Thoughts for the Day: About Thinking and Evidence

I am still formulating a thesis (or, provisional conclusion) that many, perhaps most, people don’t “think” in the way rationalists and scientists think that everyone does. Some people have never encountered the idea that the evidence of the real world means something, that conclusions can be drawn from that evidence, that such conclusions are repeatable. In contrast, many people live in a world where whatever they prefer to be real, is real. “Pretty to think so.” Or whatever those around them think is real, is accepted to be real and true, without further consideration.

Not only is there no evidence for the many right-wing paranoid ideas – voter fraud, conspiracies about covid, and so many others – these proponents seem to have no understanding of what evidence actually is. They draw conclusions from what they wish to be true, or from what they think their followers will believe… it’s not precisely cynicism; it’s become in some sense they can’t distinguish the two.

Here are two examples, the first recent. It’s about “Christian Prophetess” Kat Kerr, whose prophecies about Donald T**** being reinstated to office have failed, again and again. Her only defense: “God is going to do something about it.” (This kind of shifting of prophecies is called moving the goalposts, a common tactic with “prophets” whose “prophecies” fail again and again. And it often works; details and citations another time.)

From much longer ago: back in the mid-2000s, following the publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006, I thought to fairly consider a religious response. (In fact, I was on a business trip to Tampa, and one evening picked up the book at a nearby Barnes & Noble, and read it on the plane trip home.) It was called Dawkins Delusion?, bylined Alister McGrath and Joanna McGrath. (I bought it on 19 June 2007.)

And their thrust about their argument was not about disputing any of Dawkins’ evidence or logic; their argument boiled down to that it would be so much pleasanter a world if all the Christian teachings were true.


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