Try Hard, Try Harder…
I have noticed a couple of things recently that make me wonder what it is that seems wrong about my perspective.
I am subscribed to hundreds of blogs and read news 24/7. It can be said that I’m intensely curious about the world around me. I walk my dog and see that he is the same, though for canid reasons that I’m not fully okay with, he is generally happy with the state of ‘sniff and pee’ meet and greet that passes for social interaction in his world – for the most part. He lives with two other dogs and a cat, so this is only speaking about his social life outside of the house.
Back to the point. His curiosity about the world is limited to investigating what is currently around him. I don’t think that he ponders the wonders of the universe though he sometimes is overly curious and afraid of lightning and hot air balloons. He will investigate anything new with a curiosity that the scientific method can only hope to imitate. Once he has sniffed it and deemed it dangerous or safe or worth peeing on, he’s pretty much done. No more investigation needed.
It occurs to me that many people are like my dog. They are good people. Kind people. The kind of people that you want to know and spend time with. They are the kind of people that inspire you to do things. In his case it is play catch and go for walks and such. There just seem to be a lot of people who are like my dog in many respects. They are only curious about the world immediately around them. If it does not affect their immediate state they do not care nor worry about it.
My interest in artificial intelligence tells me that this is sound. It takes more brain power, more energy and effort to support thinking about more than the immediate surroundings. Our genetic heritage tells us that this is all that we really need to do most times.
So, today I wondered if my dog ever thinks about heaven or hell or a life after this one. I can only conclude that he does not. There are a lot of people like my dog in this respect. They have asked the question of why they are here and what does existence mean, but the answers are not in their immediate surroundings. For them, like my dog, when authority tells them that things are this way or that they simply believe. They don’t question because it is not their concern… it’s not an immediate problem that they need deal with.
Some might think that I’ve just said that many people and religious people in particular are no smarter than dogs. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that the thought processes for the way believers view the world and the answers they think they have is no different than how my dog treats the world – or seems to.
When they try to defend their beliefs they do it from the perspective of what is in their immediate world, and the world view they have been given by authority. They don’t seek to learn what is not currently threatening them so when they defend it is from the viewpoint of their highest learning. They will not seek to understand evolutionary biology when arguing against it, they simply defend their own back yard with what tools they have been given by authority. Those that go outside their authority and learn about the world tend to become ‘educated’ and in doing so stop believing what authority has told them This explains the research that shows non-believers to be more educated and especially more educated about religion than your average believer. (that was loosely stated conclusions… conclude for yourself
What we need to do, to use gross allegory, is to “Let The Dogs Out” so to speak, so they can explore more than their own back yard.
You cannot tell your dog what the park on the other side of town looks like nor what it smells like, but you can help them get there to find out for themselves. I think I have a new lease on what education means when it comes to the atheism vs theism debate.
What do you think?