Rationalism v. Superstition

From: Olga Bourlin (fauxever@sprynet.com)
Date: Thu Jul 12 2001 - 22:08:20 MDT

----- Original Message ----- > Lee Corbin wrote:
> > Why not? Yes, if people are going to entertain false beliefs,
> > I'd of course prefer that they do it in solitude. But it still
> > has to be stated that not only is what they believe false, but
> > that there is something very wrong with how they think.
> Samantha Atkins replied:
> I can't believe what I am reading. You have enough knowledge
> and information to form an opinion. You do not have enough
> knowledge and information to be dead certain that all those who
> have religious/spiritual beliefs are believing falsehoods and
> "there is something wrong with how they think". I hope I
> misunderstand you here. This looks like one of the most
> dogmatic and intolerant opinions I have ever seen anywhere, even
> from among fundies. (end)
> Anyone like my new subject line? lol I have found this thread very thought- provoking though this topic is very recurring around here... Personally, I agree with Samantha that a person in our age does not yet have enough information to be absolutely 100% certain all religious/spiritual beliefs are ultimately false and that there is no God and/or afterlife. But, perhaps even centuries from now the absolute answers will not be in yet.

Hey, good idea! I edited the subject line a bit, too. If "intolerant" means not believing in something until there is good, hard (corroborated) evidence, then count me in - I'm intolerant of not believing in something until there is hard (corroborated) evidence. I'm intolerant of spanking children. I'm intolerant of Nazis. And there are a few other things of which I am intolerant. Each one of my intolerances (some of them attracted me right away; some of them required deeper thought) EARNED my disdain in some way. In other words, the word "intolerant" cannot just be thrown around without some qualifier (some people do this in the Northwest where I live with another word: "respect" - i.e., "don't disrespect me!" - as if one has to "respect" all opinions equally (I think many people mix up the idea of RESPECTING THE RIGHT to hold opinions v. having their OPINIONS RESPECTED).

I believe it was Bertrand Russell once said, why, suuuuuuuuuuuuure, he'll entertain the possibility of fine porcelain teacups and saucers going around as the rings of Saturn (it's been a long time since I read this story - but the essence is what I remember), but ... in extrapolating he knows and what is known about the world ... until he's presented with some verifiable/falsifiable proof of those teacups and saucers - he won't believe any such thing. Bertie the Intolerant, tsk, tsk.

Was Bertie intolerant?

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