At 02:10 -0500 2/19/01, Harvey Newstrom wrote:
>Zeb seems to believe that these people do not think about their
>beliefs in a logical way and do not try to resolve the
>inconsistencies they find. I believe that these people, and most
>people, do think about their beliefs, and they do try to resolve
>inconsistencies. I think it is too convenient to dismiss people as
>irrational as an excuse not to debate their objections on their
>terms using their facts.
A Fundamentalist Christian says that the Bible is literally true,
logically sound, and perfect in every way. I say, "The Bible says
that rabbits chew their cud, but we know for a fact that they don't."
After years of discussing this issue and hundreds more like it, I can
tell you what the typical Fundamentalist response will be: an ad
hominem, a red herring, or most likely just silence.
Although I agree with you that many points of view are dismissed as
irrational out of hand, even though there may be a hidden logical
framework; I also very often encounter the above type of logical
The problem is that many of these groups don't consider logic to be
as important as "we" do. Logic is only a convenient tool, to be used
when possible, but to be discarded when that logic might upset one of
their core beliefs.
I've had countless Fundamentalist Christians tell me, "logic can't
give you the answers of the spirit," or "logic can't always be
applied to God's message to us." Pffpthfffpthfffft! Then stop
saying that the Bible is logical, dammit!
To a Fundamentalist Christian, the most important thing in the world
is God in his life and his eternal salvation. When confronted face
to face with logical inconsistencies in his own philosophies, he will
just skip over those inconsistences and not even deal with them, or
sometimes he'll lash out at those presenting those inconsistencies.
His brain deals with the cognitive dissonance in textbook fashion,
and the thing that he's least likely to do is to revise his framework
to make it more logical.
>When someone dismisses an opponent as being irrational, what they
>really mean is that they don't understand and are not interested in
Aren't you over-generalizing here? Do you really mean to say that
all belief systems are rational, and that those who find
irrationality are just fooling themselves?
J.R., time to add "logic" to your list of useless hypotheses.
-- "If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought or deed, I will gladly change. I seek the truth, which never yet hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance which does harm." -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21
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