Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A Common Wood Burning Intransigence
Sam Harris evidently must be having problems rallying folks to his atheist banner, and because of this is reaching out to non-believing environmental greenies, possibly to augment the atheist ranks. Harris’ outreach program attempts to compare, via shaming, the more secular amongest us to religious folks’ alleged delusional belief in God by vilifying burning wood in fireplaces and campfires.
It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.
However, I recently stumbled upon an example of secular intransigence that may give readers a sense of how religious people feel when their beliefs are criticized. It’s not a perfect analogy, as you will see, but the rigorous research I’ve conducted at dinner parties suggests that it is worth thinking about. We can call the phenomenon “the fireplace delusion.”
That’s some novel dinner party “rigorous research,” Sam.
In actuality, what Harris seems to desire, is an outlawing of burning wood, utilizing, naturally, the force of the state. Good luck with that delusion, Sam, and enjoy the picture of my very believing Mum at the campfire.
Linked via Billy Beck.