Re: Any strong belief is a chain.

Anders Sandberg (
22 Dec 1998 11:23:26 +0100

"Joe E. Dees" <> writes:

> Learn to operate without strong beliefs. Everything is a guess. I
> don't care who you are; at least one thing you strongly believe is
> false. Be prepared.
> It sounds like you fervently believe this; as it is a stance, not a state
> of affairs, it certainly is not amenable to proof or disproof.

Actually, it can be tested. Just take a number of people with and without strong beliefs in a variety of subjects, and check their state a few years later, when some of the things they have believed in have been disproved. If the people who do not hold strong beliefs have done better as measured in some way, then you have support for Eli's advice, otherwise you have evidence against it. Of course, the actual implementation of the experiment is rather tricky.

As a preliminary non-experiment it might be worth looking at different societies adhering to a believer or a sceptic mindset and see which have done best in terms of material progress, happiness etc. I think that would support the idea fairly well, possible with the exception that strong beliefs can make you happy even if they are false.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y