your word for it because it wouldn't matter that much if I was wrong. On the other hand, if I am going to base my life on something, such as a religion, if I am going to put all that effort into following it, there ought to be evidence for it.

It's like if I came up to you and tried to convince people that I am God. Only a few people out there would take me seriously. They would all recognize that extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary proof. If you are going to be completely unbiased, if a religion claims that so-and-so is God, if you give that religion a free pass, then consistency requires that you give me a free pass, too, if I say I am God. So, really, just about everyone, whether they admit it or not, understands this. Now, of course, Christians can point to lots of differences between their religion and me saying I am God. I won't argue about that here. Of course, it is much more understandable that they, as part of a social structure with a long and rich history, believe what they believe. than people believing some random guy claiming to be God. The point is, you can't just believe any old thing for no good reason.

So, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with atheists, you have to acknowledge that their idea of demanding at least SOME sort of criteria for accepting it as true is a valid one. If you disagree, then you are required to believe the next random guy on the street who walks up to you and tells you he is God.
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 13
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/1/2013 9:34:17 PM
A belief is like a theory, or an opinion. You can have a belief about anything.
You can believe anything about anything. Believing a thing doesn't mean anything.

There is a difference between believing and knowing.
You can only believe in something which can't be known. Once a thing becomes known, it can't be believed in anymore.

I don't believe Jupiter exists, I know Jupiter exists.
I might believe there are planets beyond Pluto, but since I can't know them like Jupiter, they can only be believed in. If a planet beyond Pluto is ever proven to exist, then it can't be believed anymore as it is now known to exist.

A good scientist is willing to change his theories, opinions, or beliefs in the face of evidence.
Wise people will change their beliefs in the face of experience, evidence, and logic.
But, that doesn't mean beliefs shouldn't be held.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 14
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/2/2013 7:06:17 AM
I disagree with you slightly, nipoleon. I would myself say that belief has nothing in particular to do with whether something is true. I can believe in it, AND it can be true, and I can believe in it, and it might NOT be true. If anything, I would describe "KNOWING," as a degree of belief; not the lack of it.

But I do support what I think the gist of what you are trying to get at. Once something is proven in a pedestrian, non magical way, it is no longer necessary, useful, or even wise, to retain the magical-type belief in it.

Minor details: Pluto is officially no longer recognized as a full fledged planet, and it HAS been proven that there are more spherical objects similar to Pluto, including at least one that is larger than Pluto.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 15
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/2/2013 9:43:56 AM

So, here's a question;
If religions fit into the catagory of a belief system and and we just focus on what beliefs are in the first place, basically faith in certain things holding true, shouldn't you strive to have no beliefs as an atheist?


It isn't a sensible question, because there are different kinds of 'belief'. It's reasonable to base a belief or beliefs on inference from sufficient, or even somewhat insufficient, data. But it's quite another thing to form a belief, or beliefs, based on uncritical acceptance of unsupported assertions from mythology.

Atheists tend to reject theistic 'belief' simply because the second method isn't a valid way of obtaining substantive information or knowledge about... anything.
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 16
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/2/2013 2:11:42 PM
As I said earlier, a good scientist will gladly change his theories or beliefs in the face of evidence.
Only a foolish scientist will continue to cling to a theory or belief when it's been proven to be invalid.
It would do a lot of religious people good if they would stop clinging to beliefs which are obviously invalid.

There are a lot of scientists who are quite devoutly religious and see no conflict between objective knowledge and religious faith.
By studying Gods universe, we understand God.
Theoretical physicists are constantly talking about God.

Of course, a lot of organized religions have no real interest in God at all.
They are interested in economics, and political power, but God is the last thing they really want to talk about.
 Iron-nerd
Joined: 10/29/2012
Msg: 17
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/3/2013 5:44:11 AM
Beliefs are a crutch. That doesn't mean I am or need to be atheist.
 Proteaus
Joined: 6/9/2009
Msg: 18
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/4/2013 5:34:46 PM
Religion was probably the greatest form of control ever conceived .
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 2/5/2013 1:49:57 AM
...people cite the benefits of having some belief in their life...the reasons they/we need it, and my response is that the real key/problem is that we need it, or believe that we do. What would bring improvement is when we stop needing belief in the first place.
 thewhowhobrokethepot
Joined: 12/16/2011
Msg: 20
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 7/5/2013 1:22:11 PM
@LennyPane
"^^ Hehe you guys are so clever. It's a belief just like not collecting baseball cards is a hobby and 'off' is a television channel."

...and just like being "off" is a way of life for some people ... :)
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 7/5/2013 5:29:09 PM
We should not confuse beliefs with values. Whether or not a person chooses to embrace particular values or to value particular things, is a different subject.

thewhowhobrokethepot:

Atheism is believing there are no deities...
You are still a believer, Mister...:)

No. Contrary to popular and perpetuated misconception, atheism is lack of belief. It is not belief that there is no god, it's simply lack of belief...lack of belief that there is, as well as lack of belief that there isn't.

So, my answer to the thread question, which is not asking about having, embracing, or pursuing values, but is asking about having beliefs, which usually opposes knowing, because beliefs is about carelessly believing something 'just because' and 'no matter what', without any concern for good reasons or logic...is yes.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 22
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 7/7/2013 8:59:46 PM
We need beliefs because that's all we have. We make assumptions based on what we believe to be true and derive things from that, but in the end all we have is faith that we are correct in our beliefs, assumptions & derivations.

The simple truth is that the only thing we can know is that we can't know anything. Since we know nothing, we are compelled to believe SOMETHING...all we can do is hope that what we believe is reasonable.
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 7/8/2013 3:41:12 AM
^ & ^ etc...I don't think these are the kinds of things that the words knowing and believing are or should be used for. This is almost to abuse and twist the terms/concepts of knowing and believing. Knowing is about degrees of responsibility and verification, and epistemology, despite and irrelevant of whether or not knowledge can be absolutely certain...and belief is about being irresponsible, lazy, gullible, not caring about the real truth of something - using the fact that knowledge might not be always absolutely certain as a cop-out excuse to be lazy and not try at all. To paraphrase Sam Harris, you're hitting philosophical bedrock with the shovels of stupid questions and statements.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 24
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 7/8/2013 4:37:00 AM

The simple truth is that the only thing we can know is that we can't know anything. Since we know nothing, we are compelled to believe SOMETHING...all we can do is hope that what we believe is reasonable.


Balderdash. Nonsense.

"We can't know anything." ----False.

This is the ancient manipulative argument made by those who want everyone around them to ignore reality, ignore facts, and ignore their own better judgment, in order to get them to follow orders without question...or in some cases, to get those who are in authority who want them to comport themselves more politely around others, to allow then to abuse people instead.

Or, you can do as many college sophomores do, and post that on your dorm room wall, as an explanation for why you are going to spend the next ten years getting drunk or high, and not try to work at anything.

I think the original intent of this thread, might have been aimed against the idea that beliefs should over-rule our willingness to accept new objective knowledge, and I would support that. It was just phrased poorly, by going too far and declaring that since SOME beliefs can get in the way of facing reality, that ALL beliefs should therefore be discarded.

What is missed in that reasoning, is that to discard ALL beliefs like that, is in itself acting on a BELIEF. Not on rational interaction with and response to objective reality.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 25
Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 7/8/2013 3:19:21 PM
Ok guys...I hate to do this to you, but try to prove to me absolutely anything you "know with absolute certainty" and watch me as I falsify your belief.

My contention is that the ONLY thing we can know is that IF we exist as we BELIEVE we do, then all we can "know" (beyond the trivial solution that we know we can't know) is that an ultimate objective reality must exist, but any "knowledge" we have beyond that fact is unknowable. Prove me wrong.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 26
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Wouldn't it be better to just not have beliefs?
Posted: 7/8/2013 4:12:10 PM
I know with absolute certainty, that IF you prove that "the ONLY thing we can know is that IF we exist as we BELIEVE we do," and that "any "knowledge" we have beyond that fact is unknowable," that you will have inevitably conclusively proved that your "proof" is by definition, without merit.
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