Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Does This “Science” Serve Any Purpose?

I’m not religious (as you'd probably guess from some of my other posts) but I still found this article sort of irritating.

The gist seems to be that people who believe in God — or anything supernatural — or who anthropomorphize their pets, well, they're basically just a bunch of introverted geeks who don’t have a life. “Loneliness Breeds Belief in Supernatural” is the name of the article. WTF?

It would be one thing if the above categories were just a small minority. But when you add up everybody who believes in a conventional religion, everybody who believes in some sort of afterlife or reincarnation (whether through religious or occult/metaphysical beliefs) and everybody who anthropomorphizes their pets — you're probably talking about 99% of the population.

So apparently one percent of the population is successful and well-adjusted, and the other 99% are just a bunch of neurotics who can't get it together.

I have no idea what the point of this article was. Even if it’s true, it’s like saying anybody who can't bench press 500 pounds is a wuss, or if you don’t work at least 19 hours a day you're just a waste of oxygen.


cross-posted at Bring It On!


Anonymous Manish said...

Thanks for sharing this article. God is a Mistry and will always remain so. But its true that the more time you have free the more likely you are to think about it.

January 28, 2008 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Manish: I'm an agnostic myself ("I don't know and you don't know either"). I have nothing against religion; I only have a problem with religious organizations that try to dominate the political process. From my own experience, the atheists I've known don't seem any more extroverted or well-adjusted than anybody else.

January 28, 2008 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous rockync said...

I think the authors of this article might need to get a life! As for me, whatever comforts you, whatever gets you through the night; unless it's something harmful or injurious to another, it's all good.
Personally, I own a border collie who becomes highly indignant if we call her a "dog" and will go skulking into our bedroom (where she sleeps in our bed every night)and sulk, but not before turning to glare at us one last time before leaving the room!
Lonely? I have four children, four grandchildren, two jobs and plenty of other interests.
I have some superstitious beliefs that have been passed down through generations of my family. As a haughty youth, I denied them; now I embrace them as a part of my history.
I am neither ultra religious nor am I agnostic, but I have formed my own sort of loose spiritual belief system that sustains me.
So much for the think tanks! Perhaps they would better serve the world by finding a cure for cancer or solving the riddle of world peace...

January 28, 2008 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

I'm surprised this article was written by a scientist. I don't know what purpose this was supposed to serve, either.

As you know, I'm an atheist. I find it absurd to suggest that people who anthropomorphize their pets, or believe in deit(ies) are less well adjusted than those who don't.

The fact that I, um, DO anthropomorphize my pets has nothing to do with it. :)

January 28, 2008 at 2:58 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rockync: Good point. "Whatever gets you through the night." We have seven cats who we dote on endlessly. (It was eight; we had to have one of them put to sleep less than 2 weeks ago. Cancer. We were both a wreck; we still are.)

I sure agree with your last sentence -- with all the real problems that scientists could be working on, and they're dithering with this bullshit.

Candace: It would be hard to have a pet and not anthropomorphize him/her. The kind of person who could, probably doesn't have any pets.

January 28, 2008 at 3:44 PM  
Anonymous rockync said...

I'm sorry about your cat, Tom. Losing one our furry family members is almost as bad as losing one of our human members. My crazy wolf hybrid, Ted had a cancer that was causing paralysis and that just wouldn't have suited him at all, so I held him while they put him to sleep and cried for weeks afterward. He was 13 years old. It was a terrible loss for both me and my husband. I didn't want another dog and resisted getting another for 6 years and then someone through a 6 week old border collie puppy out into a nearby woods and I couldn't find anyone to take her so we kept her and named her Molly.... :)

January 28, 2008 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rockync: Thanks. That's a really nice story about Molly (and I'm sorry to hear about Ted). The cat we had to put to sleep was 11. In the past 3 years we've had 2 cats who died of old age (based on a vet's estimate, they were both around 18 - 20 years old when they died; they both came to us as strays so we don't know their exact ages). As sad as those 2 deaths were, having to put a pet to sleep is just so much more painful.

I'm glad you have Molly and I hope she stays with you for a long time.

January 28, 2008 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous rockync said...

Thank you,Tom and I hope Molly stays with us a long time too as we are absolutely stupid about her!
You're right, though, having to make that decision is sooo much harder and soooo much more painful than if they die of natural causes. I have a really old cat and a pretty old little dog who are both showing their age and I know it won't be long.

January 28, 2008 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rockync: Thanks, and good luck with Molly and the old dog and old cat. It's painful when a pet dies of old age or natural causes, but it's so much worse when you have to make the decision yourself.

We're both equally "stupid" about our cats too. I wouldn't know how to do anything else.

January 28, 2008 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Tom, so sorry about your cat. I know how hard it is to lose one of our loved ones - feline, canine or human.

Anyone who has a pet knows the animals communicate and understand things just as much as any person; maybe not in exactly the same way, but that doesn't make it any less real.

January 28, 2008 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mauigirl: Thanks. You're absolutely right, canines and felines communicate and understand as much as people; just differently.

January 28, 2008 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

HEck, I agree with Candace here. I seem to be getting closer to atheism with each passing day, yet I anthropomorphize my pets with the best of 'em. I don't really believe one thing has much to do with the other. I can SEE my pets and touch them, whereas I can't see or touch a "god", a "savior", whatever.

Tom, I'm very sad to hear about your cat. That is tough. Hope you guys are doing better with his passing, but it sure is difficult at first. My best thoughts are to you and yours.

Mauigirl, that was a great comment. It DOESN'T make it any less real. To me, animals are pure and innocent creatures, and they DO communicate in their own special way. When I understand what they are saying, I feel privileged. From that point, I have to wonder why I eat some of them... sigh... Not my cats, not my cats!!! Heh...

January 29, 2008 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Thanks. Yes it really was sad for us (still is). Even by cat standards, he had this zaniness and unbridled enthusiasm about everything; it just made him so lovable.

I'm not a vegetarian but there sure are a lot of cultural contradictions about eating meat. We're horrified that Asians eat cats and dogs, but pigs are smarter than either one and we don't give that a second thought over our bacon and eggs. My mother-in-law used to have a potbellied pig. He was an obnoxious #@$%&!# but very very intelligent.

January 29, 2008 at 10:33 AM  

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