A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cherry Picking, II

Pick wisely? Posted by Picasa

How do you get to truth, if you do not pick the right cherries? In the long, long continuum between knowing nothing about nothing to knowing everything about everything, which facts are relevant? During the Civil War only a fool or a desperately wounded man almost without hope would go to one of the hospitals, because it was a certain death sentence. Doctors did not know about the microbes that caused diseases and used rags to clean the wounds. These rags were moistened in buckets, spreading germs from patient to patient. Just one little fact, if known, would have saved the lives of thousands. What good was their medical knowledge if they did not know that microbes spread diseases. The work of Pasteur would come later and change medicine forever. What other facts do we not know? What other nonsense have we been spreading because of what we do not know.

What about God? How shall we gain the knowledge of God. The great religions of the world pick their cherries and, depending on their selection, they organize against those who pick other cherries. Millions have died in defense of this cherry or that cherry. Is there a hierarchy of facts? Are some more important than others? What makes a fact a fact, and what makes a fact a truth? All Christians believe that Jesus said, "This is my body." That's a fact, Jack. But what does "is" mean? If I show you a picture of my wife and say, "This is my wife," does that mean I am married to a piece of paper? Two great divisions of Chrsitianity are based upon a different interpretation of what "is" is. Who is right? or is no one right? Do we have all the facts?

Michael Polanyi would have us be tutored by masters so that we will know what facts to discard as anomalies and which facts to keep as relevant. But what if you pick the wrong guru? What if he bleieves that the world sits on the back of a great monkey? What if he believes that it is ok to do experiments on human sub-species in order to gain knowledge, as Hitler's doctors did? Rome would have us submit to her superior knowledge, for she has the right cherries. Salt Lake City insists on the superior qualities of her cherries, and Mecca is convinced that everyone should be killed that won't believe hers.

How do you know? What if it is all delusion, after all? Maybe we should take Peter's counsel and all go fishing. Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

I submit there is a better way. What if God has already picked the cherries and He has told us which facts are relevant? If He has, then it would come to us with authority, wouldn't it? And wouldn't we return to our bottomless pit if we didn't pay attention to Him? Hmmm? More on this next time.
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