in Skepticism & Post-Faith

Are You Unafraid Of The Dark?

Scared, flickr by Capture Queen

Scared, flickr by Capture Queen

We have inhabited a kind of prison on earth. How do we escape from this prison? from our darkness?

Here’s five tips shared from the Cosmos TV series, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, in the ‘Unafraid of the Dark’ episode.

So, how do we escape from this earth prison? from our ignorance?

Through these 5 simple rules that generations of searchers have taken to heart:

1. Question Authority

No idea is true just because someone says so. Think for yourself.

2 . Question Yourself.

Don’t believe anything just because you want to. Believing something doesn’t make it so.

3. Test ideas by the evidence gained from observation and experiment.

If a favorite idea fails a well-designed test, it was wrong. Get over it.

4. Follow the evidence wherever it leads.

If you have no evidence, reserve judgment.

5. Remember, you could be wrong.

Even the best of scientists have been wrong about somethings. Newton, Einstein, and every other great scientist in history — they all made mistakes. Of course they did. They’re human.

Science is a way to keep from fooling ourselves and each other.

Castle Bravo - Wikipedia

Castle Bravo – Wikipedia

Have scientists known sin. Of course, we’ve misused science just as we have every other tool at our disposal. And that’s why we can’t afford to leave it in the hands of a powerful few. The more science belongs to all of us the more likely it is to not be misused.

Our Imagination Is Nothing Compared To The Awesomeness Of Reality

These values undermine the appeals of fanaticism and ignorance. I want to know what is real. That it’s not just something happening inside my own head. Because it matters what is true. Our imagination is nothing compared to nature’s awesome reality.

 It seems that seeking reality, as it is, is our best chance for enlightenment, for a flourishing planet. I’m not convinced that any one person, theory, religion, or method can show us what is real. Perhaps, it will always be beyond reach of our understanding. But we must try, using our best and most reliable methods– or we will stay cramped in our tiny earth prison and forever hunkering, afraid to venture out of our dark.

Question for readers: Do you think objective reality can be known? Or, are we doomed to live in subjective reality, that lives only inside our own heads, our own imaginations? What are the most reliable methods to search for and discover what is real?

works cited

Unafraid of the Dark, COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY, Season 1, ep 13

Leave a Reply

  1. Ya know, Scott the other thing to remember is that the word “science” is a recent invention. And doing what you called “science” has happened since humans evolved. Heck, even animals do science. We question, test, and change.

    Now, the thing is, when an area is marked as sacred, that does not happen. And I think everyone, even the religion-free folks, have sacred areas in their lives — areas that they don’t question. Either due to lack of insight (blind habit), or lack of experience or laziness or fear.

    The fear element is real and at times useful. Because remember, evidence is not evidence is not evidence. Evidence has degrees of weight and doubt in itself. So your momentary evidence may be false and thus the maxim of “follow the evidence wherever it leads” is dangerous at times. It all depends on the potential benefits vs the risks and many other caveats. Maybe that is why “sacred” evolved as a beneficial adaptive mechanism. But like all mechanisms, it can sting us in the ass too.

    I think our imagination can indeed trump reality, that is why we are so addicted to it.

    Your final question was: Can reality be known?:
    Sure, subjectively. We can get closer and closer approximations and still pathetically far from real knowing. But that is OK — it is what we’ve got. Meanwhile, we have our imaginations to fill in the holes and entertain us when the sun sets! We like being scared in the dark. Isn’t that strange. 🙂

  2. Always great perspectives you share, Sabio. Yes, it seems we all have “sacred”, keep hands off, eyes closed, and mind protected beliefs and habits. I suppose it gives us humans some comfort and stability— dare I say our sense of certainty too?

    Our imaginations seem to be the glue that hold us together, give us hope, sanity, and move us forward into the dark, the unknown. I think it’s when we explore “reality” and our cherished imaginations as they are that we can push the boundaries of our imaginations and knowledge beyond our current comfort zone. Scary, but possible when done in baby steps.

    It’s is all indeed strange. Fascinating beyond comprehesion.

  3. Indeed.
    And then all that is complicated by the fact that by temperament some are greater chance-takers/explorers than others. And we each valorize our own temperaments as if we willed them into existence after careful deliberation. We are such a joke! 🙂

  4. i dont think objective reality will ever be possible given that our mind will always be invovled in observtion and experiments no matter how hard we try to eliminate this very important part of our humanity in observing our nature, clues will always be overlooked to support our preconceived notion when formullating theories…the very fabric fabrics of our mind is so permeable that objectivity will elude us, however we could make baby steps just as we have been since the time old to scratch the surface of objectivity..