In response to John Myste at Why People Get Angry About Religion
As for the idea of getting angry or upset that the majority believes that two plus two equals five, that it a problem in the angry fellow more than a problem in the believer.
- John Myste, January 7, 2013
Of course the anger is the angry fellow's problem. It is his own anger. The consequences of the belief in 2 + 2 = 5 (and the implications of the fact that so many people could actually believe this), however, are everyone's problem.
His psyche is damaged in some way
- John Myste
Are you serious? What I've described is a common and natural reaction. Our ability to detect errors--not just deviations from our own beliefs, but actual errors--and our concern over correcting them are beneficial and make sense in terms of our evolution as a social species. That does not mean that it is always good to care about what others believe, but it is hardly evidence of a "damaged psyche."
Through wrong about many things himself, as all humans are, he resents it when others are wrong where he is not.
I don't see the point here. Obviously, if he perceives wrongness, he resents it; if he does not perceive wrongness, he does not resent it. Whether or not he has his own blind spots has no bearing on whether or not he should care about identifying and correcting errors.
But note that having a problem with others believing that 2 + 2 = 5 is not necessarily the same as having a problem with others being wrong. I chose that example to be a clear case of "irrationality and belief in the absence of (or opposition to) evidence." It is one thing to mistakenly believe, after extensive research, that some economic policy will be beneficial to our country; it is another to believe that, say, God loves you but will torture you (justly!) for all eternity if you don't obey its rules. Both beliefs are false and therefore worthy of condemnation, but one belief deserves further condemnation because of its nature and the carelessness of the process by which people came to believe it.
He is constructing his own unhappiness, irrationally, I daresay.
In some cases, yes. When the costs associated with caring about and trying to correct errors outweigh the benefits, it is rational to move on. But we are not always able to perform that cost-benefit analysis, since (1) we don't know when we will be able to convince others that they are wrong and (2) the costs (one's time, effort, etc.) do not compare easily to the benefits (correcting the error). Moreover, if one comes to enjoy the process, he has one more benefit to consider. I occasionally respond to T. Paine even when I know that it will do no good; I derive some pleasure from it in either case. Some.
In addition to his valued contributions here, Ryan also writes for his own site, where the benefits of rationality outweigh the occasional frustration.
Please visit Secular Ethics.
Trackback address for this post
Ryan, we have something in common after all, sir! :)
Leave a comment
|« Religion Promotes Knowledge, Truth, and Compassion||Why I Believe as I Do »|