God plays a similarly convincing trick.

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Discussion (30)¬

  1. Forteatwo says:

    And God said, “Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on me.
    And Satan said: “let there be lawyers, so people don’t blame everything on me.”

  2. Donn says:

    It’s all part of the plan.

  3. MarkyWarky says:

    But but but……….free will? Satan exists to test us, to see how we’ll use our free will. Which god gave us, which he could have fashioned in any way he wanted. Which didn’t need to have evil outcomes, ev………..


  4. Oozoid says:

    A nice film about Jesus and the Devil and Divine Retribution:
    (in which lawyers are the new apostles).

  5. paradoctor says:

    The Devil’s greatest trick is to convince us that he does not exist right here, in us, but that he does exist over there, in them.

    Thus I correct and complete a witticism by Chesterton.

  6. Succubus ov Satan says:

    Satan = god

  7. M27Holts says:

    Isn’t the devil just an anthropomorphic representation of certain human behaviours. Or am I mistaken? Again….

  8. Len says:

    Good one, paradoctor.

  9. postdoggerel says:

    Satan must have been pretty simple, even according to the New Testament, or he wouldn’t have led Christ up on a high mountain and offered him the world if he would fall down and worship him. That was a manifestly absurd proposition, because Christ, as the Son of God, already owned the world; and besides, what Satan showed him was only a few rocky acres of Palestine. It is just as if some one should try to buy Rockefeller, the owner of all the Standard Oil Company, with a gallon of kerosene.
    – Mark Twain, a Biography

  10. Laripu says:

    postdoggerel, the way to make sense of these stories is to realize that when they were written, people didn’t conceive of god and Jesus as omnipotent and omniscient. (They never thought of the Greek pantheon as omnipotent or omniscient either.) Those super powers, ascribed to the Jesus/god characters, came later.

    Simple cultures invent simple deities. More sophisticated cultures invent more sophisticated deities.

  11. M27Holts says:

    Aye. When the ignorant savages wrote the bible…bows and arrows were still on the secret weapons list…..and they thought the sun went round the earth…I can’t even think down to the level of deluded wankstains…It gives me a headache…

  12. postdoggerel says:

    Laripu, good exegesis. M27Holts, wankstain. Good one. I’ll slip it into my conversation sometime soon, doubtlessly a political one.

  13. postdoggerel says:

    paradoctor, in a similar vein,
    “Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us.” – Neil Degrasse Tyson

  14. M27Holts says:

    Yeah but to the deluded whoppers..Stars mean Ant n Dec (SIC) not Rigel and Sirius…

  15. Vanity Unfair says:

    “…it gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level.”
    Marvin: HHGG Fit the third.
    Is that it?

  16. Choirboy says:

    The Lord of the Flies. The Beast created by kids.

  17. M27Holts says:

    VF…aye Douglas Adams is a treasure chest of re-usable one-liners…nice pick up….

  18. M27Holts says:

    Theologians can ponder over the fecking bible all they like but they would get more insight into the stupidity of homo sapiens be reading the works of DA…the sheer stupidity of religious people is so highly understated, its a wonder that any of them can manage to fasten their shoe laces or wipe their arses properly…

  19. Laripu says:

    M27Holts, I wouldn’t argue with you about the facts. Most people are stupid most of the time. And everyone is stupid some of the time. It’s true for religion, but also for everything else. The only reason modern societies don’t fall apart is that there’s enough redundancy built into the system, so that it usually corrects itself. (I’m using redundancy in the sense of algebraic coding theory, not in the UK sense applied to people losing their jobs.)

    But those stupid people can vote, and they don’t want to be made to feel like they’re stupid; and they are the majority. Using IQ as a proxy only, with standard deviation 15, the percentage of the world that’s in the IQ range [80,105] is approximately 54%. (I know that IQ isn’t intelligence, but actual intelligence is distributed the same way and I’m just using this to get rough percentages. The takeaway is: non-retarded stupid people are the majority, for electoral purposes.) For the numbers, see:

    The point is: railing against the stupid people is railing against the majority. It makes them resentful and open to demagogues at the voting booth. It happened in the United States not long ago… it might happen again.

    What’s more, we need those stupid people to do the jobs that engineers, doctors, and professors aren’t going to do. Someone must remove your garbage, clean your table at a restaurant, package your food products. Someone must put your Spam and Marmite on a shelf, or in a box for delivery. It ain’t gon’ be no Henry Einstein.

    These people used to be humble. They were referred to as “the simple people”. Then the “clever people” created communication tools that let the simple people amplify their simple opinions to each other. Now they feel empowered, and are vulnerable to exploitation by demagogues. The “clever people” turned out to have made a not-so-clever error by forgetting that 100 fools badly outnumber a single genius.

    The genie is out of the bottle, cat’s out of the bag, Pandora’s box is open: choose your metaphor. I’m looking for ideas. What will make the simple people be compliant with how the slightly smarter people run societies?

    Traditionally, for centuries, the answer has been religion. We need a better idea. Suggestions, please?

  20. M27Holts says:

    I think it should be me. I put Laripu in charge of tge americas and Japan. SoG in charge of All gallic countries and china. First rule…free beer for everybody and kebab eating only allowed wirh sustainable exercise regimes…

  21. Donn says:

    I sure hope that isn’t how it works.

    “… actual intelligence is distributed the same way” – I don’t buy that. The first thing here is to figure out what people need, in order not to tear society down around their heads; let’s call that “actual intelligence”, but is it a inherent trait with a bell curve distribution, where competent individuals need to be fairly far out on the high end? Maybe not, eh?

    As a test of this hypothesis, we might consider whether apparently intelligent individuals as a group are significantly immune to … problematic ideas. Hm, I guess we also needed to define “stupid”, but I’m not going to tackle that right now, we’ll just have to hope that we have a general idea what’s missing out there in the ranks of the “stupid”, and my point is that among them we’ll find many people who really shouldn’t be stupid, they’re well equipped to do a lot better.

    I’d prefer to believe that it’s the more or less common birthright of humans, to be able to function at a mental level that would keep them out of trouble. That doesn’t mean we’re all equal, and it doesn’t mean that every single one of us is in the clear, but it does mean that we’re able to do a lot better than we’re doing today. And we’d better, because there isn’t going to be any return to an intellectual authority that people submit to. That went out with the age of Enlightenment.

  22. Son of Glenner says:

    Laripu: To put it more succinctly, “half the population are below average intelligence”, which of course is a self-validating statement, like the proof that the Bible is true because it says so in the Bible, or like a snake eating its own tail. (Or a snail following its own trail!)

    M27Holts: Thanks for the offer, but I don’t want china – I’d probably only break it anyway!

  23. Jim Baerg says:

    “consider whether apparently intelligent individuals as a group are significantly immune to … problematic ideas.”

    Michael Shermer wrote a book “Why People Believe Weird Things”. The later editions include a chapter “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things”, in which he talks about intelligence making one better able to rationalize belief in things originally believed for non-rational reasons.
    So how do we get people to consider the possibility that they are wrong about something.

    I am part way through listening to this series
    Its about how some scientists got into believing something despite evidence against it & pushing that belief onto the world.

  24. M27Holts says:

    I don’t understand how beliefs in invisible deitys survives beyond a childs sixth birthday and yet a similar meme like father xmas is disgarded almost universally? What mind fucking device do religions wield? I need to know…and in case your listening santa…don’t forget the young wimmin who think I’m a billionaire and hung like a stallion….

  25. Donn says:

    intelligence making one better able to rationalize belief in things originally believed for non-rational reasons.” You bet. It isn’t news that conclusions tend to come before the logic that supports them, rather than after.

  26. jb says:

    Most smart people aren’t using their intelligence to understand the world, they are using it to get ahead in the world, which is something quite different.

  27. Donn says:

    There’s an alternative to “intelligence”, also somewhat ambiguously defined – “wisdom”. Wonder if that could be introduced in the public school curriculum.

  28. Son of Glenner says:

    Donn: Perhaps also introduce lessons on hair/skin/eye colour into the curriculum?

  29. Donn says:

    My hair/skin/eye color seems to be pretty resistant to instruction. If my hair were listening, I’d start with encouraging it to grow back.

  30. Cassanders says:

    Donn says:
    May 9, 2022 at 4:46 pm
    I think you are making a very common (and debate-obstructing) mistake:
    Conflating human dignity ( and inherent rights) and intelligence.
    I suspect an important reason for the general “fear and anger” response to almost all research and attempts to discus “intelligence”, is an implicit assumption that the two properties are scaled/coupled. The resistance would have been laudable, if this was a valid proposition.


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