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Old December 5 2012, 09:25 PM   #138
Longinus
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Re: Why Not A Starfleet Ships Chaplain As A Main Character?

Rational position is to not believe in things there is no evidence for. And this is exactly how most people operate in their day to day lives. Try the opposite. You believe in everything unless you can prove that it doesn't exist. This leads you to believing in all sorts of unlikely and bizarre things. Do you know whether there is an elephant on your yard right now? Until you go to check and see that there isn't, you should assume that there is indeed an elephant there. No one does this.

Russel's Teapot is very old and quite excellent way to illustrate this. It was formulated by philosopher Bertrand Russel.

Bertrand Russel wrote:
Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time
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