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The desire to believe

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posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 02:09 AM
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It does seem to make sense that the desire to believe leads people to interpret information in a manner consistent with that desire. Indeed, it's clear this is very often true of many people. This argument feels like it pricks my conscience. Could I be giving too much benefit of the doubt because of a desire to believe? Could I be interpreting evidence to suit the desire to believe?

The trouble is, however, that there also seem to be very strong reasons most to believe most of what is said by institutions, organisations and governments.

If a person did not believe anything said by any institution, they'd end up being classified as insane and even criminal. "No, I don't believe the power bill you sent me is correct and I'm not paying it". "No, I don't believe I owe the taxes you claim I owe". They need to believe, or at the very least act as though they do, or life will be very unpleasant.

Yet, don't institutions have vested interests by their very nature? Don't they need to put those interests above altruism, including free supply of information that might benefit others, in order to preserve themselves? Indeed, it isn't it often demonstrably in their interests not to supply information, and is this not the reason for anti-corruption bodies and so on?

So I end up with the question: is there any more or less need to believe information ultimately supplied by and through chains of organisations, and institutions, than to believe there may be UFOs?

I don't know the answer for certain, but for me personally, it seems the answer is: probably not -- I'm quite happy to believe there are no UFOs if there is no evidence.

Is it not possible that this medium does tend to cut through supply chains of information? Is it not likely that doing so will tend to lead to a much greater range in quality and credibility of information, from the more rational and lucid to the more fancififul and fantastic?

Probably, and that makes it harder to sift through it, but it also means, imho, there is certainly information available now that would not otherwise exist.

So for me, at least, I do need to keep desires in check, but I think that is better than not having a choice. This certainly is a challenging site to visit, and I've been impressed by the amount of rational discussion and debate.

Cheers all, 9

[edit on 27-4-2008 by 987931]




posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 02:23 AM
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987931 Hiyah ....

I agree with you, I want to believe as well...but in the truth, as you do. Every time another thread pops up about a new sighting, a new photo, a new video, I am all over it, just hoping that.....well what am I hoping exactly? I guess that I am hoping that it's one of the ones that can't be explained, that COULD be, an actual unidentified flying object.

And why do I hope this? Because even though it can't be explained...that still doesn't mean it's a flying object not from this earth. But it's one step closer...to verifying my belief I already have, that there is intelligent life, not originating on our planet, that's flying in and out of our atmosphere.

On the flip side, I don't get angry when the new photo, the new video here on any ATS thread is proven to be something else explainable, to my satisfaction, I like you, just want the truth, either way. If every single unidentified sighting is by some miracle proven to be simply experimental terrestrial crafts, I want to know that as well
So great post, very thought provoking. I share your opinion, thanks for making this thread



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 02:45 AM
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Originally posted by LateApexer313
987931 Hiyah ....

I agree with you, I want to believe as well...but in the truth, as you do.


Nicely put! If I didn't know a very credible (to me) witness to a sighting, I am not sure I'd have the resolve to keep looking at the kind of evidence posted and scrutinized here, or to keep suspending judgment on virtually every piece.

So very well said, my greatest need, like yours, is to "believe" in ... truth.

Cheers, 9


[edit on 27-4-2008 by 987931]



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 06:40 AM
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Maybe because I have very little imagination or maybe because I like to think that things are as they are and not as someone wants them to be, I don't want or feel any need to believe in anything, excluding the natural beliefs (I believe I can wait just on the edge of the street before crossing without being hit by a car, for example).

The only thing in which I am interested is knowledge, and for that beliefs are irrelevant (although they are not for those that study and investigate based on their own beliefs, but I am not one of those people).

I also do not see any need for believing in what anyone or any organisation says, but if they show me what is behind the reasons for them to say it and I think that their reasons are good I accept them.

And organisations work (or at least they should) based on different systems, all decisions should be based on available documentation to back-track any results to the decision that was behind it and to the data in which the decisions were based (at least this is the theory and the basis for much of what is asked by a ISO9001 certification of a company).

In the case of aliens and UFOs, I see all the videos and photos not expecting them to be definite proof (that would be difficult or even impossible) but as data that may get us closer (or farther) from a conclusion.

So, that is why I appear as a sceptic in almost all the threads.



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 08:40 AM
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Originally posted by ArMaP
And organisations work (or at least they should) based on different systems, all decisions should be based on available documentation to back-track any results to the decision that was behind it and to the data in which the decisions were based (at least this is the theory and the basis for much of what is asked by a ISO9001 certification of a company).


You're serious? Just checking. I assume you haven't worked in a government.



In the case of aliens and UFOs, I see all the videos and photos not expecting them to be definite proof (that would be difficult or even impossible) but as data that may get us closer (or farther) from a conclusion.

So, that is why I appear as a sceptic in almost all the threads.


Fair enough.



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 09:37 AM
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Originally posted by 987931


So I end up with the question: is there any more or less need to believe information ultimately supplied by and through chains of organisations, and institutions, than to believe there may be UFOs?

I don't know the answer for certain, but for me personally, it seems the answer is: probably not -- I'm quite happy to believe there are no UFOs if there is no evidence.



Let me make some points for your consideration that I think might be of some help.

Do you believe that truth can be found only outside of yourself or can you have knowledge revealed to your mind from within by a source none physical.

If you think that the only way a man can know something is via one or a combination of the five physical senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching, and it is indeed the only means we have of gaining wisdom or knowledge, then your assertions are correct.

But if on the other hand it is available to receive knowledge or understanding communicated directly to any individuals mind without the need of outside stimuli but by supernatural means form the quantum level up to that of consciousness such as revelation, inspirations, intuition, impartation etc..then your assertions are invalid.

Information received from a spiritual source, if such a thing exists, would be equal to or even more true than anything one could know by physical means alone.

Most people assume that because they have never personally experienced the receiving of wisdom or knowledge from the spiritual that no one does and it is not possible or real.

If people can and do receive information in ways that you do not then what do you know, and how much of what you believe really matters?

Why would a person who knows the truth of a matter by revelation feel the need to communicate that truth to someone who does not, or even to prove to those who don't believe in such things that they have received knowledge from within, given the possibility that if the receiving of revelation knowledge exists that such knowledge can be acquired on their own in the same way by anyone who believes it is possible?

If belief is key to the operation of supernatural abilities then wouldn't a lack of belief prevent a person from experiencing those abilities for themselves?

What I am saying is maybe we all live in realities that are limited or unlimited based on our own personal beliefs and if we would perchance believe in other possibilities then more of what exists in reality could manifest itself in the private reality of the mind and the broader reality of our universe.

If a person never experiences anything beyond their five senses then wouldn't that serve to only confirm to the mind of that person that nothing exists superfluously to what they believe?

There is always the potential that everything we believe or dis-believe about truth is in fact incorrect.

Given human nature personally I would say it is more probable that every one of us only knows at most a tiny fraction of what could be defined as objective truth, regardless of what we may have been exposed to or denied in the experiences and circumstances faced through life and living.

It is a good thing that God will judge us based on our motive and not the accuracy of our thoughts because our minds are riddled with incorrect beliefs and are wasted daily for a lack of spiritually useful belief structures, which could assist us in experiencing more of what is real in fact instead of in just our imaginations.

[edit on 27-4-2008 by newday]

[edit on 27-4-2008 by newday]

[edit on 27-4-2008 by newday]



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 09:52 AM
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reply to post by 987931
 


I am always serious. Even when I am joking I do it seriously.


And no, I never worked for the government or anything related to the government.



posted on Apr, 27 2008 @ 11:47 AM
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Originally posted by 987931
It does seem to make sense that the desire to believe leads people to interpret information in a manner consistent with that desire. Indeed, it's clear this is very often true of many people. This argument feels like it pricks my conscience.

The "I want to believe" attitude is often responsible for sloppy logic, and blindness to any contradictory argument. Was it Billy Meier's UFO on the poster in Fox Mulder's office? Maybe some irony there.


Could I be giving too much benefit of the doubt because of a desire to believe? Could I be interpreting evidence to suit the desire to believe?

Perception is subjective, especially with the unknown. Testimony is biased by the witnesses' expectations, beliefs, and understanding. Subjectivity is OK, we are only human after all, however it often transforms into fixated (wrong) beliefs. The way our brain works, it is difficult to change one's beliefs, it requires considerable "rewiring". Most people, including top scientists have a lot of trouble adjusting to new ideas when they contradict their world view. Even the great Einstein was very dogmatic when faced with the hurdle of quantum theory. ATS is a very good medium for exercising critical thinking, which is about never accepting anything at face value, and open mindedness, which is willingness to consider alternatives.


The trouble is, however, that there also seem to be very strong reasons most to believe most of what is said by institutions, organisations and governments.

There are also very strong reasons not to believe most conspiracies. The conspirational bias is the trademark of ATS. Studying conspiracies really opened my eyes, in an unexpected way. I am becoming a more balanced (or sane) person as a result. For example I believed NASA did fake at least some of the Apollo 11 images and videos until I really studied the subject. Sorry to be blunt, but if you believe most conspiracies you are either uninformed or paranoid. Better give everyone the benefit of the doubt and not judge too quickly. Belief is not a binary concept, I prefer to estimate odds, and act in consequence.



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 12:11 AM
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Originally posted by nablator
Perception is subjective, especially with the unknown. Testimony is biased by the witnesses' expectations, beliefs, and understanding. Subjectivity is OK, we are only human after all, however it often transforms into fixated (wrong) beliefs. The way our brain works, it is difficult to change one's beliefs, it requires considerable "rewiring".

I basically agree, with a couple of caveats. First, subjectivity does not necessarily imply bias or inconsistency. It can, but quite often does not. And inconsistency is often an indicator of bias, because accounts are driven by the bias not the actualities. Second, though it's just a quibble, people are not wired for anything -- this is a metaphor driven by computing. That said, habits are hard to break, indeed.



Most people, including top scientists have a lot of trouble adjusting to new ideas when they contradict their world view. Even the great Einstein was very dogmatic when faced with the hurdle of quantum theory.

Well given nobody has reconciled QM and relativity, you can hardly blame him. Plus, while it's almost universally ignored, David Bohm showed in principle hidden variables are indeed possible. Only time will tell who holds the dogma here imv, but I won't get into all that.



ATS is a very good medium for exercising critical thinking, which is about never accepting anything at face value, and open mindedness, which is willingness to consider alternatives.


Agree.



There are also very strong reasons not to believe most conspiracies. The conspirational bias is the trademark of ATS.


I agree, though I think "conspiratoral bias" potentially implies you have a bias also (against). Personally, I think the term "conspircay theory" is laden, and I think that organizations and parts of organizations simply tend to act in their own interests, and this is the source of most disinformation etc. Conspiracy tends to imply a grand plan. I do not believe nature has any grand plans, yet organisms act in their own interests and nature has exquisitely organized behaviour. For ever, there has always been cheating and deceptive behaviour in nautre (mimicing a poisonous creature, putting eggs in another bird's nest, faking large eyes, etc).



Sorry to be blunt, but if you believe most conspiracies you are either uninformed or paranoid. Better give everyone the benefit of the doubt and not judge too quickly. Belief is not a binary concept, I prefer to estimate odds, and act in consequence.


Don't know who you're apologizing to, not me. I don't believe most conspiracy theories any more than I believe most of what institutions "say".

I agree belief is generally not dichotomous (or 'binary') and indeed this is pretty well established when it comes to many things.

While you're estimating odds, you might like to know that in many contexts, people estimate odds quite poorly, at least in absolute terms (e.g. econcomics, cognitive difficulty of tasks, choices ...)


[edit on 28-4-2008 by 987931]



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 12:34 AM
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987931The trouble is, however, that there also seem to be very strong reasons most to believe most of what is said by institutions, organisations and governments.

nab:
There are also very strong reasons not to believe most conspiracies. The conspirational bias is the trademark of ATS.


I just realized there seems to be a common theme here. I may be wrong, but it seem that despite saying things are not 'binary', your resposne above tends to suggest a dichotomy between believing institutions or having conspiracy theories.

Maybe not, but seems to read that way to me at least. My question: why not just reject both if there is insufficient evidence either way. That seems the genuine way to avoid a false dichotomy.

It also seemed you took the position in another thread that the choices were to either believe NASA or to believe ETs were flying craft around the tether.


[edit on 28-4-2008 by 987931]



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 02:31 AM
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Originally posted by newday
Do you believe that truth can be found only outside of yourself or can you have knowledge revealed to your mind from within by a source none physical.


Since you ask, I think that's a false dichotomy -- I subscribe to empirical realism with a healthy but balanced dose of rationalism.



If you think that the only way a man can know something is via one or a combination of the five physical senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching, and it is indeed the only means we have of gaining wisdom or knowledge, then your assertions are correct.


I don't think that, I'm not an extreme empiricists.



But if on the other hand it is available to receive knowledge or understanding communicated directly to any individuals mind without the need of outside stimuli but by supernatural means form the quantum level up to that of consciousness such as revelation, inspirations, intuition, impartation etc..then your assertions are invalid.


If it actually occurred why would it be supernatural. Anyhow, as Poincare said: it is by logic that we prove, but by inuition that we discover. However, no, I don't believe understanding is communicated to us, I think the truth is probably far more interesting than that. What is the "quantum level" anyway? (often said, but it is actually vague in meaning) Never mind, if this kind of communication were possible it would be a massive evolutionary advantage, and we'd be doing it all the time. Unless, you invoke deities or some other ad hoc reason otherwise ...



It is a good thing that God will judge us based on our motive and not the accuracy of our thoughts because our minds are riddled with incorrect beliefs and are wasted daily for a lack of spiritually useful belief structures, which could assist us in experiencing more of what is real in fact instead of in just our imaginations.


I'm an atheist as far as pretty much every conception of deity is concerned (though I have no issue with pantheism).

[edit on 28-4-2008 by 987931]



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 03:50 AM
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987931: Everything you said I agree with, you added nuance that I was unable to convey with my poor English.


Originally posted by 987931
I just realized there seems to be a common theme here. I may be wrong, but it seem that despite saying things are not 'binary', your resposne above tends to suggest a dichotomy between believing institutions or having conspiracy theories.

Of course not, I was trying to say that everything must be assessed critically. You mentioned distrusting institutions. I mention doubting conspiracy and fringe theorists just as much, and often more.


Maybe not, but seems to read that way to me at least. My question: why not just reject both if there is insufficient evidence either way. That seems the genuine way to avoid a false dichotomy.

It also seemed you took the position in another thread that the choices were to either believe NASA or to believe ETs were flying craft around the tether.

It seems to me that doubting is fine, but rejecting a theory is wrong unless you have a better or simpler one. No theory is perfect, and truth is an elusive concept. Making educated guesses, and taking chances, is the only way to build a theory. Occam's razor is a valid approach, even if it does not always point to the correct answer.



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 04:11 AM
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Poor English? I didn't even realize you weren't a native speaker until you said where you are from. However, fair enough on nuance.



Originally posted by nablator
I just realized there seems to be a common theme here. I may be wrong, but it seem that despite saying things are not 'binary', your resposne above tends to suggest a dichotomy between believing institutions or having conspiracy theories.

Nab:
Of course not, I was trying to say that everything must be assessed critically. You mentioned distrusting institutions. I mention doubting conspiracy and fringe theorists just as much, and often more.


Fair enough, we have a very similar mindset then, I think the most defensible position is skepticism of both, though of course I do trust a fair bit of what institutions say (particularly if I don't think they have anything to lose by saying it).



It seems to me that doubting is fine, but rejecting a theory is wrong unless you have a better or simpler one.


Hmm, this is an interesting point but I'm not sure. What's wrong with rejecting a theory A without a simpler one, if theory A just doesn't work? Sure it's far more powerful, and more satisfying, to have a simpler one but I'm not sure it's essential. Though I agree it's hard to justify rejecting a theory if there is not even a conceivable alternative ... have to think more about that one ....



No theory is perfect, and truth is an elusive concept. Making educated guesses, and taking chances, is the only way to build a theory. Occam's razor is a valid approach, even if it does not always point to the correct answer.


I most certainly agree on Occam's razor -- science ought to be about simplifying but is so often the opposite. Anyhow, I am sure we agree on most, even if it is more fun to disagree. Cheers, 9

[edit on 28-4-2008 by 987931]

[edit on 28-4-2008 by 987931]



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 10:31 AM
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reply to post by 987931
 




So I end up with the question: is there any more or less need to believe information ultimately supplied by and through chains of organisations, and institutions, than to believe there may be UFOs?


Ahh and thus you delve into a thought arena which can easily highlight the naive nature of our human brains. It wasn't long ago that I sat in a high school physics class, knowing our solar system was home to nine planets. Our teacher knew this also, as did the academic who wrote our text book. Some board of education approved that textbook because they knew it was well written by an accredited academic. And thus knowledge is passed around our society which everyone holds to be true.

Today I sit and type on your thread knowing that our solar system consists of eight planets. Believe me it's a fact. I know what I'm talking about.



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 11:25 AM
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Excellent reply Scramjet! This is an interesting thread, and thanks 9, for making it very different than the other threads with similar topic titles I've read here over the past week.

As many know, I'm of the opinion that there is enough evidence out there (in addition to my own experiences, which weigh heavily for me personally) that there isn't a 'need to believe' as much as there is a 'need to find out more information.'

I think it's clear to anyone who seriously investigates the UFO phenomenon, that there is a significant number of unexplainable (as yet) cases.

While our labels may change as to what we tentatively identify these objects as (like the nominal title for Pluto has shifted), the fact that they exist is no longer a question in my mind.

-WFA



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by 987931

Since you ask, I think that's a false dichotomy -- I subscribe to empirical realism with a healthy but balanced dose of rationalism.



When the word, "IF," is used in an assertion it precludes the possiblity of the assertion becoming a dichotomy.

Either God and the spritual exist or they do not, if they do and belief is required to acsess that reality then you limit your potential to experience such a reality.

Why would someone not use belief to prove to themeseve and to validate for themselves the existence or non existence of God and the spiritual if that is indeed the means by which it can be accomplished?

It leaves only one answer, that is the dichotomy I see in your response.



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 12:25 PM
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For my self, I find it enlightening to realize that things I totaly believed in with complete confidence in the past because of the information available then, is completely wrong now with the research and information available in the present. I do , without reservation, have a bias about UFOlogy. I tend to believe that its NOT all vehicles our government back engineered from things found in the past. I believe that we are visited and have been for centuries. Untill that fact is proved incorrect I wll hold to it. It might be wrong for others to accept bias as they're reason to believe or distrust information. But it works fine for me. I think thats the jist of what you mean in the post.
just a random thought'
Zindo



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 09:32 PM
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Originally posted by WitnessFromAfar
Excellent reply Scramjet! This is an interesting thread, and thanks 9, for making it very different than the other threads with similar topic titles I've read here over the past week.

As many know, I'm of the opinion that there is enough evidence out there (in addition to my own experiences, which weigh heavily for me personally) that there isn't a 'need to believe' as much as there is a 'need to find out more information.'

I think it's clear to anyone who seriously investigates the UFO phenomenon, that there is a significant number of unexplainable (as yet) cases.

While our labels may change as to what we tentatively identify these objects as (like the nominal title for Pluto has shifted), the fact that they exist is no longer a question in my mind.

-WFA



Pleasure, thanks for your response. I have the second best thing to a personal experience -- the testimony of someone I've known for a long time. It's extremely compelling given this person, the person's knowledge, the fact that he said nothing for a very long time about it, the details of the event, including duration.

I feel lucky because I would not have nearly the conviction I do without this first hand (to me) testimony. I agree, the question of existence is no longer a question. Well put on the need to find out more information, love it.

On pluto, couldn't agree more -- there are many examples. The problem is it's difficult to see ahead of time which things will end up being overthrown and which won't. Will relativity be the dominant theory at the large scale (of space and mass) in 100 yrs, what about 1000 or a million? My bet is that parts will remain valid but others have been built on or possibly discarded. Who knows, though?

Credible testimony is, I agree, very important. Thanks for the responses. 9



posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by 987931
It does seem to make sense that the desire to believe leads people to interpret information in a manner consistent with that desire. Indeed, it's clear this is very often true of many people. This argument feels like it pricks my conscience. Could I be giving too much benefit of the doubt because of a desire to believe? Could I be interpreting evidence to suit the desire to believe?

The trouble is, however, that there also seem to be very strong reasons most to believe most of what is said by institutions, organisations and governments.

If a person did not believe anything said by any institution, they'd end up being classified as insane and even criminal. "No, I don't believe the power bill you sent me is correct and I'm not paying it". "No, I don't believe I owe the taxes you claim I owe". They need to believe, or at the very least act as though they do, or life will be very unpleasant.

Yet, don't institutions have vested interests by their very nature? Don't they need to put those interests above altruism, including free supply of information that might benefit others, in order to preserve themselves? Indeed, it isn't it often demonstrably in their interests not to supply information, and is this not the reason for anti-corruption bodies and so on?

So I end up with the question: is there any more or less need to believe information ultimately supplied by and through chains of organisations, and institutions, than to believe there may be UFOs?

I don't know the answer for certain, but for me personally, it seems the answer is: probably not -- I'm quite happy to believe there are no UFOs if there is no evidence.

Is it not possible that this medium does tend to cut through supply chains of information? Is it not likely that doing so will tend to lead to a much greater range in quality and credibility of information, from the more rational and lucid to the more fancififul and fantastic?

Probably, and that makes it harder to sift through it, but it also means, imho, there is certainly information available now that would not otherwise exist.

So for me, at least, I do need to keep desires in check, but I think that is better than not having a choice. This certainly is a challenging site to visit, and I've been impressed by the amount of rational discussion and debate.

Cheers all, 9

[edit on 27-4-2008 by 987931]


If most of what mainstream media and close minded scientists called bunk was actually bunk they would not bother debunking it or at least not jump all over it like a bad dream. I will be honest with you in that I never used to believe in ufos/aliens and thought that it was a complete joke. After a few weeks of alternative research I have very different conclusions. I now do believe there is a huge conspiracy to cover-up such topics and all you have to do is look at ATS to see that.




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