Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Does your dogma bite?

Censored In keeping with my running theme (well, one day's worth, anyway) on books and those who would seek to restrict their content or distribution, today's topic stems from this piece about science fiction authors, which I got from Pharyngula.

Granted, there is no attempt for actual censorship here, at least not for the population at large. No, the superdouche who wrote that drivel merely wants to keep whatever sheep-like followers he has from reading anything by these authors, because...well, I guess because they're atheists, they believe in evolution, and they don't believe the way he does.

I find this every bit as disturbing as anyone who would seek to ban or burn books...because they wish to restrict ideas. The writings in question are works of science fiction. Fiction. They are not written as fact, although because many of the authors have a science background, they often have a solid footing when it comes to scientific fact, or at least a recognized possibility. No, this dickweed doesn't want his sheeple to read these books because they have ideas that are contrary to what they are supposed to be believing, and because the authors are nonbelievers. Forget the fact that these fictional works contain thoughts and ideas about what the future might hold; dreams and imaginings both peaceful and frightening. They can be either a source of hope for a brighter future, or a cautionary tale of things gone terribly awry. Either way, they make us imagine, dream, hope...they make us think.

Here's a tip: if someone is telling you to not read something because it contains ideas you shouldn't be reading, run the other way. Then stop off at the book store or the library, pick up the book or magazine in question, and read the holy hell out of it. Or if they tell you not to listen to something because it's a corrupting influence, make sure to listen well and thoroughly, over and over. Anyone who wants to keep you from seeing a different point of view, or contemplating another way of thinking, is not your friend. They are close-minded, weak, fearful, and ignorant, and they prey on the fears and ignorance of others. I've come to believe that many seek it out purposefully, sensing vulnerability and susceptibility in others in order to wield some sort of power over them in a desperate attempt to make themselves feel better about their own abject ignorance.

Censorship I'm a very tolerant person in general, but I'll cop to a certain amount of intolerance, and one instance is when people try to promote willful ignorance. When people are told not to read, not to listen, not to watch, especially when it is couched in religious terms and the implied—or overt—threat is eternal damnation and the fiery pits of hell. For far too many years, I was taught to believe that it was wrong to read certain things, or listen to certain music, or see certain movies, because it was dangerous to do so. Yes, dangerous. Dangerous as in "you could become possessed by a demon." Not kidding.

I reject such thinking as the equivalent of believing that the only possible explanation for thunder is that the gods are angry, or that the only way someone could become sick and die is because of demonic possession. The true danger is in wallowing in mediocrity and reveling in ignorance. Following blindly because that's just what you're supposed to do. Thinking that you have to believe a certain way because that's how you were brought up. Toeing the party line and taking the dogmatic bait hook, line, and sinker.

Think for yourself. Read. Listen. Imagine. LEARN.


  1. So, what is worse, telling you not to read/watch something, or telling you that you must read/watch something? :o)

  2. I remember my parents telling me that thunder was "the angels moving furniture".

    Luckily I got myself a fancy edumacation (NOT in Texas, BTW) and found out that thunder was actually the angels bowling...


  3. Sorry.sir. I seem to have run over your dogma with my karma....

  4. "Either way, they make us imagine, dream, hope...they make us think." I think that this sentence sums it up beautifully. I have no respect for people who would fetter the mind.

  5. Treating adults like young children, children whose minds must be protected from ideas beyond them, shows just how much faith and how much respect they have for their fellow Texans. Impressive.

  6. They grow ém big in Texas.
    Big and stupid [not all, Miss G, but some].
    The funny thing about censorship and trying to control ideas is that will never work.
    You could be told what to read, watch, or hear, and you might follow suit, but as of right now, you cannot be told what to think.
    That's still your choice.

  7. I like the phrase, 'willful ignorance'. I use it on occasion myself. Now, I am wondering if 'they don't know that they don't know', because if the notions that drive a person to make these kinds of declarations and move the monkeys in Texas (didn't one of the big wigs fail to even go to college?), then their ignorance is their truth.

    So the battle lines is not of belief but of ideals. Because religion takes up space in the faithful as a fact instead of the heretical mythology that it is, the followers only know the fact as they relate to their belief.

    And part of what they believe is that they are supposed to convert others and make all of mankind follow and share in their faith. I may not agree, but who am I to tell them what to think?

  8. nice post :) btw xlink please :)

  9. "Think for yourself. Read. Listen. Imagine. Learn." That's the way to go Beth! Free your mind and you free yourself. Too many people have braces on their brains and they like them there. Braces are for teeth not minds.

  10. think. think? THINK???!!! Oh come on Beth. You must be kidding. Original thought? Considereing ideas? Pondering possibilities? Investingating different points of view?

    No, no, no. Do what they tell you and don't ask questions.

    I knew I would get some lectures for my post New Knowledge but I thought it was over. Evidently not.

    By the way, thunder is caused by the angels bowling. My pastor told me so.


  11. Amen!

    No, thunder is caused by clouds bumping together. That's what I told my son. I also told him when he woke up scared because he had a nightmare that if you have one nightmare at night, you can't have any more. That seemed to work.


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