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At Reasons.org: “I Think, Therefore It Must Be True,” Part 2: The Science of Certainty

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The following article highlights the importance of humility to not only find the truth, but to make a winsome argument towards others for its validity. One aspect of humility would be a willingness to honestly consider all the evidence, including evidence that is contrary to our presuppositions.

Steven Willing writes:

“Do not be wise in your own eyes.” (Proverbs 3:7)

Most of us think we’re smarter than most of us. In a recent large survey, 65% of Americans rated themselves more intelligent than average.[1] Believing we’re very smart, we assume we’re usually right. But is that confidence warranted?

In the course of my medical career, I have known brilliant physicians of many different faiths. Among the most committed adherents, it is safe to say that all were quite sure regarding the truth of their particular faith. But each tradition contradicts all others in one or more matters. They could all be wrong in part or in whole; they cannot all be right. Logically, we must conclude that not only is it possible to be brilliant, certain, and wrong, but that it is common.

In the previous post, we looked at several nonrational factors that can lead to false beliefs: heuristics and biases, emotions, and social influences. We noted that education and intelligence are unreliable predictors of rational thinking.

Yet false beliefs comprise but one side of the coin. The other side, of equal or even greater importance, is the level of certainty attached to those beliefs. Confidence is our estimate of the probability that we are correct. It is a belief concerning our belief—metacognition, in psychological parlance.

The Illusion of Certainty

Ideally, our confidence should be roughly proportional to the mathematical probability that we are correct. In other words, if we are 90% certain, we should be right 90% of the time. But studies repeatedly show that our degree of certainty consistently exceeds our accuracy. For example, people who are “99% sure” are wrong 50% of the time. This disparity both defines and demonstrates the phenomenon of overconfidence. Our unwarranted certainty could be blamed on misplaced trust; that is, by placing too much credence in an unreliable source. However, since we tend to favor sources we already agree with (confirmation bias), excess certainty usually reflects an excessive faith in ourselves (pride).

In his 2009 tome On Being Certain, neuroscientist Robert Burton argued that certainty is not a state of reason but of feeling, influenced by unconscious physiologic processes.[2] Certainty is mostly illusion, Burton argues, and there is considerable evidence supporting this hypothesis.

Overconfidence has been demonstrated and measured in many domains besides intelligence: driving abilityeconomic forecasting, and medicine, for example. In almost every domain studied to date, significant majorities express a confidence in their abilities far beyond what is warranted, or even mathematically possible. Sometimes, the least competent people are the most confident, whereas the most skilled and knowledgeable people slightly underestimate their ability. This phenomenon has been dubbed the “Dunning-Kruger” effect, after the original researchers whose landmark paper, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments,” not only opened a new avenue of research but also has prompted smiles from those who sensed its ring of truth.[3]

The Intelligence Trap

Highly intelligent people constitute another group with an elevated risk of overconfidence. Intelligent people know they are intelligent, making them less likely to doubt themselves, respect other opinions, or change their minds. They are also every bit as attuned, if not more so, to social influences that motivate belief.[4]

Highly intelligent people can and do believe crazy things. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the ruthlessly logical Sherlock Holmes, was a devout believer in spiritualism and fairies. Albert Einstein expressed a naïve and unshakeable optimism concerning Lenin, Stalin, and the Soviet Union:

“I honor Lenin as a man who completely sacrificed himself and devoted all his energy to the realization of social justice. I do not consider his methods practical, but one thing is certain: men of his type are the guardians and restorers of humanity.”[5]

In The Intelligence Trap, science writer David Robson informs us that:

  • College graduates are more likely than nongraduates to believe in ESP and psychic healing
  • People with IQ’s over 140 are more likely to max out on their credit
  • High IQ individuals consume more alcohol and are more likely to smoke or take illegal drugs[6]

While the popular perception is that intelligent people are naturally skeptical, in fact all humans are believing machines. We drift with the cultural tides, embracing popular ideas on the flimsiest of evidence, then clutch those beliefs tenaciously to protect our egos, strut our virtue, justify our actions, and advertise loyalty to our in-group. This view may seem cynical, but it is well-validated.

There are many strategies for overcoming the “intelligence trap.” They include cognitive reflection, actively open-minded thinking, curiosity, emotional awareness and regulation, having a growth mindset, distrusting the herd, and consistent skepticism. However one habit of mind undergirds all others: an attitude of intellectual humility.

Knowing Our Limits

Intellectual humility could be defined as merely having a realistic view of our mental processing; namely, that our knowledge is inevitably limited, our thinking is unavoidably biased, and that even the smartest among us are prone to error.[7]

In recent decades, psychology has embraced a model of personality based on the “big five”: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The more recent version adds a sixth measure: HH, for honesty-humility. Researchers have demonstrated that HH shows a consistent negative correlation with all three elements of the “dark triad”: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.[8] On the other hand, HH correlates positively with healthier traits such as cooperation and self-control.

In a 2018 paper from UC Davis, researchers showed that intellectual humility is associated with openness during disagreement, and that promoting a growth mindset served to enhance intellectual humility.[9] Intellectual humility also helps to reduce polarization and conflict.[10] In one study, it was even superior to general intelligence in predicting academic achievement.[11]

Research Affirms Scripture

According to many adherents of the Judeo-Christian tradition, pride is the deadliest sin. Humility is its opposite. It may be tempting to assume this peril concerns only the skeptic, but it’s not just about “them.” It’s about all of us. And the greater the visibility or the higher one’s position in Christian circles, the greater problem is likely to be.

“Do not be wise in your own conceits.” (Romans 12:16, KJV)

Scripture repeatedly warns against unwarranted confidence in our own wisdom. Years of research in cognitive science shows this to be a common human problem that only worsens with intelligence. However, the antidote begins with intellectual humility, an ancient Judeo-Christian virtue whose wisdom has been validated by the latest empirical data.

Endnotes
  1. Patrick R. Heck, Daniel J. Simons, and Christopher F. Chabris, “65% of Americans Believe They Are above Average in Intelligence: Results of Two Nationally Representative Surveys,” PLoS ONE 13, no. 7 (July 3, 2018): e0200103, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0200103.
  2. Robert Burton, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008).
  3. Justin Kruger and David Dunning, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77, no. 6 (January 2000): 1121–34, doi:10.1037//0022-3514.77.6.1121.
  4. Dan M. Kahan, “Ideology, Motivated Reasoning, and Cognitive Reflection,” Judgment and Decision Making 8, no. 4 (July 2013): 407–24.
  5. Lewis Samuel Feuer, Einstein and the Generations of Science 2nd ed. (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1989), 25.
  6. David Robson, The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes (New York: W. Norton & Company, 2019).
  7. Peter C. Hill et al., “A Few Good Measures: Colonel Jessup and Humility,” in Everett L. Worthington Jr., Don E. Davis, and Joshua N. Hook, eds., Handbook of Humility: Theory, Research, and Implications (New York: Routledge, 2017).
  8. Joseph Leman et al., “Personality Predictors and Correlates of Humility,” in Worthington, Davis, and Hook, eds., Handbook of Humility.
  9. Tenelle Porter and Karina Schumann, “Intellectual Humility and Openness to the Opposing View,” Self and Identity 17, issue 2 (August 9, 2017): 139–62, doi:10.1080/15298868.2017.1361861.
  10. Porter and Schumann, “Intellectual Humility.”
  11. Bradley P. Owens, Michael D. Johnson, and Terence R. Mitchell, “Expressed Humility in Organizations: Implications for Performance, Teams, and Leadership,” Organization Science 24, no. 5 (February 12, 2013): 1517–38, doi:10.1287/orsc.1120.0795.

Reasons.org

Comments
Jerry at 18, I would highly recommend not letting others do your thinking for you. The more educated I have become, including those I know, means we are, in fact, more educated. I could care less about some navel gazing writer who throws out a few ideas and a slogan. Yeah, "Everything You Believe Is Wrong..." That is quite wrong and just another exercise in hubris. I know a number of artists who are very good, but a few are better than the others. That does not make any of them wrong from a knowledge standpoint.relatd
November 2, 2022
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I have no idea what has been said in the comments except a fair amount is about Einstein. We know very little about the world except for what we have day to day on hands experience. That would include Einstein. I may know the exact route to the local Walmart. But I may not know the fastest and safest route to get there. Nor may we know the details behind what we seemingly learned in our studies. There have been books written on this. One is Factfulness by Hans Rosling (now deceased) which shows the more educated one is, the more ignorant one is in general. Obviously counterintuitive. So this could mean that Einstein is no better than a lot of people on many of the things he said. Then there is William Briggs book on probability
Everything You Believe Is Wrong
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1087987156/ As far as ID there have been several books written on the idea that much of our universe/solar system/biology has been designed and what evidence supports this. One way of judging whether something may be true is the lack of contradictory evidence. And Einstein would not be someone to quote on ID. Thus, someone may show me a faster way to get to Walmart but that won’t contradict that my way also works. It would contradict that my way is fastest.jerry
November 2, 2022
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And now to the fact that all life is now found to be based on the Christian principle of altruism, and not on Darwin's principle of 'let the strong live and the weak die'. Richard Dawkins’s ‘selfish gene’ concept is more of less directly based on Darwin’s principle of ‘'let the strong live and the weak die'. Yet genes are now found to be anything but ‘selfish’ as Dawkins himself had erroneously believed. Instead of being ‘selfish’, genes are now found to be exist in an extensive holistic web of mutual inter-dependence and cooperation (which is, obviously, the very antithesis of being selfish as Richard Dawkins had erroneously envisioned).
Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait – June 20, 2018 Excerpt: Mutations of a single gene are behind sickle cell anemia, for instance, and mutations in another are behind cystic fibrosis. But unfortunately for those who like things simple, these conditions are the exceptions. The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way,,, One very early genetic mapping study in 1999 suggested that “a large number of loci (perhaps > than 15)” might contribute to autism risk, recalled Jonathan Pritchard, now a geneticist at Stanford University. “That’s a lot!” he remembered thinking when the paper came out. Over the years, however, what scientists might consider “a lot” in this context has quietly inflated. Last June, Pritchard and his Stanford colleagues Evan Boyle and Yang Li (now at the University of Chicago) published a paper about this in Cell that immediately sparked controversy, although it also had many people nodding in cautious agreement. The authors described what they called the “omnigenic” model of complex traits. Drawing on GWAS analyses of three diseases, they concluded that in the cell types that are relevant to a disease, it appears that not 15, not 100, but essentially all genes contribute to the condition. The authors suggested that for some traits, “multiple” loci could mean more than 100,000. https://www.quantamagazine.org/omnigenic-model-suggests-that-all-genes-affect-every-complex-trait-20180620/
Again, such astonishing extensive, extreme, ‘holistic cooperation’ between genes is the exact polar opposite of being ‘selfish’ as Richard Dawkins had erroneously envisioned genes to be via his Darwinian presuppositions., (And should, if Darwinism were a normal science instead of being, basically, an unquestioned religion for atheists, count as yet another powerful empirical falsification of Darwin’s theory). Moreover, besides altruistic/cooperative behavior being 'extensively' present at the molecular, and/or genetic level, of life, if it were not for self-sacrificial altruistic behavior also being present at the cellular level of multicellular organisms, we simply would not even be here to argue about whether life is based on the altruistic principles of Christianity, or whether it is based on the 'selfish' principles of Darwinian evolution. Specifically, ‘apoptosis’, which means programmed cell death, is a necessary part of embryological development for all multicellular organisms.
Apoptosis in Embryonic Development Excerpt: As cells rapidly proliferate during development, some of them undergo apoptosis, which is necessary for many stages in development, including neural development, reduction in egg cells (oocytes) at birth, as well as the shaping of fingers and,, organs in humans and other animals. Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz, and John E. Sulston received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 for their work on the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/apoptosis-embryonic-development
Multicellular life simply would not even possible if the cellular level of life was not, in large measure, Intelligently Designed along, and/or based upon, the highest, altruistic, moral principles found within Christian Theism of self sacrifice. i.e. of altruism. Simply put, if certain cells did not die for the good of other cells during embryonic development, multicellular life, as we know it, simply would not exist. In conclusion, life is found to be based on the primary Christian principle of altruism and is not based on the primary Darwinian principle of 'selfishness', i.e. "let the strongest live and the weakest die."
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Of supplemental note
Darwin’s (falsified) predictions – altruism – Cornelius Hunter Conclusions “Darwin’s theory of evolution led him to several expectations and predictions, regarding behavior in general, and altruism in particular. We now know those predictions to be false.,,,” https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/altruism
bornagain77
November 2, 2022
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Of course there are many scriptures in the Bible that speak about the pitfall of pride and the virtue of humility,,,,
100 Bible Verses about Pride And Humility https://www.openbible.info/topics/pride_and_humility
In fact, being very humble about our own abilities, and humbly trusting, i.e. 'having faith', that God, no matter what circumstances may surround us, will work all things out for good, is literally a central thesis of the entire Bible. But anyways, in regards to the claim in the OP that most people who consider themselves to be smarter than average are 'surprisingly' wrong a significantly greater amount of the time than people who are more humble, I want to draw attention to this scripture in particular,
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
As to 'leads to destruction', (and although a lot of people who consider themselves to be a lot smarter than average people adamantly, and yet erroneously, believe that Darwinian evolution is true), it is very interesting to note that Darwinian evolution literally has ''leads to destruction' built into the very foundation of its 'reasoning' as a primary presupposition. In fact, in the twisted world of 'Darwinian reasoning', (as if 'reasoning' itself could ever possibly be based in the Atheist's materialistic worldview that denies the reality of free will), Charles Darwin himself, (via Natural Selection killing off the 'unfit'), held that "Death" itself was the ultimate "Creator" of all life on earth. Specifically, Darwin himself stated that, “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”
How Has Darwinism Negatively Impacted Society? – John G. West – January 11, 2022 Excerpt: Death as the Creator A third big idea fueled by Darwin’s theory is that the engine of progress in the history of life is mass death. Instead of believing that the remarkable features of humans and other living things reflect the intelligent design of a master artist, Darwin portrayed death and destruction as our ultimate creator. As he wrote at the end of his most famous work: “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”13 https://evolutionnews.org/2022/01/how-has-darwinism-negatively-impacted-society/
And as Darwin stated elsewhere,
“One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.” – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
Morally speaking, that statement is simply chilling. Adolf Hilter himself, (whom I would hope even atheists will agree was a psychopath of the first order), directly echoed Charles Darwin’s words when he stated, “Nature,,, wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.”
“A stronger race will oust that which has grown weak; for the vital urge, in its ultimate form, will burst asunder all the absurd chains of this so-called humane consideration for the individual and will replace it with the humanity of Nature, which wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.” – Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf – pg 248
Moreover, Hitler was hardly the only murderous, psychopathic, tyrant who based his worldview on morality inherent in the "Death as the Creator' of Darwinian evolution. In fact ALL the leading Atheistic Tyrants of the communist regimes of the 20th century, who murdered tens of millions of their OWN people in their OWN countries, based their murderous political ideologies on Darwin’s theory, and on the ‘ANTI-morality’ inherent therein.
Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their Atheistic ideology https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/david-berlinski-the-bad-boy-philosopher-who-doubts-darwinism-is-back/#comment-749756 Atheism’s Body Count * It is obvious that Atheism cannot be true; for if it were, it would produce a more humane world, since it values only this life and is not swayed by the foolish beliefs of primitive superstitions and religions. However, the opposite proves to be true. Rather than providing the utopia of idealism, it has produced a body count second to none. With recent documents uncovered for the Maoist and Stalinist regimes, it now seems the high end of estimates of 250 million dead (between 1900-1987) are closer to the mark. The Stalinist Purges produced 61 million dead and Mao’s Cultural Revolution produced 70 million casualties. These murders are all upon their own people! This number does not include the countless dead in their wars of outward aggression waged in the name of the purity of atheism’s world view. China invades its peaceful, but religious neighbor, Tibet; supports N. Korea in its war against its southern neighbor and in its merciless oppression of its own people; and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge kill up to 6 million with Chinese support. All of these actions done “in the name of the people” to create a better world. https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/
As should be needless to say, the ANTI-morality inherent in "Death as the Creator", and in "let the strongest live and the weakest die”, is directly opposed to the primary Christian ethic of the strong looking after the weak. i.e. altruism
Matthew 25:34-40 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
As Sir Arthur Keith noted shortly after WWII, “the (moral) law of Christ is incompatible with the (moral) law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”
“for, as we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.,,, Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.” – Sir Arthur Keith, (1866 — 1955) Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons – Evolution and Ethics (1947) p.15
Moreover, it does not take much in the way of every-day common sense to know, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the "Death as the Creator" of Darwinian evolution can't possibly be true. For example, imagine trying to write code for a computer program by throwing away all computers that had a programming glitch/error in them, and only keeping those computers that had a minor improvement in programming. Clearly, it is beyond ludicrous to believe that such a grossly inefficient process of trying to write programming language could ever generate the multiple overlapping layers of coding that is now found in DNA. And lest I be accused of 'confirmation bias' and/or 'jumping to conclusions', when we drill down into the technical details we find that, "Our analysis confirms mathematically what would seem intuitively obvious - multiple overlapping codes within the genome must radically change our expectations regarding the rate of beneficial mutations. As the number of overlapping codes increases, the rate of potential beneficial mutation decreases exponentially, quickly approaching zero."
Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 - published online May 2013 Excerpt: In the last decade, we have discovered still another aspect of the multi- dimensional genome. We now know that DNA sequences are typically “ poly-functional” [38]. Trifanov previously had described at least 12 genetic codes that any given nucleotide can contribute to [39,40], and showed that a given base-pair can contribute to multiple overlapping codes simultaneously. The first evidence of overlapping protein-coding sequences in viruses caused quite a stir, but since then it has become recognized as typical. According to Kapronov et al., “it is not unusual that a single base-pair can be part of an intricate network of multiple isoforms of overlapping sense and antisense transcripts, the majority of which are unannotated” [41]. The ENCODE project [42] has confirmed that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in higher genomes, wherein a given DNA sequence routinely encodes multiple overlapping messages, meaning that a single nucleotide can contribute to two or more genetic codes. Most recently, Itzkovitz et al. analyzed protein coding regions of 700 species, and showed that virtually all forms of life have extensive overlapping information in their genomes [43].,,,, Conclusions: Our analysis confirms mathematically what would seem intuitively obvious - multiple overlapping codes within the genome must radically change our expectations regarding the rate of beneficial mutations. As the number of overlapping codes increases, the rate of potential beneficial mutation decreases exponentially, quickly approaching zero. Therefore the new evidence for ubiquitous overlapping codes in higher genomes strongly indicates that beneficial mutations should be extremely rare. This evidence combined with increasing evidence that biological systems are highly optimized, and evidence that only relatively high-impact beneficial mutations can be effectively amplified by natural selection, lead us to conclude that mutations which are both selectable and unambiguously beneficial must be vanishingly rare. This conclusion raises serious questions. How might such vanishingly rare beneficial mutations ever be sufficient for genome building? How might genetic degeneration ever be averted, given the continuous accumulation of low impact deleterious mutations? http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/9789814508728_0006 'It's becoming extremely problematic to explain how the genome could arise and how these multiple levels of overlapping information could arise, since our best computer programmers can't even conceive of overlapping codes. The genome dwarfs all of the computer information technology that man has developed. So I think that it is very problematic to imagine how you can achieve that through random changes in the code.,,, and there is no Junk DNA in these codes. More and more the genome looks likes a super-super set of programs.,, More and more it looks like top down design and not just bottom up chance discovery of making complex systems.' - Dr. John Sanford - Inventor of the ‘Gene Gun’ - 31 second mark - video https://youtu.be/YemLbrCdM_s?t=30
Moreover, far from all life on earth being based on the principle of "Death as the Creator' of Darwinian evolution, (and as multiple overlapping codes in the genome gives hint of), we instead find that all of life is based on the Judeo-Christian principle of altruism. But before we get into that it is first necessary to further highlight the moral dichotomy that exists between Darwinism and Christianity. Directly contrary to Darwin's primary ethic of "let the strongest live and the weakest die”, In Christianity it is held, as a primary ethic, that "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Indeed, the medal-of-honor, which is the highest medal awarded for military service, is based on self-sacrificial, altruistic, morality, where a man either dies, or puts his life in extreme jeopardy, for the sake of his fellow soldiers whilst in the heat of battle.
Stories of Sacrifice - All Medal of Honor Recipients https://www.cmohs.org/recipients
To point out the obvious, such courageous, self-sacrificial, altruistic, behavior, which is central, even defining, to the Christian’s entire view of objective morality, is simply completely antithetical to Darwin’s one ‘general law’ of “let the strongest live and the weakest die.”bornagain77
November 2, 2022
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Ah, our Prince Caspian again provides excellent food for thought.kairosfocus
November 2, 2022
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Highly intelligent people can and do believe crazy things. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the ruthlessly logical Sherlock Holmes, was a devout believer in spiritualism and fairies. .... College graduates are more likely than nongraduates to believe in ESP and psychic healing.
Sounds like Steven Willing needs a little dose of intellectual humility himself.William J Murray
November 2, 2022
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"constantly questions it’s conclusions." SG, I just regurgitated my afternoon tea. Andrewasauber
November 1, 2022
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SG at 11, Engineers design things with multiple parts that work as designed. Can you provide one example showing how evolution can produce a working living thing?relatd
November 1, 2022
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Relatd: And yes, the usual suspects here appear to regard science as some would regard religion.
And the others are trying to pass off religion as science. At least science has a process and constantly questions it’s conclusions.Sir Giles
November 1, 2022
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@7
Some of you, like PM1 and AF, feel it necessary to defend Al Einstein because he is one of the Saints of Science. This is an immaturity, and it kind of tips their hand that the thing called Science is religious to them.
At no point have I endorsed Einstein's opinion about Lenin. Everything I've said in this thread is consistent with believing that Einstein was mistaken about Lenin. I have only pointed out that what Willing says about Einstein ("a naive and unshakeable optimism about Lenin, Stalin, and the Soviet Union") is not supported by the one quote from Einstein that he actually provides.PyrrhoManiac1
November 1, 2022
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Andrew at 30, Most people under 30 have no idea who Einstein was. A 5 minute 'lesson' on Wikipedia is all they get and that's quickly forgotten. Einstein exists today primarily as a series of repetitions in various media. And yes, the usual suspects here appear to regard science as some would regard religion.relatd
November 1, 2022
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PM1 at 5, You can assert that but can you show it to be true? By the way, the Soviet Union failed. At the end of World War II, General Patton decried the fact that Eastern Europe was given to the Soviets as opposed to returning as free countries. This was not the freedom he fought the war for.relatd
November 1, 2022
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Some of you, like PM1 and AF, feel it necessary to defend Al Einstein because he is one of the Saints of Science. This is an immaturity, and it kind of tips their hand that the thing called Science is religious to them. I say AE's character flaws deserve to be exposed just as much as the next guy's. Andrewasauber
November 1, 2022
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The following article highlights the importance of humility to not only find the truth, but to make a winsome argument towards others for its validity.
"Winsome" is the newest apologists' buzzword. Apparently "unpack" has run its course...... AF/4 JEH was simply an amalgam of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot with a badge.........chuckdarwin
November 1, 2022
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@2
Your defense of Einstein is a poor one considering the quote in question can be found online. Stalin? He is responsible for the deaths of millions. Back to Einstein, J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, wanted him barred from entering the U.S.
I am aware that the quote attributed to Einstein can be found online. I have not found evidence that Einstein himself actually said it. In any event, the quote doesn't even say anything about Einstein's attitude towards Stalin or the Soviet Union generally -- that is Willing's own embellishment. @4
Hmm. Is that supposed to make us wonder about Einstein? Or should we wonder about Hoover?
That's something of a Rorschach test: how one answers reveals much about oneself.PyrrhoManiac1
November 1, 2022
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Back to Einstein, J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, wanted him barred from entering the U.S.
Hmm. Is that supposed to make us wonder about Einstein? Or should we wonder about Hoover?Alan Fox
November 1, 2022
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Wikipedia on Einstein's remark (in 1929) about Lenin:
Einstein's opinions on the Bolsheviks changed with time. In 1925, he criticized them for not having a 'well-regulated system of government' and called their rule a 'regime of terror and a tragedy in human history'. He later adopted a more balanced view, criticizing their methods but praising their goals, demonstrated by his 1929 remark on Vladimir Lenin: "I honor Lenin as a man who completely sacrificed himself and devoted all his energy to the realization of social justice. I do not consider his methods practical, but one thing is certain: men of his type are the guardians and restorers of the conscience of humanity."[56][57] Rowe translates the beginning of the second sentence as "I do not find his methods advisable".[58]
As PM1 correctly says:
It indicates respect for Lenin’s character, not his methods or outcomes.
Alan Fox
November 1, 2022
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PM1 at 1, Your defense of Einstein is a poor one considering the quote in question can be found online. Stalin? He is responsible for the deaths of millions. Back to Einstein, J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, wanted him barred from entering the U.S.relatd
November 1, 2022
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The quote from Einstein
“I honor Lenin as a man who completely sacrificed himself and devoted all his energy to the realization of social justice. I do not consider his methods practical, but one thing is certain: men of his type are the guardians and restorers of humanity".
certainly does not indicate "a naïve and unshakeable optimism concerning Lenin, Stalin, and the Soviet Union". It indicates respect for Lenin's character, not his methods or outcomes. And it says nothing at all about Stalin -- assuming this quote is even legitimate. I agree that we should question the claims made by brilliant people outside of their own narrow field of expertise, and I agree entirely that intellectual humility is a virtue to be encouraged as much as possible.PyrrhoManiac1
November 1, 2022
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