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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Conservative/Liberal Paradox

My apologies for running out on you right at the moment when it seemed likely we were building to a point wherein some kind of rational discourse could, or was about to take place. The election and subsequent appointments to an Obama Administration have kept me busy elsewhere.

What I had in mind Alan, was to try and agree upon on a neutral third-party source of information to test the accuracy of the claims we both base our respective cosmologies upon. I realize that right away we would run into the question of whether a God does indeed exist. But to that end I was going to concede the point to you, but NOT your interpretation of who what He is or what He wants out of mankind....if anything.

So we'd have to agree on info from some place like Harvard Divinity School or perhaps even the Vatican. I'm an atheist so for me to offer up these two unseen by me as yet! a heckuva risk for me too take, but one I'm willing to take if you'll agree that degrees granted by places like Bob Jones or Oral Roberts U, especially on hard science subjects like biology or geology...or really on anything that is outside the realm of their own particular beliefs...aren't to be considered as authoritative on anything other than the present state of the conservative Christian ideology now popular in America. Okay?

I'm not so naive as to belive that HDS or the Vatican doesn't have an agenda they would prefer to promote, but I also believe they have sufficient contrainsts against outright lying imposed on them that they would be reasonably safe from the effects of deliberate falsification or purges of factual data where once there was much that was known. I just can't say that about many of websites managed by active evangelicals, creatiomists, athiests....Satanist,.Muslim jihadi sites, etc. etc.

You see, I've been fascinated now for years about conservative beliefs. Prior to the internet, I guess I had either assumed that they held many of their beliefs either because they didn't know what the facts were on a particular topic...and so were honestly mistaken in those beliefs and wqould change them once they knew....or perhaps knew they were "probably" wrong but continued saying them to meet another, hidden agenda. These could be such as they were just "going along to get along" or, as I was absolutely certain had to be the case with many of the TV evangelists, they were willfully lying to their flock for either money, power, or out of pure psychopathy. It always seemed to me that there was no way they could be both lying and doing so thinking it would be fine with Jesus...that there was some secret Gospel somewhere that stated lying --- to bring souls to Christ of course! --- was an end that justified the means.
But then the internet came along and allowed me to lurk on conservative websites. Now I could could watch what they said to each other based on the assumption that they were saying it among "friends" only and as such had no real reason to lie. For the first time it was now possible to see what they honestly believed without having to go to all the trouble of actively spying on them. After all, what they said in books was all very carefully weighed out and assessed for it's ability to promote one of the previous goals I spoke of. How was I to know which book was written by a magnificent liar, and which was written in all honesty?

And what I found..and to my utter amazement...was that a great many, the vast majority even, actually believed what they were saying as being true!!? They really had no idea what a huge and devastatingly hurtful hypocrisy it is --- to pick one out of many --- to continue sending kids (or anyone for that matter) off to to jail because they chose to smoke a plant whose use has repeatedly been shown to have very few negative consequences for it's smokers. Well, except of course now the very real risk that they'll be busted and have their lives turned upside down by some conservative wearing a cop uniform and "just doing his job!" enforcing a law that was originally a wholly conservative agenda to dictate what good conservative morality must be for all of us! And do it with not only a clear conscience, but do it thinking that they are doing right for everyone involved....even the kid now being bum-raped was sent there "for his own good!". It simply stuns me that anyone can be so wrong, about so many things, and have no idea or hint that they are.

And that's why I want to set up an agreed upon set of reference texts so that we can investigate these apparent inconsistencies over who is right ... who is dealing with facts when shaping their worldview... and who is dealing with a set of comforting beliefs ONLY. It's my contention that we both can't be right about subjects wherein the facts of the matter(s) are well enough known that their is little controversy among those who actually study the subjects.

You strike me as an educated, intelligent man, so you're aware what the "rules" are for a fact's admission into the "true" column. But, to make it clear for our purposes here at least let's just say that the current state of knowledge on the matter isn't controversial among those who actually study the subjects at x, y, or z schools. And just as being an atheist doesn't make me an expert on the history and beliefs of atheism, nor does you re: Christianity, me biology, or you evolution.

You seem genuinely interested in getting to the crux of whatever this exceedingly strange, mirror-like cognitive paradox it is that we seem to viewing the other's very existence through.

Waddya say?


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