Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Why?" versus "Why not?"

So many times throughout human history have we encountered the dilemma regarding the relative validities of the questions "Why?" and "Why not?" Generally the two result in conflicting answers. I have been a lifelong atheist, and have spent a lot of time in my short life contemplating why I do not subscribe to the very popular beliefs in deities. Immediately I think, "It is because I actually think about things." That is not a sufficient answer, though, because I, in fact, avoid thinking about the one question Christians ask that atheists cannot counter: "Why not?" There are no reasons an omnipotent deity would exist, and there are also no reasons it would not exist. The scientific method completely negates the usefulness of the question "Why not?", citing that flawed conclusions are drawn because one is putting the burden of proof not upon the party making the assertion, but upon the audience to the assertion, and because one would be drawing said conclusion, then looking for evidence to support it, rather than the opposite. It makes sense to me that this is the most unbiased way of looking at an issue, but I was raised with the current scientific method. Who is to say that making an assertion, then looking for proof is invalid? On the larger scale, what implications does this have on the doctrine "innocent until proven guilty"? For a moment try to force your mind to assume all things are true. (I tried doing this in the shower this morning and I tripped some serious balls.) Personally, I find that it goes completely against the grain of my mind. naturally I am someone who asks "Why?" I am a "Why?" person, I suppose. I've met many "Why not?" people though, and have always assumed them to be simple-minded and less intelligent, but is that really the case? Or is it I who am simple-minded, only able to comprehend the skeptical side of things, bogged down by looking to justify my reality with proof? To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. I asked myself, "why not comment?"

    And so I did.

    I'm guilty sometimes of assuming something is true, then going out looking for information to support it. However, I also make an effort to find and evaluate information that contradicts my position. Sometimes you can make other people agree by pointing out that the reasoning on which they base their opinions is somehow flawed. Sometimes people form opinions on the basis of a very limited sample of information.

    In my view, level of intelligence isn't quite as important as open-mindedness and rationality. Open-mindedness fosters cooperation, while rational decision making increases the likelihood that a decision will be of long term benefit and have a net positive effect for all the people involved.

    The funny thing about rationality is that a decision that is rational for one person is not necessarily in the best interests of a group. This is one source of conflict...