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Friday, April 23, 2010

False Premises

False Premises

Anything based on a false premise (premise = something assumed to be true, or taken for granted,) is therefore also false. So you should understand “premise” is based upon a high degree of trust, and therefore not deemed necessary to question the source of the information. Being trusting is fine as long as the source of the information is indeed trustworthy. Problems arise when we bestow such trust without discrimination or are intentionally or unintentionally deceived into bestowing our trust upon those who don’t deserve it.

There are many things we assume are true that are not true. Since we assume they are true, we act as though they are true and this is primarily why our world is so chaotic and troubling. Taking action based on and in accordance with false information cannot wield the results you want. If you assume the validity of the information, you will naturally act in accordance with the false information.

There are many false premises we adopt because our government, church, society, and our family and friends have told us it is so. Our teachers in school teach us and because we trust them, we assume what they are teaching us is true. In most cases, those perpetuating false premises do so without realizing they are perpetuating a false premise. In some instances, probably more than we’d like to believe, false premises are perpetuated intentionally.

Some things I’ve thought about, which most people assume to be true, have lead me to question whether these teachings are in fact true. One premise that most Christians accept is that the Holy Bible is the word of God. Being the word of God, it is unquestionably the truth. It is represented to be factual, not a work of fiction, not just a story. It is simple to poke holes in the premise that the Holy Bible is unquestionably true.

One example in the Bible is the story about Adam and Eve.

In order for just one human male and one human female to populate the earth there had to be inbreeding/incest. It is well known and documented that inbreeding leads to a higher proportion of congenital birth defects through an increase in the frequency of homozygotes. Additionally, *it is observed that when two people live in close domestic proximity during the first few years in the life of either one, both are desensitized to later close sexual attraction. This phenomenon, known as the Westermarck effect, was first formally described by Finnish anthropologist Edvard Westermarck. (excerpt from Wikipedia, Incest, Inbreeding, Scientific study of incest avoidance.) What that means is the off-spring wouldn’t find their siblings to be sexually attractive, and therefore would not have sexual intercourse, which would reduce the pro-generative effects necessary to populate a whole planet. Also, those who did indulge in sexual intercourse would increasingly, over generations, bare a higher number of children with birth defects, or would not be able to bare children at all.

In order to populate the earth, there must have been a more diverse gene pool than what just 2 humans could provide. If we were in fact all descendants of Adam and Eve, our genes would reveal that fact, but instead, the diversity of genes across the population of earth provide evidence that there were more than just 2 humans involved in the populating of the earth.

When you find evidence that a premise you’ve believed in is faulty, what do you do? In this case, I’ve given just one example of inaccurate information presented in the bible. If there is inaccurate information in the bible, and it is not suppose to have ANY inaccurate information in it, doesn’t that bring up doubts, and encourage you to question the extent of inaccurate information contained in those pages? Doesn’t that reveal that the contents of the Bible, are not based upon facts and at best, are just parables or stories meant to provide guidance in living life? One of the reasons the premise of the bible is so enduring is because the contents of it, what it purports to have happened, occurred so long ago that there is little or no evidence to substantiate it. There isn’t anyone around who can, with absolute authority, state what information is factual and what is not factual about the contents of the bible.

Religion is defined as a system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. The faith part is were false premise can crop up and can distort or undermine the system of beliefs. Is it a good idea to base your belief system upon false premises? In other words, is it a good idea to base how you live your life upon a foundation of lies?

I think it behooves us to adopt an attitude of healthy skepticism. I believe it is healthy to question the premises which present themselves to us so that we can determine to our own satisfaction whether they are true or not. As a conscious being, one who is interested in experiencing the best life has to offer, and the truth of my being, I endeavor to base my belief system upon true and accurate information, and thereby have a strong foundation upon which to build my life experiences. To do otherwise insures a weak foundation which doesn’t stand up to the tests of time.

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