God vs the Polar Vortex

jetstreamHere in the midwest USA temperatures have plummeted.  The media is playing it to the hilt for profit, but indeed many  people without home or heat will die today.  Why does this happen?  Well, apparently, it is due to the “Polar Vortex”.  I learned this yesterday when I heard people explaining to each other the word for the phenomena.

I will let you read about the polar vortex phenomena on wiki if you are interested, but that is not the point of this post. Instead, I was amazed at how much comfort people took in learning the term “polar vortex” when they had no idea what it meant.  They asked no more of the person explaining but were happy to know the phrase — to have a handle on the ugliness.  Just knowing the term, having confidence that someone understands it better than them and that it is supposed makes sense of an odd event, they were relieved.  It was odd watching people throwing around their new empty term with second-hand confidence (or even 3rd, 4th …. hand confidence).

As I have written before, I hear people do this same self-deception with quantum mechanic terms, astrophysics terms, “evolution” and much more.  What struck me today is that many people seem to use “God” in the same way: a word to explain the mysterious gives them false comfort of a violent universe without any more depth than just the word or phrase.

My intended home message for this post is not the abuse of the “God of the Gaps” phenomena, but that even nonbelievers do the same more often then they imagine.  Just because you know the word “polar vortex” or “entanglement”, try not to jump to the conclusion that you really understand anything at all.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

6 responses to “God vs the Polar Vortex

  1. Ha, I was just writing about the polar vortex. It drives me a tad nuts that I was yabbering about it all last year but suddenly as you said the media suddenly has their grubby hands all over it. Not to vilify good journalists. It’s just that there is no way a news story could do a great job of explaining the phenomenon properly, and not all articles have links to studies etc.

    Sadly for all of us, Climatology is one of the most complex disciplines anyway; requiring a strong understanding of atmospheric sciences and eye-popping calculus.

  2. @Emmy (new name?),
    Well, as I said, “but that [Polar Vortex] is not the point of this post.” Curious what you thought about the point of the post?

  3. My comment was not merely about the polar corporates either, Sabio. Read it again and (as you say in your last sentence) you will see I am addressing journalist and the public’s assumption that a few articles can help them understand it.

    Did you read my comment carefully, Sabio? Sometimes I feel like your only goal is to lead people to think more like you, while you seem to simply scan my comments.

  4. “Corporates”, LOL. There’s an Apple autocorrect for you.

  5. @ Emmy,
    Of course I want people to think more like me. Or, I want to be clear why they don’t think like me and change my opinion or realize why variety of opinions may be good on the issue. So that is indeed in the mix.

    But I try to write a post to address a central theme, and I do like when readers see that. If they don’t, I wonder if my writing was bad (and perhaps it was here), or the reader does not care to disagree with a point and so merely comments on an unrelated point, or (as you state) their is just scanning and not careful reading. Or perhaps a combination.

    I had hoped the title of the post, and my caution in the second paragraph would help direct to my point of the parallel between God thinking and thinking which even happens in secular circles: where the illusion depth of though is triggered by merely having a word to label a phenomena.

    So I wasn’t trying to discuss the Vortex, nor the media but that parallel. But it seems I failed.

    My next post does the same, but I will put a “Question to Readers” to try to correct for my poor writing.

  6. NOT poor writing Sabio! I think it is difficult to blend two topics. Although I appreciate you taking the “blame” for the confusion, which was ultimately minor (and just as much my fault) . 🙂

    I think the concept of God is difficult to compare to the superficial and media created simplicity of the Vortex. People most likely understand the polar vortex is a complex phenomenon, and simply want to discuss it but not have to get a 7 year degree for the conversation.

    People who discuss their relationship with God frequently (but not always) feel their personal feelings represent some type of truth.

    In secular circles though, yes many Americans especially don’t understand how science is conducted, and the concept of theory.

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