(This article is a work in progress. I’ve decided to publish what I have so far, to make the title of my blog a little more meaningful, but I will be adding to it and editing it from time to time)
Afedism is a recent philosophical approach developed by moi, which deals with questions concerning irrational beliefs: what is a belief? Why do people believe in things that have not been proven to be true or that have been proven to be untrue (cognitive dissonance)? Can one live free of any beliefs, and is it desirable?
Afedism is yet quite unknown, and exists mostly in the mind of its creator. It is related to a model of psychology, society and of social evolution, which I will attempt to describe and explain in depth in my articles.
The term “afedism” is the combination of the negative prefix “a-” and the word “feid”, which means “faith” in Old French.
Afedism and Atheism
From an afedist’s point of view, atheism is a term that is not accurate enough, since atheism makes no claims about reality other than denying the existence of any supernatural entities – gods – and religious belief systems whereas afedism rejects any idea that has not been scientifically proven, or that is not derived by logic from scientific facts. An atheist may believe in different ideologies or in various universal principles, such as: human rights, pacifism, feminism etc. The afedist rejects all ideologies and all assumption about human nature, the human condition, existence and on reality in general and examines, instead, the physical and biological forces that operate in every situation from a deterministic perspective. Afedism denies the existence of a free will.
One of the central tenets of afedism is that this doctrine contains a fundamental internal contradiction: pure afedist thinking is impossible, since the human mind was not ‘created by evolution’* merely for the purpose of identifying patterns in its environment, but, first and foremost, to meet the survival needs of its owner. One of those needs is the psychological need for self-deception, and therefore, no matter how much we try to keep our thinking purely rational and scientific, we will forever be tricked by our own brain into adopting various irrational beliefs.
Our brain is a biological computer which runs one super-algorithm all the time – our consciousness, plus all the subconscious parts of our mind. I once heard emotions defined as being the link between the conscious and the subconscious mind. It is a good definition. Emotions are the reason for our being. Without them and without the pain-and-pleasure mechanism they operate upon we would not bother to draw breath, and being alive would have no meaning. We stay alive because it holds pleasure for us, and death, the absence of all stimuli, is the ultimate opposite of pleasure. We think rationally because we feel an urge to do so.
The author of this post generally holds a deterministic view of the universe. However, the question whether all phenomena of one order of magnitude – or resolution – can be fully explained by phenomena of a lower order of magnitude still remains open (as examples of these ‘orders of magnitude’ I’ll offer physics – the source of all sciences – and chemistry, or chemistry and biology). This question is, of course, still purely hypothetical, since no scientific discipline – physics, chemistry, biology etc. – possesses complete knowledge of its field of study as of yet, and might never reach such a point. Chaos Theory must be considered in this regard: in particular, phenomena represented by the Mandelbrot Set (endless complexity across different orders of magnitude) and the Butterfly Effect (minute changes in the input create vastly different outputs). Does this only mean that going from one order of magnitude to the next requires us to posses absolutely accurate initial data, or that it is altogether impossible?
Regardless of the answer to this question, the deterministic approach still holds – if the laws of nature ‘throw a die’ to determine an outcome of a process (or the relation between what happens on one order of magnitude and another) then it makes the throw of the die a part of these laws.
The (widely criticized) view of the creator of this article on all things metaphysical is that if it affects our physical world then it is also physical, and should therefore be measurable; it can be analyzed and it should, eventually, be possible to accurately describe it as a set of mathematical formulas.
Philosophy is the sum of a person’s – or a society’s – subjective views on reality, or on any particular aspect thereof. From the point of view of science, its only importance is that it has led to the development of scientific thinking and of the scientific method. Philosophy itself is a process which takes place in peoples minds, or in their collective consciousness – in their inter-subjective reality (to use Yuval Harari’s term). While its logic might be vague and/or inaccurate, the logic guiding its existence and functionality within the human brain is purely scientific and strict, just like everything else in the universe.
While the ideas of philosophy are scientifically meaningless – unless they are pure science – the process of philosophical thinking itself is vital to any creature which possesses a brain. Every brain must reach a set of understandings about reality in order to function and to be at ease, and it needs to determine its own attitude towards what it perceives to be real (not much room for maneuvering there, if you get it wrong, you die) in order to determine which actions to take, what to do. This subjective viewing of reality – from the individual or the cultural point of view – is in the essence of philosophy.