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Who you gonna call?

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GURU BUSTERS.  Let me explain.  We in America are accustomed to our political leaders having full faith and confidence in Christian mythology.  After each speech they implore God to bless America, and it is not uncommon to hear of Oval Office conference calls involving church leaders and the President.  One can only imagine what the nature of those conversations was.  My fears are that they involved decisions concerning thorny moral questions; questions about preemptive invasions, and the use of enhanced interrogations tactics.  Ronald Reagan is panned for having consulted astrologers on a regular basis.  Really, this behavior is no more nonsensical than that of the other presidents when they turn to faith leaders for advice.  It is just as if the majority of presidents have believed that aliens were in contact with earth, and frequently sought the advice of UFOlogists.  Imagine the uproar if the American public caught wind of such an embarrassing scandal!  And yet we expect our leaders to regularly consult with faith leaders.  Why?  I eagerly await an argument for this.  But I said I would explain something.

India has a similar problem of bunk-driven policy-making.  There are a large number of religious gurus who claim a divine status, and accumulate power by influencing the gullible minds of humans who are not as skeptical as they should be.  For example, Sathya Sai Baba, now recently deceased, was a famous spiritual guru who had tremendous influence over the upper middle class of India, including many of the well-educated academic elite.  And when you’ve got a guru problem, there’s only one organization to call:  the Guru Busters.

The Indian James Randi

Guru Busters are basically wandering gunslingers of skepticism.  They travel around India, locate, and expose the frauds and charlatans for what they are.  The documentary Guru Busters details the debunking campaign of the Guru Busters, and notes the dissonance with India’s advanced technological programs and its simultaneous adherence to these silly superstitions.  I see a parallel story in America, and a job for skeptics to do.  It is important to note that the powerful people of India who believe in this nonsense, believe it with the same passion and sincerity that our American public has for Jesus.  They think these Gurus are divine god-men [there are other parallels between the gurus and Jesus, like their performance of magic tricks].  It is a religious belief that the Guru Busters travel around and challenge, with all the social ramifications that go with such a project.  They are real heroes of skepticism.  We should try to be more like them.  Watch the documentary below, and share some ideas for how we can be more like them.


About Seth Kurtenbach

Philosophy grad student who wandered into a computer science PhD program with a backpack full of modal logic and decision theory.

2 comments on “Who you gonna call?

  1. notkeithsummersMike Holt
    November 4, 2011

    Nice to see the work the rationalists are doing. We have to take small steps and keep on making them so that we can all walk into the light of rational thought and discard superstition and religion.

  2. Pingback: A child molester talks about gullibility & church-going folks « The Official MU SASHA Blog, Updated Daily

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2011 by in Author: Seth Kurtenbach, Web Links & Videos and tagged , .
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