Trendy Activism

10251232954_bd335c5390_b

 

There are a lot of activists for a lot of causes. The problem is that many of them don’t actually believe what they’re advocating. Let’s look at a few activist causes that really illustrate this problem well.

Pro Life

The pro life stance is that a fetus or zygote is just as human as a baby.

I promise you, most of them don’t truly believe that. You see, if you believe that the guy down the street is killing children in his basement and the police won’t do anything about it, you don’t picket his house. You do everything in your power to save those children. If you believe a fetus is the same as a child, then you don’t picket a clinic. The ones blowing up abortion clinics and killing the doctors are the only ones who truly believe what they’re advocating. The rest are on the bandwagon of ignorance because it lets them fit in with their “crowd.” Deep down, they know that there is a big difference. They just refuse to either admit it or take the steps someone would take if they truly believed that.

Anti-GMO

The contention of the anti-GMO crowd is that genetically modified foods, or genetically modified anything for that matter, is inherently harmful and is killing us all.

I guarantee that most of them don’t believe that. If you believed that the food supply was killing people, you wouldn’t protest one of the many biotech companies. You wouldn’t sit around complaining about it and ranting on the internet. You’d be taking real action. The Greenpeace eco-terrorists who are burning golden rice fields believe what they’re advocating. The rest most certainly do not. They’re advocating it because it’s trendy. It makes them hip with the “green” crowd.

Chemtrails

This is a personal favorite due to the sheer absurdity of it. The government is using aircraft to dust the population with poisonous and/or mind controlling “chemicals.”

Aside from how incredibly ignorant it is to begin with (with the other two, I can at least see where their fear and ignorance is coming from. This has to be drug induced.), they don’t really believe that. The ones hiding in bunkers in the woods surrounded by firearms believe it. The rest do not. They talk about their conspiracy theory with everyone they can find who will listen. If they really though the government was doing such a thing to them, then they’d be running like hell or revolting.

And so…

People join these “causes” because they are trendy. They’re like the Kony campaign. They don’t care about facts. They don’t care about being intellectually honest. They only care about the bandwagon ideology that they’ve jumped on and makes them sound “real” in front of their friends. This is the sort of thought process that those of us in the rational community are up against every day.

As Sam Harris said…

“If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide that proves they should value evidence.

If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument would you invoke to prove they should value logic?”

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

 

 

Advertisements

5 Internet Argumentation Tips!

ku-xlarge

 Image from xkcd

Debating topics on the internet is vastly different than doing so in person. It can, however, be a valuable tool for sharing knowledge and influencing minds, but it needs to be done correctly. Here are a few tips to help you make the most impact.

TONE

Tone is difficult in text. People are incredibly good at reading tone in someone else’s words dependent upon how they, themselves feel. The best is to ignore tone altogether. Don’t try to read the tone of what someone else writes. Just stick with the content of their words.

Always strive to keep your own words, and the tone you type them in, calm and even. Stay away from loaded language that can imply anything other than an even tone.

BUZZWORDS

Buzzwords are the bread and butter of the internet. They’re used to draw out emotional responses, often in otherwise rational people. Don’t use them. If you’re talking about GMOs, stay away from “shill” or “sheeple” or even “chemicals.” If you’re talking about religion, stay away from the common insults. Buzzwords are a terrible plague on our society right now. When your interlocutor uses them, dismiss them. They can only take away from the content of the discussion.

EVIDENCE

Understand the burden of proof, and when it lies on you, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, back up your claims with good evidence from reliable sources. Try not to use blogs as a scientific resource, unless they include a good set of reliable references (even if they’re entirely correct). Blogs are useful in political or social commentary that doesn’t rely as much on studies or physical evidence, but on opinion and analysis. Steer clear of YouTube.

When the burden of proof lies on your interlocutor, make sure they know it. Don’t start debunking their assertions until they provide evidence. Then, dismantle whatever evidence is unreliable or discuss any evidence that may be valid.

ASSERTIONS

If your interlocutor refuses to provide evidence, and only fires off more assertions, then the conversation is over. Don’t be upset about it or storm out with a “rage quit.” Just realize that they are so terribly uninformed that their worldview revolves around sound bytes, and not data. If you make an assertion, ANY assertion, be prepared to support it. Always.

HERD MENTALITY

This is very important. When you’re speaking on the internet, other people can usually see the conversation. They may be a point where you become outnumbered. This can go one of two ways. Either the conversation can continue to be a rational discourse, just with more people, or….it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, you often see your opponents start to play off each other and cheer each other on. When this happens, the conversation is over. No amount of evidence, logic, or rational discourse will change the mind of someone who has cheerleaders.

Now, there are times where those same people will reflect later and have learned something, but in the moment, it’s no longer worth pursuing.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

American Sports Culture

sports-matter

Most of us in America have been to a professional sports game. Whether it was baseball, football, basketball or even hockey or soccer, it was probably memorable. The thrill of the action of the game, the roar of the crowd, the adrenaline rush that even a fan gets at the game is all unmistakable.

Marilyn LaCourt describes team sports as the “officially sanctioned state religion that is idolized across all cutural, ethnic, age, gender and religious lines.” I agree with her. The rivalry of sports teams can breed an almost feral rage between opposing fans. Fist fights break out in bars and even the stands at a live game fairly often. But, what does this tell us?

From a young age, we often push kids, more often boys for some reason, into team sports. It’s supposed to teach teamwork and build character; at least, that’s what we tell ourselves. In reality, no matter what we say, winning becomes very important. Children will do anything to make their parents proud of them, and in team sports, they often do. They’ll push through their own injuries, cheat, fight or anything else it takes to win just to make their parents or coaches proud of them.

Before you say “kids will be kids,” remember, parents are often worse. I’ve seen parents get in fist fights over an umpires’ call at little league or even t-ball games. They will uproot their family to get in the right school district so their child can play on the best team. They encourage doing whatever it takes to win from beginning to end.

In high school, it gets worse. More violent hazing takes place amongst players. The best and most aggressive athletes become part of the team. Those that don’t make the cut often find other teams to fight alongside, on the streets more often than not. I’ve seen knife fights after high school football games. I’ve seen second string quarterbacks do whatever they can to put the quarterback out of the game so that they get the shot.

So, my question is, why do we, as rational, secular people, continue to endorse these things? Team sports are inherently violent, overly competitive and all too often breed a worse kind of character. So can we, as secular people, give up our worship of sports too?

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Vegan Chili Recipe

Featurette.Chefs

Like most people, I love good food. I’ve come up some great plant based recipes for a healthy and balanced diet. This is my recipe for Vegan Chili.

Ingredients

1 can condensed tomato soup

1 cup water

1 cup red quinoa

1 can (or bag of dried) dark red kidney beans

1/2 English cucumber

1/2 red onion

1 yellow squash

Chili powder, garlic powder (or garlic pepper), crushed red pepper

Directions

Chop onion, cucumber, and squash to a size of your preference. Mix in a large port with the kidney beans (hydrate them first if dry), tomato soup, water, and quinoa.  Bring to a boil. Once boiling, simmer covered for 2 hrs, seasoning to your preference and stirring regularly. Then, simmer uncovered for 1 hour to thicken.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Passive Aggressive Racism

protest---wm-large

As progressives, we are all too aware of the prevalence of racism that still exists in America. We see the Pat Robertson’s and the Megyn Kelly’s, and speak out vehemently against them. When Trayvon Martin was killed, we spoke out with righteous indignation. These are good things to speak out against. We’re expected to speak out against them.

But….what about the other racism? What about the racism that exists in the same people who speak out against these things?

You see, there’s a passive aggressive racism that run rampant throughout our society, like a subtly virus eating away at the core of even the most progressive of people. This type of racism has been bred into us, ingrained in our psyches so firmly that we barely notice it exists.

I know people who are very much to the left of the political spectrum. They speak firmly against racism, racial profiling, and racial inequality. They support progressive causes and say progressive things. They also drive to the other side of town for groceries because they don’t go over by the exact same chain of grocery store closest to them. They don’t say it aloud, but it resounds loud and clear. You see, the one closest to them is primarily frequented by people of color.

This is only one example, but it happens every day, all over America. In order to fix the problem, we need to be aware of it. Now, there’s no excuse.

Look to your family, do they do it? Look to your friends. How about them?

Most importantly, look to yourself. It’s time to change.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.