Monday, 19 November 2012

Exercising some deamons

According to the BBC (here) some people in this country have taken to dismissing the notion of going to the Doctor when ill, and decided that what they really need is an exorcist. As you do.

So apparently thousands of years of medical advancement, and countless proven treatments for multitudes of conditions, hasn't managed to break through the notion that waving some incense about, and muttering phrases from long dead languages probably isn't going to cut the proverbial mustard.

Except of course that it has. Completely. In-fact the notion of exorcism requires such a fundamentally flawed belief system that you would have to have made a conscious decision not to be educated, not to learn things, and to never, under any circumstances, attempt to figure out the terrifying voodoo behind the concept of cause and effect, for it to make sense.

At this point, you're probably expecting me to pen some quip about fools and money being parted, or sit there tearing into the business practices of a bunch of charlatans who have managed to convince people that they know special magic words that will make it all better.

I'm not going to though. Not even a little bit. Partly because it's too easy, and party because if you're reading this, and, well, you have enough education to be able to read this, I don't think I need to. After all, it doesn't take a lot of time at school to realise that there's a very clear difference between knowing things because we can asses and measure them, and "knowing" things because someone, somewhere, might have once said something, that might not have been mistranslated numerous times over thousands of years, that might be true despite a total absence of evidence, and assuming that it still remains valid in a world where we know about, well, stuff.

Because that's what the point is. If you've forgone education and rationality enough to ignore all evidence, science, teaching, and common sense, to come to the conclusion that what's wrong with you isn't a recognisable medical condition, but the fact that you're possessed by the ghost of grandma's dog from the 70s, then I'm genuinely VERY happy for you to visit an exorcist.

After all, why waste everyone else's money? £60 of your cash an hour to keep you out of the NHS, out of Doctors surgeries, and, on a long enough time scale, ultimately away from anyone else who can breathe, is a good thing. It's the cycling of the intellectual world. To do otherwise is just an exercise in standing in the way of natural selection. We don't need you. You're holding back the species, and the rest of us have better thing to do.

Idiots die out because they bring it on themselves, nonsense belief systems die out because over time the weight of evidence to point out that they're nonsense becomes over powering, and there are only so many ways in which you can 'modernise' them before you start to realise that the only similarity of what you believe in now compared to what you used to believe in is the spelling.

Incidentally, this is pretty much how I feel about homeopathy as well. The chief difference being that, for reasons I don't even want to contemplate, we apparently consider that particular variant of making shit up to be good enough to merit public funding. Which is even more worrying, as if we can use the excuse of patient choice as an excuse to fund something that's backed up by precisely nothing, then we're really not far off funding exorcisms either.

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