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Why is it so difficult to say "I don't know"

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posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 06:11 PM
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Originally posted by Lucid Lunacy
The territory of scientists is limited by it's very nature to nature. The Known Universe Post-Big-Bang. That's not an issue, that's not a problem, that's just the way it is. Science does not address what created the Universe, science addresses the Universe as it is Post-Big-Bang. What came before that point?


I agree that Science can not explain the existence of the Universe. But I do not believe science is alone in this. I don't believe any human intellect will ever be able to comprehend the 'beginning'. Really for the simple reason that we do not have the right perspective. I believe there really is no beginning - it's more like an infinite sphere even though we see it as a line.
The very fact that the existence of our universe is an impossibility to our minds tells me that we are limited by more than knowledge. I believe we are limited by diminsions which we can not understand. Infinity is impossible in our universe, yet I believe it's essential for our universe to exist. We're in a bubble of infinity, and I doubt we will ever pop that bubble.

For some reason I like to think that our universe exists because it would be impossible for it not to exist.

But then again, I don't know any of this, it's just speculation.

Edit: By the way Lucid Lunacy, you look exactly like somone I know. I thought you were him for a second when I saw that pic. I think I know your doupleganger
.

[edit on 2-10-2008 by TruthParadox]




posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 06:23 PM
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I haven't read this whole thread, so if this has been mentioned forgive me. However, it seems to me that the science side has no problem saying that they don't know. They do it all the time. It's the religious side that states this not knowing is some sort of justification of their position. Furthermore, we aren't conditioned to say "IDK" . . . we are told from an early age, by both church leaders and teachers, to seek the truth and question what is presented to you. However, at the same time, these teachers (regardless of discipline) provide us with the answers . . . whether it is "GDI" or "here is what experiments have shown (or proven) to us".

Now . . . science has always been supressed by all of religion and the governments that they have controlled (Catholic Empire) or pandered to (today's U.S.). Yet, you say that those that choose to think rationally and not believe in superstitions should be indifferent to the the faithful. However, how is that possible when the faithful wish to supress rational thought and implant false science in our public schools. I'm all for spirituality and belief in a connection to the universe, as there still are a lot of metaphysical phenomna to explore. But, to cling to superstition that was never meant to be taken literal (Go ask 10 Rabbi's if they believe the Torah to be a literal or symbolic telling of existence, then go ask 10 Evangelical Christians . . . who should know more about the first 5 books . . . who has the discussions chronicled to back it up?) and then tell someone that they are "crazy" or "immoral" for not believing it . . . only makes the "separated" feel the need to push back.

If our Constitutional right to be free FROM religion wasn't being infringed on daily . . . we (sic) could show some indifference. Unfortunately, you need to fight fire with fire . . . people are sheep and will conform to what they feel is the majority opinion. Be it based in rational thought or glamorous superstition.



posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
Like our atheist friend TruthParadox who perhaps is also a scientismist.:


Nah, I hate labels. They restrict (for the most part) free and creative thought.
I'm thinking of two major political parties right now
.
The only reason I consider myself an atheist is because it's the easiest way to converse with others online and abroad.

As Bruce Lee says "Be like water my friends".



posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 06:30 PM
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Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
reply to post by TruthParadox
 




Do you believe that pink fairies roam the forests? I'm sure you're answer would be the same as mine. You have no reason to believe in pink faries therefor you do not believe in pink fairies.


well, I didn't - but now, unfortunately, I have to think about it (see above)


What do you mean pink fairies don't exist?!


But seriously, I think that faith and science are ruled by two different areas of the body. You find faith in your heart. The very definition of faith is believing in what you can't see or explain. Science is ruled by the head. It is what we can see, surmise and logically explain. I consider myself to be a very logical person. I have a strong passion for math and brain puzzles. But my heart has faith that God does exist. I think some people have a hard time finding a balance between the two. Sometimes having faith means saying I don't know but it feels right in my heart.



posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 06:38 PM
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Originally posted by TruthParadox
Nah, I hate labels. They restrict (for the most part) free and creative thought.


Now you're just tryin' to get my blood a'boilin'.


reply to post by solomons path
 


It isn't so much about science or religion as it is about the certainty of knowledge which both sides claim over the other when endlessly "discussing" the issue on ATS.





[edit on 10/2/2008 by schrodingers dog]



posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 06:55 PM
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Originally posted by solomons path
However, it seems to me that the science side has no problem saying that they don't know. They do it all the time. It's the religious side that states this not knowing is some sort of justification of their position.


Sorry - they don't.
If they did - and if their "un-knowing" position were genuine, not a show of self-sufficient semblance of scientific modesty (I am sure you're familiar with the underlying mentality: "We can AFFORD to appear modest, because we know we actually DO know, and we know that you know that we know..." - even if they don't
) - then it would show in textbooks, and this conversation would not be happening.

The sad irony is that it really IS very easy to present - in detail, if necessary - all the sides of an argument or a disputed question, without having to bash anyone. Well - at least it's easy to those who know enough (and are intelligent enough) to synthesise the knowledge of the different "sides".

As for the "religious side"... I am not sure who you mean (because it sounds like you are thinking of a specific person or group of people), and most importantly, I don't know what "position" you're referring to.

If you mean denial of evolution (and personally I have yet to meet a Catholic high priest who denies the general principle of evolution, without having to renounce the Bible), then the "we don't know" DOES sound like a perfectly good "justification" of their position (even if you or I don't necessarily agree with it, partly or completely).
After all, it's the same strategy that those "humble" scientists employ.
(See the first paragraph above.)






[edit on 2-10-2008 by Vanitas]



posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 06:57 PM
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Well . . . it may have been lost in the science vs. religion example, but I was trying to answer you OP. IMO, you can't look at this or any issue as a 2D forum and expect people to say "good point" or "IDK" when the history of the issue has been used as a wedge.

It's classic thought/population control psychology . . . group think. On an individual level, you and I can discuss the topic and both come to the conclussion that neither of us REALLY know and we are both free to our beliefs. But, when opposing groups are waging internet bully battle, our conditioned or learned response . . . to think the other is inferior in their beliefs and therefore wrong . . . will surface. The more these ridiculous issues are used (by our leaders and teachers) to separate the population; the more we get away from the truth that, regardless of belief, all things share a connection in this universe. The only thing that will stop absolutism in speech and debate, unfortunately, is state sponsered thought. But . . . that would be bad and the reasons we can't except differing means to the same end today. . . . At least that's my opinion . . . but, what do I really know for certain? Just like everyone else . . . not much!!!




posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 07:20 PM
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Originally posted by Vanitas

Originally posted by solomons path
However, it seems to me that the science side has no problem saying that they don't know. They do it all the time. It's the religious side that states this not knowing is some sort of justification of their position.


Sorry - they don't.
If they did - and if their "un-knowing" position were genuine, not a show of self-sufficient semblance of scientific modesty (I am sure you're familiar with the underlying mentality: "We can AFFORD to appear modest, because we know we actually DO know, and we know that you know that we know..." - even if they don't
) - then it would show in textbooks, and this conversation would not be happening.

The sad irony is that it really IS very easy to present - in detail, if necessary - all the sides of an argument or a disputed question, without having to bash anyone. Well - at least it's easy to those who know enough (and are intelligent enough) to synthesise the knowledge of the different "sides".

As for the "religious side"... I am not sure who you mean (because it sounds like you are thinking of a specific person or group of people), and most importantly, I don't know what "position" you're referring to.

If you mean denial of evolution (and personally I have yet to meet a Catholic high priest who denies the general principle of evolution, without having to renounce the Bible), then the "we don't know" DOES sound like a perfectly good "justification" of their position (even if you or I don't necessarily agree with it, partly or completely).
After all, it's the same strategy that those "humble" scientists employ.
(See the first paragraph above.)






[edit on 2-10-2008 by Vanitas]


To your first part . . . I'm not sure you have a true understanding of scientific principle. The very word "Theory" means that is not a fact and that science doesn't have a 100% strangle hold on the truth of the matter. The fact that evolution, big bang, etc. are considered "Theories" means that it is not proven beyond reproach. The fact that it is in text books derives from the fact that these are the latest excepted scientific beliefs. The difference between science and religion (all religion) is that through varying disciplines and most importantly mathmatics (which either works out or it doesn't) these theories can be tested and shown to explain PHYSICAL processes. While this may not prove these theories beyond a shadow of a doubt . . . it gives them a pretty solid foundation to say their theories are correct, after all, if they weren't they wouldn't be able to recreate in a lab or with mathematics. Since this thread, although I realize you have got me OT, is in relation to creationism . . . I'm speaking about mainly the Christian POV. Which is . . . GDI and we know cuz the Bible told us so. That's not measurable and yet presents an answer that no member of faith will deem incomplete. So yes . . . science says they don't know, but they have actual provable data to back up their hypothesis' . . . that's why it's in science texts. No one is asking for this to be put in the Bible . . . just that the Bible isn't erroneously put into the realm of science.

[edit on 2-10-2008 by solomons path]



posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 11:47 PM
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Originally posted by solomons path
Well . . . it may have been lost in the science vs. religion example, but I was trying to answer you OP. IMO, you can't look at this or any issue as a 2D forum and expect people to say "good point" or "IDK" when the history of the issue has been used as a wedge.


Well, I couldn't agree with you more, historically that has been the unfortunate tone of these threads, hence the OP.

Perhaps you are right and I'm once more spitting against the wind. In a way though, and I can't claim this was intentional, with few exceptions, this thread has exemplified how to have a civil and unloaded conversation on a very polarizing issue. So at least we have that.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 12:05 AM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


A bit of an curious topic for me, as I quite often find myself professing my ignorance of matters to which I do not understand. Indeed, it is my recognition of ignorance that sparks my curiosity to learn more. However, on the point of creationism and biblical literalism I do take a rather firm skeptical view of the entire affair. It's not that I take the stance that what the bible says is outright impossible, but that it's so unlikely and improbable that it's scarcely worth taking seriously. I also find this attitude prevalent among many atheists, at least, those who are not freshly freed of the yoke of scripture. Those atheists tend to be the more hostile and outspoken against religion. I tend to follow the most plausible natural explanations for phenomena in the natural world.

As a believer in god of the deist flavor, I often tend to find myself saying "I don't know" far more in matters of the metaphysical than in matters of reality. What is said about the metaphysical cannot be proven or disproven in the physical world without physical evidence - which metaphysical phenomena is notoriously absent of. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so I tend to remain skeptical of such matters in the absence of such evidence. This has the unfortunate side effect of leaving me with little at all to say about the nature, will, preferences, or things that anger god.

In the physical world, we have lots of physical evidence for physical phenomena. Some is not complete as I would like it to be, but then, that is what science is for. For example, in regards to the origin of life on Earth. I don't know by what mechanism life first arose on Earth. Is RNAworld hypothesis right? Panspermia? Iron-Sulfur World Theory? We're still working on that.. and it's unfortunate that for honest men to admit that "we don't know" is seen as a weakness in the armor of science in which religion can exploit to drive home their well tempered (but none the less wrong) views. And I don't say they are wrong because of an absence of evidence, but by what appears by all reasonable measures to be a direct contradiction of their claims based on what evidence we DO have.

On the point of what do atheists have to fear from the beliefs of others, remember, that belief - and the exploitation of it, is a large portion of the reason behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Belief - and the exploitation of it, is a large portion of the reason behind the abortion clinic bombings. Belief - and the exploitation of it, has - and will continue to be, a justification for genocide... as evident by the Caananites, the Holocaust, and Manifest Destiny. Beyond this, the exploitation of belief has caused certain religious groups to attempt to undermine our already beleaguered educational system. This has, I fear, the gravest of consequences. After all, the best insurance against tyranny is education. It even threatens our nation's infrastructure which is only possible through education. An infrastructure to which we all depend upon for our livelihoods and standard of living, to say nothing of our defense. An example of this would be the retardation of research into the field of stem cell, which holds invaluable potential for millions upon millions of sick and disabled people. Not to mention that it also puts us at a severe disadvantage in contrast to nations who do not styme their research out of reverence for the advice of a religious tome. Our students will be competing on the world stage for research grants and funding, and to not prepare them adequately for the future by bringing them up to speed with the latest scientific advances will only be to our detriment.

[edit on 3-10-2008 by Lasheic]

[edit on 3-10-2008 by Lasheic]



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 12:18 AM
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great point... it seems like people can't accept just not knowing what is "beyond"... i have a feeling many humans dont even achieve the deep level of thought required to come to individual conclusions on these 'unanswerable' topics. they need to have answers to questions that we, as an infantile race on the spectrum, are not yet prepared to answer for ourselves, so they look to organized religion and choose to adopt that faiths 'answers', if you will, to those questions... perhaps some of these questions remain unanswered until we reach a certain point as individuals, or perhaps a race, however hopefully, some of these yet unanswered questions are unveiled to us in our lifetimes.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 12:42 AM
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I don't definitely know anything! I do have a pretty good idea on alot of things! I do believe science has given us a pretty good idea where we come from! While not perfect it is more plausible than other ideas!



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 01:11 AM
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The Weak Atheistic Principle

reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


Though agnostics share atheists' questioning of deity, they do not have the arrogance to exclude it from the universe. Agnosticism is not a default position. It is a considered one. We acknowledge and observe that both science and faith are extremely limited in their understanding of the universe.

Well defended, my friend.

Now ask yourself: apart from (sometimes) keeping you out of acrimonious arguments with believers and atheists alike, what material effect does this position have on the way you live?

Or - to put it another way - how does your way of life differ from an atheist's? What are the practical consequences of being an agnostic?

I mean - dig, dig - apart from hedging your bets on Pascal's wager...

[edit on 3-10-2008 by Astyanax]



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 01:18 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


One of the upshots of being agnostic is that it's quite a shortcut to inner peace.
Apparently anyway.

Not being "a" anything also is a handy time saver as we don't have to maintain contrary positions.

Personally, I find it existentially more liberating, but your point is well taken.


edit: Getting under atheists' skin is pretty amusing too.




[edit on 10/3/2008 by schrodingers dog]



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 02:38 AM
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reply to post by TruthParadox
 


But how is experience more accurate than logic? Your experiences are defined by your brain.

So is logic.

And how, anyway, do you know your brain is to be trusted? How do you know you even have one? How about a body?

When you say 'brain', are you sure you don't mean 'mind'?

The dispute between rationalism and empiricism is very old - and very interesting, at least to those of a philosophical bent. But let's skip it, shall we?

The human brain is certainly prone to hallucinations and other distortions of reality. Still, we can agree (with apologies to Uncle Abe) that all brains fool themselves some of the time, and some brains fool themselves all of the time, but all brains do not fool themselves all of the time. In my humble unphilosophical opinion, this consensual reality resolves the dispute... some of the time.

You say


Pure logic with no bias rarely (if ever) fails.

But the devil is the qualification, isn't it? 'With no bias'. How do you know your logic - or rather, your application of it - is unbiased?


I don't believe anyone should claim to know the absolute truth.

I agree with this, funnily enough. Still, I'm not just arguing for the sake of arguing; I'm making a case for a knowable human reality derived from a wealth of sense-data gathered by billions of human brains, shared among them by the usual methods and forged (if you will pardon the expression
) into a consistent, consensual whole. Reality - human reality - is real.

Rationality is certainly involved in this process, which results in a world that, strangely enough, is causal, deterministic and makes rational sense. And observing that world, you can be


as sure that God does not exist as I am that pink fairies are not the cause of gravity.

because, as Unsane correctly points out, this world offers constant evidence to support that proposition.

However, it contains no evidence to support the proposition that


my eyes are not made out of jelly

because, you know, they are.

By the way, Horza, I sent you a u2u several geological ages ago. Did you receive it?



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 02:52 AM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


Really? What evidence do you have that God does NOT exist?

I don't know about Horza (to whom you addressed this question), but you have already had an answer from me, in this post. I believe it will suffice.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 02:54 AM
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Originally posted by Dock6
reply to post by schrodingers dog
 



You're so right. We don't know. WE JUST DO NOT KNOW !

Quite often, I'll write that in a post.

Saying it does not increase your popularity, of course.

It makes people very angry sometimes.

First, they like to believe they know and they spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince others that they 'know' i.e. are 'right'.
They'll drag into their posts any number of 'proofs' and then play pseudo theologian/intellectual -- they'll drown you in 'evidence'.

Secondly, their mental stablity appears to balance on their insistence that someone knows, be that the Pope, or scratchings in a pyramid wall, or Grey-aliens ... whatever.

I suspect it's a 'control' thing. In order to function, they have to believe that WE have control .. that WE 'know' ... that WE have it locked in a box or a book or chunk of stone or ancient chart.

The reality (that we haven't a clue really)scares them witless and makes them frantic and often hostile.

So they take refuge in 'theories' and in antiquity: if something's 'old' then it must be the truth.

They could take a heck of a weight from their shoulders and struggling little brains if they simply looked the situation in the face and said .. 'Gee, no matter what ... we don't know, do we? We haven't a clue, when it's all boiled down. Your theory is as good as mine, isn't it ? I realise that now. Oh well, I'll just live my life and accept that mankind does not have all the answers, despite eons of trying to figure it out. Ok. I've dealt with it now. I'm fine. And now I'm going surfing. '


Sharp intake of breathe here as I know you'll get pelters for that! But you are 100% correct especially the mental instability dig. ATS seems to have attracted, in the last couple of years, a lot of people who need help. Their agitation level, frequency of posts etc is all too evident.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:11 AM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


One of the upshots of being agnostic is that it's quite a shortcut to inner peace.

Well, they do say ignorance is bliss.


Getting under atheists' skin is pretty amusing too.

I hereby dub thee Schrödinger's Chigger.

Edited to add 'i' to 'gnorance'. Duh...

[edit on 3-10-2008 by Astyanax]



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:30 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


One of the upshots of being agnostic is that it's quite a shortcut to inner peace.

Well, they do say ignorance is bliss.


Oh Snap!


(This is not a one line post)



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:31 AM
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Not a derailment. Well, not exactly...

And now, with your kind permission, I'm switching points on this train.

Q: Why is it so difficult to say 'I don't know'?

A: Because you're afraid that if you do, people will look down on you for being ignorant.


Taken out of the atheism-vs.-religion context, that is the number one reason why people are shy of admitting ignorance.

I have been, in various different contexts, a senior manager, consultant and facilitator. In all these functions, I have had to deal with the unfortunate and repellent consequences of people's refusal to say those three little words.

The foul-ups it can cause are as infinite in their variety as they can be devastating in their effects.

Throughout my life, it has been my constant mission to encourage people to say 'I don't know'. Only a fool - or a genuine ignoramus - will look down on you for saying it. Because, as RBurns rightly pointed out, the way to learn is to start by admitting you don't know.

And if you really don't know but pretend you do, you could end up putting other people's lives and property at risk for the sake of your damned ego.

On the whole, people I know regard me as a knowledgeable sort of fellow. I got that way by saying 'I don't know' at least twenty times a day.

[edit on 3-10-2008 by Astyanax]





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