The Fantasy of Absolute Knowledge
Scepticism tries to limit the claims of the yay-sayers by asking for irrefutable proof. If you said, "The universe cannot be explained by anything except Intelligent Design," the sceptic might respond, "Who designed the designer and how could it have resulted in this much suffering?" Believers say to the naysayers, "Try and prove a negative claim, i.e., There is no God. Are you saying that there is no possibility of a supernatural explanation?" The critics of scepticism might well reply, "If we cannot know some things for sure, especially a thing like the existence of God, then many people – especially the young untrained minds – will despair that everything is an illusion."
Some of the need for absolute knowledge is a cultural bias. If you’re raised in a Christian home, you’re probably going to find Christ everywhere, as it were, and the people who promote him will be ‘True Believers,’ and will often insist that their knowledge is absolute, guaranteed by God and irrefutable. In other words, they’ll be on the defensive. If you were part of a culture which encouraged tentative conclusions in a humble, doubting manner, and were cautioned against absolute knowledge per se, (for all the well-known reasons such as people are fallible, subjective, egocentric and have many intellectual hurdles to see unadorned truth), then you might be more of an agnostic and sceptical. The Popper criterion solves the problems of Hume's Fork and how to deal with suppositions, conjectures and deductions.
In a modest middle-class existence, many people, young and old, are skeptics and atheists, and in no way suffer any psychological effects from it; they may be a minority, but then again, it’s a much harder life than what the religious person faces. If the ‘True Believer’ fails at a life of goodness, they’ve a golden parachute–they can still enter the kingdom of the supernatural afterworld by contrition; if an atheist fails at a life of goodness, it’s the last curtain call, no shot at the afterlife. It is probably true that for Marxists, Muslims, Christians and other religionists who lose faith in their prophet, there is ultimate disillusionment. They probably fall into a false concept of utter uncertainty, unscientific improbabilities, universal chaos, worldwide conspiracy, irrationalism, insignificance and outright sneering at everything human and human-made. Many will get over it in time, others will become cynical, "Fool me once–they lied about Father Christmas and they lied about human benevolence–but never twice. It’s all nonsense and we can’t ever really know anything!"
The trouble with skepticism though is that everything becomes relative, and it’s sort of a contradictory assertion – it opts out of its own ultimate truth claim – there’s truth only in skepticism, whereas other truth claims are to be looked at skeptically. However, to quote, George Santayana, the famous Spanish/American philosopher, "Scepticism is harmless when it is honest and universal; it clears the air and is a means of reorganizing belief on its natural foundation."
General Uncertainty Is a Proper Outlook to Probability Assessment:
It is the Quantum Character of our Universe
However hard evidence of all sorts exists in reason and science, i.e., it’s indisputable that life is in some sort of evolutionary process. You have to go and find the information, but it’s out there. If you believe in the hocus-pocus, if you allow it in your psyche, then, it’ll undermine your reason and logic, as will faith, emotionalism, egoism, ideology – perhaps a better word for ideology is intellectual chauvinism – or any other beliefs which are based on irrational impulses of absolutism. These things are unnecessary for a modern balanced mind anyway.
Complete relative knowledge is the manifestation of subjectivism just as religious or moral chauvinism is the reflection of absolutism. The human mind is a theory which rests on the creativity of its individual acts of judgement. Eugenics is the ideology of racism in the same way sociology is the handmaiden of statist-theorists, both ask the essential questions of man, upside-down: One replaces creative thought with genes, the other, individual desire, with determinism.
We know the earth is round; scientists pretending to be philosophers say we know this with an x-degree of certainty, x being a high degree. The use of statistics and probabilities for metaphysical concepts is like using a hammer to operate on the brain. Life is an organic evolving event; there is no such thing as life being in a tree but not in a rock. At the molecular level, the complexity is joined and heightened by the rock, earth, tree and flower all being linked in one event, life itself. This nonlinear complex event has produced a fallible idea-generating subjective sentient creature. In the face of the ultimate stochastic process of the organic evolving universe, he in turn created myth, especially the idea of god or gods. His insecurity craves absolute knowledge and this can often lead to violence. This random event we find ourselves in, so well described in Climbing Mount Improbable and Wonderful Life, is to those nursed on telelogy -- i.e., all the closet Hegelians and Platonists -- downright scary.
The fable that 14 billion years wasn’t enough time for evolution to create us, but was enough time for God to produce this absurd result is suitable only for the clean-shaven young men of faith who come in suits knocking on your door early in the morning while you’re having breakfast. They tell you that the heavenly father loves you. Indeed, a miracle happens: your grapenuts transfigure into iron pellets in your mouth. Even the milk sours as you swallow. Those clean-shaven young men of faith would like to rip out your throat for trying to take away their god. Instead they smile like Buddha. You choke on their subjectivity. It’s like they breathe and live in a bubble of green mucus and spew out brainless goo like in the movie, The Alien. Limits should exist on what any rational person has to endure from the religionists whether knocking on your door or speaking on your televison. They never answer the claims of their skeptics. Faith is a gift that only works with blind acceptance. Whether this idea comes from Benny Hinn or Bono, how false it sounds to reason. What is more understandable, is the need for certainty among the believers. Nonetheless, absolute truth is denied us all. The best we do is tentative knowledge and even with this we have to be careful.
© 2023 - E. A. St. Amant