True Knowledge, False Beliefs and Your Power

Knowledge theory according to philosopher William Clifford:
1. It is always wrong to believe anything on insufficient evidence.
2. It is always wrong to ignore evidence that is relevant to ones beliefs.

The Harm of False Beliefs:
In the Bible, God forbids Adam and Eve to eat from the “tree of knowledge of good and evil”. When they eat the forbidden fruit, they gain new knowledge but are punished by God and no longer have eternal life. Such religious beliefs that discouraged new knowledge held humanity back for nearly a 1,000 years during the Dark Ages when little progress was made. During this period, Giordano Bruno was burned alive at the stake for disagreeing with the Church and holding the “dangerous” view that the stars in the night sky were other suns with their own planets and Galileo was forced to deny his “dangerous” knowledge that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Under the threat of death, Galileo agreed to not teach such heresy and was forced by the Church to spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took the Church another 300 years to admit that Galileo was right. If the Church didn’t reject true knowledge, perhaps the Dark Ages could have been avoided and cancer cured 800 years ago. False beliefs can make us all suffer.

Can Some False Beliefs be Beneficial?
Mistakes were made in the past, but now we know that distant stars are other suns and the Earth revolves around the Sun. Even if untrue, what is the harm of believing in God, the soul and the afterlife as long as we live a good life and treat others with respect? Doesn’t the belief in karma help many live a noble life? Doesn’t the belief in an afterlife give many people hope and comfort? Who is to say what is true and what is false?

On True Knowledge:
But what do we do when one belief contradicts another? Is global warming true or false? China and Japan both claim ownership of the same island. Does God exist or not? How do we resolve disputes? How do we establish truth?

Some scientific knowledge is 100% true while other knowledge is in a gray area. For example, we know with 100% certainty that the constant Pi is 3.14159..., that the area of a circle is Pi times the radius squared and that the angles of a triangle sum to 180 degrees on a flat surface. Even the will of God cannot change these truths.

When beliefs contradict with one another, should we not consider the preponderance of the evidence as in a courtroom decision? Isn't the best evidence always repeatable and indisputable scientific evidence? Should we not gather and weigh the evidence in an attempt to reach the best decision?

Your Power:
With true knowledge we create skyscrapers and computers. With true knowledge we explore and understand our universe. At a personal level, true knowledge is your ultimate power forward in life. True knowledge allows us to become skilled doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, fire fighters and accountants. True knowledge is your power.

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For the Curious Only

Why do Things Exist?

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