Bullshit Makes the World Go Round

November 1, 2008 at 1:32 pm (Wrongs of the World) (, , , , , )

I used to bullshit for the fun of it. Bullshit can be compared to compulsive lying: you start making something up based on what you know, and with enough resolve and confidence everyone in the immediate vicinity will take you for an expert. Bullshit gives people a sort of social high: the attention, the apparent expertise, a sense of accomplishment and a personal appreciation for one’s wit.

Well, as a student at Carnegie Mellon, I no longer bullshit for no reason. Not only has the deception lost its luster, but outwitting the bright, high in IQ, and up-to-date on the latest in science, politics, world news is damn near impossible. However, I study physics, and I find that I no longer “bullshit” so much as I correctly explain the world. I know enough and I have imbibed enough physics-oriented thinking that when I make something up, it is not far off from reality.

Theists fail to approach this standard of basing their explanations of the world on the world itself. If I see my friend making something up, I catch those nuances in his voice and those slight incongruities in his arguments: he is bullshitting, and I can call him out on it. It is a public service because his falsehoods don’t get passed on to others. In fact, catching him in the act makes him less likely to bullshit in the future, at least with me around, and might drive him to actually research the subject before speaking on it.

So why is antitheist and antireligious speech quenched so strongly by society? Why can’t I, when hearing people discuss God and the Bible and the Torah and Jesus and the Messiah, call them out on putting their beliefs into some books and some stories? Hell, when Wikipedia has an article about anything they have to cite sources, and those sources have to correlate to the material. Of the “sources” available for religion, there are the Holy Books. Unfortunately these books barely correlate among each other, let alone with the religious views of the people quoting them. What sort of close-minded decision allows Christians to believe in the New Testament while not acknowledging Dianetics as the Holy Word? How can any theist claim to be correct with all others wrong, when the sources for ALL the groups are merely imagination-augmented renditions of various moral codes?

I call bullshit when I see it, and I see a lot of it. Every time I hear theists discuss their personal religions I cringe. But what hurts the most is when they discuss atheists: oh, those non-believers are fine, so long as they don’t speak out against my beliefs, seeing as how they are my beliefs, not theirs.

Well, theists of all faiths: speaking authoritatively on a subject that you not only have not researched but can do no research in to anyone publicly is a violation of the no-bullshit policy. Bullshit is fun, yes, and it makes you feel good for having outwitted someone. But bullshit is unnecessary. Take some physics courses, if you really do wonder about the creation of the universe. But please, PLEASE don’t speak about your religious beliefs as though you are right. Every scientist, if they don’t want to get ridiculed, has to gather massive amounts of supporting evidence before their theories are even tested by the scientific community. As a theist, you KNOW that your beliefs cannot be tested and proven right. So yes, your beliefs are personal. Keep them inside.

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