22 September 2017

A culture of respecting silliness


I realise that many of you think it's wrong of me to publicly ridicule religion but i'd just like to clarify the situation. It doesn't make me feel good to shame others and i don't think i'm better than anyone just because i have the capacity for basic reasoning.

It's not even that i'm opposed to the silly belief in a sky daddy with fairy helpers that live in cloud wonderland. As i've said many times before; you can honestly believe whatever you like, i also believe in silly things ("believe" is not quite the right word but i'll stick with it for this example) and i understand why other people think that my beliefs might be silly and might judge me for them, but importantly i understand that i might be wrong about these things and because of that i don't want to flaunt my silly beliefs until they have been thoroughly tested and substantially corroborated.

The problem is that there is a culture of respect for silliness, and fear was the initial motivator for that culture. People were once tortured and killed for "blasphemy". Thankfully we live in the information age and scepticism is now generally championed. All but the most abhorrent religions (I'm looking at Islam) have stopped the despicable practice of punishing blasphemers. But now we need to make it clear that beliefs and ideas are no longer afforded human rights. We must, out of intellectual duty, challenge and ridicule ideas and we must remember that ridiculing ideas is not a direct insult to the person or people who harbour such ideas. It's a challenge for them to strengthen, refine and substantiate those ideas.

The most important part of this process is to resist the urge to devolve into ad hominem arguments. We are attacking ideas, not people or their capacity to reason. The more you challenge people's beliefs the more motivation they have to improve their intelligence through logical reasoning. With a culture of scepticism; ideas improve, intelligence improves, myths are discarded and the world ultimately becomes a better place for everyone. Only silly beliefs suffer.