Epistemic closure is an act of will

Just reviewing what epistemic closure is…a good 2010 NYTimes article: “‘Epistemic Closure’? Those Are Fighting Words

It’s a very good read.

Reading a logical analysis of ‘epistemic closure’ — the logic topic — on http://plato.stanford.edu, there is an argument against the existence of epistemic closure: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘳𝘨𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 f𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘺𝘴𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘒𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦.

I think we MUST concede that there is a logical definition, and then there’s its non-logical application. It’s precisely 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 there is lack of analysis of knowledge that there is closure.

Or better still, you can “analyze” what you 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 is knowledge (when it’s not knowledge) and simply reinforce “truth” of what you believe (bias confirmation) or just add volume to the muck of what you believe is fact.

What we mean by closure is that new knowledge based on analysis of facts (existing “knowledge”?) or even the willingness to consider facts outside your echo chamber is non-existent or seriously (willfully) inhibited.

With epistemic closure, when there is cognitive dissonance, people “resolve” the dissonance in favor of what fits the narrative they want to believe or that fits within what they think they “know.”

The existence of “death panels” was a shining example. Without critical evaluation of facts (like actually reading the bill), you hear “death panels” from a demagogue; and no amount of presenting facts works to dissuade you from believing such a thing exists. It echoes well with both what you want to believe and what you think it fits “logically” into what you think you “know.”

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Understanding epistemic closure

Re: Epistemic closure comes back to haunt the GOP

Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion, or what we call “knowledge.” Epistemic has to do with knowledge or the degree to which to which we validate it.

When you limit what constitutes truth, even the possibility of truth, or where truth can be found, you have closed off an important part of how we gain knowledge. This is bias.

When you use ways of thinking that don’t follow implications (what is logically implied by honestly evaluating how one thing leads to another or what needs to be true for something to exist [entails]), you have effectively created an echo chamber.

Now imagine the combination. Most often what happens with his system of thought is you rationalize away a possible truth (cognitive dissonance) because it doesn’t fit what you want to believe (bias) by either distorting the implications to fit your bias or denying it outright.

This is epistemic closure.  You have built a seal around what you allow yourself to know.

God didn’t make them JUST male and female

I read a couple of articles dealing with the transgender kid who committed suicide because her parents, although loving her “unconditionally,” rejected a great deal about her on religious grounds. That rejection manifested itself on so many cruel levels, including “God doesn’t make mistakes…God’s going to send you straight to hell.”

Some thoughts:

1. God “made them [standard] male and [standard] female.” Makes it sound like there’s an absolute dichotomy, always. Generally speaking, it’s true. But speaking specifically, it’s NOT true. We are a puddle of chemicals where our development and outcome rely on what substances are released at what time in what (utero) environment.

The reality is there is a considerable spectrum of “intersex” physical configurations, which can manifest as gender dysphoria. Continue reading

Arrestable Development of Dominionism

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he is not the same man.”
~ Heraclitus.

The America of today is different from the newly born America and the 50-year old America and the 100-year old America. As different as a new-born human is from his teenage years and his 60th year.

Anyone who wants to “take back America” – back as in some delusional ownership or back in time to some fantastic state when their perspective is imagined to have reigned supreme – is really trying to transform America in his image, just as he has done his God and his Christ.

Even if he should succeed, that America won’t be the same as any other America. America will have changed, gotten smaller in mind and spirit. It is easy to think you can go back in time IF you mean less complexity and purer faith. But what one will be imagining as less-complexity and pureness is really  one’s rejecting today’s realities, narrowing minds, and overlaying simplicity onto what passes for thinking. In that way, simplicity means willful stupidity.

Do we need to fear the Christian Dominionist movement?

Change is evolutionary in the sense that it happens in reaction to environmental conditions (not progress in the ameliorative sense). If we think of these nutbags as environmental conditions, we are at this moment changing in response. Somehow, I don’t think the loudness and extremeness of their voice equates to actual power to effect dominionism. It could be just the opposite, where the evolutionary adaption that results is to solidify ourselves against what amounts to a bacterial disease.

Continue reading

Walking off a Cliff: the Progress Blindfold

While watching CNN International, I saw a commercial for a program  “Planet in Peril” that was going to have a discussion about vanishing species, which discussion was taglined (a verb?) “Planet vs. Progress.”  Not unlike the name “Planet in Peril,” which really isn’t the case — it’s life in peril or life system in peril — something about that tagline didn’t sit right in my head.  Part of the commercial talked about “balancing” the needs of a system where layers upon layers of living things depend on each other in order that the system actually be viable…or should I have understood that as balancing the needs of the natural system with the economic “needs” of a human society?

Not too long ago, I wrote a post on this, wherein I pondered (using basic things as examples) how humans, having conceptually divorced themselves from nature, could rationally think that we aren’t harming our environment. I also mused over how humans have institutionalized the conceptual divorce, officially boxing in our perspectives: our economics, cultural institutions, religion*, laws, ways of life have all been inextricably codified and form the basis of all that we seem to know. We can’t easily re-align our consciousness to be part of nature without destroying what we view as indispensable to human society. The notion of “progress” is a significant problem to overcome.

Here now again, I wonder: how can we call anything “progress” if it really isn’t?
I suppose we have to lay out in the open what it is we mean by “progress.” Continue reading

For where your stewardship is, there will your politics be also

I do not understand the push-back on being responsible stewards of the garden we call our Planet. Here’s what I’m thinking, and I could sure use some help in sorting it out.

“Common Sense” vs. Responsibilities

I’ve read tons of articles on the pros & cons of greenhouse-gas and global-warming science in order to round out what comprises the debate. And I can sympathize with looking on some conclusions as suspect, although I can’t agree with fallacious reasoning for rejecting everything because of some suspect reports — throwing the baby out with the bathwater. To do that, to me, suggests underlying motivations that either resist or undermine logic. I suspect the A-word: agenda. Continue reading

Alien Rhetoric

I have not happened upon a formula that can be employed in argumentation (where persuasion is a primal motive) to influence my fellow arguer’s position or thinking process to a degree that has apparent instant and lasting effects. This is not really as important to me as being able to detect that I have reached my fellow in a meaningful and positive way. I’ve been pondering this more or less since forever, but not syllogistically or systematically. Not that this note will be syllogistic or systematic, but I hope the stream of thought will be refinable and productive toward uncovering the imagined formula. Imagined because I can conjure scenarios in my head about wonderful, edifying, fallacy-free exchanges of ideas (that don’t attack the other’s character); but these scenarios always rely on an assumed level of relatively balanced Continue reading