scary movie

There’s a war on, and it’s for the hearts and minds of the nation.  Unfortunately, it’s pretty well along for the jesus people–there really isn’t any counter-attack from the center-left.  Athiesm/agnosticism still has a bad rep in America, which is too bad.  We’re stuck with the creeping erosion of the separation of church and state-it’s on our money, that inane pledge to the flag, chaplains in the army… all minor annoyances until you think of what the consequences are for science.  Science is predicated upon a search for the truth.  You make a conjecture, if the evidence supports it, you have a theory.  There is no faith there.  Faith is the belief in something, in the absence of evidence (or the presence of countervailing evidence).  There is no evidence for the existence of a god or gods, therefore there probably isn’t one.  The argument "he doesn’t wish to be found" is bunk–frame your conjecture in a falsifiable way and then talk to me,
So back to the issue of the jesus people taking over the US (and the islamists taking over the mideast-and trying to take down the west).  The way to combat them is with science.  Not unlocking the atom to make bombs, or using chemistry to make weapons, but teaching people the principles of science, and statistics*.  Steal their thunder: teach the kids to search for truth, not to fall into the traps of faith-tell people straight up that faith works on the same pathways as opiates, and that it’s not real.
* statistics may not be correct in the way we see and use it.  Given that things that are supposed to be random aren’t random (ESP is real, talk to Daryl Bem about it), our understanding of statistics is flawed.  But it’s a good starting point-the theory is fairly sound.

2 thoughts on “scary movie

  1. First comment ever!
    I agree that atheists and agnostics should be free from persecution, just as practicers of all religions should be free of it, but why is it necessary to eliminate all religion?  You cite the separation of church and state, which I fully support.  There is much evidence to show that a religion should not rule over anyone but that religion.  Government should be secular.  But God on our money and in the pledge of allegiance does not represent a "creeping erosion" of the separation.  The pledge has been around since WWII, and the money much longer than that.  If anything, we’re seeing a shift towards more separation lately.  And how are army chaplains a bad thing?  They bring comfort to a lot of people who are in a really dire situation.  I don’t see how removing the chaplains would be better for anyone involved.  Whether you believe that the comfort is real or imagined is irrelevant.  The people who receive it think it’s real enough, and their lives would not be made by better by excising it.  This represent a support and respect of religious ideals, not an endorsement (which is what is constitutionally prohibited).
    Which brings me to my next point, which is that you don’t support the separation of church and state at all.  What you argue for is elimination of religion, and in some cases that elimination is to take place at the hands of the government! (or government institutions such as education or the military)  This does not reflect a reasonable separation stance!  If someone were arguing for the elimination of science at the hands of religion, you would cry separation.  Reversing the roles does not make it any better.
    There are a lot of people who don’t subscribe to one of the big religions.    As one of those people, I applaud those who share this stance, because I consider it the most enlightened way to be.  But I realize it’s not for everyone.  I spend a lot of time and effort figuring out the best way to live, the best way to treat others, the best philosophy to follow, the best way to deal with issues.  I think you only truly understand many of the issues if you really think about them.  But let’s face it, it’s hard work!  Somedays I wish I was more comfortable delegating that to someone else and saying, "Please tell me the best decision to make here."  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.  Should you subscribe to a religion and blindly follow all its edicts?  No, of course not.  But if you’re a believer and want to congregate with others that believe in the same thing, that’s a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone in this country.
    I’d say better than 95% of religious followers in America are not evangelists or zealots.  They’re simply trying to live in a moral way and believe in something bigger than themselves.  Lumping them all together and calling for their reeducation serves no useful purpose.   It just upsets and polarizes.
    P.S.  Are you really going to argue for the existence of ESP in the same breath as discounting all religions?

  2. Dave,
    I have to agree it is getting scary out there.
    There is definitely something inherently wrong with turning over your moral choices to a higher power. For most people their higher power is incommunicado but a church appointed or self-appointed do-gooder will happily tell you what to do with your life. If someone is actually receiving direct instructions from "God" that may end badly. We are taught that critical thinking is important in most aspects of our lives but when it comes to morality we are expected to follow the mythical writings of people who lived thousands of years ago. I’m not in a ranting mood today so, later.
    Here’s a neat little speech on the "God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

    Never stop questioning authority

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