Tuesday, January 12, 2010

From Belief to Knowledge

Here's my (currently) four step plan from belief to knowledge. This is a work in progress and is far from done. I'll improve upon the idea as I figure out what works and what doesn't. That's the whole point of this. Unlike belief structures, a rational thought process can evolve and change at the drop of a hat, as new observations and evidence are presented.

Since abandoning all religion and belief, I've noticed that in little ways my brain is still mired in beliefs and concepts that are based on inadequate data. We all have this. We have made assumptions in our lives based in information we BELIEVE to be correct when objectively speaking it's not known.

For example, many assume there to be a god and assume the bible to have been written by god. Once one determines these to be lies, saying "god bless you" to someone who just sneezed suddenly becomes the most preposterous thing, yet I still catch myself doing that because I've been programmed to behave that way.

So I'm trying to do the following steps whenever I come up against stuff like this. I fear it's gonna be a life long process cuz forty years of habits are very hard to break.

Step one: Convert what you believe into two new categories: What You Know and What You Don't Know.

What does this mean? Well find something you believe, and try to prove it. Can you prove it? If you can, it goes in the KNOW pile. If you can't, it goes in the DON'T KNOW pile.

For example, I can prove there's a place called Paris. I've never been there. I don't plan to go, but I have seen ample evidence from multiple sources that it exists. So for me, for now, Paris goes in the what I know pile.

I can't prove a god exists. I might want there to be one really bad. I might want to believe, but I don't know. Until I know, it has to go in the what I don't know pile.

I can choose to put Paris in the Don't Know pile. I can choose to put god in the Know pile. These are my piles. This is my brain. In fact I can move them around all I want and try to find what works for me. All my life God was in the Know pile. I don't know anymore. So I moved him/her/it to the don't know pile. That's working a lot better for me.

If evidence presents itself that Paris doesn't exist, that maybe all the evidence pointing to its existence has somehow been fabricated, then I can move Paris to the don't know pile.

Step two: Fix all double negatives in What You Know.

I've noticed a lot of believers saying to me that I can't prove god doesn't exist. That's a double negative. I'm seeing similar double negatives in my own thought processes. Whenever I see a double negative, I try to read the statement again as a positive. For example, the phrase "
I can't prove god doesn't exist" has two negatives. If this is a true statement, then saying "I can prove god does exist" should also be true. It's not. So the double negative statement is a fallacy. It's awkward and misleading abuse of the language. It doesn't convey a clear rational thought. In fact, much of modern day religion hides behind language like this.

Oftentimes one false belief is based on another false belief, and once you see them as false, they cross each other out. The Bible is allegedly the word of God. How do we know this? It says it in the bible. How do we know God loves you? The bible tells you God loves you. How do we know there's a God? The bible confirms it. How can we trust the bible? It's the word of god. This circular logic is a house of cards that blows down when you realize there's no god. God doesn't love you. He doesn't hate you. There is no god. The bible is not god's message. It was not written by god. God doesn't exist. The Bible was written by men as a way to prove God's existence. They may have felt the presence of God, but that's no proof.

Step three: Rename What You Don't Know into Not Real Until Proven.

If you don't know something, it's not real.

Many say that until something is proven to not exist, it might, and therefore it's okay to behave as if it did exist. This is wrong. Believing in unicorns on the moon is foolhardy. Maybe they just always stay on the other side of the moon away from the prying observations of mankind. Maybe when we went up there the unicorns were afraid of our astronauts and ran away. There were no unicorn tracks on the ground. We do not see them in telescopes when we look at the moon. There is no evidence of unicorns. Moon unicorn enthusiasts could describe elaborate underground cities inside the moon where the unicorns flourish. It would be an endearing and adorable myth, but myths are fiction. They are not true.

We have never seen, felt, heard, tasted, or smelled god. Some could argue that god is all around us. He is in all living things. He's in nonliving things. He's in rocks and trees. God is in black holes and grasshoppers. He's what keeps all atoms together. He's all this poetic mumbo jumbo. God is whatever we haven't discovered yet.

God used to be in the sky, in the Heavens, because Man hadn't figured out how to see past clouds yet. Then we learned Flight, and visited the clouds, and found out they were just water vapor. So that's when god "moved." Religious people were like that's just an interpretation. It's figurative. It shouldn't be taken literally. So they moved god. This is convenient for them, because it means their god is always one step ahead of science. Science will never be able to know absolutely everything, so there'll always be some place for a god to hide from his believers.

However, by now, if a god existed, we would have found traces of his existence. Dinosaurs are no more. Some theorize that they evolved into birds or reptiles or something else. Whatever. Dinosaurs are no more today. Yet there is evidence of their existence that can be found in the fossil record of this planet. Historical Geology reveals a great deal more compelling evidence to the past of this planet than the bible. Yet people would rather believe in the bible than their own eyes. There's no mention of dinosaurs in the bible, because all dinosaurs became extinct prior to the writing of the Bible. If god were omniscient, and he were telling mankind the truth in "his word" he would have mentioned them. He did not. Why are dinosaurs absent from the bible? Because the liars who wrote the bible were oblivious to their existence.

God is not the Unknown. We make the unknown a god so that we feel better on the surface. God didn't make us in his image. We made up god in our own, because it's difficult for us to believe that this universe was made by a platypus. That would mean the platypus is the center of the universe and humanity can't accept that.

We must assume something doesn't exist until we find evidence that it does. I may have cancer right now. I haven't gone to see a doctor. I feel fine. However, there are people who have in the past felt fine and through some accident or during a routine checkup they learn that they have cancer. Should I behave as if I were dying of cancer on the off chance that a malignant tumor might exist somewhere in my body? Or should I live my life as if there were no cancer, until there's ample and obvious proof to the contrary?

If you don't know something, don't pretend you do.

Step four: Wash, rinse, repeat.

This is an ongoing process. I don't think it ever really ends. There will be beliefs you put in one pile and later discover belonged in the other. It's a procedure I have been doing for months and see no end in sight. Good luck with it. I hope you find rational enlightenment. It may not save your soul or lead you to meditating in a Tibetan temple or get you laid, but at least you'll be able to think for yourself and not have some other people telling you to follow their god so they can manipulate and control your thoughts and actions.

Have a fulfilling and godless day.

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