Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm a bad skeptic, sometimes.

So, I found myself in a funny position today on facebook.

After having been moved by the Kony 2012 video that went viral, I jumped on the bandwagon and did my tiny part by sharing. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I was not at all skeptical initially. I only became such after viewing some comments on a random blog, which mentioned it being a scam. There was some debate around IC's seemingly shady finances, but that didn't really move me. At that point, I'd assumed that people complaining about this specifically simply hadn't watched the video - because the purpose of the video was not for its viewers to donate money but rather to simply share the video to spread awareness. When it was brought to my attention that Ugandans don't want any more military action and that they feel it would do more harm than good, that's what really inspired me to dig.

I have to admit, I don't know much about politics. I mean, I facepalm at Santorum and make fun of Romney's magic underwear but my understanding of the bigger picture is ... barely there. I try my best to learn what I can, but I often find myself feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps my lack of understanding in this area is why it was so easy for me to jump on the Kony bandwagon?

Okay, back to the funny position. Before I realized how naive it was of me to jump mindlessly onto the Kony train, I saw lots of bitter negative-nancy posts poking fun at people like me who shared the video. My initial reaction was irritation, of course. It seemed to me that these people were on their 'smarter than thou' pedestals, latching onto negativity in order to feel better about themselves.

Then, I had a flashback of supposed atheist elitism. Specifically, I remembered a comment I had posted in response to Tristan Vick's article on the subject:

"I've been doing some thinking on the subject of supposed 'atheistic elitism' (having felt guilty, wondering if it applied to me or any of my atheist friends) and have come to the conclusion that since atheists tend to respect critical thinking, they put in the effort required to apply critical thinking skills to life. They don't necessarily think they are better than others, but they do believe it is better to think and question than to not think and question (uh duh). Since religion tends to affect more than just the religious (i.e. evolution kept out of schools, homosexuals kept from marriage), atheists NEED to pay attention to what religion is up to and apply their critical thinking in that area. I don't think it can be called atheistic elitism unless the atheist is emotionally attached to his/her view. "

If I apply this to how those with a better understanding of how the government works might feel about the ignorant becoming instantly passionate over a video with skewed facts, I don't think I can really blame them.

I've certainly seen some comments that were downright mean, and that, I think, is unnecessary, no matter how factual. The facts in that case are much less likely to be received by those that need them. I am generally a quiet, friendly atheist (although I can be a meanie behind closed doors ... o_o), but having been the gullible sheep in this instance gives me even more reason to present facts diplomatically. I'm not saying desire for harshness isn't understood - I can't even say that it's wrong in either case. When you have information, other people's ignorance, even if they don't mean to be ignorant, tends to be annoying. I don't even know what exactly I'm saying, to be honest. I just know that I had a weird moment where I felt like one of the Christians I constantly complain about.

1 comment:

krissthesexyatheist said...

I haven't heard if it's a scam or not. i only watched five minutes of the vid, then went out to get a beer. It was on NPR this morning, but I couldn't process what I was hearing (because I went out and got a beer(s)). so I don't know what to think about it yet.

As far as understanding Ugandan politics, there's no shame in not knowing about that stuffs. As far as being smarter and better looking and sexier than other peeps, because we are on Team Atheist and Team Skeptic, there is no shame on that...if fact, flaunt it.