I have a friend who's parents are atheists (I met them at a Unitarian church) but he converted to Islam, I think in part because he's subconsciously trying to piss off his father, who's an opinionated loudmouth (and they sort of have a similar temperament). That's beside the point I suppose. And he's very bright, he posted something about how his "research in grad school was on computational simulations of virus proteins" but he's starting to doubt that viruses exist because viruses are too small to be detected by a microscope. If that sounds crazy, all I can say is, I personally didn't go to grad school and I have no clue how to research such a thing, so I certainly can't challenge him (but I do believe viruses exist).
Anyway that's not the subject of this post. He challenged his Facebook friends to prove COVID-19 exists, and when I posted this article for him, he didn't respond to me, but told another commenter he didn't believe it (the last comment): [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
So I'm thinking, this is a misuse of philosophy. What do you all think?
Many people in this world. Many views, some good and some not so good. Sometimes you just can not get those with not so good views to see differently. At some point you just give up and go on your way. Do not let them being crazy cause you to go crazy.
My first thought is mental illness. How old is this person? He is in a science field and rejecting science. There are ways to view the virus, such as electron microscopy. I didn't take time to read the facebook stuff.
If he is rebelling against his father, chances are that eventually he will come back around to atheist, providing there is no mental illness involved.
I was Netflix binging and found History 101. One episode was about HIV/AIDS. 35 million deaths and some people, like this person, still claim it's a conspiracy.
I think sometimes the willfully ignorant need to be left out of any conversation.
Personally, I wouldn't even bother with folks like that, a waste of your valuable time. There is strong evidence Covid-19 is very real, but if and when someone is locked into denial mode then nothing you could say or show them would make any difference.
I understood from my time studying biology that viruses were visible by electron microscopes. Regardless, we can't see atoms either, but we have plenty of ways of detecting facts to verify their existence and their configuration. Viruses are no different.
I thought the reason you suspect your friend converted to Islam of interest. Michael Shermer in his book "How We Believe" examined a number of factors influencing the beliefs of individuals. One factor he wrote about ws the beliefs of parents; a person very often maintains the beliefs taught to them by their parents with an exception. If the parents have a difficult or hostile relationship with one another or with the child. Under these conditions, the offspring will change their belief system from their parents. Shermer noticed that offspring of believing parents would become nonbelievers at higher percentages when their relationships with parents were seen as unsatisfactory. I see no reason why the opposite wouldn't also be the case.
Hardly anyone on Facebook can prove COVID exists with the level of proof he is probably going to require.
My best friend works at a hospital and says he sees it every day. This anecdotal evidence is good enough for me, but I’m not trying to get it passed peer review or anything.
I haven't had time to read your entire post yet but one thing struck me...
He doesn't think viruses are real because they can't be seen in a microscope.
Before the invention of the microscope he'd probably say the same things about germs.
And wwhat about atoms?
He can (mis)use philosophy the way he wants! It's nobody's knowledge! You shouldn't care! You shouldn't neither care whether he will go back to his senses or not! If you consider hem a 'friend' and you are truly worried, you've advised and told! Leave it there. If it's a fase, it will most likely pass(if he's 'bright' as you mentioned), if it doesn't he's free to fuck up his own life trying to get back at his parents! Unless you know for sure that he's planning on doing something violent! You know then who to call! (Not Ghostbusters)! If you and others try to haunt him, with good intentions, to deconvert, his subconscious mind would probably make him believe that his 'faith' "is true, otherwise you wouldn't bother!" Tell him to read more into that wrongly collected full of mistakes stuff called Islam and see how many times Killing is encouraged in his 'holy book', and no these are no interpretations! Kill the nonbelievers means Kill! And how at lease on 86 different occasions in his 'holy book' Muslim men are instructed on the how-to trade, obtain and use (underage) females! He doesn't mind his mum to be sold if a group of muslims were able to have the upper hand in his hometown? I'll go for a Vodka with Ice!