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Unread April 12th, 2006, 10:23 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate & Doors

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MM: I would counter that what anyone actually believes (to be true) is only that which they feel to be true. Without that emotional validation they can not truly believe - no matter what they might say.
While we humans may “feel” that something is “real” we nevertheless are quite capable of knowing, cognitively, that it isn’t—e.g., phantom pain, the feeling of pain from tissue damage of part of a limb that no longer exists—although the pain itself may be “real,” and may even trigger various other emotions, we’re capable of knowing, cognitively, that the tissue damage that the pain portends is not.

And whether or not one is able to achieve the required “emotional validation” to “actually believe” that there are an infinite number of primes, that there are is nevertheless an objective mathematical truth; and it was true (as is all objective mathematical truth) before humans (the ancient Greeks in this case) evolved and discovered the unassailable proof showing that it is true.

Margaret, while I may empathize with the emotional turmoil, and perhaps cognitive dissonance, that your circumstances may have engendered; and while I may appreciate that your own “intellectual conclusions are first guided by [your] existing beliefs,” and then “weighted” by the “emotional strength [you] subconsciously grant them”; I nonetheless do find your predilection for projecting that MO onto everyone else to be childishly presumptuous.

At the beginning of the 20th century, virtually all scientists believed that our universe always existed, was static, infinite, and unchanging. But current science and evidence now tells us that our universe in fact had a beginning and is expanding; and most scientists no longer “believe” or “feel” what they once did. You see, Margaret, we simply follow the science and evidence wherever it leads, and then modify our beliefs and emotions accordingly—LeDoux’s downward causation . . . no one is saying that this is easy Margaret, it’s just the door to reality, a door that some seem unable or unwilling to go through.
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