The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Of constipated elephants and large does of laxatives

In a conversation last night I mentioned a new astrology website and that a degree is now being offered in astrology. At the time I did not know if the offering institution was accredited. It is not. Surprise surprise. I 'spect it's only a matter of time until an accredited university DOES offer a degree in astrology.

She asked me what I thought about.

"I think if you have a constipated elephant and give it a strong laxative, you better get out of the way in a real hurry," I replied.
Google image search ROCKS!
If you missed my symbolism there, I'm saying astrology is like the pile the above elephant left.

I lump astrology into the same category as phrenology, Freudian pyschiatry/psychology (yes, I know there is a difference, but the difference between the two matters little to me in this column), the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world, a politician serious about balancing the budget without increasing taxes and a lawyer interested in doing the right thing v. shoving money in his pocket. OK that last was not completely fair. I have actually met three lawyers who really did the right thing even though it was at their expense and actually cost them time and money and they didn't send a bill for what they did.

Except on the side of Good.
Now lemme throw you a wild curve ball.

Being a Christian and periodically called upon to defend my beliefs and position, I've used a set series of arguments for a long time which I thought were pretty irrefutable. In my mind the positions I offered were un-assailable, inviolable, and impregnable.

Curve ball 2: While wandering through the Astrology website and trying work up a piece for my syndicated humor column. I came across the Burden of Proof part of the website.

Disclaimer: I don't like what I'm about to write. But if I am to continue to pursue rationality and personal accountability, I've got to hold myself accountable to the same standards I insist others have. Gotta be fair. I also note what follows will probably immensely, tremendously and massively torque Christians.

Examine the questions listed in the Astrology apologetics section. Now look at the answers. Strip out the semantics and meanings of the posted items look at the logic behind them. Once you get devoid of the in-context meaning and merely look at the reasoning structure, you are left with pretty much the same stock answers as offered by most Christian Apologetics.

Grade A fertilizer.


Evasions. Doubletalk. Attempting to prove a negative with no positive. Redirecting.

I tellya it is decidedly UNPLEASANT to see the form of your arguments for a cherished belief used to support something that has about as much basis in reality as intelligent life in Washington D.C.

Now all that said, there is one MAJOR difference between the astrological arguments and Christian apologetics.

This astrology guy claims to be able to provide empirical proof that astrology works. Christians can make the same claim - simple existence is their proof - but that's proof of an entirely different order, magnitude and even universal mind-set. Christianity is based on faith - a belief in that which is not seen. This astrology guy claims to be able to provide scientific evidence.

Proof of either is irrelevant in one sense because the astrology guy has - I wanna say co-opted Christianity's arguments but that ain't fair or correct - emulated the ideas used when a believer sits to debate an atheist.

Having seen my position used to defend something I see as beyond ludicrous, I now see how equally
Ignorance is curable. Stupidity is not.
foolish my use of the same positions must be when viewed by others. He has shown me the flaws in the refutations as presented. 

However, just because there are flaws does not mean they are fatal; I draw your attention back to the fact this guy claims to provide scientific proof to back his claims. Christianity is based on faith. Astrology, according to this guy, is based on hard science.

This faith makes a critical difference.

Flawed though my arguments in defense of my belief may be, they are grounded in something which cannot be tested in double-blind studies and subjected to rigorous scientific analysis. Faith.

As I tell the guys at prison, I am just a man attempting to understand the motivations and meanings of a being as superior to me as I am superior to blue-green algae. Sometimes the answer "I don't know" is the only valid and honest answer I can give.

So maybe it is a case that my arguments are not flawed. It is a case of I lack the understanding and the ability to understand.

Which still leaves me far from satisfied. I do not like being ignorant on subjects which are important to me.

The idea that I may be presently incapable of understanding is no balm, especially when coupled with this Astrology website using the same responses I give to those who question my beliefs.

Meanwhile, I have this huge pile of semantic fertilizer and no garden to spread it in. Arg. I have some reading to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi. I welcome lively debate. Attack the argument. Go after a person in the thread, your comments will not be posted.