Re: virus: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

Sun, 14 Mar 1999 20:36:26 -0800

Eric Boyd wrote:

> Apology not accepted... :-)

Just leave it outside your door. Someone will be by to pick it up in the morning.

> To be honest, I ripped that last post off and never considered the
> word ("estimation") to be unusual[1]. However, you are right that
> it's probably just a personal feeling (or "bias") of mine, based on my
> (fragmentary) understading of the history and psychology of the
> Christian religion. Not to iterate the point too strongly, but there
> are quite a few really ugly events that were (and are) driven, at
> least partially, by that groups *dogmatic* (faithful) adherence to the
> Bible and the Pope.

Yes, Carl posted a long list of such examples recently.

> And, of course, there are many psychologists who
> have concluded we would be better off without that religion.

I've heard it said that there is no position so bizare and untenable that some philospher doesn't advocate it. I think that goes for psychologists as much as it does for philosophers.

> For the flip side (the dark side of reason), I suppose one could
> maintain that an entire category of suicides are caused...

I have no interest in exploring those types of arguments. A reason-basher might see fit to mirror the argumentative strategies of faith-bashers, but I have no interest in dengrating reason, only in pointing out what I take to be its ambiguities and lack of autonomy.

One of the points I've been hoping to make is that even when one follows rational programs of inquiry and examination, questioning assumptions and looking for evidence which would weigh against our favored but still only tentatively endorsed hypotheses, our biases and non-rational agendas are still determining our course to a much greater degree than those who take themselves to guided only by reason care to admit.

> Given my bias, I'm probably missing something -- do you have
> any good examples of the dark side of reason?

Well, the 20th century offers many examples of people who claimed to have rejected religious faith and championed atheism and reason who killed millions of their own countrymen. Stalin's purges, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Culteral Revolution in China. The Chinese government justifies their occupation of Tibet by claiming that they have liberated the Tibetian people from theocratic oppression. You may claims that these were not rational acts, and I would agree.

Still, these attrocoties were committed by people who CLAIMED to be acting in accord with reason, just as the attrocities attributed to the faithful were committed by people who CLAIMED to be doing God's will.

If a Crusading Christian orders non-combatants murdered and disembowled in order to look for gems those people might have swallowed, would you be more inclined to say that this is an act motivated by religious faith, or would you be more inclined to see it as an act motivated by greed, lust for power, and possibly bloodlust and JUSTIFIED as an act of faith?