The Evolving Monkey

How can you know what to believe?

  • A belief can never be certain.
    • A currently known fact might be discovered that will overturn the belief.
    • There’s no way to know if such an undiscovered fact is out there waiting to be discovered.
    • So, there is no way to know with absolute certainty the Truth of a belief.
    • All you can do is develop a reasonable judgment as to what is true and what is false.
Cute, colorful dragon Chinadrag
Do you believe in dragons?
  • Some rules for judging beliefs.
    • A belief system or creed that demands absolute certainty is false.
    • A belief system that demonizes (assumes they are bad or evil at a core level) certain groups or individuals is false.
    • Beliefs that are not logical are false.
    • Beliefs that cannot be disproved or verified with evidence can only be speculative.
    • Beliefs that ignore the consensus of experts should be analyzed with suspicion but also with an open mind because the experts can be wrong.
    • Beliefs that can be defended with strongly supported reasons, logic; and clear, consistent explanations should be given greater weight than those that cannot.
  • The true test of a belief.
    • Does it work?
  • The evolution of the belief systems.
    • Deciding if a belief system works is itself subject to belief.
    • A belief system (whither it is true or not) survives by satisfying some need.
    • A false belief system can provide enough net benefits to survive for a very long time.
    • Belief systems rise and fall as they adapt to new understandings and challenges from newer belief systems.
    • I believe (hope) that over time the belief systems closest to the Truth (the way the universe really is) will win out.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

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