Bean worshippers

What if we worshipped beans?

Imagine for a moment that the major world religions as we know them are different. Imagine that you’re a member of the largest religion on earth, and the core of your ideology resides in the belief that the world was created by an all-powerful bean farmer and is residing on a sacred, giant bean sprout. All beans are sacred. This one belief will trickle out into all areas of life. The thought of eating a can of wonder beans will feel repulsively sacrilegious to you. Anyone who draws a picture of a bean would be a blasphemous apostate deserving of death. Warring factions of your religion might argue with each other over whether it’s ok to eat unripe beans because they’re not yet a viable life. Your pre-conceived, faith-based notions about cosmology, the origin of life, and even the shape of the earth would get in the way of any scientific progress you might otherwise make, and the mere thought of questioning these ideas would be held sinful. Doubt not the sacred bean-master lest he plant you in the magical sprout’s molten roots.

This dogma, spread by missionaries, and relayed through generations eventually would seep into every area of culture. The ramifications of social issues would be discussed, not in practical or utilitarian terms, but rather in the context of the Book of the Bean. In order to actually have a productive conversation about anything, you would have to first shatter this root misconception about reality. A fundamental paradigm shift would be necessary in order to make any progress in conversations about tangential issues. Until you become able to take a step back and critically examine the validity of that one core belief, people can attempt to change your mind on social issues, but they will see little progress. Because your position on these points is deeply rooted in an emotionally held, fundamental misconception about reality.

Unfortunately, this misconception would have become so entrenched in your identity, that questioning it may trigger an identity crisis. But every good science experiment leaves room for falsifiability. And this core idea should be questioned. If it’s true, testing it won’t alter that reality.

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This is why I rarely argue over social issues on my channel. I’ve wanted to make a video on the science of conception and abortion for some time now, and I probably still will, but if someone literally believes in a doctrine that implies ensoulment upon conception. Little ground can be made at dissuading them from that idea as long as it’s based in a literal interpretation of their holy book. No productive conversations can be made over what stage or under what circumstances an abortion may or may not be appropriate. Without a paradigm shift, two people from opposing positions, can discuss exactly the same topic and present exactly the same data, and both come away more entrenched in their ideas. Each carry their presuppositions into the argument. Each target the branches and not the roots.

But when your worldview shifts, every position you hold suddenly needs to be re-evaluated based on newfound realizations. That is why I target religion. That is why I promote scientific skepticism and critical thinking. Because without this change. No change. And with it, all the rest will follow. Dare to be curious. But don’t drink the Koolaid.

“I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” – Alice and Wonderland

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