Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Reality Test 7–How has my thinking gone wrong?

Posted by Ann on August 11, 2010

7) Just because you can’t explain something, doesn’t mean it is unexplainable

There are many genuine unsolved mysteries in the universe and it is okay to say, “We do not yet know but someday perhaps we will.” The problem is that most of us find it more comforting to have certainty, even if it is premature, than to live with unsolved or unexplained mysteries.

–Michael Shermer

This is a very common mistake in logic made by believers in the supernatural. Sure, there are a lot of mysteries in the natural world. Reality as we know it is not comprised of absolutes. Reality is influenced by our perception of it so the truth is not absolute. But my truth is based on the evidence instead of on made-up explanations for things. I’m not an absolutist atheist, I’m a realist. If evidence is presented to me that is valid and proven by science to explain the natural world, for instance that God created the universe (lol!), I will change my opinion based on the facts. But why should I jump to the conclusion that something I can’t explain has a supernatural cause when there has never been any proof, ever, that there is even a supernatural world. That’s, like, making up a lie to tell yourself so you feel better about dying some day. The big lie most of humanity believes because they cannot explain everything: Mystery in the natural world must indicate the paranormal.

Even the most reasonable people still believe, in this post-post-modern age, that if an expert can’t explain something then it’s supernatural. However, they are more open to evidence. When something is explained they can usually admit, “Oh, it’s obvious now that you’ve shown me evidence of how that happens.” A good example of this is firewalking. There’s nothing supernatural about firewalking. It’s scientifically explainable and anyone can do it if they can overcome their fear of walking through fire. When a reasonable believer hears the explanation for firewalking they can see how it is explainable by science.

Here’s a video explaining firewalking:

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