Tok “That Which Can Be Asserted Without Evidence Can Be Dismissed Without Evidence.”

1462 words - 6 pages

Namuun Khurts TOK Final essay 18 Jan 2013
"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." (Christopher Hitchens) Do you agree?Evidence is a fact or a piece of information that supports or disproves a belief. The statement assumes that evidence is the key criterion to accept or to reject assertions. However the statement does not clarify what kind of evidence it is referring to. The cogency of evidence is controversial and varies on a given situation or on the person that is interpreting the situation. Therefore, what determines the validity of evidence? Is certainty possible in the absence of evidence? Consequently, I agree with the statement to a certain extent, depending on the areas of knowledge such as science, religion, math, history and art.First of all, evidence is found through ways of knowing. The two ways of knowing that often oppose each other are reasoning and emotion. Reasoning and emotion both have its advantages and disadvantages. Reasoning is logical thinking, whereas emotion is related to our feelings; faith and instinct. Reasoning is voted to be more reliable than emotions because the evidence it provides makes more sense and is more accurate. However logical thinking has its fallacies and can be unreliable. Reasoning can also have different outcomes depending on the individual's backgrounds. One of the roles of reasoning is to find equilibrium between two extremes, but often reasoning is used to justify a bias assertion leading to evidence that contributes to false knowledge. Conversely, emotion has its advantages and disadvantages. Notions relating to ethics such as capital punishment and abortion cannot be judged on the bases of reasoning alone. "An eye for eye," seems logical but "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." Emotion is necessary for humans to filter information, and come to their own conclusions. Another issue with accepting emotion, as evidence is that what is intuitive may differ from person to person; all humans do not have the same feelings, and who is to judge whose feelings are right and wrong. All emotions are personal and bias therefore emotion is questioned when seeking reliable evidence. Materialistic matters have measurements and the evidence developed from them seems most definite. However, because there is no way to measure intuition and emotion, such evidence seems rather abstract.Whilst arguing about what kind of evidence is most reliable we often come to question the foundation of our reality. As stated previously, we tend to rely on the materialistic, "valid" and measureable evidence more than the emotional. One must keep in mind that these materialistic evidences we base off of our "reality" and worldview is rooted in scientism. Most of us were taught that the materialistic world is all there is, and all emotions are nothing but the functions of neurons in our brains. Spirituality is no more than superstitious wishful thinking. When it comes to arguing...

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