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Friday, October 22, 2004

FAITH VS. REASON


DOES GOD NEED BUSH ON HIS SIDE?


Dubya Seems To Think So...


I've heard it said that psychopaths do tend to be more intelligent than the average putz. I dunno. I'm also not sure where the line is between a full-blown psychopath and someone who merely harbours certain delusions, on some subjects. I think we can agree that we don't want either one's finger on the "nuculer" trigger, or making our health-care decisions, or anything else, for us.

What scares me (and I deal with it with humour, because I think that's deadly to these people) is that so many people out there evidently share these delusions, or prefer to remain blind to them.

Faith is legitimate, when it is subordinated to reason. That's a good definition of rational behavior: Beliefs tempered by reason, cold rationality ameliorated by beliefs and values. We all have our own beliefs and values, and they influence our most rational decisions. Reason has to be grounded in basic values. Beliefs have to be grounded in reason. That's sanity.

You don't let a sick child die by using only prayer, and no medicine to cure him. And you don't sell your child because it would profit you more, and cost you less, than continuing to raise her.

Here's where faith comes in: I think the power and validity of the human inclination toward faith, toward belief in anything, whether it be a whole religious canon, or just that the sun WILL rise again tomorrow, is that it helps plug the gaps in our certainties, and allows us to function. So long as we keep that in perspective, it's OK.

We don't go jumping off cliffs because we believe the Lord has plans for us, but we pay our bills because we believe we're still going to need electricity next month. Once in a while, we may make a great leap of faith, and trust our own belief in some person, process or thing, in getting married, going to work on some new enterprise, or putting some dough into a cause or a company that is, as yet, unproven.

That's fine. Our society works on this kind of faith. We can't go anywhere or do anything without a certain amount of trust, faith and credit. The fact that most people are basically good, or, at least, intelligently self-interested, is proven out by the continued functioning of our society, more or less.

The problem with faith comes when you reverse all this, and put belief before the facts, using your own assumptions, based on leaps you've made over gaps in actual knowledge, as a guide and a rationale to do any goddamned thing you want. That's Jim Jones Territory. David Koresh Land. Bush Country.

It's nuts. And it's what has led us into an unprovoked war with Iraq, a suspension of our own civil liberties, the trashing of our economy and our environment, and alienation of the entire world. It's nuts, all right, and it scares the shit out of me that so many people, still about 50% of the total electorate, are drinking the Bushies' kool-aid.

People who subordinate reason to faith, and not faith to reason, are at least borderline psychotic. They are throwing away a gift from God, Reason, in an egomaniacal, delusional belief in their own ignorant fantasies and dim imaginings of an unreal world they picked up on in some misreading of a religious or philosophical text, or just in the general cognitive dissonance that surrounds us all. They are hearing things, and seeing things, that never have and never will exist. Unfortunately, not all of them show symptoms: They don't all wander around aimlessly, babbling at the top of their lungs. The ones that really scare me are the ones who appear rational, even making a success in society. But their brains are riddled with insane ideas and dangerous beliefs, like some secret syphillis.

Somehow, we have to get this across to the rational majority: George W. Bush is one of these people. Think you can't trust Kerry because he's a little TOO goddamned deliberative, a trifle hesitant, at times, maybe even overly rational, or incessantly reasoning? Afraid he might hesitate at an intersection, stop to consult a map, maybe even turn around and try another way? What's the worst that could happen? That we end up going the right way, a little more slowly?

The alternative is a guy without a map, who never even slows down, who closes his eyes and floors it at intersections, because he is incapable of rational thought, and simply fills it all in with wild assumptions, arrogant presumption, and egomaniacal "Faith," with a capital "F". Faith in what? Faith in the Lord, and in His choice of George W. Bush to do... whatever. I don't think he knows. He waits for signs. From Paul Wolfowitz.

Bush can do no wrong; he has Faith in himself; because God has Faith in him. This is the complete thought-process of Dubya. This is the circular reasoning, or believing, that got us where we are today. And that will get us even further up Shit Creek in the next four years.

"Honey, we need to turn the car around. Let John drive, Georgie. You look tired. At least watch the road, and not that dashboard statue of... Jesus! Look out! You're scaring the children..." This is the message I wish the Kerry people would get out there, before it's too late: It's Bush who is unsound, and cannot be trusted. Let Kerry drive awhile: At least we know he's sober.


[Originally posted by us at RATBOY'S ANVIL]


In response to:
Without a Doubt



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3 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

Great post!

Unfortunately both sides of the aisle think they are the rational one. The fact is neither side is.

Humans are inherantly irrational. Our rationality is phylogenically recent. Everyone looks at the facts, makes an emotional decision about the facts and then IF they don't acknowledge that emotional aspect, they make up an explanatory fiction to make it all sensible. The challenge is to have a level of self awareness that allows: irrationality + facts = intuition. That takes a level of intelligence and/or common sense not all of us share.

People in general vote for their heroes. Single issue voters vote on an heroic issue. Who and what they percieve as their heroes depends on their values, their fears, and their personal experience before it ever gets around to facts. It takes an well functioning human being to get a really good mix to produce a good vote. Unfortunately, there are those among us who just can't get there from here.

They are the one's who are hurt by a corrupt process of campaigning. They are the one's who are caught up into the Rovian tactics and manipulated into voting against his/her interests. Do you think the average blue collar worker thinks his votes were wasted on Reagan? Nope.

Somehow, we have to instill a level of health into the process. Otherwise, those that play the game best win. I don't know how to do that.

We shouldn't be voting for the best game players.

See: http://shininglight.us/archives/00000072.htm

4:01 PM, October 22, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:49 PM, October 22, 2004  
Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

Thanks, Dave. I put this on the next day's page, with my response. I'll post it to your site tomorrow, if that's OK...

8:53 PM, October 22, 2004  

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