I was watching a clip this morning involving a tiny, 17 yo girl who has attempted suicide 3-4 times over the last year. She's visibly twitchy, nervous and shy.
It seems that she was married off to a 60 year old man when she was 12. He beat her almost daily. Her family told her repeatedly that this was her lot in life, and to go back to her husband and just be a good and obedient wife. Such is life in Afghanistan for thousands of girls.
At around 16, she couldn't take it anymore and with the help of a childhood friend, she slipped across the border into Pakistan. Her freedom was short lived. Her brother tracked her down, and attacked her and her friend with an axe, killing the boy she was with and inflicting horrendous wounds on her frail body. He was there to protect his family 'honor'. Deep gashes covered her upper body and part of her brain was visible....
The doctors worked on her, saving her life...
Since she was by custom and law a 'non-person' because of her actions, the Doctors had to spend their own money to acquire the life saving medications she needed. The government wanted nothing to do with her.
I can excuse children for believing in Santa, heck, I encourage in my own grand-kids. The same with the easter bunny and the tooth fairy.
I excuse the mentally ill for having delusions, no matter how absurd.
But frankly guys, I can't excuse grown, mentally competent adults for clinging to absurdity in the face of reality.
When are we as a group going to stop pretending that we can separate the belief from the believer? Why do the liberal-pacifists among us try so desperately to pretend that belief exists in some sort of a vacuum, a thing separate from the people who hold it? You tell me about respect, yet you are condescending to those you seek to defend, treating them as children, not responsible for their own beliefs.
I'm as socially and politically liberal as they come, and I'm not really all that fond of confrontation (no really), but damn, people...
I hear on a daily basis how I'm supposed to respect people even though I think what they believe is lunacy.
So, I either act as though they are delusional and NOT responsible for their own beliefs, as if they are brain washed and indoctrinated children, or I show them TRUE respect, and demand that they take full responsibility for the views they espouse.
The primitive mind likes to see associations where none actually exists. Sew up a lock of hair or a toenail clipping in a rag doll and voila, you have a Voodoo doll magically ‘linked’ to its victim. Then, the ‘theory’ goes; whatever you do to the doll also happens to the real person in the real world.
Some believe that names have a similar power, that is, if you know the ‘true name’ of a person or thing, you can exert control over it. This may seem nonsensical, but it manifests in the beliefs of an awful lot of otherwise intelligent people who refuse to write “God” but rather substitute “g_d” even on the internet.
What turned me off of religion in the first place was hypocrisy.
I went to the church, sang the songs, oggled the little cuties in their Sunday dresses, ate the food and jumped up and down like a trained ape for the prayers and tried not to snore during the sermons... just like everyone else.
But, at about the same time my voice changed I realized I simply didn't BELIEVE. But I stuck around for the company, the singing, the girls and the food for a couple of years.
But the feeling grew on me slowly, that I was lying to everyone around me and most importantly to myself. I quit, and never went back.
But I still see the hypocrisy... people who claim such great 'faith' in god's plan, yet look both ways when they cross the streets. Faith, yet they lock their doors, snap up those seat belts and you can bet that most of them, (the not quite insane bunch at least) put their faith in prayer yet go to the doctor when they get sick.
The majority of Americans say they believe in god... the god that keeps the hell fires burning. Now look around you... do your fellow citizens for the most part ACT like they really believe there is a horrible, eternal punishment waiting for them if they fuck up in the slightest, deviate from the divine game plan in the merest jot or tittal?
I can’t disprove your superstitions any more than I can disprove Mother Goose. I can express sincere doubts however, about the likelihood of a cow making lunar orbit.
I have deep misgivings about the existence of invisible, intangible beings from an alternate dimension who used magical powers to create and interfere in this universe.
Further, I have my doubts that these magnificent beings would need to contact an illiterate, murderous pedophile in a cave to send their message, or, for that matter, make small talk with a would be genocidal conqueror via flammable shrubbery.
Let’s face it, impregnating a Jewish teenager with yourself, then bumping around doing third rate miracles and magic tricks for the primitives , finally getting yourself lynched so you could change your own admission policies for your alternate dimension/cosmic amusement park is a pretty silly notion.
In the end, it’s not about what you are able to prove or disprove but rather how far you are willing to prostitute reason in order to believe any of it…
I think your god is too small for me, too weak, too…human.
He has anger issues, and jealousies. He needs constant reassurance of his own godliness. He’s petty and cruel (just ask Job’s family). He’s a poor judge of character, just look at his favorites, his patriarchs, Murderers, liars, thieves and incestuous to boot.
He’s a sexist, misogynistic in the extreme.
He seems obsessed with genitalia, snipping, clipping and hiding them. He’s capricious and malign, hardening hearts for the sheer pleasure of meeting out punishments. His sadism knows no bounds (Here, Abe, kill your only son for me…just kidding, slaughter this sheep instead.)
I Love the Scientific Method…
You get an idea, a grand inspiration and you spend years nurturing it, developing it, testing it over and over and examining it from every angle you can think of. Finally, after exhausting all your physical, emotional and frequently financial resources, you present your idea, your theory; your baby to the world.
The first thing that happens, the VERY first thing is a whole raft of other people in your specialty, friends, colleagues perhaps even your old grad school room mate do everything in their power, bring all their collected intellects, resources and time and focus it all on ripping your baby to shreds before your eyes .
Before the ink is dry on the publication, before you can say ‘peer review’, your life’s work can lay in tatters at your feet.
And if it still lives… if you can retrieve the pieces of your professional dignity and the remaining bits of your masterpiece… even if it survives the feeding frenzy that is peer review, there will always be critics, trailing like remora, feeding off of any tasty chunks they can pry off.
That’s the way it works… only the strong survive, Darwin’s Theory in academia. Speaking of which…
How religion came to be.
Human beings have a strong will to survive, an instinct that is ‘hard wired’ into the fiber of our bodies. (1)
We also have certain knowledge of our own mortality; we know that like our ancestors, we are going to die at some point.
This causes a crisis in the mind, which many resolve with a functional self-delusion, that of an Afterlife.
This expands on a recent comment on a recent posting here...
A lot of people when debating or arguing on this and other forums will toss out the name of a Logical Fallacy as if that in itself is a show stopper.
Some of the favorites are;
Ad Hominem, something that gets thrown in to block any derogatory commentary, but it isn't the game ender people hope for.
If I say "Your arguments are wrong BECAUSE you are an asshole."
THAT is an Ad Hominem.
If I say "Your arguments are wrong AND you are an Ass Hole,"
That is an Observation.
Being an asshole doesn't mean one can't be right on any particular issue, just as being right on an issue doesn't mean one is NOT an anal orifice.
Hitler loved dogs and built great highways. (reducto ad Hitlerium)
It's also NOT an Ad Hominem to point out that someone is not qualified to speak on an issue. Kent Hovind comes to mind, a self aggrandizing fraud, who claims educational experience he simply does not have. Pointing out that he is not qualified to speak on scientific matters is NOT an Ad Hominem.
To paraphrase Bill Maher, In a discussion about science, the non scientist simply doesn't get a vote.