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Scientist's use belief/faith too?

by xfinite
Tags: belief or faith, scientist
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Ryan_m_b
#19
Jul25-11, 03:01 PM
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Quote Quote by xfinite View Post
Are there separate definitions for beliefs then? In the example I gave of believing Zeus will get home - there is no evidence for. But there there is evidence that the ball will bounce back to the same height....

I agree with every thing else you said! Spot on.
Going with the definitions I gave at first they would both be beliefs however one of them would be a faith belief.
ViewsofMars
#20
Jul25-11, 03:32 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Found an article that stays within our guideliens and basically sums up everything said above.

Science is *evidence* based.

Science investigates the natural world, while religion deals with the spiritual and supernatural

<snip> everyday folks fruitfully view the natural world through an evidence-based, scientific lens and the supernatural world through a spiritual lens. Accepting a scientific worldview needn't require giving up religious faith.

http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/science_religion
This is an excellent link(url) that I fully support. I've used it quite often. Very valuable information on that website. Naturally, I'm a big fan of U.C. Berkeley!
I also support this statement on that website:

Participants in science behave scientifically
Science is sometimes misconstrued as an elite endeavor in which one has to be a member of "the club" in order to be taken seriously. That's a bit misleading. In fact, science is now open to anyone (regardless of age, gender, religious commitment, physical ability, ethnicity, country of origin, political views, nearsightedness, favorite ice cream flavor — whatever!) and benefits tremendously from the expanding diversity of perspectives offered by its participants. However, science only works because the people involved with it behave "scientifically" — that is, behave in ways that push science forward.

Please read on . . .
http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/whatisscience_09
Jimmy Snyder
#21
Jul25-11, 05:27 PM
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Science uses inductive reasoning. That is, you observe a series of events and if there's a pattern, you propose the pattern as a law. Such laws are only as good as your thoroughness in observing, and only hold tentatively pending the next observation. If you believe that the pattern is a real law, that is if you believe that the pattern cannot be broken, then you will not be in a good position to see it break if it does. For this reason, a scientist is better off without faith in the laws.
Routaran
#22
Jul26-11, 10:38 AM
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I don't think that scientists use belief/faith, at least not in the way that most people mean when they use that word. To me, belief/faith is holding a premise to be true without sufficient evidence.

Its important to define these words clearly as they can be taken to mean different things. One could take belief to mean simply holding a premise to be true without any reference to why one believes something to be true. In that sense, yes, scientists can believe things. Scientists believe that gravity is an force that causes masses to attract each other, why is not addressed in this context.

But when belief/faith are used in an interchangeable manner then no. I view this as simply an attempt to project ones own faults onto another as a means to attack the others position. It's very similar to the tactic of accusing atheism to be faith based, saying it requires just as much faith to not believe as it does to believe.

If your friend does not respect the value of reason and evidence, there is no logical argument and no amount of evidence will change their mind. How can you reason with someone who does not understand why reason is important?

My sister is one of those new age nuts who believes in cosmic energies and consciousness which can show you enlightenment and unlock all the mysteries of the universe. "You need to go beyond logic and science to understand the cosmic truths." She has got to the point where she no longer believes that rational thought can get you the answer. If it does, its only an illusion because its limited and incomplete. It took a few, lets call it heated debates, for me to realize that there was no way for me to show her why it was unreasonable for her to expect me or anyone else to take her claims seriously.

There really is no reason to have the faith vs evidence debate with people who don't understand the value of evidence. That said, I do still once in a while ask, "well how do u know that?" Then watch how she tries to use reason to explain why reason is insufficient. The only reason I still engage in that dialog is in the hopes that someone else who is present and listening to the conversation might pick up on the contradictions and demand that claims must be properly supported to be taken seriously.
Ryan_m_b
#23
Jul26-11, 11:23 AM
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I had a few further thoughts on this, one of the biggest problems with the definitions is how the word "faith" insidiously becomes synonymous with other words. This really confuses the issue. My strictest definition of faith would be;

"Holding a proposition to be true regardless of evidence"

However confusingly use faith to mean;
- Belief
- Religion
- Spiritualism
- Trust

The first and last are where problems really start creeping in with the whole "scientists have faith" argument.
FlexGunship
#24
Jul29-11, 01:27 PM
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Scientists hold the belief that evidence is the most significant indicator of facts.

I see no evidence for this belief.



(That second part is tongue-in-cheek.)
Physics-Learner
#25
Aug4-11, 12:04 PM
P: 298
it really depends on how you define the word "belief".

i have seen on this thread the term belief without evidence.

in my way of thinking, this is redundant.

belief is the acceptance of a fact without any evidence.

once we have evidence, then we have the opportunity of making some sort of informed guess. and then it is no longer a belief.

personally, i believe in nothing. which also means that i disbelieve in nothing. i accept the fact that there is little that i know with 100% certainty, so that i attach some level of probability to most knowledge that i have .

although i have never done this, it would be interesting for someone to write down a list of 100 things "he knows". then go back and re-visit that list every 10 years or so. that would tend to open our eyes a bit - LOL.
Physics-Learner
#26
Aug4-11, 12:13 PM
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Quote Quote by ryan_m_b View Post
I had a few further thoughts on this, one of the biggest problems with the definitions is how the word "faith" insidiously becomes synonymous with other words. This really confuses the issue. My strictest definition of faith would be;

"Holding a proposition to be true regardless of evidence"

However confusingly use faith to mean;
- Belief
- Religion
- Spiritualism
- Trust

The first and last are where problems really start creeping in with the whole "scientists have faith" argument.
i was raised catholic. i tend to think of "faith" as accepting something as true in which there is no evidence, not regardless of the evidence. although i do agree that people of most religions will state that they believe something even when there is evidence against it being true.

another thing i have observed to be true is that, due to brainwashing, people will continue to state that they believe in such and such as if they have no doubts. but in reality, they have doubts just like the rest of us.

i dont know how many people claim to be agnostics, but i suspect that most believers and atheists have some doubts about the existence of god. both stances are beliefs, since neither stance can give one iota of evidence to support their conclusion.
FlexGunship
#27
Aug4-11, 12:27 PM
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Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
belief is the acceptance of a fact without any evidence.
It is my belief that you are wrong.
Quote Quote by Google query 'define: belief'
be·lief/biˈlēf/Noun
1. An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
2. Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction. More »
Wikipedia - Dictionary.com - Answers.com - Merriam-Webster
There is no indication of whether or not "acceptance of a statement" must not be based on fact for you to "believe" it. In actuality, I believe most things that are well proven; almost exclusively based on evidence.

It is my belief, based on the evidence provided by a brief Google query, that you are wrong in you understanding of the term "belief."

Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
i dont know how many people claim to be agnostics, but i suspect that most believers and atheists have some doubts about the existence of god. both stances are beliefs, since neither stance can give one iota of evidence to support their conclusion.
Your reasoning is lacking here. A non-belief needs no justification except in the face of ample evidence. To say that because there is no evidence both sides are equally valid is nonsensical. Would you hold the same to be true of fairies? Given that there is no evidence for fairies are both postulates: "there is reason to believe fairies exist" and "there is no reason to believe fairies exist" equally valid?

A lack-of-a-belief is not a belief any more than a lack-of-an-idea is an idea.
Physics-Learner
#28
Aug4-11, 12:40 PM
P: 298
the word believe is used so generally that it is hard to put an exact definition on it.

take a look at the following

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/belief

most uses of the word involve the "acceptance" of something with little to no proof of said something. but i do not intend to get into a big discussion regarding the definition of a word.

fairies, the easter bunny, etc. are things that humans have intentionally made up, so your example is a poor one.
FlexGunship
#29
Aug4-11, 12:52 PM
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Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
the word believe is used so generally that it is hard to put an exact definition on it.

take a look at the following

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/belief

most uses of the word involve the "acceptance" of something with little to no proof of said something. but i do not intend to get into a big discussion regarding the definition of a word.
Quote Quote by http://www.thefreedictionary.com/belief
be·lief (b-lf)
n.
1. The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another: My belief in you is as strong as ever.
2. Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something: His explanation of what happened defies belief.
3. Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.

belief [bɪˈliːf]
n
1. a principle, proposition, idea, etc., accepted as true
2. opinion; conviction
3. religious faith
4. trust or confidence, as in a person or a person's abilities, probity, etc
Granted the word "faith" appears in the third definition of the second dictionary on that page, I don't see the trend you are describing: "acceptance of something with little to no proof." The reason you don't want to get into a "big discussion" is because you're wrong. It's a common tactic adopted by those who are unwilling to admit an error.

Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
fairies, the easter bunny, etc. are things that humans have intentionally made up, so your example is a poor one.
Fairies were not intentionally made up, as you claim. They were a common park of folk lore for a large part of human history. In fact, some Celtic-region religions worshiped fairies as gods (link) all the way up until Christianity was introduced; trading one belief for another.

Furthermore, it's ironic that you would rebut an argument comparing a god-belief to a fairy-belief by saying that "[fairies are] intentionally made up." If you don't see the irony of your declaration, then I suggest you look up "irony."
Physics-Learner
#30
Aug4-11, 01:06 PM
P: 298
my belief (tongue in cheek) is that you like to argue with me about anything. if i said it was round, you would say it was square.

the word "fairy" most likely does not mean the same thing to the both of us.

perhaps you might interject your definition of the word, so that we can both be discussing the exact same thing. part of the reason why i dislike the use of certain words in discussions, because they have very different connotations, even if their denotations are similar.

the word "belief" is very definitely attached to the acceptance of something without proof. "do you believe in god" is an extremely common question that one is apt to get in one's life.

the word "acceptance" has definite connotations of allowing a process or condition, etc. without any effort to change, protest, etc. in other words, it did not come about from evidence.

when i was a kid, i "accepted" the fact that god exists.
Routaran
#31
Aug4-11, 01:11 PM
P: 292
Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
the word believe is used so generally that it is hard to put an exact definition on it.

take a look at the following

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/belief

most uses of the word involve the "acceptance" of something with little to no proof of said something. but i do not intend to get into a big discussion regarding the definition of a word.

fairies, the easter bunny, etc. are things that humans have intentionally made up, so your example is a poor one.
I am not sure if this is accurate. You are right in that people can mean different things when they say the world believe, but that depends entirely on the context of what was said. The most general description of the word has to be accepting a position to be true.

take the following statements for example:
"I believe that there is an invisible space duck behind mars."
I have no evidence for it as i cant actually see if, in this context belief means exactly what you said, accepting something to be true even though there is no evidence

"I believe that all things fall at the same rate in a vacuum."
This statement is also accepting something to be true but there is ample evidence for holding this position.


The lowest common denominator, in any example that we look at, is accepting something to be true. If you start factoring in the reason for holding a belief, then the meaning of the term can change from sentence to sentence.

Would you agree with me with the following?
Belief = accepting a position to be true
This fits any use of the word so is a reasonable definition to use in general

and

Belief = acceptance of a position without any evidence
This fits only specific circumstances so cannot be used as a definition for the word in general.

If you do not agree, can you please elaborate?
Ryan_m_b
#32
Aug4-11, 01:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
i dont know how many people claim to be agnostics, but i suspect that most believers and atheists have some doubts about the existence of god. both stances are beliefs, since neither stance can give one iota of evidence to support their conclusion.
Atheism could be because you believe there is no God (perhaps using the fact that there is no evidence for one but plenty of evidence for natural laws) or because you do not believe there is a god. This is not equivalent to believing there is a god.

Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
the word "belief" is very definitely attached to the acceptance of something without proof. "do you believe in god" is an extremely common question that one is apt to get in one's life.
It very definitely isn't if only because the vast majority of the time that word is used it is simply meant "holding a proposition to be true". I do agree that acceptance is a better word but only because of how some people have conflated faith with belief as I suggested above.
Evo
#33
Aug4-11, 01:47 PM
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Quote Quote by Physics-Learner View Post
i dont know how many people claim to be agnostics, but i suspect that most believers and atheists have some doubts about the existence of god. both stances are beliefs, since neither stance can give one iota of evidence to support their conclusion.
Atheism is not a belief that there is no god, it is a lack of belief such a thing exists. There is a difference. An atheist has nothing to defend.
Pythagorean
#34
Aug4-11, 02:04 PM
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One really obvious difference:

Science can be wrong and subject to change in light of evidence. It's built into the system that we allow for human error.

Religious faith/beliefs are often set in stone and resist change even in the face of evidence, often violently or oppressively when politics is involved.
Evo
#35
Aug4-11, 02:24 PM
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Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
One really obvious difference:

Science can be wrong and subject to change in light of evidence. It's built into the system that we allow for human error.

Religious faith/beliefs are often set in stone and resist change even in the face of evidence, often violently or oppressively when politics is involved.
Excellent example.
Ryan_m_b
#36
Aug4-11, 03:26 PM
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Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
Religious faith/beliefs are often set in stone and resist change even in the face of evidence, often violently or oppressively when politics is involved.
Not always, strangely there is a sort of supra-faith to many specific faiths, that being the ultimate belief that one or one's religion is right not matter what even if more specific faiths change. A good example of this is the creationist movement throughout history, originally accepted as true by certain religions who hold the belief of an infallible leader it is now regarded as false yet in spite of the contradiction of having infallible leaders who pronounce people still have faith that what they believe is correct.


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