Humans been on the verge of eruption

Humans have lived on earth for millions of years, despite this we still do not fully understand or know everything about the universe, let alone the world. Suspension of disbelief allows people to believe in something beyond or greater than the norm, it provides people with exciting purpose for their lives or certain philosophies and rules people live by regardless of how ridiculous they may be. The exaggerated or manifested facts or stories are easily accepted in our society that craves for explanations to unanswerable questions that are often existential. It fills the space where all that is unknown about the world lie. People use their faith as a guideline for everyday living, a source of their knowledge, often assumed to be constructed of suspension of disbelief. Therefore I will be exploring, “to what extent does faith determine knowledge in the human sciences and religious knowledge systems?” Suspension of disbelief enables people to have stronger faith in their religion, as it is commonly assumed that almost all knowledge that exists in religious knowledge systems can be regarded as suspension of disbelief. One of the existing mountain in my hometown is Mt.Agung, it has been on the verge of eruption since 21st of November 2017 and has been ongoing since then. “The National Agency for Disaster Management issued a Level 4 alert.” This indicated the larger eruption and later was stated that “Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised its aviation alert notice to Red, the highest level.”  The alert for the eruptions were so high that the airport of Bali was forced to close, “At Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali’s main airport, flights were canceled for 24 hours from 7:15 a.m.” However, despite all the warnings, it never erupted. Balinese people believe it is due to their faith and prayers. Thousands of people were to worship the gods of the biggest temple in Bali that is Besakih Temple to acquire apology and prosperity, they have strong faith of believing that Mount. Agung will not erupt as for the wellbeing of the population in the small island. Eventually, Mount. Agung fails to erupt. For an outsider, it will be impossible to believe that the prayers and worships by the Balinese will stop the volcano from erupting. The role of suspension of disbelief plays a very strong part, in the faith that Balinese have. This relates to an argument in the philosophy called Pascal’s wager where it is about the belief of God. If someone deny the existence of God, they have to be argued because Pascal states that there are no loss in believing that God exists. It only brings wellbeing and peace throughout life.On the other hand, faith is an unreliable way of knowing, as there are no solid evidences or facts that can support religious knowledge derived from faith. I was born and raised in the sacred island of Bali, where faith has been a big part of my life. When I entered an international school in the sixth grade, I was surrounded by a diverse array of new beliefs and ideas I was previously never exposed to. Upon a class discussion regarding our beliefs, my classmates did not share or agree with my belief. They countered and ridiculed my story, as there are practically no empirical evidences. Faith is constructed of empirical knowledge, and thus is insufficient to become a convincing argument. As empirical knowledge is obtained from past experiences and our sense, it may be concluded that it is not an entirely accurate form of knowledge. An example of a suspension of disbelief of empirical knowledge may be the infamous salem witch trials, in which approximately 200 people were accused for witchcraft. With no explanation as to why several people were behaving unusually in the colonial town, they came up with a verdict with the excuse that the answer was from their faith without any solid evidence, that they were practicing witchcraft, which led to the execution of 20. Empirical evidences were used against the accused, one being ‘spectral evidences,’ which “refers to a witness testimony that the accused person’s spirit or spectral shape appeared to him/her witness in a dream at the time the accused person’s physical body was at another location”. Perhaps today when we hear the events that transpired in Salem Village in the 1600s, we would consider it too ridiculous to believe, but the people of Salem Village was transfixed with a witch narrative, and thus we may assume that this was a unique form of suspension of disbelief. Instead of using scientific knowledge from biology or psychology, the Salem witch trials relies on the hold of faith and evidences that based on dreams and vision. With the empirical evidence, nothing can fully prove this incident to be true or believable. Human sciences relies on empirical evidences to come to its findings, therefore the discovery of knowledge is restricted to direct observation that gives an objective evidence (information based on facts that can be proved through analysis and observation) .Suspension of disbelief go beyond the reality and it could make the unbelievable to be believable. Suspension of disbelief is possible, as it opens a door to new discoveries and thus may be incredibly helpful to certain areas of knowledge such as the Human Sciences. Therefore, to entirely overlook the validity of suspension of disbelief as a means of obtaining knowledge in the Human Sciences would be ignorant. The theory of asymmetric information discovered by George Akerlof, Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz, proposes the imbalance information of the market between buyers and sellers that can lead to inefficient outcomes in certain markets. The development of this theory were through the arguments of these economists. Akerlof firstly argued with the paper entitled the “market for lemons” where it explains how the buyers of cars cannot specify lemons (bad cars) apart from good cars, there’s incomplete information of cars in buyers than sellers as they have an advantage of selling goods that are less than average market quality. This theory and arguments were discovered solely by their suspension of disbelief that their theory would fail, they apply it regardless of the risks from using asymmetric information theory in the real economics problems. With their suspension of disbelief, “in 2001, George A. Akerlof, A. Michael Spence and Joseph E. Stiglitz won the Nobel prize-winning economic theories”for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information.” Suspension of disbelief can go beyond the limitations of past theories and facts.However, suspension of belief is substantially supported by belief bias, and therefore would be too unreliable to be considered useful for the human sciences. Having a car that is said to be an “eco-friendly car” has made me feel that I am contributing to saving the environment and this is simply a suspension of disbelief.  As every car has to use fossil fuel so it is quite impossible to have an eco-friendly car. Nevertheless, I would still believe that it is and would still continue to use it. Climate change has become a controversial issue in this present time. This issue has raised many environmental concerns in the society. However, climate change is now based on confirmation bias where there is direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea or a concept to be true, they end up believing it to be factual. It makes individuals deny the search for evidences. When people hold the belief of an ecocentrist, they will eventually come to deny the  modern lifestyle and technological advances that halt the wellbeing of the pure environment. Their belief bias is prior to saving the environment for example by the exemption of carbon dioxide on earth. On the other hand, people like Donald Trump, “has dropped climate change from a list of global threats in a new national security strategy..” has their prior bias to the belief that climate change does not exist. It is also stated that, “Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.” It shows how their belief bias is towards the economic piece rather than environmental.  Suspension of disbelief therefore leads to an unreliable knowledge as belief bias ignores the evidences and only believe as they wish. As suspension of disbelief could open doors to new discoveries it could widen our limitations in acquiring knowledge. However, there may be some unreliability within the suspension of disbelief that may make the truth undeterminable, and may tamper with the strength of the knowledge. In the religious knowledge system, suspension of disbelief strengthens faith in someone’s religion.  However, this contradicts with the unreliable way of knowing through faith as there are no strong evidences that can fully support knowledge acquired by faith. Therefore, it shows how suspension of disbelief may have lower the strength of knowledge. In the area of human sciences, suspension of disbelief open doors to new discoveries and allow further theories and facts to be made. It allows human sciences to go beyond any limitations. Yet, suspension of disbelief may also be based on belief bias, that may be unreliable for human sciences. Thus, we may conclude that suspension of disbelief is essential in natural sciences and religious knowledge system, and that the production of knowledge through suspension of disbelief is possible in these areas that may add on to the value of the particular knowledge.


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