The Gullible Human

How to understand the foibles of belief and the fallible human psyche

“It’s not that superstition and New Age so-called “beliefs” and fundamentalist zealotry are something new. They’ve been with us for as long as we’ve been human. But we [now] live in an age based on science and technology, with formidable technological powers”.

“We need a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility”.

“If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan political or religious who comes ambling along—Carl Sagan “A Way of Thinking”


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

69 thoughts on “The Gullible Human”

  1. This is often where things get tricky, where those being questioned get pissed off that you have the temerity to suggest there is no Yahweh.
    ”We as Christians are being persecuted! We should be allowed to evangelize to the natives otherwise they will be lost and they will end up in hell.”
    And of course, the nonsense surrounding so-called Islamaphobia.
    No! Can’t question Islam.
    Well FTS.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I can’t even muster a chuckle. It’s so bad Ark, this faith trap, belief should never be the endgame, but that’s how the rules were defined. Their easy way out is stifling humanity. It is a neat trick for those who enjoy power over people.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree!!! I find I can study science to my heart’s content being unburdened by thorny religious conflicts 😁 History as well such as the development of early Christianity 😂 Not so easy when you’re a Christian yourself 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One can’t even study Christianity fairly until you have a thorough understanding of our human bias and weakness. Most of us are too trusting from day one, and most of us find it hard to believe others thrive in control and manipulation. Why would anybody do that? They just do. We can only beat their system by understanding first that we’re easily suckered.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I mean the development of it…There are some pretty neat extinct sects such as some that believed in multiple gods, or a NT and OT God😁 it just goes to show Christianity changed and evolved, it wasn’t handed down in its current form from above!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Christianity may be a great example of evolutionary diversity—30-40,000 sects have covered their bases with something for everyone. Every free religious idea is shoehorned, and soon they will claim science as well. It will be the ticket to its survival.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. The only freely allowed competition vs religion is another delusion. The vitriol flows free and the money piles in. Just ask Mel, religion is untouchable by science. I’m sure you’ve seen video of the little Mecca gathering. That’s about .1% of those who want to be in there. More fanatic than a Black Friday Walmart in the south.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah, and in an adjoining courtyard the world’s largest mass sacrifice of animals takes place, turning the tiled ground into a sea of blood. And the men take their little children in, and let them slit the throats of goats. Fucking madness.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Blessed be the name of the most high god. Hosanna. One thing that might make it all true…you can’t make this shit up! Oh, but we can…and did. Wtf?

          Liked by 2 people

            1. I did watch a couple of videos. They kill them without a care at all. 100s of thousands of Goats are imported and slaughtered. 60% of somalias GDP is goats to MECCA. Even goats from Australia. HUGE business. Utterly disgusting. Praises to Allah. If they can’t respect the simplest of life?

              Liked by 1 person

    2. JZ, the problem is that religion won’t quietly remove itself from the marketplace because a significant proportion of its adherents oppose the intrusion of logic and reason upon their false aura of certainty. And that segment of the population is growing.

      Liked by 4 people

          1. Most likely I won’t be around by then. And altho’ I’m not anxious to leave this good ole’ earth, I’m not too enthused about where things are headed — so maybe it’s best. 😐

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I probably won’t be around either. But I was hoping that future generations would inherit a more enlightened world, not a more superstitious and benighted one.

              Liked by 2 people

      1. You stated — “the problem is that religion won’t quietly remove itself from the marketplace ”

        My response — Is religion the problem or people who believe in destructive ideas the problem?

        If religion were removed from the Earth would the world be safer if the exact same people who believed now believe in something else equally destructive?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No, the world would not be safer if the exact same people swapped one bad ideology (religion) for another. And as I’ve stated before, I believe that such a likelihood is inevitable given the human propensity to crave hierarchical structures and the fact that there’s no shortage of malevolent opportunists willing to exert control over others. Nonetheless, I still think combating all bad ideas is worth the effort because the alternative is to grant voluntarily surrender and submit to oppression.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You stated — “No, the world would not be safer if the exact same people swapped one bad ideology (religion) for another. And as I’ve stated before, I believe that such a likelihood is inevitable”

            My response — I agree.

            You stated — “I still think combating all bad ideas is worth the effort because the alternative is to grant voluntarily surrender and submit to oppression.”

            My response — I disagree. I don’t combat bad ideas, although to be fair it may seem like I do because I often debate people but that’s a different discussion.

            I think the best way to end bad ideas is with better ideas.

            “Do not argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

            I think (for example) this is why Donald Trump is so successful. He keeps people arguing about bad ideas. I don’t try to argue the bad ideas because people already believe them and have invested in them. I simply offer a better idea to trigger cognitive dissidence. In other words, I let them argue with themselves. Over time it seems far more effective than me fighting at their level.

            In the end both sides are reduced to the same truth:

            “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. “Marcus Aurelius”

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Quote: “I think (for example) this is why Donald Trump is so successful. He keeps people arguing about bad ideas. I don’t try to argue the bad ideas because people already believe them and have invested in them. I simply offer a better idea to trigger cognitive dissidence.” I’m curious then, what is your specific better idea you would present to a faith-based individual?

              Liked by 2 people

            2. You asked –”I’m curious then, what is your specific better idea you would present to a faith-based individual?”

              My response – The question itself is flawed. What does it matter to me what people believe (if they even believe it). Why should I fight someone’s belief? A belief most likely based on a million different parts of which they will most likely only understand or know a small percentage of?

              I don’t fight the wind for it knows not.
              I stop the draft so I can rest comfortably in my home.

              As an example, there is a religious group that believes the state capital is a good place for religious themed displays (regardless of the separation of church and state) so another religious group came in to display some religious themed scenes with pentagrams and goat’s heads.

              Now people are starting to understand the value of separating religion from government. In the years before there would just be protests to these religious scenes. People would argue and go back and forth fighting with no real progress as one belief tried to force another.


            3. You stated — “People’s beliefs do matter. They affect us all the time.”

              My response — Ok, let’s test that, tell me how the belief of the Jedi religion affect you?


            4. I think you are avoiding the issue. When the majority of Christians, who also happen to be lawmakers, judges, congressman, and senators in a nation governed claiming Christian values, then proceed to deny equal rights, marriage, climate change, and so forth, that belief is affecting the air I breath. Literally. It also affects the status of friends and family members. There is a recurring theme lately to separate Christians from the ill effects of Christendom. I don’t afford that privilege. Especially when they claim their faith is the most important part of their life—many above their own family. The Hindus have their own major pollutions in the name of religion (look at the Rivers Yamuna, Ganga, Gomti, Ghaghara River, Chambal, Mahi, Vardha are amongst the other most coliform polluted water bodies in the world from dumping millions of human bodies to go to heaven) Beliefs do matter, especially the big 5.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. You stated — “I think you are avoiding the issue.”

              My response — But we both know that I have an entire site dedicated to engaging in difficult issues so that is most likely not what is happening.

              It’s more likely that we are not understanding what the issue is that we do not agree on.

              You stated — “When the majority of Christians, who also happen to be lawmakers,…. claiming Christian values, then proceed to deny… climate change,….. that belief is affecting the air I breath.”

              My response — This is a good example of what I was talking about. Remove all the Christians and you still have the exact same problem (Like in China). They are one of the largest polluters on the planet next to the US. We cannot blame Christian law makers in China and they are factually polluting the air that you breath, since this is in a global problem.

              Do you have Christians denying global warming (yes), Do you have Christians that state that global warming is real (yes). I myself believe global warming is real.

              But what is the fact:
              The US military is the largest polluter on the entire Earth and they are not even part of the conversation we are having right now about air pollution. Until they change direction global warming will continue to increase and they are not a lawmaker problem, they are a financial problem with a technology curve that will cost a few trillion dollars to correct. No one in either party wants to spend the money to fix this problem. Thus, it is not a Christian VS Atheist issue. It is a financial vs technology issue.

              Do we need to get people onboard with moving the military over to full nuclear and electric hardware? (Yes) Is this a discussion going on anywhere in the public circle or are people wasting time fighting bad ideas? Do Christians and Atheist fight the deployment of more nuclear energy (YES)
              Bad ideas don’t know anything about religion.


            6. Fair points to consider. I have an ongoing, lingering issue with religion. If it’s not helping, whats the point? 1000 years of domination and still no bliss. No signs and wonders, no righting of anything. I think without it, at least we could debate apples to apples.


            7. You stated – “I have an ongoing, lingering issue with religion. If it’s not helping, what’s the point?”

              My response – Value is assigned by the individual. You don’t have a need for it but your neighbor does.

              So, the point is this, “You must provide a better idea for your neighbor”.

              I know people who go to church because they are lonely. Those people are part of your air pollution argument from before, but it’s not because of belief it’s because of loneliness.

              The problem with religion is that it provides a fast solution to a laundry list of individual problems and until we acknowledge that we will never be free from it as a society.

              The humanist movement understands this but they are not a large enough movement and when they become one will they go astray? They will if they have bad ideas with a large following.

              Just a thought, as always Jim great discussion, you keep me challenged for sure

              Liked by 1 person

            8. That’s fudging, you clumsily avoided answering the question by trying to turn it back on me, that doesn’t work with me.


            9. Seems fair, one of the most difficult challenges is for two people, with opposing ideas, to understand each other.

              There should be some confusion until we can truly understand what the other person is saying.

              I feel I answered the question but you feel I dodged it.

              Now we can either assume agenda and go on the defensive or accept misunderstanding and seek clarity.

              Either is good for me since you are interesting.


            10. To clarify, I used the word “combat” in a figurative sense. So I agree that it’s generally preferable to present better ideas instead of simply denouncing the bad ones.

              However, as JFK observed: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

              When one party threatens the liberty of another and becomes unresponsive to reasoned discussion, forceful means are the only alternative. King George didn’t grant the colonies independence over a polite cup of tea — they had to fight for it. Likewise, it’s become patently obvious that you can’t argue rationally with Jihadists or Antifa activists or Marxist revolutionaries or militant left-wing groups (like BAMN, an acronym for “by any means necessary”).

              Liked by 2 people

            11. You stated — “When one party threatens the liberty of another and becomes unresponsive to reasoned discussion, forceful means are the only alternative.”

              My response — Martin Luther King Jr. would disagree with you.

              Good ideas know what force does not…. that a good idea will outlive a bad fight. The only thing a fight provides is a little more time for bad ideas. If you don’t believe me then ask Socrates since his ideas have outlasted the millions of fights that came after him.

              Liked by 2 people

            12. Yes. MLK would have disagreed with me. As would Thoreau, Gandhi, Jains and many other pacifists. But Malcolm X and others disagreed with MLK. Moreover, those facing severe oppression often lack the luxury of waiting for things to get better sometime in the distant future.

              Don’t get me wrong here. I subscribe to the non-aggression principle; so I’m firmly in favor of seeking out peaceful remedies through negotiation first. But I’m also a pragmatist: those who commit acts of aggression against others should be met with forceful resistance. On this point, for me at least, there is no room for negotiation.

              Liked by 1 person

            13. You stated – “But Malcolm X and others disagreed with MLK”

              My response – Agreed, but keep in mind that the enemy of MLK and Malcolm X now teach about MLK in their schools.

              You are proving my point for me fights end but good ideas live on.

              You stated — “I subscribe to the non-aggression principle”

              My response – I myself do not subscribe to any form of non-aggression principle. I do however follow the most effective path. I don’t think about being peaceful or aggressive (why would I).

              If my life is threatened I respond with overwhelming force, with no guilt or cognitive dissidence. No last second struggle with morality. But this has nothing to do with doing what is right to be successful. Force is ineffective and messy. Reason and critical thinking are resolute.

              A good idea is far more effective than force and to be clear they are not opposites, they are simply available options to choose from.

              Liked by 1 person

            14. The non-aggression principle is an ethical stance that prohibits the initiation of force, not self-defense. And whether it’s messy or not, once the enemy invades your borders the door to discussion is shut; at that point the list of available options narrows to a choice between fight and flight. No one promised the road to freedom was free or easy — or peaceful.

              “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson

              Liked by 1 person

            15. You stated – “The non-aggression principle is an ethical stance that prohibits the initiation of force”

              My response – It’s interesting but I personally have no predefined stance on aggression. I use whatever is most effective for the moment based on known success or opportunity.

              I don’t see aggression as a positive or a negative, it is simply an available tool which is good for a limited number of jobs.

              But it was interesting talking about it, thanks.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Of all things to fear, not natural disaster or disease; but ourselves — our own humanness disguised by a religious lack of humanity and masked by an opinion that a deity (fantasy) wants it so.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess JFK was wrong. The only thing to fear is faith, the purported cure creates a nasty, crippling effect towards reality. Belief is supposed to be a temporary state supplantable by evidence, but with faith the evidence is not even considered.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. With my schedule right now, I’m going to have to nominate you as my liaison. I prefer mostly $20s, and then we’ll meet next to the brief case in “No Country for Old Men”.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Very true. It’s very dangerous for people with power to think in the ways that religion encourages us to. We need to encourage skepticism before superstition kills us all.

    By the way, I just finished going through The True Believer.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Caught a NatGeo documentary last night on Warren Jeffs, his FLDS Church, and survivor testimonies/interviews with 3-4 women (one pair were mother, daughter) and the entire ordeal for them, thru their words and obvious tears and scars — one gentleman lost his older brother to suicide, also a victim of Jeffs — and it is mind-boggling just how gullible human brains (exploited thru emotions & hardcore indoctrination) truly are when shut-off from the real world, broad quality education (with science of course!), and intentionally raised and schooled in ignorance. Not only is it abusive and often violates human rights, from a mental-health or psychological standpoint it is LETHAL!


    1. They operate at many levels of crazy as well. Check out Netflix “Holy Hell”. It’s happening to adults as well. But of course, it always requires the authority or charismatic guru figure. So blatantly obvious from the outside, but no one on earth has ever been brainwashed and knew it was happening.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s an easy, intensional parallel. “I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again! The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. “We shall defend our holiday, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the social media, we shall fight in the malls, we shall fight in the parking lots and in the streets, we shall fight in the town halls; we shall never surrender.”

            Liked by 1 person

    2. You stated — “the Ka’bah reminds me of the Borg cube”

      My response — At the eastern corner of the Ka’bah is a black stone generally thought to be a meteorite. So there is your space tie-in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are a lot of statements in the scriptures that would eradicate religion if anyone ever paid any heed to them. But with the faith blinders on permanently, it’s safe to leave then in the bible, they won’t harm the religion. Example: love your neighbour as yourself. Christians “believe” they do that because when the read it, if they read it, they get a warm, fuzzy feeling about it and that feeling, folks, that’s the Holy Spirit telling you that within your faith you do love your neighbour as yourself. You just don’t have to like him, or her, and you can treat them any way you like so long as you biblically and Jesusly love them. Simple matter of interpretation. By the way, I am not making that up – it was just another of those endless hypocrisies that showed me the door out of religion.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Nicely stated. Loving others as they love themselves also kinda exposes the way they feel about themselves. Self deprecated, lost sinners unworthy to even tie someone’s shoe. Thanks


  6. That Carl Sagan quote gets my vote for the best quote I’ve seen this month.

    Accepting everything at face value is the road to bad things. Or Donald Trump. Which is pretty much the same thing. And a fine example representing Sagans quote.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We can beat this with awareness of our foibles. But faith even keeps one from looking. Maybe this is the approach we should all take to dismantle belief. The front door approach doesn’t get much air time.


      1. Yeah, that’s the thing about those representing their faith. The pastors, the preachers, the priests, the shysters. They are always demanding no one dare look behind the curtain.

        Didn’t I see that in a movie somewhere? 🙂


        1. Belief is never the end-game unless referring to belief in yourself. I guess some people need to be tricked into proving they’ve got this. They always have. Ya know, when I deconverted it was a great calm. I realized I could do this on my own—I always had. I’m off to see the wizard now. Have a stellar day

          Liked by 1 person

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