Back Off Science


Posted in 1 by backoffscience on September 15, 2009

Possibilans are those that celebrate the vastness of our ignorance, are unwilling to commit to any particular made-up story, and take pleasure in entertaining multiple hypotheses.

There’s a space opening up in the wake of people smelling something fishy with total atheism, and folks like David Eagleman are being put forward to fill the gap.

Eagleman’s idea is that there are things we don’t know about yet, and telling interesting stories in the remaining gaps is a good thing to do.

This idea is both positive and confusing. It involves creativity in abstract thought, experimentation in human narrative, all good things.

But the stories about the afterlife are not possibilities. They are things you could take to be certain, they are ideas you could live by. That is why stories that are not particularly well written can have such power – because you feel how your life might be different if you believed them.

There is no scientific discovery that could validate a Sum hypothesis. We have already made the discovery when we discovered the human brain.

But at the same time, you can’t look faith in the eye. So approaching it from this slanty way is perhaps not too bad.

Just don’t pretend that faith narratives are uncertain. They wouldn’t do anything if they were. And don’t pretend that if you really want to tell your life in a huge meaningful narrative you can keep up the attitude that keeps everything in the air.

What Sum brings out is exactly what the total atheist version of life after death amounts to. To say nothing is not the heights of rationalism, but is really just a boring, depressing, meaningless story.