I received a comment on a post yesterday that I felt a strong need to respond to, and I thought the rest of you should see it. I had posted a link to a piece from my archives, Why “I Feel It In My Heart” Is a Terrible Argument for God, in which I said the following:
The human mind did not evolve to perceive and process information 100% accurately. The human mind evolved to find food and escape from predators. Many of our cognitive errors are important and useful in helping us function (or they were 100,000 years ago on the African savannah when we were hunting gazelles and escaping from tigers)… but they make our minds not entirely trustworthy as sources of information.
To which Anon Naturalist replied:
Ahem: there are no tigers in Africa, only in Asia.
I considered carefully, and after much searching of my non-existent soul, I wrote this in reply.
Anon Naturalist @ #4: Your epistemology is so crude. It may not be literally true that there are tigers in Africa… but it’s psychologically true. It’s the narrative of tigers in Africa that resonates on a deep, meaningful level with the human soul. And it should be clear that “tigers in Africa” is meant to be taken metaphorically. Nobody really believes in the literal tigers in Africa: the belief in tigers in Africa is part of a modern, sophisticated tiger-ology that’s much more advanced than you’re giving credit to. But many people are comforted by their belief in tigers in Africa, and it’s very cruel of you to try to take the comfort away.
Or, to put it another way: Oops.
Thoughts? Was I too harsh?