Knowledge is beliefs asymptote?

Belief is a prerequisite of knowledge.

Square and Flat Earth
By Orlando Ferguson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I recently signed up for a philosophy class and I chose to type up an answer to the question: “Is belief good enough for knowledge?”.  Here is my answer:

Is belief good enough for knowledge?

Interesting question, I think it comes down to how you frame it. I believe… Belief is a prerequisite of knowledge. If you do not believe something exists or can happen how can you have knowledge of it or conceive it? The testing of belief leads to knowledge if you pursue it, however it does not have to. I will put in a joke I heard from a science teacher as a thought.

A man starts an experiment (this is not a very humane experiment… but this is hypothetical so take it with a grain of salt). This man takes a frog, sets it on the table, and slams his hand own on the table behind it. The frog makes a wild leap. The man measures it. The man then proceeds to cut off one of the front legs of the frog and stitch it up. He repeats his experiment. The frog jumps, but it is lopsided and does not go nearly as far, and the man measures the results. The man then proceeds to cut off the other front leg and stitch it up. He en repeats his experiment. The frog slides forward a bit, the man measures the results again. He then cuts off one of the hind legs, and does the same thing. This time when he slams his and on the table the sad frog just kinda slides forward a bit with one leg. He measures the results. Finally the man removes the frog’s last leg… he repeats the experiment. The frog doesn’t move. The conclusion the man came to… Frogs with no legs are deaf. As a side note he was able to repeat his results reliably under all conditions.

I know that was long, but I think it made my point: just because we have observed the world, measured it, and even tested it, that does not mean our conclusions will always be knowledge. Some of the things our grandparents thought of as knowledge are truly laughable now. I read a science book from the 1890’s and it was pretty funny. Yet at the time it was treated as fact, people who disagreed were uncouth or uneducated. Will the thoughts I have, or the thoughts you have be just as dated or laughable to our grandchildren? In my opinion… probably.

So according to what I understand so far of philosophy, knowledge is belief that we/I have tested to our/my satisfaction. There MAY always be another question, test, or vantage point that could blow it away. That however does not mean there always will be, and I think that was the point of one of the speakers we may never know if what we had was true knowledge because we may never know if it could stand all possible testing.

I believe the average person has thousands of beliefs that are untested in their head that they rely on every day to function. I say belief because many people have not actually thought through or even considered them. They are innate. People believe they will continue existing tomorrow, they trust in social contracts, they believe that brushing their teeth will keep their teeth clean. Have you ever “tested” to see if brushing your teeth actually makes them cleaner? or prevents cavities? I mean, it makes “sense”… but then again in the 1890’s so did the theory that steam caused earthquakes. You believe brushing your teeth helps and there is nothing wrong with that. We have to believe things every day. We could not possibly “prove” everything in life. Everyone has underlying beliefs (in my opinion… my belief). We accept that some things are “knowledge” because others have told us, does that count as knowledge? Your dentist told you that brushing your teeth helps keep them clean and cavity free. Does that make it true? Did he test it? Or did someone tell him? Was it in some medical journal? Do I trust the medical journal? How do I test that? What about that infomercial on the TV at 2AM should I trust what it tells me?

My point is we all believe a lot of things. We think we know some things. Belief has to be enough because it is the only way to find knowledge. If you don’t believe matter is made up of atoms how or why would you bother to look? Why would you bother to conduct an experiment that atoms exist, unless you believe they exist and you want to prove your belief right or wrong.

So finally to address the starting question: Is belief enough for knowledge? Possibly. It is possible to believe something that is knowledge to others without knowing or proving it. It is possible to use belief to head asymptotically towards knowledge. However by definition belief is not knowledge. Belief is what we make of it, it is a tool. We need it to function, and we can use it to lead us to more tested belief, or we can stake a claim in belief and use belief itself as rational. It is nothing more than what we make of it.

Just my 2 cents. 🙂

Pokemon Go – Candy is made of Pokemon!

I think, and this is a theory, that the professor is grinding up Pokemon and turning them into candy to feed back to our Pokemon to make them stronger. Think about it, you can never get your Pokemon back once you transfer them and you get candy back that is specific to just that type of Pokemon. I think this is a cut and dried case of Soylentmon Candy. Okay may be not cut and dried, more like dehydrated and ground then re-constituted and caramelized with sugar and wrapped with a beautiful piece of paper?

It might be in an attempt to prevent Pokemon over population (they do seem to bread prolifically, I think Pidgies may take over the world soon.), or it could just be a sadistic twist of the professor.  I’ve tried to communicate with several Pokemon I’ve sent and not been able to hear back.  The professor has not been available to talk either, but he has been more than willing to take my Pokemon.  This is all just a theory, but I think something is rotten in Kanto.  I have been tempted to taste the Pokemon Candy, but I haven’t figured out how to get it out of the phone yet. Once I do I’m still not sure how to tell if it is made of the remains of another Pokemon, but I’ll keep investigating.

(update)

After posting this I was informed that someone else already had this idea and made a cartoon strip of it.  I got this idea from a comment in a group chat, and I just ran with it, I had no knowledge of the pre-existing cartoon. Although I think the cartoon is awesome.

Day 0 – What a start.

Introductions

The basics, I am not a literary person. I’m not a writer or much of a reader. In fact the only reason 50% of these words are spelled right is spell check. My grammar is horrible and my use of punctuation probably makes most 3rd grade teachers cringe. Not to say I don’t want to get better, but understand I’m starting off with a pretty low bar.

I used to think my strength was in Math and Physics… that was before I went 16 years without picking up a math or physics book. Now I am a self taught programmer who hates what it is to be a programmer, but loves the concept of programming. I hate the un-ending metrics, meetings, and TPS reports of being a programmer. I love the problem solving, and the creative thinking it takes to find new solutions.   I HATE taking a template and copy/pasting it over and over like a mindless monkey hoping you don’t miss one of the things  you need to change. If you want to watch someone die slowly on the inside… make them do the same thing over and over again day in and day out, using metrics to drive them ever faster, and never allow for variety or change.  But maybe that is just me… maybe everyone else likes being metrics monkeys.  I can’t speak for them… just me.

Lately my mind is shot… almost literally. (There is a joke there but you’d have to be in my life to get it.) So the creative juices in my head have dried up… I’ve looked for creative KY but apparently they don’t make it.  I was told LSD might work, but my doctor won’t prescribe it despite my arguing that it has many wonderful medicinal uses in the show Fringe and that Walter is a genius.

My family life is complicated, to sum up quickly: separated, but not separated. Mostly friendly, most of the time. My kids are amazing, unless they are moody, crying, fighting, whining, or complaining. Then they are amazing AND that other thing they are being. Sometimes that equation does not balance out… but I don’t write the rules of these equations I just get to observe them.

That is the basics.