Nothing is Certain | Some Truths are More Reasonable than Others | We Should Continually be Looking to Improve what we Believe to be Reality | Faith and Belief
Reminder on taking tests: It’s not about trying to prove you already know it, it’s about learning.
“The more strongly someone asserts something they believe to be true, the more confidence we can have that it is indeed true.”
Is this statement generally True or generally False?
Generally False. People’s beliefs are rarely arrived at through a careful weighing up of all the facts, and actively seeking out new facts. People’s beliefs are frequently a result of their particular circumstances and environment; and how vigorously they insist on the truth of what they believe is very largely driven by their particular personality.
There are three criteria which underpin whether or not a given truth can be considered reasonable. The first is that the truth should be consistent with what we take to be known facts. What are the other two?
The ‘truth’ must, at least in principle, be capable of being proven false.
The ‘truth’ should be the most general and most simple consistent with the other two criteria.
In looking to test whether a given hypothesis is true, or at least ‘reasonable’, which of the following approaches is likely to be most reliable?
a. Go looking for examples of when the hypothesis is true.
b. Go looking for examples of when the hypothesis is false.
(b) is by far, in most circumstances, the best approach. Finding examples of the hypothesis being true does not help you very much since there may be many examples of when it is true without it being true in general. However you only need find one example of it being false to disprove the hypothesis. If you make a genuine attempt to find examples of when it is false, and don’t find any, you haven’t proven it is true, but generally it does then become a reasonable thing to believe.
What people believe to be true is rarely the result of logical and rational thinking. Which of the following is a common basis for what people believe:
a. What they would like to be true.
b. What it is convenient for them to be true.
c. What they have always believed without question.
d. What someone they respect tells them is true.
e. Some intense personal experience.
[List out one or more of a – e]
Any and all of them.
People become convinced in the truth of their own beliefs because the evidence consistently supports them in their view. Why is it that the evidence seems to be so consistent with their beliefs?
People only notice the evidence that supports their hypothesis. They tend to subject themselves only to information which is consistent with their existing beliefs and avoid circumstances where they might be exposed to alternative views. They reject information that might contradict their existing beliefs, considering it unreliable or false.
Complete the following phrases:
a. It is better to know a little about things that are important than … .
b. Only the ignorant … .
c. Sometimes friendship is worth more than … .
d. In simplistic terms, a truth remains true as long as it is the best to be had; it becomes false … .
a. It is better to know a little about things that are important than to know a lot about things that are unimportant.
b. Only the ignorant have no doubts.
c. Sometimes friendship is worth more than being proven right.
d. In simplistic terms, a truth remains true as long as it is the best to be had; it becomes false as soon as it can be bettered.
If someone talks of having witnessed a miracle, which is more likely
a. the occurrence of the miracle
b. the person having been mistaken or exaggerating or lying.