17 August 2010

Let's keep in mind

All we who are not primary researchers arrive at our decisions regarding what is safest, healthiest, and best on the basis of someone else's authority.

There is always an opposing view with research to support it, and always a question of whether the prevailing opinion prevails because it is conventional or because it is right.

To depart from the majority position is merely to exchange one form of credulity for another.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

and that is why I am now an atheist.

Rebekah said...

Anon, I'd have thought this line of reasoning when carried into the realm of religious faith culminated more naturally in agnosticism, but what do I know?

I believe, however, that Christ died for sin once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring me to God, and you too.

Cheryl said...

Anonymous, you seem to be making an analogy between the decision to believe in this or that opinion or authority and the decision to believe (or not to believe) in God. But the analogy is a false one, because when it comes to faith, there is no decision-making involved. It is not an act of human will, but a gift of God.

Rebekah, YES. I think you have gotten to the heart of why I am a skeptic. There is too much information, too many authorities, too many people with opinions that I ought to respect. I get weary of sorting it all out and in desperation usually decide to ignore it all and go with my own primary research and my gut.

And of course, with whatever my husband wants to do. :-) His is always the "majority" position in our house.

Rebekah said...

Cheryl, exactly. We are in fact all primary researchers in our own households. We know what works for us. And we do not know what works in other people's homes; what makes other people's kids get diaper rash or allergies or anfechtung; what ancient practices or contemporary innovations are perceived to be salutary by one well-read family and dangerous by another. However, I think we do all know how easy it is to find anecdotes to support our biases, and to blow off those that don't. :P

Anonymous said...

Nowadays there are literally gazillions of huge data sets readily accessible on the internet. So, naturally there are also gazillions of blogs dedicated to mining and analyzing such data. Generally, I have found that these bloggers are willing to ask, research and discuss questions that the mainstream won't touch but which go a long way to explaining much of what is going on. Interestingly among them are Christians, atheists and some who are hedging with Pascal's wager.

e&k said...

i need to keep this in mind. :)

Anonymous said...

"There is always an opposing view with research to support it,"

Not really. Take education for example, all the research shows that smart kids learn well but slow kids don't. Sure there are those who just hate this fact, but there is no evidence to the contrary.

Katy said...

haha @ anon

But there is research somewhere, I'm sure, to show slow kids aren't really slow but just [fill in the blank]

Reb. Mary said...

This reminds me of a recent experience we had with an allergist: As I questioned him about certain possible treatments, including those that he was recommending and some that I'd read on elsewhere, several lines of discussion ended with him shrugging and saying, "You're the mom. You know your kid. You watch your kid, and you decide if it works. Then maybe try something else if it doesn't." Nice to find an honest practitioner instead of one who prescribes cookie-cutter potions.

And how much kinder and gentler life would be if we more often allowed ourselves and others this sort of epieikeia.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, someone speaks reason. I knew my kids didn't need carseats. After all, I never had one as a youngster. And now I can light up a cigarette without feeling guilty. I had a relative who lived into her 80's and smoked the whole time. OH, and I know homosexual couples that are very loving and committed. How do you not see this as post modern relativism? I wonder if this is how the Episcopal church started into error and their emphasis on personal experience in deciding doctrine.