Even with testable things - like global warming - not everyone knows the same things. Nobody has the same body of knowledge as anyone else. As much as people try to avoid - people believe some things that someone said that was exaggerated, for instance - in other areas human knowledge is simply incomplete. Perceptions of reality vary - based on what people know - and various opinions about that knowledge.
There are graphs and various things that scientists have put together - and part of what gives them validity is that the scientists themselves have a consensus about their validity. Those of us who are non-scientists who have decided that the scientists are telling the truth as they know it is another example of more consensus.
It is obvious that some people are ruled by people who refuse to believe what the scientists say about it - they consider themselves to the skeptical ones - but that is more consensus - a different one - but people feel ok thinking what they think because they know that other people think the same thing.
I think it's reasonable to keep in mind that there are limits to what people know - people keep finding out more all the time and that is great - but I don't think it's reasonable for people to think that we know is close to what could be known. So we have a window on reality - and as I see it - all of our windows are different - with different views.
This comes out in how people think that the problem of global warming should be approached. Some people think that more technology will save everything - and make it possible for people to keep consuming at the current rate. Others think that people (esp. Americans) need to change our entire lifestyle and values.
Those opinions are partly dependent on how people view human knowledge and it's limitations - and also how people view politics - and how people view morality - how people view people's place in the world - how people view life (people who see it as a step to heaven do not have to be very concerned about life here), etc.
If people came to the consensus that no one person should consume more than X amount of this, that and the other - that would be one solution (one part of it). Birth control is part of that, vegetarianism would also help. Etc.
It seems to me that the default solution (the defeatist consensus) will be that the rich fight harder to consume what they want to consume - let other people die who can't make it. The rich will support their support people. The world keeps going to hell - hell on earth for everybody.
So that's what I see - a positive, proactive consensus or a defeatist consensus. The proactive consensus has worked in small groups/communities. The question will be if people on earth can see our world as a "group" we all share in and are responsible for - of if we will keep on with our violent ways.
BushCo is clearly taking the violent path. I think that anyone who does not recognize the possibility of a proactive consensus (that is at odds with the defeatist consensus) is essentially going with him. This solution may be partly driven/activated through religion - but people without religion can find themselves on the same bandwagon if they don't make an effort to get off. (I happen to think that Sam Harris is on that bandwagon - like when he is anti-Muslim/pro-torture).
In the same way - I see religious people and non religious people embracing the proactive consensus. Some are motivated by their religion (like Quaker, paganism, Buddhism, etc.), some by science - some by politics - some by humanism or some other philosophy. There are different ways to get there.
Important Notices: By registering on this website,
visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules
page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums and
Journals are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily
represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.