This blog is about doubt. It is not about any set of beliefs or about knowledge, but about questioning absolutely everything. Sometimes it may not give that impression, since in most of my articles I’m trying to defend some view. But I do that because the only way to take a certain idea to its final consequences is to take it seriously.
Even I myself forget it sometimes, though. So, in order to set things straight, I have decided to start the Anti-Week. During this week I will write a blog post defending exactly the opposite of what I’ve been saying so far about a number of issues.
Now, I don’t want this to turn into outright mockery. I want to force myself to fully embrace a different point of view. I want to take this seriously and not just deliver a caricature of an argument. Because of this, I have set some ground rules for myself:
- No cheating. By that I mean I can’t do a Deepak Chopra and start using mathematical or scientific concepts to woo my audience without giving them the chance to reply. This doesn’t mean I can’t use physics: what it means is I can’t use wrong physics and that, when I make reference to some scientific principle, I have to explain it. This would be an example of cheating:
“Quantum superposition shows that consciousness can inhabit a separate plane of entanglement thanks to the holographic nature of the AdS/CfT correspondence.” Any physicist will be able to tell this sentence is complete nonsense. But many non-physicists will feel intimidated by it and therefore won’t dare to argue.
- Rational discussion. Even though I am willing to defend conflicting viewpoints, I think the tools shouldn’t change. That is, I can’t say “anything goes” and then start arguing things from there. I have to defend things from a rational perspective. Even if I end up defending irrationality, I have to rationally explain why I’m doing so, so that people can rationally attack my motives. Maybe not abandoning rationality could be seen as an unwillingness to fully embrace other points of view, but I believe the disadvantages of shedding rational thought altogether fully outweigh the advantages.
- No name-throwing. I need to defend the points myself. I can’t simply say “this guy is really smart and believes this so it must be true.” This is not an argument (well, it is, it’s the argument from authority, but the argument from authority is not an argument in any sense.)
Now, it is very likely that during the Anti-Week I will give opinions which may seem reactionary or plain stupid to some. That’s fine. The point is not to convince anyone, but to encourage dissension, as always. When you comment, you can of course opt to be a part of the Anti-Week and defend the opposite of what you normally would or to attack the viewpoints expressed in the article. It’s up to you.
Here’s a list of the articles I’m planning to write (though I may change my mind depending on my mood and general state of well-being):
- There Is a God and a Heaven
- Morality Is Objective
- Immortality Is Not Possible or Desirable
- Personal Identity is Real
- Free Will is Real
There are only five because Saturday is my day off.
Let the fun begin!