The Truth Shall Set You Free. But First It, Shall Piss You Off.

Bad Faith is the condition we’re in whenever we “lie to ourselves.” It involves a schizoid partitioning of our consciousness. In the process, we become both subject and object: the liar and the lied-to. What makes this state a dangerous one is that while we’re in it, it’s possible to dismiss evidence that (for instance) our behavior is self-destructive: not because we have better evidence to the contrary, but because such evidence is “inconvenient.” Those who grow up in religious households are taught to lie to themselves from a very young age.

 

I couched the preceding paragraph in the first-person plural because it applies to all of us individually and also collectively, as societies. For the individual crack addict, the evidence for his self-destruction is inconvenient and he therefore finds ways to ignore it. Should it rise unbidden into his conscious awareness and begin to nag him and make him uncomfortable, he will beat it down by every means available – including another visit to the crack pipe. If a whole society is addicted to cheap oil, the evidence for that society’s self-destruction is no less inconvenient, and denial becomes a growth industry. Industry shills masquerading as “scientists” assure us that we have nothing to worry about. Politics becomes an exercise in ad hominem and the messenger sometimes takes a volley in the career.

 

Can there be any doubt that we’re in collective denial about things like Peak Oil, aquifer depletion, topsoil loss, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, overpopulation and anthropogenic climate change? The truth – whose consequences will shortly involve societal upheaval and starvation on a scale we’ve never before witnessed – is almost too horrendous to contemplate, so most of us can be counted on to look the other way while catastrophe closes in. (After all, there’s plenty of corporate-funded “science” to assure us that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax and that Peak Oil won’t happen for another two centuries. Maybe California will get a wet El Nino and Sao Paulo… well…. And anyway, why not just go on believing whatever makes us feel a little better since there’s not a damn thing we can do about either of those inconvenient truths?)
Continue reading “The Truth Shall Set You Free. But First It, Shall Piss You Off.”

The Power of Ockham’s Razor

Ockham’s Razor is a simple concept. Essentially, it says that when two explanations have equal amount of explaining power, it is best to take the simpler explanation over the more complex one. I have discussed it in passing within previous articles, but I really believe that this concept deserves a post of its own. This is because Ockham’s Razor is an extremely valuable concept in debating theists, who like to rationalize away the problems with their belief system, and really tip a debate with two seemingly viable explanations for an event in favor of the atheist. When used properly, this logical tool literally cuts through the bull that I often see Christian apologists and other theists try to peddle.

 

I recently had a conversation with someone over the problem of evil, and why bad things happen in our world. My explanation is simple: Bad things happen because God is not in control of the universe. There is no evidence this being exists, and the state of the universe seems incompatible with this being’s core characteristics. An omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being cannot exist because such a deity could have made the universe without evil; it would know that this universe would lead to evil, and an omnibenevolent being would seek to minimize evil. Since evil exists, this model of God cannot exist.

Continue reading “The Power of Ockham’s Razor”