Disregarding Established Knowledge Is Bad, UnKay?

Its simple,
If your beliefs are not consitent with established human knowledge, then they probably are not justified. In that case, other people are not justified in believing what you say about them, and furthermore you have no reason to expect anyone to believe you.

50 comments:

J.L. Hinman said...

90% of humans believe in God. 3% don't. Which is established?

Lee Randolph said...

Which God Joe?

Anthony said...

Hinman: 90% of humans believe in God. 3% don't. Which is established?

Notice that Lee said "established" knowledge. Examples include that the earth is spherical and not flat (as the biblical writers held to), the universe is billions of years old, not thousands, that 2 plus 2 equals 4, etc, etc.

The concept of "god" or "deity" either singular or plural has not been "established." And Joe, just so you know, I really am open to the "god" concept, but thus far I am unconvinced that such exists.

DJ Wilkins said...

Exactly. If the majority of people in the world believed that each of us had one special "soul mate" out there, that would not make the idea an "established fact." That's Ad Populum reasoning. And that this is a fallacious form of reasoning/argument is an "established fact." We know this because the majority have often believed something that is not true. For example, the majority believed that the world was flat for a long time. The popular belief did not make it so.

J.L. Hinman said...

Which God Joe?

Hi Lee. Good question:There is one reality behind all religions. All gods pint to God.

since we are not on carm I can say it:I am a Christocentric universalist.

J.L. Hinman said...

Hinman: 90% of humans believe in God. 3% don't. Which is established?

Notice that Lee said "established" knowledge. Examples include that the earth is spherical and not flat (as the biblical writers held to), the universe is billions of years old, not thousands, that 2 plus 2 equals 4, etc, etc.

all of those are challenged by minorities as small as atheism in light of the 90%.

The concept of "god" or "deity" either singular or plural has not been "established." And Joe, just so you know, I really am open to the "god" concept, but thus far I am unconvinced that such exists.

The reality of God is not held off the fact list because the gate keeprs are all atheists.

J.L. Hinman said...

Exactly. If the majority of people in the world believed that each of us had one special "soul mate" out there, that would not make the idea an "established fact." That's Ad Populum reasoning. And that this is a fallacious form of reasoning/argument is an "established fact." We know this because the majority have often believed something that is not true. For example, the majority believed that the world was flat for a long time. The popular belief did not make it so.

that's the kind of fallacous reasoning I used to be into as ana atheist. It's nothine but a fallacy.

the argument is not an appeal to popularity. It's a tendency of the species. So it means that it is established. It's not a scientifct fact but science is not the only form of established knowldge. I hate to tell you because i know scinece is your replacement for God.

scinece is nto the only form of knoweldge.

Most people believe in God that is an indication that it's natural for the species. and this has been proved by a lot of brain research over the last decade or so.

Since it is a natural tendency of our species it's not irrational to believe it.

Lee Randolph said...

as usual Joe, you are spouting your unsubstantiated egocentric rhetoric.

The "fact" of God is not established in the same way that "fire" is.

the "fact" of God is not as established as you are.

At least you answer me and you don't seem to think I'm arrogant for presuming that you'll respond.

And I'll bet that most everyone in the world would agree about your characteristics if they had a chance to experience you.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Joe,
"the argument is not an appeal to popularity. It's a tendency of the species. So it means that it is established."

So while a cognitive bias is a fact, and it leads to fallacious reasoning, it should be trusted?

J.L. Hinman said...

Hey guys it's morning. haven't had morning coffee. So let me try to re phrase what I'm saying.

Facts are not world views. Facts are smaller increments of information that are usually agreed upon becuase they are demonstrrable or given in sense data.

God is not a fact, God is a world view. World views are supported by facts, but they aren't proved. A world view is too broad and general.

In the case of God a world God is the basis of reality, so it can't be proved because it's too foundational to be sense data. Beleif in God is not merely adding a fact to the universe, it's chaning your whole understanding of what your own being means in relation to everything esle.

God is being itself. We know that being is. There's no problem that is a fact. The only problem is the world that says that fact means more than just itself alone. The factual aspect of being is that things exist. That is undeniable. But what that means in terms of the over all universe and own existence is the issue.

that issue is too big and too basic to be factual. That's not say it' false it's just saying it's too crucial to be a mere fact.

J.L. Hinman said...

as usual Joe, you are spouting your unsubstantiated egocentric rhetoric.

The "fact" of God is not established in the same way that "fire" is.

the "fact" of God is not as established as you are.

At least you answer me and you don't seem to think I'm arrogant for presuming that you'll respond.

And I'll bet that most everyone in the world would agree about your characteristics if they had a chance to experience you.


As I explained, I wasn't expressing myself well. No coffee you see. But I guess I'm doing better now.

God is not on the level of a fact. There's a facticity to God's existence, that is the necessary nature of God means all facts are contingnecies and they are all contingent upon God.

Moreover, the co-determinates are factual.

But the basic notion of God is a world view and not a fact.

J.L. Hinman said...

So while a cognitive bias is a fact, and it leads to fallacious reasoning, it should be trusted?

The argument doesn't say "God must be real because he's popular." It says we as a species almost universally believe in god for reason, it' s not because it' popular but because its part of the innate idea nature gives us. the evidence of that is the brain studies that show the part of the brain that lights up when we talk about God.

That doesn't mean God is factual. It means our belief in God is an existential reality is beyond the merely factual.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Joe,
so then we agree that god is a result of faulty reasoning derived from natural human cognitive bias.

Eric said...

"The "fact" of God is not established in the same way that "fire" is."

Lee, surely you would agree that there are genuine facts that cannot be categorized as 'established knowledge.' (Here, I take you to be referring to publicly available facts, i.e. to facts that can be established and described 'in the third person' as it were.) For instance, my first person experience of the world comprises facts about which I am more certain than any other; yet, this first person *experience* is not amenable to public, third person examinations, and hence cannot be categorized as 'established knowledge' (if my understanding of how you're using this term is correct).

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
first person knowledge is not really established is it? It is not accessible to more than one is it? If it were to be accessible to more than one person, and repeatable, and predictable, all to a large degree, then it could be called established could it not?

are you trying to push me down a slippery slope or equivocate the meaning of knowledge? We all understand the regressive argument of "pure skeptics" that undermine themselves, but there is a point where the knowledge is "good enough" to work without demanding impossible precision.

Eric said...

Lee, I was just trying to see how restrictive your conception of 'established knowledge' is. And, it seems to me, any conception that would deny -- as I now take you to be doing -- that my first person experience of the world counts as established knowledge, i.e. which denies or undermines or in some sense enervates that about which I am more certain than anything (indeed, that which is presupposed by any publicly available established knowledge), is indeed far too restrictive -- perhaps even self refuting.

Perhaps we could take a different route here. Would you distinguish established knowledge from first person knowledge? In this sense, both count as knowledge, but one is public while the other is private. And, since both can be categorized as knowledge, one can't be privileged over the other (except, we could say with qualification, in cases where the public intrudes on what is properly the domain of the private, and vice versa). Would you agree with something along these lines?

Lee Randolph said...

Eric, if there is no way to verify "something that is known", how does it qualify as knowledge?

From your definition of knowledge, If I could think it up, then it qualifies as knowledge, and that is self-defeating because then knowledge has no boundaries, and undefined.

Teleprompter said...

67% of people don't believe in Christianity, so I guess under J.L. Hinman's criteria it's an established fact that Christianity is not true?

See how well that works?

You can manipulate the numbers any way you want if you're going to ignore the ad populum fallacy.

J.L. Hinman said...

HI Joe,
so then we agree that god is a result of faulty reasoning derived from natural human cognitive bias.

No I think you are confused about the nature of facts and world views.

J.L. Hinman said...

67% of people don't believe in Christianity, so I guess under J.L. Hinman's criteria it's an established fact that Christianity is not true?


That's not really analogous because I was talking about the over all tendency of the species and you are talking one particular cultural tradition.

See how well that works?

I see you don't understand the difference in belief in God and membership in a tradition.

You can manipulate the numbers any way you want if you're going to ignore the ad populum fallacy.

since I didn't argue from popularity that must not be what I was doing. I admit though that you can manipulate the number better than I can.

Eric said...

"Eric, if there is no way to verify "something that is known", how does it qualify as knowledge?"

It all depends on what you mean by 'verify.' This again is symptomatic of the rather loose sense in which you're using your terms. How can I verify that, as philosophers would say, 'I'm being appeared to' in a specific way right now (as I look at my computer screen)? It seems to me that I know this immediately, i.e. without verification (note, even if I were dreaming right now, it would still be a fact that I'm being appeared to in a specific way, and that I know it; and hence, that I have knowledge).

Now, all publicly established knowledge presupposes first person knowledge. (Note, what we know a priori isn't publicly established.) Can you provide a single example of something you know, and that is established in the sense you're using the term, that doesn't presuppose the veridicality of your first person knowledge? I don't think you can. But if you can't, then your conception of knowledge is self refuting.

"From your definition of knowledge, If I could think it up, then it qualifies as knowledge"

Nothing I've said entails this conclusion.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
you are going down the equivocation path i see. I can play that.

It all depends on what you mean by 'verify.' This again is symptomatic of the rather loose sense in which you're using your terms.

Verify in the only sense that is useful, to ensure that it accurately reflects real world states.

What you are saying is that if you can percieve it, then its knowledge. I say that if you perceive melting walls, it is not knowledge that the walls are melting, it is schizoprhenia. If you are a firefighter and you are surrounded by heat, fire, other firfighters that see the same thing, then you can say you have knowledge that the walls are melting.

My use of terms is loose? you want to convince me that what I percieve is immediately knowledge. Thats more loose than my use.

Can you provide a single example of something you know, and that is established in the sense you're using the term, that doesn't presuppose the veridicality of your first person knowledge?
you, you are persistent, you do what I expect, and if I turn my laptop around and show you to my wife, she can read what you wrote. If I were dreaming you, you wouldn't be knowledge now would you? you'd be a dream.

wake up.

Lee Randolph said...

JL,
No I think you are confused about the nature of facts and world views.
I'm an engineer, I make a good living solving problems using facts and my world view. The success of my world view translates into substantive value in the form of money, reputation, awards and raises. My world view comes from the school of hard knocks, engineering and the university.

your incoherence speaks for itself.

I stopped responding to you in my IDQ articles a couple of months ago when I realized that you were just ranting incoherently and a rejoinder would have been just be a chase after a red herring.

I think I'm done responding to you now as well.

Eric said...

"Hi Eric,
you are going down the equivocation path"

I notice that you make the charge without providing a single example to back it up.

"What you are saying is that if you can perceive it, then its knowledge."

Um, no, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that there is in fact first person knowledge that's not amenable to public verification (e.g. my knowledge of how I'm being appeared to); it doesn't in any way follow that I'm claiming that 'if we can perceive it, then it's knowledge.'

"if I turn my laptop around and show you to my wife, she can read what you wrote."

And how do you know your wife and her reaction to what I wrote? Why, through your first person experience of her, and that first person experience isn't publicly accessible.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
And how do you know your wife and her reaction to what I wrote? Why, through your first person experience of her, and that first person experience isn't publicly accessible.
you seem to be disregarding the existence of my wife and her experience. I have a perception, and she verifies my perception, using her perception. The beauty of it is that the more verification we acquire, the more certain that it accurately reflects real world states and the more it becomes established knowledge.

that just doesn't happen that way with schizophrenics.

get out of your vat. take the red pill.

Eric said...

"you seem to be disregarding the existence of my wife and her experience. I have a perception, and she verifies my perception, using her perception. The beauty of it is that the more verification we acquire, the more certain that it accurately reflects real world states and the more it becomes established knowledge."

Again, you're confusing your first person knowledge with what is publicly accessible. Each 'verification' will itself presuppose the reality of first person knowledge. I'm not the one setting up a false alternative; you are. I'm saying we have *both* first person knowledge, and public knowledge, and that they work in tandem. You're denying first person knowledge, and are thus effectively sawing off the epistemic branch on which you're sitting.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
You're denying first person knowledge, and are thus effectively sawing off the epistemic branch on which you're sitting.

so you say
I say that my criteria for calling something knowledge is more strict than yours. Sure I THINK i have first person knowledge, I am convinced that my eyes don't deceive me, and my limbic system gives me the feeling of certainty, but its not knowledge to anyone else until its verified.

If this is not the case, then help me understand how an experience that is internal to you qualifies as "established knowledge" or just "knowledge"?

this point here is, by the way, the equivocation of the meaning of knowledge that I was referring to.

J.L. Hinman said...

I'm an engineer, I make a good living solving problems using facts and my world view.


that does not make you an expert on ideas or on truth or on reality. it makes you biased. it makes you limited to the mechanical and unable to appreciate the abstract. It gives you an ideological outlook at htis predisposed to reject anything philosophical.

The success of my world view translates into substantive value in the form of money, reputation, awards and raises. My world view comes from the school of hard knocks, engineering and the university.

ahahaahahahaahahahahaah "im too rich to be wrong. I make money that I'm right all the time beause anyone wih money is right that's what life is about!

o brother! I am communist man. I don't don't give a flying rat's ass about your dumb money! I'm also an existentialist so I give a republicans ass about your engineering degree.


your incoherence speaks for itself.

O come off it man. your ignorance is appauling. I met people like you in grad school. they had to back for some reason and someone made them take a liberal arts class they struggled "I aht stuff it's al mad eup! o how dare this guy write this peotry stuff. he should be killed. how dare they make me learn about art! I want to make money.

awhhhhhhhhhh



you are not on a par with me intellectually.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Joe,
you are not on a par with me intellectually.
I think thats something we can agree on.

Eric said...

"If this is not the case, then help me understand how an experience that is internal to you qualifies as "established knowledge" or just "knowledge"?"

Lee, it *has* to, since all your public knowledge is known through your first person experiences! You can't circumvent your first person experience of the world and appeal to public knowledge, for your public knowledge is gained through your first person experience. Hence, any appeal to public knowledge assumes the veridical nature of at least some first person experiences. The tough part is delineating under what conditions first person experience is reliable (though, as I suggested, there are some uncontroversial cases, e.g. being appeared to). However, I think it's simply manifest that we cannot claim to have 'public knowledge' if we don't first concede that some first person data counts as knowledge. Think about it -- you can't use a series of empty bank accounts to pay a bill. Similarly, you can't purchase 'public knowledge' if your epistemic account is empty from the start (i.e. if you deny the possibility of first person knowledge, from which all public knowledge is ultimately derived).

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
here's a question for you, in case you go throw the dictionary definition of knowledge at me.

What is the difference between a perception and knowledge?

J.L. Hinman said...

you are not on a par with me intellectually.
I think thats something we can agree on.

better watch out.I have more money than yo do so I know more and I'm more worthy to live.

Lee Randolph said...

Eric,
first person experience is simply a weakly justified belief, not what normally qualifies as knowledge when building skyscrapers.

maybe in academia....

DJ Wilkins said...

JL,

The knowledge that most people believe in some kind of deity would no more be evidence for the actual existence of a deity than the knowledge that most people have a natural desire to live and not die would prove that we were meant to live forever.

Both could be understood as instinctually rooted for reasons that in no way support the reality they might naturally lead us to HOPE for.

So no, such statistics or trends can not be presume to make the existence of a deity "established knowledge" as you suggest.

And so yes, it is Ad Popullum the way you're arguing because you're arguing based on what people believe not based on what anything about most people having a bent toward believing would actual ESTABLISH in itself. You're arguing from the common resulting general belief - not the mere facts. So you're assumptions don't necessarily follow. And they are indeed Ad Populum.

You can try and weaken the meaning of a phrase like "established knowledge" while simultaneously making assumptions about the data you refer to that don't inherently follow... but you should be forewarned, those kind of intellectual gymnastics are not going to fly here.

John W. Loftus said...

Eric said: Again, you're confusing your first person knowledge with what is publicly accessible.

That's the equivocation Lee is talking about when it comes to your religious experience claims.

If this religious experience is yours and yours alone then it is private. If, however, it is available to everyone, i.e., public, then why is it not public knowledge?

You may say that smelling a particular flower is your experience alone, but anyone can smell that flower. Not so with your claims of religious knowledge. Why is that?

Besides, you must appeal to established public knowledge in your defense of such beliefs.

I really don't think you've thought throught this, Eric. How would YOU respond to a Muslim or a Mormon that they did not have some private knowledge or expereince about their God? To say that you could participate in "negative apologetics" against their claims does nothing to convince them they don't have such knowledge, just as we seem not to convince you otherwise. In order to convince someone otherwise we MUST appeal to public knowledge. That's all we have. The person who is correct about their claim to private knowledge can say with Plantinga that their claim is true, but given the proliferation of these claims it's probable that most all of them are wrong. Besides that, we cannot decide between them because they are not considered public knowledge!

Tell me this. When did you first use this as an apologetic? I suspect not until you read Plantinga or Craig. That means these arguments were used by you to confirm what you believe. The experience itself did not. Many people claim a certainty about their experiences. You must subject these experiences to scrutiny by virtue of public knowledge.

I cannot begin to tell you how ignorant and utterly stupid your arguments are with regard to this so-called religious "private knowledge."

Round and round we go.

Eric said...

John, I certainly haven't mentioned 'religious experience' anywhere in this thread. I've been referring to the phenomenology of presentative cognitions, and arguing that Lee's conception of established knowledge, which he limits to public knowledge, rests on their veridicality. And, insofar as this is true -- and I notice that no one has provided an example of a publicly known fact that doesn't ultimately rest on the our immediate, personal experience -- it follows that Lee's conception of knowledge is overly restrictive and self refuting.

Now, this may of course lead to an apologetic, but it has to be systematically developed. I will also mention in passing that the argument from religious experience, which you call utterly ignorant and stupid, has persuaded philosophers as brilliant as Hilary Putnam and Keith Ward. But, that aside, I have no problem putting words in my own mouth; I don't need others on this site to do it for me! ;)

Responses on my part will be intermittent, as I will be rather busy this week.

Scott said...

J.L,

It's established that some people think what they observe is best explained by God. However, it's also established that entire cultures that came to other conclusions, such as the earth and sun were responsible for what they observed.

Furthermore, there are religions, such as Buddhism, that do not have a "Creator God". In 2005 the demographics of Buddhism in some countries ranged from 95% in Thailand and 50% in Japan.

So, it's established that large segments and nearly entire cultures do not think what they observe is best explained by God.

When we add the non-religious and Buddhists, which in 2005 were 1.1 billion and 376 million respectively, we establish that 1.4 billion people did not believe in God.

Unless you're suggesting these 1.4 billion people are not human beings, then I'd say it has NOT been established that a belief in God is natural for our species.

Lee Randolph said...

Eric,
you missed the opportunity to throw the "headache analogy" at me.
tsk, tsk, tsk, [finger wagging].

you have knowledge of a headache.

but that is not the type of knowledge that I was alluding to in this article. It was aimed at the YEC, and fundamentalists in general but not exclusively.

But don't overlook the fact that you may get "knowledge by luck" and your "knowledge" may become disqualified as knowledge as time goes on. For example, I may think that my dogs are in the garage, not knowing that my wife has let them out. So at 8am my knowledge is verifiable, and 815am its not.

or as in world war 2, the allies built a diversionary base to fool the german reconnaisance about military build up while preparing for the invasion of normandy. The Germans had "knowledge" derived from an illusion.

This is why black and white thinking of the sort done about knowledge by philosophers over time doesn't capture the full range of characteristics about cognition, and I am happy to say that I don't agree with this or that philosopher about what constitutes knowledge when I have a practical understanding of what sort of thing constitutes knowledge and translates into successful outcomes in engineering as I happily collect my paycheck.

You can't solve problems without having knowledge.

You don't derive as many successful outcomes with weakly justified beliefs as you do with established, verified knowledge.

You can be a philosopher that way, but not a solution provider.

and I knew I had you when you said this
Lee, it *has* to, since all your public knowledge is known through your first person experiences!

instead of "HEADACHE" and you didn't mention "knowledge by luck" anywhere.
it *has* to
is not a premise, its "parroting" ;-)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
Help me understand how my understanding of knowledge is "self-refuting".

Its hard to see how successful outcomes are derived from a "self-refuting" conception of what constitutes knowledge.

Jonathan Edwards Reincarnate said...

As I see it, experiencing God is in a way like my experiencing this coke can in front of me. I have knowledge that there is a Coke can in front of me because I am experiencing a Coke can. You, Lee, don't have knowledge of the existence of the Coke can because you haven't experienced the Coke can sitting in front of me. The same goes with God. I have experienced God presence and I have knowledge that God exists. You haven't experienced God's presence and therefore don't have knowledge of His existence.

Lee Randolph said...

JER,
regarding your coke can and
presuming you really wanted me to believe you:
Why should I believe you?
How would you convince me?

or to make it easier, how would you convince someone sitting right next to you?

Jonathan Edwards Reincarnate said...

Lee,

I don't try to convince anyone through argument that God exists. I just share my experience.

It's not that I experience God's presence and then have an argument for His existence. The belief sort of just rises up within me.

Lee Randolph said...

Do you use your belief about god to influence your decisions?

Teleprompter said...

"better watch out.I have more money than yo do so I know more and I'm more worthy to live."

Epic fail.

More worthy to live? Learn to write a coherent sentence in English.

Engineers...gahh.

Jonathan Edwards Reincarnate said...

Sometimes.
Sometimes I ignore God and go my own way.

Lee Randolph said...

teleprompter,
JL is not an engineer, unless you just went gahh! to all engineers in general.

Havok said...

J.L Hinman: It's not a scientifct fact but science is not the only form of established knowldge. I hate to tell you because i know scinece is your replacement for God.

I'm curious about these "other ways of knowing" which get trumpeted about.
Eric, you're talking about your first person experiences as "knowledge", but all you can really say about them is you've experienced something. I can say with near certainty that I'm experiencing being in front of a computer at present. Taking that experience to being confident that I am sitting in front of a computer requires a little more than a mere assertion (though I think we'd all agree that my claim is not out of the ordinary). You're claim that your experience of Yahweh results in absolute certainty of the experience being veridical requires further argument and evidence, especially as third person experience has shown that first person experience which cannot be verified by others and their experiences are unreliable. :-)

J.L. Hinman said...

say if you can only believe established knowledge, how can we ever establish knew knowledge? If only estabilshed knowledge is true then you have to have established knowledge to begin with or it's not true. So how can we make any new discoveries?

How did established knowledge get established?

Obviously you are going to have to give some kind of credit to unestablished knowledge at some point at least to the extent that you are willing to investigate it.

But how can you do that without admitting something more than established knowledge could be true?

Chuck O'Connor said...

JL Said:

"say if you can only believe established knowledge, how can we ever establish knew knowledge? If only estabilshed knowledge is true then you have to have established knowledge to begin with or it's not true. So how can we make any new discoveries?

How did established knowledge get established?

Obviously you are going to have to give some kind of credit to unestablished knowledge at some point at least to the extent that you are willing to investigate it.

But how can you do that without admitting something more than established knowledge could be true?"

You propose a hypothesis that can be falsified.

You don't invent truth out of metaphor.

Steven said...

JL,

Chuck is making a very salient point here, as falsifiability is the bootstrapping process that we use to understand the world around us.

You can try and argue that this doesn't give us absolute truth, but then again, we aren't claiming to have absolute truth. Falsifiability doesn't give us the ability to discover absolute truth directly, but we can converge on it by ruling out ideas that don't match up with the real world. Ultimately, the more possibilities that we rule out, the closer to the truth that we get.

The one implicit assumption that is being made in assuming that falsifiability works is that the world around us is, in fact, real and not a figment of some collective imagination or the conjuring of some demon. In other words, we assume that we are not brains in vats. I don't think this is an assumption that you would seriously question either.

I'll also note that trying to invoke God as the means for establishing first knowledge doesn't really help out. Faith doesn't establish falsifiable facts, to invoke God at this level is to do nothing more than what we are doing: assuming that our senses provide a reasonably accurate, though imperfect representation of the world we live in.