My Grandma calls me often to talk about news she has read in the newspapers. It’s not every time we agree with what’s in the news. Politics is one which we don’t share the same view but mostly, the talk is about mundane stuff, like last week, she asked if I had read about the new pills for itchy skin in MYB. I did.
Yesterday, she asked me about the news on the woman who came back from the dead and added, ‘That’s why you must believe in God because her brother prayed for her.’ I wanted to rebut her, what about the other many prayers that went unanswered? Where was God then?
This story that was published in yesterday’s Sunday Times could be hailed as a miracle. Interestingly, the topic I had chosen for my peer assessment with Coursera’s University of Edinburgh’s Philosophy course is : Was Hume right to think that one should never believe that a miracle has taken place on the basis of testimony? Of all the seven topics in the seven-week lectures, I found this topic to be the most relevant.
David Hume is a Scottish philosopher during the enlightenment period (years 1700-1800) who was regarded as an Atheist. His skepticism towards stories of miracles, especially relating to resurrection, is that we should never believe that a miracle has taken place on the basis of testimony, unless you have evidence that the testifier is trustworthy.
In the same lecture, we were taught Intellectual Solidarity and Intellectual Autonomy. The former is having the disposition to trust the testimony of your community and the lather having the disposition to form beliefs ‘on your own’. The forum was abuzz with lively debate on the two stands.
Buddhism promotes Intellectual Autonomy, something I subscribe to. Thus, it’s my hope that my children will practice the same. I enjoy my philosophy course so much I keep encouraging them to study philosophy in the University, for the sole purpose of being able to think through subjects clearly and not take things at face value.
My next course starts tonight, and I hope I shall be able to tell you more about why people behave irrationally after six weeks, or better still, as I tell Bee, I should be able to explain my seemingly irrational behavior to her after this course.