NB: The aim of this article is to illustrate WHY one should paradoxically maintain “uncertainty as ones only certainty” as a Scientific Thinker. You can read Part 1 of this series: “Uncertainty” in order to acquire the some foundational understanding of the topic that will provide a solid foundation for this article below.
The previous article in this series (read here) began with a hypothetical scenario in which one was to find oneself having a discussion with 3 people. Each of those people had views that were radically different to one’s own. Each individual was asked “what would it take for you to change your mind about your views?” The resulting responses allowed us to classify each into individual as one of 3 distinct “thinker types”:
Scientific Thinker (ST)
Believer Thinker (BT)
Victim Thinker (VT)
The response given by the ST was as follows: “well, if I was presented with sufficient evidence then I would be willing to genuinely entertain the possibility that I am currently incorrect in my views and will consider updating my opinions about how accurately my ideas reflect our known reality”.
This response is that of a ST because they maintained enough skepticism and doubt of their own views to be willing to update them in light of evidence; i.e. they remained uncertain.
A ST holds strong views based on the probability of those views accurately reflecting reality. They do not, however, hold on to those views too tightly; they are aware of their inescapable ignorance as a fallible, limited, and irrational finite ape. This process of being grounded in doubt is pivotal to the truth-seeking endeavor that Science represents. The French philosopher Peter Abelard alluded to this concept when he said:
“…doubt is the road to inquiry, and by inquiring we perceive the truth.”
Admittedly it can initially feel uncomfortable to be perpetually uncertain or in doubt of one’s views. But to not maintain uncertainty or doubt is to become shackled as a thinker as I described in Part 1. As Voltaire said:
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
But why one may still find oneself asking is certainty absurd? What makes the Believer Thinker (BT) and the Victim Thinker (VT) so ridiculous?…”
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