“Any belief, however unlikely it may appear, can be saved from refutation if you’re willing to make enough secondary elaborations.” Is the student right?
The student is correct but only within the context of an individual schema or set of beliefs. In chemistry, inconsistencies can be explained with secondary elaborations but only if one buys into the overarching validity of chemistry. A Christian can explain apparent inconsistencies using a Christian framework, but again this is only valid if someone buys into the Christian worldview. Every conceptual scheme has inconsistencies. Attempts are made to explain or bend our understanding of the world to fit inside an individual’s or society’s accepted conceptual scheme. This is because our world is too complex to be understood through one lens of understanding, but instead, it is best viewed through many lenses that have their own truths and explanations within. This reminds me of the fishbowl view of physics. The idea is that we live within a fishbowl and are looking outside of it through the distorted lens. We are able to make formulas and calculations from inside the fishbowl that correctly predict the movement of objects that we can see through the round fishbowl. From within the fishbowl, all of our math and conceptual schemes work and seem valid. However, if you left the distorted glass of the fishbowl and looked at how the world actually was, none of the calculations would work. This doesn’t mean that the calculations aren’t true, just that they are only true within a specific conceptual system.
Reducing the amount of “bullshit” in the world is a difficult task because there is very little to fight. There is no oppressive regime limiting information or forcing beliefs to fight against. Ironically, the problem is there is too much available information that we are now choosing not to research things. There is so much information, that each person can craft their own reality and find information or sources to back up almost any claim. And in a society that is moving so quickly, most people don’t have the time or energy to ensure they are fully informed on their political decisions. We are living in a world where people will spend 5$ to have someone drop a 2$ bagel off at their house, the priority in our world is convenience. We don’t live in a convenient reality, issues are complicated and bound by shades of grey. So when media outlets offer a convenient story in a convenient medium it is what people choose. In one sense I’m tempted to say there is nothing wrong with this system. It is the result of giving people the freedom to do what they wish, it is a democracy. If we did want people to invest more time in their political and personal beliefs, we need to take care of things like their economic stability, household