I just saw a tweet that I had to favorite. It makes a point I’ve been attempting to make for some time now.
Here it is, from Russell Blackford:
Atheism is the most reasonable answer to the God question, which doesn’t mean that atheists are immune to the lure of ideology.
Substitute skeptics for atheists and you might recall I’ve written quite a bit about this in the past. I believe this will always be a recurring theme for me because I see it all the time within the community. It’s truly amazing for me to read something someone has tweeted, or blogged about taken as whole cloth. That is, just because someone of reported repute has made a claim, it must be true without having to validate any of the relevant “facts” presented. If there are any facts presented.
The same goes for anything published by the “left” or “right”. Too many times, on both sides I’ve read articles where the authors view is confirmed without any actual attribution as to what is being written about. That’s called opinion, and that’s fine, but please don’t try to convince me the sky is falling when there is nothing to back up the claim.
Whenever any of us makes a specific claim, we should be able to refer to any and all facts concerning that claim and not look at it within our own belief system. Because something feels right, doesn’t mean it is right. Does that sound even a little familiar to anyone?
We’re also all human and it is easy to fall into ideological traps without even recognizing that we have. We’ll never be perfect preventing getting caught up in traps, but we should use all of our skills of reason to avoid the pitfalls of our flaws and when another points out to us that we have been caught up, we should listen to that person. We’ve all witnessed too many instances of others being in denial. We also need to make close introspection as well.
So what’s my proof of my claim here? It’s actually in my Twitter feed where I see some of the most ridiculously ideological statements made, and re-tweeted by others, without anyone bothering to stop for a moment and put on their skeptic’s hat to evaluate what has been said. I see it all day, every day that I peruse my twitter timeline. Honestly, it’s actually getting to the point where I can’t stand looking at twitter because of some of the things I see there. And I only follow those that claim to be atheists and skeptics!
I doubt that any of us will ever be able to remove all of our bias from what we speak or write about but we should also be aware that those biases exist. I really believe that at least a portion of what’s been called in-fighting within the community would cease if everyone took a step back from the mirror to see themselves clearly and recognize their own fallibility before pointing out others.