28 May 2012

doubt #2

Doubt is contingent on knowledge and there is never, as far as humans go, complete knowledge, omniscience. We might desire complete knowledge (for the avoidance of doubt), but we cannot have it, which is maybe why gods have that attribute thrust upon them.

But it's not only contingent on knowledge is it?  Because we are empathic creatures, because we are both rational AND emotional, because we are ethical and because we don't live alone. 

If I am a surgeon and know that, if I operate, there is a chance you will live, but the possibility, perhaps probability, that you won't, it seems natural and right to have doubt, to be uncertain, to question, to be hesistant.  Doubt is often uncomfortable but it is essential to doubt... and doubt as hard and as fully as possible until it's crunch time.  Then you need courage.

Descartes chose to doubt everything, absolutely everything, until he arrived at the one conclusion he was sure of  - 'I think, therefore I am.'  I doubt he was that sure of that either:  isn't he still left with the question What Is I?

Nevertheless, it is the sort of doubt that science embraces and that religion is scared of.  Doubt is the lifeblood of science, because we now know very well that both our thoughts and our perceptions deceive us all the time.  Faith is the lifeblood of religion, because?

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