Thanks to Ali jan for sharing this nice ted talk with me. It is an inspiring talk and this is one of those subjects that I wrote something about, e.g. here or here. To start, in my opinion, he touched two interesting points, first, he clarified that our belief system is a byproduct of our cultural system, and second, he gave a good description of “what really the science is”.
His main message was: listen to all ideas, filter them by the toolbox of science, and then consider the other possibilities. Finally, he emphasized on staying away from making a strict choice when there is a little known and a lot unknown. That’s very good and nice, however, there are several drawbacks here:
1) We live for a rather short time and during this time we are forced to make a decision about some main fundamental questions (no matter how much we understand), from which almost all religions are coming from, such as where are we coming from, where are we going, and why are we here! How we answer them would change our behaviour in this very world during our short life span. Willingly or unwillingly we are answering to those questions and behaving accordingly.
2) He also nicely mentioned about the role of science as a filter, however, he did not emphasize that science by itself is an ever-changing land of possibilities which open-minded-ly contradict itself from time to time. It means that the toolbox/filter by which we falsify other theories sometimes is changing so drastically that some of the impossibles become possibles and vice versa. For example, in life science, before the discovery of DNA, it was so absurd (scientifically) to talk about a fundamental quality which is transferred from parents to children (called fetrat in Islam) which would determine the most of child character! However, nowadays, it is believed that almost everything is inherited from parents, and education, societies, etc can do a little to change that! So, basically, science is making random walks in the phase-space of possibilities.
3) The way the decisions are made in his “possibilian” approach is biased towards science, so I would rather call this new religion as scientism. Since, the righteousness of possibilities are measured with (modern) science and not the other means. Of course, there exist other possible toolbox/filters. For example, to treat a certain disease you may choose to use modern science or ancient medicine. So, possibilian is rather a larger pool than what is explained in the talk!