"It is self-evident that the insane are willing to resort to things that the sane cannot even consider nor sometimes even imagine. Therefore they always have the element of surprise."
-Saint Brian the Godless
And now a quotation from someone considerably more famous, and rightly so:
"If a Creator God exists, would He or She or It or whatever the appropriate pronoun is, prefer a kind of sodden blockhead who worships while understanding nothing? Or would He prefer His votaries to admire the real universe in all its intricacy? I would suggest that science is, at least in part, informed worship. My deeply held belief is that if a god of anything like the traditional sort exists, then our curiosity and intelligence are provided by such a god. We would be unappreciative of those gifts if we suppressed our passion to explore the universe and ourselves. On the other hand, if such a traditional god does not exist, then our curiosity and our intelligence are the essential tools for managing our survival in an extremely dangerous time. In either case the enterprise of knowledge is consistent surely with science; it should be with religion, and it is essential for the welfare of the human species."
I miss Carl Sagan. A clearer mind and better communication skills are seemingly impossible to find amongst today’s spokesmen for the side of science, which is basically identical to the voice of reason in our society. He was clever, thoughtful, had a disarming manner, and he knew how to make science interesting, even to a lot of people not interested in science. I wish there were a lot more like him. Of course if wishes were fishes I could put on a far better 'feeding the poor' show than Jesus did.
I have always liked the above Sagan quotation; however I see that even Carl, intelligent as he was, missed the obvious.
The part that I refer to is this interrogative sentence:
“If a Creator God exists, would He or She or It or whatever the appropriate pronoun is, prefer a kind of sodden blockhead who worships while understanding nothing?”
YES, Carl, YES. That is PRECISELY what today’s Christians, many of them at any rate, believe!
Your audience in that quotation, or rather the Fundamentalist Christian portion of it, not only believes that God wants them to be sodden blockheads, they believe it so deeply that they compete to be the most sodden blockhead of all! Of course they don’t actually think of themselves as sodden blockheads in those exact words. No, they’re the faithful, the flock, the True Believers, the Chosen Ones, the righteous God-fearin’ common folk that just ‘know’ in their bones that prairie wisdom and so-called ‘common sense’ along with religious faith of course, are in every way preferable to logic and reason, proof and evidence. And so of course therefore, science is rendered that much pious malarkey, all bets are off, up is down and black is white. That loud slamming sound was the closing of their minds. Their reality has just trumped your reality, Carl. You lose.
(After all, as we all know, momma grizzlies and such don't truck with no book larnin' when a wink and a nod suffices as long as Jesus is in your heart)(Katie Couric rot in hell!)
Now Carl, what to do? Your whole logic is stymied! Your eloquence is wasted on those most in need of it. What you thought was the undeniably obvious, turned out to be anything but.
You’ve underestimated our stupidity as a species, Carl.
It’s not your fault, though. I find that the reverse of old Bertrand Russell’s saying is often true as well. You know the one: “A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
Conversely and unfortunately for you Carl, a clever man’s understanding of the mind of a stupid man is limited by the fact that he is too clever to imagine being that stupid. At a gut level, he can't believe it's possible.
Too bad you’re dead, Carl. You were perhaps sufficiently brilliant to solve this conundrum for me, the “How to reach them” conundrum. I can’t seem to find any satisfactory solution. And it's not like I haven't tried. At first I thought there was a chance, but it's like their minds reset every Sunday or something. Any progress is deleted on a weekly basis.
(Oh well, at least you left us Cosmos. And that Jodie Foster movie.)
And Carl, not to make you spin in your grave, but they vote! How they vote! More even than in your day... They vote in droves! They vote in direct inverse proportion to their intellects! They are worse than sheep; they are lemmings, and not how lemmings actually are, no, but how they were incorrectly portrayed in that film by Mr. Disney. They listen to any caucasian that knows the secret word (Jesus Christ) and then they vote like maggots on a carcass, whipped into their dipterous larval frenzy by everyone and anyone from national-level right-wing politicians down to bloviating A.M. Radio personalities, their rabid pastors, myopic internet blogs, and that ever-present cable television version of ‘Pravda,’ Fox News. (Otherwise known as 'The Retarded Network') (Yes, I fucking said it!)
They osmotically absorb their fork-tongued hyperbiased non-reality-based talking points from their chosen Officially Sanctioned Disseminators of Truth, whichever one makes them feel the most special, and oh by the way, they pay attention to actual facts and verifiable truth about as much as an orca pays attention to a drowning gnat.
They not only can never think for themselves; they are so far away from ever even being able to imagine thinking for themselves that they’ve convinced themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt that that they already do. And that's enough for them. And for those who helped convince them. For they exist embedded in a matrix of reality-denial, a support-group of fellow dunces.
Mutual ignorance can have a peer-bonding effect. Who knew?
They are under the induced delusion (one among many) that a lack of knowledge is amply compensated for by a surfeit of blind belief, as long as you call it 'faith.' Proud of their ability to ignore the obvious, they persist in their beliefs in the face of any evidence to the contrary. (What evidence?) You see Carl, in their estimation the people like you, the realists, the science and logic based persons, are the actual ‘sodden blockheads’ because they (you) (we?) ‘understand, but worship nothing’ so to speak.
They are the blind insisting on their superior vision here, Carl.
And sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings Carl, but they are not impressed with you. Never were. All you ever were to them was a voice of the opposition, the hated adversary science, and therefore evil, so basically ‘don’t let the door hit you on the existential ass on your way to hell’ is how they feel about you. Sure, you were a visionary to many people, but not to them, never to them. To them, you and your kind, are anathema.
The bungled and the botched have decided that the rational reaity-based people are insane, and they breed faster than we do and are more organized than termites. It's like a cancer. It's scary, Carl. This country is seeing a rise of agressive religious anti-intellectualism that is like nothing I've ever seen before in my lifetime.
We’re fucked, Carl.