Monday, June 27, 2011

Rationality Follow-Up

This is a point that I meant to include in my post about rationality, but it deserves its own post so it's fine. Here's a point that I know for a fact that the atheist activist blogger PZ Meyers likes to make and I believe Dawkins has pushed it once or twice:

Nothing Must be Held Sacred

It's extremely important that this idea be combined with every single person's individual creed when trying to make the world a more rational place. To emphasize his point, PZ Meyers once committed his act of "Great
Desecration" in which he took a rusty nail and jammed it through a communion wafer, a page from the Qu'ran, and a page from the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

Now at first I was somewhat upset that he felt the need to include the page from the God Delusion in there for a number of reasons, but then I began to see his point. He was trying to show us that these things which he treated so poorly are nothing sacred; they're just two pieces of paper with ink and a piece of bread. Getting offended or upset over them just seems silly.
Now of course it's acceptable to value the information that such non-sacred objects provide. Information, experience, and knowledge all go towards living a more rational lifestyle, and even the brilliant Christopher Hitchens admitted reading a bizarre but pleasant form of poetry when reading the Qu'ran in its original Arabic. But being willing to kill/die over a few scraps of paper with ink on them? That's just ridiculous.

TL;DR Information is important, but holding things sacred is stupid.