Bill Maher recently went on a rant about how stupid half of Americans are, as exemplified by their blind support of Donald Trump despite his long history of failure, fraud, bigotry, and now sexual deviancy.  What he failed to add was their belief in a magic man in the sky.

Almost no adult believes in Santa Claus.  Why not?  Because his exploits and abilities are too preposterous for a thinking person to even contemplate.  God, as a concept, is even more absurd and yet most Americans accept it as true.  So why the discrepancy?  Simple: if Santa Claus carried eternal life in his sack of toys, most Americans would believe in him, too; they will believe ANYTHING if it assuages their fear of death.  Sorry, people; you’re going to die and never again exist in any form.  Get over it!

I am an old man and I will likely die soon, which is not something I eagerly anticipate.  However, when I do expire, I want to leave this life proud of my courage to face it without sacrificing my evolved human ability to reason.

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I admire your approach to the inevitable end of life. When my father was sick he faced impending death as what he believed it was: cessation of being. After he passed I looked as deeply as I could within myself to find even a shred of hope that he would still exist somewhere.  I found none. If ever I would have begun to believe in a god it would have been at that moment, beside his lifeless body.  

I said that bit so I could say this: I understand why people want to believe there is a safety net. I would like to sometimes but I can't.  Christians tell me I WON'T, but the real case is that I can't. Whether that is related to intelligence or not necessarily a foregone conclusion,  

About people being stupid, I read recently about the Dunning-Kruger effect. I googled "too stupid to know they are stupid" and a Wikipedia article describing this phenomenon offered this:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of those of low ability to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their ability accurately. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

The bit I read on Facebook made a case for this being what is going on with Donald Trump supporters. I am sure the Donald knows about these people. There must be some among the ranks of Trump supporters. It's an unpleasant thought that the Trump campaign seems to be targeting these folks.

Religions have been taking advantage of this for eons. They have also been suffering from it.

+1

Beautifully written with painful personal experience illustrating the courage necessary to face oblivion.

Thanks for the link. I'd forgotten all about the Dunning-Kruger effect. When you listen to a 'American blabing about taking their country back or a Lout in a British pub talking about Romanian single teenage moms on welfare...this explains much of it.

Thanks, Davis.

This makes sense to me, but I describe it differently. I've seen a threatening uptick in large flags mounted to pick'emup trucks in the past few weeks, as if all one needs to do to recover past greatness is to be loud and more aggressive, demonize others as not loving thier country, and never apologize. I see this as a teststerone thing, part of an evolved psychopathy, because aggressiveness often led to success at the expense of... well, who cares who they are, "all others are evil enemies".

The gender gap in women for Trump vs Hillary is now the largest it's ever been in historic polls. In my view of humanity, I see this as a probable shift toward female empowerment, even if that sounds like just a cliche' or "woman's card" play to a lot of people.

Terse and poignant, but not an accurate account of how it is that the admittedly greater stretching of credulity is in the God fiction and yet Santa is dumped and God is kept.

For one, God and the attendant stories and rituals make life meaningful and intelligible for the great unwashed. There is a rhythm and meaning infused in an otherwise meaningless existence. There are well defined stages of life and each leads neatly to the next. Santa is bereft of long-term significance.

Santa is by agreement a story for kids..just like the tooth fairy. It is not intended to be a hook for adults. It is not like a creation myth.

The sine qua non of belief is indoctrination. The Santa indoctrination if it can be characterized as such is like a trickle of water over an old mill's dam compared to the God indoctrination which is like having the  duped and defenseless children fall inexorably over Niagara Falls and in so doing  their wits scrambled.

 

Who knows what happens when we die?  None of us do for sure. 

To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas": 

"After that, who cares?" 

Dale, I live with a type of cancer that almost always returns with progressive resistance to experimental medications.  It's a lottery with an unwanted jackpot, but I'm grateful for the current reprieve, bought with major surgery, removal of most of stomach and part of liver, and daily repressive medication.  Never once have I prayed or wanted to pray, or cursed the god, or asked others to do the same.

I follow a list serve for this type of sarcoma, hoping to contribute at times with ideas that help with the nutritional and physical effects of the medications, and ways to help people guide their oncologists and doctors to do the right tests and medications despite their own ignorance.  On a too-frequent basis, their is discussion of the god, and prayer, and blessings.  I ignore those, figuring there is no place for arguing about it and being a jerk in the face of this group faces every day. 

I wish there was a way to show people that religion is not necessary for a full and completel life, that religion does not make it better when we face death, and that religion causes more harm than good for  many, if not most, of its followers.

Meanwhile, I will live to the best of my ability openly and without desire for the god to give me special treatment or reprive, while still with a degree of hope from the scientists and doctors who keep my disease quiescent for the time being.

Sexual deviancy? A lot of Americans are wondering what the hubbub is about with his comments about grabbing kisses, gropes, and pussies. That sort of behavior is normalized in many quarters, especially among older Americans. Things were different back then. Men just grabbed women and kissed them. In the movies and in perhaps the most famous photo to come out of WW2:

The difference between God and Santa Claus is that there's a great revelation in most kids' lives where it's shown that Santa Claus(es) is/are just ordinary people. No such God revelation. In many ways, until you stop to think about it on your own or through education, there is no such disconfirming evidence. The fact tat there's no disconfirmming evidence becomes a form of evidence. 

So all those women are lying, or it doesn't matter what they say?

Y'all is wrong if y'all conceive of a free marketplace of ideas in which good ideas flourish and bad ideas perish. 

sack a presents..sack a eternity..sack a shit

Given the proper indoctrination the sack a shit smells far better than the aforementioned sacks

With all due respect, I don't think he needed to. The problems Bill had are bad enough as it is without adding religion into the mix. I really don't care if people believe in God, so long as they don't try to inject their beliefs into politics or use those beliefs as a bad excuse for discrimination. It's not what people believe in that troubles me, it is what people do that troubles me. Or in some cases what they don't do. 

Obama is a Christian, but he always kept his beliefs as a separate affair. 

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