Picking Things Apart

I like picking things apart. As far as I am concerned, dissecting illogical or unsupported arguments to figure-out why or when they don’t work, is one of life’s true pleasures. Which is why I’ve been in a bit of a rut, of late: I have not encountered very much to stimulate my deconstructive impulse.

In the past, when I have found myself in such a position, I have found succour in religion;that is to say (before any of you jump to conclusions) that I’ve turned to the Christian Right in the United States, as they are such a rich and dependable source of moronic arguments.

This hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is the amount of satisfaction that I can get from such low-hanging fruit.

I mean: here‘s a science test, allegedly originating from a Christian private school in Florida, which asserts that a belief in God is necessary to explain the existence of gravity. Now, of course, I could easily talk about the philosophical vacuousness of God-of-the-Gaps type arguments, or launch into a discussion of General Relativity and a number of approaches towards the creation of a theory of quantum gravity, or even (if I were feeling creative), point out how weird it is that God is apparently necessary to explain a weak-ass force like gravitation, while all of the under fundamental forces are satisfactorily explained by quantum field theory, but what would be the point? Anything I say is just going to be said by a million other people, smarmily congratulating themselves on their own wit. There’s no glory in it.

The sad thing though, is that it continues to be necessary for people to be critical of nonsense like this, and they should make their criticisms as widely known and understood as possible. But I think that any one individual can only fight battles like this for a maximum of about five years before it becomes too interminably boring*. I need bigger things to chew on; things which haven’t been pre-chewed a million times before.

I need to get back into academics.


*This rule doesn’t apply to people who really and truly get off on cheap feelings of intellectual superiority. I suspect that this practically a job requirement in order to be a ‘professional skeptic.’


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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2 Responses to Picking Things Apart

  1. Lindsay says:

    God is responsible for electricity, too.

    Also, re this:

    I suspect that [the ability to get off on cheap feelings of superiority] is practically a job requirement in order to be a ‘professional skeptic’.

    I don’t doubt that most Professional Skeptics (it’s not “sceptic” for you? I don’t know how much British spelling Canadians use, but I do see a bunch of superfluous U’s* in your writing, so I know it must be some!) are like this, but I think you can be one — or want to be one — without it.

    Part of what is interesting about debunking for me is trying to see what it is that makes the false belief seem reasonable. I like to stress how we all share these biases, so no one is stupid for committing a fallacy based upon them. I’m going to be gauche and link to a post I wrote, which at the end includes a list of things I think might make a reasonable person think vaccines can cause autism. (I think this is a good type-specimen of the kind of skeptical writing I do.) Indeed, I HATE explanation that rely on, “That person is just dumb” because they’re thought- and discussion-terminating.

    Of course, I am no Professional Skeptic — I have yet to be paid for any writing!

    *This is a joke, I know they are not superfluous.

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