Monday, February 23, 2009

Freethought Quote for the Day

"I opposed organized religion in the same sense that I oppose the wheelchair industry. Not because I want to see cripples on the side of the road, but because I want all human beings walk on their own two feet."

~ Anonymous


Kazim said...

Er. Um.

I'm... not sure.

I don't oppose the wheelchair industry. At all. Whether there was a wheelchair industry or not, there would be just as many people unable to walk on their own. Before the existence of wheelchairs, those folks were just SOL. Now they have mobility.

You might just as well say that you oppose glasses because you want people to see with their own eyes. Nice sentiment, but the fact is that they don't.

The analogy seems clumsy, and unfortunately I can't think of a way to fix it.

Tommy Holland said...

I see your point, but I think the emphasis is on the wrong aspect. I've heard cops say they'd love to find themselves out of a job, not because they want to see crime run rampant, but because they'd like to see society eliminate the need for cops due to lack of crime.

Think of those industries that provided leg braces to sufferers of polio. I can't imagine they're doing well financially, simply because we've largely eradicated polio. And in my view, that's a good thing.

Here's a nineteenth-century take on it, from Robert Ingersoll:

A surgeon once called upon a poor cripple and kindly offered to render him any assistance in his power. The surgeon began to discourse very learnedly upon the nature and origin of disease; of the curative properties of certain medicines; of the advantages of exercise, air, and light, and of the various ways in which health and strength could be restored. These remarks were so full of good sense, and discovered so much profound thought and accurate knowledge, that the cripple, becoming thoroughly alarmed, cried out, "Do not, I pray you, take away my crutches. They are my only support, and without them I should be miserable indeed!" "I am not going," said the surgeon, "to take away your crutches. I am going to cure you, and then you will throw the crutches away yourself."