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Mon May 7, 2018, 09:04 PM

What is a belief system?

The term gets used here a lot, but I honestly don't know what it means. I've never used it prior to participating in the Religion Group here at DU. Some hypotheses I have about what it might mean are:
- a specific belief
- a random belief
- a group of related beliefs
- a group of unrelated beliefs
- a world view
- an ethical view
- a religious faith

There are probably other possibilities. All of them seem to fit some contexts but not others. Sometimes it seems assumed that everybody has one. Other times it seems more like it's recommended we should have one, and if we don't bad things might happen. Can anyone enlighten me?

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Reply What is a belief system? (Original post)
marylandblue May 2018 OP
guillaumeb May 2018 #1
marylandblue May 2018 #5
Eko May 2018 #7
marylandblue May 2018 #9
Eko May 2018 #10
marylandblue May 2018 #11
Eko May 2018 #12
marylandblue May 2018 #14
Eko May 2018 #16
marylandblue May 2018 #18
Eko May 2018 #22
marylandblue May 2018 #25
Eko May 2018 #30
guillaumeb May 2018 #71
marylandblue May 2018 #73
guillaumeb May 2018 #80
marylandblue May 2018 #84
guillaumeb May 2018 #85
marylandblue May 2018 #88
guillaumeb May 2018 #89
Eko May 2018 #8
marylandblue May 2018 #13
Eko May 2018 #15
marylandblue May 2018 #17
Eko May 2018 #20
marylandblue May 2018 #24
Eko May 2018 #26
marylandblue May 2018 #32
Eko May 2018 #34
marylandblue May 2018 #37
Eko May 2018 #39
marylandblue May 2018 #41
Eko May 2018 #42
marylandblue May 2018 #43
Eko May 2018 #45
marylandblue May 2018 #47
Eko May 2018 #50
marylandblue May 2018 #54
Eko May 2018 #46
marylandblue May 2018 #48
Eko May 2018 #49
marylandblue May 2018 #53
Tobin S. May 2018 #56
trotsky May 2018 #60
Tobin S. May 2018 #62
trotsky May 2018 #64
Tobin S. May 2018 #91
trotsky May 2018 #94
Act_of_Reparation May 2018 #66
Tobin S. May 2018 #92
Act_of_Reparation May 2018 #93
Eko May 2018 #68
marylandblue May 2018 #72
Eko May 2018 #74
marylandblue May 2018 #76
Eko May 2018 #77
Eko May 2018 #75
marylandblue May 2018 #79
Eko May 2018 #81
Eko May 2018 #83
Eko May 2018 #78
Eko May 2018 #70
Major Nikon May 2018 #23
marylandblue May 2018 #27
Major Nikon May 2018 #31
marylandblue May 2018 #38
Major Nikon May 2018 #44
Buzz cook May 2018 #52
Eko May 2018 #28
Major Nikon May 2018 #33
Eko May 2018 #36
Major Nikon May 2018 #40
Voltaire2 May 2018 #2
guillaumeb May 2018 #3
Major Nikon May 2018 #29
guillaumeb May 2018 #69
Major Nikon May 2018 #86
guillaumeb May 2018 #87
Major Nikon May 2018 #90
trotsky May 2018 #61
Eko May 2018 #4
Iggo May 2018 #6
dhol82 May 2018 #19
marylandblue May 2018 #21
dhol82 May 2018 #35
Major Nikon May 2018 #51
Buzz cook May 2018 #55
Major Nikon May 2018 #58
Buzz cook May 2018 #63
Major Nikon May 2018 #65
Act_of_Reparation May 2018 #57
MineralMan May 2018 #59
marylandblue May 2018 #67
guillaumeb May 2018 #82
marylandblue May 2018 #95
guillaumeb May 2018 #96
marylandblue May 2018 #97
guillaumeb May 2018 #98
marylandblue May 2018 #99
guillaumeb May 2018 #100
marylandblue May 2018 #101

Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:23 PM

1. It is often used, especially in this forum,

to refer to a formalized belief system. But I would think that all of us have a belief system of sorts. If you are a Democratic voter, you might share a certain set of beliefs with other Democratic voters.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #1)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:54 PM

5. Can you define belief system without using the words belief or system in the definition

Definitions that use words that are in the term being defined tend to be circular.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #5)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:56 PM

7. Here.

a set of principles or tenets which together form the basis of a religion, philosophy, or moral code.

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Response to Eko (Reply #7)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:59 PM

9. That's pretty good, but what if I don't have a religion, philosophy or moral code

What if I think primarily in pragmatic terms, rather than following a specific set of principles? Does that mean I don't have a belief system.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #9)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:02 PM

10. Hopefully you have a moral code.

But see post 8 for another view.

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Response to Eko (Reply #10)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:08 PM

11. I don't have a code, I have moral intuitions

For me, things are right or wrong based on intuitive understandings in context. Any codification comes after the intuitions as way of communicating them, but I don't think morality can be reduced to a code.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #11)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:10 PM

12. So you have

moral intuitive understandings in context.

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Response to Eko (Reply #12)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:12 PM

14. Yes, but they aren't codified, so aren't really beliefs

They could form the basis of a belief system, but such a system would be incomplete and like many ethical codes, lead to moral contradictions.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #14)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:21 PM

16. I dont see how that differs from a moral code at all.

People think its wrong to kill but go to war and kill.

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Response to Eko (Reply #16)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:24 PM

18. I don't think it's wrong to kill or go to war

I think it's wrong to murder, which is defined as illegal killing. What makes a killing legal or illegal depends on context and social rules but can't be fully codified.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #18)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:31 PM

22. Well there is your moral code.

Its wrong to murder.

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Response to Eko (Reply #22)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:39 PM

25. Like I said, that's an intuition, not a code.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #25)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:43 PM

30. Whatever you say.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #14)

Tue May 8, 2018, 07:42 PM

71. Informal versus formal.

But if you have beliefs, you have a personal belief system. Can you imagine anyone not having a belief system that governs responses to situations?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #71)

Tue May 8, 2018, 07:54 PM

73. I don't know, right now I think MM in #59 is right

The concept of "belief systems" seems poorly defined and therefore not of much use. I am not even sure how much sure how much the concept of "beliefs" is useful. It seems to be a very flexible term with a lot of different meanings, therefore it generates more argument than enlightenment.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #73)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:18 PM

80. But if you have beliefs,

you have a belief system. It may be personal and informal, but it is still a pattern of beliefs that influences how you react to situations.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #80)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:31 PM

84. Yes, but the whole thing is such a broad conception so as to be worthless

Everything you think of can be called a belief, and any two beliefs put together can be called a belief system. So to say I have a belief system is simply to say I have a brain.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #84)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:59 PM

85. It is not worthless because it governs your behavior.

It may be personal to you, but it is not worthless to you or to others because it is a part of your sentience.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #85)

Tue May 8, 2018, 09:13 PM

88. Worthless as a concept related to religion discussions, not worthless in general

Everything we talk about here is some sort of belief system according to one definition or another. But so what? It's like pointing out we are writing in English. It's true, and it's important to communicating that we write in the same language, but it is not itself a topic of much discussion. Why is it so important to point out that everything is a belief system? And if it is so important, why is there no agreed upon definition of it?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #88)

Tue May 8, 2018, 09:19 PM

89. I liked your analogy of using the same language.

But given how many different opinions and beliefs there are on many subjects, any definition is to a degree personal to the believer.

But consider the many denominations of Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, and see them as reflective of a division of opinion.


I saw an article about atheism that stated that approximately 10% of atheists believe in a higher power. Belief is a complicated matter, and as evidenced by the strong discussion here, a contentious matter.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #5)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:57 PM

8. Here is another.

"Belief systems are structures of norms that are interrelated and that
vary mainly in the degree in which they are systemic. What is systemic in the Belief
system is the interrelation between several beliefs. What features warrant calling this
stored body of concepts a belief system? Belief systems are the stories we tell ourselves
to define our personal sense of Reality. Every human being has a belief system that
they utilize, and it is through this mechanism that we individually, "make sense" of the
world around us. Perceived Reality is constructed by means of systems of signs, being
affected and being changed by means of Belief systems. A subject cannot understand a
sign without talking about to a system that is learned socially and that allows him to
make sense of perception. In the same way, the classification of signs in closed
typologies can be deceptive, since the status of the sign depends strongly on the form in
which the sign is used within the Belief system. A significant can nevertheless be iconic
in a belief context and, to be symbolic in another context. From these we can see that
people are capable of constructing all manner of individual beliefs by which they tell
stories about how the world works. As humans, we tend to use all these belief systems
to varying degrees to cope with events in our lives. Ultimately we need the world to
make sense at some level. Therefore, those areas where that "sense of reality" is most
challenged will tend to be the areas in which the most controversies exist."
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiA18yqgfXaAhVMh-AKHbG8CN0QFghTMAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fpdfs.semanticscholar.org%2F1a00%2F10e05368c1fa4242473908ae7e9b2ed6538e.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2jQSzPKzkMriI4Bnz4nudt

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Response to Eko (Reply #8)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:10 PM

13. Thanks, interesting article

This article would tend to render moot the supposition that science without a belief system is weak. It's moot because there is no such thing as science without a belief system. It is itself a belief system, or part of one. Would you agree?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #13)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:19 PM

15. No,

Read the paper. Science is not a belief system.

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Response to Eko (Reply #15)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:22 PM

17. I read the paper, why isn't science a belief system?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #17)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:30 PM

20. Sigh.

The elements (concepts, propositions, rules, etc.) of a belief system are not
consensual.
That is, the elements of one system might be quite different from
those of a second in the same content domain. And a third system different from
both. Individual differences of this kind do not generally characterize ordinary
knowledge systems, except insofar as one might want to represent differences in
capability or complexity

Belief systems are in part concerned with the existence or nonexistence of
certain conceptual entities. God, motherland, witches, and assassination
conspiracies are examples of such entities.
This feature of belief systems is
essentially a special case of the nonconsensuality feature.

9) Belief systems often include representations of alternative worlds, typically the
world as it is and the world as it should be. Revolutionary or Utopian belief
systems especially have this character. The world must be changed in order to
achieve an idealized state, and discussions of such change must elaborate how
present reality operates deficiently, and what political, economic, social (etc.)
factors must be manipulated in order to eliminate the deficiencies.

11) Belief systems are likely to include a substantial amount of episodic material
from either personal experience or (for cultural belief systems) from folklore or
(for political doctrines) from propaganda.

13) Beliefs can be held with varying degrees of certitude. The believer can be
passionately committed to a point of view, or at the other extreme could regard
a state of affairs as more probable than not. This dimension of variation is
absent from knowledge systems. One would not say that one knew a fact
strongly. There exist some examples of attempts to model variable credences or
"'confidence weights" of beliefs and how these change as a function of new
information. A distinction should be made between the certitude attaching to a
single belief and the strength of attachment to a large system of beliefs.

2. ELEMENTS OF BELIEF SYSTEMS
1) Values. Implicitly or explicitly, belief systems define what is good or valuable.
Ideal values tend to be abstract summaries of the behavioral attributes which
social system rewards, formulated after the fact.

2) Substantive beliefs (Sb). They are the more important and basic beliefs of a
belief system. Statements such as: all the power for the people, God exists,
Black is Beautiful, and so on, comprise the actual content of the belief systems
and may take almost any form. For the believers, substantive beliefs are the
focus of interest.

3) Orientation. The believer may assume the existence of a framework of
assumptions around his thought, it may not actually exist. The orientation he
shares with other believers may be illusory. For example, consider almost any
politic and sociologic belief system. Such system evolves highly detailed and
highly systematic doctrines long after they come into existence and that they
came into existence of rather specific substantive beliefs. Believers interact,
share specific consensuses, and give themselves a specific name: Marxism,
socialism, Nazism, etc. Then, professionals of this belief system work out an
orientation, logic, sets of criteria of validity, and so forth.

I could keep going, but did you see anywhere in there, which was very detailed and concise, that they include science?



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Response to Eko (Reply #20)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:37 PM

24. I don't see anywhere where it excludes it

And some of the features of belief systems appear to apply to science. For example science has an implicit value that knowledge is good. Substantive beliefs of science include that testing hypotheses experimentally leads to truth. Not that under this point, the article says the beliefs may take almost any form. Also see your answer in No. 4, where you said beliefs may be facts based on evidence, which appears to include science.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #24)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:40 PM

26. Right off the bat it does, I even put it in bold.

The elements (concepts, propositions, rules, etc.) of a belief system are not
consensual. That is, the elements of one system might be quite different from
those of a second in the same content domain.


As for post 4, beliefs may use science, but that doesnt make science a belief any more that a man using a horse makes him a horse.

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Response to Eko (Reply #26)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:44 PM

32. That definition still doesn't exclude science

One person might believe in science. Another might believe the earth is 6,000 years old.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #32)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:46 PM

34. Uh, yes it does.

The elements (concepts, propositions, rules, etc.) of a belief system are not
consensual.
Science is consensual, something is true because any scientist can do the same experiment and come to the same conclusion.

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Response to Eko (Reply #34)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:54 PM

37. That is true among people who accept science

But we know of many people who do not. Creationists, anti-vaxxers, climate deniers. They see the same facts everyone else does, but interpret it differently. So it's a part of a belief system if you want to accept science or not.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #37)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:01 PM

39. They dont interpret it differently,

They don't even accept the evidence that they can get for themselves. That's like saying gravity is a belief even though you throw your freaking apple and every single time it falls to the earth. What? do you think the scientists that designed your computer or phone that you are using to post here just believed it would work? That they just believed the internet would work? That it was their opinion and not based on facts? How about the ones that designed your car, they just believed it would start, move and stop you from 60+mph? Of course not, they know it will because it is testable, repeatable. They know why it works, and they apply the very same knowledge to many other applications. You know what the antonym to belief is? Its fact and truth.

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Response to Eko (Reply #39)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:06 PM

41. We are defining science differently

The things you are describing are "physical reality." "Science" is a method for explaining physical reality and the theories developed by that method. To use the method properly, you have to believe certain things, but your beliefs don't change the physical reality you are exploring.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #41)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:10 PM

42. Talking with you is going nowhere.

It is my opinion that your beliefs are in no way on par with facts and science. You go ahead and give credence to the Creationists, anti-vaxxers, and climate deniers that their beliefs are just a valid as the "belief" of science. In my opinion that kind of thinking is what it monumentally wrong with our country.

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Response to Eko (Reply #42)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:11 PM

43. I didn't say their beliefs were just as valid

I said their beliefs were beliefs, which would seem to be pretty obvious.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #43)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:15 PM

45. And that science is a belief.

Right?

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Response to Eko (Reply #45)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:37 PM

47. Like I said, we are defining science differently

And I don't really care what you call the two things. But one thing is a belief about physical reality and the other IS physical reality. And nothing in making this distinction gives credence to any erroneous beliefs about physical reality. A person may believe they can fly. It is a belief. They may jump off a building. Of course they will fall and probably die. So it's not a valid belief about reality. But there was nothing in anything you've said that requires beliefs or belief systems to be in any sense valid or corresponding to physical reality.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #47)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:47 PM

50. So, what is science?

We already know to you it is a belief.

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Response to Eko (Reply #50)

Tue May 8, 2018, 01:00 AM

54. I gave you my definition of science in #41

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #43)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:25 PM

46. And I didnt say you said they were just as valid.

only that you lend credence to them by saying that. If Science is a belief like you claim, then it becomes your opinion that one belief has more validity than another instead of saying that one is not a belief. Like I said, you give credence to their argument. Why? I'm not sure, but possibly because you want to elevate your belief to the level of science. As I said, talking with you is getting nowhere and its thinking like what you are espousing is what I believe has led us down this dark road we are on.

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Response to Eko (Reply #46)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:39 PM

48. I am not giving credence to anything

Wrong beliefs are still beliefs. Is there something that makes them not beliefs, other than the fact that they are wrong? Other beliefs are correct. Is there something about a correct belief that makes it not a belief?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #48)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:44 PM

49. Wrong beliefs?

Thats just your opinion (or, ahem, belief) since facts and such don't matter. If only we had something that could show is the real truth.

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Response to Eko (Reply #49)

Tue May 8, 2018, 12:59 AM

53. "Belief" and "opinion" are not always synonymous.

Do you believe the earth is round, or is that just your opinion? I assume you believe it to be true, and don't think it is a matter of opinion. I don't think it is a matter of opinion either. So stop saying "facts and such don't matter." Neither you nor I think that.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #53)

Tue May 8, 2018, 03:09 AM

56. Science and religion are in two totally different realms of thought.

They can get along together unless you're trying to tell people the Earth is only 6000 years old and humans coexisted with dinosaurs. Al Gore, in the film An Inconvenient Truth, said that he thought that there was no conflict between science and religion, and that is true if you are not a fundie. You can be a promoter of scientific discovery and still be a religious person. That's probably where many Democrats are. The two can coexist in the same individual.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #56)

Tue May 8, 2018, 09:23 AM

60. But not really.

Most religions have claims about the origin of the universe. That's not their realm - that's the realm of science.

Most religions have claims about supernatural forces that can affect events in this universe. That's also the realm of science. If something can affect this universe, it can be observed and studied. Ergo, science.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #60)

Tue May 8, 2018, 12:02 PM

62. Creation stories aren't meant to be taken literally.

I was reading a theologian by the name of David Bentley Hart who said that fundamentalist Christianity really wasn't popular until the 20th century. Religious texts are steeped in allegory and metaphor. It's usually fundamentalists that take the literal view, and I think that's wrong, too. For me, religion is about the interior world in the individual. That's how the people at my church practice. We are not evangelicals. As for miracles, who knows? I've had things that have happened to me that seem unexplainable and beyond coincidence, but there wasn't a scientist around to study it, and much of that kind of thing has to do with the interior world of the individual as well.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #62)

Tue May 8, 2018, 02:02 PM

64. "Creation stories aren't meant to be taken literally."

In U.S., 42% Believe Creationist View of Human Origins

That's a lot of people. More than just fundamentalists. But either supernatural things can affect the world (they are therefore within the realm of science) or they are not. Can't pick and choose as you see fit for alleged "miracles."

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Response to trotsky (Reply #64)

Wed May 9, 2018, 02:22 AM

91. I can just report to you what happened.

There is no one who can verify it, and you’d just have to get ale my word for it. I’m sure you won’t. Like I said, it’s about the interior world. There is no way you can scientifically verify such things.im not I picking and choosing.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #91)

Wed May 9, 2018, 08:48 AM

94. Actually, there is a way.

If something can affect the physical world, it can be studied. And no, I have absolutely no reason to take your word on anything.

Can you define this "interior world" of yours? I have no idea what that means.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #62)

Tue May 8, 2018, 03:12 PM

66. Oh, they weren't?

Funny that pretty much everyone forgot about that for thousands of years, only to have us conveniently remember once science had the question of creation more or less in the corner pocket. Totes coincidental, I'm sure.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #66)

Wed May 9, 2018, 02:26 AM

92. Trotsky just said 42% of Americans are creationists

Hart has studied theology for almost his whole adult life. I’ll take his word for it.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #92)

Wed May 9, 2018, 08:44 AM

93. I don't see that as particularly damaging to my argument.

If you want to take Hart's words for it, that's fine. You still have to reckon the "what should be" with "what actually is". Even if the creation stories were never intended to be taken literally, the fact of the matter is they are taken literally, and have been for much of their respective religions' existence.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #53)

Tue May 8, 2018, 07:16 PM

68. I dont believe the earth is round.

I know it is, it is a fact not a belief.

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Response to Eko (Reply #68)

Tue May 8, 2018, 07:48 PM

72. See the definition of belief

Definition of belief, Merriam Webster, Definition 3
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belief

conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence, belief in the validity of scientific statements


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Response to marylandblue (Reply #72)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:02 PM

74. Here is the oxford.

1. An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.
‘his belief in extraterrestrial life’
with clause ‘a belief that climate can be modified beneficially’

1.1 Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion.
‘we're prepared to fight for our beliefs’
mass noun ‘contrary to popular belief existing safety regulations were adequate’

1.2 A religious conviction.
‘Christian beliefs’
mass noun ‘the medieval system of fervent religious belief’

2 belief inTrust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something)
‘a belief in democratic politics’
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/belief

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Response to Eko (Reply #74)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:05 PM

76. "something one accepts as true"

So you know that the earth is round, but don't accept that it's true?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #76)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:06 PM

77. I think you missed the rest of that.

especially one without proof.
‘his belief in extraterrestrial life’

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #72)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:05 PM

75. Cambridge.

1.something believed; an opinion or conviction:
a belief that the earth is flat.

2.confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof:
a statement unworthy of belief.

3.confidence; faith; trust:
a child's belief in his parents.

4.a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith:
the Christian belief.
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/belief

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Response to Eko (Reply #75)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:15 PM

79. I'm not sure why you are just multiplying dictionary definition

I found at least one that uses it the way I am using it. Are you trying to tell me I can't use Merriam Webster, I have to use Oxford or Cambridge?

I am not sure where dictionary.com gets its defintions, but it doesn't appear to be Cambridge
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/belief#dataset-british

Anyway, thesaurus.com at the dictionary.com link says that knowledge is a synonym for belief, so I think that source backs up my definition as well.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #79)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:20 PM

81. I must have posted the wrong one.

Regardless Cambridge backs mine up.
the feeling of being certain that something exists or is true:
[ C ] philosophical beliefs
[ C ] He made no secret of his belief that she was guilty.
[ U ] I have no belief in magic.

Not all knowledge is science. I can know a lot about baseball pitchers, thats not science.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #79)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:24 PM

83. You know what are some other synonyms for belief are?

assumption, faith, feeling, hope, notion, opinion.
You know what are some Antonyms for belief?
reality, fact, proof and truth.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #72)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:14 PM

78. Neil deGrasse Tyson

"Science, he says, is objective. It’s not something that you believe or do not believe; it’s something that you accept or don’t accept. It remains true regardless of your personal beliefs."
https://futurism.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-belief/

As you previously said, it doesn't matter if you think you can fly, jump off a building and your beliefs meet science.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #53)

Tue May 8, 2018, 07:40 PM

70. And it is easily provable.

take some Binoculars, go to the beach, watch a ship sail away, guess which part starts to disappear first?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #5)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:36 PM

23. In the simplest sense it's a mental construct that defines the world around you.

Science isn't a belief system, but it can be used as a tool to explain the physical world.

Religion isn't a belief system, but it can be used as a tool to explain the physical world.

The first approach uses evidence and reason. The second uses faith.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #23)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:41 PM

27. What is the difference between a mental construct that defines the world

And a tool to explain the world?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #27)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:43 PM

31. One is a house, the other is a hammer

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #31)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:57 PM

38. That analogy doesn't explain anything

Both houses and hammers are really tools. One is a tool to provide shelter. The other is a tool to drive nails. Aren't the only differences between the two just complexity and purpose?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #38)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:14 PM

44. A belief system is also tool

One that's used to define reality.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #27)

Tue May 8, 2018, 12:17 AM

52. False metaphor

A mental construct can be a tool. A nonphysical tool is a mental construct. Not sure exactly which logical error this is, but its obviously an error.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #23)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:42 PM

28. Religion is totally a belief system.

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Response to Eko (Reply #28)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:45 PM

33. Individual religions typically include a belief system

However I wouldn't agree that religion in and of itself is a belief system. It's more like a container that holds belief systems.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #33)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:48 PM

36. definition.

a set of principles or tenets which together form the basis of a religion, philosophy, or moral code.

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Response to Eko (Reply #36)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:05 PM

40. Religion is far more encompassing

It typically includes dogma, customs and courtesies, culture, history, and several other aspects along with a belief system. Some adherents subscribe to one or more of those things, while rejecting the belief system. For instance, many people who consider themselves Unitarian Universalists, are atheists.

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:25 PM

2. It is a term used here repeatedly in equivocation

fallacies in order to “prove” that religion and science are equivalent.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #2)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:29 PM

3. Much straw evident here.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #3)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:42 PM

29. So are you now conceding that atheism isn't a belief system?

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #29)

Tue May 8, 2018, 07:28 PM

69. Do you believe that its premise is true?

You have your answer.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #69)

Tue May 8, 2018, 09:00 PM

86. I have a dodge, not an answer. So let's not pretend otherwise.

Seems to be par for the course that you virtually never provide a straight answer to a straightforward question.

The silver lining is your dodges provide far more useful information about intellect and state of mind.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #86)

Tue May 8, 2018, 09:04 PM

87. Your title explains it all.

It astonishes me that people can insist that what they claim to believe is somehow not a belief. As if expressing a concept using a negative construction makes that belief not a belief.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #87)

Tue May 8, 2018, 10:21 PM

90. And here I thought your dictionary skills had granted you literacy

Definition of atheism

1 a : a lack of belief...
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #2)

Tue May 8, 2018, 10:51 AM

61. See that's the most important point.

As a thread like this shows, there is no clear-cut "final" definition of what a belief system is. This makes it a uniquely helpful term for the theist looking to create false equivalence. So just like the dishonest among them do with the word "faith," they abuse the term in order to try and justify their religious beliefs. Or at least attempt to knock the pillars out from underneath science or atheism, oddly, by weakening those things to be "just another religion."

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:45 PM

4. There are many different types of belief systems,

some based on opinions and others on facts with evidence to back them up.

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Mon May 7, 2018, 09:55 PM

6. I dunno. Sounds science-ey.

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:28 PM

19. I believe in science

What else is there?

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Response to dhol82 (Reply #19)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:31 PM

21. philosophy, ethics, speculation and Middle Earth

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #21)

Mon May 7, 2018, 10:48 PM

35. Science encompasses them all. Except for middle earth....

That’s just really cool!

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Response to dhol82 (Reply #35)

Mon May 7, 2018, 11:50 PM

51. Some philosophers would argue philosophy encompasses science rather than the other way around

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Tue May 8, 2018, 01:31 AM

55. What is a belief?

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belief


Definition of belief
1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing

her belief in God

a belief in democracy

I bought the table in the belief that it was an antique.

contrary to popular belief

2 : something that is accepted, considered to be true, or held as an opinion : something believed

an individual's religious or political beliefs

; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group

the beliefs of the Catholic Church

3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

belief in the validity of scientific statements


We believe things for many reasons some good and some bad. We hold beliefs to different degrees of certainty from equivocal to fanatical.
I believe the boiling temperature of water at sea level is 100 degrees because it is a verifiable fact, I believe that my dog is the best dog because I like him and he seems to like me. I'm pretty sure that Cleveland will win the pennant, I'm mostly sure that the cube root of 27 is 3. Certainty is a whole kettle of fish on its own.

We can apply those beliefs alone or in combination to interact with other things. That interaction will be more or less effective depending on the validity of our beliefs and the thing it is interacting with and the environment it is interacting in.

My dog is the best dog is valid if the set of dogs is those in my house. the cube root of 27 is 3 not valid in binary math.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy does not have an entry for "belief system".
https://plato.stanford.edu/
That leads me to believe that it has no set definition. So if there is no set definition, then the person bringing it up bears the burden of defining it for the purposes of the conversation.

But we have this.
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1a00/10e05368c1fa4242473908ae7e9b2ed6538e.pdf

Belief systems are the stories we tell ourselves
to define our personal sense of Reality.

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Response to Buzz cook (Reply #55)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:55 AM

58. "Belief" in a religious context means something different

It basically means you know something by faith alone. There are those here who think atheism requires the same kind of belief so as to support a false equivalency.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #58)

Tue May 8, 2018, 12:39 PM

63. Still belief, just not for a very good reason.

If we have belief in things unseen as the bible recommends, then we still have belief the same as my belief in Boyles Law. The difference is foundational and in application.

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Response to Buzz cook (Reply #63)

Tue May 8, 2018, 02:39 PM

65. One of those things has a foundation in evidence and reason

So the differences are significant. I can formulate an infinite number of infalseable claims. Having faith makes them no more true than without.

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:52 AM

57. It's confusing because apologists have made it a keystone in some of their worst argumentation.

A belief system is pretty self-system is pretty self-explanatory: it is a system of beliefs. There are many types of belief systems. Religion is one type of belief system. It gets confusing because religious apologists treat their subtype as the general category... that is, they assume all belief systems are essentially qualitatively the same. That, for example, a political belief system based on empiricism and philosophy is not in the least bit different from a religious belief system based on the mad ramblings of an apocalyptic derelict who died two thousand years ago.

In totality, it goes something like this:

APOLOGIST: Are you a socialist?

SKEPTIC: Yes.

APOLOGIST: Well, socialism is a belief system just like Christianity (composition fallacy). So you're no better than me (tu quoque).



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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Tue May 8, 2018, 09:05 AM

59. It means whatever a person thinks it means at the time.

That's equivalent to it meaning nothing at all, in my opinion.

If I say that I follow my "belief system," without explaining that system in minute detail, nobody has any idea what I mean by that.

Also, some people consider Christianity to be a "belief system," but the thousands of individual denominations and doctrines of that general Religion are very different from each other.

So, it's just a generic term that means whatever the person wants it to mean, or nothing at all.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #59)

Tue May 8, 2018, 06:53 PM

67. That's probably the most accurate definition here.

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Tue May 8, 2018, 08:22 PM

82. My apologies.

I forgot to recommend this after first reading it.

Thank you for the provocative question.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #82)

Wed May 9, 2018, 07:39 PM

95. Thanks, but I don't like how this discussion went

Everyone seems to have their idea of what a belief system is, even what a belief is, so I think it should be replaced by more specific terms.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #95)

Wed May 9, 2018, 09:33 PM

96. How would you do so?

Or, how did you envision it going?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #96)

Wed May 9, 2018, 10:19 PM

97. I thought I'd get a better idea of what makes something a true belief system

Last edited Wed May 9, 2018, 11:56 PM - Edit history (1)

As opposed to a bunch of random thoughts that we impose order on. But our brains are designed to look for order, even when there is none. That's why we see constellations in the sky and used them for astrology, because they thought the random placement of stars meant something.

So, if it were up to me, I'd ban the term "belief system," so that posters would have to say what they actually think about a topic, not assume that if there is a belief, it must be part of a "belief system."

On edit: Maybe when people say "belief system" they really mean "world view?"

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #97)

Thu May 10, 2018, 07:52 PM

98. And if we ask 100 people why they call themselves a Democrat,

we might receive 101 answers.

Various religious groups have general ideas about the essentials of being a "whatever", but we both know that when it gets to the level of individuals, that "whatever" can change.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #98)

Thu May 10, 2018, 10:40 PM

99. Actually that question was asked a few months ago in General Discussion

And many people agreed that the Democratic Party is the party that best reflects their positions and their values. But for belief systems, your only answer was that it refers to a formalized belief system and that if you are a Democrat, you might believe things that other Democrats believe. That answer is circular and vague. And IMO, nobody had any better answer. Such answers as were given were themselves based on vague or poorly defined terms where nobody came to agreement.

So I am kind of left with - everybody is said to have a belief system, but there is no agreement on what a belief system is. So I don't think I have one, and I won't have one until I get a reasonable definition. I have a world view, not a belief system. A world view is a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint. My world view is pragmatic and existential. A lot of beliefs flows from that, but they don't necessarily form a system. Maybe some people will say that they must. But that could just be a function of the mind attempting to impose order on itself.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #99)

Fri May 11, 2018, 06:09 PM

100. If it allows you to make sense of the world, call it what you wish.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #100)

Fri May 11, 2018, 06:27 PM

101. My assertion isn't just about a name

But about the fact that "belief system" is too poorly defined to be useful. Also, the word "belief" is poorly defined, at least as used in this forum.

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