July 9, 2017

"We shouldn’t use the word 'believe'... I feel like when you know the science, you know where you stand, and that’s a good thing."

So... should we use the words "feel like" and adopt expressions that "feel like... a good thing"?

The quote — which I consider ridiculous — is from Paul Hawken, "an environmentalist, entrepreneur, writer, and founder of natural foods pioneer Erewhon Trading Company," interviewed in Salon. He's obviously not a climatologist, so he doesn't do the science himself. He just feels like it's a good thing to know where you stand, and that's a basis for persuading us not to use the rhetoric of belief when we align with what the human beings in the field of climatology tell us they have come to know using what they say are proper scientific methods.

Hawken continues, and notice how he continues to rely on the locution "feel like":
I feel like the communication of the science has been very much about fear — about threat and gloom and doom.... And I feel like fear is not a good way to act in the world — out of fear — and it always redounds against you and others. 
He doesn't like the use of "believe," but how is his "feel like" different? "Feel like" isn't scientific, especially as he uses it attached to feelings. He feels like fear is not a good way to act in the world. Saying "feel like" isn't demonstrating a strict adherence to objectivity and evidence. Rejecting fear and choosing a good way to act in the world isn't about the search for scientific truth. It's moral philosophy.

"Believe" is about accepting what other people (or supernatural voices) are telling you, and "feel like" is about listening to your own emotions. Obviously, we listen to others (and give them varying degrees of credence) and we also experience our feelings. There's no way to avoid some combination of believing and feeling. Who among us is doing his own scientific research on climate change?

But, of course, there's room to advise people about which words they ought to use, and that's all Hawken is doing, and his feeling is that talking about belief is less helpful in getting people to believe what he feels they should believe. He'd like to substitute talk of knowing.

Religious believers also substitute talk of knowing. You might ask a religious believer "Do you believe there is a God?" and get the answer "I don't believe there is a God. I know there is a God." Do they know or do they feel like it's a good thing to know where they stand?

98 comments:

rhhardin said...

Believing is a token in an account, not something you actively do in the present.

In shortest form, Wittgenstein:

575. When I sat down on this chair, of course I believed it would bear me. I had no thought of its possibly collapsing.

Ann Althouse said...

A chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sittin' there.

Laslo Spatula said...

I believe he believes he knows.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

Erewhon Trading Company

Surely Erehwon. Not checking, just guessing.

madAsHell said...

I'll guess that he has started hormone treatments for the gender transition.

traditionalguy said...

The Science of Eugenics feels so
Right to murderers looking for reasons.

The Great CO2 Hoax is just the latest Marxist reason for mass murder .

Unknown said...

When I was an undergrad I took a quiz in one of my physics labs, and one question was "Do you believe in quantum mechanics?" The TA made the point that the theory wasn't something to believe in, but something that had value as a tool.

Laslo Spatula said...

I believe we are we gonna fly down in the easy chair.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

Did you read the Cavell chair exposition? That there are borderline cases and if you know what a chair is, you will know that it's borderline. An example of the right ignorance showing that you know the word.

Chair

traditionalguy said...

Insert Nicean Creed here.

Chuck said...

Brava Althouse.

The Godfather said...

I HATE that locution "I feel like"! Even if this guy were making sense I wouldn't listen to him because he talks like that.

He doesn't want you to say you "believe" in global warming, he wants you to say you "know" it's true. Like the Roman Church wanted Galileo to say that he "knew" that the Sun revolved around a motionless Earth. Really scientific fellow!

tcrosse said...

I believe in Epistemology.

The Godfather said...

By the way, it is Erewhon, from the book by Samuel Butler (undoubtedly available at Amazon through the Althouse portal).

rhhardin said...

Immanentize the truncheon.

Ann Althouse said...

"Erewhon: or, Over the Range /ɛ.rɛ.hwɒn/[1] is a novel by Samuel Butler which was first published anonymously in 1872.[2] The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed where Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country. Butler meant the title to be read as "nowhere" backwards even though the letters "h" and "w" are transposed, as it would have been pronounced in his day (and still is in some dialects of English). The book is a satire on Victorian society."

Wikipedia

rhhardin said...

Erewhon would be a Chinese violin.

Ann Althouse said...

rh moves the target.

rhhardin said...

H is pronounced before W in wh everywhere, if the H is pronounced at all, not just some dialects.

Mark said...

The distinction between belief and knowledge is sometimes a fine one.

Does any of us know we exist? Or do we simply believe that we do? Do we exist as a physical, tangible reality? Or do we exist merely as an idea, a thought? Is our world as we see it or are we living in the Matrix?

Often, knowledge comes down to something like a jury's weighing of the evidence -- is it more likely than not? Is there any reasonable doubt? But even then knowledge is nothing more than a firm belief.

But whether it is science or God -- or whether it is science AND God, the two are not necessarily in opposition, but are instead in harmony -- it should always be a rational conclusion as to what is believed or thought to be known.

john said...

"I feel..." is an expression predominantly if not distinctly feminine.

Kevin said...

Beliefs can be challenged and defended. Feelings are your own and are not subject to challenge, even by yourself.

This is an attempt to move climate change out of the realm of public debate. It is a tacit admission they have to move it out of the realm of facts and data if they're going to make any further progress.

Laslo Spatula said...

This subject seems to want the word 'dialectic' to be used.

I am Laslo.

Paco Wové said...

As rhhardin points out, the sentence "Butler meant the title to be read as "nowhere" backwards even though the letters "h" and "w" are transposed, as it would have been pronounced in his day (and still is in some dialects of English)" is largely nonsensical. What is that "it" in the last clause referring to? Effing Wikipedia.

Mark said...

The Christian faith is necessarily a reasonable faith -- after all, it is grounded in the Logos, who is Reason itself (himself). So it is not -- or should not be -- a blind, unthinking faith.

Likewise, the scientific method itself is inherently skeptical. It never claims to "know" anything, but always insists on putting things to the test. Of course, what I mean is true science, authentic science, and not what we have today, which is politics and ideology in the guise of science.

Even without the politicization of science, still there is always the potential for what is "known" to be proven completely wrong. A century ago a patent clerk overturned centuries of what was "known" under Newtonian physics.

David Begley said...

Hawken, "People who listen to me are very involved with climate, and I’ll ask them, “How many people here don’t believe in global warming and climate science, raise your hand?” And nobody will raise their hand. And what I say is you all should have raised your hand, because science is not a belief system, it’s evidentiary."

Hawken is trying to emphasize the whole appeal to authority rhetoric of the CAGW scam. 97%. Science!

Global warming is a prediction about events in the distance future based upon faulty models and corrupted data. Science my ass.

Latest news is that all of the so-called warming can be attributed to adjustments to the data made by the grant-seeking "scientists."

And how about his little editing fallacy? Of course the audiences he speaks to are all true believers. If Althouse ran a poll about global warming here, I doubt even 20% would be believers.

Trump's best accomplishment so far is pulling us out of the Paris Agreement that Obama refused to submit to the Senate as a treaty. Trillions saved!

J Melcher said...

Belief can affect not only your own actions, but the actions of others. For instance, if you believe really hard -- I mean, to be specific, by closing your eyes and clapping your hands and BELIEVING, really really HARD -- you can un-poison Tinkerbell and let Peter Pan fly to the rescue of Wendy from Captain Hook. If you don't believe hard enough, Tinkerbell dies, Peter mourns, Wendy walks the plank, and the story is unhappily over.

If you believe in climate change -- really really HARD, closing your mind to the skeptics and clapping your hands for the speeches at the rally -- you can un-besmirch Michael Mann's reputation for inverting proxy data, cherry picking from pine trees, and splicing trend lines to noise graphs; then let windmills bloom and solar panels cover every cow pasture and corn field in flyover country; and rescue the polar bears and tree frogs and coral from sadness and deprivation. If you don't believe, you dare risk an unhappy life for your grandchildren.

I don't feel the need to believe that hard.

Original Mike said...

I believe I'll have another cup of coffee.

John Cunningham said...

I look forward to a glorious lefty utopia where every good Party member lives on kale and tofu and where the power system is fueled by unicorn farts.

Howard said...

There is no such thing as "science". There is the scientific method which only seeks to disprove, not prove anything. The purpose of the scientific method is to make useful predictions. Therefore, belief in conclusions based on the scientific method is a feeling that you might know the truth or a partial or a fleeting transient truth about an animal, vegetable or mineral.

Mark said...

Meanwhile, trusting what has been handed down to us by others through the ages is not an inferior basis for knowledge.

Do you KNOW that George Washington was the first president? You do? How do you know that? Prove it. Were you there to personally witness him being president? For that matter, did George Washington really ever exist?

All we have to go on for our "knowledge" of Washington is what other people have said about him.

Michael K said...

I think almost everyone by now knows global; warming is a religion.

Even the people who believe in it. They will use appeals to authority but so do members of other religions.

Then there are those living off it.

Howard said...

Seeing is believing, knowing requires faith.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Religious believers also substitute talk of knowing. You might ask a religious believer "Do you believe there is a God?" and get the answer "I don't believe there is a God. I know there is a God." Do they know or do they feel like it's a good thing to know where they stand?

This more or less relates to the issues in the previous post comments about Trump/Jesus.

As a person who was raised Catholic and who now is not especially religious, in that I don't go to church the believing/feeling/knowing issue is relevant. I am not anti religion or anti God. Certainly not an atheist. I can probably be more described as Agnostic. I subscribe to the tenets of most of Christianity as they are very good rules to live by.

I don't KNOW that there is a God. I don't necessarily believe or Disbelieve that there is a God. However, I feel that there is a God. I'm not about to dismiss the feelings, belief, disbelief or avowed knowledge of other people. That is their choice and I respect their stance....as long as they respect mine.

I'm willing to be convinced. Until then, I'm agnostic.

rhhardin said...

American relgions tend to be gnostic, everyone feeling that they were present with god during the creation, according to Harold Bloom (The American Religion).

That keeps god from feeling he's in complete control.

grackle said...

You might ask a religious believer "Do you believe there is a God?" and get the answer "I don't believe there is a God. I know there is a God." Do they know or do they feel like it's a good thing to know where they stand?

No one “knows.” I believe that God probably exists, in fact more than one God – if we describe God as a being with supernatural powers. God, if God exists, is by definition incomprehensible. What they have is faith that God exists.

Faith is not knowing – faith is choosing to believe.

Howard said...

Michael K makes a good point. IMO, science is the root of organized religion. Imagine the power of prediction of the tides, eclipses, the weather to a primitive culture. A smart guy can then ascribe these things to god and claim that god speaks through him.

Climatology is no different. Most of the conclusions made by climatologists are fairly uncontroversial and hedged by large uncertainty. The religion comes in when you have ecologists who don't employ the scientific method and their political patrons predicting consequences from the upper boundaries of climate projections by making Chicken Little claims of mass extinctions, Armageddon and the end of life on earth.

Tommy Duncan said...

He just feels like it's a good thing to know where you stand, and that's a basis for persuading us not to use the rhetoric of belief when we align with what the human beings in the field of climatology tell us they have come to know using what they say are proper scientific methods.

Proper scientific method in physics would postulate a theory and openly offer physical evidence to support that theory. Once postulated, the theory would be subject to scrutiny to validate its accuracy. Scientific theories predict observable and measurable physical phenomena. Tests are performed to validate the accuracy of the predictions. Theories that fail to predict accurately are discarded.

Apparently climate science is not like physics. Climate science is not subject to scrutiny. The data used to create the climate models are kept hidden or in some cases destroyed. Predictive accuracy is not important.
Poll measured social consensus (97%) is the ultimate test for climate science.

rhhardin said...

Physics is a social arrangement joined by a common set of equations.

Climate science is a social arrangement joined by a common set of predictions.

Mark said...

When we come to feelings --

"Feel good" science and "feel good" religion are equally worthless, as well as equally attractive. Initially, it will draw people in. Then they will begin to see how superficial and empty it really is. Back in the 1970s-80s, there was a lot of "feel good" religion, a lot of fluff and holding hands. It wasn't too long before people started asking, "Is this all there is?" And then they started falling away.

It is not about what things "feel like," it is about what it true.

That is what people are really searching for.

Gahrie said...

I feel like the communication of the science has been very much about fear — about threat and gloom and doom....

No the threats of doom and gloom have been used to replace the science.

And I feel like fear is not a good way to act in the world — out of fear — and it always redounds against you and others.

Preach brother. Unfortunately the Left has decided otherwise. They have weaponized fear, and use it politically. Frankly, they;re a one trick pony today.

n.n said...

Separation of logical... and emotional domains.

Owen said...

I find "I feel like..." to be a dishonest formulation. Either you feel X or you don't. When you "feel LIKE" something, you are (1) emotionally impoverished to the point of idiocy (2) hiding something or (2a) trying to slip something past me. It's like when you don't SAY something, you go, "and so I'm like [statement]" which, like the locution "go" is you going around the real issue. You don't own it. You won't put the work into it.

Why should we listen to you?

tcrosse said...

My HS Physics teacher told us that the Laws of Physics can't be proved, but they show the way to bet.

Gahrie said...

IMHO, the key to climate change is not science, but history....the history of the planet and humanity.

For instance, many alarmists talk of a "new ice age", which means that they don't know that we are currently in the middle of an ice age.

Any objective analysis of the effects of global warming on humanity would show a strong positive correlation, strong enough for me to indicate some causation.

1) The Earth is currently in an ice age called the Quaternary that began 2.5 million years ago.
2) The Earth is also in the middle of an interglacial (a period of global warming during an ice age) called the Holocene that began 12,000 - 10,000 years ago.
3) Modern man first appeared 200,000 years ago. All of our existence has occurred during an ice age.
4) For the first 195,000 or so years of our existence we wandered around in small bands of hunter-gatherers.
5) As the Holocene warmed the Earth, man discovered agriculture around 6,000 years ago. Agriculture led to surplus, surplus led to specialization, specialization led to civilization, civilization led to history. All of human civilization and history has occurred during global warming.
6) The coldest parts of Earth have few or no humans. The warmest parts of Earth have large human populations.
7) The Earth currently has a record high of humans living on it, with record lows in hunger and absolute poverty.

Global warming began long before humans could have possibly effected it, and is in fact good for humanity. There was once a pile of ice a mile high on top of Chicago, and one day there will be again.

n.n said...

Science is the philosophy born from the belief that accuracy is inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established frame of reference. All experience has shown that belief is both accurate and should be self-evident.

A lot of modern science relies on models/hypothesis, inference (i.e. created knowledge), circular reasoning, emotional appeals, liberal assumptions/assertions, and political/social consensus that is far outside the scientific logical domain, intruding on fantasy and faith, and the twilight fringe that lies beyond the logical, probable space.

Jupiter said...

"Deniers believe that the Holocene period of climatic stability for the last 10,000 years will persist indefinitely, and there’s not one scientific, peer-reviewed paper to support that belief, because it’s not true."

He should probably find one of us "deniers" and ask him what he "believes" before he holds forth on the subject. It's amazing how stupid you can be and still get rich.

Michael K said...

I can probably be more described as Agnostic. I subscribe to the tenets of most of Christianity as they are very good rules to live by.

Me too. A local newspaper once published a rant-like article by an atheist complaining about people who believe in religion.

Atheism is, of course, just another religion., If it weren't, we would never hear from atheists. They would be content and not looking for converts,.

Anyway, I wrote a letter to the editor and pointed out that the Christian/Jewish religion provides a set of rules of conduct that works well for people who have no time or interest in working them out from first principles.

The guy who wrote the article agreed that was a reasonable POV.

I can't say the same about Islam but that was before it was such an issue.

Fernandinande said...

People mentioned Bertrand Russel in another thread, here's his "Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?"

This was interesting:
"On this ground it was decreed by a Law Court that I was not a fit person to teach in any university in the United States, so that I have some practical ground for preferring Rationalism to other outlooks."

Clark said...

It is interesting that in these comments people seem to be using "believe" to mean thinking something is true but excluding those cases where one knows that it is true. That is certainly one way to use the word. Keep in mind though that another meaning is being confident that something is true, period. In that sense, you cannot know something without believing it. (See "The Belief Condition," at The Analysis of Knowledge, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) It is difficult to come up with an example of something you can rightly be said to know that you don't believe. (Trying to generate such examples is a lot of fun, and I believe @rhhardin would be up to the task.)

No presecriptivism here, just pointing out the source of possible confusion in discussions of belief and knowledge.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

J Melcher said...

Belief can affect not only your own actions, but the actions of others. For instance, if you believe really hard -- I mean, to be specific, by closing your eyes and clapping your hands and BELIEVING, really really HARD -- you can un-poison Tinkerbell and let Peter Pan fly to the rescue of Wendy from Captain Hook. If you don't believe hard enough, Tinkerbell dies, Peter mourns, Wendy walks the plank, and the story is unhappily over.

It might be funny to see it staged that way, just once.

OK, not in real life. The therapy bills would be too high. But in a show or movie, just once.

Gahrie said...

"Deniers believe that the Holocene period of climatic stability for the last 10,000 years will persist indefinitely, and there’s not one scientific, peer-reviewed paper to support that belief, because it’s not true."

One reason it isn't true is because the Holocene isn't a period of climatic stability. The Holocene is an interglacial, a period of global warming, within our present ice age, called the Quaternary. One of the features of the Holocene is climatic variability, with periods of increased warmth, such as the MWP, and periods of increased cold, such as the Little Ice Age.

This asshole preaching to us of science doesn't understand the terms he is using.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
Atheism is, of course, just another religion.,


My religion today is not believing in Santa Claus.

If it weren't, we would never hear from atheists. They would be content and not looking for converts,.

I mention it when people such as yourself say stupid things about something that is just a lack of superstitious ideas; there are plenty of such people in this blog - superstitious people who fear and purposely misunderstand those who don't share their superstitions. Old school stuff.

Your uninformed and faulty logic would claim that medicine, or "the medical community", constitutes a religion because they want to 'convert' people to not smoking, eating better and getting vaccinations.

Jupiter said...

His website has a list of 80 "solutions", divided up into "sectors", like materials, energy, food, land use, etc. He is a fairly comprehensive little Left Fascist.

Number 6 is "educating girls". Because educated women have fewer children. Educating girls is in the sector "Women and Girls". There is no "Men and Boys" sector. Either we're doing everything just fine already, or else he has some other plan for us that he hasn't listed here.

Yancey Ward said...

Unknown wrote:

"When I was an undergrad I took a quiz in one of my physics labs, and one question was "Do you believe in quantum mechanics?" The TA made the point that the theory wasn't something to believe in, but something that had value as a tool."

Does a hammer have value to a cat?

Crazy Jane said...


We "feel" with our senses (taste, smell, etc.) or with our emotions. To "believe" something implies a thought process.

Someone who "feels like" climate science is settled is someone whose point of view does not interest me. (In addition to the "feel" bit, using "like" in front of a clause is a grammatical no-no. "As" is, or at least used to be, the proper term.)

We are losing the ability to have discussions because we are losing our shared language. Last year, I started to read a federal judge's opinion that began, "I feel like ...." I stopped reading at that point; who has the time or interest to decode gibberish?

Pretty soon, I predict, we'll communicate mostly with Facebook's 1,000+plus emoticons. We might as well be making cave paintings.

Otto said...

Ann's deconstructive vibes have centered on religion and God today. She is trying hard to have her membership card to the Frankfurt School renewed.Trouble with deconstructionists is that they have nothing to offer. Those who cannot do deconstruct.

Gahrie said...

If atheism wasn't a competing religion, they wouldn't care about crosses on public land.

Jupiter said...

"This asshole preaching to us of science doesn't understand the terms he is using."

If he knows what the Holocene is, he probably knows what an Ice Age is too. Judging by his website, he has squandered a small fortune researching this issue. I expect he got some paleoclimatologist to give him a briefing. Of course, if he has actually studied this stuff, he ought to know that based upon the very well-known history of climate, what lies in the none-too-distant future is almost certainly a miles-thick sheet of ice over much of the Northern Hemisphere. If burning fossil fuels will prevent that, I'm willing to do my part.

Achilles said...

I declare victory.

Climate change is a religion, not science. From the article:

People who listen to me are very involved with climate, and I’ll ask them, “How many people here don’t believe in global warming and climate science, raise your hand?” And nobody will raise their hand. And what I say is you all should have raised your hand, because science is not a belief system, it’s evidentiary. So what has happened [is that] that question “do you believe?” is planted by the Republicans, so it made people who were literate in the science look like believers, and it made Republican deniers look like [the] objective people in the room. Like, “We’re not into belief, we’re objective people. We just don’t think the science is adequate.”

While science is evidentiary, global warmism clearly is not. There is not one study that credibly finds a significant correlation between CO2 levels and temperature with any sort of confidence interval.

The whole thing is garbage meant to give un-elected bureaucrats more power and concentrate wealth in the elite.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Good Lord, the history of astronomy and physics is one of hunches, beliefs, and "feels". Without them, there'd be no pursuit of the truth. Of course, the same is true of alchemy and witchcraft.

Achilles said...

Also: More Winning.

Thank you Mr. Trump. Not a single other candidate from the "deep bench" had the courage to take this on. If you are still a Never Trumper at this point go cry in a box and feel shame.

Seeing Red said...

47? Days with no sunspots, unless something happened the past couple of days.

Jupiter said...

"If atheism wasn't a competing religion, they wouldn't care about crosses on public land."

Most of us don't. Or, really, most of us like crosses just fine. There is something comforting in the symbols of Christianity. It always cheers me when I drive through the little towns in the Willamette Valley, and see the beautiful churches with their proud steeples. When I was growing up in Eugene, there was a gigantic cross on top of Skinner's Butte (Eugene Skinner), overlooking downtown. From about Thanksgiving through December, it was lighted, and you could see if from our house, a dozen miles away. I was thoroughly disgusted when the usual suspects sued the City and made them take it down. Atheist Taliban.

Seeing Red said...

Was that modeled?

Michael K said...

Your uninformed and faulty logic would claim that medicine, or "the medical community", constitutes a religion because they want to 'convert' people to not smoking, eating better and getting vaccinations.

I know you have a grudge against Medicine. I don't care.

Your grudge against vaccinations is just asking for a Darwin solution if you have children.

Measles doesn't ask permission.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

It is possible to know there was a Cambrian-Ordovician extinction. There is a tangible record of it. It is impossible to know that there is a climate disaster in the future. It hasn't happened yet, and it may not happen. "Belief" is the only correct way to describe adherence to the AGW theory.

Char Char Binks said...

Praise Minerva, goddess of science, and Gaia, our Mother Earth!

n.n said...

Atheism does not describe a religious/moral philosophy. Atheism is a faith that asserts truths about logical domains other than the scientific logical domain, which is, for many people, uncomfortably constrained to a limited frame of reference in both time and space (or just space).

Agnosticism is similar to atheism, but instead of asserting positive truth, asserts truths about an absence of knowledge and skill.

There is a fourth way: scientific, which refrains from positive and negative assertions, and deference to faith, and is constrained to a limited frame of reference in time and space.

Speaking of scientific, what is the Nyquist Rate for sampling time and space?

the history of astronomy and physics is one of hunches, beliefs, and "feels"

We have barely made observations near the edge of our solar system, and we have replicated even fewer. Everything else is inferred from signals that are assumed/asserted to be coherent images of the original. Most of astronomy and physics, outside of a limited frame of reference where observation and replication are possible, belong in other logical domains (e.g. philosophy where things are possible and probable, faith where things are possible (e.g. myth or unverifiable historical events) but improbable, or fantasy where things seem impossible and improbable.

alchemy and witchcraft

Both belong in the fantasy logical domain, because their effects cannot be observed and replicated. That doesn't mean they are false, but rather that their works cannot be studied in the scientific logical domain (i.e. the near domain).

n.n said...

The electromagnetic spectrum was once a concept mostly limited to the fantasy logical domain, where witches, warlocks, and select or "one" babies lurk. With improved knowledge and skill, it moved into the philosophy domain, where it was studied and characterized, and, today, it is firmly in the scientific domain, where it is a utility exploited by human causality.

Michael K said...

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C Clarke.

traditionalguy said...

Whomever n.n.may be, reading his comments here is a breath of fresh air. Reading him settles my mind that precise language usage can express truth. I had been afraid that Scott Adams would have the last word on human's reasoning.

n.n said...

Michael K:

I would add that technology is constrained to an operational space. So, something or someone that exists outside this space would not be merely indistinguishable from magic, but would be a match by its very definition. Unfortunately, we do not know what we do not know, and those spaces where human perception and causality are absent may remain forever so without external intervention. Both human perception, and certainly causality, are permanently limited, which, ironically, has an unknown significance in an unbounded logical space (beyond science, philosophy, fantasy, and faith).

EMyrt said...

traditionalguy said...

Whomever n.n.may be, reading his comments here is a breath of fresh air. Reading him settles my mind that precise language usage can express truth. I had been afraid that Scott Adams would have the last word on human's reasoning.
7/9/17, 2:06 PM

Hear, hear!
I enjoy nn's sallies and his/her near-monomania.
I notice no one flings poo at nn, but I regret that too few of us acknowledge hir contributions.

n.n said...

traditionalguy:

Thanks. That is a very generous compliment. It is my desire to seek, if not always attain, a position and understanding that is internally, externally, and mutually consistent.

n.n said...

EMyrt:

Is my bias showing?

I like people, men, women, and babies, too. I will even tolerate myself in short bursts.

Fernandinande said...

Speaking of science

Leading scientists still reject God

"Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS [National Academy of Sciences] natural scientists.

Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%.

Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers.

We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality).

Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality)."

Michael K said...

"those spaces where human perception and causality are absent may remain forever so without external intervention"

I wonder if anyone will ever understand the universe and time.

I have a rough understanding of relativity but spacetime is a mystery, I'm afraid.

Speaking of science

Leading scientists still reject God


A lot of this is uncertainty. It seems b]very important to some atheists to argue these matters while other of us find no usefulness in conducting these arguments.

That's why I said militant atheism is another religion.

Who cares about how many scientists are atheists ?

Clyde said...

Liberals ask "How do you feel about such-and-such?" Conservatives as "What do you think about such-and-such." This explains much about the way that the world works.

David Begley said...

Matt Ridley, "The environmental movement finally settled on climate change as its big issue, which has the great advantage that it can never be disproved, because it is always in the distant future. And the fact that climate change has underperformed in doom-mongering terms over the past 30 years is not a reason for environmentalists to give up on it yet, as it were. It does have to be taken into account, that predictions of environmental doom are nearly always exaggerated. "

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Michael K said...

" that predictions of environmental doom are nearly always exaggerated. "

You have to give credit to the Hale Bopp Comet cult.

They had the courage of their convictions.

Could anyone imagine Al Gore living in a cave?

Or that kid from Titanic giving up his airplane ? What's his name ?

n.n said...

A lot of this is uncertainty

Uncertainty is the essence of life. We would be in an unsustainable, certainly uninteresting, state, with either progress or stasis. And then there is death, sometime, somewhere, inevitable, which may be a prime motive to confront the possibilities. I wonder if other lifeforms are equally aware of their temporal existence.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
I know you have a grudge against Medicine.


No I don't. You're the one who inadvertently characterized medicine as a religion because some of it involves getting people to be rational rather than superstitious.

Your grudge against vaccinations is just asking for a Darwin solution if you have children.

I have no grudge against vaccinations.

I was referring to things like "Muslim suspicion of polio vaccine lingers on".

IOW, getting people to act rationally rather than superstitiously is not a characteristic of religions: it's a characteristic of (science-based) medicine.

Who cares about how many scientists are atheists ?

A lot of religious people base their religious ideas on their ignorance of the physical world, amounting to "I don't know much about biology or evolution, therefore god did it."

So, yes, it's interesting that the people who know the most about the physical world are also the least likely to believe in superstitions.

At any rate it's far more interesting than your next comment...

Could anyone imagine Al Gore living in a cave?

There, now you're hitting in your intellectual weight-class!

Michael K said...

I have no idea what is bothering you but I hope some day you are happier.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
I have no idea what is bothering you


The false and stupid things you're saying: is that not obvious?

You might have noticed that people disagree with each other on this blog and write about what they think.

Why does that bother you? Because you have superstitious relatives?

but I hope some day you are happier.

Oh, wow, dude! I'd be wounded to the quick by your clever condescension if it weren't so obviously just a vacuous ad hominem.

rightguy2 said...

Fern : I believe in evolution and the Big Bang but I don't know who or what is behind either phenomenon.

And I find the music and liturgy of the Anglican Church inspirational:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5W67uBRZCo

Go figure

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

I can probably be more described as Agnostic.
Me too.

One of the difficulties in any search for anything is having an accurate idea of what it is you are looking for.

And the world has been quite successful in obscuring and distorting the true concept of God. And the world is also noisy -- it is also kind of being in a club where the music is really, really loud and you cannot hear the person next to you.

Thus, God could be standing right next to us, trying to speak to us, and we are unable to either see or realize it is Him or what He is trying to say to us.

mandrewa said...

Quote: "Who among us is doing his own scientific research on climate change?"

Actually there are an amazing number of skeptics that have done their own scientific research on climate change. Every now and then I dip into the climate warming skeptic sites or more often the lukewarmer sites. Lukewarmer means that one believes there is going to be warming but that the warming is going to be much less than what some people are predicting. And if you're lucky you'll see someone in the comments explaining their own theory and research.

It isn't that common; I don't want to exaggerate. You maybe have to wait a month or two on average to spot such a thing, but still that is amazing because these efforts are a lot of work. And I sometimes wonder if anybody is really paying attention and reading these things. Not only is it a lot of work to do such a thing but it's also a lot of work to try to understand what someone is saying when it's different from what others are thinking.

I note that these submissions usually don't get much comment, which is what feeds my suspicion that they aren't really being read. Someone could make a breakthrough and no one would notice.

Mark said...

Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS [National Academy of Sciences] natural scientists.

Ask if they believe in the possibility of alternate planes of existence, or other "dimensions" or a reality beyond the known physical universe, ask if they believe in the possibility of non-corporeal life. You'll probably get a few more saying "yes."

Ask if we are simply nothing more than a bunch of molecules connected together, if thought is nothing more than bio-electrical-chemical impulses and reactions. You might get some that say that we humans are more than that. But you'd get quite a few also -- since they are atheistic -- saying that no, we are nothing more than atoms and molecules as part of an on-going chemical reaction, with no more significance than a clump of dirt. And if we are nothing more than dirt, then we should not be surprised that people should be treated like dirt. And we should not be surprised that the most monstrous horrors known to humanity have come from such scientists.

Sample Commenter said...

All we have to go on for our "knowledge" of Washington is what other people have said about him.

With an attitude like that about math, for example, a student is going to wash out of the hard sciences pretty quickly. They will do fine in climatology, where, for example, Michael Mann refuses to hand his data over to open court. Even historians would demand to see primary source documents for extraordinary claims like the one where it is the warmest it has been in a thousand years.

EMyrt said...

nn

Yes, your biases are showing and I'm grateful.
I think I agree with many but not all, but find them all worthy of respect.

Thanks.

Rusty said...

Blogger Mark said...
I can probably be more described as Agnostic.
Me too.

"One of the difficulties in any search for anything is having an accurate idea of what it is you are looking for.

And the world has been quite successful in obscuring and distorting the true concept of God. And the world is also noisy -- it is also kind of being in a club where the music is really, really loud and you cannot hear the person next to you.

Thus, God could be standing right next to us, trying to speak to us, and we are unable to either see or realize it is Him or what He is trying to say to us."

It makes you wonder-well. me wonder. What was it that caused the ancient hebrew scholars to reject the pantheon. To reject the god as builder of the wheel of fate, and embrace the god that could not be named as the creator. Not just of man, many gods did that, but the universe out of nothing. That was one hell of a cosmology for a people held as slaves in Babalon.

Sample Commenter said...

"Deniers believe that the Holocene period of climatic stability for the last 10,000 years will persist indefinitely, and there’s not one scientific, peer-reviewed paper to support that belief, because it’s not true."

I have whiled away many the hour reading skeptical websites. The only time I have ever seen this opinion expressed was by warmists who claimed that it would last 45K years, if it wasn't for fossil fuels. Zero evidence provided, of course beyond some Farrakhanesque numerology.

n.n said...

EMyrt:

Well, you're not me. It would be weird if there was perfect agreement. I have grown disposed to the maxim: on one hand, on the other hand, always and forever.

For the record, as I strive to discover principles that are internally, externally, and mutually consistent, it is my goal to reconcile moral, natural, and personal imperatives, and I characterizes behaviors which must be rejected, may be tolerated, or have a redeeming value to humanity and society and should be normalized/promoted.

Yes, I do adopt the articles of faith or axiomatic principles of individual dignity and intrinsic value to define a moral basis. Values that I share in common with the predominant Judeo-Christian religious/moral philosophy. I acknowledge that human evolution (a chaotic process) begins at conception, whereupon recognizing intrinsic value has certain implications.

So, there is a thesis of my character.

traditionalguy said...

Condensed version of n.n. @ 3:25...God always wins, because of Death. Unless we are given eternal life.

Lem said...

This is an anti-twitter post.

Kirk Parker said...


"Erewhon Trading Company"

I rest my case: he's a fruitcake.