"I wish to propose for the reader’s favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true". - Bertrand Russell, Introduction to Sceptical Essays
Is this an accurate reflection of scepticism? Is it the approach taken by science? Is it paradoxical and subversive?
If we apply the above where does that leave claims of the mystical and superntural?
Russell was being sarcastic. His point is that this is just ordinary common sense unless one has a vested interest in being wrong.
are we to believe that common sense is always right?
If so, bring it! Im not skeptical that you will.
add by edit: I'm not currently super familiar with Bertrand Russels philosophies, beliefs, and observations... but I am taking some time to study him in the interests of forming some sort of intelligence so as to engage my fellow EvC brethren in a debate/discussion.
Iron sharpens iron, and the only reason that I promoted this topic into Faith/Belief was to allow for a philosophical exchange rather than an absolute framework of logic, reason, and reality. Yes I know, it allows for my pet woo to enter the discussion, but I allow for it to be questioned, challenged, and tossed out by you skeptics!
During my brief encounter with Evolution FairyTale, one of the members called me, "Skeptic!" in the same sense that you might call somebody, "Murderer!" It was plain that he considered skepticism a belief - and an evil one at that.
But I took the intended insult as a compliment. I consider skepticism the natural starting point for any inquiry. First you ask the question; then you look for possible answers; then you ask if the answers are adequate.
It's a never-ending process that may get you closer to truth/knowledge but it never gets you "there".
Edited by ringo, : Inflated my ego by capitalizing "I".
Yes. I know. But presumably those with a more 'blessed are those who believe but do not see' approach to discerning what is real and what is not have a different take. It is they who the 'paradoxical and subversive' question was aimed at.
Is skepticism the approach taken by science? Is it paradoxical and subversive?
If we accept skepticism as an approach to considering claims, assertions etc. etc. where does that leave claims of the mystical and supernatural?
Skepticism is merely a request for evidence, and evidence is one of the cornerstones of science. We fold, spindle, and mutilate the evidence to see if it holds up, and we try to explain it using theory.
Claims of the mystical and supernatural? So far these come up short on the evidence. That's why religions rely on faith and belief.
That's the exact opposite of science, by the way.
Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein
How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?--Robert A. Heinlein
It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so--Will Rogers
I am really skeptical that Iron Age sheep herders had the big bang in mind when those particular tracts were written down.
I have no evidence that they did interpret what is written in the way we can see it does correspond to the scientific facts.
That is what makes this writing appear on face value as divinely revealed.
Who could have known? Who could have made such a clear and unequivical and definitive first statement as to base everything that would follow one a speculation of a Cosmic beginning?
Since the coin flip of a Cosmos, one that was always there, agaisnt one which had an initial beginning would have been pure luck, it is at least an example of great confidence to have taken a position right off the bat.
But then to say that no Light appeared with that Big Bang, and a delay was experienced when we just discovered the Cosmic Dark Age, the coincidental possibilities are pretty scant, imo.