Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Deludo Department, Part 1

Dr. John Loftus, psychologist, has helpfully provided us with what he thinks are the “ten marks (or characteristics) of a deluded person.” He advises us to “consider from this checklist how many of them apply to you. “

Oh dear. Well, with an authority like John recommending this, how can I refuse and thereby risk endangering my psychological health? We’ll do this in two parts, five at a time.

Was born and raised into his or her religious faith. Just taking the odds at face value this is non-controversial and undeniable given the number of religions propagated around the globe and adhered to with utter and complete confidence as the one true faith.

YAWN. It’s the boring old genetic fallacy again. But anyway, I pass: I wasn’t born or raised into Christianity. I was taught (by both the example of Christians I knew, and what circumstances I was raised in) to regard it as intolerant and worthy of scorn, if anything.

As an adult never adopts nor cultivates the adult attitude of doubt. All adults must revisit the religious faith taught to them by their parents since #1 above is undeniably true. That means they must doubt. Doubt is the adult attitude.

OK, well…since I didn’t end up with the faith I was taught…I pass. BTW, does this include kids with atheist parents?

Never reads widely or is exposed to other points of view in the media. I'm talking about non-fiction works about the sciences, different cultures, different faiths, and those written by skeptics or non-believers. To escape from being deluded, believers should read books that are written by people within different cultures and faith communities, and watch programs on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, 60 Minutes, Dateline, and yes, YouTube.

Oh, please. I’ve read more material of this sort than John and 99.5% of all atheists out there. You can also tell that John has pretty low standards – the shows and channels he lists are primarily good for entertainment, not scholarship. He probably thinks Mythbusters is scholarly.

In contrast, I’m reading stuff by people with doctorates, which is the sort of stuff John never picks up unless he thinks he can drag something useful for atheism out of it.

Does not travel widely including travel into different cultures. A deluded person only experiences a small slice of the pie. One must experience the world to see how others live. The more the better. Such a person basically stays within the social confines of like-minded religious people. The Amish are the extreme examples of this. Many believers only have believing friends. Even if believers cannot travel the world they can still step outside their social grouping to meet other people who think differently. Most believers do not trust people of different faiths or non-believers. Seek them out. Attend a freethinker's group meeting. Get to know them. Become friends with them.

Yeah, OK, John. Thanks for the bigoted dismissal of introverts there. I don’t guess I’d qualify on this one since I don’t have a “social grouping” now other than the online community – and since that includes plenty of people who think differently, including atheists, that means I don’t qualify for a delusion button.

For the record, John’s arguments don’t get any better just because you’re friends with him. It may lead you to ignore his (and their) faults, though, which is precisely what he needs to happen.

Never studies deeply into the nature of his or her adopted faith. The more you know the less you believe, the less confident you become, and the more you doubt.

? – Oh…kay. Like I said, I’ve studied this stuff deeply – way deeper than John or any of his atheist friends. I might not match on particular topics with some, like Joseph Hoffmann, but in terms of a broad knowledge base, there isn’t an atheist I can think of who has shown broader knowledge.

So. I’m 0 for 5 so far in the Deludo Department. We’ll see how I finish up tomorrow.

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