I just watched a video of a Christian woman who swore on a bible that she was once a Muslim, and that she quit believing in Mohammad because the logic in the Koran is "circular". We can easily see the irony of that. But why couldn't she see how circular logic is also required to have faith in the Bible?

It's easy for us to show examples of circular reasoning in religion and scripture, and it's easy to see the majority of humans in the world falling for the circular reasoning. But Scientology and other cults gain credible authority not just by circular logic, so circular logic isn't the only intellectual deficiency that enables one's unreasonable faith in authority.

I could list some authorities that I have more faith in than others, but what it comes down to is that I'm skeptical of any and every authority. So how am I choosing who and what to believe? I'm even using the word "believe" in a temporary sense, because whatever I believe, I know may be shown to be imprecise or even completely wrong one day. Somehow, I can handle that, always trying to assess probabilities of what appears to be correct, truthful, or useful to hang my hat on.

Another video (BBC) covered a pastor, a muslim, a Trump-o-phile, and a few others talking about Trump's "muslim ban" comment. The Trumpo-o-phile was so full of cliches he never said a damned thing concrete about why he likes Trump other than "he says it like it is". In particular, the comment that was appealing to him was Trump saying (my paraphrase) "we have to ban them until we figure out what the hell is going on!!" [insert Trump deepity emoticon here].

It's scary, when "he says it like it is" is equivalent to "he's not saying any shit that's informative or useful". (It's funny that I hadn't even recalled the word deepity to describe Trump comments until now.)

Anyway, what makes you more likely to affirm one source or another to be trustworthy?

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I think anyone who switches from one religion to another does so by emotive reasoning. Christianity's brand of religion makes claims that are enticing to believers who need to believe in a god. It is refreshing to be forgiven so easily...just believe and you have a get out of jail free card, lol
It's funny, in the UK they appear to have carried out a study to find which British accent sounds the most trustworthy to other Brits - and it turned out the Scottish Edinburgh accent does it for Brits. The consequence was that many big firms moved their call centers to Scotland, to maximize the trust factor.

It seems trust is not altogether dependent on free will.

That Sean Connery has a lot to answer for!

Trump popularity reminds me of W2 no-brainers (e.g. 'nukular', southern porch rocking chair and praise jeebus chat), all-gut popular cliches like "never forget", saddam's yellow mushroom cloud, and country western songs blaring inside huge, gas guzzling pickup trucks. I know, Obama's "change" theme was a cliche too. But it scares me when skepticism of currently ruling parties overrides skepticism of popular newcomers to such a degree that people think the solution must be "do anything different" (even if it's wrong), or "stay the course" even if it's wrong, but most definitely pick the guy who's the least humble (excepting humble to The Lord) and the most pompous and deaf to criticism.

Gawd I'm feeling awfully cynical right now. If Trump gets elected, just imagine the political cartoons and buyer's remorse four years from now.

Ok y'all, what makes you trust one source of authority over another? Maybe the answer is too complicated, and there's really no hope for us? Any cheerleaders out there? I need lessons.

I think that the religious people have an inborn tendency to believe, or a store of faith.  I lack that, rather like Toto in the "Wizard of Oz" I pull the curtain away, and look behind it.

Most people like slogans, and participate in a mob, or a group easily, like the ones with the torches who gathered to capture and kill Frankenstein's monster, and those others who watched with bloodlust at the guillotine, and shouted "Off with their heads," as the cart drew near with the victims of the Terror.

Here's an interesting story about authority vs conspiracy, i.e. how gullibility of authority vs paranoia of authority are like two sides of the same coin. (I'm also interested in how modernization increasingly affects the schism that coin represents.)

Trump is believed not because he's recognized as an authority, but because he is preaching to the choir.

Essentially, he says crap that his followers say, and, they hear him, and say, he is one of US.

On the flip side, he SAYS some religious stuff, but, many evangelicals don't think he's sincere in his beliefs (their beliefs), and don't quite trust him.

Politicians, unlike scientists, merely need to echo their constituency to be popular, and, oddly, that is how people get representation even if they are blithering idiots, etc.

So, in the USA, if ENOUGH blithering idiots AGREE that the answer is to nuke the gay whales - well, then, that's the mandate of the people.

Now, some historical political figures doubted the ability of the masses to make intelligent decisions, and wanted some separation from them, to allow the wise government officials to make the decisions for them...but, in reality, those officials were not much better at it...but thought they knew best, etc.

So, I think the mandate of the majority, as a type of government, is OK.

I think, so far, it works, and, hope, so far, that we don't suffer from some sort of mass hysteria/swamp gas mirage effect, etc...and vote for Trump in enough numbers to make him POTUS.

I actually trust the great unwashed to, collectively, have enough working neurons to swing the vote to the Dem side, and at this point, I really don't care which one, as none of them will be able to get anything done  anyway due to what amounts to the equivalent to Republican Term-Long-Filibustering if they don't get their way.

If a Republican manages to position enough optical obfuscation wool to gain the POTUS, so they CAN get stuff done, they'll repeal health care, mandate coal use, illegalize discussion of climate, elect judges who believe in the Christian version of Sharia law, mandate school prayer and creationism, etc, and allocate all taxes to the military....or whatever they can get away with, etc....it'd be a 4 year rape.



On the flip side, he SAYS some religious stuff, but, many evangelicals don't think he's sincere in his beliefs (their beliefs), and don't quite trust him.

I hope you're right. I saw this scary NYT story (albeit it's written with obviously personal bias):

AMONG the most inexplicable developments in this bizarre political year is that Donald Trump is the candidate of choice of many evangelical Christians.

Mr. Trump won a plurality of evangelical votes in each of the last three Republican contests, in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. He won the glowing endorsement of Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, who has called him “one of the greatest visionaries of our time.” Last week, Pat Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, told Mr. Trump during an interview, “You inspire us all.”

@TJ wrote:

 to allow the wise government officials to make the decisions for them...but, in reality, those officials were not much better at it...but thought they knew best, etc.

Good point. It did work better way back then. Then we blew it with Bush 2, partly (in fact ultimately wrt electoral college results) because of that tiny minority of voters in FL who voted for left-wing Nader instead of a winner (Gore) for the Dems. Even the Supreme Court got to jump in, there. Authorities galore. (Oh yeah, and doG swung that election, too.)

Fucking Religious Authority... makes me all cynical inside. No, I mean their followers. No, I mean... human nature. Higher powers please help us all!?

Nice piece, TJ.

Speaking of authorities and Evangelicals, here's another motivator for votes, at least back in 2000:

[Dangit, I'm still having trouble making Ning work consistently. For now I'll just manually point you to http://twitter.com/KarlRove .]

[And add the graphic manually, here. Gonna figure this Ning crap out, eventually...]

A friend of my kids, a guy who voted straight republican/conservative since ~ 2000 or so, when he could vote, mentioned that if Trump is the Repub nomination, he's voting for Hillary.

I just wanted to share that.


Some of the GOP is figuring out how screwed up their appeal to religion and other fanatics has gone. I just hope they're too late. :)

I honestly don't see religion as a problem for GOP...Trump's Achilles heel is that many evangelicals don't TRUST how religious he is, and feel he is giving it lip service w/o being sincere enough in his delusional invisible friendship.

The religious are the most conservative, historically, so, its the GOP BASE essentially.

They can't muster numbers w/o the bible thumpers..hence Trump's lip service.

The tea party scared them too, but are their base, hence the GOP paralysis in the house and senate, etc.

I personally think GOP, overall, in the long run, might be better off truncating the tea partiers and whackos, and getting back to their traditional (Well, sort of traditional) position as conservative but not fundamentalists.

That way, in the past, if one won...it wasn't THAT much different from a Dem winning etc....budgets would get passed, legislation passed, bucks passed, and so forth.

Both partys could get back to their traditional roles of saying whatever the majority of their constituents wanted them to say...to get elected, and then whatever the lobbiests funded best, etc.



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