Thursday, February 07, 2013

Atheists, Autism, Empathy

Epiphenom: Atheists lack empathy and understanding

I had the opportunity to have a rather long discussion with an atheist heading up to St Paul to support 2nd amendment rights this week. Although wide ranging, that discussion focused on the potential for having a written constitution that is held sacred as the basis for a republican vs mob based government when much of the population is non-religious, agnostic or atheist. My view is no, it hasn't been done and it can't be done with human beings at the level of development we will be at for 100's of K of years. The atheist would of course love it to be possible, but understood that it hasn't been done in history, so we are on completely new ground in attempting it -- and as evidenced by the attack on the 2nd amendment in MN, we are losing at present.

Having a history in technology, I am very familiar from a personal POV of both the systemizing strength and the interpersonal / empathy weakness of computer geeks. It is a stereotype, but like all stereotypes, it is not without a good deal of truth. "People die, get over it" is very close to the actual felt sentiment of many high tech computer people when faced with the reality of death -- death is real, but they can't see any "logical way" that it can be dealt with other than just "getting through it". They are generally smart enough to intellectually know that they need to "hide out" and try to at least act like they understand the feelings when in the presence of the recently deceased and loved ones, but generally, it is even harder for them than for most folks to find any words to relate to the other living and grieving -- they often "feel fake". Not that everyone doesn't, it is just on that range of feeling they are on the "very fake" side of the curve.

So atheism makes sense to them. Maybe THAT is why they are different -- they are just smarter than other people, have a better intellectual grasp of the REAL world, so being an atheist allows them a framework in which to explain their difference in what they see as a positive way. It does at least sound more intellectually appealing than "unfeeling lost geek".

My background is that the "road to Damascus" experience for a tech geek is likely to be a slowly dawning realization that all human understanding, especially the arid tech science geek "if I can't measure it, it doesn't exist" brand, is very and extremely sadly limited. Having gone through that conversion, I can also say that it is painful -- it is so much easier for a technically oriented brain to reduce all discussions to "just the facts ma'am" and seem to often "win" on materialist points, while sadly losing big on the interpersonal and I believe eternal tally. Hell is probably loaded with really super smart technicians.

So I'm a passable technician, a lousy human, and an extremely needy likely to be bare last on St Peter's list at heaven's gate at best. But a tiny ray of hope is WAY better than being without hope!

1 comment:

  1. This is a good post. I like your comment about: "if I can't measure it, it doesn't exist" brand, is very and extremely sadly limited."

    The older I get, the more I have come to the realization that all people lead irrational lives and/or lives based on chasing the things that can't be measured exactly. Everyone is chasing faith, love, and hope. As Paul said in 1st Corinthians, these three things remain, faith, love and hope and the greatest of these is love.

    Nobody ever leads a life based exclusively on reason and rational choices.