Friday, February 6, 2015

The Perils of Thinking for Yourself

Atheists like to think of themselves as more rational than other people, but a recent poll of "men's rights" activists found that 94% are atheists or "religiously indifferent."

To me this is just another reminder that when we ask people to think for themselves, some of them are going to do it very badly.


G. Verloren said...

Well the caveat with having people think for themselves is that we're supposed to educate them so they know how to do it properly. But the American school system is an utter mess and an international laughingstock, and we no longer teach people how to think rationally or learn things on their own.

In your post the other day about "The Burden of Secularism", there was that bit that touched on the Enlightenment and Rationalism, and while I too readily admit that certain 18th century notions were a bit premature or ill-founded, I also can't help but notice that back then a proper education included subjects like Logic and Philosophy, which today are barely taught and chiefly relegated to college-level courses chiefly intended for students specifically seeking doctorates in those fields.

How can we expect people to be rational when we don't equip them with the knowledge and experience that allows them to be rational? When our schools are glorified daycares with shoestring budgets; when our teachers are overworked, underpaid, and subserviant to clueless administrators; when kids come away from school with an aversion to learning and thinking because they're made to do useless busywork, chase lettergrades, and pass standardized tests instead of actually learn anything useful; is it any wonder rationality is in general decline?

ArEn said...

I've noticed that much of online atheism is quite macho and aggressive

G. Verloren said...


I imagine the kind of atheist who feels the need to actively rant about religion and the like on the internet probably is the sort of person who is insecure in other areas as well, and hence the aggression and macho bullshit.

That said, the same seems to be true of the most vocal segments of any school of thought. The people who shout the loudest and hurl the most vitriol tend to be the ones with the most to prove and the biggest insecurities. Whether you're an Atheist angrily shouting about the perfidious church, or a Theist angrily shouting about all those godlesss heathens, if you're driven to start shouting angrily simply by what other people believe about something we literally have no capacity to observe and measure and prove or disprove, you might want to re-examine your values and think about your life a bit.