Quote of the day–Carneades

There is absolutely no criterion for truth. For reason, senses, ideas, or whatever else may exist are all deceptive.

Even if such criterion were at hand, it could not stand apart from the feelings which sense impressions produce. It is the faculty of feeling that distinguishes the living creature from inanimate things. By means of that feeling, the living creature becomes perceptive of both itself and the external world. There is no sensation or perception of anything unless the sense is irritated, agitated, or perturbed. When an object is indicated, then the senses become irritated and somewhat disturbed. It is impossible that there be an unperturbed presentation of external things.

The subject is more or less persuaded by the image it perceives. The strength of that persuasion depends on the disposition of the subject and on the degree of irritation produced by the image. It is not the distinctness of the image that constitutes its credibility.

The only way we can ever obtain certitude is by the difficult process of examination. We cannot be satisfied with evidence that is incomplete and only probable. Our certitude is always a precarious one. Science relies on probability, not on certitude.

Carneades
Greek philosopher 214-129 B.C.
The Fallacy of the Criterion of Truth
[As near as I can tell a very high percentage of the population subscribe to the first sentence and then their subscription ran out or they turned on the T.V. to have their brains sucked dry. My discussions with many anti-gun people provides a large base of evidence to support this conclusion.

A vastly smaller percentage thought through things enough to arrive at the conclusion articulated in the first paragraph.

It is but a very small percentage of the population that make the difficult journey to the finish the last paragraph. And even those that do sometimes still conclude that because science is not certain it must be wrong and hence their certainty of something at odds with the evidence is just as valid as the science on the same topic which says else is very probable.

As son James learned, people will literally say and believe, “Because something is irrational doesn’t mean you don’t have to believe in it.”

This insistence on certainty of belief in the absence of, or in spite of, evidence drives politics and enables politicians to herd the masses like cattle. I wish there were a cure for this terrible disease. But I fear that at best there will, someday, be an adjustment in the percentages when Darwin laughs as billions struggle and fail to learn the lesson before they inevitably fail the pop-quiz of some global catastrophe.–Joe]

One thought on “Quote of the day–Carneades

  1. “I wish there were a cure for this terrible disease.”
    Well, we may not have an actual cure, but we could at least consider slowing down the government-run, willful mass infection system commonly referred to as “public education”.

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