virus: Argument from Incredulity

Reed Konsler (
Wed, 23 Apr 1997 15:55:10 -0400 (EDT)

James said:
>Much of this discussion seems to me to be related to Reed's "argument
>from incredulity"

I was introduced to this idea explicitly by Dennett in "Darwin's Dangerous
Idea". It's one of Dennett's main points. His analysis is that Darwin's great
contribution was that, with Natural Selection, we could now take seriously
the concept which David Hume was forced, in the end, to discard: Design
without Mind.

Before Darwin it was inconcievable that there could be complex things
without a designer. Afterwards it was not only concievable, but
became self-evident.

In this way things we "cannot believe" eventually become obvious.
And thus any argument from incredulity:
"I can't believe X is Y"
is more a description of one's mind-set (or, if you like,
meme-set) than of reality.

This idea is repeated a number of times in the first 100 pages
of DDI, but is the explict conclusion of "Who's Afraid of
Reductionism?" on page 83.


Reed Konsler