Everyone Is In Love With Ideology

11/04/2013

Everybody is in love with ideology.  Actually, it would be more correct to say that everybody is in love with their OWN ideology.  The truth is that many people don’t care about other people’s opinions, and they feel justified because they are certain that they are right.

Ideology is a wonderful thing.  Where else can a person be absolutely certain about something that they might know very little about?  One of my favorite sayings along these lines is from Dorion Sagan who said, “The difference between science and philosophy is that the scientist learns more and more about less and less until she knows everything about nothing, whereas a philosopher learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.”

With regards to science, Paul Feyerabend, a philosopher of science himself, said that, “…it (science) is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favor of a certain ideology.”  Take creationism vs. evolution, for example. I ask you, how many scientists who are atheists endorse creationism and, conversely, how many scientists who believe in God endorse evolution?  Atheists, by definition, have to believe in evolution since they must have a way of explaining how they came into existence without God. On the other hand, scientists who believe in God, by definition, must believe that life came into being through Intelligent Design. Different people can look at the same research and come to two totally different conclusions simply because they were certain of the outcome before they even looked at the evidence. In other words, ideology was the driver.

Of course, with ideology comes certainty, a certainty usually born out of the complete acceptance of someone else’s idea.  In religion, it’s sometimes referred to as “blind faith”. The battle for the minds of people generally begins with those who feel vastly superior to others. They are as certain of their own ideology as they are of their own intellectual superiority.  Never mind that the wisest of men is probably not that much removed from the intellect of a donkey.  As Albert Einstein once observed, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.”  However, that never kept people from proclaiming with absolute certainty that the world was once flat or the sun once revolved around the Earth.

Fortunately, many of the great minds have been wise enough to admit that they didn’t quite know everything.  Socrates, for example, said that, “I know one thing; that I know nothing.”  Even some scientists have been willing to admit that their theories are not much more than formulas on a blackboard.  It was neuroscientist David Eagleman who said that, “What a life in science really teaches you is the vastness of our ignorance.”  Further, theoretical physicist Andrew Strominger admitted this about the Big Bang Theory, “A singularity is when we don’t know what to do. What’s so embarrassing about singularities is that we can’t predict what’s going to come out of it.”

Yet most people persist in their belief that their ideology is correct.  Worse yet, they are certain of it.  I guess they figure that they know better than the likes of Socrates and Einstein.  It’s one of the great truisms of all-time that man doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.  Yet, in spite of that, they still claim to be certain.  Based upon what the greats have said, I can only presume that what man is really certain of is his own stupidity.

“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.”

   – Greek philosopher Democritus

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11 Responses to “Everyone Is In Love With Ideology”

  1. ReasonableStudent said

    There is a key logical fallacy underlying this entire post which makes itself clear in the statement, “Atheists, by definition, have to believe in evolution since they must have a way of explaining how they came into existence without God.”

    Let me ask you, would you say that you believe in gravity the same way you believe in God? Gravity is, by definition, a theory. Is believing really the correct word? I contend not.

    Atheism does not make a claim about the universe. I do not say “There is no god.” Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a deity. I don’t believe in fairies either. Nor Santa. But the claim is that “There is no evidence to support the existence of a god or gods.”

    I would hesitate to make such blatant claims such as “Different people can look at the same research and come to two totally different conclusions simply because they were certain of the outcome before they even looked at the evidence.” Especially when dealing with scientists. Sure, this may be true in some cases. But I know many, many scientists who have been very surprised by findings they made. After all, much of the scientific community would agree with Neil DeGrasse Tyson in that the least interesting type of discovery is finding what you are looking for.

    • chicagoja said

      Thank you for your comments. My point is that people who are married to their ideology are prone to have belief systems based on their ideology as opposed to hard evidence. Question for you: If you believe that there is no deity, aren’t you saying that there is no god?

      • ReasonableStudent said

        That is a very good question. I would contend that they are not equal claims because saying “There is no god” makes a definitive statement about the way reality is. “There is no evidence for god” makes no inherent claim about reality. Now, our definitions of evidence may differ, but that is a completely different debate.

        This really goes back to the burden of proof. As the quote goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I live my life in a way which assumes the absence of a deity. But I am in no way 100% certain that there is no god. All I can say is that I have not found any convincing evidence that has led me to believe in a god.

        Does that make sense? Sorry, I didn’t have much time to respond!

      • chicagoja said

        Yes. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Lux Ferous said

    Except that he misused the terms “intelligent design” and “evolution” (see the comments), the Ethical Warrior does it again! I’d like to recommend to him and you all this TED talk; it is relevant:

    Cheers, Lux.

  3. Lux Ferous said

    Ha! I meant to reblog. Ignore my comment! Apologies.

  4. Arkenaten said

    Another fallacious post that is steeped in assumption and underlying arrogance.
    I don’t need to know the Koran back to front for instance,to know that much of its ideology is harmful, and its devout followers confirm this with their actions.
    A similar picture can be painted of homeopathy, Christian Science, Christianity and a fair amount of what you believe.

    Those of us who prefer to throw their lot in with science are reasonably assured that it is self-correcting in many instances, and there are enough checks and balances in place to ensure this.
    Religion and all its offshoots is generally not, usually requiring secular scholars to kick its arse before it does anything.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    The only thing that I will persist in is that religious ideology by virtue of
    what it bases its ideology upon – the supernatural and unsubstantiated claims – is flat out wrong.

    Positing any sort of god into the picture and teaching this as fact, truth or divinely inspired simply because science has not yet managed to grasp the mystery of the universe is disingenuous and dangerous.
    And one only has to look at the divisive nature of the major monotheistic religions to see why.

    Such beliefs are largely the stomping ground of intractable fools.

  5. tildeb said

    Take creationism vs. evolution, for example. I ask you, how many scientists who are atheists endorse creationism and, conversely, how many scientists who believe in God endorse evolution? Atheists, by definition, have to believe in evolution since they must have a way of explaining how they came into existence without God. On the other hand, scientists who believe in God, by definition, must believe that life came into being through Intelligent Design. Different people can look at the same research and come to two totally different conclusions simply because they were certain of the outcome before they even looked at the evidence. In other words, ideology was the driver.

    *sigh*

    Reasonablestudent makes the point that only in YOUR definition do atheists ‘believe’ in evolution. This reveals YOUR problem in comprehension: people UNDERSTAND what the theory of evolution explains and see by successful applications, therapies, and technologies based on this explanation adjudicated by reality why the explanation WORKS. There is zero – ZERO – belief (of the religious kind) involved.

    chicagoja, you continue to fail to comprehend the difference in what works between holding confidence in the explanation of evolution versus holding confidence in the POOF!ism of Intelligent Design (blessed be His name) that has produced no equivalent applications, therapies, and technologies that work.

    This difference in justification for the ‘beliefs’ really matters. Waving this difference away and simply proclaiming by fiat that atheism drives the acceptance of evolution (as an explanation for how life changes over time) is not just a misrepresentation of why evolution is considered true but a rejection of any willingness on your part to even understand it. The notion that ideology drives this scientific understanding of evolution is simply false. It is a lie. It is disingenuous. It is intentional, and there is a commandment found in Exodus against doing what you continue to do: lie. If I as a New Atheist am able to be held morally accountable for the truth value of my claims, then surely you as a practicing christian should be able to hold yourself to the same moral standard.

    • chicagoja said

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, you are still hung up (and incorrectly so) that I am a Christian or believe in the God of the Christians. On the other hand, if you know of an atheist who does not believe in evolutionary theory please let me know as I have never met one and I have known many. How is it possible that all atheists believe in evolutionary theory? For that matter, how is it possible that everyone from the same group of people believe in exactly the same thing? If you think about it and if your intellectually honest enough to research the science behind evolutionary theory and find out what some evolutionists admit about their ideology, you will understand who is being disingenuous in this conversation. But then, perhaps you know that already!

  6. Comments seem to prove the point of the post.

    • chicagoja said

      I thought my post was as close to a truism as possible. Having vetted my post with a couple of atheists friends of mine, I had no idea that the post would stir up such feelings. It was Shakespeare who warned us about people who protest too much.

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