Pelham’s Rules for Belief

  1. The primary goals of belief should be the pursuit of and participation in reality.
  2. Always remember that reality is neither dependent upon nor created by beliefs.  No amount of believing can make any untrue thing true.
  3. Belief in things for which solid proof is not available should always be held as tenuous by the one believing.
  4. Since believing is easier than proving, belief can be a trap for the cognitive miser.
  5. It is no virtue to hold firmly to a belief in unreality.
  6. It is no virtue to be right for the wrong reasons.  The proof of a belief should be consistent with fact, logic, and sourcing.
  7. To reject another’s beliefs simply because they differ from one’s own beliefs is to be unreasonable.  The best objection is that which is offered along with a disproof.
  8. It is no virtue to reject a belief without examining it.
  9. One’s beliefs should be regularly re-examined for accuracy.  The longer a belief persists without re-examination, the more likely it is to be erroneous.
  10. Not all hunches are wrong.  Nor are all of them right.  Reality can sometimes be well depicted by beliefs, even though a formal proof of that reality has not been developed in the mind.  The unconscious mind is certainly capable of developing such a “hunch” based on information already received.  The greater the diligence of study and the scrutiny of available information, the more likely the belief is to jibe with reality, but oversights and biases can lead to erroneous beliefs.
  11. Not all of reality is provable.  There is, therefore, room in the world for belief.
  12. Belief has its practicalities, even though not everything is certain.  Even a bridge that has held for a million crossings may fail on the next attempt.  Without “belief” in the bridge’s soundness, however, no one would ever cross.


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