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Memories of the 28th Century

Religious Thinking

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Or believing versus knowing

It has come to our attention that religious thinking has been spreading to other matters. By religious thinking I mean opinions that are believed or claimed as fact, without question and with nothing more substantial that a nudistís pants to support them. Such unsupported ideas have appeared in politics, diet, clothing, and just about everything else, even in the hard sciences. It might be easier to say that it appears that more people are taking their personal preferences more seriously. It could be that people have always considered their personal preferences and opinions as the sine qua nons (or sine quibus non), but I donít think so. I have memories of people in politics actually compromising with people of other parties and apparently considering their programs as what they wanted, instead of as the only possibilities.

Maybe Iím trying to live in the past or even idealizing the past. Itís hard for me to tell, but there used to be politicians who were willing and able to change their opinions as a result of learning more about something. Maybe education in logic has suffered, so that people donít even understand the concept of logical proof. Or maybe I have just been meeting more people who are incapable of learning. I certainly have been meeting more people who believe conspiracy theories, and some of them are extremely insistent, even in the face of excellent evidence.

I have even met some people who still doubt that NASA landed Apollo 11 on the Moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in the Lunar Excursion module in July of 1969. I could understand people doubting it at the time, but the evidence was overwhelming, and the doubters were soon converted back then. I canít understand why some would doubt the reality of Apollo 11 now. I wonder what people will think in five hundred years. Imagine how funny it would be, if hundreds of years from now humans try space travel again, long after Neil Armstrong has been moved from actual fact into the category of folklore. The future moon landers will get there, thinking they are the first humans on the Moon only to find the remaining section of the LEM along with the flag, etc. that Armstrong and Aldrin left.

Then thereís the matter of Cultural Studies, one of the varieties of postmodernist thought that infected higher education. It may be partly to blame for poor thinking, because undoing the Enlightenment is one of their goals. I meant to ask who would stand in for the clergy, but I never got around to it. Cultural Studies put forth the idea that people in general arenít capable of understanding much of anything, so they shouldnít bother trying (thatís a slight oversimplification, but it is accurate). Well they got what they wanted, but I donít think that many people are following the Cultural Studies people, because they arenít pushing ideas that are catchy enough.

But the move toward religious type thinking has really helped the people who are pushing the idea that human activity caused climate change. A few decades ago people would have looked at the alleged causes and realized that those ďcausesĒ could not have led to the effects that are alleged. Few people are willing to investigate the pronouncements of the priests of climate change; they just accept the pronouncements without question; it would be sinful to question the evidence.

Some people may think that I am cynical, but thatís not the right word; although I doubt the sincerity of some people, but in most cases I regard the religious style thinking of many people to be a reflection of their willingness to accept assertions by people who claim to be authorities without questioning the substance of what is being provided. And further, retaining that idea even after it has been shown to be false. But maybe my faith in the ability of humans to learn is excessive. Perhaps humans are uneducable and need to be told how to live their lives in every detail. Or perhaps it would be preferable for the advances made in the Enlightenment to be overthrown. Perhaps the only educated people should be the clergy. Perhaps people should accept as fact whatever is said by newsreaders or someone. Perhaps the Earth was settled by aliens who worked the evolution of humans so that humans could be their slaves and a source of food (ďAt least 9 races of alien beings regard humans as a food source.Ē Maybe I have been influenced or brainwashed by those aliens, but things like that make it hard for me to find original things to write about.

I readily admit that I know very little, and that I have many opinions, but I believe that most of my opinions are supported by some good evidence and logic.

I look forward to reading reasonable criticisms to this blog.

Updated 03-17-2014 at 01:24 PM by PeterL