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Superb post – must read.

Victoria NeuroNotes

For great is our reward.

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One thought on “To All Who Have The Courage To Doubt And Ask

  1. From the post (highlighted by me):

    In his book, “On Being Certain — Believing You Are Right, Even When You Are Not”, Neurologist Robert Burton writes:

    “Certainty is not a conscious choice, nor a thought process, but a sensation that can best be described as a “feeling of knowing.” As a feeling, like anger or fear, certainty does not rely on any underlying state of knowledge. What this means is that we can be wrong even when we’re convinced we’re right. As an example, the “Challenger study,” in which students expressed high levels of confidence, three years after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, that their false memories of the explosion were more accurate than descriptions they had written down one day after the event.

    Examples of feelings that seem like knowledge include so-called mystical experiences, and the conviction that taking a risk in poker will pay off. The tendency of an individual to have any one of these feelings—to be, for example, an inveterate gambler—is partly determined by genetic predisposition, and partly by prior experience.

    How, then, can we tell the difference between feeling right and being right? The answer lies in accepting the limits of our ability to know and in “playing by the rules of scientific method”—believing we are right if empiric evidence and testing give us reason to do so, but accepting that subsequent evidence may one day prove us wrong.

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