Monday, October 13, 2008

Doggerel #164: "Insensitive"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

Some poets may go on about how truth is beauty and vice-versa, but unfortunately, the truth can be quite nasty. There's no getting around that. Knowing there's a problem, however, is the first step to solving it. Looking for real solutions instead of relying on false ones is the way to go. And we get called "insensitive" and such for believing that.

There's no evidence for psychic powers. There's no magic panacea for everything that ails you. The evidence for your favorite stone idol is no better than the evidence for any other. Woo doesn't work. That's just how things are. Don't shoot the messenger when he's trying to get you to calm down and do something productive.

Yes, it's sad grandma died. I know the feeling. It'd be nice to know she's hanging out somewhere, enjoying herself, but we don't know. Nothing wrong with hoping, but don't substitute hope for certainty. Don't rush to waste time and money on a church that can't prove anything about the matter, and often seems genuinely opposed to inquiry. Do what you can to keep her memory alive even if she isn't. The church certainly didn't help me on that front.

Yes, it's bad that you or someone you love has some nasty medical condition. Calling natural periodic improvements "evidence" for the efficacy of the latest woo supplement/untested herb/needle poke isn't going to provide a real cure, treatment, or whatever.

It's nice you had an emotionally moving dream, but that doesn't make it magical or something other than what's in your head.

Paving the way for real hope usually requires dispelling false hope. Appreciating something for what it really is often requires stripping it of false associations. Skeptics like me can do that and still find beauty and hope in truth. Just because we're telling you you're wrong, don't think for an instant that we're telling you to despair.

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