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Week Five

alexandrakg's picture

Dennet writes, "what we are is very much a matter of what culture has made us" (Dennet 340).  I am interested in bridging the gap between cultural perceptions of humanity and scientific perceptions of humanity.  A big question since the dawn of civilization has been where do we come from and why are we here?  I don't understand why when science was created to explore all possibilities and find the answers to existence, its conclusions are so easily rejected.  Can we ignore the truth if we don't like it?  Can something still be possible if we cannot quite imagine it?  I can't begin to imagine billions of years of history and change, but just because it's scary and different and something I don't fully understand doesn't mean that it is not valid.  When we are discussing evolution, we need to be able to distinguish fear of the unknown and genuine objections and inquiry into the theory's gray areas.


elly's picture

Fear vs. Inquiry?

 You ask here, "can we ignore truth if we don't like it?" But I believe that at the beginning of this class we came to a conclusion that there is no such thing as truth but rather a series of expectations based on previous experiences (the sun will rise tomorrow because it did yesterday, and the day before etc etc) and everything is relative. I think that is why, despite the fact that these approaches to humanity are so difficult to nail down, we continue to try to solve the mystery. We fear the idea that there is no truth and that everything is relative and based on prediction, just as we fear the fact that evolution is based on chance. I believe that we come into every situation with our previous experiences and expectations present, and so it is hard for people not to fear the unknown and to believe in something they have never seen "proof" of because all of our personal truths are based on that past knowledge that we bring with us. So I suppose that I just have trouble imagining a situation where we would be able to be sure that we could "distinguish fear of the unknown" from "genuine objection or inquiry..."

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