#1A: As one who is humbly unsure, you value harmony.
You like seeing people with different worldviews peacefully
coexist; sometimes you let incompatible thoughts peacefully coexist
inside your own head (if there is no logical reason to banish one or the
other and you can live with the cognitive dissonance!)
But alas, sometimes such peaceful coexistence isn't
Imagine yourself, in a crowd of "True Believers"
(worldview theme #2A) as a lone humble individual with uncertainty and
doubt as to whatever it is the
rest of the crowd so confidently accepts and asserts.
Understandably you feel out of place.
Rather than simply sensing being different, the feelings may
extend to include feeling unwelcome, inadequate, perhaps even alienated.
Imagine someone in the crowd who feels "I Know What's Best
For You" (theme #2B) disrespects your humbly unsure orientation,
associates it with your being ignorant, meek, lacking in spirit, and
self deprecating, and attempts to sell you on their interpretation of
Reality. You feel
Don't let this happen to you!
Instead: be confident in and celebrate your humility!
Remember, your doubt and uncertainty are confined to those
matters where nobody really knows for sure and to life's important
questions—where disagreements between people can produce deep discord.
It does not extend to doubting who you are, your experience and
knowledge! Remember: all
humans are imperfect creatures! (Figure #1a)
Rather than arrogantly preaching to others, in some intellectual
arenas you limit the amount of space you take up and leave room for
others. You honestly don't
have all the answers, so you’re open to the contributions of others. If they treat you with respect, you’ll politely listen.
You value dialectic methods. You’re generally tolerant. You like fresh air entering a smoke-filled room of cynicism
(theme #36A). For some
things—especially natural beauty and its mysteries—you can be
Rather than arrogantly exaggerating your own importance, you (as
Phillip Hewett puts it) "are humble enough to see yourself as a
modest part of a greater whole, not the pivot around which it
revolves." You value
your personal experience of Reality and your associated tacit
knowledge—even if you don't always know how you know something.
And you realize your
senses can play tricks on you! But
you recognize that, in using words and symbols to transform tacit
knowledge into explicit knowledge, one loses something: such description
is always incomplete!
Rather than valuing absolute truths, you (along with most
scientists) recognize doubt and uncertainty have a fundamental place in
human attempts to understand Reality.
Many people are surprised to learn that, despite all the
phenomenal successes of science and technology, physicists are unable to
make perfectly exact measurements.
Not only do all measurements have an uncertainty (or built-in
error) based on the instruments used
to make them, but quantum mechanics' uncertainty
principle asserts it is meaningless to attempt to, without error, pin
down the exact values of various physical quantities (such as the
position and speed of an object). As
Figure #1b suggests, the best scientific descriptions at the most basic
level involve probabilities, not certainties.
And a scientifically accurate, metaphorical account of the
creation (as in the book of Genesis) might have God saying, "Let
their be doubt!" Mathematicians, who understand that Gödel's
theorem has the effect of inserting unavoidable doubt into mathematics,
would perhaps concur!
Speaking of God: you don't side with either the religious true
believers or with the atheistic skeptics who promote scientism.
You trust your experience and judgment:
you'll believe when they dictate!
As it is now, some days you turn to a personal God (theme #8B)
for help, while other days you disdain Him and embrace secular humanism
(theme #10)! Perhaps one
day your belief in God will
be more than part-time useful fiction!
#1B: Scientists can be both humble and skeptical.
Despite what some perceive as the arrogance of scientists and
engineers in creating nuclear weapons, manipulating genes, damming
rivers, etc., science recognizes its limitations and where doubt exists.
It values what it does not understand.
Astrophysicists are not ashamed to admit they know virtually
nothing about 96% of the universe's matter & energy— the part of
it that exists as dark matter & dark energy and does not emit any
radiation. Yet, in
employing scientific methods (theme #6) and being guardedly unbiased,
scientists need a healthy amount of skepticism.
If you're a Skeptic you may like everything discussed above with
one exception. Unlike those
who value harmony and humility, you can't politely ignore pushy,
arrogant true believers. Indeed,
the hostility you feel for how they promote their beliefs demands that
you speak up and attack them! How
you counter these assertions depends on their nature.
If their claims appeal to reason and (seemingly) to science, you
first establish whether or not they are testable.
If they are, you use scientific methods to further scrutinize and
perhaps debunk them. If their claims are religious, your task is to
expose the (perhaps shaky?) foundation of faith they rest on.
Debunking them completely may not be possible: the best you can
do is raise doubts and provide alternative explanations that also fit
Occasionally you'll find the beliefs you're skeptical of are
dogmatic beliefs: firmly held
based on the authority of others, but actually incompatible with
existing facts or based on faulty premises or reasoning.
Your task then is to make this known.
you persist in debunking religious beliefs you may be termed a
"skeptic." If you
persist in exposing pseudoscience based fraud, quantum quackery, etc.
people may increasingly think of you as a scientist!
To be human is to be:
an imperfect creature
unwhole or broken
one who falls short
one who trespasses
one who is rejected by others
1) Jesus' healing around Nazareth was
limited by unbelief (Mark 6)
Teresa doubts and agonizes over God's existence
3) Einstein's put down of quantum
mechanics → his being put down