Logic’s Last Stand

May 19, 2008

To Beat a Dead Horse

Filed under: Philosophy — Tags: , , , , , — Zurahn @ 8:16 pm

I’m getting a bit thematic in my blog posts, but it’s merely a reflection or what currently occupies my mind, and right now, it’s the societal impact of religion.

While I understand the general causes that would lead one to find comfort in the concept of religion (no one understands the fear of death more than I), but I cannot grasps the idea of submitting one’s own mind to such blatantly utter nonsense.  I don’t know what to call it — laugable, bizarre or just plain scary.

It is, quite literally, a claim of knowledge of something with no facts (faith is not faith if there is a reason or evidence), and it is such a weird claim beyond that.  Some super-intelligent, super-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing man created and watches everything.  How is that not MADNESS?

So, in the case that anyone religious actually reads this, how in the world can you possibly justify such an absurdity?

And before you answer, here are my template responses to the answers repeated ad nauseum that are logically fallacious:
-Pascal’s Wager.  This is that there’s no risk.  Simply, given there are more possibilities than religion X and no afterlife, this is flawed.  This aside from the instance of Christianity that requires FAITH, which if you’re doing it as a safety net, is not faith.

-Nature.  That nature is too spectacular and wondrous not to have had a creator.  Aside from much of nature having been described biologically in terms of its development, the jump to the conclusion that there is a deity that created everything is baseless.

-Personal moment.  That you felt something special in you that was a god speaking to you.  People of ALL faiths claim this, and is no argument in favour of any specific religion.  Additionally, not only is this not empirical, not testable, and not reliable, situations considered by some to be “spiritual” can be demonstrated and recreated naturally, anyway.

-Religious text.  Unless a religious text offers some kind of knowledge that wasn’t available during its period of authorship, such as quantum theory in the Qu’ran, then it holds weight.  Otherwise, the inconsistent realities of such text are evidence of nothing.

-Scientific gaps.  Arguing that science cannot explain something does nothing to argue in favour of a deity, which is unrelated.  Not only is the claim of the gap likely false, it is irrelevant.  For example, if the theory of general relativity were proven inaccurate, it does not prove anything other than the theory’s own inadequacies.  If a question doesn’t have an answer, that only means the question doesn’t have an answer.

-First cause.  Claiming anything in existence requires a creator only leads to a logical infinite loop requiring the creator to have a creator to have a creator.  This not even factoring in the incorrect assumption to begin with.

I can’t imagine any of these are taken seriously by more than a very small minority, so what then does it leave for the rest of the 80% of Canadians and Americans that are religious?  Europe isn’t quite that high, but there are significant numbers there, and moreso throughout the world.  What is it?  Social pressure?  Can that circumvent rational thought?  It shouldn’t even require rational thought — simple connection of “invisible friends aren’t real” should be enough to raise the question.

I really need a reason to think religion isn’t a mental illness.  Give me a reason.  Oh, that’s right, religion ignores reason.

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2 Comments »

  1. Remember in psychology where there were experiments that showed that if 7 + 12 = ? was written on the board and the ENTIRE CLASS agreed that the answer was 21. One new person walks in and is asked the answer, everyone else is saying 21. There is ~80% chance that this person will ignore their better judgement and follow the crowd. As ridiculous as it seems to us (being part of the ~20%)

    This occurs on a global scale where everyone reinforces everyone else’s stupidity and ignorance in an infinite loop.

    That being said, while I don’t believe in an omnipotent deity for which there is 0 evidence, I do think there is sufficient evidence to raise a valid argument into the existance of many spiritual/paranormal experiences/beings, particularly extraterrestrials visiting earth, ghosts/spirits, and (to some degree) undiscovered creatures such as bigfoot.

    As far as supernatural experiences that I feel raise valid arguments: Out of body experience (arguement that you can artificially induce it using electrodes is bunk due to the fact that people can do it willingly while perfectly healthy), déja vu, precognition, influencing/altering reality through the use of willpower

    Probably more that I am forgetting

    Comment by Yarcofin — May 20, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  2. The experiment to which you refer is the Asch Conformity Experiment
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiment

    While somewhat applicable, the difference is that if someone else came by and told you directly how and why you’re completely wrong, that should offer confliction and consideration. The more absurd, the easier it should be to reject. What is happening that the consideration is either not happening or is going the side of madness?

    Existence of something presently unknown, such as “bigfoot”, if you will, is something conceivable. Just as we know of weird animals, would a walking ape be so absurd? You’re also, obviously, placing weight on evidence. This is kind of a non-sequitur. My main sticking point with the god concept is the brazen insanity of it at its very basic attributes with no supporting evidence whatsoever for the largest claim you can make..

    The psychological experiences you mention can be empirically tested, such as an “out-of-body experience” test in which one must describe an object that is physically out of view. I am aware of no such test that has been successful. It is worth testing, and the openness to the possibility is well within the realm of reasonability — perhaps even required.

    The disconnect is insistence that it IS definitively true.

    Comment by zurahn — May 20, 2008 @ 9:30 pm


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