"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde".
VoltaireOften render into English as Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position, but certainty is absurd. That edgily reminds me of Sex: The Pleasure Is Momentary, the Position Is Ridiculous, the Expense Is Damnable supposedly part of Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his son on the art of becoming a man of the world and a gentleman. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is no evidence that Chesterfield ever wrote that piece of advice. Which doesn't make the sentiment any less true, though. Mais revenons nous a nos certitudes:
God vs No God, and the winner is? Eagleman's position is leaning towards atheism because he cannot reconcile the certainty with which relgious people hold their personal beliefs with the extraordinary and largely unreconcilable diversity among those beliefs. If hundreds of millions of people believe that Jesus was the son of god and millions hold to the contrary, then they cannot all be right . . . but they can all be wrong. But he also gives rather short shrift to the Richard "The God Delusion" Dawkins and his equally certain strong atheism.
In full flow during an earlier interview he coined the term Possibilian to describe his well-hedged intellectual position. I call myself a Possibilian: I'm open to ideas that we don't have any way of testing right now. By the time he got back to the office he found a) his inbox was stuffed with "hey that's me, brother" b) that possibilian logic was a Googlewhack [whc prev]. The next thing he did, as you do, was purchase possibilian.com which is the place to start your uncertain journey into the unknown - bon voyage.
. . . forget the unknown unknowns [before] and the known unknowns and concentrate on all the stuff we know for sure that we don't know.
From his own field of neurology he notes that one cu.mm of brain tissue [small] has more inter-neuron connexions than there are stars in our galaxy [BIG]. I take that he's correct but even if he's out by a factor of 1000x that's kinda mind-boggling. He wants you and me to live our best lives free of dogma and full of awe and wonder. And most importantly remember, as a scientist and as a person, that it's okay to say:
I don't know