Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On Rationality

The Green Bay Packers are the greatest sports team in the history of the planet.

There is abundant evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, even if the statement were true historically, it doesn't make the Packers the greatest sports team on Earth at this very moment. And vice versa.

I don't care. I am completely irrational on the subject. I choose my evidence selectively to reinforce my prejudice. And it IS a prejudice. I recognize this. I still don't care.

But, get me away from this particular subject, and I'll be just as gimlet-eyed, evidence-demanding, flim-flam doubting, skeptical, rational, and free thinking as the best of 'em.

I've occasionally remarked is that the difference between science fiction and fantasy is the number of wild cards they allow in the deck. SF confines itself to 1 or 2 (like faster-than-light travel or telepathy), while fantasy allows for lots more.

Same deal here. I figure everyone's entitled to 1 or 2 favorite irrationalities. The Packers are mine. (That and dairy products, which will probably kill me some day.) They're mainly harmless. I'm not trying to inflict them on the unwary, unwilling, or emotionally incompetent. And they don't cost anything. (Well, honestly, looking at all the Packer paraphernalia festooning my home, vehicle, and person, and all the milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream in the fridge, I guess I should say they don't cost MUCH.)

Religion, OTOH, is essentially nothing BUT wild cards. And, whatever time, money, energy, devotion, and creativity any of its followers pours into it, religion always demands more. That's not just nuts, it's dangerous.

So let people have fun with their little personal irrationalities, as long as they pay attention to reality when it comes to the things that really matter. I guess I only start to get nervous when it becomes apparent that fandom has shaded over into fanaticism.

= = = = = =
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-- Philip K. Dick, science fiction writer


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