Everyone Is In Love With Ideology
Everybody is in love with ideology. Actually, it would be more correct to say that everybody is in love with their OWN ideology. The truth is that many people don’t care about other people’s opinions, and they feel justified because they are certain that they are right.
Ideology is a wonderful thing. Where else can a person be absolutely certain about something that they might know very little about? One of my favorite sayings along these lines is from Dorion Sagan who said, “The difference between science and philosophy is that the scientist learns more and more about less and less until she knows everything about nothing, whereas a philosopher learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.”
With regards to science, Paul Feyerabend, a philosopher of science himself, said that, “…it (science) is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favor of a certain ideology.” Take creationism vs. evolution, for example. I ask you, how many scientists who are atheists endorse creationism and, conversely, how many scientists who believe in God endorse evolution? Atheists, by definition, have to believe in evolution since they must have a way of explaining how they came into existence without God. On the other hand, scientists who believe in God, by definition, must believe that life came into being through Intelligent Design. Different people can look at the same research and come to two totally different conclusions simply because they were certain of the outcome before they even looked at the evidence. In other words, ideology was the driver.
Of course, with ideology comes certainty, a certainty usually born out of the complete acceptance of someone else’s idea. In religion, it’s sometimes referred to as “blind faith”. The battle for the minds of people generally begins with those who feel vastly superior to others. They are as certain of their own ideology as they are of their own intellectual superiority. Never mind that the wisest of men is probably not that much removed from the intellect of a donkey. As Albert Einstein once observed, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.” However, that never kept people from proclaiming with absolute certainty that the world was once flat or the sun once revolved around the Earth.
Fortunately, many of the great minds have been wise enough to admit that they didn’t quite know everything. Socrates, for example, said that, “I know one thing; that I know nothing.” Even some scientists have been willing to admit that their theories are not much more than formulas on a blackboard. It was neuroscientist David Eagleman who said that, “What a life in science really teaches you is the vastness of our ignorance.” Further, theoretical physicist Andrew Strominger admitted this about the Big Bang Theory, “A singularity is when we don’t know what to do. What’s so embarrassing about singularities is that we can’t predict what’s going to come out of it.”
Yet most people persist in their belief that their ideology is correct. Worse yet, they are certain of it. I guess they figure that they know better than the likes of Socrates and Einstein. It’s one of the great truisms of all-time that man doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Yet, in spite of that, they still claim to be certain. Based upon what the greats have said, I can only presume that what man is really certain of is his own stupidity.
“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.”
– Greek philosopher Democritus