Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's true, for me...

You have to laugh at the way some of our religious brothers and sisters defend their pet delusions; for example by trying to argue that science is "just a belief system" like theirs. They freely toss words around like "theory" and "proof" in arbitrary and obfuscating ways. They say things like, "the fact I personally experienced the spirit of Jesus when I was at my lowest ebb of depression is proof that God cares for all of us, whereas Evolution, well, that's just a theory". They must hope that creating such conflation and false equivalence somehow deflects people from engaging with their assertions and negates them having to justify themselves, heaven forbid they might suffer "offence" a word that is increasingly coming to mean simply "disagree with".

This is how the game goes... suggesting that a particular behaviour or idea is irrational or divisive from the logical/rational or secular perspective becomes an "attack", simply pointing out that what we understand about reality makes the religious position highly unlikely becomes "scientism", questioning subjective and out-dated traditions becomes "militancy", expressing your views via a personal blog or newspaper article becomes "stridency"; you get the idea.

Let's face it, apologists everywhere would like nothing better than for Science and Secularism to keep it's nose out of religion; in fact they would prefer it if religious ideas were protected from criticism completely via blasphemy or ridiculously "PC" hate-speech laws and many support violence to that end. What they universally fail to admit or acknowledge is that Religion so often oversteps it's boundaries and "interferes" unjustly with people's lives that any possibility of quid pro quo with secularists disappeared long ago. My own view is that the question of free-speech is not one where a solution can be found half-way; either we have it or we don't, it's a binary thing. We must allow a plurality of views and protect none; ideas must stand or fall based on their own merits. Unfortunately for the religious they have no objective way of showing the rest of us that their ideas are true, rationalists have evidence, the superstitious have only faith.

When you think about it, Science is one of the the only (major) fields of Human endeavour that demands scrutiny via peer review, even then it's not perfect, cheats and scoundrels sometimes get away with murder, but even so, religion has no such checking mechanism and therefore the scope for hucksterism is many fold. When was the last time you heard a politician or a priest announce that they'd welcome more robust rebuttal, more evidence against their position or more universal exposure of the weaknesses of their arguments, imagine what that would even look like..

"What we really want is more critical thinking and evidence based scrutiny of ALL religions taught from junior school upwards; teach kids to think for themselves and not just accept authority" - said no Pope/Bishop/Rabbi/Mullah ever.

When you hear a believer say "it's true.... for me" that's the precise moment of self deception; they know it, you know it but they have too much invested to admit that.

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