A few thoughts on facts, lies, disagreement, argument and controversy.
I’ll start with a self-evident fact. 1+1=2. There’s no shades of grey there, it’s a simple, irrefutable mathematical fact that 1+1=2. Now imagine someone comes along and wants to propose that 1+1 in fact =4. I don’t know why they want to assert something so ridiculous. Maybe a magic bloke in the sky told them. Or maybe they have a book that they declare is the divine word of this magic bloke in the sky despite the fact it’s nothing more than a bunch of fairy stories invented centuries ago to scare illiterate goat herders into behaving themselves.
Whatever. They’re being very loud about their belief that 1+1=4. No amount of evidence will sway them. The fact that every credible mathematician in the world tells them that, no, your point of view isn’t valid, 1+1 is definitely 2 doesn’t even slow them down. They trot out someone they call a “creation mathematician” who says that because the magic bloke in the sky created everything including numbers, whatever he says about numbers must be true, therefore 1+1=4.
The actual mathematicians spend a bit of time trying to think of the most polite way to say “Fuck off and leave us alone you deranged, inbred fuckwit”. In the meantime, some other people who believe in the magic bloke in the sky start to think the creation mathematicians are onto something. “I’ve never understood mathematics, I’ve failed every maths test I’ve taken in my life. I reckon it’s because the mathematicians are wrong. All that complicated thinking is just there to confuse us. I believe the magic bloke in the sky says 1+1=4.”
It never occurs to them that the reason they don’t understand mathematics is that they are really fucking stupid. Likewise, not understanding mathematics is a good indication you should leave it to the mathematicians rather than shouting that the simpler thing you’ve decided you believe in is more valid.
Soon, politicians start to latch onto creation mathematics. They’ve known for years that it’s easier to get ten morons to vote for them than it is to get one smart person on their side. They have all had expensive educations at the most prestigious universities in the country and they know creation mathematics is fucking insane. They also know how much the inbred yokels lap it up when they talk about being simple folk who believe in the same “down home” values.
So it starts to be put about that creation mathematics should be part of the school curriculum. Because so many uninformed morons believe it, it should be taught alongside mathematical principles that have been proven by the greatest thinkers in history. Because the blatherings of clueless fuckwits have the same validity as the output of the finest minds known to humanity – what are you, an elitist or something?
Most maths teachers jack up at this saying “creation mathematics” isn’t mathematics and has no place in a classroom because it’s fucking voodoo. The weasel politicians say you should “teach the controversy” despite the fact the only controversy is the fact that morons whose outlook belongs more in the middle ages think they deserve to be taken seriously.
Then someone suggests a compromise, maybe we should follow the middle ground. Maybe neither “extreme” is right. This is bullshit for a couple of reasons. First, there’s only one extreme here – the extreme stupidity in believing in superstitious rubbish like creation mathematics over science. Second, the two viewpoints are not equally valid. The rantings of an ignorant fool who believes in a magic bloke in the sky simply don’t belong in the same place as the works of someone following rigorous scientific and/or academic process.
In short, a compromise would be saying 1+1=3 and that simply isn’t right. There are times when compromise is a good thing (in fact, this is probably the case most of the time) but sometimes it is simply not a legitimate option. Sometimes one answer is absolutely right and one asnwer is absolutely wrong. 1+1 will never =3.
Obviously, nothing as stupid as this could happen in the real world, I was using this fictional example to illustrate a point. I’m a very reasonable person (despite some performances that may suggest otherwise). I know some people can’t tell the difference between a performance and real life but trust me, in real life I’m likely to go out of my way to avoid offending someone. But I won’t back away from a fight when some fucking moron wants to fly in the face of reality with their stupid ideology.
So don’t expect me to “respect” someone who doesn’t deserve any respect. Sometimes people are so ignorant, so duplicitous and so WRONG that contempt is all they deserve. And I have to admit, I enjoy dishing it out.
10 responses to “1+1 DOES NOT =3”
Well said AA. It’s amazing it’s 2010 and we still have to put up with this bullshit.
So, a fictional example, tagged with religious, are you talking about scientology? or am I way off!?
Love your blog, in general.
This post, though, tells me you need to look up the definition of empirical evidence. Your metaphor breaks down pretty quick, in light of that definition.
Simply put, no one observed creation (or evolution), therefore one’s conjecture and evidence interpretation is as good as another for justifying a worldview. In the context of your post, anyone who would argue over this is simply justifying a worldview and not really interested in finding out what happened 6000/10,000,000 years ago.
Conversely, I can observe two apples sitting on a counter, and understand that one apple plus one apple equals two apples.
No one can observe spontaneous creation of life, nor can they watch a single celled organism change into a complex life form. No one can observe a Creator inventing existence. Depending on your worldview, the evidence you assemble can point to multiple conclusions. Typically, if you believe in God as an absolute being with absolute control over the nature of reality, you’ll see evidence of an intelligent hand at work. By the same token, if you’re a person who has faith in science and the human ability to discover his world, you’ll see evidence that we pulled ourselves up from our bootstraps out of the primordial ooze.
Novephel: sad but true, I wonder what future generations will think of us?
James: Nothing to do with scientology specifically, just talking about people who reject science in scientific arguments
Rizzn: Case in point. That is mindless fucking drivel. All you’re saying is you’re fucking clueless about science.
Rizzn, yup, you have no clue about science. Although indeed science cannot tell us that evolution is true “absolutely for sure”, it can tell us that there is waaay more evidence for it that for any other proposed theory. Also no, science doesn’t “depend on your worldview”, that’s the whole point of science, remove subjective bias. Oh, and btw, yes you can actually watch evolution happen.
Angry, I’ve told you before (on Youtube) and I still have an optimistic mind when it comes to the end of religion. I think that religion will be largely nothing more than a memory by the end of this century. I think the rise of the internet and the access to free information and ideas that it contains will greatly assist the world in realising the truth about religions.
I hope so anyway. I hope that future generations can look back and realise how idiotic religion really is.
Evolution does not claim to be the answer to how life began, Rizzn. It describes the way we evolved from micro-organisms, billions of years ago, into what we are today. Go ahead and read The Origins of Species, you’ll find everything you need to know there. Facts backed up by hard evidence.
At this present time, no-one knows how life began. Not any scientist, and certainly not any religious person. This does not change the fact that evolution is accepted as a FACT by everyone other than religious people who believe that God created us as we are today. That, by the way, is not backed up by a single piece of evidence; and if you think it is, please share the evidence with us.
novephel, “no-one knows how life began” is actually a common misconception about our knowledge in biology. It turns out that, actually, we do have a pretty good idea of how life began in the first place, it’s called abiogenesis. A very good explanation of the theory and the evidence we have can be found in the “Selfish Gene” book or, for those of us with shorter attention spans, there is also a video on YouTube.
Cheers Juan! That’s a very interesting theory. Next time I’ll remember to do my research before commenting on such things 🙂
one plus one equals two only if everybody agrees one is half of two. If everybody agreed one was half of four, the one plus one equals four is a truth. Maybe there is no truth, only definitions. And I decide to define myself as the greater philosopher ever. (and I do know that fundamental bits of maths and physics would be the same no matter the name of the bits,)