I can't believe how absolutely and absurdly lacking in intelligence these people are.

Allow me to elaborate.
I just finished a good 4 hour conversation with my mother and my aunt. These two see themselves as ten times further in comprehending anything than i could possibly be. I state that they can not presuppose a supernatural claim (as absurd as ghosts or deities) for which there is no evidence, as being a completely reasonable explanation for an unexplainable occurrence. This is rebutted with the statement that the compounded experiences of billions of individuals on the subject is a source of viable evidence that the supernatural is a completely reasonable claim. They go on to state how my view on understanding things scientifically is an extremely narrow view, and that I am retarded for thinking it a valid method of reasoning. My aunt flaunts her university degree in physics when establishing that there is no valid explanation of things such as "instinct". While I propose that evolution could be an extremely valid basis on explaining such occurrences, they will not have it. In fact, they quite absolutely argue that evolution is not a "set" scientific understanding. By this is the reasoning i put that evolution is a fact as well as a theory. On the whole, i just find it completely absurd that they can constantly claim my lack of knowledge in the subject while they obviously lack some of the most basic scientific reasonings.

My aunt went on talking about dark matter and dimensions (assuming that i could not possibly know what they are), and proposed that they were clear evidence for the existence of a "soul". She sees this as a completely reasonable claim. Although when i mentioned how a biological supposition built on assuming that the human brain is influenced by an evidentially unsupported claim of a souls existence is nothing but absurd, i am again dismissed thoroughly. She also made references of "evidence" of a soul through the existence of emotion. Again, whatever she had learned in physics, it is obvious that she lacks any understanding of biology as well as the human brain. I could also state it as a flawed perspective even in physics on how "energy" would be released from the body in any immeasurable, yet sentient amount of energy reflecting the previous anatomy and impulses of the human brain.

sure this is just another rant at 4AM, (that mentioned, please point out any severe grammatical errors, or errors in reasoning)
although i would hope that my statements are accurate enough to display a clear interpretation of our conversation.
i can assure you that by any stretch of the imagination, this is how the conversation went through, and i could likely say that they would themselves agree with that given the opportunity.

please tell me, is my logic horribly flawed?
and i the complete idiot that they say i am for making these statements, and rebutting theirs?
or am i sane, and just arguing with people who themselves could be described similarly.
(i may also elaborate on claims they made earlier about personal experiences of the supernatural in another blog, another day)

Views: 5

Tags: evolution, family, science, soul, spirits

Comment by Reggie on September 5, 2009 at 2:03pm
You are not crazy from the looks of it.

Your aunt may have a degree in physics, but the fact that she feels the need to trot that out on matters of biology is absurd. They are separate fields of science. Furthermore, to make statement that " evolution is not a 'set' scientific understanding" would cause me to guffaw in their general direction and demand to know if her college degree was from Liberty University. She clearly has an abundance of ignorance on the matter of modern biology and her physics degree is about as valuable to biology as a Marketing degree would be to physics.

But worse still is that huge leap your aunt takes from the matter of physics to souls. It's clear that she is not giving her position critical thought or subjecting her "physics" and claims to anything that resembles the scientific method. Much of physics deals in math. Perhaps she has squirreled away in her attic on an old chalkboard the equation for God? Maybe if you are nice she will show you some evidence?

Evolution has more evidence backing it up than gravity, but I am sure your aunt believes that gravity is not the work of incorporeal angels manipulating matter. Or maybe she does?

Good luck. I know first hand that when some people are that deeply buried in their delusions that it's usually best to let them suffocate on their own ignorance and move on. You won't change their feelings with reason and logic.
Comment by Reggie on September 5, 2009 at 2:10pm

Comment by Brian Colquhoun on September 5, 2009 at 5:12pm
Are you sure she has a degree in Physics? I always find it hard to fathom the fact that people can attain a degree in Physics and still have such a hard time understanding simple logic.

Saying that, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow (which came out 2nd behind Cambridge for Physics and Astronomy in the UK according the the Time Good University Guide), there are actually a few religious people. Most notably a PhD student who is a Nuclear Physicist AND a creationist. There is also a member of Academic Staff who is a member of the ATLAS, ZEUS and CDF experiments who I'm pretty sure has been to meetings with the Templeton Foundation. Somehow, they manage to reconcile their superstitious beliefs with their science careers. The later example is much more understandable than the former, but nonetheless still absurd.

I was watching an amusing video online called "Carpool", where actor Robert Llewellyn drives a notable person somewhere and they just have a chat. He was talking to the physicist Brian Cox - who said straight out that of course there isn't an afterlife. Just think of the second law of thermodynamics. In essence, we are heat engines. We work via the same principle as any other heat engine. He quickly described how a fridge works - the back is hot because the fridge evacuates the heat from the fridge and it has to go somewhere. He said that if there is an afterlife and he ends up in heaven he will ask one question: "How then, is it, that fridges work?"

Even a physicist with no knowledge of biology should be educated enough to know what a theory is. Just because they are biologists, and we physicists consider our science more pure, doesn't mean that we can't trust biologists to come up with decent findings. Besides which - unless you are a complete idiot - it's pretty clear that evolution is a very good theory. We only need to look as far as medical research to realise that the development of antibiotics relies on an understanding of evolution. In fact, there is more evidence that the theory of evolution is a good theory to use than there is evidence to support general relativity - which is the best theory of gravity that we have.
Comment by paddo on September 7, 2009 at 6:22am
Eric this is an extremely frustrating situation. Bear in mind that you are not arguing with people who, like you, would be willing to renounce a valued assumption on the basis of evidence. I don't care how many degrees in however many branches of science your aunt has. To refuse to modify one's position on the basis of evidence is unscientific, and it appears that is what your aunt refuses to do. To be respected as a scientist requires at least this modicum of scientific behaviour. I want to say a few things which I hope you will find encouraging:
1. There is no flaw in your logic from what you have related above.
2. It is unacceptable to offer magical explanations as if they were a reasonable hypothesis for the unexplained. You cannot arrive at the end of a chain of causation and randomly announce "and then there was magic". Whatever theory you propose at that point has to be at least theoretically falsifiable, even if we don't have the means to test the hypothesis.
3. You are not being narrow-minded, they are. They are the ones closed to the overwhelming weight of evidence. This argument has been shot to peices again and again and fucking again so many times that I will not enrage myself by rebutting it....again.
4. I think we can be reasonably confident that anyone who refuses to acknowledge evolution theory as the most credible current explanation for the history and current state of life on this planet is not a scientist. They don't have to like it, they are free to try to disprove it, but if they don't accept its status then they are not scientists, they are children holding their hands over their ears screaming "Can't hear you". I'm sorry, but we have all been ready to move on for some time and if some wish to remain in the intellectual desert staring at a mirage then we may just have to leave them behind.
Comment by Reggie on September 7, 2009 at 11:32am
Well said, Paddo.
Comment by Galen on September 8, 2009 at 10:44pm
A degree, and even a doctorate, is nothing but a piece of paper declaring how adept someone is at memorizing and reciting things back. It is by no means a measure of someone's critical thinking skills or intellect. Some of the stupidest people I've ever met have had the title "Dr." in front of their names. Your aunt can wipe her ass with that degree; that's about what it's worth in terms of judging real intelligence. She has clearly showed you her real intellectual value and it ain't high.
Comment by Reggie on September 8, 2009 at 10:45pm
Also well said, Galen.


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