New post summarizing and describing What is wonderism?:

"I've gotten at least a few comments from people along the lines of, "I'm still not sure what to make of wonderism." In my attempts to explain it, I find myself writing longer and longer articles, with more and more detail. Sometimes it's harder to express an idea in just a few words, than in many words! Pascal's famous quote comes to mind: "I am sorry for the length of my letter, but I had not the time to write a short one."

So, in the meantime, I'm going to try to answer one simple question, "What is wonderism?" Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer. Instead, there are many answers. The following answers are boiled-down, short, simple, summary answers. They are necessarily incomplete descriptions; for each one, I could write pages and pages more. They represent my own personal variation of wonderism, i.e. how I personally conceive of what wonderism is. Others who agree with the basics of wonderism will have different opinions on specific points. No worry! I imagine that, over time, we will collectively be able to distill a much simpler, foundational wonderism that a wider variety of people can agree on together, with each person holding their own variation and elaboration upon the foundation. Consider the following answers as coming from the perspective of, "I've made my own explorations of wonderism, and here is what it looks like from where I've come to." Ideas, questions, comments, and criticism are welcome.

What is wonderism?

In my view, wonderism is ..."

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I would appreciate any feedback. Let me know what you think, whatever that may be. Good, bad, ugly, whatever.

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Comment by Wonderist on November 30, 2009 at 3:19pm
Hi John, thanks for the comment. I appreciate your honest opinion and feedback.

When I use 'intuition', I only mean 'the brain's natural ability to make pretty good guesses'. The feeling associated with this I call truthiness, taken from Stephen Colbert. I think it's useful to keep the ability and the feeling distinct.

We all use intuition as I've defined it. There's no getting around it. We might as well understand it. And I don't advocate using intuition as the only tool for making judgments. I stress that intuition is a natural capacity, and being a product of 'good enough' evolution, it is imperfect and flawed in systematic ways. However, all that being said, it is still useful. People still use it. And understanding how it works can be a very useful way of understanding how people think (for example, in debates with theists).

I agree with your analysis of when to use intuition (lack of time, lack of complete information). But understanding intuition is more than just about using it yourself. It's also about understanding how all people use it.

Intuition is only a starting point. We have built systems of logic and reason on top of basic intuition for the express purpose of correcting intuition's systematic flaws (such as logical and informal fallacies). When the tools of reason are available, we should prefer them to raw intuition alone.

See the posts on pragmatism, post-modernism, and faith for more about intuition and reason.

"The truth is found by questioning our intuition."

Exactly, which is one reason why I call it wonderism and not intuitionism. Implicit in the word 'wonder' is the idea of a question.

A wonderist might confront a homophobe like this:

W: How do you really know that they are dangerous?
H: My intuition told me.
W: How do you know your intuition is correct? Have you never been wrong ever in your life? Aren't you aware that there are systematic flaws in intuition, known as fallacies and prejudices?
H: I just don't like them. My god told me so.
W: That's not good enough. The science and evidence shows that homosexuals are just people with different sexual preferences. There's nothing wrong with them. Etc.

My variation of wonderism is talking about the scientific reality of intuition and its natural basis in the brain. It's not talking about unquestioned wishful thinking and prejudice. We shouldn't just blindly follow intuition, we should study it and understand it, including its weaknesses.

Also, it may be the case that my use of intuition is not essential to a foundational wonderism, and may be an example of a personal variation. I think the ideas about scientifically studying intuition are valid, but perhaps my own conceptions and ideas about it are just my own. It's worth exploring further.

So, I hope you don't let my own elaborations be the only reason to reject the basic idea of wonderism. I can only describe it from my limited perspective. It may be that we can find a common ground despite our differences. It may even be worthwhile to do so.

Thanks again.

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