There’s a lot of irrationality in the world and lots of people who hold irrational beliefs who point at other people who hold different irrational beliefs in an accusatory manner, like their own silly beliefs are fine, but those other silly beliefs… HERESY! I ran into someone like that recently, whose hypocrisy was so utterly blatant, yet she was completely blind to it. We were talking about supernatural claims, whether they were worth considering or not and one woman said that she recognized belief in gods were irrational, but she believed in ghosts for personal reasons and argued that belief in ghosts was less irrational than belief in gods.
I asked her how she could justify such a statement and she said that at least belief in ghosts caused no harm to the world, it didn’t order a particular set of morals, it didn’t require people attend services or read books or hold a particular worldview. To her, the belief in ghosts was totally neutral.
Belief in anything irrational is still irrational and if you recognize that it is irrational at all, then you lose all credibility when you continue to hold that belief. The level of irrationality is just a justification for a belief, it doesn’t make that belief any better than the true wingnuts out there. You can’t argue that belief in ghosts is better than belief in unicorns, but worse than a belief in leprechauns. It just doesn’t work that way.
Unfortunately, she’s convinced, as are many irrational people, that because there are a lot of irrational people in the world, that makes irrationality fine and dandy. That’s like saying that because there are lots of racists around, that makes racism acceptable. Essentially, she’s arguing that because other people are crazy, nobody can possibly complain about her own brand of insanity.
Of course, the discussion isn’t going to go anywhere because she can’t be reasoned with, any more than a theist can. She’s utterly convinced that her belief in ghosts is valid and true and beyond reproach and no amount of logic or reason is going to convince her otherwise because she doesn’t live in a rational world. She lives in a world where wanting something to be true is all the evidence that she needs that it actually is. Funny how much that sounds like religion, isn’t it?
We only need one standard, as I told her. That standard is based on evidence and reason and logic. It is based on the best supported position, determined by the best currently-available evidence and, at least so far, the factual existence of ghosts doesn’t meet that standard. She chose to ignore me, which is hardly unexpected, the delusional don’t get their minds changed by rational arguments, especially when she lives in a world where rationality is fairly non-existent.
More sad insanity for the reader to consider.