In sociology of scientific knowledge, Planck’s principle is the view that scientific change does not occur because individual scientists change their mind, but rather that successive generations of scientists have different views.
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it
— Max Planck, Scientific autobiography, 1950, p. 33
Around 2003 I came across Charlie Munger’s 1995 speech, The Psychology of Human Misjudgment, which introduced me to how behavioral economics can be applied in business and investing. More profoundly, though, it opened my mind to the power of seeking out and applying mental models across a wide array of disciplines.
A mental model is just a concept you can use to help try to explain things (e.g. Hanlon’s Razor — “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by carelessness.”). There are tens of thousands of mental models, and every discipline has their own set that you can learn through coursework, mentorship, or first-hand experience.
The Bible is surely the most controversial book ever in print. It has done an immense amount of good. Unfortunately, it probably has also caused more damage than any other text. Throughout history we clearly see how many Christians acted in oppressive, ignorant, and abusive ways in the name of Jesus and the Gospel (two of the most damning examples being the support of slavery and the subjugation and colonization of indigenous peoples). It seems that to many Christians it did not matter what Jesus really said or did. They just needed an imperial God-figure, and Jesus was used to fit the bill. It could just as well have been Howdy Doody.
.. We’re trying to be more honest with the Scriptures—inspired by God, as understood by humans—rather than making the Bible say what we want it to say or interpreting it according to our cultural conditioning. Yet God has always risked being misused, misinterpreted, or “man-handled” by God’s own people. For me, this is the deep symbolism of the babe in a manger. God completely, vulnerably gives God’s self over to our care.
Most Christians preconceive Jesus as “the divine Savior of our divine church,” which prematurely settles all the dust and struggle of his human experience. Such a predisposition does not open us to enlightenment so we also can have the mind of Christ, but in fact, deadens and numbs our perception. Too often we read the Bible with an eye to prove this understanding of “our” Jesus so that our ideas and our church are right—and others are wrong. If we are honest enough to admit this bias, we may have a chance of letting go of it for a richer understanding of the Gospel.