Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
01 Our Future
02 Difference of Opinion
03 Our Anger
04 Punishing Children
05 Child Rearing
06 Our Biggest Problem
07 Evils of Justice
08 Cultural Victimization
09 Rational-Ethical Religion
10 Rational-Ethical Government
11 Global Human Zoo
12 "Homo Rationalis" Wants YOU
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

6. OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM



In this sixth of 12 monthly articles, I’m exploring the idea that our toddler species may finally achieve a vastly improved way of life, and no longer do what predictably causes pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED). We’ll be "Homo rationalis."


My second article (available with free "textbook" at HomoRationalis.com) described how discovery of disagreement should be welcomed as an opportunity for friendly debate, with resulting wisdom and clarity of thought, but instead often causes anger and hostility (unfriendly debate), especially when exploring the difference deeply.


So instead of cherishing friendly debate, we tactfully remain silent or change the subject. We say politely, "What’s true for you may not be true for me," evading deep exploration of difference. And we avoid, shun, attack, murder, and execute those who believe differently.


Why is friendly debate so difficult, even dangerous? Why expect any anger at all? The answer is our biggest problem, preventing us from maturing rapidly to the time of "Homo rationalis," and therefore being our greatest source of PSDED.


When you ask why I believe something, I try to "legitimate" my belief by demonstrating that it satisfies a criterion we both accept. There are two general criteria for the legitimization of belief. Both come naturally, but have drastically different results.


The first criterion is "accuracy," meaning whether the belief allows for accurate prediction. Every animal through experience develops beliefs about the nature of the world. Its inaccurate beliefs will tend to be modified as mistakes occur. The scientific method, which tests beliefs by making and checking predictions, has provided the most accurate and therefore reliable beliefs, allowing us to do things we would otherwise never consider doing. Other beliefs logically consistent with these are considered probably accurate also.


Inaccurate beliefs sometimes cause mistakes, and therefore PSDED. Possible examples would be: it’s just a mole; the globe’s not warming; heaven’s gate requires suicide; smoking’s harmless; the deity likes sacrificial virgins, crusades, jihadic martyrdom; seatbelts are dangerous; cell phone usage while driving isn’t dangerous; despite drinking, I can drive okay; adding fat to almost all food doesn’t cause obesity and PSDED; they are witches; witches require burning; they have WMD; the levees are adequate; we should be fruitful and multiply; vaccination causes autism; etc. Since accuracy of belief is crucial to good decision-making (making for the good life), "Homo rationalis" will consider effort to attain it of utmost ethical importance.


The second criterion, "comfort," is how having the belief makes one feel. Some of what we believe makes us feel either good or bad. We tend to avoid believing that which makes us feel bad, and to believe that which makes us feel good.


The value of comforting belief is universally recognized. Not only can we improve how we feel by maintaining certain beliefs, but doing so can also improve our health. And this is true for both accurate and inaccurate beliefs.


So some inaccurate beliefs promote the good life, and some promote PSDED. Exactly herein lies our biggest problem. There is absolutely no criterion to weed out those inaccurate beliefs that cause PSDED. Of those beliefs causing us to do things which obviously promote PSDED, we say that the beliefs are correct and the PSDED is just a necessary byproduct of what is needed for a greater cause (end justifies means).


"Homo rationalis" will say we should use only accuracy to legitimate beliefs, never comfort. If accurate beliefs cause comfort, great. But comfort caused by an inaccurate belief must never legitimate it. Beliefs for which evidence is ambiguous should be tested if possible by rules of evidence. Friendly debate should be cherished.


But how can we give up inaccurate beliefs that provide so much comfort (and health)? "Homo rationalis" will promote other sources of comfort, that we use only very inadequately. We should comfort one another by treating each other well, by empathy, by appreciation, and by staying at the side of those suffering. We should "love one another," and be sensitive to the other’s pain. We should raise our children with utmost care to give them healthy mental hygienic habits and good self-esteem (for instance, by avoiding punishment, as described in the fifth article).


In addition, I believe "Homo Rationalis" will use "pseudobelief" (described in the "textbook") much more skillfully than we do, thus recapturing some of the benefit lost by abandoning comforting inaccurate belief.


So again, why the anger? If you disagree and cause me doubt, you threaten my comfort. That’s attack!


To be continued….