Digging beyond the obvious

Angie asked:

What is digging beyond the obvious? I need further explanation on
this matter. Thanks.

Answer by Helier Robinson

The obvious is not necessarily true. For example, if you have a prejudice then you unconsciously remember all the evidence in favour of it and forget all the evidence against it, thereby making the prejudice obviously true. Thus to a fundamentalist Christian it is obvious that everything in the Bible is true, hence the theory of evolution is obviously false. Or you might be thinking stereo-typically: you might have met a redhead who was terrifying, so that it is obvious that all redheads are evil. Or you might be superstitious, so that it is obvious that crossing your fingers and touching wood avert bad luck. As well, what we call common sense is obviously true but was sometimes wrong in the past: it used to be a matter of common sense that the Earth was flat and at the centre of the Universe, and that human beings were specially created; who is to say for sure that all present day common sense is true? Furthermore, there is a peculiar feature about belief: every belief carries a piggy-back belief, to the effect that the belief it rides is true, and this makes the belief obviously true. You may have noticed that while most other people have beliefs that you are sure are false, your own beliefs are all obviously true.

Digging beyond the obvious is what people do if they are really interested in finding the truth, and do not know if what is obvious to them is true or not. The most successful way to find truth is to study science; the next most successful way is to philosophise, or if this is too difficult, to study philosophy. Not easy, but sometimes very exciting.

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