Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Belief /
@ K. 2004 12 12

Mission: to rate the role of evidence in belief systems

I invite you to notice the degree to which belief is a social construct more than it is a personal matter. In fact I invite you to notice how social the concept of personal is.

Robert Anton Wilson wrote that he didn’t believe in anything! Can that possibly be true? or is he just bragging?

Gregory Bateson pointed out that a man preparing to sit on a chair believes that the chair will in fact hold him: a belief not always born out, as any hospital or old nurse can tell you. But that’s not the kind of faith that people generally mean when they challenge you, checking alignment on beliefs. In a social context belief always means faith in something absurd: and something taboo: like, for example, the perfectability of man.

It’s pretty to think so.

Once upon a time orthodox Christianity insisted on the concept of Original Sin among its dogmas. That stance strides in protection over a cluster of difficult to absurd propositions. An idea that few will disagree with, that human reason can’t be trusted, protects a string of free riders: that’s God’s reasoning can be: that man can know God’s reasoning and communicate it to men! that this or that church, this or that man, is that intermediary. …

But let’s not get distracted by how many pins, how much poor stitching, dress this champion. Let me isolate and emphasize my main contrast of the moment:

man is no good / Man is perfectable,
respendant in reason

Christianity once touted the one; now Christianity touts the other (or at least remains silent on the other, while our real religious leaders, the politicians, commandeer the fallacies and false promises.

Watch out when someone prepares to refute something publicly: for sure he’s about to slip a greater fallacy past your distracted noggins.

I have my beliefs: and by belief I mean that I can state them but not prove them. I believe that the idea that man is no good is just as preposterous as the idea that man is good. Where is the bar set? What’s the scale? What fixed point can we anchor on as better? what as worse? Otherwise, what can “good” mean, one way or the other?

The montebank can always fleece the public because the public will never question its ability to judge the good: the good, the god, the right, the wrong, the reasonable, the sacred, the profane, the just … fact, evidence … We’re just smart enough not to realize how stupid we are.

I advise us to be careful with out beliefs, then to be humble about the results. (Is pk not humble? Does it appear so? I’m a writer! I choose communication strategies! You can’t take a writer literally!) or a speaker.

I’m working on this: I trust you see where it’s going. I hope you can get there yourself. I hope this little bit helps: and the little bit more that’s coming: always inadequate.

Comment salvaged from discarded Belief menu:

I say it again: Evolution has no time for perfect designs.

One year I put my god folder within my magic folder. Now I have a god folder and a magic folder: and a belief folder and a church folder and a Christianity folder … There’s little point in making it make sense; next year it will make a different sense to me, and I’d just have to redo everything: again.

The solution is in updating menus, in designing better ones. But no solution is final.

2012 05 02 Where knowledge is possible, the need for belief evaporates: but, be careful on what passes for knowledge (just as you should be careful about what you believe!)

Social Epistemology

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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