A couple of weeks ago, Joe Rogan had a guest on his podcast named Firas Zahabi. I do not watch the podcast, but I do watch the suggested clips if they sound interesting. In this instance, the title of the clip was Joe Rogan debates the philosophy of science with Firas Zahabi, which certainly sounded interesting to me.
It turns out I was not let down, as I found the clip - which turned out to be over an hour - to be very thought provoking. There is in truth a lot I could say about this one video and the topics addressed in it, but for this post, I want to speak on the process of a scientific revolution that was touched on by Joe Rogan's guest.
I obviously do not recall what was said word for word, but to paraphrase, the process was described in a manner akin to the following;
In the scientific field, when new information arises that is contrary to the status quo, the information is largely ignored and swept under the rug, for there is nowhere else to put it as it doesn't fit with the current scientific understanding of how the universe operates.
However, as more and more information arrives that is contrary to the current scientific paradigm, and as more of it gets swept under the rug, the massive bulge beneath that rug becomes harder and harder to ignore, forcing a search for a new paradigm that will have a place where all that information can fit.
Such a search will inevitably lead to the adoption of a new scientific understanding of the universe, one which allows us to make sense of both our historical and recent findings.
When I first heard this described in such a way, I thought it explained an awful lot about the abuses taken by much of the scientific community in recent years. But I also recognized that the field of science is not the only thing that can be explained by this "under the rug" analogy.
The process of a scientific revolution, to me, sounds an awful lot like how the human mind deals with information that contradicts their current set of beliefs, and how the process of a paradigm shift within any given consciousness would occur.
It seems then that scientific method is our own innate method of discerning the universe we live in, and so we are guilty on an individual level of the same closed-mindedness we often see from the field of science.
This observation got me thinking. If we know what someone's beliefs are, and we know they are wrong, could we be selective about what information we present them? If we can decide what facts or anomalies they are forced to sweep under their own mental rug, then we will also know what solution to offer later that will have a place for all that information that previously would not fit.
Further more, it got me questioning what life would be like for a human who had not a single belief. I once thought such a mindset would be advantageous, but after giving it more thought, I no longer consider this to be the case.
Without any beliefs, one cannot have any goals, for who wants to set their self a task to accomplish if they do not believe there is anything to be gained from it. Without any beliefs, we can have no morality, for if one does not believe in right and in wrong, then there is nothing to inform them what they should and should not do. In fact, it seems to me that without beliefs, one cannot make any sense at all of the world or of their self.
Beliefs seem to be the building blocks of understanding our minds make use of to figure out who we are and what our place is in the universe. So we should not be afraid of adopting beliefs. We should be afraid only of defending them.
Having no beliefs is a chaotic way to live. But having beliefs that are fluid, and can be knocked down and replaced without fear or discomfort, is the healthiest way to maintain a mind. One must only accept that a belief is not a definitive, and that it is okay to believe in things that are not true as long as we remain open to updating our understandings upon the reception of new information that is counter to what we previously believed.