The Honesty of “I Don’t Know”
Posted: 16 July 2012 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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“I believe in evidence.  I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning confirmed by independent observers.  I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it.  The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”—
Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920 – 1992)


Perhaps because from childhood we’ve been conditioned to produce answers (often subjectively defined with little or no evidence) we seem to have a deep emotional need to take a stand on things.  But I propose that doing so may be irrational.  Aside from the fact that some questions may be unanswerable, there are “things” out there that we do not, and perhaps cannot know.  And what little we do comprehend has been filtered and interpreted through our uniquely personal, human experience.  Unfortunately, a good deal of time and energy is wasted in such debate when the more productive, exquisite, and intellectually honest answer may be a simple “I don’t know.”

[ Edited: 16 July 2012 11:18 AM by Wreck of M Deare]
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Posted: 16 July 2012 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Wreck of M Deare - 16 July 2012 09:05 AM

“I believe in evidence.  I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning confirmed by independent observers.  I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it.  The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”—
Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920 – 1992)


Perhaps because from childhood we’ve been conditioned to produce answers (often subjectively defined with little or no evidence) we seem to have a deep emotional need to take a stand on things.  But I propose that doing so may be irrational.  Aside from the fact that some questions may be unanswerable, there are “things” out there that we do not, and perhaps cannot know.  And what little we do comprehend has been filtered and interpreted through our uniquely personal, human experience.  Unfortunately, a good deal of time and energy is wasted in such debate when the more productive, exquisite, and intellectually honest answer may be a simple “I don’t know.”


I don’t know bout dat.

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Posted: 18 July 2012 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Wreck of M Deare - 16 July 2012 09:05 AM

Perhaps because from childhood we’ve been conditioned to produce answers (often subjectively defined with little or no evidence) we seem to have a deep emotional need to take a stand on things.  But I propose that doing so may be irrational.  Aside from the fact that some questions may be unanswerable, there are “things” out there that we do not, and perhaps cannot know.  And what little we do comprehend has been filtered and interpreted through our uniquely personal, human experience.  Unfortunately, a good deal of time and energy is wasted in such debate when the more productive, exquisite, and intellectually honest answer may be a simple “I don’t know.”

As long as “I don’t know” doesn’t become a prelude to “and I am completely unwilling to try and find out” I agree with you that it is the more productive and honest answer even though perhaps not the most exquisite one.

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Posted: 18 July 2012 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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A lot of times, “I don’t know” is simply more honest.

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Posted: 19 July 2012 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Wreck of M Deare - 16 July 2012 09:05 AM

“I believe in evidence.  I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning confirmed by independent observers.  I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it.  The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”—
Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920 – 1992)


Perhaps because from childhood we’ve been conditioned to produce answers (often subjectively defined with little or no evidence) we seem to have a deep emotional need to take a stand on things.  But I propose that doing so may be irrational.  Aside from the fact that some questions may be unanswerable, there are “things” out there that we do not, and perhaps cannot know.  And what little we do comprehend has been filtered and interpreted through our uniquely personal, human experience.  Unfortunately, a good deal of time and energy is wasted in such debate when the more productive, exquisite, and intellectually honest answer may be a simple “I don’t know.”


Believing that one doesn’t know is merely another assumption of knowing.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Wreck of M Deare - 16 July 2012 09:05 AM

Unfortunately, a good deal of time and energy is wasted in such debate when the more productive, exquisite, and intellectually honest answer may be a simple “I don’t know.”

For the last 10 years or so the answer “I don’t know” has become less acceptable because The Google knows.

At your fingertips right now is history’s most powerful research tool with instant access to history’s largest library of knowledge.  If a 15 year old boy used The Google to find a cheap and accurate new tool to diagnose cancer then you should be able to use it to learn how to put in a new toilet.

Unfortunately, The Google still is unable to answer the ages old metaphysical question, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”, but if you’re still asking that question then a bitch-slap from the besotted hooker who stole your wallet is too good for you.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Skipshot - 30 August 2012 11:12 AM
Wreck of M Deare - 16 July 2012 09:05 AM

Unfortunately, a good deal of time and energy is wasted in such debate when the more productive, exquisite, and intellectually honest answer may be a simple “I don’t know.”

For the last 10 years or so the answer “I don’t know” has become less acceptable because The Google knows.

At your fingertips right now is history’s most powerful research tool with instant access to history’s largest library of knowledge.  If a 15 year old boy used The Google to find a cheap and accurate new tool to diagnose cancer then you should be able to use it to learn how to put in a new toilet.

Unfortunately, The Google still is unable to answer the ages old metaphysical question, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”, but if you’re still asking that question then a bitch-slap from the besotted hooker who stole your wallet is too good for you.


I think of all your posts, this is my favorite.
A jewel.

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