Jacob J. Walker's Blog

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Archive for September 1st, 2013

Why I am Skeptical of Religion

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Usually I don’t post much about my religious beliefs, as they are nuanced, and I don’t fit easily into any category that generally one might want to put someone in.

But, when I heard the following came from a preacher in Texas I was dumbfounded: “So I’m going to tell you what the facts are, and the facts are the facts, but then we know the truth. That always overcomes facts.”   According to an NPR news report, this preacher has spread the misinformation that vaccines cause autism, and many in the church did not get their children vaccinated, and now their is an outbreak of measles.

This to me says that it is critical that we must place our faith in the right people and the right ideas.  There is not enough faith in the scientific method, and too much faith in the simplified interpretations of a contradictory highly transcribed set of writings, now called the bible, that were written when most people didn’t have a clue that the earth was only a “pale blue dot” from only a tiny astronomical distance away, and really nothing to be seen from even the closest star to us.

Science is not easy to digest, as we don’t want to believe that we are specks in the universe, we don’t want to believe that we had a great to x power grandparent that was an ape, and an x to an even greater power grandparent that was a bacterium.  We have a hard time comprehending quantum physics, bending of the fourth dimension, etc.  We often can not connect with a philosophy of following evidence, when it is counter-intuitive and disagrees with our common sense.  And of most challenge, we can not think in probabilistic terms.  Most of us, want “black” or “white”, some of us can handle shades of grey, but few of us (myself often included) can handle the possibility that it might be this or that, or both, or something different all together.

FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) is often easier, like believing the alarmist who says vaccines have a link with autism, which came from a paper that had extremely poor methodology, and has been disproved over and over again.  And when there are critical alarms we should be worried about, such as global warming, we would rather generally stick our heads in the sand, and call the science wrong or inconclusive*.   How strange is that!  It brings more evidence to the proposition that humans are more rationalizing than we are rational.


* – All science is inconclusive, that goes back to our need for probabilistic thinking.

Written by Jacob Walker

September 1st, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized