01 January 2008

Time For...Critical Thinking


I have a question.
When are black people going to start to be rational? When are black people going to, en masse, throw out all those tired old scriptures which bring negative, old outdated traditions which stifle and intimidate? When are we (I hate to use we when talking about race as there is only one race and that is 'human' - just humour me) going to realise that believing in a 'god' or 'gods or even one that I hear more and more, 'universal conciousness' is not promoting progress.
I listen to the news, read newspapers, magazines, and lately I have been reading a few blogs to get a giste of what the general views are out there. I have also tried to look for sites written by or about black people who are rationalists, free-thinkers and/or atheists. I am saddened to report that there are too few references to the above.
I'm tired of listening to Oprah pretending to present a balanced view of what a 'non-believer' or 'skeptic' is. I'm tired of Dr Phil, who has one of the most patronising manners in the history of television, make references to god and 'being spiritual'. I'm tired of the Pope, Benedict XVI (or Benny 16 as he is known in some circles) popping up in the news media with some crass comment about the social ills - this from the catholic church (let's not go there at this moment).
I'm tired of reading blogs about how black people are 'angry' yet skim down the text and you read some lauding of 'what god has done for me'. Arrgghhh! Please, People, please! Let us get a grip. Let us empty our minds and start using some critical thinking skills. Let us focus on what evidence we have for anything we believe. It is not only important but crucial for the development of our species. It is not okay to teach our children to believe what we believe just for the sake of it. It is not okay to pick up a book and believe every word it says because it tells you to do so. Doing that is called two things: laziness and ignorance. Both things lead to extinction.
If you have a child and teach him/her to believe without thinking, you are not doing the best for your child. It is a bug-bear of mine but I think if you are drawing up some resolutions or plans to change your life this year then you could do worse than add 'critical thinking' on your list of must do's. But please don't take my word for it! Check things out for yourself.
Carl Sagan has a Baloney Detection Kit which you would do well to print off and read often - and maybe even share it with other people who you think might benefit from this kit. You could buy 'self-help' books but I have yet to read anything which puts it in a nutshell like Carl Sagan. Save your money and click on the above link.
I don't expect everyone to think like I do but it would be nice if we were having a discussion that we followed the critical thinking path. Some people could perceive this as boring and no fun but is it fun when we are promoting ignorance and passivity when charlatans are conning you out of your hard-earned money each week? Is it fun when people are refusing to use condoms because the church says so? Or refusing to vaccinate their children against preventable diseases such as polio because the church says so? Or discriminate against gay people because the believers have scriptures to back up their bigotry? Is it fun? Is it fun when black people are killed because they are considered Hamites and there to serve as 'it says so in the bible' and therefore are born to be slaves with no rights?
The saddest part about the whole fiction-as-fact history of belief is to consider how much farther humans being would have been if we had dismissed religion and theism as concepts many hundreds of years earlier.
Start today.

3 comments:

owen said...

first of all black people don't en masse, secondly there are rational people among us. everything takes time

Capernaum said...

Dr. Phil is a good guy to follow...if you want to go to hell!

Mark St. John(Pruitt) said...

It's the human species. Not the human race. Humans are a species divided by separate races.