posted on May, 10 2006 @ 08:24 AM
I agree with everything Enkidu says about the unreliability of perception and the even greater unreliability of secondhand report. These days, even
Descartes' cogito, ergo sum doesn't cut any ice, now that consciousness and free will are commonly treated as illusive side-effects of
autonomous organic function. So, yes indeed, there is no such thing as an unambiguously verifiable fact.
In spite of this, we continue to behave as if certain 'facts' are true. From these facts, we've built a roughly consensual picture of reality and
lo, it works. Within this construct, matter, energy and spacetime behave in predictable, reproducible ways. For example, (distilled) water can be
relied upon to boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (at sea level on planet Earth). People, oddly enough, seem to behave in predictable ways too, though
they are such complex systems that prediction can be quite difficult at times, though not impossible.
It would seem that there are some facts we can rely on, after all. You may not be able to put your finger on that pesky electron without deflecting
it, yet things play out as we expect them to nevertheless; predictable effects follow from specific causes. True, our perceptions are flawed or skewed
and others' accounts of reality are worse, yet we make constant and productive use of both. Something -- however erroneous, however illusory -- is
So automek (isn't that from one of Dan Simmons' books?), we can't give you any facts, but perhaps someone can offer you an insight into the
Which is that things are pretty much as they seem to be, give or take a bit of wiggle room. However much of a dupe you think it makes you, it's best
to begin with that premise and stick with it until you've got near-overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Thoughts of conspiracy should be forced on
you by circumstances, not actively cultivated. Otherwise you may as well get y'self measured for the tin hat right away.