Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alternative IDiocity

Before I get into this post, let me lay the blame for all these problems squarely at the feet of post-modernism and romanticism. Post-modernism is theory that should've stayed in literature and isn't no more at home in the real world than Freudian criticism is. Post-modernism, and it's ancestor, Romanticism, both posit a very natural view of the world, a very cynical view of the world, and a belief that progress and pursuit of knowledge for it's own sake is somehow a bad thing. Post-modernism takes this a step further, stating that nothing is objective (not even gravity, apparently) and that reality is nothing more than a deck to be shuffled how we want to. I don't know about you, but I can't shuffle the deck so that I can fly, so someone's got their head screwed up their ass, and it's not me. The first half of this blog's name comes from my disdain for post-modernism and it's prevalence in our world; the opposite of post-modernism is modernism, which has it's roots (loosely) in the Enlightenment, which was diametrically opposed to romanticism. Or, perhaps, that's backwards - the Enlightenment came first, and the romantic garbage dredged itself up from the gutter sometime in the 1800s. Romanticism has always been more popular in the United States than Enlightenment was, despite the fact that we're a country built on Enlightened principles (democracy, secular humanism, a deistic and ceremonial god, human rights - romanticism gave us none of these.) The second half of this blog's name comes from the fact that I side squarely on the enlightenment: one might say that it's one man's trials to remain Enlightened in a sea of post-modern sewage.

But how is romanticism and post-modernism thinking more popular than Enlightened thinking? Well, it's because Enlightened thinking is hard. It requires work. It requires skepticism, knowledge of logic and logical axioms and, well, actually living in the world we live in. How can be so sure? Take a look at all of the crackpot theories we have today poisoning the market of ideas: Alternative Enicidem (medicine backwards for those slow on the pickup - I write it backwards because the Alties have it backwards) shares it with Creationism, Intelligent Design, 9/11 Truferism, and Birferism, among other things. And what do all of these have in common? Piss-poor critical thinking skills on behalf of the people who follow them, peddled by the merchants of doubt, a dislike for the scientific method (based on a severe misunderstanding of what that is) or an outright disdain for science as a whole in favor of a more "naturalistic" - i.e., Romantic and wrong - view of the world.

"But wait, Enigma! How dare you suggest that me, an educated scholarly professional, could even share the same process as one of those lowly Creationists." To which I reply: "And that right there is part of your problem. Not only does that reek of elitism, but that's projection - you know damn well you didn't put anymore thought into your Alternative Enicidem than the IDiot did Intelligent Design, but you're projecting your elitism on that individual to distance yourself cognitively from what might as well be your intellectual twin. Just because you're a scholarly professional doesn't mean you're smart."

At the heart of the problem here is this toxic notion that reality is a deck of cards to be shuffled. I'm willing to pay for a plane ticket to New York for anyone who wants to try and reshuffle that deck of cards from the top floor of the Empire State Building on the way down after jumping. The major difference, I've found, is this: the people who follow Creationism and Intelligent Design are parrots; they're puppets on a string, marching to the beat of someone else's drum. Many of them are incapable of independent thought on this matter, and if they are, they regurgitate the talking points their masters told them to. You see the same kind of person in the Altie crowd, but they lack masters; many of them have the same degree of critical thinking and projection skills that your average Fundie has, but they view themselves as "better" than that lowly rabble. They don't believe ID because the Fundies believe it, not because they have any free thinking skills of their own or they've analyzed any evidence. But they're still attracted to that sort of superstitious garbage that the leaders of the Alternative Enicidem crowd peddles, so they fall into it so much easier.

So keep that in mind. The only thing distinguishing an Altie from a Creationist or a IDiot is the fact that the Altie thinks they're superior to the other two. It's like watching three children argue over a toy, each one claiming to have a variant that's better than the other when the truth is that all three variants do absolutely nothing.

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