Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cultural idiots

I only partly feel comfortable with calling the religious stupid.  That in turn is only partly due to the fact that I was religious.  I prefer not to walk around insulting myself in any sincerity, and I know I didn't get smarter as I became more secular.  Religiosity in America and other parts of the world is cultural.  A lot (I'd be alright with saying a majority) of people believe without properly understanding the foundation of their faith.  That can be demonstrated by most religious individuals one is likely to encounter on a day-to-day basis.  Many of the religious are also properly ignorant of basic science and replace an argument against a scientific principle with a remark based on their personal incredulity.  Philosophy isn't a strong suit with the typical theist or spiritualist, this also can be observed easily when idiotic questions about the evolutionary origin of morality come up.
I do feel comfortable with calling some individual theists idiots if they fit the criteria (and a disproportionate number do), but not simply on account of their religiosity.  I feel comfortable calling the theist ignorant, perhaps willfully so.  As the title implies however, there are many who fall into either of the significant categories I've mentioned.  These are the people who are taught from day one that a belief in some god is the pinnacle of their advancement as a human.  I object strongly to that, as the reader may or may not have discovered.  Frequently in such cases, critical thought is discouraged*.  The individual may be brainwashed all too literally into their belief**.  I hazard anyone who is eager to call the believer an idiot merely for their belief to think about everything that goes into keeping a religion alive.
Here's how it worked for me.  I was born into a predominantly Christian family.  From the time I exited the birth canal (if they waited that long), I was barraged with the baptist and young-earth mantra.  I soon picked up on it and got saved when I was 3 years old at a VBS.  I evidently don't remember much between then and when I was baptized at 5, a mistake which I may undo for personal and statistical reasons.  For some reason my parents saw fit to teach critical thinking along with religion, perhaps in their naivety suspecting that I'd forever hold religion above criticism.  I did the exact opposite, holding the opinion that keeping an idea from criticism is an insult to it's integrity.  Of course I did so with the express preconception that my particular brand of theism would stand where others so reliably fell.  I was ignorant...maybe a bit idiotic.  At any rate, I took on the track of 2 years to dismantle the wall of brainwash-fueled ignorance.  I'm now 17, going on 18 and an anti-theist.  I was very ignorant, but intellect is the capacity rather than the knowledge.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The ten words I often find myself repeating... unhealthy number of times per day.  I repeat these words listening to apologists as I flatten my skull with a unique combination of face-other collisions including palm, desk, keyboard and the occasional cat which neither of us appreciate.  I find the phrase disappointingly frequently inaccurate though and the more times this occurs, my faith in the human race diminishes almost exponentially.  The phrase, of course, is "That's gotta be a gag, nobody is that fucking stupid.".  I'll list a few names which will guarantee at least one utterance of this phrase per time they are encountered in any media.

  1. Hovind, Eric and Kent
  2. Craig, William
  3. Ham, Ken
  4. Sharpton, Al
     There are obviously more, but listing each and every apologist who insists on dragging the bloodied and mangled corpses of their horrendously outdated, outperformed and generally thrown out arguments out (is the word losing meaning yet?) would take years. Honestly it would tire me out.  You know I had to use it one more time.
     I utter that phrase when I'm reading the ridiculous ICR Science updates which I find myself bombarded with by well-meaning and concerned family members.  When I go to a Christian website of any flag, you can bet bank that these ten words surfaced.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Why magic doesn't work 0

I have to set a few assumptions to understand anything about the world, here they are.

  1. This reality exists.  The universe, everything in it and the physical laws governing it all exist.  This dismounts the "What if you're a brain connected to the matrix?" question.  The fact of the matter is that even if we're all scripts in a computer simulation, the computer simulation exists.  So reality is contextual to the sentient minds that comprehend it.
  2. Reality is consistent.  A reaction based on a given set of variables will produce an exactly similar result when repeated.
  3. We can learn about reality.  Because reality is consistent, we can form models with predictive capability.
  4. Models with predictive capability are better than those without it.  If reality exists and is consistent, we can learn about it by forming models on the way things behave.  If we can form a model on the way something behaves that will explain it and it's likely future behavior, that model necessarily is better than a model on the way something behaves which explains something and has little to no input on what will likely happen.  If I mix baking soda and vinegar, I could postulate that some god is offended by the mixing of these ingredients.  That tells me nothing about what is happening.  On the other hand I could work out the way that acids interact with bases, which not only describes that reaction, but any reaction involving those two categories on any scale.