[extropy-chat] survey on fringe ideas: politics

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au
Sat Oct 29 23:54:28 UTC 2005

ben wrote:

> Dirk: "There is no certainty, and without certainty there is only belief."
> This was said in irony, right?
> Cos the only thing which produces certainty is belief. Anyone with their 
> eyes open should be able to see that there is no such thing as certainty. 
> This is what science is all about. I'm stating the obvious here, aren't i? 
> I sincerely hope so.

Pretty much.

But consider, are you certain that

- one and one are two

- that a square has four sides

- that the average reader of this sentence would
know his or her own name (excepting amnesiacs)

Seems to me that these things are beyond the fuzziness of mere
belief and that most people would be certain of them.

I am prepared to say that I am certain that one and one
make two, that a square has four sides and that my name
is Brett.  I am prepared to say that I do not (merely) believe
those things but know them.

Dirk's statement strikes me as a statement of what many
people including especially religious/superstitious people
assume to be true of all other people.

Its about as unattractive to my mind as if he had said "there
is no god but Allah and Mohammad (or Dirk!) is his prophet".

In that respect it also strikes me as a dangerous way of
thinking because one who believes like that seems likely
to think that everyone else hold their views on no better
bases than they hold theirs.

A key difference between people, it seems to me, is that
only a minority are capable of being objective when
considering their own positions in their worldview.

Objectivity in all respects is probably beyond everyone
because of what we choose to direct our attention towards,
but some people can be far more objective than the vast
majority. Those people, in my experience, tend to be the
ones that are the better scientists and the more honest

Brett Paatsch 

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list