Saturday, September 25, 2010

"What's the harm in superstition?", you ask

I'm a bit slow posting this story, but it pretty thoroughly disgusted me.  It's about an American couple who moved to Belize to try to do some good for crocodiles by running a sanctuary.  When two local children went missing, the Americans became targets after a psychic told the locals that the missing children had been taken by them and fed to their crocodiles.  So what do the locals do?  They show up with guns and machetes to the Americans' crocodile centre.  Not finding the people they were looking for, they burned the place to the ground instead, while screaming that they were going to find and kill the Americans, then feed them to the crocodiles whose sanctuary they had just destroyed.

I cannot put into words the level of disgust and hatred I feel for these locals, but I'm going to try.  I'll inevitably fail.  People such as this, who are this stupid and willing to act on their idiotic beliefs, do not deserve to live amongst the rest of us.  These people are useless in our age.  They're stupid, moronic, gullible, ignorant bastards who deserve nothing better in life because they will not use reason.  We emerged from our own dark ages by the light of reason, and here we are in the 21st century, and these people are still visiting psychics and acting on what the psychic says, even when murderous violence is "called for".  Lock these ignorant fucktards up and throw away the key.  Unfortunately, a very large portion of the world hold similar beliefs, and what I'd like to do about it at the moment would be considered genocidal.  Must calm down.

If you want to know what is the harm in superstition, believing in psychics, etc, here it is.  The harm is that some people are willing to ACT on their superstition.


David McNerney said...

"These people are useless in our age."

I like that - it captures an essential point that will more and more be applicable to all superstitious nonsense.

Jim said...

I hate how religious people are allowed to believe in their superstitions, but anyone who believes in a superstition that is not theirs must be either liars or evil. It continues to boggle my mind how these people don't realize that they are condemning people people for believing in exactly they same nonsense they do. They just call their gods or holy books different things.

Anonymous said...

The brutal honesty conveys it all.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm "psychic"
I don't call it that.
I call it intuition.
I don't harm or kill people based intuition.

Jim said...

You're not psychic. You just don't fully understand what intuition is.

Anonymous said...

I am amused by this ^

Dan said...

The problem is NOT these people's superstition. Belief in psychics is harmless. The problem is their willingness to seek violent revenge, regardless of how they came to believe that the Americans were responsible. If someone had lied to them and claimed to have seen the Americans drag the children away, the people would have presumably done the same thing. Would you have then posted about the evils of liars and gullibility?

Admin said...

Dan, belief in psychics is only harmless if one is not willing to act on anything the psychic says. It doesn't have to be violent revenge. It could be something like sending your kids to the wrong school based on the word of a psychic, marrying the wrong person, accepting the wrong job, etc. It removes good decision-making skills from the process.

Would I be posting about the dangers of liars? No, this is an atheism blog. Would I be posting about the dangers of gullibility? Yes, I do it all the time, and this post is about gullibility.

The problem is not merely violent revenge. What if they had a well-organised and peaceful court process, in which the Americans were convicted and jailed for life based on the word of the psychic as a witness? That pretty much negates your point.

These people thought the psychic was credible, because he's a 'psychic'. If it had been me who had said that, they might have at least asked me if I'd seen it.

To conclude, belief in psychics is dangerous.

Dan said...

"Dan, belief in psychics is only harmless if one is not willing to act on anything the psychic says. It doesn't have to be violent revenge."

It's harmless unless the way one chooses to act as a result is harmful. Lack of good decision-making skills is the problem.

"What if they had a well-organised and peaceful court process, in which the Americans were convicted and jailed for life based on the word of the psychic as a witness?"

If they were convicted based on the "testimony" of any type of liar, psychic or conventional, the problem is injustice, not belief in psychics.

Admin said...

"If they were convicted based on the "testimony" of any type of liar, psychic or conventional, the problem is injustice, not belief in psychics."

Uh-huh. So if there's a gang war caused by illegal drugs, with lots of people getting killed, the problem is murder, not gangs or drugs. What caused the injustice? That's a problem. Injustice is the result. Injustice itself is not a problem, it's the result of other problems.

Admin said...

Dan, if a baseball game gets rained out, is the problem the weather or is the problem rain-outs?

Admin said...

And another one. If a guilty person is set free by a corrupt judge, is the problem corruption, or is the problem injustice?

Admin said...

Dan, can you please describe your religious beliefs, or lack thereof?

Anonymous said...

The true danger of religion is in fact this.

They say "oh, there's no harm in my beliefs, after all, the ten commandments teach good values like not stealing, not committing adultery, and to honor your parents.”

But the BIBLE is dangerous:

The bible itself teaches a lot more bad than good;
it teaches hate (2 Chronicles 15:12-13; Deuteronomy 17:12) and encourages discrimination (Numbers 25:1-9, Leviticus 25:44-46, Exodus 21:2-6)

The bible openly chastises women (Corinthians 15:34-36, Colossians 3:18) and gay people (Romans 1:24-32, Leviticus 20:13), encourages rape (Judges 5:30, Exodus 21:7-11, Deuteronomy 21:10-14). it openly supports slavery (Ephesians 6:5, Timothy 6:1-2) and human sacrifice (Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 21:9).
The bible guides us in how to properly capital punish people (Kings 18:36-40), children (Kings 2:23-24), or entire towns (Deuteronomy 13:13-19)

Ryan Trix said...

I can't help but wonder if your rage and hatred is equally as bad as any radical religious person's hatred and rage.
Your post is quite hypocritical since one of the things that most atheists are against when it comes to religion is how easily religious people come to the decision that when other's are wrong we should kill them. Your post is against the fact that this person let another human being suffer because of their personal beliefs, yet you feel that we should kill people who believe that way based on what we believe.
If this is what you meant, then I wonder if you are a good voice for atheists, since there are a lot of impressionable, confused people just escaping their religious views who may read this and feel that it is in fact correct to think that a genocide would solve these problems when in fact it would do the opposite. Please if you are going to post things for the world to see and you actually want the world to be a better place. Think before you post.

Admin said...

Ryan, do you think I want to kill people? Think before you comment?

And yes, it's so bad that somebody might hate people who went out to kill people based on the word of a psychic, and you are absolutely correct in comparing me to a religious person who hates people for thought-crimes.

I am not a voice for atheists. I am a voice for me, and me only. Other people can use their own voice.

Jim said...

Admin, let me just say that it is ridiculous to assume that a religious person thinks that anybody can decide anything for themselves. They have spent their entire lives being told what to think, what values they should hold, who they should hate or be scared of, and when they should give the people who tell them what to do their money.

To automatically assume that they are capable of rational thought after proclaiming they believe in some supernatural force that has never been seen or heard, or witnessed in any way shape or form, well, that's just plain crazy.

We have witnessed ourselves on these very forums the lack of common sense and reason these people have. And now they assume you want to go around killing people based on what they believe, another statement that has no factual basis in reality (sort of like claiming there is a god...). They offer no proof of this, no evidence in any way, but it must be so. Probably because the voices in their head told them it was so.

And that's the problem right there.

John Hatheway said...

You know, if there would have been missionaries there doing god's work that never would have happened....