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Belief is not a choice

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Blindwatchmaker, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    Nope.

    No you can't.
     
  2. Kenny'sID

    Kenny'sID Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The end.
     
  3. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    If you think you can, then begin believing the Earth is made of chocolate now.
    I'll wait...

    The reason you can't is that your brain processes the facts you know about that subject and automatically synthesises them into a compound cognitive structure we call a belief.

    You know there's a whole field of science called cognitive neuroscience in which people have spent decades understanding this stuff, more recently with the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging.

    But obviously, they are all wrong and you are right.
     
  4. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    I wonder.

    Are these neuroscientists you're referring to Philosophical Naturalists or, instead, Methodological Naturalists?
     
  5. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    That's actually a non sequitur in this case.
    The fields of neuroscience and psychology are evidence-based and adhere to accepted standards of academic scrutiny.

    If you have cancer and get referred to an oncologist, do you ask them if they're a methodological naturalist before taking advice on treatment?

    I was expecting the discussion to focus more on parsing the ethical implications of God's judgement for beliefs rather than on questioning the idea that we choose our beliefs when it's so obviously true.

    If you doubt it, I would give you the same challenge:
    Begin believing now that you are Spiderman or that Washington DC is on the border with Mexico.
    Alternatively, think of a family member you love. Now believe that they are NOT in your family.
    I don't mean just think about it and imagine it. I mean hold it to be a TRUE accurate belief.

    The reason you can't is that you can't un-know the things you know.
    That feeling of being unable to do so is what I'm referring to.
     
  6. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    Incidentally, my wife is a PhD neuro-psychologist. Her field of expertise is a little more specific than this (her specialism is more to do with how cognition changes after brain injuries).

    When I asked her about this, she said given our understanding of how brains operate (backed up by imaging studies) it's ridiculous to think we choose our beliefs. We have some volition about how we choose to engage with our beliefs but that's actually more to do with behaviour than our assessment of whether propositions are true or not.
     
  7. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    It's definitely not a non-sequitur. Because whether you think your beliefs are voluntary or involuntary, the imaging done by neuorscientists won't come to bear upon the epistemic nature of Christian belief.

    So, my dear Watson, if there's any non-sequitur being applied here, it is by you.

    Moreover, your whole conceptual methodology of inquiry involving the creation of random, essentially already incredible notions for analogizing the nature of 'belief' is highly questionable.

    Are you applying science here, or just shooting the breeze with your own stab at philosophy ... ?

    Have you ever studied the field of the Philosophy of Science along with its side discipline known as the Nature of Science?
     
  8. Clizby WampusCat

    Clizby WampusCat Well-Known Member

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    You can explain this better than I can, thanks for your insight. I am amazed that theists push back on this, it seems obvious when you try to believe something is true that you know is false. Such as I cannot believe my wife's name is Dora no matter how I try. I don't get how they think they can believe things like this.
     
  9. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    And that's the trick in the semantics, isn't it?
     
  10. Clizby WampusCat

    Clizby WampusCat Well-Known Member

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    No, it is not semantics. It is pretty straightforward and simple. Can you believe something to be true if you are convinced it is false? Yes or no. This is all I am asking.
     
  11. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    It's really NOT semantics.
    I'm making a simple claim and am using reductio ad absurdum to prove a general point.
    This is a valid dialectical response to the idea that we can choose our beliefs.

    You can call it semantics all you want.
    But you are still incapable of believing that you're a llama.
     
  12. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    That's not what you said above. You've now equivocated, and I'm just going to be THE ONE who calls you out on it. Allow me to compare your statements:

    Previously above, you said, [and I quote]: "I am amazed that theists push back on this, it seems obvious when you try to believe something is true that you know is false"

    VS.

    The oh-so "straightforward" question of: "Can you believe something to be true if you are convinced is false?"
    Knowing Being convinced
    (these are two different, even if related, states of thought)

    Moreover, the nature of any one singular human belief doesn't sit within some kind of vacuum, packed away from the ravages of Space and Time (and the ongoing processess of Human Learning) within our reality.

    So, the thesis of this whole OP thread is essentially an incoherent assertion.
     
  13. Clizby WampusCat

    Clizby WampusCat Well-Known Member

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    No, they are the same thing. When people use everyday language "within our reality", we say we know something when we are convinced it is true. More obfuscation, will you answer the question? Either one of them?
     
  14. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    You're skirting the issue, and if there's one thing I stay away from is skirts, especially of thinking of myself as a skirted llama.
     
  15. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    You're not even supposed to be here, Clizby.
     
  16. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    The assertion is NOT incoherent at all.
    Clizby was using being convinced as a colloqualism for knowledge (as there is very little other than analytical truths that we can KNOW for sure.)

    Now who's playing semantics?
     
  17. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    Are the neuroscientists using a colloqual definition for belief or knowledge when they construct their experimental tests? (You did at least skim through those articles I left above, right? You expected me to do the same for you, right?)
     
  18. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    You can dance around the issue all you like, but you are putting yourself in the unenviable position of trying to defend the rather silly idea that one can decide to be convinced of something.

    It's simply not how human minds operate.
    Wanting it to be different doesn't make it so.
    Why is Clizby not allowed to contribute to the conversation?
    His statements have been helpful and constructive.
     
  19. Blindwatchmaker

    Blindwatchmaker Member

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    They are using the definition:

    Belief: The acceptance that an idea or proposition is true, ie. that it comports with reality.
     
  20. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    I'm surprised you don't seem to be aware of 'why' he shouldn't be here. Or maybe I'm not surprised by it.
     
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