Model Agnosticism

Attitude expressed by Robert Anton Wilson.

1998 interview To make explicit what has lurked implicitly in all my answers, I have much agreement for the "model agnosticism" created mostly by Niels Bohr. A similar model agnosticism appears in the General Semantics of Alfred Korzybski and the Ethno Methodology of Harold Garfinkle.

According to this viewpoint, we should never believe in our Model-s or maps of Universe the way most people believe in their religion or ideology.

I have often described Belief as the death of intellect. I prefer to use a model only and always where it appears to work for me, and to use other models in other areas, and to abandon any and all models if and when a better model comes along.

In one of my polemical works, The New Inquisition, I call belief in any model "idolatry" and "ModelTheism."

Quote from Cosmic Trigger: "I do not believe anything." This remark was made, in these very words, by John Gribbin, physics editor of New Scientist magazine, in a BBC-TV debate with Malcolm Muggeridge, and it provoked incredulity on the part of most viewers. It seems to be a hangover of the medieval Catholic era that causes most people, even the educated, to think that everybody must "believe" something or other, that if one is not a theist, one must be a dogmatic atheist, and if one does not think Capitalism is perfect, one must believe fervently in Socialism, and if one does not have blind faith in X, one must alternatively have blind faith in not-X or the reverse of X. My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.

cf Cultural Pluralism


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