Friday, 5 February 2010

Political Discrimination - And Piss

This is a natural extension to yesterday’s post.

Religious people demand that they should not be discriminated against because of their beliefs (despite the fact they are the worst discriminators themselves). Belief is belief – i.e. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof. A religious belief is thus identical to a political belief (as otherwise we wouldn't have numerous political parties each holding different views) and if religious people have legal dispensation against criticism of their beliefs, then political beliefs should similarly and logically be legally immune from criticism.

I don’t think so!

Belief in a specific religion, like a political belief, is not something one is born with (although it could be argued that if born into a Muslim or Christian fundamentalist family there’s little choice involved, but that’s more to do with enforced indoctrination). One has conscious control over the choice of one’s religion, as evidenced by the fact that people can easily lose their religion, trade it in for another or even come to religion late in life. Given that taking to religion is a conscious decision based on choice (although not necessarily a rational one), it cannot be logically argued that religion should be included in any list of attributes that should be immune from discrimination or criticism; in fact the more ridiculous and untestable the belief the more rigorous the criticism should be. Simples, as they say in a well known advert in the UK.

My recipe for attempting to cure someone of religion is to get them to read their espoused scripture from cover to cover, note the inconsistencies, hypocrisy, logical fallacies and physical impossibilities and analyse the result using their rational faculties. The problem is they are invariably unwilling to do so, as it would destroy their belief and thus their carefully constructed view of themselves, creating an uncomfortable feeling of cognitive dissonance in the process. No-one, except the emotionally robust, likes to be told they are wrong about a belief in which they have invested much emotional effort, even when they themselves are doing the telling.

Before questioning anyone about their belief in God, you should ask them which God - there are so many to choose from.

The new kitty was racing around the caravan last night doing the wall of death, followed by a touch of ghost wrestling.

An extract from Wiki that may educate you – it did me:

The word "urine" was first used in the 14th century. Before that, the concept was described by the now vulgar word "piss". Onomatopoetic in origins, "piss" was the primary means of describing urination, as "urinate" was at first used mostly in medical contexts. Likely, "piss" became vulgar through its use by lower class characters such as the reeve and the Wife of Bath in Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century work The Canterbury Tales. "Piss" and its association with vulgarity has led to its current classification as obscene, as well as its use in such colloquial expressions as "to piss off", "piss poor", and others.

I'm thinking of auditioning for the position of Old Sodbury Village Idiot. Do you think I stand a chance?


  1. Political ideas aren't the same as religious ones, there is usually some evidence for political ideas (unless we're talking about WMD of course!) whereas most religion exists in direct opposition to our knowledge and experience.

    You are spot on re. rationality though, our most valuable evolutionary trait by far and most of the population does it's best to suppress it most of the time, go figure..

  2. Like every grammar school, that position is so over-subscribed but you never win if you never play, eh?

    Hate that word Piss, it jars somehow. xx

  3. I'd vote for you. I think you'd make a lovely idiot. LOL

    Religion is nothing but brainwashing, although one might add that a few politicians need their brain washed.


  4. Is Village Idiot rather like court jester where you get to speak your mind without being beaten up, thrown in the stocks or exiled from the land? Sounds like a great job for you. Does it pay well?

  5. tant pis
    interj. never mind; so much for that

    Still digesting the rest of it ...

  6. Louise beat me too it;;;

    Does it pay well and who sets the goals that you need to attain ?

    of course based on your comments on FB earlier you should do well at a self assesed position !

    You know my thoughts on god and religion so its simply not worth opening ones gob on here incase it gets "pissed on"


  7. Steve: Policy can be based on economics, which is just as vacuous as religion.

    Jen: There's lots of competition.

    AV: You are too kind!

    Louise: It pays nothing:

    Fletch: It's simply too much!

    Phil: Hope the LNBs are OK.

  8. CB, true, but at least you get to test the results of the policy in this life!

  9. Your logic is uncontestable based on your premise that all belief is analogous and not based on fact, but I have to challenge that premise as presumptive and unsupported by the evidence.

    All non-gnostic beliefs claim to be based in some way on evidence, so I think it's fair to argue that your own logic is contradictory, you are fitting your argument to suit your preferred conclusion and it is therefore unsupportable.

    That's not to say I am a supporter of ideology or dogma, but that there is a big difference between types of belief and it is necessary to make distinctions between different orders of belief according to the measure of which is it based on evidence, the scope of that evidence and the quality of that evidence.

    The problem for people who argue against any sort of belief arises when such scrutiny begins to be made because we enter the territory of defining certainty, for which there are different types of proofs - 3 generally - and there is no case where all can be provided simultaneously, so doubts and challenges will always be possible on one set of grounds or another.

    The word 'discrimination' is unfortunate in this context because it carries a cultural connotation with unfair treatment and provides an implication that you don't apply your own stadards as set out in your argument.

    The way round the problem is to separate differences and only judge on one's own terms. So for this we must ask those who do subscribe to any belief system to define them so that we can test their legitimacy and validity through their coherence and consistency.

    This you did, so I feel justified in calling you on it.

    The real question facing all structural conceptualisations of the universe is 'at what point does fact transfer into belief?'

    For different people this will be at different stages according to their own intellectual and/or spiritual development. In other words how far down the path of enlightenment they have travelled.

    The opposition between the two sides in my view creates a productive dynamic without which individuals and groups wouldn't be forced to develop their own understanding to answer the challenges posed, and the social environment would have failed to evolve possibly at all.

    However, while I agree that scholarly standards are essential in providing a firm basis from which to understand and criticise any particular belief system, I also wonder whether you can fairly pronounce that this will have the consequences you assert. Have you yourself studied the scriptures of any belief system in depth?

    From the evidence of those that have it would seem to suggest that they have gained a deeper insight which only strengthens their personal authority (eg the current Pope Benedict is the leading scholar in his particular area of Christian theology), and I'd therefore conclude your own prejudiced logic (according to your own terms) stems from a level of ignorance about the subject.

    I think it is laughable to suggest there is no wisdom to be passed down from any such texts, rather that all the wisdom from each different source must be synthesised in fresh ways to provide new insights to expand the overall knowledge and provide balance... ie if you read the New Testament, shouldn't you do so in parallel with Tacitus and Josephus etc? I mean, none of us can honestly claim to be an objective reader because the act of reading precludes the possibility.

  10. Oranjepan; Josephus and Tacitus make only fleeting refrence to Jesus and Christians, but what has the existence of Jesus to do with arguments about morals?

  11. Oranjepan: The study of belief systems is a hobby of mine and one which led me to my conclusions. Few who believe actually read their own scriptures, or is they do, then they read only select passages - those that confirm their belief - ignoring completely those that are uncomfortable.

    This is the very reason the Apocrypha were excised from the bible. They did not support the orthodox dogma. Casting them aside is ignoring the evidence.