Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sheik, rattle & roll

So now, a senior Iranian cleric, one Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, is claiming that earthquakes are due to women behaving in a promiscuous fashion and wearing immodest clothing.

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which consequently increases earthquakes," Sedighi is quoted as saying.

It is a constant source of wonderment to me that when prominent figures say these kinds of things, their audience does not erupt in guffaws.  I realize that there is a slight disincentive to doing so in Iran, where guffawing at a cleric is probably punishable by beheading.  But still, you have to wonder how human nature doesn't take over and force people to laugh.  Perhaps the listeners survive the experience by biting chunks out of the insides of their cheeks, much in the fashion of an animal caught in a steel trap gnawing off its own paw.

Of course, honesty forces me to point out that it isn't only the Muslims that have leaders who seem to have a Hostess Ho-Ho where most people have a brain.  We, for example, have Pat Robertson, who routinely claims that homosexuality and promiscuity cause hurricanes, and also that he can bench press a Volkswagen. And lest we think that it's only religious leaders who engage in such bizarre thinking, let us not forget Lyndon LaRouche, who provides perennial and much-needed comic relief to the political stage by (for example) claiming that our current leaders are being controlled remotely by super-intelligent aliens.

Now, come on.  I may not always agree with him, but I can state with some confidence that Barack Obama is not being controlled by aliens. And given that the aliens are alleged to be super-intelligent, I doubt they're in charge of Rick Santorum, either.  (I might be willing to believe it about Nancy Pelosi, however.  Her smile definitely looks like the result of someone pressing a button that says, "Retract Lips And Expose Teeth.")

But I digress.

You have to question how people can make statements like Sedighi's.  Don't these people have a glimmer of understanding of the concept of scientific induction?  How hard is it to go through a thought process like the following:

1) Hypothesis: female promiscuity is responsible for earthquakes.

2) Fact: Teheran, one of the most earthquake-prone cities, is not known as a hotbed of immorality, largely because getting caught engaging in immoral behavior is likely to result in the public removal of critical body parts.

3) Fact: On the other hand, female promiscuity abounds in Palm Beach, especially during spring break.

4) Fact: Palm Beach has not been struck by an earthquake in recorded history.

5) Conclusion: The original hypothesis is incorrect.

You don't have to have a Ph.D. in geology to follow this line of reasoning.  You do, however, have to be able to put together thoughts in some kind of logical fashion, which is apparently something Sedighi is incapable of doing.  And the people sitting in the audience, who evidently responded by saying to themselves, "My god, he's right!  I will cease my promiscuous behavior right now, in the interest of halting plate tectonics!" must not only have inadequate logical faculties, but also be willing to swallow anything someone says, as long as he has a long beard and white robes.

Either that, or they're missing large pieces from the insides of their cheeks.

1 comment:

  1. "but also be willing to swallow anything someone says, as long as he has a long beard and white robes."

    Exactly. As with your post yesterday, he's too intellectually lazy to just say "Remember people, before you decide to go astray. Our god does not condone promiscuous behavior. This is your casual reminder. Thank you, as a collective, for maintaining your chastity thus far. Keep it up!"

    Couldn't just be positive. Nope. Doom & gloom.

    They don't guffaw because they've been hearing guffaw-worthy crap like this their whole lives. They're desensitized. A lifetime of "Cleric speaks. Nod head."

    To quote William Wallace: