Entropy of belief will keep increasing in a post-religion world

If the space of ignorance is infinite then increasing knowledge cannot reduce the real extent of the space of ignorance. However, whether the space of ignorance is infinite or not, increasing our quantum of knowledge always increases the perimeter of what we know that we don’t know.

The space of ignorance

Belief and faith can only exist in the space of ignorance. Whether the human psyche needs to have beliefs – which by definition are in the realm of ignorance – is an open question. I strongly suspect that humans do need to make some assumptions – call them beliefs – about areas of behaviour and motivation and appreciation, the reasons for which lie in the space of ignorance.  However, it is not clear to me that these assumptions are necessary to live our lives. I “believe” that they do help in achieving a better “quality” of life – but even that is just a belief – an assumption in my space of ignorance. The level of “beliefs” that any individual needs, I think, must vary with the individual.

Religions exist as an organised set of beliefs in the space of ignorance. Organised religions take it upon themselves to impose those set of beliefs on their followers and even to expand the numbers of their followers. Followers can argue interminably about the superiority of their particular ignorances over the ignorance of others. This applies to their gods as well. “My unknown god is better than your unknown god” maps to “My ignorance is better than your ignorance”.

In a post-religion world I expect that we would have moved beyond “organised religions” where sets of beliefs are imposed on others. “Freedom of choice of religion” would come to its logical conclusion to become “freedom of belief”. I can see that individuals would be free to select which beliefs or sets of beliefs they preferred to use as assumptions. They would be free to mix and match components from different belief sets – as it suited them or they judged to be beneficial for their own lives. They would be free to change their beliefs at will. After all they would merely be swapping one item of ignorance for another.

But my point is that the human psyche needs to make assumptions about the unknown (whether unknowable or not). The choice of these beliefs influence our values and then our behaviour our aesthetics and our motivations. The need for such assumptions/beliefs will not reduce in a post-religion world. But our selection of these beliefs will be less constrained. Sets of belief will not be as rigidly enforced by “organised religions”. We will choose those that suit as. Individuals may choose to believe in reincarnation if they wish to; or in the Daughter of God if they prefer or in no god at all. They can believe in a God of Dark Energy or his Son, the God of Dark Matter in an infinite Universe with a Paradise – or a Hades – lying beyond. There will be more beliefs than ever before – all in the space of ignorance. Maybe the Law is that the entropy of belief can only increase.

But there will still be psychopaths and sociopaths who will try to impose their particular ignorant assumptions on others


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One Response to “Entropy of belief will keep increasing in a post-religion world”

  1. MH370: To believe “with certainty” remains “not certain” | The k2p blog Says:

    […] believe with certainty does not convert a belief – which lies in the space of ignorance – into the space of […]

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