Why do people believe crazy or stupid things? In 2015, in the information age, it seems the only reason one can be strongly convinced of stupid or bad ideas is that they’re relying too heavily on their own personal intuitions. Assuming this person has reliable access to the internet, and doesn’t suffer from some mental disorder, there’s no good reason to be absolutely convinced that the moon was once split in half, or that Earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old, for example. If a statement/claim or scientific finding seems utterly preposterous to someone, their initial reaction may be to reject the truth of the claim, and they may never again re-examine this position. They may never give their conclusion a second thought, and they may continue to arrange their life around a growing pile of conclusions which are based on a faulty premise(s).
the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.“we shall allow our intuition to guide us”
synonyms: instinct, intuitiveness
“I Just Know That I Know“
I challenge you to listen to any church sermon, or go out and debate any theist, and try to find just one argument that isn’t based on rationalist intuition. Rationalists, as opposed to empiricists, believe that they can ration what is true just by thinking things out. You’ll probably hear the it-just-makes-sense-to-me argument, or the argument from (personal) incredulity for their theistic worldviews. After preaching for a bit, the typical apologist looks at you and gives you the “in your gut, doesn’t this argument just make sense?” expression, articulating his or her personal incredulity to atheism or agnosticism.
Belief in supernatural intuition is worse still. A supernatural (or spiritual) force which can reveal to you the truth of reality, can point out the source and distance of a pair of staring eyes in the room, or can simply help you read others’ minds or emotional states, is a pernicious way to draw conclusions. Spiritual energy and intuition is the stuff of junk science, there is no empirical evidence for any of it.
I’m not saying that I’m never wrong or never make mistakes in judgement, but since my de-conversion through skepticism, I’ve separated my personal intuition and empiricism as much as possible. I’ve made empiricism completely superior to rationalism. It seems that anyone carrying around fallacious convictions in the 21st century has but one problem: they fundamentally do not understand logic. I’m afraid it’s that simple.
Let’s take any two people that disagree on a subject, place them in a room together, and watch them argue. If both of them are unshakably convinced of their conclusions, it should be clear that they are either both wrong, or one of them simply isn’t thinking logically about the evidence. There is then little or no reason left, while of course remaining agnostic about variables which haven’t yet been demonstrated, for logical people to disagree about the facts of reality.
The Truth is Sometimes Counter-Intuitive
My argument is that if you’ve been raised from childhood to believe a particular claim (also without any outside influence), it doesn’t matter how crazy the particular claim is, those ideas will more likely make perfect sense to you in your own head. If you’ve been raised to accept evolution, for example, then the book of Genesis will seem utterly insane, and vice versa. Childhood indoctrination can lead to your sights being tilted way off-centre. We should believe in, or rather accept, whatever the evidence suggests, no matter how intuitive or counter-intuitive that evidence might be. Don’t just settle for what feels right to you, because the truth doesn’t care how you were raised.
last updated: 4/13/2016