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Thomas Jefferson, on genuine uncertainty, as a refuge from one-way skepticism

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One-way skepticism one-stop shop? Here. But agnostic Jefferson here:

It is always better to have no ideas, than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong. In my mind, theories are more easily demolished than rebuilt.

—Letter to James Madison, Jefferson Writings, Thomas Jefferson, p. 924

Still, Laszlo Bencze, ID community photographer and philosopher says,

Though this may appear to be wise advice, it is impracticable. It is impossible to have a truly blank mind about any controversial topic. We will always have some some preconceived notion about whether something is true, untrue, possible, unlikely, distasteful, pleasing, convincing, or unconvincing. The best we can do is to inventory our prejudices and determine whether one or another of them is unbalancing our judgement. If so, we can push the slider on that scale of prejudice towards the opposite conclusion. I doubt the state of “having no ideas” about any topic of interest can last more than a few minutes.

Yes, that’s the trouble. Today’s one-way skeptic typically has far more doctrines milling in his head than most traditional thinkers could imagine. Everything from “the mind is an illusion” to “whatever some science panel is shouting must be true.”

If it’s in a lab coat, it will look like science to you?

2 Replies to “Thomas Jefferson, on genuine uncertainty, as a refuge from one-way skepticism

  1. 1
    lamarck says:

    I think the Penn Gillette/Bill Nye certain guy paradigm is going by the wayside slowly but surely. At least Carl Sagan in his last days opened up and told some truth.

  2. 2
    News says:

    About Carl Sagan, say more? – d.

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