Wednesday, September 29

Preaching to the Unconverted

I have a theory. One of many.

I have a theory about why it is that mountains of facts, documents and figures in support of perfectly reasonable point of view - is not always going to be convincing, effective or persuasive for all persons.

Logic dictates that it should be. That in an honest, good-faith debate with the truth, the facts should prevail, but the real truth is that often they do not.

It's easy to rail that your opponent must be "too stupid" to comprehend.

They must be nuts! What's wrong with them?

Well, this is where my theory comes into play.

The problem is a matter of faith.

There are many types of faith, many types of believers. Especially TRUE believers. There are those who are true born-again Christian believers. There are devout Catholics. Pious Jews and fervant Muslims.

There are those who have a fervent and deep faith that the free-market will cure all public, private and social ills if it is only allowed to function at peak efficiency without governments, unions, trial lawyers or environmental activist gumming up the works.

There are those who believe that corporations are inherently greedy and evil, incapable of accomplishing anything except the exploitation of consumers, workers and despoiling the environment.

And all of these people, with all of there varying and opposing beliefs will in fact be correct - at least some of the time. All true believers can find isolated examples that justify their faith - while at the same time almost none of them can seem to make their rationales apply to all cases : equally guaranteeing repeatable results.

The problem isn't what they believe - it's why they believe.

The human animal is a strange twisted beast. An animal to be sure, but one that in addition to mere food, water and bread to survive - also needs to have a sense of understanding of the universe around it. Man needs a reason, for why the Sun doesn't fall from the sky and land on the porch. Why the wind blows on and on but we never seem to run out of air.

Without getting into a long description of how man first invented the concept of "Gods" - let's just skip to forward and recognize that two parrellel explainations continue to hold sway even in the modern time.

Creation vs Evolution.

Evolution being based on Science tends to explain the universe in cold unromantic terms. Creation grants that there is something, possibly someone, far beyond our understanding who has a plan for our lives and influences us in great and subtle ways in accordance with that plan.

Typical of a true Radical Centrist: I am going to state that my own belief is that both of these view are completely full of it - because both of them are most likely correct at the same time.

To me, the more you study in detail the exquisite design and incredible accomplishment and wonder of the smallest sub-atomic partical to the largest natural formations of rock and ice that exist on this world -- the more it becomes clear that the simple random cosmic luck that it would take to bring this into being is far beyond any explaination of science. But at the same time, the beleive that an single large male all-seeing all-knowing GOD in flowing white robes who created the heavens, the stars, sun, moon and earth in just seven "days" - is equally ridiculous.

The truth is somewhere between.

The world evolved, but that doesn't mean that this evolution didn't occur in stages (Just as culture "evolved" from the Neolithic Age to the Bronze and Iron Ages) - that evolution was not completely random, but the result of complex interactions of weather, climate, personality and chance.

A living model of fractal socialogy.

Or just possibly, is that complex, random but-not-so-random set of events in reality leading our lives from one point to the next in fact the hand of God in action?

Man needs Faith.

It explains and it comforts.

The problem is that it can also distort and blind. People like to cling to their faiths, they clutch and claw at them like an child's toy or teddy bear they refuse to outgrow.

Furthermore: Faith can be dangerous. It can be exploited and manipulated by other men. Men who recognize the power that Faith has to short-circuit common sense, and have for centuries utilized that fact to help line their own coffers and confer power and influences to their own houses.

Beware the false profits. Beware the power-whores.

Beware the Bin Ladin's. The al-Sudr's. The Falwells. And even the Jackson's and the Sharpton's, too.

Listen to all sources. Contrast and compare. Offer them all the benefit of the doubt, for all men will be right at least some of the time -- but in the end...

...just make up your own damn mind, and stop worrying about why "they" just don't understand.

Some of the faithful never will.

And frankly, some of the scientific types are the worst.


No comments: