Some people believe crazy things... literally crazy things, and they require
treatment for it. The definition of a delusion in psychiatry is:
"A fixed, false belief which is not in keeping with the patient's cultural
So someone may have a belief that is false, but not fixed, i.e. he will revise
in response to contrary evidence, and that isn't a delusion. Or someone may
belief that is both false and fixed, but it is shared by the cultural group to
belongs, and that isn't a delusion either. This latter provision was put in
mainly to exclude
Usually there are other markers of mental illness as well as the delusion
allowing one to
make a diagnosis and decide on treatment: hallucinations, sleep and appetite
personality changes and so on. Very rarely, these other signs are absent, and
you are faced
with deciding whether the patient is mentally ill or just has weird beliefs.
The only investigation
which is of help in these cases is a trial of antipsychotic medication: this
has a false negative
rate, in that in a minority of cases clearly psychotic symptoms do not respond
but a negligible false positive rate, i.e. if the beliefs go away with
antipsychotic medication and
return on cessation of medication then they are definitely psychotic. Religious
and other cultural
beliefs do not change with medication.
In other words, it is usually possible to know if someone is crazy, but more
difficult to know if
they are just stupid.
> From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: Natural Order & Belief
> Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 11:19:04 -0500
> no need to argue with me about my 'funny' supposition (just for the fun of
> it) - HOWEVER:
> 1. "absolutely certain" you can be in whatever is in your mind (i.e.in your
> belief system) because that is what you call it so.
> Colin's (weak?) solipsism assignes the world -(all of its input- content in
> your mind), the 'reality', whatever, - to YOUR mind-content as the way YOU
> interpret whatever you think of (incl.: experience, feel, what you get
> notion of, even imagine).
> 2. "...we may not be able to attain
> absolute certainty about any empirical belief, ..."
> I was not talking about 'empirical', however our belief may be empirical:
> even if somebody said so and we "empirically" experience the content of such
> communication. It all depends how one restricts the 'empiria'. Some go as
> short as only to instrumental readings, others include OWN sensorial input,
> some limit it to one's logicallimitations, but a wider view (e.g. in
> science-education<G>) may accept also the communication of (reliable?)
> 3rd-s. (Like e.g. religion<G>)
> We talk as we think. We think as we feel. we don't "KNOW".
> 3. "...we can bet that some beliefs are
> much more likely to be true than others....."
> Sais who? true to whom? To ME, for sure, but do I have a monopoly to the
> right understanding? Is there 'truth'?
> I just wanted to include a wider horizon (as: funny?).
> Not even the last thing I want to do is to argue FOR fundamentalist
> creationism. "I don't like it" is the utmost I go along with.
> But I would like a dog with 6 feet.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 4:41 AM
> Subject: RE: Natural Order & Belief
> I think the trap is to look for absolute certainty. Can I be absolutely
> certain that
> most dogs have four legs? No: there may have been a conspiracy to keep from
> the fact that most dogs have six legs. Can I be absolutely certain that God
> did not
> create the world 6000 years ago? No: God may have done just that and planted
> evidence to make it look as if the world is much older in order to test our
> faith. Does
> this then mean that these two beliefs, that most dogs have four legs and
> that God
> created the world 6000 years ago are equally valid? No: we may not be able
> to attain
> absolute certainty about any empirical belief, but we can bet that some
> beliefs are
> much more likely to be true than others.
> Stathis Papaioannou
> > Stathis:
> > I try a 'funny' aspect.
> > Not in Tom's rather utilitarian point (whether it is good or bad, making a
> > person happy or inspired) but upon your questioning the 'truth' in (among
> > others) religious stories.
> > Consider 'numbers' as religion. How many of us (you?) had a 'revelation'
> > about numbers per se? Mostly accepted the bible of Plato and the teachings
> > of math-teacher priests. It became a belief-system - no argument.
> > Is it "true"?
> > Does it 'exist' in the universality?
> > Of course, the idea "lives" in minds so it exists. There is no postulate
> > that an 'existing' idea has to be "matter-physics" based. The 'mental
> > world
> > is part of the 'demental' (as you know from your profession<G>).
> > Religion lives in minds, ergo the 'facts' included are true. It can be
> > read
> > in "script" and inventive people say they have revelations just like what
> > Newton's apple brought up.
> > We have a belief system that religion is 'not true', others: that
> > 'religion
> > is true'.
> > I don't believe in AR: does it make it 'untrue'?
> > We formulate our mindset upon stories figmented by primitive observations
> > of
> > what ancestors saw and speculated.
> > So do religious people on other wavelengths.
> > Can you ask Zeus upon Athenae? I asked Bruno upon numbers. Many people do
> > not share MY belief ystem of the wholeness. Does it make it untrue? In
> > who's
> > terms?
> > Everybody has a certain level of 'faith' in HIS OWN belief.
> > Even the 'utilitarian' aspect is personal. The smallpox virus instigated
> > the
> > social structural renovation of the western world. We judge within our
> > momentary personal interests.
> > Maybe the demise of humankind is a good thing for the biosphere.
> > Opimistically yours
> > John
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> > To: <email@example.com>
> > Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:20 AM
> > Subject: RE: Natural Order & Belief
> > Tom Caylor writes: (skip)
> > SP:
> > > > The problem with religious beliefs is not that they are bizarre (after
> > > > all, many
> > > > scientific theories at first glance are just as bizarre) but that
> > > > there
> > > > is no reasonable
> > > > basis for deciding whether they are true. People usually choose
> > > > religious beliefs because
> > > > they would like them to be true or because their parents brought them
> > > > up
> > > > that way.
> > > > It may be interesting to know if a religious belief makes a person
> > > > happy, has inpired
> > > > good deeds or great art, and so on, but the specific question I want
> > > > answered is whether
> > > > it is true. For example, it is true that the smallpox virus causes a
> > > > severe illness which has
> > > > killed million of people over the centuries, and this is true
> > > > regardless
> > > > of whether it is good,
> > > > bad, interesting or whatever. I would like to know whether it is the
> > > > case that Jesus rose from
> > > > his tomb after being crucified or Athena sprang from Zeus' head after
> > > > Hephaestus struck it
> > > > with an axe, and I would like to know this independently of whether it
> > > > makes an interesting
> > > > or inspiring story.
> > > >
> > > > Stathis Papaioannou
> > (TC - skipped)
> > SP:
> > When I am confident about some empirical belief, I am confident that a
> > perfectly fair,
> > disinterested observer given the same evidence that I have will come to
> > the
> > same conclusion
> > that I do, or at least entertain it as a serious possibility. For example,
> > if I am confident that
> > the Quran was written in Arabic in the 7th century, then I am confident
> > that
> > any reasonable person
> > who went to the trouble to investigate the matter would agree with me. If
> > I
> > am a Muslim, I
> > may be as certain about the evidence supporting that the Quran is the word
> > of God as I am
> > about the evidence supporting that the Quran was written in Arabic in the
> > 7th century. However,
> > while as a Muslim I may be just as confident that a reasonable and
> > disinterested observer would agree
> > about when the Quran was written, I would be far less confident that he
> > would agree about its
> > divine origin (and perhaps be converted to Islam). This presents a
> > problem:
> > I can't say that both
> > my beliefs about the divine origin of the Quran and when it was written
> > are
> > epistemologically
> > equivalent and empirically equally well founded, but hold that a
> > disinterested observer would likely
> > accept one but not the other. I have to say that one of my beliefs is
> > *not*
> > as firmly rooted in the
> > objective evidence as the other, but that in order to drag it up to the
> > same
> > level of believability, it
> > requires something in addition which even the perfectly fair and
> > disinterested observer lacks: namely,
> > faith. And when you allow faith to tip the balance in these equations,
> > anything at all can be taken as
> > true.
> > Stathis Papaioannou
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > >
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