Monday, June 18, 2007

Do I believe in evolution? Do I believe in anything?

From Dogma:

Rufus: He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name - wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.
Bethany: Having beliefs isn't good?
Rufus: I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can't generate. Life becomes stagnant.

And the definition of "belief" from
  1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.

  2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.

  3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.

  4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

I can't say that I believe in anything, really.

Take extraterrestrial life for instance. I think that, since the universe is so staggeringly large, the potential for some life somewhere other than on earth is significant. Besides that, I think it would be depressing to think that in this massive cosmos only one little fraction of a speck has life. But do I believe in it? I can't say that I do. I have never been presented with any real evidence other than the random supposed UFO sighting. One could make the point that this constitutes evidence, and yes, it does. But it is not irrefutable. It's not rigorous by any means. It is very possible that there is life elsewhere, and it is very possible that there is no life elsewhere. I don't have an opinion one way or the other, but I do hope for it. I certainly don't base anything in my life on the existence or non-existence of life outside of earth.

Now, on the other hand, take evolution. I don't believe in evolution, because the very sentiment diminishes the concept! Believe in evolution? Never! It has been rigorously tested, to the point of proof... UNLESS your mind is clouded with this notion of belief, and you can't accept the proof. Is it possible that the theory of evolution is false? Sure! It's also possible that I was just created this very second, and that every memory I have was merely planted in me upon my creation. It's possible that, at the beginning of time, God, Thor, and Zeus had a bet going to see who could get the most followers if they were to create a playing field, and that's how we were created. Many, many things are possible. But Evolution is as much fact as anything else in existence.

Beliefs cause wars. Beliefs cause the blind mistrust of anything that threatens one's world view. I say, get rid of your beliefs, and start having ideas!

DISCLAIMER: You will, undoubtedly, hear me say or see me write "I believe..." from time to time. It's part of our language, and it's hard to shake. But whenever I say that, I guess what I mean is "I'm convinced..."


Intergalactic Hussy said...

I hate when theists throw the term "belief" around. No one could or could not ever "believe" in evolution; you either accept the facts or dismiss them.

massage viborg said...

The evolution is the real things.

Anonymous said...

I believe the data available today support some conclusions better than others. I believe nothing in the data available today supports the notion of an invisible pink unicorn, a flying spaghetti monster, or any other deity.

Somebody said every time the island of the known is made larger, the shoreline to the unknown gets longer. I believe we can only act effectively on the data if we understand our own assumptions, and I doubt that is even possible. So we act "as if" and maybe hope for the best, or maybe expect the worst. Me, I sink into a good audiobook if allowed to choose.

Is that a belief system? Probably. For sure, I'm not embarrassed to use the term "believe" in this context.

-theGeezer :)