Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Is consensus of agreement a reliable touchstone for truth?

The human species' genetic, inborn tendency to discord (perpetual lack of unilateral agreement) is a survival mechanism for the species. I well might have been that our species would evolve in such a way that everyone would see things the same way and agree on all matters. But then we would all make the same choices and have the same preferences and we would not spread out to inhabit all ecological niches; mountain tops, islands, rain forests, deserts.  5,000 years of recorded history demonstrate that humanity has not reached unanimous agreement on any non-trivial matter (apart from certain things in mathematics and science) .  Let us say there are 6 billion people on Earth at this moment. If you spent 5 seconds greeting each one, it would take you 950 years to finish your introduction. And yet, we attempt to refute each other and convince each other one at a time and we believe that through this activity we possibly come closer to the truth. We assume that sense is common (common sense) and that we more so that any other possess common sense.

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