Having attended a fascinating talk by James Williams (a science educator) last night at Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub, I thought I would post about it. The talk was called Insidious Creationism and concerned Creationism within an educational context.
Tag cognitive dissonance
In the UK at the moment there is a scandal rocking the entertainment and broadcasting industry. It actually started several years back when glam rock star Gary Glitter was found with child pornography in the 90s and was found guilty in Vietnam in 2006 for obscene acts with minors.
Why, indeed, do normal people believe ridiculous things? We have heard much from John Loftus about the OTF – the Outsider Test for Faith – which essentially illustrates that religion is a (geographical) accident of birth. It claims that if believers used the same critical powers they use to assess, and dismiss, other religions and their claims, then they are obliged to turn those critical faculties on their own. If they did, John would claim, then they would surely end up dismissing the claims of their own religion (this is a simplistic view of the OTF, no doubt).
What is interesting to me here is not so much the fact that people do special plead their own religion in this way (though that is incredibly interesting and important in itself), but how this comes about. I will put forward a theory which is fairly well accepted anecdotally, and see what you think. I will use an example which I experienced the other night which should show the theory with clarity