Don’t Trust the Experts!

by

A blogger at Religion in American History found this gem from the far-right Focus on the Family: a video crafted to persuade students that college, scholars and experts are out to corrupt them and simply can’t be trusted. Here’s a trailer from the film, The Toughest Test in College: Why Students Are Failing to Keep Their Faith on Campus.

The film apparently focuses on a particular student, Jay, who seems to have everything already figured out:

“In college you hear the words ‘experts’ and ‘facts’ thrown around all the time.”

True that. Close ’em down!

11 Responses to “Don’t Trust the Experts!”

  1. Doc Bill Says:

    Yea, Stephen “professional liar” Meyer! Now, there’s a role model. It’s always inspiring to see the Discovery Institute support higher education.

  2. Doc Bill Says:

    Well, isn’t this special. Let’s remember that Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute who is a leading proponent of “intelligent design” creationism who says that “intelligent design” creationism is scientific promotes the following:

    The word you’re looking for is “duplicity.” And who are the dupes? Anybody who listens to these creeps. So, when the SBOE starts waffleizing about science, they should be called out. Loud, strident and strong: No! You’re wrong!

  3. Charles Says:

    Well, it’s a real shame when parents, preachers, and Sunday school teachers educate their kids with religious beliefs that are just plain not true. Within Christianity, there are numerous denominations and sects that differ theologically. Every one of them will claim that what they believe is absolutely right and what all the others believe on the same matter is absolutely wrong. Trouble is, in what Voltaire called the “best of all possible worlds,” they cannot all be right. This means that most of those beliefs are clear and unequivocal losers.

    In my mind, Christian fundamentalists are by nature people who have trouble discerning fact from fiction—or truth from lies. There is never any gray area because they cannot navigate it mentally. I think it is nearly impossible for them. They need a set of absolutes outside of themselves to assess everything, and their whole world is black vs. white, on vs. off, yes vs. no. When confronted with a problem, they need to run to a guide book, in this case the Bible, to determine what to do.

    Jesus and the Apostle Paul gave them better principles to follow in making such determinations, but I suspect that they would be lost on these people because of their disabilities. Some are probably brain wiring problems. Others are probably functional disabilities that have developed fro birth as a result of growing up in Christian fundamentalist homes and churches.

    I get so tired of writing messages like this. Sometimes I just want to say: “You people are a bunch of stupid sh*ts, and Jesus knows it.”

  4. David D.G. Says:

    This meme of “don’t trust the experts” is absolutely bonkers. The people who promote it must be truly stark, raving mad.

    “You say your car won’t run? Don’t take it to a mechanic; he’s one of those experts! Just trade in your car for a horse!”

    “You say your horse got sick? Don’t take it to a veterinarian; he’s one of those experts! Just walk!”

    “You say you can’t walk because your body hurts too much from various sources of pain? Don’t go to a doctor; he’s one of those experts! Just … well, die, I guess. It has to happen someday anyway.”

    “And what are you doing using a computer anyway? It was designed and made by computer experts! Your house was probably designed by expert architects and built by expert builders, too; you should be living in a cave!”

    “And don’t forget to vote against anybody who understands economics, law, education, or foreign policy. Those are experts, and we don’t want them in office! We want to vote in lots of ignoramuses like ourselves!”

    These wackos cannot race backward in time and knowledge toward their own retroactive extinction fast enough. That would be fine with me, except that they are trying to take with them as many other people as they can — especially their own children, who deserve better.

    ~David D.G.

  5. Patricia Says:

    With all the religious fundamentalists as Presidental candidates, I’m totally shocked at these messages – there is hope…I was thinking that people would agree with these zealots, but no – thinking folks here…thank god – seriously…I have always found it strange that the very people who are calling Muslims an extreme religion are the very ones who are spouting this nonsense with followers who can’t think for themselves….thanks for the posts – there is hope – the posts are thoughtful, articulate and well grounded…we seniors are grateful

  6. Wen Says:

    Sounds as though the religious right wishes to keep their offspring ignorant so they can’t compete in the real world. The film clip indicates to me that many of the college kids shown in it are learning to think analytically for the first time in their lives. This of course is a danger to conservative religious beliefs. No wonder they would put out such propaganda as this film.

  7. Charles Says:

    Wen.

    Prior to the advent of the Religious Right (yes, there was a time when it did not exist), the Christian fundamentalist mantra was “withdraw from the sinful world around you.” For some, that meant buying a house in a secluded rural area with no nearby neighbors. For others, it meant never going to lunch with their coworkers. Translate that as, “No thanks. I might come back to the office soiled by the world” or “No, I can’t go to Red Lobster because they serve alcoholic beverages. Yes, I know i don’t have to order one—but it’s just the fact that I don’t want to be near it and the kind of people who do drink.”

    Basically, these people were voluntary ascetic monks who lived as social recluses—sometimes sorta among people in town and sometimes in physical seclusion. I have always favored the term “living under a moist rock.”

    Personally, I never bought the “isolation from the world to prevent myself from becoming soiled” argument. The real reason for the isolation is fear that another person will show them how stupid and unChristian their beliefs really are (in clear and unmistakable terms) and cause them to depart from Christian fundamentalism, which would be like a beach vacation from Hell for most of them. Of course, the problem there is that their theology teaches them that the ONLY alternative to their belief system is total rejection of God. That is why I call Christian fundamentalist the “atheist/agnostic-maker.” Most of them are so psychologically deep into the system that they appear to be unable to recognize that there are intermediate alternatives at all.

    I once had an e-mail conversation with a British Christian fundamentalist who had their equivalent of a doctorate in theology. He had left the belief system, but the system had not left him. His whole world was still framed by Christian fundamentalist ways of thinking and understanding. I mentioned the concept of “God’s love” and how important it is to some Christians. He responded like this (approximately):

    “If by God’s love you mean warmth, sympathy, kindness, compassion, empathy, and cuddling up with someone, you had better get that idea out of your mind right now. Those are things that mammals do, and the Bible makes it clear that God is not a mammal. The real God of the Bible is nothing like us humans. What you have to understand is that he is an alien being that lives in another world very different from our own…blah…blah…blah.

    In other words, God is some scary, distant, insensitive, and totally alien being (apparently without feelings) whose only interest is dishing out long lists of rules and burning up humans who fail to abide by them perfectly. He sits for long hours in some other dimension, preening himself in a mirror, admiring his holiness, and having occasional concerns that some small percentage of a substance called “glory” might escape from him when He is not looking. He has no sense of humor. He gets angry over the smallest things and seems to stay angry pretty much all of the time. Every once in a while, he will totally lose control, flood whole planets, vaporize cities with thousands of people still in them, and kill all the first-born male children of nations. He thrives on fear. He likes nothing better than to make people afraid—and large numbers of people do fear him. In the end, he plans to torture everyone he does not like in a place called Hell by burning them forever, and ever, and ever under conditions where they feel all of the pain from the flames but cannot be consumed and cannot die. And why does He do all of this to humans. It’s because he LOVES them.

    Recently, I encountered an old Christian fundamentalist preacher who was very comfortable with this view of God and Hell, and had no problem with the notion that God is as I have described above. He said: “It is perfectly easy and normal to see how God is totally right and justified in being this way and doing such things. It’s all in the HOLINESS. If you were to ever understand just how HOLY God actually is and be able to measure the full depths of it, then you would see how totally righteous it would be for him to do such things.”

    I guess that sets up a mathematical equation that is basically an inverse proportion:

    Any increase in God’s HOLYNESS is associated with a proportionate decrease in God’s sanity. Therefore, if HOLYNESS reaches infinity, God concomitantly becomes some infinitum form of HANNIBAL LECHTER.

    This equation does not make much sense to me because it means that God can simultaneously be totally holy and totally insane. As one of my friends recently observed, if God is really like this, then it does not really matter whether we humans go to Heaven or Hell because the universe is ruled by an eternal, violent, arbitrary, and insane despot under which no human would ever have any real chance of eternal happiness. One would live in Heaven for all eternity in a constant state of fear and hand-wringing.

    Then there is Jesus—the behavioral antithesis of nearly everything that I have said above.

  8. hgsiewert Says:

    Reminds me of what I recently heard Kenneth Copeland tell his TV audience. To paraphrase Kenneth he said–Don’t believe what scientists tell you, don’t believe what you hear on the news, only believe what I tell you.

  9. Charles Says:

    “These are not the droids you’re looking for. You can move on now.”

  10. Wen Says:

    Thank you, Charles. I am old enough to remember when the main-line Protestant congregations shared some of the attributes of today’s far-right, evangelical communities. There would be itinerant preachers who would come to one church after another to hold week-long evangelism preachings, and the Ladies’ Aid Society would speak out against the terrors of pubs, snooker parlors and the ladies in the oldest profession. Gradually, these main-line congregations moved toward a more liberal view of what the New Testament teaches but small groups rued the appearance that religion was going to hell in a hand-basket. That, I think, was the start of what we today see as the zealous drive to “bring America back to where it should be”, an euphemism for theocracy. It is pleasing to me to find TFN as a voice in the wilderness, warning those who will listen, about the dangers our country could potentially face if this revolution comes to fruition. You, of course are right about Jesus being the icon of a life as it should be lived. But why did the writers of the New Testament have to cloak his personage in miracle-performing to cause some to ask, did he in fact ever live?

  11. Antonio Says:

    Religion is something we people created so that children would learn from it and turn out with the values and morals we wanted that is why there are parabolas in scripture. God/Jesus is what some people believe to be the infallible, perfect being and that is what people choose to believe in because I believe we, humans, need something or someone on which we can place our trust. If we don’t believe in an infallible,perfect being then we as humans think there is nothing left but to put meaning into our own life. Some people believe that putting meaning behind your own life in pointless and that is why mankind created religion. ( MY OPINION) First-year college student.

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