Lies, Damn Lies and Making Stuff Up

dilbert14Even though this particular example is directed at a Christian, it seems to be a problem all over so I don’t want anyone to think this is a religious-only issue.  On an atheist forum, a Catholic member asserted that there were more male forum members on atheist forums and more female members on religious forums and was wondering why this might be.  Now, it’s an innocuous question but while other forum members were trying to provide possible answers, I took a step back and started wondering exactly how she came up with those statistics in the first place.  Having been a member of the atheist forum for a very long time and going to the religious forum she mentioned, there was nowhere that I could see where the members identified their real life genders and besides, even if they did, how would anyone know if they were telling the truth?

So I started asking questions about how this data was determined and how was it tested?  I would have actually been satisfied if she could point to anywhere on both forums where gender statistics were listed, but she couldn’t.  She said through “observation”. Well how the hell can you observe someone’s gender in an online forum?  Guess?  Still, she maintained that somehow she had that knowledge, just like she maintained that somehow she knew that God was real.  I guess delusion is an equal opportunity liar.

Certainly though, she’s not alone, there are plenty of people out there who claim that they have knowledge they cannot possibly have, there is no end to online debates and discussions where one side will say they know things they can’t conceivably know and when cornered, they will ignore any and all requests for their methodology.  They just know.  I guess it’s magic.  Everything from the feminist’s favorite whipping dog, the patriarchy, that thing they can’t prove exists but they’re sure is real, to various motivations ascribed to large groups of people without a shred of evidence to back it up,  This is a huge barrier to having intelligent discussions with people whose confirmation bias not only leads them to cherry picking data that agrees with them over that which does not, but to just make things up when they can’t find any actual data to trot out during the debate. And, of course, they can’t be honest about any of it because that gets in the way of feeling good about their positions.  They’re too busy just making stuff up to care about reality.

It’s sad that rationality is a lost art for so many.

4 thoughts on “Lies, Damn Lies and Making Stuff Up”

    1. Thanks. I can't tell you how many times I have to explain to people that just because they want something to be true, that doesn't make it true, you actually have to rationally examine your positions beyond simple wishful thinking, but far too many people refuse to do that.

  1. Christians, who cannot get affirmation of their hoped-for Heavenly reward except by surrounding themselves with like minded believers, must find it disturbing when "facts" don't support their beliefs. It is a very small step from this Religious need to simply ignoring or makling up "facts" when they are not readily available in tis reality.

    1. But they don't care about "facts". When their faith and the facts disagree, the facts must be wrong. And you're right, it is only a hop, skip and a jump from believing things and discounting existing facts that disagree to just making things up out of whole cloth, as we've seen the evangelicals do time and time again, because they want some ammo in debates against the non-religious.

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