Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tapolski, Dogs, Humans & Facts vs Faith

Dog Gone and I have been debating Science and Beliefs lately.  It started with his lively critique of Katherine Kersten and her opinion piece: Put People Before Dogs. (opinion piece comments are interesting)  She discusses a study where some folks would save a dog before saving a human.  (NR Dennis Prager's Article)

Now Dog has clarified his thoughts regarding Science, Facts, Faith and Belief in
MPP Faith is Insufficient, Frequently Wrong, and Sometimes Bad.  And since I and apparently others are intermittently blocked over there by system challenges, you get to hear my thoughts and questions...  (you're welcome or sorry)

In summary, it seems that Dog thinks that pretty much everything can resolved by the use of facts and a common ethics system.  Whereas I contend that there are a lot of gray areas where this won't work because some things simply have not been proven conclusively and there are many different philosophy systems out there.  Here is what I was going to respond to Dog's latest comments:
  1. Souls, God, Heaven and Hell are neither proven nor not. How do you handle them?
  2. Gay gene is just my short hand for they have no choice. Even my most Liberal readers can not provide a "root cause" for where people land on the gay to straight spectrum. (ie a medical test) Apparently the facts are not conclusively there to prove it is not a choice.
  3. I believe climate change is occurring and some of it is man made. What no one knows is what the severity will be. Therefore how much of our disposable income should we spend to change? Is it worth disrupting the status quo with huge costly changes, or do we keep improving slowly but surely?
  4. It sounds like you want to toss out some of the important parts of the Bible. And I agree that Genesis does seem a bit fantastic even for me. Since you say you are not an Atheist, what "faith" do you have? Remember that faith is to believe in something that can not be proven.
  5. Who is we? And which ethics system are you referring to? Since before Socrates humans have been arguing philosophy, ethics, etc. I have to hear the wisdom of “Dog Gone”.
Now my long time readers know that I love my English Springer Spaniel dearly.  Cassie is in fact laying next to me as I write this and she is 8.5 years old.  However maybe based on my farming background, I know that she is a dog with a very limited life span.  Given the choice between saving her or a human, I think I'll be in the market for a new puppy.
Thoughts on any of the many topics covered here?


jerrye92002 said...

Hmmm. Too many "examples" of the conflict you cite, but I believe my "decision engine" is a better model. That is, I take as a FACT all of the actual facts I can round up, and add to it the FACT that humans have an emotional and ethical component to their decision-making process. The only "gray areas" then are the result of these "soft facts" being at odds with the hard facts, or within themselves (based on whose emotions and ethics are being considered). What I find too often is that the the soft facts of individuals cause them to ignore the soft facts of others, or even the hard facts.

Laurie said...

I am pretty sure my reaction would be to save a person over my dog. I know for sure I would save a child.

I am not sure how to respond to the rest of your post. About religion my faith is life is more mysterious than can be explained by science. I think that there is a higher power or greater order that quantum physics touches upon. (I really don't know anything about quantum physics.)

About a soul I think there may be part of us that exists after death. I read one book this summer that said our experience of heaven may be based on our expectations during life. What we imagine is what we experience. I am also intrigued by the idea of reincarnation.

John said...

This is one of my favorite songs regarding religion and doubt.
XTC Dear God Video

I just wish Dog would join us here and explain this "ideal ethics system". Since I can't play there, he could come play at my house. Besides my curiosity is killing me.

What puzzles me most is the concept of "FAITH' and where it fits in Dog's philosophy. The idea of believing in something that can't be proven is pretty challenging for an analytical engineer like myself.

Yet I agree with Laurie that humans are more than just some random evolutionary outcome. With this in mind, I draw a clear line between humans and animals.

If the Hindus are correct and the Christians are wrong, I'll probably be reincarnated as a deer to pay for my past sins against Bambi.

John said...

Here is an interesting link.
Wiki Religious Populations and Locations

So many people with so many different beliefs. Could there be one GOD for all these folks? Did we all just interpret the message differently over the generations?

Imagine a very long and complicated child's game of telegraph. With about 50 different strings passing along a common message. What would the 50 different outcomes be?

John said...

A good time to visit my crazy idea.
G2A God works in Mysterious Ways

jerrye92002 said...

Here's another distinction you may have missed: Religion and charity are voluntary. Taxes are not. Which use of one's personal wealth is better for one's soul, if you believe in such? Or if you don't?

John said...

I agree, "Forcefully Take and Redistribute to Attain" just doesn't have the same positive ring as "Give to Attain"...

And I am pretty sure the latter is much better for humans on both the giving and the receiving ends...

jerrye92002 said...

Perhaps our ongoing battle is more simply defined as between those who believe that we are "endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights" and those who believe that right and wrong are defined by me, for me, and by me, for everybody else, with the two definitions not normally equal.

John said...

Dog replied on MPP, wondering where in my training I was taught to ignore facts. My comment failed so here it is.

No where was I taught to ignore facts. I am a nerdy analytical engineer and 6 sigma black belt, I live for facts, data, logic and analysis.

John said...

The challenge is that many people want to create or use theories, and call them facts.

Dog believes to be human is to have brain activity. This is not a fact, it is an opinion/belief.

Just as my belief that a beating heart is the key to being human is an opinion/belief.

And for others it is conception.

FYI... The heart is the primary electrical power source in the human body, not the brain.

John said...

Now gravity is a repeatable and calcuable fact. To deny it would be foolish indeed, unless you want to die.

John said...

So is this a fact like gravity, an opinion/belief or somewhere in between?

"Same sex parents ARE every bit as much the mother or father of their children as adoptive heterosexual couples. In many cases, the same sex parents are raising their own biological children.

There are nearly a 100 studies done in the past decade on number of parents and comparing heterosexual and homosexual parents; they show no indication mom and dad are better for children than same sex parents.

EVERY study cited by those opposed to same-sex marriage has been discredited through the academic peer review process, while the studies finding differently have been accepted, THAT is the difference between a belief, an opinion or prejudice, from fact.

EVERY study cited by the conservative and religious opponents to same sex marriage has been funded by a special interest group in order to contort data to support their predetermined conclusion against same sex people. That is what is called junk science; and sadly we see a lot of it from the right on a range of subjects. But if you are willing to accept factually inaccurate pseudo-studies to support your belief, without honestly determining if it is fact based — that too is hateful and bigotry." Dog Gone

Original source
MPP Marriage Equality Passes

My belief is that there is a lot more "opinion and belief" in the statements above than hard cold fact. Of course Dog would deny this.

John said...

I mean even the statement implies beliefs and opinions.

"Same sex parents ARE every bit as much the mother or father of their children as adoptive heterosexual couples."

What "mother and father" means to everyone is different... If someone believes it is critical that a teen age boy have a "Father" to discuss the birds and bees with them from the male perspective. It is going to be real hard for 2 women to fill that role.

Whereas if you believe loving and nurturing is all that matters, you may have another result.

I personally do not know if M/W, W/W or M/M parents are better or worse for children. However I do think that anyone that tries to say they are factually certain as to the impact is taking a leap of faith and not relying on hard fact.

Definitely not like gravity or the boiling point of pure water at STP.

John said...

Also, did you note Dog compared same sex to "adoptive" heterosexual couples. Something important there?

jerrye92002 said...

Yes, something important here. The fact is that homosexual unions do not produce children-- it is simply "natural law" that two-parent families have more interest in their genetic offspring than unrelated groupings. Of course, the gay lobby is all about ignoring natural law. Remember all the research about the "gay gene"? Utter and complete nonsense, masquerading as science and, according to Dog, therefore established fact. Heck, by that logic, global warming is a "fact," even though the facts say otherwise.

jerrye92002 said...

"And if I call a tail a leg, how many legs would that calf have?”

And the answer came back: “He’d have five.”

Abraham Lincoln slammed down his hand on the jury box and roared “No! He’d still have four.

Just because you call a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

John said...

I think Dog and yourself could have interesting discussion arguing who's facts were the "real facts".

jerrye92002 said...

Not going to happen (debating Dog). I've learned not to try to reason people out of positions that they didn't reason themselves into in the first place, and I only debate liberals (for fun) until they reduce themselves to sputtering incoherency or insults. It doesn't often take very long.

Laurie has complained that nobody in these discussions ever changes their mind. Over many years, I have accepted that as "fact" (pardon my use of that questionable term) and have made my peace with it. I have learned that these discussions inevitably turn out in one of the following ways:
1) Sometimes the debate just stops. People get tired, or exhaust what they have to say on the subject. That's too bad, but hey, it's not like we're being paid to solve these puzzles.
2) If the debate goes on long enough between two conservatives, they eventually find they are saying the same thing but in two different ways, or arriving at the same conclusion by two different routes of reasoning.
3) If the debate goes on long enough between a conservative and a "thinking liberal" (a rare situation, granted) they will end up disagreeing about which of the facts-- real facts-- are relevant in the discussion, and draw different conclusions (often correct) based on the facts chosen. This is the "irreconcilable differences" situation.
4) If the argument (not a debate, usually) between a conservative and a modern liberal goes very long, the liberal will either: 1) change the subject, 2) engage in some sort of "tu quoque" argument, 3) disdainfully dismiss opposing facts and reasoning, 4) simply repeat the initial liberal statement as unquestionable fact, 5) resort to ad hominem attacks, or 6) simply leave the discussion. It doesn't usually take very long, and often these tactics (except #6, of course) co-exist in the same post. I used to play a little game, to see how long it would take, but it does become tiresome. Sort of like the Packers playing St. Catherine's.

Laurie, just to be clear: YOU are one of the rare ones. And thank you.

John said...

How do you know you're not the one "disdainfully dismissing opposing facts and reasoning"?

Or doing any of the other 5 things?

I am sure Mr Holt thought I was arbitrarily dismissing his global warming facts.

jerrye92002 said...

"How do you know..."

The litmus test for ad hominem and tu quoque are the words "you" and "your." I try strenuously to avoid them unless I am clearly (and respectfully) addressing their specific argument, and not name-calling. And nobody has called me on either in a long time.

As for dismissing other arguments, I don't believe I do that, either, except when I have other facts that I "prefer." And I do it by presenting those facts and suggesting (albeit bluntly) their superiority.

I'm often the last to leave a topic-- on this board at least-- and frequently try to direct the conversation back to the original question if I feel it hasn't been fully explored. If the conversation is taking an interesting tangent, fine; I'll play along.

The only one I may have trouble with is dismissing others' reasoning. I say I do not lightly tolerate fools, and rampant illogic sometimes gets a snarky response from me. Sorry.

John said...

I agree you do very well at disagreeing and discussing professionally and politely.

However Dog made this very rational statement and I am pretty sure he truly believes he is being "unbiased", "fact based", "rational", "correct", etc.

"I respect the prevailing thoughts of those who know the most on the topics in question. Not all opinions are equal.

And not everything represented as fact is factual, if it is first strained through prejudice." Dog Gone MPP Faith

I simply find it fascinating how so many people can be adamant that they and their beliefs are absolutely positively correct / factual, while a large group of people are totally sure of something totally different.

We humans are fascinating in so many ways. Is it arrogance or something else?

jerrye92002 said...

"I respect the prevailing thoughts of those who know the most on the topics in question. Not all opinions are equal. And not everything represented as fact is factual, if it is first strained through prejudice." Dog Gone

Typical addled thinking by a liberal (and I want to add "wacko" to that, but comity forbids). Facts are facts are facts, and the only "filtering" that takes place is when one's worldview makes some facts more relevant to the subject at hand than others. They are still facts, although the relevance of individual facts is still an opinion. [Note: in my logic, that worldview/opinion is ALSO a "fact" that must be considered before setting policy. Usually that means educating some liberal doofus.]

As for opinions, everybody is entitled to one, but those based on facts and solid reasoning are better than those that are not, and I do not need to be an "expert" to think things through in that fashion, and have that opinion (properly called a conclusion from the evidence) respected accordingly.

I still contend that one cannot reconcile most modern liberal policy positions with logic based on facts and reality. They hold their positions/opinions based on a quick emotional response or "talking points" they have absorbed elsewhere, rather than a logical process based on a realistic fact assessment. Feel free to prove my general (no offense intended) assumption is wrong.

jerrye92002 said...

Let me put that another way: I generally find liberal arguments to be factless or even reality-denying, and their logic flawed if employed at all. I would dismiss any "opinions" derived from such thinking, but most liberals simply state those opinions as fact, and above all challenge. Granted, I often state my opinion as fact, too, to save time and words, but to me my opinion IS a fact, in the same way I know I exist, so...

John said...

I am going to conduct a test this weekend. 3+ MPP posts are reporting that Obama Care is working excellent and saving money... And that the Conservatives are lying to discredit an excellent program... Because they are jealous that it wasn't their idea...

I am planning to post on it and try to identify the good, bad or ugly "TRUTH". Besides Dog is challenging me to find a "FACT" that he is incorrect about. And this may a good, timely and related issue worth a little research. Much more Black and White than when a cells become a human...

More later...

jerrye92002 said...

Just a point to consider. The evidence may not be as "hard" as you like. There is ample /inductive/ evidence (examples) that we can combine into a /deductive/ conclusion. Liberals will quote other facts and deny any other reality. Your facts are lies; my facts are the unassailable truth.