Updated: Mar 2, 2021
Knowledge is the overlap between Epistemology (the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion), and Axiology (the study of the nature of value and valuation, and of the kinds of things that are valuable). Said another way, the overlap between truth and beliefs.
All knowledge must be validated by logic and in accordance to its strict principles of validity, including the avoidance of logical fallacies and holding to the 24 valid syllogisms that exist in the classical practice of Socratic logic. There are simply no exceptions.
I accept that science, and the scientific method, are the only valid way for humans to understand the universe. I believe that every conclusion, hypothesis, theory or accepted fact is subject to reexamination with the discovery of new evidence. Nothing can be known with absolute certainty. I accept that all things either physical or ethereal occur within the natural order of the universe and that nothing is outside of nature, or supernatural, and that there is an enormous body of knowledge yet discovered or understood.
I accept that the universe came into existence through natural means and is governed by the universal laws of physics. I accept that there is nothing outside of the natural order, nothing that violates the laws of physics, and nothing supernatural. I accept that our understanding of the cosmos is limited by the mammalian equipment evolution has provided us in the cerebral cortex, and although our knowledge will grow as we evolve, our understanding will always be but a mere glimpse of the complete reality.
Life on Earth
I accept that on this planet, despite incredible odds against, the right variables came together naturally, in the right combination to create life. I accept the theory of evolution by natural selection and random mutation, as the explanation for the diversity of life on Earth, and that all life stems from a common ancestor.
I accept that there is no mind independent of the brain. I accept all categories of thought, behavior, emotions, beliefs and the totality of the psyche, are biological in origin, and a product of our evolution. The whole of the psyche is a function of the states of the human brain. They are not supernatural, or supernaturally influenced in any way. I accept that we are on a knowledge trajectory to discover the hard neurological science behind things once thought to be outside of biology and evolution such as an understanding of values, ethics, morals, fear, love, jealousy and the entire range of emotion and categories of thought and experience.
I accept that there is no assigned purpose to the universe or anything in it. There is symbiosis, dependence, cause and effect, however, there is no agency behind these things. People create, or attempt to create, a culture, society and personal relationships and purpose that is meaningful to the individual and beneficial to our, and the wellbeing of others.
I accept that there is no absolute morality, however, there is objective morality based on the goal of the wellbeing of conscious creatures. Morality is not binary, and often begs for nuanced consideration. History informs us that moral knowledge grows over time as we better understand what promotes wellbeing, and what is detrimental to it. We should constantly challenge our moral suppositions and incorporate new information as we make discoveries, and have experiences. Moral authority should be internally accepted by those who are affected by it. Moral disagreement can be resolved using a framework of shared understanding, logic and rational argument. Although an absolute definition of wellbeing is nebulous, we can start from a shared understanding of basic elements such as life is generally preferable to death, comfort is generally preferable to pain and helping is generally better than harming.
I accept that the human condition contains a great deal of unavoidable suffering, and that the great majority of suffering is manmade through ideological, social and political systems, many of which have real practical solutions if we could only set aside differences and properly deploy resources. Suffering from natural occurring circumstances, such as natural disasters and disease, are byproducts of living on a cooling planet with unstable weather, and geological systems, as well as the evolutionary limits of our ability to fight pathogens and to correct, or cure, other biological conditions. Accidents that cause suffering are the result of living in a complex system where our collective actions result in certain probabilities where unpleasant results can, and do occur
Dissonance and Forgiveness
I accept that dissonance is an overt human, conscious act. We choose to act in opposition of the wellbeing of ourselves or others. The recognition and awareness of this dissonance creates a feeling of guilt, sadness and unrest. The experiencer wishes the dissonance did not occur, and seeks to be relived of this pain, through forgiveness, in an effort to increase one’s own wellbeing. In order to maintain valuable human relationships, and a healthy psyche, we are required to be forgiven, and to forgive others that have wronged us, or compromised our wellbeing. Forgiveness is something that can only be given by one human being to another or to oneself.
I accept that love is a fundamental need of human beings to both give freely and receive. Life without love is a life not worth living. I define love in terms of the Greek definitions below:
Storge: The love a parent has to a child or siblings have for one another
Phillia: Brotherly love, as with friendships
Eros: Romantic love
Agape: Incompleteness without another
I believe in the special value of the spousal love relationship above all others. It is the only relationship that can encompass all four types of love as described by the Greeks. Its conditional nature is what makes it so precious, and the fact that it can only be offered and accepted freely adds to its preciousness.
Life After Death
I believe that the time we spend on this planet as human beings is the totality of time we exist in any form. Upon the death of our bodies we simply cease to exist as was the case before we were born, and that our consciousness, in its totality, dies with our bodies.