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Beliefs vs logic

How firm are your most profound beliefs?

Poll closed Jan 11, 2004.
  1. I have changed my mind many times

    6 vote(s)
  2. I occasionally change my mind.

    4 vote(s)
  3. I rarely change my mind

    8 vote(s)
  4. I never change my mind

    1 vote(s)
  1. Oct 3, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    How many people can honestly admit to changing their mind, as an adult, about a strong belief and due to a logical argument? For example: a belief in God or an afterlife, ghosts, or UFOs? Also consider things like environmental issues, social responsibility, war, nuclear power, save the whales, eating spotted owls baked or fried, or any other highly controversial issue of your life.

    Personally, I have seen some of my interests gain intensity, sometimes nearing the point of belief, and I have also experienced a complete reversal in my attitude about other issues.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2003 #2


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    Not to completely change the point of the topic, but I don't consider all beliefs to be based on logical arguements. A religious one and a scientific one for example don't adhere to the same criterea.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2003
  4. Oct 3, 2003 #3

    Erm..who said they were based on logic? He means, have your opinions been changed about it because of a different point of view, or argument?

    And for me, very rarely. I don't believe in much, and there's not a whole lot to change, with one notable exception. I was raised more or less with a religion, but at an early age I became an athiest, and haven't changed since.
  5. Oct 3, 2003 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Sure. But a person may stop believing in God because of a theory of evolution; or one may decide otherwise by way of some logical, philosophical argument.
  6. Oct 3, 2003 #5
    Belief is something which is unknown. It is a decision about something you do not know. It may be wrong or it may be right.

    Logic may also be wrong. Because the logic used may fall within a set of working paramters which does not go beyond a limited system.

    Real knowlege is beyond both because it enters a realm which is apparently not readily understood by many. Not because of lacked capacity, most likey lacked desire.
  7. Oct 3, 2003 #6
    Since when? I believe that the chair I'm sitting on exists, and that's not an unknown.

    Belief is generally associated with the unknown, but it isn't only related with that. Read the original post all the way through, you'll see examples are even stated.
  8. Oct 4, 2003 #7
    There is a state of existance beyond belief and beyond logic, but if you wish...

    How do you know you are really sitting in the chair? If you were "mad" would it be a chair maybe a rock in the desert? How would you logically deduce that you were not or are not dreaming?

    If you were in a state of knowing and you knew you were sitting in a chair, would that be belief or knowing?

    A belief is that which you decide upon, but do not know. Logic is the same thing, but uses sets of parameters and defined rules within a "limited" scope.

    Who is it that will pick up the staff and walk forward?
  9. Oct 4, 2003 #8
    No, there's not. What you see, is what you get. All things being equal, the simplest explanation is generally the correct one.

    Like it or not, we live in a closed system.
  10. Oct 4, 2003 #9


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    They could but generally they don't. Since you don't gain the belief because of logic, why would logic cause you to change it? Maybe this is your point with the poll though...
  11. Oct 4, 2003 #10

    Most of my beliefs, etc. are changed by logic. I'm the minority, this I realise, but I'm sure it happens quite often.
  12. Oct 5, 2003 #11


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    I would figure most athiest fall into this category: they don't believe anything without some evidence. That doesn't affect my point though.
  13. Oct 5, 2003 #12
    Well, considering the number of athiests, it really does affect your point. And again, that is the point of the poll..so yeah.
  14. Oct 5, 2003 #13
    I do not argue with chimes nor will I argue with you. Your first sentence is correct the last six words I would think about.
  15. Oct 5, 2003 #14
    I think you mean last 8 words.

    The simplest explanation, to me, is that we live in a closed system with set, unbreakable, parameters. Trying to add a "supernatural" element into the system complicates things to an unnecessary extent.
  16. Oct 5, 2003 #15
    Do know what gravity or matter is? Until you have a realization on it, what you have is a belief of a closed system. There is no such thing as the supernatural only that which is not understood. If a person does not understand something that does not exclude it's existance.

    The tankless fish tank with the well respected boarders.
  17. Oct 5, 2003 #16


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    No, what I meant is that someone of a strictly logical worldview isn't going to have religious beliefs in the first place.

    Maybe what you are really asking is if anyone has changed from a spiritual to a logical worldview?
  18. Oct 5, 2003 #17
    You're completely contradicting yourself. The topic isn't limited to spiritual views. Perhaps I believed that dinosaurs we're wiped out by martians, but after studying for a while, realised that data pointed towards a meteor strike. My view would have been changed by information and logic. (a badly worded example, I realise, but you get the point)
  19. Oct 8, 2003 #18


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    When I say "spiritual" I mean faith based. Spiritual (religious) beliefs are the most common faith based beliefs.

    On what exactly did you base your belief about martians and the dinosaurs? If it was facts and logic, even if incomplete, thats a logical worldview.

    A "worldview" is an approach to or way of looking at the world. When discussing beliefs, there are only two possibilities - either you base them on logic/evidence or you base them on faith. Its a spectrum though, no one is entirely logical (except Spock) and no one is entirely faithful.

    Now when I said maybe Ivan was asking if people changed their worldview, this particular worldview DOES change for virtually everyone. Its part of the process of maturing. When you are born you have complete faith in your parents. Until you are maybe 5 you believe absolutely everything they tell you without question. Then gradually you start to look for evidence - you become more logical. Santa and the Easter Bunny die. By your early-mid 20s, the process is pretty much finished and after that, you're pretty much set in your worldview.

    I answered "rarely" to the poll, but thats based on only the past 10 years up until I considered my views "mature".
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2003
  20. Oct 8, 2003 #19
    And that view, I would suggest, is half the problem with society.

    You're generalizing what *you* feel to the entire population. A lot of people don't think like you do.

    Read the original post again. He's not asking about "worldviews", that's a term generally meaning "all-encompassing". He's asking about "strong-beliefs". It's not very far-fetched to imagine someone believing in ghosts until the found enough evidence to prove otherwise, no matter what their age is.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2003
  21. Oct 15, 2003 #20

    Another God

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    I think there are some really strong unstated beliefs that direct our thinking which force us to conclude with the beliefs we have. Most people don't even let themselves think deeply enough abouta topic to realise that they must choose their own beliefs because of the way they think. Its not a matter of trying to change the superficial beliefs, its a matter of changing the meta-beliefs. The beliefs which structure which superficial beliefs you choose.

    For instance, I believe that everything follows very simple logical rules that lead to simple interactions that build up into complex appearing phenomenon.
    This sort of belief rules my thought process, so that everything I look at, I try to find the simple systems in it etc.

    I am sure that there is an even simpler yet belief that causes this belief, but it is hard to put my finger on what it is exactly.

    Other people have a meta-belief that there is an intentionality in everything: That something move 'because it wants to' or because 'something wants it to move' (like God), and because they have this meta-belief, they are forced to conclude that God exists. (there is no other logical explanation to explain the intentionality they see in everything.)

    So, RE the poll: I have changed many of my superficial beliefs, on a super superficial level....but I am sure that my meta beliefs have remained the same the whole time, and so even the changes in my beliefs have all remained within the realm dictated by my meta-beliefs.
  22. Oct 15, 2003 #21


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    One topic that has me changing back and forth is the death penalty.

    I went through a phase when I thought it was wrong for the state to kill.

    Then I considered "What if we caught Hitler alive?", and decided that, yes, some people deserve execution.

    Then, where do you draw the line? Race of the killer, and even moreso, the race of the victim have been shown to affect that line. The state was executing people based on race. If it is abolished, that is no longer a question.

    Putting killers in prison for life without parole is significantly detrimental to the rest of prison population. If extra care is taken on the race question, the harm can be restricted to a few people getting life instead of death.

    Too many mistakes are made. Illinois overturned many cases recently. Virginia executed a man who was almost certainly innocent a few years back. Texas executed a man with no evidence whatsoever of guilt just a couple of years ago.

    I'm currently against it, but on technical grounds, not on moral grounds. But that can change.

  23. Oct 21, 2003 #22

    Ivan Seeking

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    I debated the death penalty many times in high school. I completely supported the use of death penalty well into my early thirties. For the reasons that you list I am now completely against it. Beyond the reasons given, and with the obvious exceptions of the battlefield, law enforcment activities [when no other options exist], and except in cases of self defense, I no longer recognize the right of anyone to take anyone elses life. We should never give this much power to any "system".
  24. Oct 23, 2003 #23
    Why can't spiritual beliefs be based on facts and logic? May be you think that way, because most of you come from Christian backgrounds where the trinity is refuted as an illogical explanation. In the simplest of the pre-algebra problems where we end up 3=1 we cross out the equal sign indicating that three doesn't equal one. At this point I can agree with you that spiritual belief can't be based on logic.

    However you will find in other religion especially islam logically-based spiritual beliefs. Back in the ninth century when christians were more faithful to there religion they lived in dark ages because the church refused the admission of new knowledge such as science. While on the other hand the muslims from cordoba, spain to the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan brought a range of innovative scientists, such as al-Khawrizmi, ARrazi, Averros, and Avecina, just to name a few. And it was the prophet Mohammed's words "Knowledge is obligatory for every muslim" and he also said "seak for knowledge even if you have to go to China for it" Peace be upon him.

    So as to not digress from the main topic logic and spiritual belief can live along aside each other.

    "That fondness for science, ... that affability and condescension which God shows to the learned, that promptitude with which he protects and supports them in the elucidation of obscurities and in the removal of difficulties, has encouraged me to compose a short work on calculating by al-jabr and al-muqabala , confining it to what is easiest and most useful in arithmetic." Abu Abd-Allah ibn Musa al'Khwarizmi
  25. Oct 23, 2003 #24


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    Sorry, I haven't been back in a while.
    It isn't just me, this is what I learned in psychology class. Ask a psychologist. Read a psychology text. Psychology is a science and the maturation process is something pretty well studied and understood. Everyone on earth experiences a change in their worldview as they mature. If they didn't, they would never leave infancy.
    Thats a circular arguement since a belief in ghosts isn't something based on evidence. By definition, a belief based on evidence can't be overturned by evidence. Which is why I suggested that if someone changed their belief on ghosts, the root cause would not be the evidence itself (the evidence is already there) but a change in worldview that allows a change in the way the existing evidence is evaluated.
    Your "meta-belief" is what I am calling a "worldview." Same thing.
    That is true only in highly specific and tenuous cases. Or by careful separation (in my case). So maybe they can live along side each other but they can't intertwine. If for example historical evidence is uncovered that has something to say about Islam, (or any other religion) how would it be recieved by the faithful? Almost by definition (definition of faith), evidence must be ignored. Most especially if that evidence contradicts the religious belief.
  26. Nov 13, 2003 #25
    i believe that we should never change a decision, unless it is required.
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