Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Observant Are You?

FYI This blogs picks on religion

Us science-ey, atheistic types get all sorts of arguments from religious people about why people "believe" something and one of the most common is they just know or they feel it etc, or that things have happened in their life they can't explain, which is really just a matter of the problem our human brain has with coincidences and the tendency to look for patters (which makes sense from an evolutionary perspective). But, what I really want to point out is that people in general, are very bad at observing the natural world and that we often selectively see what we want. This effects people's perspective - in fact many religions actively reject the idea of even trying to see the big picture by commanding that one not subject themselves to doubt or disbelievers etc....

This video isn't directed to religion in any way but it doesn't show how observant we really are (actually how bad we are). This is exactly why we need the scientific method (or maybe this is all just a social construct....oh another time) because trusting in our senses and observations alone fails most of the time. This also brings into question the reliability of eye witnesses as well, but thats another topic.

(PS and if you are wondering exactly how this relates to religion, it is that most religious people (especially fundamentalists) do not look at the big picture (compare their religion to others and seriously ask why one is better), they do not ask "what am I not seeing" that should be asked (evidence of biblical scholarship for example - who wrote what and when exactly), what evidence is there or not etc...)

For example most fundamental christians have no idea of the history of their own religion - like the actual date of Dec 25th for christmas itself which is related to a pagan holiday. In fact the details of christmas are a hodge-podge from the gospels since none of them give much detail, none tell what time of year, only one talks about a manger etc.... Not saying that theologists haven't tried to answer some of these - they have (although I think very poorly) but most people don;t even know the issues exist and are not even looking at the big picture.

In Fact, Bert Ehrman talks about the same thing in his book Misquoting Jesus, and Luke over at Common Sense Atheism discusses Ehrman's take on this.

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