RE: virus: Belief and Knowledge

Fri, 27 Jun 1997 16:58:09 -0700

From: David McFadzean[]
Sent: Friday, June 27, 1997 2:02 PM

>>Wally and Larry, being devoted fans, each strongly believes the
proposition "The home team will win..." (of course the "home team" refers
to a different team in each case...)

>Does Larry really believe that the Luzers will win?

The story states that he does, therefore he does, since he has no reality
outside of the story :-)

(Are you suggesting that some regions of the T-grid are simply not humanly
possible? As in, "Larry can't _really_ believe they will win".)

Now, maybe what you're getting at is: What does it feel like to be Larry
when he is believing the Luzers[1] will win? That is a much deeper question
and I will defer speculation, other than to mention that the story
described Larry as a "little defensive".

>>In this light, consider four definitions:

>On the T-grid ( these correspond to
the four quadrants: <snip description of the four quadrants>

Kind of. This was another major difficulty, worthy of a whole other post.

For now I'll just say that in some ways the four definitions correspond to
the four quadrants, but in many other ways they correspond to four regions
in the first quadrant of the T-grid (where belief and evidence are both
greater than zero).

Note that the T-grid has rotational symmetry, but the four definitions do
not. (Otherwise, I would have needed only two of them!)

>>KNOWLEDGE is the holy grail. It requires not only the difficult
assemblage of data and theory but also the equally difficult willingness to
believe in the evidence in order to reap the benefits and continue to build
further knowledge.

>I agree this is the holy grail. I'm not sure why you say it is equally
difficult to believe in the evidence.

Hmmm. Again I think I will defer this one, but simply point out that it is
precisely this observation that led to what I talked about in the last post
-- that Skepticism and Credulity are both opposed to Knowledge.

<snip all of the context>
> People that use it seem to understand each other so they must be talking
about something.

Wow. Nicely put. A fine example of an proposition that could be logically
torn to shreds, but if applied widely would lead to a rapid accumulation of
personal knowledge.

<once more with the context>
>Spiritual laziness? Spirit is another term like "heart". People that use
it seem to understand each other so they must be talking about something.
Please elaborate.

When I first wrote that line it said "the intellectual laziness of the
Skeptic" but that doesn't ring true, does it? After all, the world class
Skeptics have written long and rigorous books on the subject.

How would you describe an intelligent person who won't commit to the
proposition that other people exist?[2] (And then writes books for them to
read :-)

I know this doesn't address your question. (Hopefully someone else will
take a shot at it.)



p.s. I've disabled "rich-text" so hopefully there aren't all those spurious
characters in this post (=3D etc.)

[1] Just a minor point of clarity: "Luzers" in the story actually refers to
residents of Luzeburg. The Clowns are the team in question. (This footnote
meme is great!)

[2] The purist will be concerned that I am lumping the Solipsist with the
Skeptic, and I've earlier lumped the Nihilist also. Oh, well.