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- Mini-Salon 5: Date Attribution: Criteria and Precision. by Steve Price (http://www.turkotek.com/VB22/forumdisplay.php?forumid=55)
-- Belief vs. Reason (http://www.turkotek.com/VB22/showthread.php?threadid=1120)


Posted by Jerry Silverman on 02-16-2005 09:56 PM:

Belief vs. Reason

It's interesting, Steve, that this Salon should come as the U.S. is embroiled in a far-ranging debate over this very issue.

The polarization separating those who profess that "belief" is sufficient to explain complex phenomena from those who require explanations that adhere to the logical rigor of science is growing at a pace once unimagined. It has manifested itself most recently in the analysis of the differences between the right and the left in the political make-up of the American electorate - with the right-wing comprising "believers" and the left-wing made up of "reasoners".

What I find particularly interesting is how some who reject the political dogma of the "right" are nevertheless virulent advocates of belief when it comes to their own beliefs.

...just a thought.

Cordially,

-Jerry-


Posted by Steve Price on 02-16-2005 10:40 PM:

Hi Jerry

I don't want this to become an arena for political debate - there are enough of those without us and I have no interest in moderating a venue for it. Suffice it to say that I think both extremes of the political spectrum are essentially "believers", those closer to the center on both sides tend to be "reasoners."

More to the point of the mini-salon, ruggies are generally "reasoners" with regard to attributions, but seldom examine the foundations on which their reasoning rests. The foundations of the criteria for age attribution are often very soft, which is why some folks who have credentials as experts (that is, intelligent people who have pursued and absorbed as much education on the subject as is accessible) will be conservative while others will be aggressive in assigning dates. Most understand that their attributions are probability statements with the actual probabilities being unknown. A few truly believe in the accuracy of their date attributions; they say things like "I don't think, I know ..." when making them. I think they are trapped by their delusions.

Regards from the right wing, where skepticism is alive and well.

Steve Price


Posted by R. John Howe on 02-16-2005 11:15 PM:

Hi Jerry -

I am surprised a bit to see you introduce a political point on a rug board. I know some places where you can get in modest trouble doing that.

But both you and Steve are right. Human perception is active. Belief systems act as filters and selection (and omission) operates all the time. The sciences are only marginally better off.

The only recent human who might plausibly have been able to look at things with an "open mind" (something he sometimes promised to do) was Jerry Ford.

It is said that he may have acquired this ability from playing lots of football at Michigan, sans helmet.

I don't have a "Michigan" rug to take us back to our proper field of discussion but I bet there are some.

I'll be damned. Here's the link:

http://shop.store.yahoo.com/bfpcotton/mirugmatrug.html

Colors are a little strong. Not a subtle rug.

Regards,

R. John Howe


Posted by Steve Price on 02-16-2005 11:52 PM:

Hi John

Your "open mind" comment reminds me of the distant past, my days as an undergraduate. One of my classmates always thought that by constantly asking questions he was impressing the instructors. About half way through the first year physics course, the prof became visibly exasperated.

"I'm only keeping an open mind", my fellow student said. The prof, a tall, slender fellow, brought himself up to his full height, looked the kid straight in the eye, and said "It's good to keep an open mind, Mr. Burke, but you must be careful not to let your brains fall out."

Regards

Steve Price


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