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HughRistik comments on Don't Believe You'll Self-Deceive - Less Wrong

15 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 09 March 2009 08:03AM

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Comment author: HughRistik 10 March 2009 09:17:36PM 3 points [-]

I'm also having trouble seeing kurige's "doublethink."

The double-think comes into play when you're faced with non-axiomatic concepts such as morality. I believe that there is a God - and that He has instilled a sense of right and wrong in us by which we are able to evaluate the world around us. I also believe a sense of morality has been evolutionarily programmed into us - a sense of morality that is most likely a result of the formation of meta-political coalitions in Bonobo communities a very, very long time ago.

These two beliefs are not contradictory, but the complexity lies in reconciling the two.

As you observe, the beliefs are not contradictory. There are various creative ways of reconciling them, such as deism (e.g. "God started the Big Bang"). Whether these reconciliations are true, or reasonable, is another question. Yet they are internally consistent, so there is no contradiction or double-think.

Instead of blind-faith in religious tenants, my world-view currently accommodates two traditionally exclusive systems of belief: religion and science.

I think that this is the closest to a contradiction you have displayed. It doesn't seem like your form of religion excludes the claims of science, but your version of science may exclude the claims of religion.

If, in your view, science requires the use of Occam's Razor, and you think belief in God violates Occam's Razor (as I do), yet you continue to believe in God, then I think you would be engaging in double-think. Yet if you don't think that Occam's Razor is valid, or you don't think that belief in God violates it, then I wouldn't claim that you were engaging in double-think without additional information.

Comment author: Annoyance 10 March 2009 09:25:27PM 1 point [-]

"There are various creative ways of reconciling them, such as deism (e.g. "God started the Big Bang"). Whether these reconciliations are true, or reasonable, is another question."

If the purported reconciliation isn't reasonable, it's not a reconciliation, just as an asserted solution to a mathematical problem that doesn't match the requirements isn't an actual solution.

If I hit you in the head with a bat, would you accept that God was responsible because your injury wouldn't have occurred if (we presume) the universe had not been set into motion?

Comment author: HughRistik 10 March 2009 10:58:56PM *  4 points [-]

Annoyance said:

If the purported reconciliation isn't reasonable, it's not a reconciliation, just as an asserted solution to a mathematical problem that doesn't match the requirements isn't an actual solution.

First, I'm not sure what you are trying to show by your analogy to a mathematical problem, or by your question.

When I say that beliefs are reconciled, I am talking about internal consistency. Belief systems can be internally consistent without being true or reasonable.

If someone believes X and Y, and they do not contradict each other, then their beliefs are reconciled and internally consistent, even if Y is false or unreasonable. (Unless they hold another belief, Z, which implies that Y is false.)

Being wrong or unreasonable is not necessarily double-think. Do you not agree?

If we take someone who has seemingly internally consistent, but certain demonstrably false or unreasonable beliefs, then we might wonder if we could dig up a contradiction in their beliefs if we dug hard enough. Take, for instance, a theist who turns out to believe Occam's Razor. In this case, the internal consistency of their beliefs falls apart.

Yet even then, this still isn't necessarily double-think. Orwell's definition requires "holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously." If our theist never even thought about their beliefs in God and how they measured up to Occam's Razor, then this would not be double-thinking, it would be lack-of-thinking.

Comment author: Annoyance 11 March 2009 05:32:39PM 1 point [-]

"When I say that beliefs are reconciled, I am talking about internal consistency. Belief systems can be internally consistent without being true or reasonable."

They might not be true, and they might not be reasonable *in regard to a framing system of beliefs and knowledge, but they DO have to be reasonable relative to each other.

Saying that God is responsible for the existence of creation does not imply that everything that happens (including evolutionary processes) was designed by God. Evolutionary development as a concept is incompatible with the concept of intentional design. The two beliefs are not compatible with each other.