Nature of Reality, Nature of Man, 1) Worldview
Worldview, metanarrative, fundamental cognitive orientation
Your worldview is a set of presuppositions that you operate under.
They can be changes, reoriented, if you will, but it is the set of cognitive predispositions that filter the data you receive and sort it first into unacceptable statements which are discounted or discarded, and then into those remaining, which are acceptable at some level.
This is the metanarrative which you operate under, the fundamental cognitive orientation you operate with, the normative postulates that represent a given person’s basic assumption of how you work.
In German, particularly in the last century and a half the word Weltanschauung is used and means some more or less systematic whole of answers to questions regarding the being, value, and meaning of the universe, specifically of the position of the human person in the cosmos and how we presume we humans arrived here. It is the teleology behind the thoughts, the mental outlook with which, through which we see the world.
Every person has one; therefore every person operates from a set of presuppositions.
To help you understand this, let’s start with you view of the origin of life itself.
You believe (that is, think it is true) that life in general and mankind are on this earth:
1) Because a cosmic accident of unbelievable luck cause the molecules to come together in such a manner that life spontaneously arose from non-living non-sentient chemical reactions, or,
2) We were dropped here intentionally or unintentionally by some other space life traveling to the earth. (Yes, I have met those that believe this, but where did they come from? How did their life begin?)
3) Some superior intelligent being that was not created but is necessarily (philosophy: something that must be) alive created something else that was alive.
For now I will avoid methodologies that may fit into each of these categories.
Find which you believe, then continue reading…
See? All of us hold some version of one of those beliefs.
~The last words of Wyatt Earp
Metaphysical Presumptions and Presuppositions
The relatedness of words and their etiology (origin) shed light on what original meanings were, sometimes how they developed, and current definitions tell us how they are used today.
The word “suppose” reflects an underlying assumption used as the basis for an idea or argument or conclusion. Wyatt Earp’s last word reflect this, he was rightly concluding his own end was at hand.
We all assume that certain things are true and the current case on the basis of evidence or probability but without proof or certain knowledge. I sit in chairs every day without first testing whether they will hold me because of supposition an inference from previous experiences and I suppose that no one has intentionally sabotaged the chair between times.
A funny video where a chair breaks proves this point. (Here I assume no harm to the person.) It is funny because something unexpected happened, something is out of place. A proper order of how things are assumed to be has been broken, and it strikes us as funny.
Why do humans alone on earth understand beauty?
I enter a conversation assuming you will mean by your words the commonly accepted meaning not redefining them for some dishonest purpose, as politicians do constantly, on both sides of any political system. People with agendas constantly misuse words to surreptitiously and irrationally wind an argument.
We assume in any rational argument, that is, when we are trying to convince someone else of some specific point, when we try to reason to a point, that the person is using the normal meaning of words.
We assume things are true, that in general most words mean to the other person what they have always meant during our lifetimes, and that there are certain conventions we presume or assume to be true: drunk driving is bad; jumping off a cliff will cause injury, and so on and so forth.
When we enter into any conversation we bring a set of suppositions with us, that is, previous to the discussion we hold certain things to be true, and so we link these in our minds until and unless some evidence changes them.
These then are rightly called presuppositions.
We have presuppositions, we bring to the discussions, every person does this necessarily.
Naturalists (those who believe in nature and exclude the supernatural) often point this out to super-naturalists that they have presuppositions that we need to discharge before we can have a neutral or unbiased discussion. This is only partly true. Yes, super-naturalists have presuppositions, but then again, a naturalist has the same, but opposite presuppositions.
There is no neutral ground at all, that idea is a myth promulgated by naturalists.
The argument can perfectly well be reversed. The super-naturalist can tell the naturalist that they must get rid of their presuppositions before the discussion can begin. It is perfectly rational to reverse the argument, if that were the case, but it is not.
All people hold presuppositions. Naturalists, particularly scientists falsely assume that they have no presuppositions. But naturalism is a presupposition.
I am not speaking from ignorance here, I held and adjunct faculty position at a college of science, am a scientist, and a chief scientist or P.I., Principal Investigator for numerous scientific investigations.
Most scientists ignore the fact that they have a large number of presuppositions themselves but indicate simply that they want you to accept their presuppositions at the very beginning of the argument and without any reason whatsoever.
Every human has presupposition, so why ought I to empty myself of my suppositions in favor of yours without evidence that my presuppositions or presumptions are in error?
This shows still another word we need to focus on for a moment. The naturalists presumes or assumes or supposes your presuppositions are wrong and supposed that theirs are correct, and so we come full circle back to presuppositions.
This, however, is a logical error called begging the question which means I have built an assumption into my proposition without ever addressing it or proving it to be true.
In this case it is assumed that naturalism is true and supernaturalism is false without ever rationally arguing that point. The naturalist assumes naturalism is true and correct and that supernaturalism is false, insists that your presuppositions must be abandoned but he or she will keep their presuppositions intact.
Why ought I presume his or her presuppositions are true without convincing evidence this is so? If it is true, prove it, then I will believe it, however, quite the opposite is the case.
Until all arguments are heard for or against a set of presuppositions, or at least until a convincing arguments is presented and not rebutted, until the evidence is understood and proper inferences are given why ought a person give up their suppositions?
There are people who have, as it were such an open mind that they have no opinions and no one respects those people for good reasons, it is abnormal.
It is normal to have presuppositions and to hold those until a rational alternative is presented.
Unfortunately many people cannot think their way through a problem and poor arguments actually win them over as opposed to truly rational arguments and arguments with solid reason and evidence as to why they ought to be believed.
And there is the point: Presuppositions are subject to examination and criticism, to rationality and evidence.
Let’s deal with another word, presume, or to presume, to take something for granted or to suppose, assume, believe, expect something is true, to deduce or comprehend in a certain manner.
All of these can be wrapped up in the German word Weltanschauung which is best translated as “world view” which is a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity's relation to it.
A worldview is the set of assumptions you use to define what you believe about the universe, how it came to be, man, how he came to be, and God, whether he exists or not, and how he interacts with the world, or not.
Yes, atheism is an assumption, and presupposition, a worldview, they believe to be true, and therefore a faith, that is, they act on the belief.
Sorry to disturb you, but everyone has belief (things they belief are true) and act on those, ergo, faith in their belief.
You need first to understand that everyone has a world view, all world views are a set of assumed operating parameters for things around you, and they change in people over time and also in societies over time. That is, the assumptions we in the United States operate under are different that those that China operates under, just as those a Roman Catholic operate under are different from those a Mormon operates under, and so forth.
So we can further categorize world views into subcategories that group people, and many times these small differences lead in vastly different outcomes.
Worldviews are complex.
Charle’s Darwin’s naturalist friend and co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection Alfred Russel Wallace assumed that there were things in biology that were best explained by invoking a designer.
Darwin obstreperously objected demanding there be no designer at all or in any manner whatsoever. The more study that was done by each, the more they were each convinced by the evidence they saw. This only happens in a situation where the worldview is not questioned.
But what if your worldview is a false one? They cannot all be right because they contradict each other. Two contradictory things cannot both be true at the same time and in the same manner.
Of course, both Darwin and Wallace cannot both be right, and so, what was guiding the thoughts of each man leading them down specific and opposite paths?
It was the specifications of each man’s world view.
So world views are consequential, that is, they lead to other thoughts and ideas and create, as it were a specific path. However, earlier we saw that evidence can change the world view if you are open minded.