Stop Being Elitist

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Every other dinner party or so, someone brings up a broad topic that one way or another ends up with me defending my often ultra liberal ideals and anti-theism. I am somewhat of a Libertarian, and what you believe in and do yourself, is completely your business and OK with me as long as you’re not forcing it on anyone else or actually hurting someone (offending someone doesn’t count as hurting).

One recurring theme I revile is the arrogant elitism many of my debaters have. An hour or so into the conversation, my experienced and fact-checked rebuttals and anecdotes make it hard for anyone to really stand by institutional religions, and in a last-ditch effort, they say “but without religion, the average people will go crazy. Who can control them? What will stop it from going to total chaos?” and some even take it up a notch, trying to flatter me with “You’re smart, you don’t need religion, but most people do.”

Scoffs are usually my initial reaction, because the above truly upsets me. I was a stupid child. I didn’t even grasp the phenomenon of numbers properly till I was in 6th grade, and thought that if the numbers on each side of a decimal point were identical, means that it’s a good grade on my report card. I was an avid believer in the Catholic Church’s teachings, and even had a brief stint with Opus Dei. I grew up thinking Charles Darwin was a demon, because my 5th grade Maths teacher said that once in class. It wasn’t till many years later that I actually read Darwin’s books, and realized that if I ever chose an idol or hero, it would most definitely be him.

So, technically, I was really stupid. I was one of those “normal people” who elitist conservatives think “would go crazy and chaotic without the religious influence.” If I hadn’t had access to the necessary books, I probably would still be that conservative, complacent person. If the censorship of theories like the Big Bang and Natural Selection had actually worked, I wouldn’t be a biologist on my way to master in behavioral neuroscience. If the censorship of books that cast doubt on faith, even if fictitious, like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, actually worked, I would have never discovered the man who has become one of my favorite novelists.

I feel cheated, because I grew up a victim of censorship. I also feel angry and betrayed, for the people one would usually trust, such as clergymen and officers of the law, are actually insecure and manipulative elitists that think they know what’s best for you and me. But I am happy today that with the prospects of the Internet and duty-free shops, whatever the General Security and Church/Mosque do, is useless, and makes you go “Awwww, how cute!” at their Dark Ages-style method of crowd control.

Today, via my blog and the talks I give to young people all across the country, I try to fill the gaps censorship has torn in people’s minds. Give people the necessary information, and let them decide. Who are you to look down upon others and assume they aren’t worthy of the knowledge you possess? To assume their decisions will be the wrong ones? Heck, who are you to even decide if it’s the wrong decision?

EVERYONE deserves to know everything, and absolutely no one has the right to dictate what anyone else can read, write, watch, listen, say or think. Stop being an elitist, give people a chance, and stop flattering yourselves.

A print version of this article appeared in Issue 2 of MARCH’s FREE  Newsletter distributed all over Lebanese campuses. A web version of the newsletter is available here.

Comments

  1. says

    “Give people the necessary information, and let them decide.”
    Tell that to the people who are controlling the educational system and teaching evolution as a science while it’s still a theory (and unscientific may I add) and rejecting creation because it’s not “scientific” to them.

    I’m totally with you on not being elitist, but the secular movement isn’t any better. Give me both theories and let me choose for myself, but don’t give me sugar coated secular religion and tell me it’s science.

      • says

        The catholic church that is. There are other churches you know :)

        Anyway I’m not here to argue, you’re free to believe what you want, and that’s the keyword: “believe”. I don’t happen to believe in evolution because to me it also happens to be a myth and very unscientific. The big bang theory is still a theory like its name indicates and evolution is really in fact adaption.

        I don’t have a problem with schools teaching it though. What I have a problem with is schools not teaching me creation because they believe it’s unscientific while as they think that “in the beginning there was nothing and then nothing exploded and from nothing came everything” is a perfectly scientific claim.

        Give me both theories and let me decide for myself, thank you. :)

    • Desmond Bey says

      Scientific Theory = Evidenced Fact
      A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

      Fact = Truth
      In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes, is accepted as “true”.
      Truth in science, however, is never final and what is accepted today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow….IF THERE IS FURTHER PROOF.

      If you don’t get it, read it again.
      If you do get it, but don’t accept it then the problem is with you.

  2. EAS says

    The irony of Creation Vs. Evolution is that the Harvard Natural History Museum was set up by “environments” in order to show “God’s mightiness” and ended up demonstrating the mechanisms of Evolution.
    The “Intelligent Design” community is very hardly trying to make Creation a scientific theory, but has failed miserably so far. Their biggest proponent has a disclaimer on his faculty page (saying that the school and faculty do not agree with his views).
    In addition, in the age of modern medicine, the new cancer therapies, vaccines, and genetic tests being developed all take into account the evolutionary processes that made us humans. Denying that mechanism is basically saying that what we’ve discovered and have been working on (and proved to work) is based on a lie. (i.e. you can’t say evolution isn’t happening and then track how viruses evolve, cell lines diverge (mutate -> cancer), and how human bodies differ from what is “normal”.
    Heck if you know anything about biology, you know that there is no “normal”. You can have an aberrant structure in one side of your body, but not the other.
    Finally, the old argument of “what’s half an eye good for?” has been shown to be off-mark. Turns out that half an eye is very useful so is a quarter of an eye. (The evolution of an eye was a sore point for Darwin, but modern genetics techniques traced its evolution.)
    Unless you believe that Noah built an ark and sailed the world for 40 days with millions upon millions of animals on it. (Quick questions, how did the animals get to Australia? North and South America?) In that case, it’s pointless arguing with you.

  3. AbC says

    Y talk about Darwin and religion when the real subject is actually about the money religion makes by controlling the population? I mean look at the Vatican, they basically bathe in gold and that’s just one religion. Cash Rules Everything Around Me: C.R.E.A.M!

  4. Georges Clooney says

    believing means acknowledging the existence of something with no proof at all, you can’t explain it you can’t argue with it you just believe (highest rank in retardation). The fact that they take the time to engage in such a conversation means that they’ve been in doubt and they are looking for answers just like you are.

  5. Anonymous says

    problem with lebanese people is that they never take an academic approach in discussions or debates.. i admire your initiative into increasing awareness on this negative social trait we possess.

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