All belief is religion as belief isn’t based upon verifiable knowledge
Posted by pwl on November 5, 2009
All belief is religion as belief isn’t based upon verifiable knowledge.
“A United Kingdom court has ruled that a man can take his employer to court on the grounds that he was discriminated against because of his views on climate change. …
Mr Nicholson successfully argued that his moral values about the environment should be recognised under the same laws that protect religious beliefs.
In the landmark ruling, Justice Michael Burton said that a belief in man-made climate change is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the religion and belief regulations.” Beliefs on climate like Religion, court rules
The word “belief” is a problematic word with so many definitions that you have to pretty much define what you mean either by the context or by direction definition.
Generally when I’m down on the word belief I specifically mean “religious belief” or “supernatural belief” and not a belief that my car is still parked where it is.
I don’t think it’s responsible to say that “I believe in Newton’s Gravity Theory” as to use the word belief to talk about facts mis-communicates to the masses of people out there without scientific training. It’s better to use other words. Your “belief” that letting go of a stone has nothing to do with whether or not the stone falls.
Common uses of belief basically mean that you don’t know or don’t have evidence and that you assume it is true anyway. Since you do have evidence that dropping a stone on earth will have it fall (unless it’s otherwise supported or blocked) using the word belief is a mistake. One instead should say “I know that when I let go of a stone at chest level, it will fall (assuming that it’s not supported or blocked in some other manner).” This has clarity.
It is a big mistake for Richard Dawkins to be using the word belief the way he does with regards to scientific knowledge. He should be more careful and define his terms more precisely when talking about scientific knowledge and what is know and what isn’t since the religious masses use the word belief differently.
Sure people have a “belief” that X person will be a good political leader, but that is an entirely different category and meaning of belief than “belief that god exists” which is a statement that has no evidence and will never have any evidence in all probability not even mentioning all the evidence against the possibility of any gods existing.
As for climate change caused by man the science isn’t settled and if you think it is that is your “belief” and not a valid scientific statement. The more I learn the more I learn that we don’t yet have conclusive answers and that politics of extreme environmentalism started it and now that mainstream politicians have gotten into the act it’s now even more highly suspect. So I’d say show the evidence in a context where it can be audited by anyone which means showing all the data, raw and manipulated, detailed and comprehensive explanations for the manipulations, the statistics methods involved and why they were chosen, the software and the data used to create the graphs, all the scientists notes, photographs, and other materials used in the preparation of all the science papers. It’s clear that climate scientists (and others) have not been up to the standards of other fields and that all publically funded science needs to have it’s standards of openness and auditability raised.
I’m a very strong show me the hard evidence guy. Belief has no place in science nor in the communication of science nor in the science education process unless it specifically means “we think it could be true or false but we don’t just know yet”.
Believing that murder is wrong is a statement of one’s moral values and the word belief is often used although I’d question it’s use there. I’d not say it that way. I’d rather be more specific and say that “Murder is wrong because human life is valuable.”
Is saying “gravity sucks” a statement of “belief” or is it a succinct statement of the known laws of Gravity? I pick the latter.
“The relationship between belief and knowledge is that a belief is knowledge if the belief is true, and if the believer has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true. … Later epistemologists have questioned the “justified true belief” definition, and some philosophers have questioned whether “belief” is a useful notion at all.” – wikipedia
So “belief” is shaky ground at best, and as such it’s best to avoid using it when speaking generally about science or anything that is a statement of objective reality or it’s nature. I also use it carefully. My main use is in talking about the belief and faith stricken members of society.
Is that my belief? No, it’s a precautionary guidance principle based on knowledge gained from far too many conversations with the belief stricken who set well placed linguistic and philosophical traps.