latest feel-good b.s.

So this fallacious argument disguised as a “thought-provoking” parable has been making the rounds on FB. It has, nauseatingly, found it’s way into my feed three times in the past week.

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It’s funny/ frustrating. The whole thing — from the image to the text — is so blatantly manipulative, fallacious, and ridiculous that it kind of makes me want to tear my hair out. And this is getting re-posted with comments like, “beautiful,” or “inspiring,” or “makes you think.

This. This makes you think? This heavy handed, pseudo-philosophical nonsense?

“In a mother’s womb were two babies.”

Look at that picture again. Those are two post-partum babies in a fucking balloon. You’re circulating a picture of infants in a clear balloon. Wtf is wrong with you?

“One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replies, “why of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later. “Nonsense,” says the other. “There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?”

Oh, that’s subtle. Equating straw-man atheist arguments against the afterlife to the arguments an apparently intelligent and sentient fetus would make against existence post-birth.

It’s always valuable to support an emotionally-laden argument by relying on imaginary characters, since the whole not-existing thing means they can’t falsify the claim.

In addition, has everyone who’s ooohing and ahhing over this drivel collectively decided to ignore the fact that fetuses actually do respond to stimuli from outside the womb during the last months of pregnancy, indicating that they are well aware of the existence of an outside world?

“I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.” The other says “This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short.” 

Haha, get it? See, it totally parallels strawmen atheist arguments, and bam! See how the atheist babies “science” is incomplete? That proves science and atheist baby are wrong!

Plus, that talking atheist baby sure sounds like a douche, right? “Life after delivery is to be excluded,” ha! What a dick.

 “I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here.” the other replies, “No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere.”

Clearly there is life after delivery, ergo imaginary strawman atheist baby is wrong, and imaginary hero believer baby is right, ergo actual real life atheists are wrong! Wow, this parable is so inspiring and realistic. These two hyper-intelligent existentialist fetuses in a balloon are really making me rethink my life choices.

Well, I don’t know,” says the other, “but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us.” “Mother??” You believe in mother? Where is she now? “She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world.” “I don’t see her, so it’s only logical that she doesn’t exist.”

Holy emotional manipulation, batman! Why, those babies don’t believe in their mommy! Plus, the assumptions. Ye gods, the assumptions. 

  • Assumption that the fetuses have no feedback from the outside world. For some reason they’re not hearing their mother’s voice (like fetuses in, you know, the real world can). Fetuses also respond to light.
  • Assumption that the mother (“god”) will take care of them. Guess what? Not all mothers are nurturing. Some mothers are abusive, or suffering from illness, or neglectful, or resentful of their children. Some mothers have baggage they can’t handle, and a child exacerbates that reality. So … one could extrapolate from this “argument” that god could, similarly, be an abusive, egotistical, maniacal asshole intent on emotional and physical abuse. Actually, this view of god is pretty well supported by the available religious texts, so, okay then. 
  • Assumption that irrefutable existence of mother correlates to the supposedly irrefutable existence of god. If we take this to it’s rational conclusion, then there is a multitude of gods. There may be one mother to those two fetuses, but when they’re born and become human babies, they will live in a world where multiple other human babies from other mothers also exist. If we’re supposed to be reading this parable as an analogy to our individual relationship with god, then whoever wrote this drivel just proposed an afterlife populated by multiple gods — a polytheistic afterlife.

Also, I would like to take a moment to point out to everyone that when a woman is pregnant, the fetus still needs to void. That baby is pissing and pooping inside his mom. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just the way pregnancy works … but I think that whenever people start romanticizing motherhood and pregnancy as some incredibly spiritual transcendent thing, it’s valuable to remember that to the fetus that mom is an all-in-one toilet buffet.

To which the other replied, “sometimes when you’re in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her. I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality.

These poor fetuses are fully intelligent, sentient beings capable of existential discussion prior to birth, and they just … lose that level of communication? So according to this little faith lifting parable, we just completely lose any higher intelligence or ability to communicate in an advanced, meaningful manner when we die?

Because these fetuses are speaking to each other on the linguistic level of human adults, but clearly will not do so upon their entry into the world as fully actualized tiny humans, nor have the ability to do so for many years afterward.

Yet, according to the construction and presentation of this parable, the adult humans (“mother”) are gods, and post-delivery life (“afterlife”) are akin to advanced spiritual beings and an advanced spiritual state. So the afterlife believers are positing here is … reincarnation? Where we continually begin at the beginning, collect knowledge, “die” into an advanced world that renders us infantile, and start over in the accrual of knowledge?

That’s actually an afterlife I can get behind. Bring on the eternity of learning!

Question: Is this supposed to be taken seriously by atheists as an argument, or is this another idiotic faith-supporting meme that is not meant to be looked at in any way even approaching basic critical deconstruction? Also, why does this shit keep ending up in my feed when believers get all butthurt about expressions of nonbelief?

I mean, I don’t give a shit if y’all need to circulate these feel good memes about religion and scripture and hyper intelligent fetuses in order to validate your faith — whatever floats your boat — but I don’t get the double standard of expecting everyone to be copacetic with your blatantly public displays of faith, but freaking the ever-loving fuck out when someone makes a blatant display of atheism. I’m so tired of this.

Since I left the mormon church, any time I post something mormon or religion related and my kid sister (or any other mormon temporarily on my feed/ blog/ whatever) happens to see it, the inevitable response is, “Why does it matter? You left. Why do you gotta keep harping on it?”

Hmmm. Hmmm. Why would I need to keep studying and “harping” on something I’ve intellectually rejected, but which shaped my formative years/ upbringing and which continues to shape the politics and social attitudes of the world I live in? Why would that matter?

If I grew up in a foreign country — say, Russia or India or something — and as an adult, moved to a country with a completely different culture that I then embrace, am I supposed to reject all aspects of my country of origin?

If I was a Russian expat rejecting, say, the homophobia of Russia, am I supposed to reject the art and history of it as well? Am I supposed to ignore their impact on international politics? Am I supposed to ignore the ongoing struggle against homophobia within Russia?

If I was an Indian expat rejecting, say, the caste system and sexism endemic in much of India, does the fact that I no longer live in India then prevent me from continuing to engage in the ongoing Indian struggle for gender and class equality? Am I supposed to disavow any cultural link with India? Am I supposed to ignore their political impact?

That’s what believers of all strips, and (for me) mormons are asking me to do. They’re saying, “Hey, you rejected god. You don’t get to have a voice in this discussion anymore. You shouldn’t even want one.”

I’m sitting here going, “Uh, no. I rejected false doctrine. From there, I walked a path that led me to believe there is no rational evidence or proof that god exists. I do not “reject” god any more than I “reject” fairies or unicorns or elves or Santa Claus. I cannot “reject” the imaginary. I do object to (and reject) the systemic presence of religious faith in every aspect of political and social policy, though! And I do reject the influence of religious indoctrination in my personal life and upbringing.”

Mostly I roll my eyes and let it slide when I see this type of blatantly manipulative faith-promoting bullshit on my FB feed, but this one is just irritating the crap out of me. Partly because it keeps fucking showing up in my feed, and partly because it’s so blatantly emotionally manipulative. The people in my feed who are sharing this are people who I know possess intelligent critical thinking skills., I’ve spoken with them.

I guess this is one of those instances when a FB persona illustrates a part of someone that they don’t individually present to you, and you realize with a jolt that they’re not exactly the person you thought they were. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, I just … I tend to think I surround myself with thoughtful, intelligent people. Some of them have faith, yeah, but I tell myself it’s not the obnoxious, intrusive, manipulative type of faith.

Then I see them on my feed.

*As a final, minor note — the spelling, grammar, and sentence structure in that FB post is simply atrocious. I know, I know … don’t throw stones at glass houses. I have no doubt that my post is less than perfectly grammatically accurate — but really? Really? Am I as bad as that?
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