This one, from Udarnik at ESMB, caught my eye today.

Udarnik wrote:

“Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal. – Robert A. Heinlein

“I once had an argument with a Tea Partier about whether the Founders meant to establish Christianity in the US. When I used Jefferson’s quote about complete rejection of the use of the name of Jesus Christ in the Constitution and Declaration, he turned around and said that “everyone knew” that the founders meant Jesus when they said “creator”. Right in the face of an actual quote from the primary author of both documents stating the opposite in no uncertain terms:’

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

“I was disappointed at the basic failure of reading comprehension, but such idiocy has sadly long ago ceased to hold the power to gast my flabber. It’s far too common.’

“Never doubt the infinite capacity of the human mind to ignore and rationalize that which contradicts the emotional underpinnings of belief.”

His comment is here: How Does The CofS Keep Going?

This is a brilliant comment. It is very carefully written, and every word in it is meant to be there by the author.

…”that which contradicts the emotional underpinnings of belief.”

Wow.

This comment makes me slap myself in the forehead, and instead of yelling “I could have had a V-8!”, I yell, “I could have lived a different life!”

Oh well.

It points up a very important thing to be aware of in myself and in others: spot when I have been presented with facts that are contrary to my present world-view, and become very aware of my urge to rationalize the fact away.

If I can’t stop myself from rationalizing, watch myself rationalize.

And if I can’t watch myself rationalize, watch someone else rationalize. (It’s always easiest to watch some one else rationalize with whom I disagree, as Udarnik did in his example.)

Then, work back up to where I have the skill to watch myself rationalize away inconvenient facts.

Thank you, Udarnik!