View Single Post
Old 19th June 2013, 11:41 PM   #141
Penultimate Amazing
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 12,459
Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
Well I will try to spell it out....using your approach of considering the consequences of what you propose.

1. People believe witchcraft works.
2. Whether or not people have access to a GP does not change the above belief
3. You are opposed to teaching people that 1 is not true.
Again you simply repeat your accusation, i.e. your strawman!

The consequence of this is that people will continue to believe witchcraft works.

The whole argument we've been having is predicated on your opposition to teaching people that witchcraft isn't useful. It was a stupid thing to do in your words.

It simply becomes bizarre when you dismiss everyone who does have access to medical care and still choose quackery.
Again: Where do I say that I am opposed "to teaching people that witchcraft isn't useful"? Would you please quote what you consider to be "my words" since "the whole argument we've been having" appears to be based on your misunderstandings.

Could you also tell me where I "dismiss everyone who does have access access to medical care", which is all the more absurd since my argument the whole time has been that health care is a prerequisite for for abolishing the belief in witchdoctors.

When I point to a case like Steve Jobs, it's because I'm not really concerned about people who could know better, who should know better, who have access to the best kind of health care and choose woo instead. They have an actual choice. I never claimed that the prerequisite for the education about the difference between proper and woo health care (= acces to proper health care) would force people to become 'enlightened'! (I've dealt with these people before when I've had a personal interest in one or two of them, and my conclusion is that you should leave them alone. Their need to believe is of a different kind.

My concern is the people who don't have this choice, whose only choice is between faith and the lack of it, which is what makes your endeavour to teach them about the blessings of modern health care pointless.

In this respect it's similar to the case of the children in Beslan who were held hostage at a school by Chechen rebels:
Carat, 11: "I was hoping that Harry Potter would come. I remembered that he had a cloak that made him invisible and he would come and wrap me in it, and we'd be invisible and we'd escape."
Nine-year-old Laima draws pictures of what she saw when she was held hostage:
"I found a little cross on the gym's floor. I kept it on me for all of the three days. It helped me to survive."

What these children needed was to get the hell out of there! Once they were in safety, you could start telling them about the superstitions that people invent in uncomfortable situations that are out of their control.
What sick Africans need is health care, first and foremost. Once they have that, it makes sense to start telling them about the difference between medical doctors and witchdoctors. Only then will they actually benefit from knowing about the difference.

But I already know how you guys respond to an argument like this: I 'compare Africans with children', right? Unlike many others, however, I wouldn't tell them to 'grow up'. That's what I tell skeptics who do so, and that's what I might have told Jobs ...
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top