Friday, November 11, 2005

more inteligense

Big shoutouts to the blogspam that hit me within minutes of my first post, very efficient of you spammer, thanks.

Anyway on with yesterday's rant. In a stroke of absolute genuis Pat Robertson (Mr. 700 club, aka wacko-thief from confused old people) has claimed that Pennsylvania may be struck by some form of natural disaster since voting God out of their city. (See yesterday's blog link re the Dover school board decision to oust the godly folk and vindicate biology.) has the fully story.

One of the coollest calls he makes follows:

"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
This reveals a terrifying aspect of the nature of these religious freaks. The idea that we can call on this supernatural deity for help in times of crisis is an awful idea, for two reasons.

The first reason that calling on God in times of crisis is a really shitty one is that it won't work. When there ain't nothin there, there ain't gonna be any help coming. If the placebo effect helps you think positive, all very well. However, if reliance on God stops you from actually doing something to save your own arse you are stupid, and far more likely to die than a realist who attempts to say, find clean water and blankets.

Secondly, by implying that God is the one responsible for saving our arses, we shift the responsibility away from people that actually could do something to alleviate human suffering. Given a choice between George Bush II and God, I'd choose Georgie every time. Don't get me wrong, the guy's a moron, but at least he exists and has access to capital. Even the hideous mess that was the gov'ments New Orleans relief effort was better than God's contribution.

A pervasive theme I've noticed is that truth is truckloads better than lies. Truth is consistent, and it means you can actually achieve stuff. When you are transparent with people about your motivations, actions, and the nature of reality, you are covering your own arse. It's heaps easier to remember too: when you've got some people believing A and have told others B, its gets confusing pretty quickly.

The actual achievements part is the most important thing that happens when honesty occurs. For example, our recent realisation that weather is a natural phenomenon that conforms to laws of cause and effect has meant real achievements. We can tell when an extreme hurricane or similar is iminent, and evacuate people to minimise harm. If on the other hand we still believed that weather patterns reflected the whim of the gods, we wouldnt bother to note surrounding weather patterns, because we wouldn't know nearby weather would likely move toward us.

Another excellent example of fact-based decisions being way more helpful that superstition based decision is medicine. Give me chemicals and surgery a thousand times over before bringing a crystal or prayer near my cancer-racked body.

Pat Robertson and others of his ilk make some really lame calls, which they wouldn't if they based their assertions on fact rather than the authority of a deity. Such as the following:

feminism encourages women to"kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians".

In that I am for gender equality, I am a feminist, but the evidence shows that I have never done any of the above. Heck, I haven't even killed a foetus yet. Basing statements on fact makes them far more likely to benefit humanity.


Andrew I said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks for bringing intelligence to the blogosphere; but I would like to add that not all theists are religious fundamentalists like Pat Robertson. Einstein was a pantheist, and even Charles Darwin could not commit himself to atheism. Here is what Charley had to say on the issue of God's existence: I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.

Keep on blogging,
Andrew I

Helen said...


I think agnosticism is compatible with adherence to truth.

I agree that many theists are otherwise quite sensible.

Thanks for comments.