Exit 69

Where do creationists go wrong? It’s not only creationism, it’s all the other strange beliefs out there — like crop circles, astrology, and the vast array of other nonsense that saturates the kook-o-sphere. From time to time we’ve tried to make sense of it, for example The Theory of Abominable Befuddlement, and also Creationism: Making Sense of Unreason. It’s time to try again.

We’ve all heard the saying that “Great minds think alike.” There’s some truth in that, because rational minds are committed to understanding and dealing with reality — and (Plato notwithstanding) there’s only one reality to think about. But the domains of unreality are infinite. That’s why there is such a bewildering variety of oddball beliefs out there.

Once one veers off the expressway of rationality, there’s no way to know that one path is better or worse than any other. There are no guideposts among the limitless number of fantasies that await you. Flat earth, Time Cube, what’s the difference? How does one choose? When one abandons the objectively verifiable evidence of reality, it’s all wilderness and there are no landmarks. Okay, you understand that, but how do people get so lost?

The answer is Exit 69. That exit has no fixed location on the expressway of reality, yet it’s always there, offering you a way out if that’s what you’re looking for. When you take Exit 69 and leave the expressway, to wander off into the infinite landscape beyond, you have made the biggest decision of your life.

Exit 69 is never a dreary-looking option. It’s always well-maintained and staffed with cheerful attendants They, the people who have preceded you, were clueless, fog-bound wanderers in the night, who have found one another in the intellectual wasteland, and they are always looking for more recruits. They will eagerly lure you off the expressway with promises of wonders — which never materialize. You are free to join them in their fantasies. If you do so, you will leave the expressway forever, but you will have the comradeship of your fellow wanderers. It’s possible that you may even find happiness.

You won’t be missed by the travelers on the expressway; they’ll whisk by your exit without giving it a glance. You’ll never be noticed unless yours is one of the crazed groups that sets up roadblocks to divert traffic your way. That amounts to criminal behavior, and in due course it will be halted.

Exit 69 will always be there, so everyone has a choice — to stay on the road or to leave. But be warned: When one departs from the road of reason he will forever wander in the wilderness — without a compass. Bon voyage!

[Note: While searching for the pic above this post we discovered that there is (or was) a rock band in Michigan named Exit 69. Our metaphorical expressway exit doesn’t refer to them, and we trust there will be no confusion.]

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Exit 69

  1. Somehow I hear Rod Serling intoning those words …

  2. Room 101. Everyone knows what’s in Room 101.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    @SC:rational minds are committed to understanding and dealing with reality — and (Plato notwithstanding) there’s only one reality to think about.

    Nice try, slipping that one under the rug. It amounts to saying that rationalists are not rational–well, I suppose English does support such constructions, we call them Irish bulls and they are always pregnant.

  4. That the anti-evolution movement is forever entangled with religious fundamentalism is a mixed blessing. While that makes it much easier (possible?) to keep it out of public schools, it also makes us forget – or at least forget to remind the public – that creationism/ID is first and foremost pseudoscience. In fact, ID and its “replacement scams” such as “strengths and weaknesses,” “critical analysis” etc. are stiving to be the “central pseudoscience.” When all else fails, the argument from incredulity, and it’s “god-of-the-gaps” variant, is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Well almost. When even that fails (to win over fence-sitters) there’s always Godwin’s Law, of which Klinghoffer has made a career.

    Speaking of Godwin’s Law, while most other critics were responding to the train wreck of “Expelled” with chants of “lying for Jesus” (nice Jewish boy Ben Stein lying for Jesus?) I was reading between the lines. The scam arists, whining about being “expelled,” linking “Darwinism” to Hitler, and saying nothing about, let alone providing evidence for, their alternate “theory” were essentially saying “Yeah, we know you ‘Darwinists’ are right about the science, but we don’t think the ‘masses’ can handle the truth, and we know just what to do to make sure they don’t have to.”

  5. Gabriel Hanna says: “Nice try, slipping that one under the rug.”

    Hey, relax. I’ve previously agreed with you that “reason” and “science” aren’t interchangeable terms. Plato used reason — deductive reasoning — but he pulled his premises out of his imagination because he didn’t confine himself to reality. I’m using the word “rationality” in the context of being reality-based.

  6. One of the difficulties is that rationality is a road that has to be added to by each generation, while Exit 69 leads to a system of highways that are already built in many cases. It’s hard work to push ahead.

  7. It is certainly true that the road of rationality is one that must be built up by each generation, but upcoming generations have surprisingly ignorant, considering the ease to which we can access information.