It dawned on me today that I’ve followed almost the entire medical school education of Ozge through her blog. I read about study strategies, notes, old medical books, and the daily grind. I knew that a lot of study went into medical school, but in reality I didn’t have much of a real-life idea until reading about it on regular basis.
Medicine and science are so advanced, we know not our own ignorance more than ever. This breeds all kinds of dangerous egos, ones fed by access to technologies that we the users feel an extension of our own intelligence. But science is becoming a sort of voodoo practice against which groups rally with pitchforks – all because general lack of understanding. We want technology, medicine and to explore the universe, but as a whole put up roadblocks for those able to deliver it.
Margaret Atwood explains in Payback the ill sentiments towards the grain-mill owner and his family; the mill being one of the first large scale business service industries that could rob without you knowing it, for who could tell exactly how much flower was due from one bag of grain? When those delivering the solutions don’t struggle financially, or worse, are well-to-do, the suspicions and rumours start a life of their own.
So here is the simple game plan:
1. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. [And motives of others.] (Christopher Hitchens)
2. Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. (Horace Mann)
Ozge tells in one of her early posts how when she was growing up, she pretended that reading books gave her superpowers – a wonderfully simple rendering of a big idea.
About to close up my suitcase and head out the door for a bus headed to Prague. Fjara fills my flat for what must be a fifth time this morning. What a strange song, like a prayer chant, rising louder when it fails to materialise anything important or meaningful. I imagine these the last words sung to what by the end of the track is a dead God.
I commented an article knowing full well that in most likelihood it will not get published. The knowledge that someone must read it as part of the rejection process was enough to get my keyboard and soapbox out. My second paragraph reuses phrases which the author quotes of others with pious delight.
A rather verbose column – Mr. Bergman is obviously deeply passionate about the subject. Unfortunately from first to last paragraph the content is tripe.
As the article unfolds one is left with a deepening feeling that the only science experience Mr. Bergman can possibly have is in being a test subject in a windowless, damp lab manned by ‘zealots and cranks’ suffering from ‘misplaced confidence.’
“Science fraud epidemic – Factors driving the increase in science fraud today are many, but include a rejection of Christian moral absolutes.”
Epidemic? Christian moral absolutes?
“Send in the Clowns”
“Don’t bother. They’re here.”
“With infinite life comes an infinite list of relatives. Grandparents never die, nor do great-grandparents, great-aunts… and so on, back through the generations, all alive and offering advice. Sons never escape from the shadows of their fathers. Nor do daughters of their mothers. No one ever comes into his own… Such is the cost of immortality. No person is whole. No person is free.”
‘We judge others by their actions, ourselves by our intentions’ was my conclusion of a late morning train of thought. I knew that I could not be the first to think of it and Google confirmed it. Next stop: Was this really my own idea, or did I hear it somewhere and it simply resurfaced?
“Even the inside of your mind is endless” reminded me of a quote by Erich Maria Remarque, but it’s hiding from me somewhere or I’ve confused sources. Maybe I’ll find it later, but after reading a few quotes from All Quiet on the Western Front I wish for a lazy afternoon and a chance to re-read it. The copy I have is very old and smells of the past, as if Paul Bäumer carried it in his pocket from Mons all the way to the Italian front in Vittorio Veneto.
Many atheists have very poor critical thinking skills. That’s what worries me the most – what keeps me up at night. I now debate religion less and less, and instead work to bring to the foreground the likes of Carl Sagan. If a person takes time to listen to the likes of Mr. Sagan, they will not only free themselves from God but will be also left with much better critical thinking skills.
The world has enough atheists. What it now needs are people that have bullshit filters as sharp as Occam’s razor, and who are not afraid to use their intellect to steer right those clearly wrong and continuing to persist with their ignorance to everyone’s detriment.
I’m off to the country to chop some wood. Tomorrow I’ll be back to straining my mental capacities programming. Programming is a cold, pure, austere logic world, which is probably why I keep going back to it. That and the fact that it pays the bills…
I’ve my highlighter out, and it’s getting good use. Sam’s book and a recent disagreement with a new friend who happened to be a young earth creationist had me wondering about biases, mine and those of others. Reading through How to Overcome Unconscious and Hidden Biases this note emerged from the text and grabbed me:
“Many philosophers have also pointed out the benefits of being unbiased, in that you are virtually nonstick. Not only in a way that mud doesn’t stick to you, even though life will always throw it at you, but also that as you wade through life, you can avoid it sticking to you and getting swamped. This means you can avoid getting snarled in pointless arguments, as you have transcended a powerful bait and trap system and you can be more happy, healthy and wise.”
This was nice to read considering that this was my final Facebook message yesterday (despite the powerful bait to send a rebuttal instead) before blocking its recipient. It was a reply to a longish paragraph essentially suggesting that true friends are interested in each other’s interests, and accusing me of being disrespectful and ignorant.
If you detected a tongue-in-cheek element, you’d be right. I’ve made several suggestions on how we can discuss religion in a meaningful way. None were accepted. The only way to clear the tension seemed to be in the form of conceding that creationism is as valid an idea as a universe without a creator, at least until I’ve fully heard the full interview with Jack Cuozzo, a dentist from New Jersey. The 38 minute interview starts with the host proclaiming “Evolution is such a weak theory that scientists have actually tempered with fossils in order to fabricate the missing link.”
This isn’t 1858.
I feel emancipated. And, I’ve spent the extra free time to finally write back to a friend in Australia three weeks after I received her Email, instead of arguing over something which has virtually no chance of ending happily.
I was going to write about pro-life, how it’s a misnomer since so many calling themselves that have polar opposite attitudes towards e.g. capital punishment. I was going to take it further back into the shady lanes of the anti-choice movement as it ignores the often fatal outcomes for pregnant women in societies that put the foetus’ survival ahead of the mother’s. But someone else already did a good job doing just that, so I’ll kindly point you in the direction of said piece.