Intellectual Laziness

One of the ways we can tell the Bible is just a story, and not a real historical account, is because the writers were so busy trying to make their point that they forgot to make the story plausible. The talking donkey story makes no sense as a true story. Something is totally blocking the road, and the man can’t see it, and then the man goes down the road to the next time he is blocked. So how did he get by the first blockage? How does he not realize that there is a blockage, even if he can’t see it, because of the difficulty he would have had in negotiating the blockage? This is a plot hole. And just like plot holes in modern stories, it is a mark of a poorly written story.

There are lots of examples of plot holes in the bible, such as why Jephthah was chosen as the General to lead his community into battle. Why did god get mad at humans for being evil when he hadn’t let them eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Why does Jesus need to be tortured to forgive our sins? How can you feed thousands and thousands of animals on a little boat for a year, and where would the shit go? Why can an army with god at the front conquer literally everything… except if the opposing army has iron chariots? Why does Jesus kill a fig tree for producing figs on a tree timeline instead of his? Why did the demons need Jesus’ permission to leave a guy and posess the pigs, and where did they go after the pigs drowned? Why was Job fine with getting a replacement family after his was brutally murdered by god?

Like the story of Job, the important thing to the writer was that Job stayed loyal. Job is loyalty propaganda, through and through. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t make any sense when you think about it, it matters that the propaganda gets through. That’s what the bible writers were aiming for, and it often shows.

Plot holes only happen in fiction or fictionalized history. In the real world, each person accounts for their own actions to themselves, and do things they feel prudent. In sloppy fiction, individuals have no personal motivation, and act to the means of the main character or story. Writers that are intellectually rigorous spend the time putting themselves in the shoes of each character to make sure that minor character is acting in the world of what they know, what they need, and what they are planning to do. Intellectually lazy writers pen characters and conversations to move the story to where they want it to go, with no regard for what character knows what or what they are doing. Bible characters routinely have information they would have no way of knowing, or seemingly just forget crap because of an interesting plot twist.

Plot holes created by intellectually lazy writers are the fingerprints of mythology, and those prints are all over the bible. But don’t think intellectual laziness ended once the book went to print. The modern apologist is a study on lazy excuses. And here we can identify it by another fingerprint- the contradictory models.

Flat earthers are famous for not having a single model of the earth. They explain the earth in one way, and when you point out a problem with their model they introduce a new idea that contradicts the first. For example, they may claim the earth and moon are relatively small and move in an orbit over the flat disk that is the earth. If you ask about solar eclipses (and to be completely fair, there is no consensus in the flat-earth community on this question), they may say it proves the moon is very small because the shadow will be larger than the object. And while both ideas are stupid on their own merit, the point here is they contradict each other. The moon and sun can not be in the same orbit around a point, but also have the moon randomly leaving that orbit to go completely under the sun, and still be viewed as a partial eclipse in other parts of the world. I’ll draw a picture if anyone is interested…..

Apologists do the same thing. They have an excuse that may or may not be plausible for a single question, but they will contradict their own arguments when making excuses for other questions. For example, when asking an apologist about evil, the go-to answer is free will. Their god just can’t be seen keeping someone from raping a baby because sacrosant to the existence of humanity apparently is free will. If we don’t have free will, the entire world comes crashing down or something. But on the other hand, bible god is constantly meddling and killing people and literally forcing their emotions for a whole range of minor offenses, to which they then waste entire books explaining how god is just in dealing with evil people by killing them since he made us anyway, so it’s no foul in killing us if things get out of hand. Plus, they tell us all about god’s plan and our predetermined destiny. Okay, but earlier you were talking about free will…….?

Nothing shows intellectual laziness like claiming any sort of adherence to the commandments. Does anyone else remember this tattoo? The words of the tattoo are justification to hate gay people, taken directly from Leviticus (18:22) This guy was acting all smug and superior for hating on gay people and even permanently affixed his allegience to following the bible on his arm….. which is also a violation of gods law a mere page later (19:28). It would be the same as claiming to honor your mother and father as ordered in the 10 commandments while killing someone for sport.

Do what I say, not what I do.

But the most intellectually lazy thing that religious people and apologists do is after being backed into a corner by a question that can not be answered without destroying their beliefs, they literally just ignore it and go about as if they never heard it. When an apologist is asked to describe the mechanism that allows “micro-evolution” but prevents “macro-evolution”, they have no fucking idea. Then someone smart explains to them the mechanism of evolution, and demonstrates that evolution is just evolution, and the bigger the difference just means more time has elapsed. Examples are given, evidence is presented. The next day, the asshole is claiming that “macro-evolution” is impossible.

Or maybe the next day, the asshole is claiming the US is a Christian nation. Or still claiming the US Constitution is based on the 10 commandments. Or claiming they can speak in tongues. Or claiming Pascale’s wager is a good basis for faith. As I’ve said many times before, you can present obvious evidence to the religious person, but you can’t make them think.

Intellectually rigorous people hear something they don’t like, don’t believe, or don’t think is true and will check it out. They will investigate. They will try to resolve conflict between competing questions with a unifying model, and if that model does not work they will dispose of it.

Religion makes you intellectually lazy. You’ve been warned.

The Spartan Atheist

4 thoughts on “Intellectual Laziness

  1. “But the most intellectually lazy thing that religious people and apologists do is after being backed into a corner by a question that can not be answered without destroying their beliefs, they literally just ignore it and go about as if they never heard it.”

    I think what you are running into here is not always just intellectual laziness, but “Antiprocess”. I recently read a good description of this, that can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20040629083126/http://members.aol.com/intwg/antiprocess.htm

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know this is just a ‘small part’ of your post, but this question … where would the shit go as related to Noah and his animals made me smile. To my knowledge, no one has (or can) come up with a legitimate answer (although they no doubt will try).
    Overall, as usual, a thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Nan! I do my best to inform and humor.

      Liked by 1 person

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