The importance of being wrong

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Caroline
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 07:27 am
@Icon,
Yes and being aggressive, blinkered, not open, defensive and so on is a sure way of not getting you point across and people stop listening.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 07:30 am
@Icon,
Quote:
On what else can we make decisions other than our beliefs?


I am saying if you are harming others because your beliefs say it is alright to do then it is wrong.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 07:37 am
@richrf,
richrf;87421 wrote:
Yes, I also believe that one learns from one's mistakes. Yet, in school we are taught that we must be right. It is sort of an interesting contrast.

I think I am probably wrong about most things in my life. Things are always changing.

I could be wrong about the direction of the stock market.

I could be wrong about how to hit a tennis ball.

I could be wrong about what I should be developing on my web site.

I have no idea what is going to happen next. I play probabilities as they do on the poker table.

Rich


"Probability is the guide to life". Joseph Butler. But, of course, it is a lot more probable that you will not win the lottery than that you will win the next poker game. Not all probabilities are the same. Some events are a lot more probable than others.

---------- Post added 09-02-2009 at 09:41 AM ----------

Krumple;87613 wrote:
I am saying if you are harming others because your beliefs say it is alright to do then it is wrong.


Well, it is of course, wrong to harm others. But it is right to act on your best beliefs. It might be that you harm someone by giving them some poisonous food, but not if you has every reason to believe the food was wholesome, and no reason to believe it was harmful. If we did not act on our beliefs we would be paralyzed. We would never act at all.

---------- Post added 09-02-2009 at 09:51 AM ----------

Icon;87608 wrote:
He did not say decisions. He said life or death decisions. There is a very distinct difference. I can make toast because it is what I believe will satisfy my hunger. That is not the same as shooting someone in the head because I believe my God would like it.

This is an ethical variance. What I trying to get acrossed is that being wrong is beneficial where as stubborn defiance is detrimental to everyone. Most of the time, you can see when someone refuses to be wrong in how they approach a situation. They will get defensive, aggressive, even insulting in order to push their point. This reaction shows that you are not only unsure but unwilling to admit that you are unsure. If you must get aggressive to defend your point, then your point holds no value of it's own.



Caroline has it right. Thank you Caroline.


But whether the decisions are important or trivial, it is still true that we can make decisions only based on our beliefs. It you didn't, you would make no decisions at all, and you would be paralyzed. You may have the unfounded belief that God would like you to do something; but then, you might also have the founded belief that you had better not cross the road against the lights. Are you saying that we should cross the road against the lights because we might also act on the belief that God wants us to do something? As I pointed out, you seem to be recommending paralysis.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 01:26 pm
@Icon,
I think Icon is merely expressing that he doesn't think killing others in the name of X, is right. I don't think anyone would really disagree with this, but it's not always as simple as someone choosing to kill someone based on X. Not everyone was raised in an open-minded culture, with the privilege of being educated and the advocation of critical thought. Yes, what I'm essentially saying is that for some people, the beliefs they have for some spooky supernatural figure are all they know, it's all they will ever know. It isn't always the case that people just won't admit they're wrong and so they murder; it isn't always a case of "He's being an ignorant prick who won't admit he could be wrong!". No, to approach the matter like this is being very short-sighted. Have you ever considered that perhaps these people have never been taught to critically think? It's a lot harder to understand you're brainwashed if everyone around you is brainwashed, and you have no access to material that would allow enlightenment.

This isn't meant to excuse those who murder in the name of X supernatural figure, but I think it's almost never as simple as we make it out to be, and I think it demands our utmost attempt at understanding these individuals. It's very easy to approach this matter with a handful of resentment and hostility - us vs. the religious zealots - but I don't think this is the right course of action.

kennethamy wrote:
But it is right to act on your best beliefs. It might be that you harm someone by giving them some poisonous food, but not if you has every reason to believe the food was wholesome, and no reason to believe it was harmful. If we did not act on our beliefs we would be paralyzed. We would never act at all.


What kennethamy is saying here is that we cannot condemn religious zealots simply for acting on their beliefs; their beliefs are essentially all they have to act on, all anyone has to act on. Moreover, one can make a decision based on a belief, have good intentions, and still cause pain and suffering. That's just the nature of the game.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 02:50 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;87877 wrote:
I think Icon is merely expressing that he doesn't think killing others in the name of X, is right. I don't think anyone would really disagree with this, but it's not always as simple as someone choosing to kill someone based on X. Not everyone was raised in an open-minded culture, with the privilege of being educated and the advocation of critical thought. Yes, what I'm essentially saying is that for some people, the beliefs they have for some spooky supernatural figure are all they know, it's all they will ever know. It isn't always the case that people just won't admit they're wrong and so they murder; it isn't always a case of "He's being an ignorant prick who won't admit he could be wrong!". No, to approach the matter like this is being very short-sighted. Have you ever considered that perhaps these people have never been taught to critically think? It's a lot harder to understand you're brainwashed if everyone around you is brainwashed, and you have no access to material that would allow enlightenment.

This isn't meant to excuse those who murder in the name of X supernatural figure, but I think it's almost never as simple as we make it out to be, and I think it demands our utmost attempt at understanding these individuals. It's very easy to approach this matter with a handful of resentment and hostility - us vs. the religious zealots - but I don't think this is the right course of action.



What kennethamy is saying here is that we cannot condemn religious zealots simply for acting on their beliefs; their beliefs are essentially all they have to act on, all anyone has to act on. Moreover, one can make a decision based on a belief, have good intentions, and still cause pain and suffering. That's just the nature of the game.


No one ought to believe that by blowing up a bus full of schoolchildren that he is doing the right thing, and will receive an eternal reward. But apparently, some people do believe just that, and they act on that belief.To understand why someone does something very bad is not to excuse them. It is to explain why they act as they do.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 03:00 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;87616 wrote:
Well, it is of course, wrong to harm others. But it is right to act on your best beliefs. It might be that you harm someone by giving them some poisonous food, but not if you has every reason to believe the food was wholesome, and no reason to believe it was harmful. If we did not act on our beliefs we would be paralyzed. We would never act at all.


It seems you either only read half of my sentence or you only paid attention to half. You have to take in the full thing, otherwise you will come up with the silly aspect that you pointed out. So let me repeat, but this time take the full sentence in.

If you are harming others because your beliefs say it is alright to do then it is wrong.

How can you mistake that to mean, believing something that accidentally harmed someone would be an exception?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 03:07 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;87885 wrote:
It seems you either only read half of my sentence or you only paid attention to half. You have to take in the full thing, otherwise you will come up with the silly aspect that you pointed out. So let me repeat, but this time take the full sentence in.

If you are harming others because your beliefs say it is alright to do then it is wrong.

How can you mistake that to mean, believing something that accidentally harmed someone would be an exception?


Are you talking about knowing that what you do will harm them, and going ahead and doing it because your beliefs are that it is all right to harm them? Well, whether that is right or wrong depends on circumstances. You might be acting in self-defense; or you may be an executioner; or, a soldier in war time.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 04:02 pm
@Icon,
kennethamy wrote:
No one ought to believe that by blowing up a bus full of schoolchildren that he is doing the right thing, and will receive an eternal reward. But apparently, some people do believe just that, and they act on that belief.To understand why someone does something very bad is not to excuse them. It is to explain why they act as they do.


Exactly what I was noting in my post. And I believe it's important to attempt to understand the reasons. Why? Well, I believe showing empathy can cauterize the wounds of the world. An attempt at understanding can help shed light on the actual problems, which are often buried amidst the brainwashed scapegoats. We can't reach an understanding if we simply dismiss religious zealots (or whoever else) as simply ignorant, without acknowledging the larger picture.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 05:53 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;87899 wrote:
Exactly what I was noting in my post. And I believe it's important to attempt to understand the reasons. Why? Well, I believe showing empathy can cauterize the wounds of the world. An attempt at understanding can help shed light on the actual problems, which are often buried amidst the brainwashed scapegoats. We can't reach an understanding if we simply dismiss religious zealots (or whoever else) as simply ignorant, without acknowledging the larger picture.


I feel no empathy for the terrorist, nor sympathy (and they are not at all the same thing). And I think he and his bretheren should be killed as quickly as possible if he wasn't already. All I said was that his actions have an explanation.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 06:49 pm
@Icon,
kennethamy wrote:
All I said was that his actions have an explanation.


I know, I never stated you said anything else. And I agreed with you.

Quote:
I feel no empathy for the terrorist, nor sympathy (and they are not at all the same thing). And I think he and his bretheren should be killed as quickly as possible if he wasn't already.


I see, well, I think this mindset is just as destructive as the terrorism itself.
 
Icon
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:00 am
@Icon,
You guys have pointed out EXACTLY what I was talking about, and again, I thank you for taking it in the predicted direction.

Not being able to accept that you are wrong leads to conflict. Minor and major forms as seen through terrorism or just the minor conflicts that occurred in this thread.

Terrorists believe that they are right. Through this belief, they do terrible things. Each of you believes that she/he is right. This leads to disagreement. What I am attempting to point out partly through my words and partly through example, is that belief that you are correct is different from accepting the possibility that you could be correct. When you believe something, there is no way to convince you otherwise. When you accept something as "true until better evidence is given" you have the ability to accept being wrong. Once you can accept being wrong, you can grow.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:32 am
@Icon,
Icon;88030 wrote:
You guys have pointed out EXACTLY what I was talking about, and again, I thank you for taking it in the predicted direction.

Not being able to accept that you are wrong leads to conflict. Minor and major forms as seen through terrorism or just the minor conflicts that occurred in this thread.

Terrorists believe that they are right. Through this belief, they do terrible things. Each of you believes that she/he is right. This leads to disagreement. What I am attempting to point out partly through my words and partly through example, is that belief that you are correct is different from accepting the possibility that you could be correct. When you believe something, there is no way to convince you otherwise. When you accept something as "true until better evidence is given" you have the ability to accept being wrong. Once you can accept being wrong, you can grow.


I have often believed something, and I learned that I was wrong, and changed my belief. I believed a week ago that Rio was the capital of Brazil, but I no longer do. I used to believe that there was some chance of Obama doing some good, but I no longer believe that either. So I think you are wrong about that.

It is a peculiar thing, but whatever we believe, we believe is true, otherwise we would not believe it in the first place. But, on the other hand, we all know that we are fallible, and therefore make mistakes, so we believe (or should believe) that at least some things that we believe are wrong. So, although we must believe that whatever we believe is true, we also have to believe that some of what we believe is false. Only, of course we do not know which of our beliefs is false, since, if we did, we would not have that belief in the first place. Peculiar, isn't it?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:56 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;87889 wrote:
Are you talking about knowing that what you do will harm them, and going ahead and doing it because your beliefs are that it is all right to harm them? Well, whether that is right or wrong depends on circumstances. You might be acting in self-defense; or you may be an executioner; or, a soldier in war time.


Well for the most part yes. I don't think you can attribute it to self-defense because there is always another option. I don't accept execution anyways so my stance would already object to it. The same goes for a soldier, I don't think there is justice or alright situations to cause harm, even in times of war, you are still a murderer if you kill the "enemy". I understand that there is defensive wars and offensive, but both kill people therefore both create murderers. The only reason we still fight wars is because people want to find justifiable reasons for why war does not equal murder. We haven't grown enough to see that it IS murder.
 
melonkali
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 10:40 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;87899 wrote:
Exactly what I was noting in my post. And I believe it's important to attempt to understand the reasons. Why? Well, I believe showing empathy can cauterize the wounds of the world. An attempt at understanding can help shed light on the actual problems, which are often buried amidst the brainwashed scapegoats. We can't reach an understanding if we simply dismiss religious zealots (or whoever else) as simply ignorant, without acknowledging the larger picture.


I fully agree with your idea. However, I've encountered a problem in this area about which I hope someone here might be able to advise me.

In nearly all attempts I have made trying to find a common ground for meaningful discussion with a zealot (of any type, not limited to religious), I have failed. It seems that no matter what approach I try, the response is invariably some reflexively learned mantra. When I think I finally may have him/her cornered into considering another point of view, then I get a response along the line of, "You are not yet capable of understanding such things because... blah, blah, blah."

Now these are not ignorant people I'm referring to -- some of them are clearly better educated (within their particular culture) and more intelligent than I.

Any suggestions?

melonkali
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 11:42 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;88065 wrote:
Well for the most part yes. I don't think you can attribute it to self-defense because there is always another option. I don't accept execution anyways so my stance would already object to it. The same goes for a soldier, I don't think there is justice or alright situations to cause harm, even in times of war, you are still a murderer if you kill the "enemy". I understand that there is defensive wars and offensive, but both kill people therefore both create murderers. The only reason we still fight wars is because people want to find justifiable reasons for why war does not equal murder. We haven't grown enough to see that it IS murder.


I suppose then, that you think that all killing of a human being is, by definition, murder (I wonder whether you make an exception for accidental killing).
But now that question is why anyone should accept that definition of yours.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 04:54 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;90356 wrote:
I suppose then, that you think that all killing of a human being is, by definition, murder (I wonder whether you make an exception for accidental killing).
But now that question is why anyone should accept that definition of yours.


Accidental in what way? You point your gun at someone and accidentally pull the trigger? Give me a few examples of what you mean by accidental killing.

I don't expect people to accept my definition, they most likely wouldn't anyways because a majority still have the mentality of calling somone evil just because they have a different world view.
 
Taboo Fixation
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 02:59 pm
@Icon,
I wouldn't go as far as to say it's good to be wrong. But it's definitely not something people should be ashamed of. Being educated and being wise are too totally different things, and being able to admit when you're wrong and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow is definitely a wise thing to do.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 03:35 pm
@melonkali,
melonkali;89838 wrote:
In nearly all attempts I have made trying to find a common ground for meaningful discussion with a zealot (of any type, not limited to religious), I have failed. It seems that no matter what approach I try, the response is invariably some reflexively learned mantra. When I think I finally may have him/her cornered into considering another point of view, then I get a response along the line of, "You are not yet capable of understanding such things because... blah, blah, blah."


Since you asked Smile

I'd say leave it alone. Discuss such things only if asked then do so nicely with honesty and without embellishment. If they they turn to you then with one of those stock replies, let it go. If I catch your drift at all, you can't change minds, can't talk people into seeing, believe or understanding something unless they, themselves, want to see it. The transfer of understanding from one mind to another is a dance, both must take part, it can't be done unilaterally.

Good luck
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 04:05 pm
@Icon,
Khethil wrote:
The transfer of understanding from one mind to another is a dance, both must take part, it can't be done unilaterally.


Can anybody say, "quote of the day"?
 
 

 
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