06 March 2014
Speaking with people of different religious beliefs, I’ve always found it curious to hear a common viewpoint, that goes something along the lines of:
It’s quite obvious that all gods in which people around the world believe, and have believed, are false. In fact, it defies logic and common sense that people have actually believed in them. On the other hand, it should be intellectually obvious that the god I believe in, who happens to be the god relevant to the place and time in which I was born, actually does exist.
It seems so strange that these people never seem to question in themselves whether they just might suffer from the same blind-spot they find obvious in those who believe in gods other than their own. And it seems intellectually arrogant.
I thought of this analogously today when I read a comment by Bitcoin-proponent Erik Vorhees, about Milton Friedman:
As the most popular champion of free markets, its always surprised (and dismayed) me that Friedman seemed to have little issue with central planning when it came to money itself. He would abhor central planning in basically every good, except the good of money, which is arguably the most important.
Having studied Milton Friedman and his work for many years I’m left with the belief that he was a truly special and brilliant man. I consider him in the same class as people like Richard Feynman.
While I acknowledge the importance of independent and critical thinking, if I found myself in disagreement with these people on a particular issue, my first instinct would be to deeply question my own research, my own understanding, my own logic and assumptions and even my own intellectual limits long before I’d conclude myself as “being dismayed”.