Truth, Ignorance and Faith

Any political discussion should go here. This subforum will be moderated differently than other forums.
Forum rules
1.) No personal threats.
2.) No doxxing/revealing personal information.
3.) No spam.
4.) No circumventing press restrictions.
5.) No racism, sexism, homophobia, or derogatory posts.
Post Reply
Message
Author
orathaic
Bronze Donator
Bronze Donator
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:20 pm
Karma: 294

Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#1 Post by orathaic » Mon May 24, 2021 9:11 am

For those without the ~70 minutes I will try to describe the 3 videos below.

Truth: excellent story about how our fundamental ideas about truth and provability in mathematics was undermined (and incidentally the study lead to all of modern computing). How in the early 20th century mathematicians proved that formal systems have unprovably true statements. Truth =/= Provable, and that even consistency can't be proven.

Igorance: that the State of Ignorance is a both a deliberate choice to avoid uncomfortable truths, and a system of censorship to enforce Ignorance.

Faith, less fundamental, but an interesting example. People may be choosing to be ignorant, despite systemic censorship, in order to be more comfortable. But then again the whole edifice of western thought is built upon unprovably true mathematics, which makes it more of a question of perspective.

I'd love to have a conversation to help me better understand these points.

Truth https://youtu.be/HeQX2HjkcNo

Ignorance https://youtu.be/ATITdJg7bWI

Faith https://youtu.be/5qospq0cTw0

MajorMitchell
Posts: 1216
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:05 am
Location: Now Performing Comedic Artist Dusty Balzac Bush Philosopher from Flyblown Gully by the Sea
Karma: 648

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#2 Post by MajorMitchell » Thu May 27, 2021 4:19 pm

Perhaps ignorance and educated are like chaos and order and like that notable law of thermodynamics, that all ordered systems decay to chaos perhaps all educated societies decay towards ignorance?
1

MajorMitchell
Posts: 1216
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:05 am
Location: Now Performing Comedic Artist Dusty Balzac Bush Philosopher from Flyblown Gully by the Sea
Karma: 648

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#3 Post by MajorMitchell » Thu May 27, 2021 4:26 pm

Please define "western thought" which at first glance appears to be a contradiction, non sequitur or quite possibly an oxymoron (LoL). How does it compare to "Xi Jinpeng Thought"? Are there "Non Western Thought(s)?" & if yes, what are they?

orathaic
Bronze Donator
Bronze Donator
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:20 pm
Karma: 294

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#4 Post by orathaic » Fri May 28, 2021 9:26 am

Western thought. I thought about it, and realised that my best attempt to describe it would be woefully inadequate. I would have said it starts with Greek philosophy and democracy (not modern Greece, but ancient city states).

So you can't have a 'Western' nation without democracy, it seems pretty fundamental. Added to that there is some American and French revolution influence, along with the enlightenment, things like liberty, egality, fraternity. These make for a liberal democracy.

But it turns out this is a topic which is deep enough that you can write an entire book about it: https://www.routledge.com/A-History-of- ... 0415220736#

The notable thing in my mind about 'Western Thought', especially in mathematics, is that people seem to be ignorant of the huge influence of the Arabic/Islamic golden age. Ancient Greek works which survive in the Eastern Roman Empire (for some reason called Byzantium by Western historians) they were translated into Arabic, and then in Spain back into Latin (during the Islamic rule of Iberia). Spain became a really important centre of learning for Europe as there was a mix of multiple cultures, Latin speaking Catholics, Arabic speaking Muslims, and more.

A lot of Western Thought comes from the translations of Ancient Greek (via Arabic) back into Latin, through interactions like this. But also we had new Arabic mathematics developed during the golden age, like Algebra (to name but the most obviously Arabic word in modern mathematics).

Still, I think despite (later) enlightenment ideas minimising the influence of the Christian Church, they seem to completely ignore Islamic thought completely.

So yeah, I'm going with Ancient Greek ideas of Truth, Justice, and Democracy. Along with their Mathematics. Combined with Enlightenment ideas of Equality, (ie no King's, or more specifically, no Divine Right of Kings...)

My guess is that "Xi Jinpeng Thought" takes a lot from Ancient Chinese philosophy, but rather than the enlightenment thinking they had a lot of Stalinist Communist influence. (see also: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_ ... s_in_China - specifically the Stalinist influence on ideas such as nationhood, ethnicity, and racism).

I don't know whether it would include the 'Mandate of Heaven' idea, kind of the Chinese equivalent to the Divine Right of Kings.

And to your last question, there are many other 'Thoughts' the Islamic world likely has its own philosophy underpinning their world view. Iranian thought likely traces back to ancient Persian Ideas.

Post-colonial India likely has a whole system, I know only that the idea of religion doesn't translate directly onto Hinduism, it is more like a philosophy of religions, allowing many differentsets of belief within the single philosophy. So different villages or homes may worship different gods, but it is acknowledged under Hinduism that they are all different aspects of the same reality (Brahman), allowing all kinds of religious practices within the one framework...

Many Oral traditions contain within them a set of Thought explaining truth and justice, not derived from Greek philosophy or Islamic theology, but based on locallyderived understanding and what some western scholars categorise as 'Animism' (though that may be a fairly questionable designation).

Is that a fair approximation of an answer?

flash2015
Gold Donator
Gold Donator
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:55 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Karma: 1046

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#5 Post by flash2015 » Fri May 28, 2021 10:41 pm

I am not really seeing the connection between the first video and the other two videos. While I do like Veritasium videos at times, he is presenting the topic in a bit of a click-baity way. The video is discussing the limitations of mathematical proofs. When he says "Truth =/= Provable" he really means some conjectures in mathematics that appear to be true based on observation may not be mathematically provable one way or the other (i.e. a formal proof may never exist)...which isn't so profound as his original assertion.

flash2015
Gold Donator
Gold Donator
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:55 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Karma: 1046

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#6 Post by flash2015 » Fri May 28, 2021 10:49 pm

There is an effort, that I have seen many times, to suggest that since maths (or science), can't answer everything...then I can disregard them when I feel like it. This is postmodernist nonsense.

flash2015
Gold Donator
Gold Donator
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:55 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Karma: 1046

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#7 Post by flash2015 » Sat May 29, 2021 1:05 am

The second video on "Ignorance" is interesting enough...but it was a bit all over the place. It was also perhaps a bit too ideological rather than sticking to specific philosophical concepts.

I have some sympathy for some of the things mentioned...but in the end I wasn't really sure what to take out of it.

orathaic
Bronze Donator
Bronze Donator
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:20 pm
Karma: 294

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#8 Post by orathaic » Sun May 30, 2021 12:20 pm

I think my reason for linking them is that in the absence of proof (for example of the twin prime conjecture) you have to take it on faith.

(Ok in mathematics, they might start with 'assume the twin primes conjectures; then...' and go on to prove other things. Which I guess isn't what most people would consider faith).

The video on faith seems to be a perfect example of a different kind of faith, one which may even require Intentional Ignorance (or how did the second video put it?) apply those philosophical ideas of ignorance to culture, reclaim of neo-African religious practices or rejection of white colonial religious influences (or we could just call it Christianity).

I can see all kinds of links between them, but I don't have a clear idea in my head of how the relate, hence my posting. I want to hear other people's views.

orathaic
Bronze Donator
Bronze Donator
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:20 pm
Karma: 294

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#9 Post by orathaic » Sun May 30, 2021 12:49 pm

flash2015 wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 10:49 pm
There is an effort, that I have seen many times, to suggest that since maths (or science), can't answer everything...then I can disregard them when I feel like it. This is postmodernist nonsense.
I can't disagree. There is a certain amount of postmodern sense, that all of science is a social construct, and thus liable to change. But that doesn't mean we should throw all scientific knowledge out.

That said, I am admitting that while being a pantheist, who bases his faith on a scientific understanding of the Universe.

flash2015
Gold Donator
Gold Donator
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:55 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Karma: 1046

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#10 Post by flash2015 » Sun May 30, 2021 11:00 pm

orathaic wrote:
Sun May 30, 2021 12:20 pm
I think my reason for linking them is that in the absence of proof (for example of the twin prime conjecture) you have to take it on faith.

(Ok in mathematics, they might start with 'assume the twin primes conjectures; then...' and go on to prove other things. Which I guess isn't what most people would consider faith).
To my knowledge this never happens. Mathematics is a very strict discipline. You can't base a proof off assuming a conjecture like this.

When we talk about practical application though, you potentially can say "given that it holds up to x" for all practical purposes I can assume it is true.

There is a similar(ish) sort of concept in computer science called a heuristic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heuristic ... r_science)
The video on faith seems to be a perfect example of a different kind of faith, one which may even require Intentional Ignorance (or how did the second video put it?) apply those philosophical ideas of ignorance to culture, reclaim of neo-African religious practices or rejection of white colonial religious influences (or we could just call it Christianity).

I can see all kinds of links between them, but I don't have a clear idea in my head of how the relate, hence my posting. I want to hear other people's views.
I felt the video on ignorance was a bit of a stretch.

I understand historically that there has been a lot of racial ignorance. I do find it interesting the stories on early colour photography, facial recognition algoriths, colour of bandaids etc. I did find John Oliver's recent segment on different hair types insightful. I was ignorant of these things and I was happy to learn something I didn't know. I think there is a push to suggest that this ignorance was all due to racism...whilst I am sympathetic to these issues, I am not a subscriber to that belief.

However, at least to me, he/she took the concept a bit too far. What she may call "ignorance" I would call priorities and rationalizations. For example, for me, I wouldn't call eating meat bad just because of the cruelties of factory farming. I know it is happening. I am not ignorant of it. But I also see the good in it - this has lead to reduced food prices which have generally led to an increase in living standards across the board and a reduction in poverty. My priority is that the rights of humans generally trump the rights of animals.

It was interesting the discussion on how cigarette companies held back the tide of evidence linking smoking to lung cancer for decades (I did know of this already). It would have been useful though if she could have gone beyond the "corporations are bad" argument to see how similar methods are being used today. In the US, religious fundamentalists want schools to "teach the controversy" about evolution as if there is one at all vs. creationism. The general goal of anti-vaxxers is not to prove to you that vaccines are bad. It is good enough to put doubt in your mind about it, that there is still something "untested" or still in doubt, just like the cigarette companies did.

Possibly cover the schooling part in a follow-up post...otherwise this gets too long.

orathaic
Bronze Donator
Bronze Donator
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:20 pm
Karma: 294

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#11 Post by orathaic » Mon May 31, 2021 7:46 am

Thinking about it, there is a certain level of Ignorance in the first video. At first mathematician were ignorant of godel's incompleteness theorem (because it hadn't been written down), but they had this idea of a complete, consistent world described by mathematics.

I guess it follows that a lot of non-mathematicians have some ideas (and Ignorance) about how the world works. I would usually describe it like a clockwork machine (the Newtonian view) where you reduce the world to some kind of procedure, A->B->C, rather than seeing the whole.

A view often claimed to be more rational and less emotional. But ignorsnt not only of the emotional basis for pushing this narrative, but also the very clearly defined limitations to such a model.

I don't know how to explain this idea. Maybe the factory farming example is the best. The 'suffering is good because quality of human life has increased' argument holds no weight with me (I did give up meat because of a factory farming discussion), first, has quality of life actually increased? Second, obesity (particularly in the US where factory farming is, as I understand it, the most advanced/cruel) has increased to epidemic proportions, and thus quality of deir seems to be deteriating (I happened to see this contrast here: https://youtu.be/lr4MmmWQtZM)

Reducing food production to a machine, seems like a very western view point. Rational, under valuing the emotions of the animals, and blissfully ignorant of the reality (ie things like the disease risk, and over use of anti-biotic, which breeds resistance bacteria, where has unintended consequences for human health) because this 'machine' point of view simplifies things ignoring aspects of reality.

I was ignorant before giving up meat. In a way that I was aware of factory farming as a concept, but I ignored the details and didn't evaluate it, or my part in the system (even though irish farms rarely employ such methods, and utilise lots of greens grass, out door methods,but that just happens to be our competitive advantage - something the vegan propoganda would leave you ignorant of if you listened to it alone).

flash2015
Gold Donator
Gold Donator
Posts: 2978
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:55 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Karma: 1046

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#12 Post by flash2015 » Sat Jun 05, 2021 10:18 am

Human welfare has absolutely increased. Not to be rude, you are denying reality if you think otherwise.

We can go back and talk about Malthus...and the belief that increasing population would lead to starvation. We were supposed to have starved long before now. We have avoided this fate through increased farm productivity.

In 2019, overall percentage of income in the US spent on food reached an all time low (9.5%), again largely due to increased farm productivity.

https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ ... -spending/

The poorest people of course spend the largest percentage of income on food (36%) and thus would be most affected by actions that would reduce farm productivity and raise food prices. For me human welfare trumps animal welfare...and I am completely and utterly unapologetic about this. It is admirable that you have being willing to give meat up...but I just don't see the issue in the same way.

As an aside, I see abortion in a similar way. The rights of the mother trump the rights of the unborn child. I am not ignorant of the process of abortion. I have seen enough anti-abortion videos to see the worst of it.

This doesn't mean that food production doesn't have problems. I am happy to talk about the cost-benefit of these issues. Obviously, all things else being equal (i.e. farm productivity doesn't change), less animal suffering is better than more suffering. Obviously, all things else being equal, less antibiotic use is better than more antibiotic use etc. Hormones, pesticides etc. I see in a similar way. And of course, we need to ensure that businesses can't "privatize profits and socialize costs". Government regulation is required so that we can do this cost-benefit analysis with all costs factored in.

I don't see there is much of a direct link between efficient factory farming and obesity. The issue of obesity is far more complex than that from changing lifestyles to the rise of fast food...which is designed to appeal to much of our worst instincts. I have been certainly a fan of more transparency and less ignorance of the nutrition content of food (e.g. restaurants now needing to provide calorie and other nutrition info when ordering)...though I am not sure that is really making a difference.

There are potentially more convincing arguments to me about why we will eventually need to reduce our meat consumption. The resources required to create 1000 calories of meat is several orders of magnitude more than the resources required to generate similar calories from a non-meat diet. This is especially true for beef.

I believe this is why the research into meat substitutes are so important. It is unrealistic to believe that most people will willingly reduce their standard of living for a long term goal. They absolutely won't. The only realistic option for success is to provide alternatives which can provide an equal or better experience than we have now using fewer resources.
2

orathaic
Bronze Donator
Bronze Donator
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:20 pm
Karma: 294

Re: Truth, Ignorance and Faith

#13 Post by orathaic » Sat Jun 05, 2021 10:22 pm

So much there. I agree with you on abortion, but not on animal welfare.

I don't think my standard of living has reduced by giving up meat, and as more people do so, and the demand for plant based products continues to increase, it becomes easier to access those products.

Overall, I don't see that an increase in human welfare at the cost of the destruction of the biosphere is a net positive. Though I admit it is hard being a socialist and an environmentalist. But given that human welfare (in the long term) depends on the biosphere... You can see how those two things aren't entirely in conflict.

Still, that is aside entirely from the point, by which I mean, don't let the example distract from the argument.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest