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Asha de Vos

Marine Biologist, The University of California Santa Cruz


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Is seeing really believing?

As the old saying goes - seeing is believing - but is that true? Do we only believe things we see? Where does this come from?


Closing Statement from Asha de Vos

Wow - great interaction and thank you to all of you who contributed. 'seeing' ultimately refers not only to visual seeing but also sensing as a whole. but there were some interesting points. I guess the saying is open to interpretation in many different ways as we have seen through this thread and thats what i find most interesting about posing this random question - the variation in everyone's perception which is related to most things in the world. Thanks again and I will see you guys again - soon with yet another questionable question.

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    Mar 9 2012: Perhaps I'm "reading into" the question, but I agree with Xavier Belvemont that the question is not to be taken literally. It seems like the question is:

    "Do you need to empirically observe something to reasonably believe in it?" This question makes sense of the above comments and includes all sensory data.

    However, that being said, the answer is no. There are numerous things we believe that we cannot empirically verify. For instance, our belief in the existence of a literal past, or the reality of the external world, or the reality of human rights, are not things that can be empirically verified.

    Thus we need to include rational intuition in our understanding of how we acquire knowledge.
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      Mar 9 2012: Valid - interesting. The reason I asked the question in the way I did is because many people often use the term 'seeing is believing'....and I guess I was curious as to what drove people to use it. What it meant to them. This interaction with all of you is making that possible....
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        Mar 9 2012: Seeing is just seeing. Long ago I saw a phenomena that we call a UFO. Then you see something without knowing what you see. I can describe what it looked like without saying what it was because I don't know. It isn't different with other things. I can describe what I see and some may believe it and others don't. I never believe a thing I didn't see for myself.
        Most things though you can see with the mind or to say it different, with the inner eye.

        Asha, your surname is a good example of an authentic Dutch name yet I don't believe you to have Dutch origins until the facts support that assumption. Until that time I don't know.
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      Mar 9 2012: “Seeing in believing “ … It’s a phrase lots of wise people had said . But as I think they didn’t mean it literally. But quote should be when you believe in something there should be a proper reason and logic behind that. Don’t believe blindly on others or something.

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