Posted: Feb 10, 2012 6:28 pm
by stalidon
I've been lately convinced that bracing for absolute truths might come from an authoritarian/absolutist worldview stemming from monotheism.

This comes from my own experience: I found myself having the project of finding an ultimate foundation, a 'rock' in reality that could not be doubted, from which to develop my (personal) epistemology. In the process I found two things: 1) I can't find it without assuming some axiom to be dogmatically non-disputable; and 2) the project itself came from a psychological trend I could only qualify as 'authoritarian': the desire to posses an absolute truth that no one could dispute, and thenceforth anyone I would engage in discourse would have to agree and accept my (logical) deductions from it.

This authoritarian trend and project would seem to have the aim of making everyone else 'see the light', making everyone agree to the 'obvious' truthfulness of what I think; ultimately: eliminate differences making everyone think exactly as I think. Which in my case, I'm happy to accept it might come from having trouble at accepting others as different, just as they are (one could hardly call the emotional reaction culminating in the utterance 'you are an idiot or an ignorant to think that' as 'tolerant'). This is hardly compatible with another psychological trend in me: that I think everyone's entitled to be different, that differences in ways of living, thinking and behaving are enriching rather than troublesome.

Hence, I've cataloged this approach as a remnant of religious thinking, and I'm now tending to adopt the view that no absolute truths exist. At least, when I endeavor to know the world as it is, I don't need to assume a priori that absolute truths exist, nor is it useful to engage in the search of them, or in the search for the 'ultimate Truth'; it is instead more reasonable to conceive epistemology as open ended.

So, now I'm wondering... what's the point of saying 'religion is false'? Why do I care? Where does the desire to do this come from?
Does it come from concern for others? Do I think they'd be happier if I debunked their myths? How do I know they aren't happy just as they are?
Or, does it come from concern for myself? Do I feel threatened by, for example, fundamentalism, in my lifetime?
Or, do I just think this is just a useful social function in the process of achieving some social consensus about reality?

We could say, for example, that Dawkins has the rationale for uttering this propositions by way of a necessary defense of his discipline: biology and science in general. But is this all he's doing? Does he always ground his actions through this rationale?

And I took Dawkins as a reference frame, because I think most of us that frequently expose our atheist worldview and view of religions might have even more trouble grounding our exposing such on rational grounds.

So, what do you think? How do you answer for yourself, in rational terms, the question 'why am I doing this debunking'?

Cheers! :cheers: