-- David Lynch, screenplay for Wild at Heart, based on the novel by Barry Gifford. (Sorry, David, Barry, if that quote isn't exactly accurate to the letter. It was the best I could manage.)
An incorrect assumption is not the same as a bad idea, but it can lead to bad ideas, and just watch or read Wild at Heart for a glimpse at all the scary kinds of shit that bad ideas can lead to.
Several people have urged me to write more in my blog about being autistic. In a sense I think that every post on this blog already is about being autistic in the sense that I've written them all, and that I've tried my best, while writing them, to be just exactly who I am.
I correct people a lot. Maybe one manifestation of my autism is that I haven't noticed how annoying this can be, or I haven't understood how to do it tactfully when it's not best just to STFU. One thing that being autistic means for me is that I've been autistic all my life, but I didn't know I was until I was 46, and for 6 years now I've been making certain adjustments in my behavior based on this new information.
Of course, people are all individuals, and, autistic or neurologically-typical, some are much more receptive to being corrected than others. I try to be receptive to it. (How else would I or anyone else ever learn anything?) What concerns me here today are people who hang on with bitter determination to incorrect assumptions in the face of huge amounts of correction -- stupid people, that is. I blog an awful lot about stupid people, don't I? Is this a typically autistic obsession? I don't know.
I also don't know how many people are determined to hang on to the following incorrect assumptions:
Jesus would've been required to be married -- wrong. Constantine changed the Bible -- wrong. Constantine and the Pope changed the Bible together at the Council of Nicea -- wrong, the Pope wasn't even at the Council of Nicea. There once were hundreds of Gospels -- pure speculation, the ones we've found plus the ones we've only heard of by name all together add up to several dozen. Since I'm saying all this I must be a Christian -- wrong, I'm an atheist and I think Christianity is bad for people, I just think Dan Brown is extremely bad for the study of history. Only Catholics dislike Dan Brown -- wrong. Biblical scholars can't be trusted on factual matters of history or textual criticism because of their religious bias -- usually wrong.
The assumption on the part of some stupid atheist or another that I'm a Christian and a Republican because I disagree with him or her about something is particularly galling. Time and again I go back over these exchanges, and the amount of remarks on my part which could be construed to be religious, again and again, is nada, zero, squat, the null set. The stupid atheist assumes I'm a Christian only because I disagree with him or her on something which has no resemblance whatsoever to an article of religious belief, but is only a factual mistake current in a big circle-jerk of an atheist game of Telephone.
I wonder, are there really as many people running around loose whose worldviews are so stupid, simplistic, binary, zero/one, on/off, black/white, atheist/Christian, correct/incorrect, as it sometimes seems to me? Or am I subconsciously drawn into conflicts with such people, which gives me an inflated idea of their numbers? (Am I subconsciously drawn to them because I'm autistic?) I hope it's the latter, both the sake of the world at large and the amount of effort needed to confront mass stupidity, and also for my own sake, because if this group of stupid people is actually statistically insignificant, and it's only an unproductive subconscious drive on my part which brings me into contact with them, I can become more conscious of this tendency, overcome it and thus find much more rewarding uses for my time. (If my impression of the numbers of such people is not exaggerated, then my Stoic tendencies won't let me ignore them. Someone has to deal with them, and, to paraphrase what Perry said to Jack, Elizabeth Warren is busy.)
You got that? If I've incorrectly assumed that there actually is an entire movement of people who make all of those incorrect assumptions and more, I want to know. I'd be overjoyed to be proven wrong.