TED Talk from Cognitive Scientist Philip Fernbach

Watch this TED talk video below, from cognitive scientist Philip Fernbach. We are tribal people. We have a very strong propensity to accept as knowledge what people in our own tribe accepts, which means we all claim to know things that are false.

I am a nonbeliever because of this research. I'm skeptical of people who have all the answers. I am skeptical of apologists who claim to have an impossible grasp of a whole range of disciplines of learning, like quantum mechanics, cosmology, astronomy, evolutionary science, neurology, psychology, cognitive biases, philosophy, theology, philology, Old Testament and New Testament studies, Jesus studies, church history, ethics, politics, and so on, and so on, which they use to argue for their faith. No one has such a wide grasp of it all. But far too many of them act as if they do! So they are inauthentic people, unjustly arrogant people, who are pretending to know that which they cannot know, like the Sophists in the days of Socrates.

This is why doubt is the only reasonable position to take about the objective world, its nature, its workings, and its origins (including which religion is true, if there is one) until such time as there's sufficient objective evidence leading to a confident conclusion.

The highest degree of confidence in a conclusion about the objective world is the consensus of scientists working in a field. The lowest degree of confidence in a conclusion about the objective world is one's own subjective feelings. Another conclusion about the objective world that has a very low confidence level is 2nd 3rd 4th-handed down ancient conflicting testimony debated by theologians down through history about extraordinary miraculous claims such as snakes and donkeys that talked, rocks that floated, a bush that didn't burn up, a sun that stood still (and even backed up!), great fish that swallowed a person, a god born of a virgin (based at best on 2nd handed testimony from the mother alone!), resurrecting people, levitating people, a few of which ascended back into heaven where it's claimed God's throne is, along with a 2000 year old prophecy that one of them will come back to a flat earth from which every person on earth will see him.

Hat tip: Tom Rafferty!!!


Kendra said...

Very thoughtful bllog