Belief and Doubt

After reading the article “The Uncertainty of Knowledge”, I had some disagreements about the author’s position. I think that his ideas are generally sound: how can we possibly be sure that what we “know” is true? And, of course, it is impossible, by his standards. His argument about the supposed knowledge of our ancestors was a sound one, and something I had previously thought about. What things will the people of 3000 look back on with ridicule, as we do when we consider the possible flatness of the world? It is true, I’m sure that many things will be proven wrong as time goes on. However, I don’t think that means we should completely discount all sciences and all knowledge that we have acquired because it isn’t “true”. There are things that I know beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is evidence and many studies and experiments to support. Some of what we think we know now may certainly be changed in the future, but I certainly believe that some of it is correct. Some of it is at least a step in the path to comprehension of the world we live in. One of his final lines, “I find comfort in the thought that the creative mind fashions the world in which we live” speaks about his philosophy that this mass of inscrutability which is our universe can be interpreted in endless different ways by humanity. And I don’t necessarily agree with this. The creative mind may interpret the world in which we live, but it cannot actively change it. Though the creative mind may believe the world is flat, you can sail forever without finding an edge. I do, however, think that if you interpret his statement to mean that creativity is very important in our quest for new knowledge and our deciphering of the universe, than it is much more agreeable.

After this article, I watched a PSA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjVjr-qOpNk&feature=player_embedded) about climate change. I thought it was very well done, especially in the parallels between cigarettes and climate change. It connects with the article we just read because it plays off of the fact that knowledge is constantly changing: we once had no idea the effects of cigarettes which are now painfully obvious and now we are somewhere along the process from ignorance to acceptance in regards to climate change.

I decided to look into an advertisement supported by science, but ended up finding one that I felt was more negatively impacted. The ad is for Cymbalta, an antidepressant, and the list of possible side effects and concerns takes up nearly a minute of the video. Of course, this occurs while video is playing. The woman reads in a monotonous and fairly quick voice, making it easy to miss some of what she says.

Lastly, I wanted to see what people on Twitter were saying about a fairly controversial topic: climate change. Twitter is a different medium because anyone can say anything with no filter. One of the first tweets I found was:

This account makes a claim, and many of the claims on Twitter can be very hard to believe. However, this one lends itself some credibility for several reasons. Firstly, the account isn’t simply a personal one, but the Sustainable Business section of the British national newspaper, The Guardian. In addition, it provides a link to an article in their online newspaper, which cites scientist Michael Mann.

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