Posted: Jan 04, 2018 2:39 am
by Calilasseia
Thommo wrote:Yeah, that's true. The nation state of Sweden is a social construct, although the Geographical nation of Sweden and many of the instruments (e.g. government buildings, passports, other documentation) attributed to that social construct are identifiable directly through the senses.

I did follow the link in the OP, I was genuinely amazed that someone would write quite so many words on such a turgid subject. His entire central thesis can be summed up in a couple of sentences. It's still irrational to not believe in something when there's an abundance of independent, direct physical evidence for its existence. This is true of Sweden.

Nonetheless if someone asks me for evidence of some arbitrary non-belief I hold, e.g. whether there is intelligent extraterrestrial life within one billion light years - there's bugger all evidence one way or the other so I don't believe it.

I think the truth is that I (and perhaps others) am not strictly neutral about any and all god claims, that on some of them I have greater doubts than others - e.g. miracle working gods that suspend the laws of nature in arbitrary ways, despite us having the evidence that natural laws have held throughout human history. But the key difference there is that shift from neutrality is still driven by evidence perceptible by the senses - we can see, hear, smell, touch and taste natural laws in action.

Actually, the whole problem here, isn't the nature of Sweden as a social construct (albeit one with an empirically verifiable geographical entity associated therewith), it's the bullshit apologetics peddled around the word belief. Which in turn stems from the fact that the word 'belief' is used, mistakenly in my view, to cover both uncritical acceptance of unsupported assertions (which in my view, should be the only meaning attached thereto), and acceptance of conclusions by inference from insufficient data. Which is why I continue to insist that we should be rendering this duplicitous weapon useless, by proper insistence upon rigorous analysis of the concepts involved.

Quite simply, I regard the word 'belief' as referring only to uncritical acceptance of unsupported assertions, and exhort others to do the same, precisely to kill off duplicitous apologetics of the sort we've seen above at source. When one has data to work with in order to guide one's thoughts about a statement, even if that data is currently insufficient to support a rigorous conclusion, then belief does not enter the picture from that point on, and in my view, this is the case by definition. Properly, one regards statements as true or false, and if said regard is based upon data, then from that point on, the position in question has nothing to do with 'belief'. Proper expunging of the misuse of the word 'belief' will destroy much apologetic drivel before it's even launched, which is why I commend this approach.