36 absurd beliefs – How you can debunk silly sayings
In a lifetime one hears many sayings which on closer consideration are self-contradictory. Here you will learn how to debunk them easily.
Granted, many of the following assertions I once have believed myself and often I regurgitated those statements even without questioning them. Some of them even seem to superficially make sense.
On the other hand, some of those assertions are so absurd that we won’t even follow them in everyday life. Therefore, we show with our acting that something must be wrong about them. But still we are reiterating many of those ideas again and again, whether in the following or in different wording.
While studying, I have found a method with which one can dead easy demonstrate the inconsistency of particular statements or sometimes even whole philosophical and belief systems. The method works presuppositionally. One just tests whether a claim or chain of reasoning bears up against its own assumptions. The easiest it becomes when one applies the basic statements of a claim or a whole philosophy on itself. This technique of criticism is an internal testing. If one uses it purposefully and with the right posing of questions it might lead up to a total self-destruction of a worldview.
Only if we critically test our deepest convictions we can liberate ourselves from wrong beliefs!
Let’s use this method for some contradictory but still popular statements.
1. Everything is relative and a matter of perspective!
Is this assertion relative as well? Because then this assertion is not binding. Therefore, this assertion must be wrong since if it was true it would be itself an absolute and therefore binding assertion.
2. There is no absolute truth!
Is this absolutely true?
3. One cannot know anything (with certainty)!
Do you know that (with certainty)?
4. Our thinking determines our reality!
Is the reality of this claim determined by your thinking? If yes, then this claim is not universally true. Or do you want to suggest that you are a solipsist?
5. You think too much in categories!
Are you putting me in the categories-category?
6. One must adopt his balance. Extreme positions are bad. The happy medium is good.
Isn’t it extremely medium centered? Should we not accept a deviation from the happy medium (for example an extreme position)? Because we don’t want to think too extremely and forbid deviating positions!
7. I better always keep my nose clean!
I am really respecting your neutrality! But isn’t neutrality as well a position someone takes? Because you are taking it. Therefore, you have taken the neutrality side in the debate of whether someone should take sides. Therefore, you are not ALWAYS keeping your nose clean!
8. I don’t believe in anything!
Do you believe that you don’t believe in anything?
9. Who cares about mere theory? The life practice is important!
That sounds like a nice theory which you postulated! Therefore, your practice dashes against your own claim. You rather should not merely claim it but live it instead.
10. One should not judge someone else for his lifestyle!
Aren’t you actually right now judging the notorious judge for his lifestyle of judging?
11. All opinions and views are equally valid!
Is therefore my opinion also equally valid and equally true? Or are there equal and on the other hand rather more equal views? Because my conviction is: “Not all opinions and view are equally valid and true.” Therefore, your assertion is self-contradicting!
12. One should not impose his views on others!
Are you just imposing your view on me?
13. I reject dogmas!
Is it your dogma that you reject dogmas or are you open for correction in this case? Otherwise you would be really dogmatic for this matter!
14. There is no right or wrong!
Is this assertion right or wrong?
15. Word don’t mean anything! Talk is cheap…
Do these words convey any meaning – transmitted by sound wave (or here letters)? Or should I take your words and there meaning seriously?
16. Real science does not need philosophy!
Is that your philosophy of science?
17. We must let all our needs and wishes go! (see also: Buddhism)
Is it your need or wish to be able to let all needs go? Or is it your wish to want to let all needs go?
18. Everything is one (see also: Far Eastern philosophy)!
Who is asserting this claim? You or me? And why can I simultaneously assert the claim: “We are not all one”?
19. Everything is just an illusion (of our brains)!
Then tell me: Is this assertion just an illusion as well or should I take it serious?
20. Life has no meaning because everything is pointless!
Does this assertion then make a point? Or should I not take it seriously?
21. There are no rules – anything goes!
Is that your rule of life?
22. Words can mean anything. It is just depending on which meaning you give to them!
So, may I give to your words the meaning that words cannot mean anything and that they must conform more or less to linguistic conventions and totally to the intended meaning of the author of these words?
23. All dominion is bad!
May the truth of the claim dominate that all dominion is bad?
24. What is true for you is not true for me!
What if I agree? Surely, I don’t but let’s just imagine I would. Then I would agree with you that for you something is not true that is true for me. But then this would mean that your own assertion is not true for you. Therefore, you would not even really claim it and we can start agreeing that there is a universal truth.
25. I only believe what I can see or touch!
Can you visually see or touch the point of this claim?
26. All assertions on the absolute are pure speculation. Nobody can really know anything about it!
Is this assertion which is talking about the absolute then therefore as well pure speculation or do you know that one cannot know anything about the absolute?
27. God is unutterable and undefinable!
Did you just utter something about a property of God? Is that your complete definition of God that God is undefinable?
28. No truth is unchanging because any opinion can be corrected!
Is this an unchanging truth that any opinion can be corrected? Might I correct your opinion in this point or did the truth of you claim change in the meanwhile?
29. Logic is man-made. There are no fixed laws of logic!
Therefore, there are fixed laws of logic since the law of non-contradiction doesn’t apply anymore, aren’t there?
30. I only believe in the laws of logic!
Is this confession of faith itself one of the laws of logic? Or don’t you actually believe in your statement?
31. The world is not just black and white!
Isn’t that a very black and white thinking?
32. I doubt everything because one should questions anything!
Have you already doubted this assertion itself? If yes, how did you evaluate the truth of this assertion? Because any standard you might use for the evaluation you doubt as well. As soon as one questions skepticism it collapses because it has no firm foundation.
33. Except of mathematical equations we cannot know anything with certainty!
Can you show me the mathematical equation that proofs this assertion?
34. The scientific method is the best (and only) method that can arrive at truth!
Which scientific experiment brought you to this conclusion?
35. All knowledge comes from experience! (see also: Immanuel Kant)
Did you experience the truth of this assertion? If yes, then you probably know everything. In another article I already wrote about my critique of empiricism.
36. Generalizations are bad!
Did you just generalize all generalizations as bad?
Do you know any further contradictory statements which are expressed again and again? Or are you maybe unsatisfied with my radical trashing of some assertions? Do you want to side with any mentioned assertion? Then please write your representation in the comments. I am looking forward to your critique!