Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Belief Is Easier

Mini Book review: Idiot America by Charles P. Pierce
After writing an article for Esquire in 2005, the author expands that to a book upon finding additional examples of his premise. Quoted from the author's Esquire article:

The Gut is the basis for the Great Premises of Idiot America. We hold these truths to be self-evident:
1) Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units.
2) Anything can be true if somebody says it on television.
3) Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.

If that "Gut" sounds like what can be heard on talk radio, TV talking heads making millions a year, politicians running for (re)election, elected officials promoting their belief... Well you get the idea.

The author's original essay concentrated on the Creation Museum. In the book, he follows with examples of the Gut basis for belief/truth. The Gut is belief rather than anything that may have a basis in expertise, reason or science. Points of view based in something other than belief or wishes are ignored and denied credibility.

All the examples discussed in detail will be recognized by the reader since they had dominated headlines and news stories. Two examples of Idiot America: (1) Heading into the Iraq war for WMD without any evidence and ignoring all facts to the contrary; (2) Federal government writes legislation in Washington to keep Terry Shaivo's feeding tube in place.

If you are not up for reading the book, consider reading the Esquire article.


  1. About Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and the lack of evidence: did the author discuss why there were so few consequences of not finding any WMD once the war started? Why weren't the war promoters totally discredited after that?

  2. Boonie,
    The author just points out the stupidity of the American public.

    Regarding your last question... A dictator government and its supporting aristocracy (legislature in the US) rarely has to answer for its misdeeds. Perhaps an individual is a scapegoat now and then. But nothing more.

  3. I know this comment is a year later than your post, but I wanted to thank you for posting the link to this article. I sent it to my daughter who is the president of the College Free Thought Society at UWEC and also posted it to my Facebook wall. (Don't get me started on the foolishness and waste of time that is Fb...however, I'm hoping to get some of the Fb Wasteland to think now and then by posting items worthy of thought.) The article mentions in the beginning that nobody wants to speak up against these lunacies due to fear of seeming impolite or discriminatory, but how about because we're just afraid? Those fervent Creationists are kind of scary, especially since common sense doesn't enter the picture and you can't have a rational discussion with them. The article did make me wonder when becoming a scientist became something to not aspire to or not be proud of. What triggered that, sociologically speaking, I wonder? It has troubled me for awhile that we seem to be sliding backwards in the areas of education and human rights and civil rights. What do you do when rational thought becomes taboo?


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