What Is The Difference Between A Perception And Knowledge?

Or, "What is the difference between private personal experience and knowledge?". I know this may sound like a stupid question to some, but it seems that it is pivotal in the "Disregarding Established Knowledge..." discussion. In my view, considering inaccessible personal experience to be of the same value as established knowledge is untenable.

82 comments:

Lee Randolph said...

sorry stuart, your post was deleted because however interesting the subject was, it was irrelevant and distracting.

gary said...

I think the main difference is essentially the same as that between belief and knowledge. Knowledge is justified belief and we use rules of evidence to determine the probability of a belief based on that evidence. Belief and perception do not use the process

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Gary,
are you a "believer"?

Bluemongoose said...

Before I begin my comments, allow me to again state that just because I post a question doesn't necessarily mean that I am personally struggling with its implications or subscribe to those implications.

Before we ask this question, we must first ask, how do we know we know? If relativism has the day, then we can only have perceptions. After all, what one person "knows" may not line up with what another person "knows". And if all humans are equal, then so are their perceptions. Therefore, nothing is right or wrong.

So ultimately we are left with this: What do we do when opposing worldviews and the like bump up against each other?

Lee Randolph said...

blue,
there is a range of overlap in the views.

Lee Randolph said...

sorry, too hasty...
and some agreement can be found. I don't buy into the purely skeptical view. My view is roughly that something can't be considered knowledge if it is only accessible to one person, unless its something like a headache, and even then, headaches are detectible.

Scott said...

Blue wrote: ...just because I post a question doesn't necessarily mean that I am personally struggling with its implications or subscribe to those implications.

Blue, have you considered the reason you do not struggle with this issue is because, despite it actually being complex and difficult in reality, you merely want it to be simple? And assuming God exists gives you such a solution?

For example, in a previous comment, you asked me...

Do you want to be sure? in context to relativism.

As if merely "wanting" to be sure somehow was the "solution" to the "problem."

Bluemongoose said...

Hi, Lee!

Your implication here is that knowledge is rooted in humans (or humanity). What if it wasn't? What if there were absolutes that were not dependant upon humans for their validation?

Riddle me this: Did gravity exist before Newton "discovered" it? Do we depend on human verification to validate the truth of something? If so, what of spontaneous generation?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi blue,
What if it wasn't?

what if pigs could fly?

you are drawing an analogy between gravity and what?

Knowledge?
God?

Just because you can think it up doesn't make it true.

Just because you can perceive it doesn't mean it exists.

Just because you don't recognize degree and scope in issues doesn't mean there are only absolutes.

I guarantee there are less absolutes than the average person recognizes.

Human knowledge is rooted in humans, pig knowledge is rooted in pigs. There is a range of points where human and pig knowledge overlap. The key here is that we can verify each other even though we can't grasp the full scope of each others knowledge.

Bluemongoose said...

Lee:

Let's back up a little. If knowledge did not come from humans, then it would have to come from somewhere else, right? This scares many atheists b/c it opens the door up to the idea that knowledge is from Yahweh. So they like to keep things inside the box of: knowledge is from humans. But then relativism rears its ugly head, and we have a whole new set of problems.

Analogies. I was bascially trying to illustrate that knowledge itself and knowledge of things, ideas, etc., do not require human recognition for them to be true. Thus proving my initial point.

I'm glad you realize there's a problem with leaving these types of issues up to personal perception/interpretation.

"Just because you don't recognize degree and scope in issues doesn't mean there are only absolutes." Why do you believe this, and in what context(s) do you believe it to be true? Now, you knew I wasn't going to let you get away w/making a definitive statement sans any follow-up.

Guarantees. Okay. Prove it. Again, merely stating something doesn't make it so.

Human and pig knowledge. You're basically arguing from a pro-relativism stance. But what are we to do when views stop overlapping and start bumping up against each other? Can two complete opposites both be true at the same time?

Verification. Can we ultimately completely verify? At some point we have to trust that the other individual is being forthright. Allow me to throw in the old, "How do we know who is buried in Grant's tomb" slogan. Now, watch your answers on this, as it can open up like a spider's web and send you down many paths at once -- thus becoming too overwhelming to the novice debater.

Eric said...

Lee, perhaps this will help get at the distinction I was making in the previous thread. Russell drew a distinction between 'knowledge by description' and 'knowledge by acquaintance.' Now, if you take a bare bones look at knowledge by acquaintance, you'll at least get the gist of what I was referring to, i.e. to immediate, non-inferential, first person (and thus private) knowledge. I would gladly dilate upon that, and draw out some important distinctions (lest you think I'm referring to knowledge by acquaintance as such), but I'm pressed for time. Anyway, I hope that helps.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue,
I'll get to you later

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
excuse me guys for being so adamant about this subject, but it really hits close to home because troubleshooting communication circuits depends on the difference between what the remote site technician believes to be the case and what is verifiable using test equipment.

Most of the time, the person is wrong, and the measurement equipment is right.

People are too fallible to be trusted where "knowledge" is concerned.

Now, if you take a bare bones look at knowledge by acquaintance, you'll at least get the gist of what I was referring to, i.e. to immediate, non-inferential, first person (and thus private) knowledge.

Thats fine, I don't have quibble with that. I do have a quibble with the word "knowledge" being used to describe what I call a weakly justified belief.

Knowledge by acquaintance is irrelevant to all but the person that is experiencing it and there is no guarantee that it is a correct representation of the Real World. If it is not a correct representation of the real world it can't be called knowledge can it?

If you have mistaken an orange colored plastic sphere for an Orange, then whether you believe you are seeing an Orange or not you are mistaken to believe you have knowledge of an orange in front of you until you have verified it somehow. The more data you have that supports your belief, the more it transition from simply a belief to knowledge.

If you are playing the shell game and you happen to guess which shell its under, you did not have knowledge no matter how sure you are, you simply got it right by luck. That is not knowledge, that is a guess.

Knowledge that is not accessible to anyone but the person having the experience is irrelevant and hardly qualifies as knowledge, and you don't derive successful outcomes troubleshooting communications circuits using knowledge by acquaintance.

I hope this clarified my position and demonstrates the truth of my assertion that unverifiable first person "knowledge" (knowledge by acquaintance if you like) is irrelevant.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue, here's part 1
Just to be clear, hear is one of my assertions relevant to this dialogue.
Considering inaccessible personal experience to be of the same value as established knowledge is untenable.
Inaccessible personal experience doesn't have the same weight or importance as established knowledge. Equivocating the meaning of knowledge isn't going to help your case.

Do I need to say that if inaccessible personal experience were as valuable as established knowledge, then that would make it unnecessary to study medicine, law, engineering, etc. There would be no need for the Safety industry.

Since the "knowledge" of everyone would be on equal footing as verifiable knowledge, we would be unjustified in placing more value on information derived from a team of researchers than from the mind of one person.

Let's back up a little. If knowledge did not come from humans, then it would have to come from somewhere else, right? This scares many atheists b/c it opens the door up to the idea that knowledge is from Yahweh. So they like to keep things inside the box of: knowledge is from humans. But then relativism rears its ugly head, and we have a whole new set of problems.
you talk as if "knowledge" is a thing or an object. Its not. Its completely self-contained in whatever brain has perceived something and stored it way for processing. It is the result of data stored away in biological matter that can save its state. This brain can be a bird or a human. Do birds get their "knowledge" from YAHWEH? Of course they don't. They get it the same way we do.

Analogies. I was bascially trying to illustrate that knowledge itself and knowledge of things, ideas, etc., do not require human recognition for them to be true. Thus proving my initial point.
Knowledge is not "false". It is a mental description and any given datum regarded as "knowledge" can only be regarded as true since knowledge is a description of a real world state or it is irrelevant. How can "knowledge" be false? If its false then it violates a property of "knowledge" doesn't it?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue, part 2,
"Just because you don't recognize degree and scope in issues doesn't mean there are only absolutes." Why do you believe this, and in what context(s) do you believe it to be true? Now, you knew I wasn't going to let you get away w/making a definitive statement sans any follow-up.
Do you only see absolutes? Its not self-evident to you? I need to explain it? There are degrees and scope to information, "knowledge", and I challenge you to make a list of a few "absolutes". You see, most everything depends on context. Any given description of a thing is only relevant within a context. If you say there are absolutes, then show me some, otherwise my assertion stands. Any absolute you can think of depends on "established knowledge" internal to human understanding, and dependent on the most recent information. I could easily change the context or present new information invalidating what you think you know about any absolute, and by your standards, I wouldn't even need to verify it.
SWEET!
in a nutshell, to consider something absolute, you must think you know everything about it. Good luck with that. If you want to say that you know absolutely that there are only sixteen letters in that last sentence, fine, but that is just a subcategory of all things you could know about it or describe it as, which is not absolute in the absolute sense of the word. ;-)

Guarantees. Okay. Prove it. Again, merely stating something doesn't make it so.
my guarantees come from the established existence of human cognitive bias.

if you don't believe that there are degees and scope in issues, thats quite amazing, and I don't think I can convince you of anything no matter how hard I try. In fact I wouldn't even know how to go about proving to you that not everything is absolute because you don't seem to be interested in considering any rational argument contrary to what you already believe. You seem to be a big bag of cognitive bias.

Human and pig knowledge. You're basically arguing from a pro-relativism stance. But what are we to do when views stop overlapping and start bumping up against each other? Can two complete opposites both be true at the same time?
you're rambling.

Verification. Can we ultimately completely verify? At some point we have to trust that the other individual is being forthright.
theres more of that "black and white" thinking. Did it ever occur to you that you can give someone the benefit of the doubt, and then give them your trust incrementally as they earn it? As it is gradually verified?

Try it sometime. You'll find you increase your successful outcomes that way.

thus becoming too overwhelming to the novice debater.
is that some of that Christian Grace, or "peace that passes understanding"? You can keep it.

Lee Randolph said...

just to clarify this nugget
in a nutshell, to consider something absolute, you must think you know everything about it.
if you believe a thing is absolute, it presumes you are not mistaken.

goprairie said...

blue seems to be confusing knowledge and fact. gravity as a fact did indeed exist before humans knew of it. before they knew it as gravity, they knew it as something else. they knew that things placed on a slope would slide down, the things held in teh air and let go of fell, that a table that could support certain things would buckle from the wieght of other things. they percieved its rules and behaviors before they knew that it had something do do with the mass of the earth attractng the mass of other things. i am not sure we can explain gravity to this day but we all know pretty much how it behaves and can predict it. gravity exists as a fact but the knowledge of it depends on ones experience, teachings, understandings of those teachings, and how much one cares to attempt an understanding or learning of it.
i assume we are talking about this because some claim to 'know' god because they percieve some experience they attribute to god. the difference is that if god were real, should god not appear roughly in the same way to all? should god's appearance not be consistent and predictable? some claim the only way to know god is thru the actions of other people and the beauty and perfection i nthe world, except there are other explanaitons for the actions of other people that we find beneficial such as intinct honed by evolution and the apparent perfection masks incredible complexity that is full of errors such as the redundancy and excess of unexpressed DNA and the apparent perfection of systems is merely the fine tuning of co-evolution over great amounts of time. if someone claims they know god because he talks to them, yet few other experience that in the same way, and we know what brain region to stimulate to cause that, then the porbablility that they are achieving some brain state and mistakiing it as the voice of god becomes a more likely knowledge than that it is god. that they claim to have been cured of something by god and yet god fails to cure nearly all others of the same thing probably points to random self-healing without any god involvment. rainbows appear due to certain atmoshperic conditions, predictably and reliably and explainable. they do not appear on sunny days as messages from god. people who calim to be speaking in tongues are not actually speaking a know language but random babble. it is not god talking thru them but their own having reached a trance state. if they know it as god, and it can be more likely explained by something else? what i am saying is there are three things, the fact, the perception of it, and the knowledge one applies to explain it. the fact of things never changes. perceptions are personal and knowledge comes from many sources but the knowledge that fits with most other knowledge in the universe is the one most likely to be closest to true.

Gandolf said...

Lee said ..."Any absolute you can think of depends on "established knowledge" internal to human understanding, and dependent on the most recent information."

Which would help explain why stoning people to death in the old testament seemed to be ok,but in the new testament recent information suggested maybe it wasnt such a good idea after all.

Why might it have changed?

For instance.
1,Many people were stoned to death for things that they were later found out to be quite innocent of,when stonings became common practice.And their families (allowing for knowledge to be coming from many more than just one person (verified)) became very angry and very unhappy with the system and those that were controlling it.

Hence change was needed.

I really enjoy these type posts, thanks Lee!.

Bluemongoose said...

Thanks for taking the time to continue on in conversation with me, Lee.

Answers to Part 1.

Established knowledge. You're assuming that this one area is the only area that is absolute. Yet you claim in other areas that absolutes don't exist.

Areas of specific study. Also you claim there are absolutes only in these arenas. Are you setting up double standards? Are issues like morality in and of themselves subjective, yet morality within a legal, medical and safety context absolute? One only has to look at the newspaper to see the relativism issue ragin on in all those arenas.

Verifiable knowledge. But then you open yourself up to personal definitions of verifiable. Sure, we could use the dictionary to get a definition, but isn't that based on what some humans decided?

"Knowledge contained in whatever brain..." You make my argument for me regarding relativism. We could break it down further. what weight do we give "knowledge" when it has been affected by cultural, societal and/or historical influences, etc.?

"Knowledge is not 'false'". Are you sure? Even in the face of all thse aforementioned influences? So if knowledge doesn't meet that narrow standard you described, then it is just irrelevent? So it can still be knowledge, it just doesn't matter? Here comes that relativism monster again. Since human perceptions can be skewed by any number of things, how can we trust it to be the verifying factor in anything? Which brings us back to the original question, how do we know we know?

Bluemongoose said...

Part 2:

Lee,

I know this part of the discussion can be very frustrating. But, again, remember that just b/c I ask a question doesn't mean I'm personally strugling w/its implications. What's that statement mean? Perhaps I'm just trying to help you see this issue from a different perspective.

Degress and scope. So you're saying knowledge is relative. Except the statement that "knowledge is relative" is absolute, right? I do not need to give you an example, as you have provided it to yourself.

Check and mate.

Now, on to clean-up duty:

Rambling. Or you don't understand what I've argued here?

Christian grace. Again, evidence that my arguments have been confusing for you. Look over that last part once more and try again.

RichD said...

Hi Lee,
Long time no talk.
Knowledge is not "false". It is a mental description and any given datum regarded as "knowledge" can only be regarded as true since knowledge is a description of a real world state or it is irrelevant.

I can't seem to agree with this because you gain knowledge different ways, one is to study for example, so if you study creationism you would gain knowledge of creationism. That doesn't require it to be true or relate to a real world state for it to be knowledge. Maybe we can make a new phrase and call it psuedoknowledge with the synonym of hogwash. If you were speaking to creationists that psuedoknowledge would become relevant to your discussion, thus it has relevance.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Richd,
I think you are right,
Knowledge
is to big to fit into one word. It needs more specific words to fit each way that it is used.

I changed my mind a little from unverified knowledge is irrelevant, to trivial.
poor choice of words on my part.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue,
I'll get to you later.
you're fun.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi richd,
I wanted to say this earlier but I didn't have the time.
That doesn't require it to be true or relate to a real world state for it to be knowledge.
IMO
if I told you that creationists worship mickey mouse, that would be false and therefore not knowledge. If you tell me something about creationists and its true, then its knowledge about what they believe. What creationists believe that they have dubious evidence for is not knowledge. It depends on the context.

Is that clear as mud?

Anyway, this is much deeper into "knowledge" than I intended to get into. I just wanted to show that weakly justified beliefs that are inaccessible to others is trivial and should not be considered knowledge.

I understand that I'm not the Knowledge Minister, I am just providing an argument delineating two forms of "knowledge" and asserting that one "inner knowing" is trivial and probably irrelevant and publicly accessible, verifiable "knowledge" is not.

What I wanted to get to was that just because you perceive it, does not qualify it as knowledge. Primarily because you may be wrong, as in case of mistaken identity. I think I see someone I recognize and wave at them only to discover that I thought I had knowledge of an old friend in front of me, I believed it enough to invest a wave and a smile into it, but I was wrong.

Knowledge requires more than just a perception, and even if I'm alone in this viewpoint, I think that a private perception is not knowledge, it is simply "input" for processing, until it is shared independently or is objectively detectable (like a tree falling in the forest makes a sound whether anyone is there or not, if only one person heard it, it would be possible for two people to hear it, therefore would qualify as knowledge for the one person alone in the forest.)

this is an attempt at epistemology, generally speaking, the study of justified beliefs.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue, part 1
Thanks for taking the time to continue on in conversation with me, Lee.
no problem, for me, you are of certain sort that are particularly fun, if you don't get demeaning and insulting.

Established knowledge. You're assuming that this one area is the only area that is absolute....Areas of specific study. Also you claim there are absolutes only in these arenas.
I don't see where you that from, would you mind cutting and pasting the comments I made that you derived that inference from?

only has to look at the newspaper to see the relativism issue ragin on in all those arenas.
you talk as if relativism is bad. When is a human sacrifice good? When its for your benefit? God any dead men on a stick laying around the house? Your seem to be blissfully unaware that your belief system is relativistic. Its okay for god to do some things but not okay for people to do them.

Verifiable knowledge. But then you open yourself up to personal definitions of verifiable.
are you drinking? Are you saying that it is unlikely that two minds whether they are human or pig will not naturally come to the same conclusion about a thing when it is under their nose?
What you have described is a special case where two minds can't agree on evidence for verification, something like, oh let me see, inner witness of the holy spirit perhaps?
Its not something like a headache because they show up on FMRI.

"Knowledge contained in whatever brain..." You make my argument for me regarding relativism. We could break it down further. what weight do we give "knowledge" when it has been affected by cultural, societal and/or historical influences, etc.?
again, are you drinking? I don't consider myself a relativist, I consider myself an engineer, and I deal with problems of information within context everyday, and what it is that is being understood by the far-end engineer everyday. Information and knowledge is relative to the context and situation. Just like you can think you have a fiver in your wallet, forgetting that you've spent it yesterday. It was knowledge when it was there, but now that its gone its mistaken and doesn't qualify as knowledge.

"Knowledge is not 'false'". Are you sure? Even in the face of all thse aforementioned influences?
yes,
describe to me some instance where some item of knowledge is false. I think you will quickly see that you are confused.

So if knowledge doesn't meet that narrow standard you described, then it is just irrelevent? So it can still be knowledge, it just doesn't matter? Here comes that relativism monster again.
you are fond of that label aren't you? You and some others throw it around like it is automatically discrediting. I can't fathom why you people do that.

If knowledge is not verifiable, it is at least trivial if not irrelevant. You can't build any new knowledge on unverifiable information. Unverifiable information is unreliable. Using it is unnecessarily risky. I know from HIGH STAKES experience. Like trying to figure out which communication is path is more important, the local neighborhood or the neighborhood with the police station, and which information should I trust when making a decision about manipulating a communication path. I go with the people that can do the most good with information, and I go with the communication path that I KNOW has been VERIFIED to be good.

surely you can understand that.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Gandolf,
you're welcome.
what counts as knowledge is extremely important, but in my view, doesn't get enough attention.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue, part 2
Since human perceptions can be skewed by any number of things, how can we trust it to be the verifying factor in anything? Which brings us back to the original question, how do we know we know?
now you are close to arguing my position.
I think human perception is trivial, in case you hadn't noticed. I KNOW electronic measurement devices do a MUCH better job, that's why we depend on them in communications engineering. People are fallible.
Just ask the families of wartime "friendly fire" victims.
People think they know more than what they do. That is one of those naturally occurring cognitive biases I keep talking about.

Its one of those flaws that naturally occur in us that should give you pause to reflect if you think God made us. Those naturally occurring flaws had to have already existed to cause Adam and Eve to disobey the creator of all things. That is just epically stupid if they understood what they were doing. Which is, on its face, a REALLY GOOD REASON to reject that silly fable as reflecting a real world state.

Degress and scope. So you're saying knowledge is relative. Except the statement that "knowledge is relative" is absolute, right? I do not need to give you an example, as you have provided it to yourself.

Check and mate.

Now, on to clean-up duty:

Rambling. Or you don't understand what I've argued here?

Christian grace. Again, evidence that my arguments have been confusing for you. Look over that last part once more and try again.


Does your preacher know you talk like this to people that you should be showing nurturing grace to? You should set the example, but instead you look like an arrogant blowhard. Christianity reinforces egocentrism, and you are a shining example. From your perspective, with god on your side, how can you be wrong?

Knowledge is relevant to the context and if you at least look into some before you go running your mouth you'll see how thats possible. There are phenomena of "knowledge by luck", "time dependent knowledge", "weakly and strongly Justified knowledge" just to get you started.

and if, like me, you dealt with problems of information, other minds, cognition, what constitutes knowledge, who knew what when, and when is one accountable for what they did based on what they know, you would have a better idea of what you're talking about.

its good to trust, but its better not to, until you've looked into it.
simple,
should be the first commandment,
but its not,
because the writers of the bible were bronze age hillbillies, literally.

Bluemongoose said...

Howdy, Lee!

I'm glad you don't take yourself too seriously. I genuinely enjoy debate, and I agree it can be fun. As the days wear on, you'll find that I don't equate debate w/a four-letter word and also understand that passion for an ideal does not mean general malice for an individual. But respect is a two-way street. You should also try to refrain from demeaning comments (have you been drinking?). A better way to go about seeking clarification is to just flat out ask me why I wrote what I wrote. Because after all, atheists commonly want to be seen in a fair light, and hitting below the belt gives the opposite effect.

Cutting and pasting. "Considering inaccessible personal experience to be of the same value as established knowledge is untenable." You frame this sentence as an absolute, meaning, you say, this is the way it definitively is.

So why is relativism bad? It means no boundaries, no one knows what is right or wrong definitively b/c morality is left up to individual interpretation. Basically it's anarchy lite, ushering in its big brother with expediency. Human sacrifice is never good. God does not advocate for it. As to Abraham & Isaac, don't forget the second half of the story. God stopped Abe from going through w/it, and we see the situation was really a test of obedience.

Misconception that my "belief system" is relativistic. Yeah, it seems that way at first. But continue to dialogue w/me and I'll break down all those issues singularly.

"It's okay for God to do some things but not okay for people to do them." What if I flipped that around on you, Lee? What if I said, atheists believe there are things that are okay for them to do, but not for God to do?

Humans vs. pigs. I'll further confound you on this one, buddy. Pigs aside, what if 2 well-educated humans had the same thing under their noses and both professed vastly different descriptions? I'm telling you it happens all the time. On a regular basis I hear people describe the scene of an accident as different as night and day even though they were all present for the mishap.

What you consider yourself. And then your actions speak up, drowning out your words.

"Information and knowledge is realtive to the context and situation." Except that statement is absolute, right?

Forgetting the money. Again, you make my arguments for me. So can these foundations be based on human perception?

In my culture, we know that sexual relations with children is wrong. However, in another culture, they may not "acknowledge" this to be so. This illustrates the conundrum cultural relativism causes for established knowledge.

Fond of labels. Just like some atheists who like to prematurely throw around the alcoholic label when confronted w/a theist whose arguments they don't fully understand.

The only way for knowledge to not be trivial or irrelevant is if it has solid boundaries and is anchored in a firm foundation. but I'm glad you see the dilemma here.

Bluemongoose said...

Part 2:

Lee,

You think human perception is trivial. So then you should be fully aware that you prefaced this point with "I think", so you cancelled out your own argument.

What the preacher is privy to. Uh-oh. Sounds like someone knows he's losing the debate: 'cause there's that hitting below the belt thing again. Come on, you can do better than that. Notice how you said "you look like", which gets us back to the perception argument again. Honestly, you make this too easy for me.

Knowledge in context. Ah, ye olde, "If the Christian would just think about it..." argument. You can definitley do better than resorting to that worn-out defense. It doesn't work at this level.

Knowledge by luck. Really? So you're leaving knowledge (a sure thing) up to luck (chance)? Are you "sure" about that? As for your other descriptions of knowledge instances, it's a rehash of relativism (situational knowledge).

And, if, like you... There you go assuming again. And you know what happens when you assume.

Last paragraph. Again, it's the personal perception debate all over again.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Lee you wrote: "Christianity reinforces egocentrism, and you are a shining example. From your perspective, with god on your side, how can you be wrong?"

You framed the main reason why I am slowly rejecting Christianity as a world-view because this is the truth of it. It is based on personal revelation that then is hardened into immutable truth via the sanction of the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.

And yes, I agree with you that Blue is an egregious example of this psychology.

She reminds me of a description Peggy Noonan had recently of Sarah Palin, "She is not thoughtful enough to know that she is not thoughtful."

Thanks for your intellectual courage and your ideas. I was not as invested in Christianity as your bio suggests you were. I imagine the journey outside of the community must have been painful.

Peace to you (and to you too Blue)

Scott said...

Blue,

You have yet to respond to any of my questions regarding how you see relativism as a "problem", which you conveniently solve by assuming God exists.

Furthermore, you keep saying Lee is "proving your argument" by presenting his position.

So when you say...

So why is relativism bad? It means no boundaries, no one knows what is right or wrong definitively b/c morality is left up to individual interpretation. Basically it's anarchy lite, ushering in its big brother with expediency.

I could construe this as you proving MY argument because, at every chance you get, you keep spouting how "relativism" is such a awful "problem", to which your assertion that God exists gives you the "solution" in a shiny box wrapped up with a bow.

Furthermore, it seems clear that this problem of "relativism" comes in to play when human beings attempting to discern the nature of God, and what he thinks is right or wrong.

Again, I could take your route and use quotes such as...

One only has to look at the newspaper to see the relativism issue ragin on in all those arenas.

...to say you've just provided my point as well, as much of the violence we read about is caused by the inability of human beings to reach agreement on what God thinks is right or wrong.

When we ask God to actually make his nature clear, the "results" we get cannot be used to actually resolve the problems we are facing. Instead, the results, or lack there of, appear to BE THE PROBLEM.

You might say that God intentionally doesn't reveal himself to avoid violating our free will. Should this be the case, this prevents us from actually knowing whatever "absolute knowledge" you claim exists, which doesn't actually solve the problem.

Apparently, your shiny box of answers cannot be opened, which means it's not exactly a solution is it?

This puts us back in a sea of individuals who have different opinions, perceptions, etc., which is what Lee has been trying to point out all along.

In fact, should we all have the same options, we would be "robots", which, as Christians remind us at every opportunity, is apparently bad.

Scott said...

Finally,

Should God's be incapable of revealing his "absolute knowledge" to us, as it would violate our free will, and should God be unable to program us with this knowledge, as it would make us robots, what problem does it solve?

Given Christian theology, It appears to solve God's problem of deciding who to punish and who to reward.

Which leads me to a new question...

Blue, could it be that you assert..

A. An absolute standard exists
B. You have detailed knowledge of this standard

because doing do would imply you would be eternally rewarded?

Bluemongoose said...

Thanks, Chuck. I knew I liked you.

Lee Randolph said...

hi blue,
i'll take the hit for the drinking crack, and i'll catch you later.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Blue you said, "Thanks, Chuck. I knew I liked you."

I hope you aren't being sarcastic.

And I do wish you peace. I don't see how your point of view can provide it but, I wish it upon you.

So, peace to you.

Bluemongoose said...

No, Chuck, I was not being sarcastic. I know this environment can tend to put us on automatic defense al the time, but I was being sincere.

Bluemongoose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bluemongoose said...

Scott:

I'm sorry it seemed that way. Remember, I am but one individual w/a life outside this blog, so I can't answer every question from every person. But that doesn't mean your questions aren't valid and important.

Lee proving my points for me. I'll admit that the way I form my arguments can be confusing to novices in this area. Now, don't get all fired up just yet. That's not a crack against your or anyone else's intelligence. It's just matter of factly illuminating that the way I frame my comments can seem foreign and strange to those who aren't familiar w/them. But I urge you to keep checking in on my debates and you'll get the hang of it.

"I could construe..." There's a problem in this paragraph, Scott. Review it and see if you can find it. Don't worry. I'll wait.

Relativism and newspapers. I'm glad you recognize there's a problem within this situation.

Results are the problem, or the perception of the results is the problem?

God does reveal Himself. This will be an Aha! moment for you, though I know it seems confusing at the outset. However, the truth of the matter shouldn't rest in how we perceive the information.

Options. I'm talking about one truth for everyone in which we have the option to abide by it or disregard it altogether; you limited yourself to just the options part.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Scott,
did you notice that everyones a novice debater but Blue?

Knowledge by luck. Really? So you're leaving knowledge (a sure thing) up to luck (chance)? Are you "sure" about that? As for your other descriptions of knowledge instances, it's a rehash of relativism (situational knowledge).

did you notice that Blue hasn't bothered to look up the major themes in epistemologic philosophy, just to make sure he/she is not getting off track?

1.2 The Gettier Problem

Its funny, but in my debate textbooks, it points out that one should go to the debate familiar with the subject. The books must be wrong.

I probably should have directed some of this at Blue, but honestly, whats the point?

I'll get Blue later i guess.

Bluemongoose said...

Hi, Lee!

"Everyone's a novice debater with Blue"? Did I say that? Or is that just your perception. You seem to like to make a lot of premature leaps. Again, if you're confused about an issue, why not just be direct and ask me for clarification?

So you're gonna get me, huh? Bring it, clown boy. :-) I get to be Lawrence Fishburn and you can be Keanu Reeves.

Scott said...

Blue wrote,

I'll admit that the way I form my arguments can be confusing to novices in this area.

It's not confusing. It's smug.

But I urge you to keep checking in on my debates and you'll get the hang of it.

You mean I'll end up exposing your tactic and end up using it against you?

"I could construe..." There's a problem in this paragraph, Scott. Review it and see if you can find it. Don't worry. I'll wait.

Blue, should you be referring to my use of the word interpret, I'd suggest that merely asserting one is absolutely sure in no way makes one sure.

Or are you suggesting that choosing words which imply I am sure would somehow magically make my statements absolutely correct?

Again, in a previous comment you asked,

Would you like to be sure?

Which I responded, it was unclear what my desire to be sure had to do with actually being correct.

Relativism and newspapers. I'm glad you recognize there's a problem within this situation.

By merely repeating this, does this mean you're run out of canned responses and cannot respond to my question? Have I not shown how I too can use this tactic to my advantage?

Or do I need to repeat how glad I am that you think this is such problem that you assert God exists to solve it?

God does reveal Himself.

Of course, other people assert God's nature as being different than your assertion of God's nature. Which doesn't actually solve the "problem" you mention above.

This will be an Aha! moment for you, though I know it seems confusing at the outset.

Confusing? No. Transparent and smug. Yes.

However, the truth of the matter shouldn't rest in how we perceive the information.

Clearly a non-sequitur. The fact that there is some true state of affairs that exists in reality, doesn't mean this state of affairs actually includes God's existence or that God is responsible for objective moral values, should they exist.

Options. I'm talking about one truth for everyone in which we have the option to abide by it or disregard it altogether; you limited yourself to just the options part.

I'm sorry if my question was "confusing", do I need to repeat it for you?

Blue, could it be that you assert..

A. An absolute standard exists
B. You have detailed knowledge of this standard

because doing do would imply you would be eternally rewarded?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue,
before I comment on your comments, I'd like to direct you to Rules For A Critical Discussion

These are not enforced here, and I'm probably the only one in the country that knows about them, but they are useful for keeping the dialogue relevant, and therefore interesting.

I say this because I think you are attacking my sentence structure, inferring that I don't really believe what I say, and by doing so avoiding having to dismantle my arguments and preferring the simpler tactic of "nay-saying" and repeatedly proclaiming victory.

It appears that sconnor and scott both have accused you of skirting the issues as well, which, if you studied debate as you most certainly have considering your level of confidence in your aptitude, you know is "poor technique".

Blue, there cannot logically be any winning these discussions. All of us without exception are agnostic about all these issues, depending solely on inference and our estimation of evidence.

so basically, I'm saying that while I'll comment on your your last three comments to me later, I'm losing interest. I'll be posting another article on this subject in the next couple of days. I invite you to review your debate literature and join the discussion there.

Lee Randolph said...

Blue,
I'll even go so far as to say that it is obvious to me that your are using heuristics that you've picked up on sites such as Tweb for example.

when you see an opportunity to use heuristic of a certain form, you will, regardless of whether it is relevant or applicable.

I'll elaborate on that more as I have time. I've made my case on the topic, now I'll just analyze your arguments till you run through your arsenal.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue, part 1. excuse any typos please.
"Considering inaccessible personal experience to be of the same value as established knowledge is untenable." You frame this sentence as an absolute, meaning, you say, this is the way it definitively is.
I can see a where a trivial use of "absolute" on your part would cause you to say that. But that is an uncharitable interpretation, obviously meant to create a "gotcha" moment for you, in an attempt to discredit me. Good luck with that.

So why is relativism bad? It means no boundaries, no one knows what is right or wrong definitively b/c morality is left up to individual interpretation. Basically it's anarchy lite, ushering in its big brother with expediency.
This is a slippery slope because you are disregarding the fact that generally most laws are similar to those in other countries all derived independently in different cultures and different religions. You can't even show a correlation to Jesus let alone any one God. Especially when for god to impose law on us would impair our free will, and we all know how much Christians love to use free will to defend the problem of evil.

Human sacrifice is never good. God does not advocate for it. As to Abraham & Isaac, don't forget the second half of the story. God stopped Abe from going through w/it, and we see the situation was really a test of obedience.
but you missed the most important one, the one that is the cornerstone of your faith. He didn't absolve Jesus of the responsibility to Kill himself on your behalf, to atone for Adams sin did he. A human sacrifice to appease a god, to repay a debt.

Misconception that my "belief system" is relativistic. Yeah, it seems that way at first. But continue to dialogue w/me and I'll break down all those issues singularly.
Not likely. There is a stark contrast between the old and new testament, its like two different gods. To save your dignity, you shouldn't even try. To do so would be egregious.

"It's okay for God to do some things but not okay for people to do them." What if I flipped that around on you, Lee? What if I said, atheists believe there are things that are okay for them to do, but not for God to do?
This is tu quoque, therefore irrelevant. But anyway, for the sake of the "yellow flag" we expect people to be imperfect, but we are told that god is perfect. You tell me.

Humans vs. pigs. I'll further confound you on this one, buddy. Pigs aside, what if 2 well-educated humans had the same thing under their noses and both professed vastly different descriptions? I'm telling you it happens all the time.
This is special pleading, of a special case, and your "all the time" is an unbounded value that has no meaning. What you should mean is that to a small degree, it is common for people to disagree on a common experience or event, but for the most part, they agree. If not, there eye witness testimony would be useless.

What you consider yourself. And then your actions speak up, drowning out your words.
this is a straw man. You are misrepresenting me, and using the tactic of equivocation to try to show that I'm inconsistent.

"Information and knowledge is relative to the context and situation." Except that statement is absolute, right?
Case in point.

Forgetting the money. Again, you make my arguments for me. So can these foundations be based on human perception?
Another case in point.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Blue, part 2,
In my culture, we know that sexual relations with children is wrong. However, in another culture, they may not "acknowledge" this to be so. This illustrates the conundrum cultural relativism causes for established knowledge.
its no conundrum because sassy children were condemned to death in either Leviticus or Deuteronomy, or have you read that part yet? Its all relative to the ideology of the time, just like your devout Christians heretics that have been burned through the ages by other Christians because they were thinking the wrong thoughts about such things as the trinity, or translating the Septuagint into English (Tinsdale).
Do your homework for gods sake.

Fond of labels. Just like some atheists who like to prematurely throw around the alcoholic label when confronted w/a theist whose arguments they don't fully understand.
another tu quoque. I don't understand people with dementia either, but that doesn't mean they make sense.

The only way for knowledge to not be trivial or irrelevant is if it has solid boundaries and is anchored in a firm foundation. but I'm glad you see the dilemma here.
there you go with the equivocation again. Your perception is trivial as knowledge, but gains importance as you gain information about it. The more you know about something the more certain you are about it.

Face it, its common sense but you are denying it to support your belief that "inner knowing" has as much value as established knowledge, but its obviously wrong. Go look up the reason why clinical trials are done on pharmaceuticals, and then try to justify getting rid of them, silly.

You think human perception is trivial. So then you should be fully aware that you prefaced this point with "I think", so you canceled out your own argument.
another case in point. an uncharitable interpretation of my use of "I Think", attacking my sentence construction, an equivocation of the phrase to try to demonstrate inconsistency in my argument.

Why don't you try nit-picking my premises or warrants for a change instead of just nay-saying and looking for "Gotchas".
Make an argument of your own. Here I'll help you, and you can fill in the blanks.
"Human perception has as much weight as established knowledge because
_______________________________________,
______________________________________,
_______________________________________."

That that should get you started.

What the preacher is privy to. Uh-oh. Sounds like someone knows he's losing the debate: 'cause there's that hitting below the belt thing again. Come on, you can do better than that. Notice how you said "you look like", which gets us back to the perception argument again. Honestly, you make this too easy for me.
Now you're playing the victim. Does that look like nurturing grace to you? No, it looks like egocentric posturing.

Knowledge in context. Ah, ye olde, "If the Christian would just think about it..." argument. You can definitely do better than resorting to that worn-out defense. It doesn't work at this level.
Non-sequitur. I shouldn't punch people in the face because it hurts them and violates their rights. No matter how much i say it and wear it out, its still valid.

Knowledge by luck. Really? So you're leaving knowledge (a sure thing) up to luck (chance)? Are you "sure" about that? As for your other descriptions of knowledge instances, it's a rehash of relativism (situational knowledge).
This is when I lost interest. I gave everyone a hint at where they could look for ammunition to use against me but you didn't get it. You obviously are not prepared for this discussion because you didn't bother to look up or are not familiar with problems of human cognition.

Blue, its been fun but I'm going to give you last word, so at least give THAT some substance.

Bluemongoose said...

Hyinsas, Lee!

Part 1:

Absolutes. You're continually locked down by the perception arguments, as inferenced in this instance by your assessment that what I wrote was trivial. I don't find my example here to be trivial. And since your argument isn't based anything other than what your interpretation, who are you to imply I'm wrong? Your views only apply to you and you can't ultimately say another's views are definitively wrong in any context.

Slippery slope. I'm glad you recognize that there is a "slippery slope" here. Good for you! Let me ask you this: Why do you believe laws impair free will? Certainly individuals have the ability to circumvent those laws in which "they do not like" (hint, hint). We must dig deeper here. So when looking at laws from this angle, can we really impose any laws, given the fact that they will ultimately step on someone's toes? Perhaps we shouldn't start in the gray area of the spectrum and work our way out; rather, maybe we should start at the clearly defined ends and work our way in?

Human sacrifice. But you're forgetting the dynamics of who Jesus was in your illustration. Recall that Jesus was not just a man; He was part of the trinitarian Yahweh. God was sacrificing Himself for our sakes.

Old Testament vs. New Testament. Here's a different way to look at this: "What is the common thread and consistent theme that runs through the OT? God's promise to destroy death. The NT tells how He did it." -Ravi Zacharias. As for your "it's like two different gods" statement, this is more evidence that you and I should continue to dialogue. God was just as holy in the OT as He is in the NT. Just look at the scriptures giving descriptions of Him (Alpha and Omega, constant and never changing, holy and righteous, the One who was and is and is to come). I'm not going to insult your intelligence b/c I'm sure you can get on BibleGateway all by yourself and type in any of those words into the search engine to find the specific scriptures.

Tu quoque = irrelevant. Your opinion again.

"You tell me." I'll take that as an admittance of confusion on your part, requiring some clarification on my part. Quick example: Susie Atheist says abortion is okay b/c it's about a personal choice. However, this same individual says it's not right for God to make His own decisions about taking life. Double standard? She considers it morally correct for her to have the freedom to make her own choices, and yet she does not afford that same consideration to God.

Special pleadings. Really? How do you know it's an unbounded value and has no meaning? I'm not talking small degress; rather, vast differences like: Joe Schmoe says he didn't run the stop sign. Jane Q. Public says he did. What tips the scales when all we have is two human viewpoints that are equal in their merit? Useless eye witness testimony. With relativism lurking in the shadows, eye witness testimony certainly is useless.

Straw man and misrepresentations. That's just your interpretation.

Cases in point. I hope now you are starting to realize why Arthur Schlesinger was wrong when he said that relativism must have the day...

Bluemongoose said...

Part 2:

Conundrums. Do you want to know why God instructed the Hebrews to kill the men, women and children of particular oppositinal nations, or were you just doing a soap box thing here?

Homework. Now, don't get all bent out of shape. You were doing so well. And, yes, for God's sake, I did my homework.

What you understand. Again, herein lies a perception argument. You're so immersed in it, you don't even know how to argue from any other vantage point. More on that later.

"Your perception is trivial as knowledge, but gains importance as you gain information about it." Again, you're saying knowledge is situationally relative. Clinical trials. Those are based on whether something is effective or is not. But you know as well as I do that personal bias can ruin clinical trials. One company invests a lot of $$ in a particular drug and despite evidence it isn't up to snuff, they pull strings and cut red tape to get it on the market. Look at the Vioxx disaster.

Case in point. Now, now. What's really at work here is you just don't like that I've got your king in check b/c if relativism is false and knowledge & morality do not find their roots in humans and human understanding, then you must open the door to theism.

I pull out the guts of atheists statements b/c it is effective and catches them off guard. And most importantly, they have no effective defense for this kind of maneuver. By knowing the debate territory extensively and showing opponents within debate their implications, I can break down their peity at its most vulnerable level. No more ivory towers, no more high altitude advantage. But why tell you all this? Because even when I reveal it, there's nothing you can do to stop it.

Playing the victim. Your perception.

Egocentric? Pleeeease. Let's be pragmatic here. I'm confident. You were pretty smug when you were discussing with those who weren't as educated in debate as you were. You just don't like that the tables have been turned.

"Non-sequitur" Again, you're just mad b/c I attacked from the back gate when you were expecting a frontal attack. Just b/c you don't like the argument doesn't invalidate it.

You lost interest. Or you lost the debate?

Giving me hints. And when I didn't follow where the shepherd led, you get upset. This is purposeful on my part and the reason I like the sneak attacks in debate. Atheists get so comfortable in continually expecting the same old trite ways of debating that they don't defend any of their weak points. So for future reference, you better bone up on your apologetics b/c you'll be seeing more and more of it as time goes on.

P.S. You are a worthy adversary. It has been fun, and I appreciate your time. I look forward to doing it again sometime.

Scott said...

Blue,

Here's the dilemma. You keep giving illustrations of "problems", yet your assertions fails to solve these very same problems for a multitude of reasons.

To summarize,

- An absolute standard created / defined by God exists
- You have detailed knowledge of this absolute standard

Of course, I don't want to put words in your mouth. If I have these two points wrong, please feel free to correct me.

You keep giving us a laundry list of situations that illustrate the problem of human cognition, etc. as if they are shining examples of some kind of glaring problem that we are unaware of. However, on closer inspection, the "solution" you suggest doesn't actually solve these problems, as God would have to make us all robots to prevent the very issues you are describing. And, as Christians often remind us, it would be "bad" if we were all robots.

Furthermore, the very same problems of human cognition, which you constantly remind us, of would seem to prevent you from having detailed knowledge of this standard, if it did exist.

For example, when I ask for God to clearly reveal his nature and his absolute standard, he does not reply. When others ask, God supposably replies, but reveals a different nature and a different "absolute standard." Of course, this is what we would expect given the problem of human cognition.

You might say God cannot clearly reveal himself to us as it would violate our free will. But this leaves us with the same problems that you keep reminding us of. Your "solution", should it exists, fails.

Nor have you given any sufficient reason to justify your belief that you, in particular, actually have detailed knowledge of this standard should it actually exist. You merely keep waiving your hands about how "bad" it seems to be that everyone doesn't share it with you, as if we're oblivious to the issue.

Last, you seems to suggest that, by formulating one's position without using words like "suggests" or "implies" that one's position is somehow more correct that someone who does. If one assumes that God exists, then this somehow magically solves the problem of human cognition. Previous comment that asked, "Would you like to be sure?", seem to imply one's preference could somehow cause reality to align with their position. Of course, should this not be your position, I'd ask that you clarify what this question was actually was referring to.

Given that your solution doesn't actually solve the problems you continually illustrate and that you haven't given any sufficient reason to think *you* have detailed possession of this absolute knowledge, I asked myself, "What problems does Blue's assertions solve?" "What stake might Blue have making such assertions?"

Given Christian theology, the problem you keep reminding us of isn't actually a problem, it's God's "solution" to the problem of who to punish and who to reward.

Which leads me to my unanswered question. Could it be that you assert...

- An absolute standard created / defined by God exists
- You have detailed knowledge of this absolute standard

Because doing so implies you will be eternally rewarded? And you want to be eternally rewarded?

Or perhaps you can explain why you would intentionally use illustrations so far removed from the issue at hand, they are not actually solved by the claim being made?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi blue, I couldn't pass this up.

Useless eye witness testimony. With relativism lurking in the shadows, eye witness testimony certainly is useless.

Good, then we can throw out the only evidence that exists for Jesus, the Gospels.

you are out of control, you should just back away from the keyboard.

Steve said...

Lee - Don't take this personally but -

LOL!!! This was a dumb question to ask on a blog that uses rationalism to verify its arguments.

Although the simple answer to the question is - the answer will depend on the person who answers the question.

I also have a couple of notable points:

gary - Belief and perception are part of the same process - "Belief" changes your "perception" - which is the way you see things.

Lee - I can't help but comment on your response to RichD regarding the creationists and mickey mouse.
One can classify your misinformation about creationists worshipping mickey mouse as knowledge, but only from RichD's perspective(he would have the knowledge that you said creationists worship mickey mouse)

All said and done - this comment is mostly for a little lively fun, however this seriously is not a good question for an atheism blog, it is more a philosophy question.

Alexis said...

Can somebody explain?

1) Jesus was human.
2) God sacrificed him.
3) It is not human sacrifice since Jesus was God too.

Wouldn't asserting #3 negate #1?

How does asserting that Jesus was a god-human chimera makes a difference?

Especially considering how YWHW had no problem with plain old human sacrifice anyway....

Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT
(...attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. )

Lee Randolph said...

Steve,
I don't see how epistemology doesn't qualify for discussion on an atheist blog when all we do is talk about how we are agnostic or know that god doesn't exist. Surely we must know how we come to that conclusion, and we should be able to explain and justify the mechanism so other people can see that we know what we are talking about.

As i said before, "knowledge" has at least a couple of meanings depending on the context. Unfortunately, it needs more than one word to refer to what kind of knowledge we are talking about.

It think epistemology has gotten bogged down by unrealistic slippery slope thought experiments, like the ridiculous brain in a vat scenario, and I think the ambiguity in the word "knowledge" as led to that.

Generally, philosophy becomes science when it can quantified, measured and predicted. And I think that epistemology has become close to being a science, especially since bayesian inference allows artificial intelligence to make decisions that affect you on a daily basis, and business uses epistemological principles in their books on decision making. Maybe you don't realize, but you should.

Using the Black Hawk Friendly Fire accident of 1994
I'm about to show how one can quantify uncertainty about two or more items of "knowledge" and make a judgment about how justified each one is relative to the other. Weakly justified beliefs can be deadly to others.

[This ties into my IDQ articles. I got side tracked a little bit in the middle of finishing up the next installment.]

I minimize uncertainty about items of knowledge and evaluate them relative to each other everyday, I am certain that everyone does, and I'm certain that they haven't thought about it deeply enough to put it into words.

I've already written at least two articles similar to this but never mentioned "justified belief" or measuring it because at that time, I hadn't given it enough thought.

I hope you join the discussion. It will be my next article.

Lee Randolph said...

Actually I got the seed for the idea in a philosophy of religion course when the instructor said something like
"so-and-so seeing the glory of god as a blue aura doesn't quite get down on all fours with seeing the coffee pot" or something like that.

he didn't mention how he was justified in making that claim, but after thinking about it, I know how, I just wasn't able to verbalize it until now.

Lee Randolph said...

steve,
"Belief" changes your "perception" - which is the way you see things.
I think you only have it partially right. I think you could think up examples where your perception sparked your belief.

Its a positive feedback loop between the two, and other things. Its a web of interacting mutually influencing events.

Lee Randolph said...

I think epistemology has also gotten bogged down with the cognitive bias that causes unrealistic expectations of impossible precision.

There is a point when you have to make the call, and it depends on how much you minimize uncertainty about it and how much time you've got to do it.

There is a way to measure a knowledge base, and it is related to successful outcomes, how reliable it is, how accurate it is. Knowledge is not a thing, its a description. Its a description of categories of quality of facts, that depend on relationships between the facts.

Knowledge is a measure of risk that a fact or group of facts does or does not represent a real world state.

Steve said...

You cannot use science to explore epistemology - epistemology requires you to make logical assumptions to start, which science does not allow. (which epistemology admits that logical thought has its limits, and that includes the scientific method)

As to "weakly justified beliefs can be deadly to others"

1. You use the phrase "weakly justified" - to you this means anything not scientifically backed up, however the words weakly and justified have varied meanings, espectially weakly because it is a word of comparision (weakly compared to what?)

2. You are mixing beliefs about things that aren't able to be known (i.e. God's existence) and beliefs that can be seen to be wrong (events) - just because you can argue the latter does not mean you can argue the former (how do you know believing/disbelieving in God can be more dangerous/safe for others?)

You can argue from your "logical, more morally, and every other way awesome" perspective all you want, and insult those like Bluemongoose and others while ignoring the points of their arguments that you cannot disprove, and you can argue over stupid things and say "i've won"

But you can't:

Tell someone why suicide is a bad idea.

Tell a murderer why he shouldn't kill.

Tell a child why it is wrong to steal.

Tell me a convincing reason science can do any of the above without making logical assumptions. (and thus defeating the logic making said assumptions). For that matter give me anything at all that does not rely on circular reasoning in the grand scheme of things.

Steve said...

Lee Said...

-----------------------------------
I think epistemology has also gotten bogged down with the cognitive bias that causes unrealistic expectations of impossible precision.

There is a point when you have to make the call, and it depends on how much you minimize uncertainty about it and how much time you've got to do it.
-----------------------------------

i.e. science cannot find all truth (due to humanity's limits, of course) This is what I have been saying. (except he believes if you have unlimited time you can minimalize all uncertainty - which is a logical jump or assumption)

Lee also said...
-----------------------------------
There is a way to measure a knowledge base, and it is related to successful outcomes, how reliable it is, how accurate it is.
-----------------------------------
Would that be science?? (incidentally the above statement is another logical assumption as it cannot be logically proven)

Lee also said...
-----------------------------------
Knowledge is not a thing, its a description. Its a description of categories of quality of facts, that depend on relationships between the facts.

Knowledge is a measure of risk that a fact or group of facts does or does not represent a real world state.
-----------------------------------

This is a matter of definition and therefore an opinion - there is no rational reason to accept this definition as opposed to one that draws the opposite conclusion.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Steve,
I'm an engineer that uses philosophy to increase my rate of successful outcomes in solving interpersonal communication,technical problems and systemic problems.

I invite you to join me in next article where I will be arguing for these things you take issue with.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Steve,
You can argue from your "logical, more morally, and every other way awesome" perspective all you want, and insult those like Bluemongoose and others while ignoring the points of their arguments that you cannot disprove, and you can argue over stupid things and say "i've won"

name a point I ignored and I'll address it.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi steve,
This isn't about science, I have adopted a different framework since christians seem to disregard science out of hand, while they are debating atheists on the internet which runs on unix servers running daemons for the HTTP protocol. I infer that the Unix programmers, generally speaking, are not believers.

anway...

Epistemology is being done all over the place and the first areas that come to mind are Information Science and Artificial Intelligence, not to mention Cognitive Science and in Decision Theory, Business and Public Safety.

Knowledge is all about reducing uncertainty about a datum. The less uncertain it becomes, meaning verified and accepted as accurately reflecting a real world state, the more value it has. It can never be said that everything is known about it because logically you can't show that you know everything about it, but you can know it enough for it to be "useful", reliable, able to make decisons with it, have successful outcomes.

Personally I start with an unknown everyday that I have to gain knowledge about and make decisions, then I have to influence other people in projects and argue my position versus theirs. They don't take me at my word, they need evidence, and you don't guess where the problem is and solve it, you have to minimize uncertainty about it gather accurate information about it, make reliable decisons and restore communication services to subscribers that pay for it and want to make sure they are getting the service they expect and are paying for. They minimize uncertainty by checking their bill and evaluating whether or not, when they pick up the phone to call a friend or police, IT WORKS.

My Job and my customers depend on how well I can make knowledge out of uncertainty, and I do it by evaluating datum and their relationships to each other, then testing it to see if it accurately represents a real world state. My hypothesis doesn't become knowledge until I can make a prediction and manipulate the uncertainty, thereby establishing "boundaries around" it, giving some form, like hitting the invisible man with a bucket of paint.

here's some books for you look into.
- How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business by Douglas W. Hubbard
- Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving by Jonathan G. Koomey PhD and John P. Holdren
- Quality Information and Knowledge Management by Kuan-Tsae Huang, Yang W. Lee, and Richard Y. Wang
- Friendly Fire: The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black Hawks over Northern Iraq by Scott A. Snook

Lee Randolph said...

Hi steve,
Tell someone why suicide is a bad idea.
I don't see how these relate to knowledge.

They are values based and therefore to justify them, we have to appeal to self-interest. Generally speaking, that could mean appealing to the "emotional reasoning" vice the "logical reasoning".

it is verifiable, the people know what the right thing to do is, but do the wrong thing "just because they want to". I know I don't need that ice cream, but i sure do want it, so I eat it, ignoring the fact that I'm 20 pounds overweight.

Gandolf said...

Steve said...."But you can't:

Tell someone why suicide is a bad idea.

Tell a murderer why he shouldn't kill.

Tell a child why it is wrong to steal.

Tell me a convincing reason science can do any of the above without making logical assumptions."

Using scientific method we can study enough cases to come to the conclusion that.

1,Suicide is a bad thing because
a,100% of people who suicide are then dead.
b,evidence suggests that mostly suicide causes more pain to loved ones left behind

2,Evidence from scientific tests carried out on a number of people would show that most often murderers dont really enjoy being murdered themselves.

3,Scientific tests could show that if enough stealing was allowed as common practice,sooner of later the action of stealing would in fact become circular and start effecting everyone including the thieves.

Gandolf said...

Blue said .....So why is relativism bad? It means no boundaries, no one knows what is right or wrong definitively b/c morality is left up to individual interpretation. Basically it's anarchy lite, ushering in its big brother with expediency."

Where do you live Blue??...Where i live there are not really many things of great importance that are actually left up to (individual interpretation).Mostly things are decided on by many people specially important issues.

I think you are purposely trying to portray these things in the wrong light.You as a person of faith need to show objective morals as the absolute only way,to try to do that you need to try suggesting relative morality as being connect only to that of the individual only.And to then very deceitfully suggest that that individualism then will lead to anarchy and expediency etc.

I suggest that is very deceitful and totally wrong.Your theory is based on complete lies that we humans come to our conclusions by individualism.

Do you need to use deceit? is that all you have got?

And if it was a mistake i suggest it shows you really need to think much more about these things first.

Now you will likely come back and try suggesting thats just my individual interpretation, blah blah etc etc.

However you might like to try considering that just maybe a number of others here are also saying some of the very same things.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Here are a seven quick questions that might make what I was saying a little clearer (since I was not saying that, say, merely the experience of seeing a blue patch is 'knowledge'):

1. You're in a room with a number of other people. How do you know which body is yours?

2. You're in the same room. How do you know which thoughts are yours?

3. Take *any* bit of public knowledge you think you do have, and try to explain how you know it without any recourse whatsoever to your first person experience of the world.

4. Now, take that same bit of public knowledge from (3), and ask yourself how it can be publicly known with confidence if your first person knowledge is weakly justified. (Try to be aware of all the appeals to the same sort of first person knowledge you'll be making as you attempt to present an explanation.)

5. What are you more certain about: that such and such *is* a certain way, or that such and such *appears* a certain way?

6. Take non-propositional knowledge. For example, you know how to ride a bike. Now, suppose that you were in prison, and no one believed that you know how to ride a bike. Wouldn't your first person, private knowledge (which consists of memories, a 'feel' for how to ride a bike, etc.) in this case suffice to persuade you that you that everyone is wrong, and that you do indeed know how to ride a bike?

7. Take a famous example from Plantinga. Suppose a crime is committed, one that you have a clear motive to commit, and that all the available evidence points toward you. Further suppose that you have no good alibi (you were in the area in which the crime was committed, but you were alone). Would you reject your 'weakly justified' (as you put it, Lee) first person, private knowledge that you are innocent, and accept the conclusion to which all the well established public evidence points?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric, all,
I'm going to move on to finishing my next article which is an extension of this one. As I said I'm going to do a case study of a real world situation.

Eric,
I find your first two questions loaded with flawed presumptions of the "brain-vat" type.
you presume its possible that a persons thoughts could come from another person, or that you could actually be in someone elses body. Until you show that it is possible, then the questions are irrelevant.

these unanswerable "what if " questions bog down dialogue.

rather than ask questions like that, why not ask simpler, answerable, observable questions and lets build our way up to that.

Like for example, in the case of a friendly fire incident; which category of knowledge has more weight (is more valuable), the pilot who makes a mis-identifies them when he looks at them or the other members of the team that are taking other evidence into account and are not as certain?

In one case, we have two dead helicopter pilots, and in the other case, we don't.

anyway, thats a morsel from next article.

and here's another example from today. I thought I heard my cell phone go off faintly, but it was really the coffee pot.

Human perception is trivial as knowledge without verification. And if you start looking objectively to the real world instead of thinking up questions that are geared to lead to your conclusion, then you might change your mind.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Eric,
plantigas example,
If I know was in dublin, but the courts have enough 'evidence' to put me in london committing a crime, someone has knowledge and another doesn't. That all had information.

"Knowledge" really needs some demarcation, it needs some scope and definition, before this dialog can go forward.

in case of the friendly fire accident, the fighter pilot had enough verification to convince him they were iraqis, but if he had looked at enough evidence, he would have known, that they weren't.

it is a problem of time-dependent decision making. He had to make a decision with limited information and while he had an idea that those helicopters were iraqi, he didn't know they were, because obviously they weren't!

Tell me how "knowledge" can be false?

If knowledge can be false, then we would be forced to give as much weight to the "knowledge" that the world is flat as any other hypotheses.

Lee Randolph said...

Knowledge, in epistemology is, is "rightly justified belief"
the world is not flat, they were looking at information and regarding it as knowledge.

Obviously, you can't "rightly justify" a datum that is false, even if you are convinced based on your best evidence within a time frame that it is true. Until it has been verified and turned out to be reliable, useful, verifiable etc, it is trivial, it is an opinion.

Lee Randolph said...

HI eric,
I can't resist, but I promise i'm moving on,
Now, suppose that you were in prison, and no one believed that you know how to ride a bike.
okay,
bill tells me he can ride a bike, I don't believe him.
so what?
He has knowledge I don't.
so I say, "okay bill show me",
and he does, then I have knowledge too.
It all comes down to evidence, Bill is justified because he has evidence.

Now lets say that lost his right arm in iraq, but he still feels pain in his right hand. It called phantom pain, and the most recent theory is that its related to body maps in the brain and is activated by memories or stored data in the brain that hasn't been updated.

So bill tells me he has pain in his right hand,
I say "show me".

He had an unjustified belief, I have knowledge and he doesn't, he just has a sensation caused by old data in that 3 pound meatball behind his eyes.

The key is the verification, the cross-checking.

Bluemongoose said...

Hi, Lee!

Useless eyewitness testimony. Notice what context I wrote that statement in: within the relativism dynamic. So, ultimately, if relativism has the day, then eyewitness testimony is certainly useless.

Bluemongoose said...

Scott:

Confusing vs. smug. You can think whatever you want, but know this: your perception and reality can be two different things. You can seem pretty "smug" when you're doing well in debates -- or is that just someone else's perception? Case in point, your next statement, "You mean I'll end up exposing your tactic and end up using it against you?" Geeze, I guess you're saying anti-theists believe they are above being smug then, huh?

"I could construe..." You keep arguming from the vantage point that truth requires human understanding/rationalization for it to be true.

Relativism and newspapers. It just illustrates that this is not the angle I was arguing from and that you were confused about which direction I was coming from. No big deal. We don't have to disagree on everything.

"God does reveal Himself." Your statements here are still wrapped up in the human verification conundrum.

Non-sequitur. Are you stating that within your finite knowledge, there is absolutely no way the infinite exists or is actively involved in the universe? Wow! That's a pretty big assertion from someone who will statistically only live about 75 years.

Truth. Yes, absolutes exist, and they do not rely on my personal verification for their validation. Asserting the existence of absolutes implies a lot of things.

Bluemongoose said...

Scott:

Dilemmas. Again, evidence you are not used to the type of argumetns I give. I frequently follow up the "identifying of problems" w/illustrations. I purposefully choose not to go the direct route in revealing the solutions b/c generally if you give too many declarative statements, it puts the reader on the offensive. If I give them just enough of a peek behind the curtain, they are allowed to "participate" in revealing the solution. Then they are more apt to consider what I've brought to the table b/c it came to them in a novel format.

Robots. You present an either/or scenario here. What if there was a third option?

Human cognition. You're blending lines here. Human cognition is good. Relying on it to be the sole option in which we verify truthfulness is bad.

"When I ask God to clearly reveal His nature and His absolute standard, He does not reply." The answer is in how you formed the implicit request: "God, clearly reveal yourself to me." What you deem as clear may not be what God deems to be clear. So He may have answered, and you missed it. What you should have said was this: "God, open my eyes to what you are doing and to who you are, as I want to hear from you and understand you." He won't waste His time if you really don't want to listen.

Request for my personal verification of the existence of a standard. Again, in your relativistic world, why should any other humans' verification be important to you? If everything is up to the individual, why do you care? In the context where absolutes exist without the need for human verification, you still don't need my personal perception to prove any truth exists.

The question posed, "Would you like to be sure?", might pose a different dynamic; right? In what context would an individual need to have personal asurance of something if knowledge doesn't require human verification?

You imply the system of punishment and reward is a bad one. Why do you believe this is so?

Absolute standards and detailed knowledge. I already answered this question in my last post to you, just prior to this one. Go check it out.

Bluemongoose said...

Alexis:

Very important discussion points. I'm glad you brought them up.

To fully answer your first querry, we must understand God/Yahweh's parameters. He is three in one: One God, three individuals (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). This illustrates the relational quality within God. If God was three gods, then asserting 3 would negate 1. However, the Bible tells us that b/c of the trinity dynamic, Jesus was fully God and fully man -- so He was not like us, limited by our humanity. He still retained the relational aspect of the trinity is what makes the difference.

Human sacrifice. When we look at the beginning of Deuteronomy 13, we see this is a directive in this instance, not an occasion of an actual occurance. But don't get all fired up just yet. Allow me to continue. We also see that this harsh method is only to be used for those inidividuals and towns who have been previously warned many times (b/c God is long suffering) to knock off the idolatry and refuse to do so.

Now, when we look at what was required in OT time idolatry, we can see the reason God took such a drastic approach when using corrective measures in this context. For instance, those worshipping the god Molech were frequently required to sacrifice their children. Also, the Hebrews had a tendency to be lead astray when they married into pagan families. This made God angry b/c at this time in history, the Hebrew nation was set aside and marked off as Yahweh's people.

So why would the defecting bother Him so badly? B/c He had done so many wonderful things for the Hebrews and showed them so much love. The Hebrew abandonment of Yahweh was like slapping Him in the face after all that He had done.

Look at it this way: Let's say you're a scientist and you work very hard developing a cure for AIDS. And let's say one day you discover it. Then some guy comes out of the woodworks and claims he's responsible for all the blood, sweat and tears you put into this project. Wouldn't you be a little angry? Why would you even share in the glory that is rightfully yours alone with somebody that had nothing to do with this project? Same with Yahweh and the pagan gods. Except the pagan gods don't even exist. They're just man-made pieces of wood, stone and metal that can't do anything. Would you give what you rightfully deserve over to something like that? Surely not.

Bluemongoose said...

Gandolf:

Things of great importance left up to the individual. I will only give five, for the sake of brevity.

1) Abortion
2) Sexuality
3) Marijuana use
4) Banning of certain books in public schools and libraries
5) Prostitution

The wrong light. Notice how you prefaced your statement with "I think", indicating: 1) This is your personal perception. And if everything is relative, why should your interpretation matter to anyone but you? 2) You've declared yourself as some type of moral compass by which we should build the foundations of morality on. Why is it you are the one who holds the answers to what is right and wrong?

Objective morals. You argue this point from the angle that objectivity only resides within human knowledge. But if every human's opinion is subjective, how can we derive objectivity form this arena?

Deceit. You are blending lines here. I never said individualism was bad. I merely stated relativism will usher in anarchy. The issues are separate and apart.

2nd paragraph on deceit. Again, by saying, "I suggest", you are implying this is all your interpretation. To which I will reply, Who made you the universal moral standard by which everyone else is to apply their lives accordingly?

Mistakes. Your perception.

"Blah, blah, blah". Obviously not a good enough counterargument. You need follow-up. Show me why what you've stated is so. Merely making a declarative statement is not enough to prove what you assert is true.

Numbers. Ah, the old multitude of voices echoing the same thing makes it so. To that I will reply: Spontaneous generation used to be agreed upon as valid science by many intellectuals. Did this make it correct?

Alexis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexis said...

Blue:

You wrote:
"Jesus was fully God and fully man -- so He was not like us, limited by our humanity. He still retained the relational aspect of the trinity is what makes the difference."

If he was fully human then the cross was really a HUMAN sacrifice.
Saying he was divine (a thing all christians have never been in agreement with) does not change that fact. YWHW was no different from the aztecs then.

So why would the defecting bother Him so badly? B/c He had done so many wonderful things for the Hebrews and showed them so much love. The Hebrew abandonment of Yahweh was like slapping Him in the face after all that He had done.

Funny how that statement sounds so much like a thing a man that beats his wife would say.

Love me or I'll beat the crap out of you.

Wouldn't you be a little angry?

Why? Doesn't your god know the future? Why would he be angry?

Why would you even share in the glory that is rightfully yours alone with somebody that had nothing to do with this project?

Is your god like a scientists that craves glory and attention? Does this mean your god has needs?

Same with Yahweh and the pagan gods. Except the pagan gods don't even exist.

Then why kill people on a genocidal level for something that does not even exist?

They're just man-made pieces of wood, stone and metal that can't do anything.

Then what is the point?

Would you give what you rightfully deserve over to something like that?

Do you really think that the god of the bible deserves praise nor glory?.

(Anyway, what do you do with "praise and glory" other than fapping your own ego? It makes no sense. Why would a god have need for them?)

Scott said...

"I could construe..." You keep arguming from the vantage point that truth requires human understanding/rationalization for it to be true.

No, I'm questioning how you discern what you perceive as truth from what is truth.

Relativism and newspapers. It just illustrates that this is not the angle I was arguing from and that you were confused about which direction I was coming from. No big deal. We don't have to disagree on everything.

I'm NOT confused about your approach. I'm noting how transparent it is.

"God does reveal Himself." Your statements here are still wrapped up in the human verification conundrum.

Repeating a position you cannot support does not add support to your position.

Clearly a non-sequitur Are you stating that within your finite knowledge, there is absolutely no way the infinite exists or is actively involved in the universe?

Did you actually read what I wrote? That was not my claim. Please re-read my response.

Asserting the existence of absolutes implies a lot of things.

Asserting that the moon is made of green cheese also implies "lots of things", however, this does not mean any of these implications are actually true.

And you ignored my question again.

Scott said...

Bluemongoose wrote: Dilemmas. ...

How you "argue" has nothing to do with if my summary is an accurate representation of your arguent. Should I assume it's correct?

Robots. You present an either/or scenario here. What if there was a third option?

Blue, does your "absolute knowledge" of God solve these "problems" you keep reminding us of or not? If not, what problems do they solve?

Relying on it to be the sole option in which we verify truthfulness is bad.

Again, you point out a problem but do not provide a solution. What other options are they and why do you think they are immune from the problem of human cognition?

What you deem as clear may not be what God deems to be clear.

Nor may what you deem clear be what God deems clear, should he exist. That's because, when people ask, they get different replies or no replies at all. Nor am I the only variable here. This includes over one billion non-theists and billions of Hindus, Muslims, Jews and even other Christians.

So He may have answered, and you missed it. What you should have said was this: "God, open my eyes to what you are doing and to who you are, as I want to hear from you and understand you."

What part of when I ask for God to clearly reveal his nature and his absolute standard, he does not reply. wasn't clear? Or do I need to use these exact words, or God won't reply?

He won't waste His time if you really don't want to listen.

And by listen, you mean believe God exists? As in, I won't believe that God is speaking to me unless I believe God is speaking to me?

Again, in your relativistic world, why should any other humans' verification be important to you? If everything is up to the individual, why do you care?

First, Unless you exist in some alternate reality, we both live in the same "world."
Should I wish a divine "ultimate knowledge" to exist, this in no way changes reality. Nor would my desire to know it magically make me aware of it in detail, should it actually exist.

Second, like Lee, I make a living at solving problems. Given a myriad of options, I need to reach relatively accurate conclusions about how to efficiently build and diagnose complex systems. it's clear that there are processes that improve our ability to know more about reality and factors that deceive us.

In other words, I'm interesting in getting closer to the truth, not merely content with asserting it.

In the context where absolutes exist without the need for human verification, you still don't need my personal perception to prove any truth exists

Again, the existence of a factual state of affairs in no way requires God to exist, or that you have knowledge of such a state of affairs in detail.

In what context would an individual need to have personal asurance of something if knowledge doesn't require human verification?

Why should we think such context exists? Because you want it to?

You imply the system of punishment and reward is a bad one. Why do you believe this is so?

No, I'm pointing out an inconstancy with your argument. Is this a solution or a problem? Because it appears to be merely a tactic. Please make up your mind.

I already answered this question in my last post to you, just prior to this one. Go check it out.

No answer. Just looked. For your convenience....

Could it be that you assert...

- An absolute standard created / defined by God exists
- You have detailed knowledge of this absolute standard

Because doing so implies you will be eternally rewarded? And you want to be eternally rewarded?


Here's a hit, instead of repeating how "bad" lack of an God given absolute standard is, tell me why you think it actually exists in reality.

Instead of asserting that you have detailed knowledge of said standard, tell me how you've discerned between your version of this standard and the claims of different absolute standards presented by others, including Calvinists and Universalists?

Lee Randolph said...

go get 'em scott!

Gandolf said...

Eric said..."1. You're in a room with a number of other people. How do you know which body is yours?"

A quick slap on the face usually gives quite a good indication,when this type of evidence is really needed.

Gandolf said...

Bluemongoose said..." Gandolf:

Things of great importance left up to the individual. I will only give five, for the sake of brevity.

1) Abortion
2) Sexuality
3) Marijuana use
4) Banning of certain books in public schools and libraries
5) Prostitution"

Blue please provide information for proof that where you live all these things are actually left entirely up to the decisions of the (individual).

1,Where i live matters of abortion are decided on by many more than just one person.

2,Matters of sexuality etc are also even effected to a certain extent by the thoughts and acceptance of the group rather than just that of only the individual.

2,Matters of legal rights of marijuana use is most definitely not the decision of the individual.And as far as i know even in some countries where these decisions have been left for some individual choice,this right of choice is still decided on by the group not just by any singular individual.

Mostly the same goes for 4 & 5 as well.Groups decide of laws regarding books and prostitution etc!.

You said"The wrong light. Notice how you prefaced your statement with "I think", indicating: 1) This is your personal perception"

Hold on a wee minute Wally.Of course im saying "i think" ,because thats exactly whats happening.Why would i ever be trying to suggest my thoughts are anything more than mine?,unless im bloody deluded or something.

Your point is???.

I suggest your problem is you just cant get your head around the fact that a (combination of people thoughts) could lead us to laws and morals etc that we do end up with as a group/tribe/country.

Why bring it up??, did i say my thoughts or even any other single persons thoughts need have any other importance than just being only the thought of that singular person?.

You get all caught up in a big fluff and once again without really thinking you say"You've declared yourself as some type of moral compass by which we should build the foundations of morality on. Why is it you are the one who holds the answers to what is right and wrong?"

Where have i declared this my deceitful friend?....Where have i stated any singular person in this world or their thoughts etc has need to be of any great importance to very important decisions we humans end up making as a group.

With words and bullshit i suggest you are blatantly trying to weasel what i have been saying around,to try and make it look like im arguing from a point of individual decisions.

Why??.

Because then your point of such great danger without absolutes etc, might have a small chance of seeming to add up to some real evidence.

You can fool some folks some of the times Blue,but you cant always fool everyone.And when you do try to,who ends up the actual fool?.

Dont try bullshitting by trying to suggest im suggesting individual thinking always needs to be thought of by other folks as of any great importance.

Yes it might have some importance as being another singular opinion or maybe not,but specially with important matters that do end up effecting us all we humans most often end up using the thoughts and decisions of the group to decide.