Question
Asked 16th Dec, 2014

Should we question everything?

Belief has simultaneously taken mankind from ignorance to enlightenment and though dogma and orthodoxy kept us in the dark.  Should all those who call themselves scientists consider:
Is it the responsibility of all members of the human race to question everything?

Most recent answer

8th Oct, 2018
Md Zafar Alam Bhuiyan
Center for Natural Resource Studies
Dear Professor Dr Barry Turner , Carlos Eduardo Maldonado , Deleted profile, Margaret Ward
I think there should be ethics as research has . The questions should be from the ethical perspectives and permitted by the society and related answer should be beneficial for the mankind , otherwise, questions are just wasting time and making the thinking jumbled and packed and to make a complex life.
More about that, time has changed and the questions applications, forms, perspectives, values and acceptabilities by the society have been changed as well.
Thanks to all.

All Answers (11)

16th Dec, 2014
Barry Turner
University of Lincoln
It is why we are not extinct!
2 Recommendations
16th Dec, 2014
Carlos Eduardo Maldonado
El Bosque University
Of course we should question everything. And yet, it is rather dumb to question each single thing.
2 Recommendations
Barry
I have to disagree with you about dogma and orthodoxy being a bad thing .
In any stable society, these are the very attributes that bind people together and allow them to have a common understanding and belief system that they can develop and build their society on.
Our western society is full of these dogmas at every level and we need orthodoxies and mutual understandings to allow us to do even simple things, such as apply for jobs,  fill out forms or drive safely with millions of other road users around. We call these orthodoxies 'life skills'
The alternative, of anarchy, mutual misunderstanding and totally independent action regardless of others, is a scary place that most of us couldn't cope in.
At some point in our technological, sociological and organisational development, a portion of these dogmas become redundant and being human we laugh at them. At one point hunting with dogs was an excellent skill to have for daily use. When agriculture removed the need, hunting became a pleasure pursuit.  In the UK, as we have become overcrowded and others need the country-space that hunters had a monopoly over, we sneer at and deride the pastime extensively.
For a good while from around 1960 until the early 21st century we in the west rejected religion as pure dogma. We clever people didn't need it any more. With the rise of violent Islamic fundamentalism and the resurgence of Christian orthodoxies led by African and US sources, many institutions of learning are revisiting that thinking.
I guess my answer to your exam question is that we, as a society, tend to question things that no longer work for us. But we retain dogmas that are useful to us and very quickly pick up new sets of orthodoxies that meet our needs a little better.
17th Dec, 2014
Barry Turner
University of Lincoln
Orthodoxy can of course be a positive thing but dogma never.  Orthodoxy is a bad thing when it becomes dogma because it then stifles debate and questioning.  There is a difference between a collective understanding and orthodoxy.  
Scientific orthodoxy is unforgiving of much innovation especially where its monopoly is challenged.  We have never advanced by orthodoxy, only by innovation.
2 Recommendations
17th Dec, 2014
Carlos Eduardo Maldonado
El Bosque University
Yes, indeed, dear Barry. In the entree history of humanity orthodoxy - not to mention dogma - has always been reluctant to innovation. At their best they just talk and promote "reforms" (horribile dictum). Moreover, innovation has always been opposed to orthodoxy -no matter what.
If we define dogma in its sense of a set of beliefs handed down or imposed by an authority (Church, State, University etc.), then there is nothing intrinsically 'bad' about this.
A modern dogma in our western society is that children must be protected, so we impose laws to protect them which severely restricts the freedom of both adults and children.
Any debate about those freedoms is heavily supressed, not by the government but by concerned adults who accept this dogma as orthodoxy.
The right to debate any topic may be an ambition of the revolutionary or the philosopher, but history has shown that the comfortable majority do not value free speech and are uncomfortable with debate outside of very rigid guidelines.
I repeat my previous assertion, that it is only when a dogma becomes redundant by changes in society is the orthodoxy seriously challenged.
We can see this in the case of banks, those central planks of economic orthodoxy. For centuries they were seen as safe, secure and boring. Having an account with a bank was something to be treasured, an achievement in itself that told society you were part of the top team.
During the 1970's a it became unsafe and unpopular to handle cash, as armed crime became commonplace. Banks started to handle much larger volumes of money and their core dogmas of honesty and respectability started to wane. The bankers started a financial revolution where change and radical thinking opened new avenues to making ever larger profits.
This led to a radical few openly challenging the role of banks, while most of us kept quiet and suffered immensely high charges and interest rates and paid heavily for unnecessary services. 
As the honesty of the banks declined so the debate became more widespread. The dogma, that banks were honest and reliable, was clearly failing.
This is now replaced by a new dogma, that banks are legally controlled and centrally guaranteed. This has yet to become orthodoxy, it possibly never may be, but western governments are vying to make it so.
All those highly conservative and reactionary people that make up the bulk of our populations want to accept this new dogma and believe that banks are somehow under control and their money is safe. They don't want debate and new ideas - those  are dangerous and unnerving concepts.
1 Recommendation
18th Dec, 2014
Barry Turner
University of Lincoln
Ian
I agree that most populations are servile and prefer what they regard as 'security' to an aspiration for a better life.  That is of course the basis of the power of those in control.  Abraham Lincoln was clearly wrong in his assertion that you can't fool all of the people all of the time.  That is the basis of our economy, our justice systems and our foreign policy.  It was George Orwell that got it right in 1984.  The masses actually like to be ruled even if it means they are constantly cheated. 
Someone once said that in a democracy the majority get the government they deserve.  It is such a strange thing that they then complain incessantly about it.
2 Recommendations
7th Nov, 2015
Margaret Ward
Sorry, but better a late reply than never???
Ask Socrates? Well, Plato? 
ὁ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτός ἀνθρώπῳ Plato, Apology 38a.
The second word may be translated in more ways than one, I think..... ?
1 Recommendation
8th Oct, 2018
Md Zafar Alam Bhuiyan
Center for Natural Resource Studies
Dear Professor Dr Barry Turner , Carlos Eduardo Maldonado , Deleted profile, Margaret Ward
I think there should be ethics as research has . The questions should be from the ethical perspectives and permitted by the society and related answer should be beneficial for the mankind , otherwise, questions are just wasting time and making the thinking jumbled and packed and to make a complex life.
More about that, time has changed and the questions applications, forms, perspectives, values and acceptabilities by the society have been changed as well.
Thanks to all.

Similar questions and discussions

Where the concept of "enlightenment " begun ?
Question
44 answers
  • Dejenie Alemayehu LakewDejenie Alemayehu Lakew
Enlightenment, the consciousness of knowing that reason is the right power of establishing fair relations within the human society, is considered to be the cause or basis of establishing a modern and civilized society of today. The root of the concept taught in texts and teaching materials, as a belief, is from European philosophers : Locke, Kant, Hume and Descartes. For instance the genesis of this modernity : "all men are created equal " put by Locke was actually coined with a more equalizer " intelligence" decades earlier by an Ethiopian philosopher named Zara Yacob "ዘረ ያቆብ " in his book of Hateta " ሓተታ " in Geez "ግእዝ" which literally means " analysis and enquiry" in Amharic. Zara Yacob wrote " All men are equal in the presence of God; and all are intelligent, since they are his creatures; he did not assign one people for life, another for death, one for mercy, another for judgment. Our reason teaches us that this sort of discrimination cannot exist " Zara Yacob said.
His argument describes his higher understanding of reason not only in describing relations among humans but the natural capabilities and innate intelligence of all human beings, men, women, poor or rich alike.
He also presents a critical question and answer on religion, and the contradictions of actions of followers of different religions and what religion is and what it should be. He wrote " Indeed each one says: ‘My faith is right, and those who believe in another faith believe in falsehood, and are the enemies of God.’ … As my own faith appears true to me, so does another one find his own faith true; but truth is one.
In Ethiopian tradition, there is a deep philosophical teaching and discourse called "ቅኔ " = " critical thinking" in Amharic or Geez and " ሰዋሰው "= " rhetoric ".
I will be very glad to read your esteemed participation and ideas whether the genesis of "reason" is universal among humans, or it is geographic dependent? What is the causes of such enlightenments ? Is it not a right thing and an " enlightenment " by itself to include in philosophical discourses and teaching texts, names of pioneers of such ideas so that the modern human society be "reasonable" to know the right things for the right thinking?
With kind regards.
Dejenie A. Lakew

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