01 - An Honest Search for Truth
When searching for the truth in this chaotic world of confusion, contradiction, maliciousness and things that don't even make sense, I firmly believe that if we are to be truth-seekers, then we must do it honestly. What do I mean by that?
As I've mentioned before early on, the alternative-thinker is always looking for ways to validate their already firm beliefs. But this isn't honest. To demonstrate this, let me pose a question:
If something is or is not factually correct, does how you feel about it matter?
If you take a step back for a moment to think about it, the facts of life and how the universe works, wouldn't change based on how you perceive the information. Regardless of how you feel, the moon isn't made of cheese. No matter what you think, the Milky Way galaxy isn't made of Milky Way bars and Galaxy chocolate planets.
There's a great line by Ricky Gervais, which to this day I think about a lot. He appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. On the topic of atheism and religion, he said:
"If we take something like any fiction, any holy book and any other fiction, and destroyed it, in a thousand years time that wouldn't come back just as it was. Whereas if you took every science book, every fact, and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they'd all be back because all the same tests would be the same result."
I mention this not to antagonise any religious people reading this, I mention it to demonstrate the value in facts being irrelevant to how we perceive them, or process or accept them.
I would like to use this section to outline the ground rules for us going forward in the coming pages. If you're after the truth, not your own truth where you believe whatever you want to believe, but the truth, then here's what I propose.
1. Recognise that every argument, claim and assertion has to be equally scruitinised, regardless of its source. This is to offset the pattern recognition evolutionary response in the previous page, which is something we have to be actively restraining. More on this later in the section on confirmation bias.
2. Understand that the provable evidence will lead somewhere, and regardless of where that somewhere is, we must allow that to be the basis of how we formulate our opinion.
3. If you're honestly looking for truth, you must be willing to accept the possibility that at any time, on any issue, you could be slightly wrong, half-wrong, completely incorrect or anywhere in between.
4. That being wrong isn't a character flaw, in fact, it's a humbling experience that allows you to correct your mistakes. Openly admitting it to the people you debate, will usually result in them respecting you as someone open to change, with the strength to admit when you made a mistake.
In order to openly and honestly search for the truth, we should challenge all information equally, follow the evidence and let that be our guide to opinion, be open to the possibility of being wrong, and admit it when we are.
The next page is dedicated to logic, reason, and uncommon sense.