[from Joel Judd]

Greg (930525 oops,date for me above: 930527)

I wanted to know whether you think there is ANY knowledge which
is NOT tentative

As I understand knowledge and human beings, no. In fact, knowledge
might be a misnomer, since it so often seems to be used in education
and learning literature witha sort of static quality, as if it is
something ACHIEVED, or LEARNED, instead of the current byproduct of
the system's environmental interactions.

Re: religion, I think most believers who speak of the "truth" don't have
some sort of deeply philosophical account of what they mean. I certainly
didn't eleven years ago. But I think one can still speak of a set of
values or beliefs as "true," (one can say anything one wants) but I
think of such statements now as referring to the efficacy or the
helpfulness of such beliefs for the lives of the people to which such
statements are directed. Therefore, in general (without going into all
the Nazi-Jew scenarios), LYING IS BAD is a "true" statement. I think
ALL people would be better off IF they believed this.

Why do you say that?

Because I have two months curriculum development to do in three weeks,
and I thought the thread was winding down (silly me), but I prefer to
pay attention to the net first and work second (so don't let this stop
you). In fact, this has been helpful, and I can sense the glial cells
working hard to keep the ole neurons in condition to have an insight
one of these days. (translation: I'm getting there)

I beleive there are criteria for indentifying revelations.

Such as?

In my case:

1) Is the person claiming revelation
        a) in authority to do so (e.g. publicly ordained)?
        b) responsible for the area affected by the revelation (ie.
        I do not claim revelation for the whole church--I've not
        been given responsibility for them--or for Puerto Rico, the
        whole earth, etc.)?

2) Does the revelation contradict established proceedures (in current
church practices and accepted scriptures)? This in and of itself does
not necessarily invalidate revelation, but acts as a check, for example
on those who claim that we should still be practicing plural marriage
(which I don't believe we should, BTW)

3) Is the revelation "secret," or only for particular people?

4) Does the revelation lead to mistreatment or abuse of other human
beings, or curtailment of their freedom to choose?

5) Last, but certainly not least, do I "feel" (after consideration,
prayer, reflection, etc.) that it is in fact a revelation?

This is probably not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea. If
there's a problem with any one of the above, then I will have
serious doubts about its "authenticity." As you can see, Koresh,
Jones, and most other crackpots, especially those using the Bible,
can be discredited on most or all of the above checks. The problem
as I see it is usually that people are all too willing to blindly
follow such people without taking a close look at how prophets have
worked throughout the Bible. No biblical prophet has EVER led the people
off to seclusion and mass suicide/death, among many other things.

Bill (930525)

In any truly entrenched belief system there is one key hypothesis
on which everything else depends

Yep. In the case of LDS, it's usually called personal testimony, and
can be described in the way you did (and other ways for other people).
I think the fundamental internal conflict which is usually (or ideally)
resolved relates to one's desire to know the reason or purpose for one's
existence. Whether we existed previously, or will continue to live
after death, etc. I think the fact that this theme runs through so
much of mankind's literature and philosophy, not to mention religion,
is good evidence for there being something "out there" to discover.
BUT, I also believe that we're not going to model God, or his
equivalent, scientifically, in the near future.

Unscientifically yours