I understand that cognitive dissonance is perception of contradictory information. It is typical of politicians and other parasites on human society, I am told. It is a matter of believing two (or more) different “facts” or beliefs or values that contradict each other. Like believing it is wrong to hunt (and so kill animals for food) while chowing down daily on a hamburger.
It was, so history tells us, fairly common among slaveholders, as far back at least as Philemon, the man who owned the slave Onesimus. And among people in the Deep South, teaching and apparently believing that black people were not really human, and so just smarter domestic animals, even while preaching them the Gospel so that they could be saved eternally.
It is, of course, very common for people who have such a mental condition to accuse others of the same thing. (I suppose I might even be guilty of that now and then.)
That seems to be the case with a recent writer in the “highly respected” and supreme academic authority, the august publication Psychology Today. In the article “Not believing in evolution predicts bigotry and racism,” he explains how people who deny “proven” scientific theory and consensus, and therefore the facts of life are going to be more prejudiced, discriminate against others who are different and not of “their kind,” bigoted, biased, and racist. Their evil ways can predicted with a high rate of accuracy based merely on the idea that they did not subscribe to the “reality” of human evolution. The idea that human beings are just another kind of animal.
I’d say to him, “Physician, heal thyself,” except of course, that as a psychologist and not a psychiatrist, he is NOT a physician. Well, he certain needs to find one. Why? Like so many politicians and other sorts of parasites, his level of cognitive dissonance is very, very high.
Why? Because in his short article, he begins by stating just the opposite of the thesis which he advocates, and which he claims is proven by a huge study (“A recent study of 62,000 people in 45 countries discovered that a reluctance to accept the reality of human evolution is linked to a tendency to demonize outsiders.”) and a series of Pew surveys and similar sources.
What? But he wrote just a few sentences previously: “Since the mid-1800s, the concept of evolution has affected the way humans thought about themselves with respect to others. Unfortunately, the basic principles of evolution were quickly used to justify racism, prejudice, and homophobia. Some leaders morphed the concept of natural selection leading to the “survival of the fittest” into policies to justify discrimination, slavery, and genocide. This misinterpretation reinforced the arguments of eugenicists, White supremacists, and Nazi ideology.”
So, it appears that believing in evolution ALSO can be used to predict bigotry and racism, based on how various groups and people have used the pretend fact of evolution to justify their “racism, prejudice, and homophobia.”
So what is the difference? If the results of belief in, or non-belief in, human evolution result in the same evil attitudes and actions, what does it matter?
I admit that as a believer in the Creator, I find this very hard to understand. If I believe that humankind was created by a loving and all-powerful God, how can I treat other humans in the way that eugenicists, white supremacists, and Nazis do? How can I treat them except by loving and treating them with kindness and dignity as equal to me, and fellow children of God? Even (or especially) when disagreeing with them?
On the other hand, if we are all just a hundred thousand generations descent from a long series of cosmic accidents and random mutations – that is, just another animal – how can there be any reason NOT to treat other humans as “just another animal” to be preyed upon, exploited, and discarded? What basis is there for any morality other than survival of the fittest? Especially if I and my group seem to exhibit physical and mental abilities greater than those others? Why should might not make right?
So, should we believe that we are just products of random chance, weeded out by environmental conditions until we have achieved this level of mental and physical conditions? That would (at least) seem not to require the mental twists and contortions which I can see in this short Psychology Today treatise. But in such a situation, what reason is there to see any more value in the libertarian principle of non-aggression, of desiring as much personal liberty and personal responsibility for our action? Any more value than the political belief in an elite – or a master race – or the right to exploit others just because I can?
I realize that I have some libertarian comrades (or brethren) who object to this idea that liberty requires a moral code, or that there need be any source of such a code other than our own imaginations and the workings of a blind watchmaker and enough time and space. I can’t see it, myself. But I do see those comrades as fellow humans and creatures of God to be cherished and supported and treated with dignity and honor. Even as I and other lovers of liberty see even the tyrants and White supremacists and racists and haters and all their ilk in the same way. (But I will be a lot more friendly to those who believe in evolution but believe in, and practice, the ways of liberty and responsibility!)
I, as a follower of Christ Jesus, a believer in God, have strong reasons to reject bigotry and prejudice, hatred and racism and homophobia. Strong reasons to also reject the so-called almighty God-State, human government in all its cheesy, transient “glory.” But I am glad that my fellow lovers of liberty who do not believe in God, who do believe in evolution, are still willing to reject government for human liberty.