Truth vs a comforting belief

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    In matters that are largely unresolved, isn't it better to believe in what makes life more exciting that to believe in what makes it more boring? Does science make life more exciting for you? Why?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The Universe around us makes life exciting for me!...And science is slowly solving it piece by piece. Awesome stuff!
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    99.99999999% of the Universe is unbearably cold, dark, and lifeless. What's so exciting about that?
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The other.00000001% which still amounts to plenty considering the near endless extent and content of the Universe.
    Still each to their own.

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  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    And even that 99.99999999% cold dark lifeless spacetime has its mysteries.
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It just seems like plenty because we're so tiny and shortlived. Hey here's a question. If we distributed all the atoms in the universe thruout spacetime evenly , how far apart would they on average be?
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't that the kind of justification that many religious believers give for being religious? William James seems to have made the same argument in his The Will to Believe.

    Believing in whatever makes us feel good might even have some persuasiveness, if all candidate beliefs are cognitively equal and are all equally plausible. But is that ever the case?

    It's investigation into the unknown, and the unknown interests me just by its nature. (I'm driven in large part by curiosity, I guess.)
     
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  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    You seem to be sneaking in ambiguous emotional meanings for 'cold' and 'dark', using them in the way they might be used to describe a human being that we don't like. ("She's so cold!")

    I guess that for me, reality don't have to consist entirely of pleasant 'bright' and 'warm' human beings in order to interest me. Perhaps that makes me anti-social.

    But I do think that part of what motivates both religion and metaphysically idealistic philosophies is how many people seem to feel an emotional need to humanize the rest of the universe.
     
  12. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    90% of my life is daily chores, but in the remaining 10% science sure makes life more excitong. I liek to learn new things, and I like to put things into new contexts, as well as to discover new links between old information. Science gives me all this - new knowledge, new aspects to add to old knowledge, and at times I have to rearrange a whole lot of knowledge to work with something that I have learned newly.

    Of course there are things I'm more interested in than in others, but there is enough science going in nthe fields that interest me to provide a good amoutn of entertainment.

    And, while TV or books often bring entertainment linked with drama which is emotionally straining but totally useless, science often is relatively free of drama and in some cases even useful. That's the better combination for my inner peace.
     
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  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Our capacity for excitement is proportionately tiny and short-lived.
     
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  14. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, but I like it in full color and animated. i think for me it opens windows into realms that otherwise would be out of my reach. Nonetheless, it sometimes appears to overreach it's own limitations and dives into speculation, but I don't mind having my imagination tickled once in a while.
     
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  15. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    If there's marketing potential, it's pretty much guaranteed that the arousing and positive conceptions of _x_ item will dominate anyway due to capitalism, commercialism, salesmanship, the pop-culture industry, etc. Nihilistic pessimists or the "life is just complex but meaningless arrangements of matter" crowd get drowned out by the hoopla (except when they're feeding adolescent angst and artistic movements / trends). Even the Marxist regimes of the 20th century pumped-up bales of stale, bleak prospects into uplifting visions with with their repetitious and predictable propaganda (sometimes even enthusiasm, crouched in ideology, can be dull and pathetic).

    It's in the same class as any of the adult professions that interest kids early on. If meddlesome nomadic goat-herders were to wander into a mundane automechanics shop and start tinkering with equipment and saying things which indicated they really didn't understand the work / occupation, their interference understandably wouldn't be welcome. Being a scientist is a job like any other, and there are skills and standards which go along with the occupation. The physical sciences (at least) are a "get practical things done" endeavor, not another prescriptive agency for human communities (in the vein of half-bogus social sciences, scientism, etc) that replaces religion and certain traditions of philosophy. Even if the "getting things done" by a particular discipline happened to largely consist of just indexing / cataloging the phenomena of some area of nature rather than outputting discoveries, theories, and conceptions that directly benefited technological research.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
  16. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    Why believe in either?
    In the absence of convincing evidence either way, why not merely state that you don't know, rather than believe whatever it is you want to believe?
    This surely avoids appeals to consequence, emotion, and the ilk.

    To answer the last question: no, it does not.
    I am excited, to a degree, by how things work, and would rather conclude "I don't know" and then try to find out rather than conclude with what I knew to be merely a matter of convenience, or an appeal to consequence etc.
     
  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Engineering makes life more exciting, than science. Engineers apply the principles of science to create tangible expressions of science. These tangible expressions help to spark curiosity and excitement in the layman. The old muscle cars were a product of engineering. These auto marvels led to many a young man learning about chemical, mechanical, and material principles of science, so they could understand how to change the fuel and the air ratios, add a better suspension, and make use of fiberglass and light weight metal alloys in their modified designs.

    Pure science can be hard for many, since it takes an aptitude. Pure science can be abstract and can require better than just good math skills. The engineers have these skills. They also have a love for science, and are excited about the latest science research as it applies to their needs. They bring science to life and make something tangible and beautiful. The iPhone is an engineering marvel of technology, manufacturing and design, which allows even the child to get excitement. This excitement may lead some to question how does this work? The child gets to start easy, and then increase their complexity, as far as the excitement leads them.

    There is no young male child who does not like rockets; fireworks. Even a bottle rocket can spark a desire to make it better. One then uses that excitement to learn, fueled by excitement in rocket science.
     
  18. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    I think it is best to say I don't know. 'I don't know' is a motivation to discover what you do not know. If you settle into a belief, then where would be the drive to find out more?
     
  19. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    So you're of the opinion that engineering doesn't require an aptitude?
    Who knew...

    Not particularly more than the average guy in any job.
     
  20. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Engineering often takes even more aptitude, than most areas of science, since you need to know the related science, plus all the extra engineering courses that allow science scale-up.

    On the other hand, you do not need to be an engineer, or even have an engineering aptitude, to play with cell phone, drive a new electric car, marvel at a sky scraper or watch a jet airliner land. Engineering creates output objects and processes; form and function, that can impact people in all walks of life, similar to the way art is universal. With that excitement, comes a motivation to learn more.

    Science is different in that the output of science is less tangible and more abstract to the layman.The engineer builds the huge telescope that sees the universe, with the layman happy enough to see the pretty colors and odd shapes. Once you begin to analyze this data the science becomes abstract for the layman. Often the cool looking telescope and its colorful images is what excites the student to do the work needed to learn the science. The engineer is not just happy with that but also wishes to build bridges to the future of science. This bridge is seen by layman, who walks on it and is excited.
     
  21. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    And yet science (i.e. a career in science doing science) is generally more difficult and involved than one in engineering.

    How does this relate to your argument? That's not engineering that's tinkering.

    I.e. it's still essentially abstract. Sure there's a visible and public output/ result but the engineering is still much of closed book/ black box to the layman.

    And bending moments, I values, Young's Modulus etc. isn't abstract for the layman?

    Doesn't matter how excited he is, he still grasps next to nothing of the engineering involved.

    I note that, despite quoting all of my post, you didn't address the second part.
     
  22. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Engineering and science often go in different directions. Whereas science tends to come to a focus; specialty differentiation, engineering is more of an integration in the sense you need to combine science with various constraints in hard reality; physical, aesthetic, financial, practical, political, etc. The needs of an integration with hard reality means not all science can be used. If the science is abstract and not easily subject to the constraints of reality, it may be difficult to use. The science of the multi-universes may not be useful because how so you connect that to metal and plastic? The engineer would first need to extend the science itself so it is practical.

    This reality constraint, often driven and financed by selling products, that can recoup the investment, allows the engineer to resources to build works of intellectual art that can appeal to the layman. This connection to reality science, via the art expression, allows human common sense to meet common sense science, proven by its tangible connection to reality.

    The engineer is also indispensable to science, since they invent many of the tools, which if not available, would handicap science progress. The particle colliders, rockets, telescopes, and computers, needed by physics, is connected to a wide range of engineering.The engineer is called in, because he has to stay in touch with hard reality, so he can build the tangible things, needed to prove the abstract, with hard tangible data.

    When the young student sees the marvel of an atom smasher he sees science in action. These same tools allow the scientist to test his abstract theories and generate hard datas.

    It is not about one better than the other, since both are part of the same team.

    They also have a love for science, and are excited about the latest science research as it applies to their needs.
    Not particularly more than the average guy in any job.


    I used to be a development engineer with access to the research and library at a national lab. The projects I did were often connected to extending best available technology to meet government standards 10 years down the line. The idea was to help industry meet future regulations by providing tech ideas for the future. Often the best technology of the day was not up to the task. I would first try to retrofit it.

    If this did not work, it would be necessary to see what the guys in the sciences were doing. I needed to have an instinct for where to look, based on my needs and vision. I needed to understand the science and apply this science to new technology I might have to invent. Finding a useful paper was exciting since it allowed me to go to my lab and run a test to two to see if this would be a good platform for scale-up as a pilot plant. To me engineering was more fun because you got wander around looking for inspiration.

    My writing style about science is often science, not as it is, but science through the practical eyes of the needs of applied science and engineering. This will make it look different by making it more useful for building things in hard reality.

    Anyone who knows me knows I don't like random. From an engineering POV how do you build a safe bridge in the world of random. Today it is strong and tomorrow it can randomly look like spaghetti. Engineering needs cause and affect to be reliable. So I often develop a parallel that is not random. If I didn't have the instinct to build constrained by hard reality, random may be good enough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  23. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, that was YOU.
    After 40+ years as an engineer I've discovered that the vast majority of engineers are there for the pay packet. And if they run into an intractable problem the response isn't "Let's dig out some scientific papers to see what I can do" it's "There's nothing at all in any of my engineering books, we can't do it".

    Then all I can say is:
    You don't understand "random" although that's more than evident in many of your postings that mention statistics, and
    If you think that you "develop[ed] a parallel that is not random" (in the sense that it excludes any/ all randomness) then you weren't engineering you were fantasising.
     

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