Once again, let me try to illustrate why faith is stupid.
There are some things we all take as a given, and many people call this faith. I assume for example, that I am alive. I may not be. Life, as we experience it, may be some kind of sick cosmic joke. It may all be an illusion. We have examined this universe from the largest stars to the smallest of subatomic particles and we still don’t get how all this stuff works. There seems to be no substantial difference between what is energy and what is matter, and yet at the same time for practical every day purposes there’s a big difference between lightning and a cadenza.
I take as a given when I wake up in the morning, for example, that my bed is a bed, the alarm clock is an alarm clock, and gravity is gravity. I could lay there and question the existence of these things, but I simply don’t have time. I usually have to get to work. I could challenge the existence of my employment, but that would lead to challenging the existence of my paycheck. I could challenge the existence of bills, but then I’d be challenging the existence of a roof over my head and other resources. I go with what works. We may all just be disembodied brains in jars somewhere hooked up to a Matrix-style virtual representation of reality. Is that possible? Yes, but it’s a very slim possibility and rather pointlessly absurd to even entertain, much less believe. Is that likely, that we’re trapped in a Matrix? I gotta make breakfast. Let someone else chase that rabbit down its hole. Take the blue pill. Fuck it.
However, many people argue that even taking reality at face value is faith. We really don’t have proof that this is the right choice to make. There IS evidence that our senses deceive us all the time. Optical illusions reveal that what we perceive and what is are often not exactly the same thing. We compensate for the shortcomings of our sensory perception as best we can, but our visual acuity is rather limited. There’s invisible light all the time that we can’t see, but we have found using other means that gamma, cosmic, infra and ultra waves of light and energy are common in this universe, tho we barely notice them. We can FEEL infrared sometimes in the form of heat but that’s not the same as seeing light. We have special kinds of sunglasses now to protect us from UV light which can harm our eyes even tho we can’t see it when it does. It is possible that random gamma rays which are going through the Earth all the time from the Sun are actually causing come forms of cancer when they go through a human body in just the right way, hitting one DNA strand in one cell of a person’s body and starting a chain reaction that leads to cancer. It’s possible. Is it likely? I have no way of knowing. We can’t outlaw the Sun, even tho we know it causes skin cancer like melanoma, and it may be responsible for more than that.
Recently, Bashar al-Assad has publicly denied he had anything to do with the use of sarin gas on innocent people in Syria. The Assad regime has been stockpiling the stuff. There have been a half dozen or so incidents throughout Syria in the past couple years where someone appears to be using sarin gas. Assad insists it’s not him. So either he actually is using sarin on his own people and then denies it, or someone else is using sarin gas under the nose of the Assad regime to frame the current Syrian government, and Assad has no way of stopping this. Which is more likely? Or maybe there’s multiple other scenarios to which I’m not privy. This may not be an either/or situation. It doesn’t seem that Assad would have the motive to do this, but then if he would never do this, why IS he stockpiling sarin gas in the first place? Who IS he planning on using that crap on? This would bring us to needing a better understanding of just what the heck sarin gas is.
Okay. So. Sarin gas could remove a person’s detractors without damaging property. It quickly dissipates, leaving little to no trace after several weeks. All you’d have to do would be dispose of the bodies and you now have not only removed a formidable threat but you now can exploit their spoils like their houses and cars and porn collections. Why WOULDN’T a power hungry dictator use sarin gas on his own people?
Let’s step back a moment to my perspective. I’ve spoken before about how I don’t believe in Paris France. I’ve never been there. I’ve been told it’s very nice. However, one could argue it’s a leap of faith for me to believe in Paris France because all the evidence I have supporting its existence could have been conjured up at great expense just to make me look like an idiot. That’s highly unlikely however, so for practical purposes, I live my life as if there is a Paris France roughly where people tell me it is, and if I wanted to ever visit it, there are french people there right now who would be more than happy to insult me for being a fat American in their way.
I hear they love Jerry Lewis, so at least we have something in common.
I’ve never been to Syria, nor do I have ANY desire to visit. I’m sure there are lovely people and they have nice food and culture and music etc. They also have a power hungry crazy person presiding over their government who may or may not be using sarin gas on his own people, and I doubt sarin gas would check to see if I was a foreigner on Syrian soil before it killed me too if I happened to visit on the wrong day, so count me out, but these are all assumptions. I honestly don’t know if Syria is real any more than I know France is real. I hear France wants to help us bomb Syria, but all of this is hearsay to me. I am being told about this stuff by friends and by news media. I see speeches of Barack Obama and John Kerry making claims about things happening in Syria, but I see no evidence that they personally went over there either. So these guys are taking the hearsay about a lot of stuff allegedly happening in Syria, assuming that their “intelligence” over there is accurate. And what exactly is “intelligence” in this context? Guys who talk to other guys who allegedly saw stuff. Hearsay.
There are UN inspectors who tried to go into Syria to investigate on the ground whether or not sarin gas was actually used where we were told it was, and snipers tried to shoot them dead. Again. Allegedly. This is what I’m being told… notice I’m not believing any of this now. I’m well aware that some, or none, or all of what I’m being told about Syria is bullshit. I have no way of knowing how much of it is bullshit.
There’s videos of people laying on the ground. We are told these were victims of sarin gas. I’ve seen conflicting reports from people who claim to know about this stuff and some of them say its indicative of sarin and others have said it looks like it might have been sarin but it could have been something else, and as I’ve said before I could fake such videos myself given enough resources and volunteers that believed faking these videos could get rid of a tyrant. What’s more likely? I honestly don’t know.
Would a guy that’s done what people claim Assad has done with conventional weapons draw the same red line in the sand that Obama has? Why would he? If he stockpiles sarin gas, why would anyone believe he’d be afraid to use it? He’s killed hundreds of thousands of people with guns. Sarin gas may simply kill more people more effectively. He can save money on bullets alone.
However, why would someone who’s been smart enough up until now to get this kind of power and keep it, be so stupid as to use sarin gas on his own people KNOWING it would piss off the international community? If he’d do this on his own people, what’s to stop him from using it on surrounding countries, or anyone who pissed him off? Does he really think we’re naive and gullible and wouldn’t do anything if he keeps this up? Is he that stupid? No. He can’t be. Why? Cuz you can’t be this stupid and become this powerful unless you’re George W. Bush.
Not using faith to think about these things means being able to see where a progression of logic and rational thought is a comfortable walk down a hallway, when it’s a little tricky navigating but ultimately secure, and when it’s a downright jump into a dark chasm facing what’s either a slight drop or a bottomless pit or anything in between. What’s the most likely scenario? I honestly don’t know. We don’t have all the facts, but there are A LOT of people who have reason to believe that SOMEONE is using sarin gas on innocent Syrians.
Not using faith is also a way to avoid taking drastic action. Faith is what pulls the trigger in any violent act. Doubt is what stays the hand. Some people in this world WANT to pull that trigger, and faith gives them that excuse. There are people who have read about The End Times prophecized in ancient Abrahamic literature and they feel that if they just encourage those events of hate and fear, it will trigger the arrival of their heavenly savior. They have faith in this. So to them there’s no difference between walking down a safe hallway of rational thought and jumping through bottomless pits. It’s all the same to them. Hell. I don’t even believe Bashar al-Assad exists. Fuck it. I’m gonna go see if there’s anything real in my kitchen to nuke in a microwave.. is my microwave oven still real? Let’s test that theory.
Let me try to put it this way. I can’t prove Assad used sarin gas on his own people in Syria. No one seems to be able to prove it. However, we also can’t prove that he didn’t. Is it more likely that he did it? Yes. He has the motive, and he has the means.
Is that enough to start world war three? I don’t think so!
Doesn’t anyone remember we started world war one over the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria? We had more to go on back then and even that was stupid!