Monday, February 26, 2007

Changing Your Mind

OB, from ButterfliesAndWheels:
I was thinking earlier today about religion as a meme, and the familiar point that (as Steven Weinberg summarizes it in the TLS) 'the persistence of belief in a particular religion is naturally aided if that religion teaches that God punishes disbelief.' I was thinking about the fact that what that means is that religions that do teach that are a racket, in a quite literal sense. A racket, and also circular. 'Believe in this god because it will punish you if you don't.' 'But why should I believe that?' 'Because it will punish you if you don't.' 'Yes but why should I believe that it's this god that will punish me, what if it's actually a different one that will punish me for believing this one?' 'Because this one will punish you if you believe that.' And so on. That's one of the problems with Pascal's flutter, of course. So anyway, it's circular, and a racket. And it's a very nasty racket at that - one of the nastiest that could be imagined.

Why? Because it systematically and deliberately disables one of the core human abilities: flexibility: the ability to change our minds.
(via Dawkins)

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