vendredi 9 juin 2017

Beliefs are a funny thing

I was in a random chat room, which are usually just awful and the conversations are terrible but every once in a while there is something interesting.

A guy named SoftwareEngineer (SE) was arguing with a believer about religion. SE is an atheist and was arguing that anyone who believes in religion isn't intelligent. Anyone using logic and critical thinking would see that religion is bs and therefor anyone who believes in religion is not smart.

I'm an atheist myself, but I pointed out that there are many very intelligent people who are religious, and that everyone believes something that isn't true. Everyone has their blind spots, and obviously they don't see them as blind spots. Surely SE has some false beliefs too? Is he then dumb by his own standards?

His general attitude was that he is right about everything, he never lies to himself (literally said that, to which I said he is lying to himself about lying to himself), and he has no false beliefs. He was ranting on about this for a while with several people. He pointed out a few standard arguments atheists tend to make and continued saying religious believers are irrational, not smart, etc. People should be like him and follow science and critical thinking.

Anyway I stop engaging him on religion for a bit and instead switch to talking about science, physics, multiverse theory, time, dreams...

And then he says that he believes he has dreams about the future. That all his life he has dreams that then happen shortly after. How does this mesh with his belief in science? He says there is a multiverse, and more than 3 dimensions, and in one of them time flows backwards and his brain can somehow access the information. In a sense, that future event has already happened to him in the past. Or something along those lines. How else could he possibly keep dreaming about future events? He says he knows he can't prove it, but it's true.

As an example he tells about a dream he had. SE and a friend had grown apart, removed each other from social media, hadn't seen her in years. One of her friends he didn't really know except that he knew what her face looked like. So he has a dream about going to the restroom at his college and seeing this old friend again, except that instead of her normal blonde hair she has black hair. The next day, while going to the restroom, he sees not the old friend, but her friend, who he knew only by her face, and wouldn't you know it, she had black hair!

I told him the dream was wrong, and he is connecting the black hair and the friend of a friend as an after the fact rationalization. He says dreams are symbolic and have to be interpreted and he reads websites about it.

I told him that he was literally no different from the religious people he just ranted about earlier. But of course, he says religious people are crazy and dumb but he is intelligent and right, even if he can't prove it.

I thanked him for the interesting conversation. I thought some might find the story amusing and perhaps have a similar experience to share.

via International Skeptics Forum

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