Nothing is more frustrating to me than when you are discussing or debating some issue with someone, and they hit a point where they try to justify a point with some seemingly arbitrary supernatural dictate, or by appealing to some view rooted in superstition.
For example, at one point my parents and I ended up in a discussion about cloning. Now, I believe that human cloning is currently unethical due to the high probablility of birth defects, and it seems we need deeper understanding of how it will all work. If those issues are resolved, I am as OK with human cloning as I am with people choosing to have children. My parents are educated people, and my mother is a Nurse Practitioner with a Master’s Degree, but their opposition was that the clone would have no soul. Now, I am an Atheist, so this is just completely absurd to me, but even if I grant the existance of a soul (for which there is no proof) where in the Bible (my parents are non Church going Christians), does it describe these mechanics of souls, and where they get put into people and all of this. What do my parents think these cloned people would be? How are they different than identical twins (which, interestingly, my father happens to be). I just saw no basis for pulling this wacky idea for which there is no evidence out of the air. It would be just as rational to worry that the energy patterns of the Alpha Centurian Terror Beasts would take over the bodies of the cloned to conquer our Solar System.
Another example was during the period after 9/11. I have people in my department that seriously stated that they believed in the Pat Robertson “People have denied God, and that has caused this to happen” nonsense. To me, I can only take it as pathetically childish and ignorant, or as completely offensive. Basically, I do not believe in the Christian god, so in part because of this, that god has allowed a few thousand people to die in New York, etc. Maybe if we gave proper praise to Allah and followed the words of the Koran, this all wouldn’t have had to happen! Just an alternate theory that has as much evidence to support it, which is basically none (except that perhaps Al-Queda would have been less inclined to attack a Muslim nation). The view also disturbed me, because it completely ignores events outside the US. As bad as 9/11 was, many other countries have suffered as much, or much worse, yet we don’t discuss their lack of piety, or how the events in thier country foreshadow the Rapture.
So, these are just a couple examples of superstitious thinking I have witnessed in my life. It seems there is an alarming amount of it at my work place and among family, and I believe it is dangerous and counter-productive at worst, and silly or sadly immature at best. My entry here probably comes off as ranty and negative. It is a bit of a venting. In persuing this goal in the real world, I do not intend to be condesending. Ideally I just am in a conversation that allows us to both make our cases, and it is a case of the other person just not having really thought something through. I happen to have thought a lot about things surrounding superstition, but I know I still have plenty of beliefs that are not superstitious, but are still just wrong and based on ignorance. I have been fortunate enough to have a couple friends I can discuss things with deeply and we have all changed each other a bit in that regard. 6 years ago