Lunacy on the Left
I usually forget just how unreasonable some people are. I mainly focus my attention on neo-cons and and religious fundamentalists. However, every once in a while, I encounter the irrationality of people on the Left. I recently encountered one of my friends advocating the idea that the WTC attack of 9/11 was an inside job, another was saying that reality is all in my mind, another was arguing for some bogus ideas from What the Bleep Do We Know?!, and another that Barack Obama is the Freemason leader of the United States, is one of the leaders of the New World Order, and that AIDS was invented by this group to eliminate unwanted human beings.
I will (embarrassingly) admit that, for a very brief time when I was much younger, I did agree with the view that 9/11 was an inside job – with a certainty that far surpassed what the evidence I thought I had warranted. I know, to a certain extent, how and why I came to the conclusion that 9/11 was an inside job. This involves the way conspiracy theories are always presented and the “perpetual motion machine of belief” that started with my unconscious will to believe that story.
The other conspiracy theories/mysticism/pseudoscience/spiritual Left ideas I dismissed out of lack of evidence. This was too predictably followed by the trite “science can’t discredit everything,” to which I added, “but some things have a higher probability of being true than others,” and that the burdern of proof is on the one asserting the claim to be true. I pointed out with Carl Sagan’s words that, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
I also received the classic indicators and surest signs of a bogus idea – “You’re using your intellect, ” and, “you’re being skeptical because you’re a scientist.” The truth can withstand any amount of questioning. It follows that one should, as a rule, be wary of those who must attack independent thinking in order to get their ideas to be believed. Why has the Church condemned agnostics and atheists to hell? Why does Islam order the execution of apostates? Why were dissenters in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany liquidated? Why are unbelievers of any particular doctrine persecuted, and sometimes killed? Because they thought for themselves. If you think for yourself, and correlate your convictions to the evidence, then you will be the most fatal enemy of bogus or unfounded ideas. Bertrand Russell opined that man is a credulous animal, and in the absence of good reasons to believe, he shall be satisfied with bad ones.