We’re All a Little Irrational

Many atheists and skeptics declare reason as the epitome of how humans should decide all matters. I, for the most part, would agree. ( I’m hedging a little, since it is nearly impossible to divorce reason and emotion in all circumstances.) Now, not all atheists and skeptics behave or even chose atheism due to reason. (If you don’t believe me, feel free to check out atheists online who deny evolution.) Nevertheless, none of us, no matter how reasonable we try to be, is a completely rational human being. I would argue that  a completely rational human being is impossible.

I, for example, am a math person. I’m trained to be logical. I’ve also taken a few philosophy classes to boost my ability to argue with logic. Still, I know I’m not completely rational about everything. I’m terrified of driving past 40 mph. I don’t know why this is. I’ve never been in a serious accident, and I haven’t always been this way. I’ve gone to therapy over this issue, and I still can’t completely shake this fear. Nowadays, I can and do drive on highways when I absolutely have to, but this is rare. I normally have other people drive me.

So what’s the difference between me and the person who believes in unicorns? I at least try to keep irrationality to a minimum, and most of the time, if I put my mind to it, I can avoid it. Furthermore, when I do have an irrational fear or belief, I usually know I’m being irrational, and I try my best to get over it.

But all of this, is why using reason is so important. If we don’t apply it, especially to ourselves, irrationality is simply overlooked.  Sometimes it can be innocuous. Who’s ever heard of someone killing each other over a belief in unicorns? However, sometimes, irrationality can be deadly or crippling to ourselves and to society at large.

My advice? Stay in the real world as much as possible. Don’t just examine others. Examine yourself as well. We’re all a little irrational. We’re only human, but let’s try to be the best humans we can be.