Monday, October 31, 2016

The Blind Spot of Every Bias

Every person has some bias in their own eye that prevents them from seeing what it is other people see. Most of the time, this bias leads us to the conclusion that the other person is simply wrong in their assessment of our beliefs and wrong about their own. But are they the one who is wrong, or are we?

If you are a Christian, for example, your bias will often lead you to not only see the "virtues" of Christianity as far out weighing its vices, but also that the vices of not being a Christian far outweigh the virtues. And if you are an atheist, you see it the other way around.

Such a bias can also lead some Christians to believe that their beliefs can only ever produce virtue (because God is pure virtue) and anything that produces vice (even within or in furtherance of their beliefs) is always the result of something that is most definitely not their Christianity.

Atheists, as a group of people, may certainly have those within their ranks who feel the same way about their atheism, but there is a notable difference. Atheists are willing to admit that atheism can be used to produce a plethora of both virtues and vices, even as Christians will argue that their Christianity can only ever produce one and not the other.

When an theist counters this point by asking about child rape, crusades, slavery, global floods, jihad, and the like, the Christian simply concludes that such acts are clearly have nothing to do with 'true' Christianity.

Of course, if you ever turned such reasoning around by suggesting to the Christian that the proper understanding of Nazism was that it was simply a virtuous political system that helped to feed an entire country of people who were being systematically starved to death by the Allies after World War I - thanks to embargos, the Treaty of Versailles and myriad other factors - they would think you were quite possibly insane.

They would then, most likely, move to find any possible way to explain how the two comparisons have absolutely nothing to do with each other, even though for many people, Christianity is even worse than Nazism.

But in either case, the true meaning of Nazism or Christianity lie not in what the system is or is not, or in whether either system produces more virtue or vice, but in why someone feels the need to argue for the sanctity of one and the evil of the other. These perspectives, in other words, tell us about how the blind spot of every bias controls how we see things, far more than it tells us about whether our own "perspective" on such matters is more objectively "true" and accurate.

It has nothing to do with the "truth" of such things, in other words, but everything to do with what we decide to be "true." Thus, proving once again that "we do not see things as they are, but as we are."

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Religion is a disease masquerading as it’s own cure.