Can somebody be intelligent but at the same time make an exception in their logic to remain beholden to their religious beliefs?
It's not rocket science to discredit God and religion. It's simple logic and judgement. Somebody's brain has to be f'ing retarded to accept the Jesus myth.
But you wouldn't immediately know somebody's stupid enough to accept Christianity (or some belief in a deity) because they attempt to accept their religion alone on faith, and otherwise scrutinize everything else.
Problem is, at what point does this not work? I suggest that unlimited intellectual growth is only possible for somebody who doesn't accept bad logic and bad judgement. If somebody is dumb enough to accept beliefs in God and religion, then these beliefs infect their thought processes whether they've deliberately made an exception for them or not.
My cousin is almost 40, with an Ivy League Computer Science PhD. He's a teacher at a prominent university. And he's a Christian. When I ask him if he's a Christian, he admits that he is, but then he immediately follows it up with "but I'm not very religious." So he knows he needs to feel embarrassed for accepting stupid beliefs like this, and by his words he shows his embarrassment is so intense that he tries to excuse himself from the humiliation he is due because of his beliefs. So he's saying, "yes, I'm an idiot, but being an idiot is not a very big part of who I am from day to day." But it shows up somewhere else. He watches kiddie cartoons! LOL!
So is it truly possible to "make an exception" for religious faith and be otherwise intelligent? How intelligent can somebody get? What are the limitations? Where does somebody's stupidity show up when they try to be a "smart" believer?
Yes, don't we all have blind spots for some things? Many smart people can have a blind spot for a stupid thing, like a someone in an abusive relationship. (S)he might have a PhD, but just doesn't want to see the problem, a 'if you ignore it, it won't bother you as much' mentality. Which is how these old religions still function, how the 'perfect word of god' can have so many contradictory parts, or so many elements that go against every shred of morality that we have, they ignore it, to the point that they won't believe that it is there, or will make excuses for why it might be, ...that make no rational sense. but...
We are talking about irrational things, and by definition that removes intelligence from the argument. There is nothing 'rational' about fear, and fear is something that is a great motivator, it is the entire reason religion has lasted this long, fear. It tends to be one of those instinctive things that overrides your normal thinking process, triggering the 'fight or flight' response.
Most 'believers' are completely brainwashed, they have been indoctrinated from birth, and when you live in a protected bubble, it is very difficult, and scary to break out of it, as is doing anything outside of your comfort zone. Say you are wearing these new rocket boots, you have seen them work, you know how they work, but you have never used them before, and your first test run is to jump out of a chopper at 20,000 feet, you know it works, but you are still going to hesitate, most likely. Your stomach is still going to roll over as you look out, knowing that if anything goes wrong, you go splat. hang gliding, bungee jumping, parachuting, if you are not used to it, you may have a moment of panic that you have no control over, no matter how much you know 'intellectually' that it is safe. (I have had that stomach lurch feeling even when playing video games and get too close to the edge, and it doesn't matter if I fall, I can't get hurt, even when the character can't get hurt, that feeling is there, it's a safety feature). Anything that threatens that bubble you live in, can cause that fight or flight reaction, and most people run away, either physically, or intellectually.
Were the people before Columbus stupid for not realizing the earth was round? We knew the truth more than two thousand years ago, but religion destroyed that knowledge because it scared them. Were those people who lived in the centuries between those dates not intelligent for not also figuring it out, for not knowing what is being kept from them?
To be honest, people like your cousin, do not typically even know enough about how ludicrous it is, because they don't really pay much attention to it, and just go along with the herd, like most people do with most things (we are not called sheep for nothing), most prefer a 'happy' lie to an uncertain truth (even if the lie is far less happy than they thought, but that is part of the lie). Most people do not know enough about religion to know why it is such an evil on this world, they don't pay it enough attention to see what harm it does to the world, they don't 'want' to know.
And Yes, there is a HUGE difference between character and intelligence, one can be utterly brilliant, and and still be a complete twit, completely evil, or what-have-you. Intelligence is a very specific thing, it has only to with your ability to learn, not what you choose to study. Just like emotions are not intelligence either, as you were discussing with Dorian. Being Emotionally weak, is not the same thing as being intellectually weak. Even the ability to Question the 'accepted way', Question Reality, is not intelligence, but another quality, more in line with creativity, or something. Curiosity perhaps?
Please, don't get me wrong, I am not in any way defending the position of a theist (even if it kind of feels like I am, odd as that seems to me), only the definition of the words we are using. Being of low intelligence certainly makes it easier to believe whatever you are told, especially if it was from someone you trust, like a parent, but it is certainly not a requirement.
P.S. There is nothing wrong with watching 'kiddy toons', some of them can be pretty good, far better than, oh, let's say any reality show ever, at least there is writing and acting. ;) I think that fact that your cousin has "an Ivy League Computer Science PhD", says a lot by itself toward the answer to your query. I have known some pretty dumb atheists too. =/
yeah, sorry, I get long winded. =( Part of the dyslexia, it takes me so long to make sure I have written what I wanted to say, I have added too much...
Most excellent post.
We need a "like" button on here.
Where did you find that?
Actually, promoting something that isn't logical may be PART of being brilliant.
The eminent chemist Linus Pauling promoted vitamin C in huge quantities, for no good reason.
Part of being brilliant involves flying with one's intuition.
I certainly trust my gut in my entrepreneurial work.
Good point, after all, most of our scientific advances have been in the face of all things we considered reasonable and logical at the time.
Really thinking new things often requires great big leaps into the unknown.
Exactly! Even the most well established laws of the universe may not be that well understood yet, we are starting to rethink things like Gravity, you just never know. That is why we stop at 'theory', as even the known is somewhat unknown.
One of the most beautiful things in the universe is that no matter how much we learn, there will always be more we don't know. Sometimes we have to try really crazy things to figure out what works, and why. Like the first person to eat something that came out of an animal's behind, that we now call 'an egg', and who would have thought, that if you mix that with flower, and sugar, and milk... you get a cake, but then we all know, 'the cake is a lie'... It's one thing to create a new recipe when you know the properties of the ingredients, but to figure out something new with the unknown, that takes real creativity, and bravery.
We are all the products of wild and crazy trial and error.
Wow, does that make 'acceptance' the enemy? Well, I have always said, don't accept anything just because someone tells you, especially me... Question Everything! XD