How to explain this…
Let’s start small — basic ideas. You and I are stranded on an island. The only way to get help is to swim 10 miles to the mainland. I know how to swim a little, you don’t know how to swim at all. If swimming is our ONLY way off the island, the first person to go for help won’t be you — it’ll be me: Because YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO SWIM.
It’s not a judgment. It’s a fact. Your ‘lack of knowledge or skill’ in that area means you simply have no business doing it or even trying it. Failure is pretty much guaranteed.
So, Basic Idea: Lack of Knowledge is ‘disqualifying’.
Let’s expand it a little. You aspire to learn how to swim. You watch a video series: “Drowning Dave Teaches You How To Swim”. You think (having watched the theory but not having tested it out yet) that you and water are now an item. Having caught a few snippets of ‘Drowning Dave’s” act (and knowing how to swim myself), I feel pretty certain (I can’t say I KNOW — because I can’t test it or haven’t tested it yet) that Drowning Dave will teach you how to DROWN, not SWIM…
And yet you insist on being dropped off in the middle of the ten miles of open water between us and the mainland — just to prove how well you’ve learned to swim from Drowning Dave.
Should I let you ‘take that plunge’ — knowing with a high degree of certainty that you’ll drown — just like Drowning Dave taught you to do?
From MY point of view, you (the person with no knowledge of swimming) chose an information source — Drowning Dave — that was unreliable — that, were you to follow it, would almost assuredly set you up for failure. And yet — left to your own devices — it would be a matter of time before you ended up floating lifelessly in the water. My quandry — do I try to stop you from doing it?
From an atheist’s point of view, most theists are actually reasonable — though they ‘follow’ the lessons in the bible, theirs is a ‘soft follow’. They’re actually agnostics but that’s a whole other conversation. They’ll go along to get along.
It’s the ‘Theists Who Know’ that pose the problem. And it IS a problem. Look around. See a problem? See irrational shit happening on a daily basis?
American Hardcore Theists — like Roy Moore (and many members of the United States Congress) use — as their BASIS FOR KNOWLEDGE AND MORALITY a deeply, deeply, DEEPLY flawed series of texts that — though incredibly valuable AS LITERATURE — are in NO WAY useful as history and even their value as a Guide To Morality is suspect — and needs to be understood in its context: It was written by men with a very limited knowledge base about the micro world, the macro world and the world in general; they were ignorant and were handicapped in understanding and describing the Real World by that ignorance.
To follow many of their ideas is to bring their ignorance into the present — where it has no place. To make law for the future based on ignorance from the past isn’t just counter-intuitive — it’s flat out stupid.
And we would be stupid to do it.
Ya see, that’s the problem an atheist has — when facing a ‘group decision’ — as atheists do every day in American society. Most of those decisions — what restaurant to order lunch from — believing the day was created in seven literal days probably won’t turn lunch into a chaotic fiasco.
Making foreign policy however — or health care decisions… Or deciding what counts as ‘science’…
Big, big problem.
So — when questions of magnitude come up — and some of us look at the rest with dead certainty in their eyes — dead certainty based on bullshit, that is — a different some of us will stand firmly in their path — because their ignorance will lead us off a cliff.
And — as the current data shouts and screams — we haven’t much time to wrest control of the bus back from those whose decision-making was fucked up from the get-go.