Reality and Rationality: a discussion

Discussion thread post from INFJs Forums:

RANT: Reality has a Liberal bias…

Satya: I’m just worn out. I debate with social conservatives and traditionalists, and provide the strongest peer reviewed evidence I can to back up my assertions and I provide reasoned arguments supported by age old philosophical propositions but it is not enough. I’m told it is all “biased”. It doesn’t matter how perfectly objective and analytical the study is or how well it follows the scientific method, it is biased unless it supports their viewpoint. If is it particularly damning to their worldview, then it is “PC” the sweet and short way to dismiss everything as politically correct, and thus somehow not true. I have yet to find anyone who can explain to me the reasoning behind this, but it seems sufficient to them.

Has thinking become a value? When I was a child, I never would have thought that there would exist a group of people who are proud that they don’t think. In fact, not only are they proud that they don’t think, but they are proud that others can’t make them think. Now I’m not trying to stereotype here, but it seems whenever I push anyone from these particular right wing groups on the facts that they take a position that reasoning and logic are inferior to their religious faith and internal moral compass. How on earth can they reduce thinking to a value?

I’m notorious for being a smartass, and occasionally just an ass, but nothing I can ever say or do could ever demean a person as much as them tossing their own ability to think and reason for themselves.

The more I study human beings, the more I realize humans like to follow a script. Religious beliefs and political ideologies simply serve as a way for human beings to mindlessly serve as actors in this world, fulfilling roles that were written for them by directors who may have lost touch with reality themselves.

Everyday, I find myself challenging every label that I have felt ascribed to myself. INFJ, gay, liberal, social worker, etc. it all seems like the labels have become more important than the being. I am who I am, too complex to be narrowed down and pidgeon holed into some convenient category for others to stereotype in some misguided attempt to control or pass judgment. It’s not like I don’t do the same. But I’m tired of it. Maybe I just need to view the world holistically. That seems to be the only thing that people on opposite sides of the religious and political spectrum agree on. Love your neighbor.

Comments:

Sithious: Calling you biased ain’t exactly a valid argument, but you have to remember when most people are cornered they will resort to personal attacks and logical fallacies rather than logic and reasoning. People don’t like it that you’re attacking their ego, which you are by questioning their beliefs and ideas.

Most people don’t have the knowledge nor mental capacity to refute well constructed arguments. […]

Satya: Level of education and field of study is the only difference I have perceived within individuals that would lead them to challenge this aspect of human nature. Based on what I have seen, I estimate that maybe 10% of the general public has critical thinking ability, and of that 10% I estimate that only 1% of those make a concerted effort to shape their own metacognition by challenging their cognitive and emotional biases. The number of individuals who seem to have any degree of awareness of their own patterns of thinking is incredibly small. Even I have trouble considering myself a member of that group because I often give into my passion despite knowing it is a fruitless endeavor and usually the equivalant of ego masturbation.

Duty:

Originally Posted by Raccoon Love View Post
You have your own views and opinions and if others are not willing to compromise that does not give you the right to change their ways of thinking

So we don’t have the right to try to educate a racist? We should just accept their way of thinking?

Originally Posted by Raccoon Love View Post
Just because someone does not agree with you does not mean their wrong, we all have our different opinions and beliefs, and in reality truth is relative so there’s nothing absolute.

What makes people wrong is when they hold a belief that a) does not conform to reality. What makes people “unjustified” (or “thoughtless”) in their belief is when they don’t have enough evidence or knowledge to warrant believing it.

And as we’ve discussed in many many threads, there are things that are absolute: objectively true. If you say “there is nothing that is absolutely or objectively true” then you contradict yourself, because if that statement was true, it would be absolutely/universally/objectively true, and so contradict itself.

Because there is an objective truth, we try to find what facts fit into that truth. When someone holds a belief opposite of that, or in opposition to the most reliable and effective methods to determine objective truth, we say they are just plain wrong or thoughtless, respectively.

Knowing this, and combining it with a true desire to enlighten, educate, and help the minds of others develop, and it becomes a much more complicated issue then just, “You have no right to try to change others.” It almost becomes a duty to try.

I know where Satya is, I was just there not long ago. I still have much of that desire in me. The best solution I’ve found is to just abandon the thoughtless to their self-chosen fate, but be there for when they are ready. Surround yourself with those that are ready/have already traversed. That’s all you can really do.

Satya:

Originally Posted by myst View Post
How do you prove that truth is objective? With facts? How do you prove they’re true? More facts? And so on to infinity. Is it possible to prove truth is objective? If not, how do you know it is?

This is what pisses me off. People have no idea what the scientific method does. They think the purpose of science is to prove things, but the reality is that science exists as a constant quest to disprove whatever the evidence indicates is likely to be true.

You don’t prove anything! Anyone who says they can prove anything is a liar. You present evidence that indicates that something is more likely true than it isn’t. Science is about probability, about disproving, not proving. In science, the law of gravity can be disproved, but it can never be conclusively proven. The probability that the law of gravity is true is astronomically high due to the huge amount of evidence that supports it, but it could easily be disproved with the addition of new evidence against it. Physicists don’t strive to prove the theory of relativity, they strive to disprove it. Biologists don’t strive to prove the theory of evolution, they strive to disprove it. That is why such theories have such high certainty. People have been gathering evidence in the pursuit to dispove them for so long, and have failed to do so, so the probability that they are true remains very high. It doesn’t mean that the theory of relativity or the theory of evolution have been proven, only that they have yet to be disproved and so they remain viable theories.

When I provide evidence to disprove something you say, and you can’t provide an alternative explaination, then you have failed to uphold your theory. It has been invalidated. I’m not trying to prove that anything is objectively true, I’m simply disproving whatever subjective belief you hold to be true. I could never prove that God does not exist, but I can disprove your version of God by coming up with evidence or reasoning which invalidates your explaination.