Is this just me?

Dear skeptical colleagues,

I am going to be blogging about something which has been getting on my nerves for a while now, and I want to know if something like this happens to most skeptics around non-skeptical fellows. I am constantly being talked to by my family as though I am not a skeptic, and am just an annoying contrarian who just disagrees with everything any body says. My most common response is, “That depends on what you say.”, and then I get a simple, “yes Jack.” as if to say that there is no hope and that they are going to just stop discussing it because he will just keep on denying. I find this very annoying, and I really do get the idea that they have no idea what I actually stand for in my life.

It’s not just my parents, and I have heard experiences from other people who are skeptics who just get addressed as closed-minded people who just argue for the sake of arguing. I am going to challenge that point.

It all flows from the point that Christopher Hitchens strived for his whole life, “It’s not what you think, but how you think.” I do not tell you that you are wrong so that you know that you are wrong and you can correct that mistake next time, I tell you how you are wrong.  I like to understand why some people tell me outrageous things, especially in lay people, because if they have arrived with some serious logical flaw, I like to correct their thought process.

For this reason it also follows that it is what you say to me that matters. I will not disagree with whatever anybody says to me. The skeptics I talk to on the internet and at school I will happily agree with almost everything they say, because I agree with their logic, their evidence and their conclusions. This is definitely a very un-contrarian thing to do. But when somebody says to me that if they look hard enough they can see the other side of the moon (true story), then I get angry and ask them “Why the hell are you saying that? What possible logic could lead you to the conclusion that you can see the other side of the moon? Do you understand the concept  of a sphere? What is going on in there?” (I don’t say that, I am a lot more calm (most of the time)).

The problem is that my family (the people I have to spend the most time with in my life) often say very stupid things, and I try to help them, but they just feel uninterested because it’s all sciencey and over their heads. Its annoying. Please contact me if you also have experiences like this, I want to hear how you deal with it.

I will leave you with a quote from Mikhail Bakhunin, “From the naturalistic point of view, all men are equal. There are only two exceptions to this rule of naturalistic equality: geniuses and idiots.” Mikhail Bakhunin, A Russian revolutionary of some note.

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7 thoughts on “Is this just me?

  1. Well, though I’m a pretty big skeptic, enough people around me have a decent use of common sense, though I feel angry when people claim such things as ‘2012’, and religion is a big part of this. I go to a Christian school, and we go to church services and other things, amd I have to try my very best to not scream out when I hear that millions of people believe in this junk about how God lives in the clouds ( Hello? Aeroplanes?)

    Jesus had a pretty cool job. Not only did he recieve many, many followers and his name etched in history, but he came back alive anyway, which ruined the whole point. A single, innocent death, haven’t heard that one before!? (That was sarcasm, just in case.) I would die for that kind of thing, especially if it was saving everyone from their ‘sins’.

    • I think that there are some people out there who are christian and who are good people, smart people, but not most of them. My pastor today (Christian school for me also) said that it is immoral to kill 1 person to save the lives of 100. That’s just whack.

      • I agree, religion isn’t everything in someone’s lofe, and there are Christians that are accepting that I don’t believe, just that most don’t like that I don’t agree, and therefore I am ‘stupid’.
        Religion develops, literally, when a society tries to explain things they fon’t understand, and now that we do understand, people are too stubborn.
        Our RE teacher is just a normal, nice guy who just happens to teach RE, and doesn’t care what I think. Then again, I haven’t taken his classes, which probably ruins that last statement.

        • I’ve got nothing against people who have religious faith, and keep it to themselves, but when it influences their politics and morals, or science, then I get angry and have the impulse to debate them.

  2. Also, people seem to forget the fact that Christianity has killed a Lot of people too, and a lot of Muslims would not prefer to blow up a hotel. I read your agument with Carl Dimario, and I think he managed to use every fallacy in the (hypothetical) book, particually the loop/circle one where you base the existance of two things off each other, and also the ‘no proof so far, which must mean this…’

    • The two fallacies you are thinking of are ‘begging the question’ OR ‘circular reasoning’, and ‘the argument from ignorance’.
      Karl Dimario argues with the Telealogical argument… Which is in itself begging the question, and an unstated major premace.

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