Frankly, I’m suspicious of anyone who has a strong opinion on a complicated issue. — Scott Adams
I like that quote, and I admire the author, and I heard it repeated on one of the podcasts I listen to. I don’t remember exactly which one, but the quote was applied to religious arguments.
The implication was anyone with strong opinions about religion may employ faulty reasoning at best.
For them who have not read any of my posts, I can be said to fall in the category of those who have strong opinions with regards to religion, belief in god, and peripherally all woo permeating society. In case anyone needs clarification, I have very little regards for any of it. Before you the reader become suspicious of me, if you aren’t already, hear me out.
I have been asked before how I can be so adamant, so sure, so unrelenting, so unwilling to listen to “reason” with regards to a given particular religious belief, especially since in many other topics I consider the merits of opposing views, and am cognizant of the large “gray” area in between polar opposites.
Well, I’ll tell you.
If we are talking about the origin of life, the start of the universe, what came before the Big Bang, what is intelligence, what is self-awareness (consciousness), how we perceive time, or almost any other big question still unanswered, I will have no definitive opinion, and will converse about different possible interpretations, give the pros and cons for each, and listen to new ideas on the subjects. All of the things I mentioned above are “complicated” subjects.
The existence of god, as it relates to any of the aforementioned things, is not a complicated subject. The tenets of various religions, usually extracted from books that have been rewritten, corrected, interpreted, and edited at various times throughout recent human history, are not. The idea of a soul, the idea of spirits, the idea of a life-force, ghosts, or any metaphysical cockamamie humans have concocted are not. All of these are what I consider “simple” subjects. As I said, they are made-up by humans. Humans who purposefully ignore what is known because they prefer their own made-up fables.
Imagine if you will, a few people sitting around a table, contemplating the origins of life, the universe, and everything.
Human #1: This is a poser, all right. What exactly resulted in us being self-aware?
Human #2: Well, there is a lot of research on how brain functions relate to our seeming awareness of ourselves in the surrounding environment. Some posit it’s a coping mechanism of the brain, giving it time to process things and filter them into manageable input.
Human #3: I think an infinitely old guy/gal/thing with a beard, or maybe without a beard, sort of snapped its fingers, if it has any fingers, and the firmament came into being. Then it took some mud (with the fingers it might have), and shaped it into a bipedal form. Then it sort of passed some gas over it, and voila’, we have Paris Hilton.
Human #1 & #2: Say, what?
Questions regarding our origin, and that of the universe are complicated issues. Made-up stories about powerful being/entities/gods/etc. do not seriously address these issues. They are stories, handed down to us from a time long before rational thought. Rain down on some primitive human just gaining awareness of cause-and-consequence, and he will look up and assume “something” is up there. Eventually he will assume it may be able to ask for it to make it rain, or stop raining. And when that does not work, he will invent all the associated concepts that have carried over to today.
Because that is how I see the idea of god and religion to be functioning today. No different than it was thousands of years ago. And as such, I don’t see it as a “complicated issue”. It’s not an issue at all. It’s the same caveman, using the same faulty reasoning, only now he’s wearing fancier outer coverings.
Obviously, not everyone agrees with me. Perhaps those people can explain it differently, and give a reason why religion merits any more consideration that any other made up system of beliefs. But I see no difference between those who pray to a god, and those who carry a rabbit’s foot for good luck. I see no difference between people assuming the positions of the various constellations control one’s destiny, and people imagining some ancient being is doing the same. There isn’t a shred of evidence associated with either belief beside the wistful desire of some humans for it to be real. Neither belief deserves my time and consideration. Neither belief should be treated in equal terms to contemplating true “complicated issues”.