Belief versus Knowledge

I’ve previously written that belief in something means that you only think that when you don’t know but perhaps the distinction between the two hasn’t been as well put, so here is another explanation.

Suppose I am a farmer and have a farm with many paddocks, some of which are quite a distance from the main house. One of the furtherest paddocks needs to be mowed and I ask my eldest son to mow that paddock the next day.  At the end of the day we both arrive home, I from a visit in town, he from his assigned job, the mowing of the far paddock.

I have not been to the mowed paddock to actually see whether it has been mowed, but I believe it to have been mowed, and may ask my son whether he completed the task.

However if, on returning from town, I diverted from my track to the house to the paddock in question and saw that it indeed had been mowed, I would no longer need to believe my son, but now know, from personal observation, that the paddock had been mowed.

So I believe when I don’t know, and when I do know, I no longer need to believe.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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2 Responses to Belief versus Knowledge

  1. thx1138 says:

    I think a more important distinction would be “belief versus thinking”. Belief comes with an irrational certainty even in the face of evidence against it. Belief is in fact a false certainty. People seem to have an irrational need for certainty even if it is false, and will violently opposed any attempt to violate that false certainty.

    In my opinion it is better to think that the eldest son mowed the paddock rather than believe he did until I am able to go and ascertain the fact for myself. Thinking allows for a large degree of uncertainty.

    In my opinion uncertainty is more rational than certainty, quite the opposite of the current prevailing philosophy. It is this unreasonable need for certainty which has disallowed the facts of recent catastrophes which have shaped our world, and has disallowed investigation into new evidence of new phenomena which countermand the beliefs held by society today. In my experience, this insane certainty and belief is particularly galling in three major religious groups (although not exclusively) namely jewdeo-christianity (sic), islam and science.

    Little Orphan Annie reassured all believers thusly:

    The sun’ll come out
    Tomorrow
    Bet your bottom dollar
    That tomorrow
    There’ll be sun!

    People are so enamored with magic tricks that they want to be deceived and are angry or disappointed if they can see through the trick. People are being subjected to this type of deception daily throughout the day especially through their TV sets.

    The list of lies hoaxes and deceptions that I’ve discovered is enormous.

    Here’s the best posting regarding “beliefs” that I’ve ever found on the net:

    ARE WE SLAVES TO OUR BELIEFS?

    By T. C. Fry

    Beliefs will make you a slave. Beliefs are inherently wrong and imprison us to the degree that we give them loyalty. That which is true and proper to our lives is known and does not have to be believed. If you believe, you believe without proof. Truth always serves us.

    Belief is a different animal altogether. Belief demands we serve it, not the other way around. This camouflages its basic character as an exploitive and enslaving device. The nature of every belief system is to demand acceptance and obedience. Not only does it tend to suppress and destroy differing belief systems, forcing, if it can, all to adopt its concepts, but it also seeks to suppress the truth as well.

    Most people are in love with their beliefs to the exclusion of the striking and self-evident truths in their lives. By their very nature, all belief systems are false and inhuman. Simply, the truth does not have to be believed. Truth is always evident and easy to know, especially that which is relevant to ourselves and our environment.

    All belief systems are concocted in the minds of men and women. While virtually everyone disbelieves every system but their own, in some areas, notably so-called medical science, the mass of people accept it as above question or reproach.

    We do not have to believe the truth. Truth is verifiable. It can be known. Beliefs are not verifiable but are absurdly easy to disprove. The truth always stays around regardless.

    All the belief in the world does not change one truth! For instance, it was only a few hundred years ago that everyone believed the earth to be flat. For uttering the heresy that the earth was round, the Catholic Church burned scientists of the time at the stake.

    But all the beliefs notwithstanding, the earth was not thereby flattened a bit. To insist that your beliefs are true is sheer arrogance and nonsense. Please do not confuse beliefs with theories. Theories are temporary while beliefs have a habit of being final.

    Beliefs are really illusions and delusions. It is said that the hardest person in the world to face is yourself. Likewise, most in our world are the victims of deep-seated beliefs and refuse to face the fact that they are enslaved and exploited by and through them.

    Mental laziness is exemplified in our refusal to face up to the fact that we are easily exploited by beliefs we accept uncritically, which have usually been implanted in us when we were young and impressionable. It is mental laziness when we refuse to take steps to discover the truth that would cast off the shackles of beliefs or slavery. Thus, by default, we continue our slavish, harmful and deleterious ways, affecting not only ourselves but those with whom we’re associated.

    Many of us are misled into believing in the medical system and all its train of absurdities. All that I have cited above applies to the belief system perpetrated as the medical system, or so-called “medical science”. There is no science in drugging people who have subscribed to the absurd belief that they can be poisoned into health by so-called “medicines”.

    There is no science in a system that is based on lies, since it does not and cannot promote true health. That which does not work is unscientific. Very simply, the medical system does not work in practice.

    http://rawschool.com/beliefs/

    Like

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