Some positions aren't worth the effort to either prove or disprove. You don't need to learn enough about them to learn if they're true or false. You only need to learn enough to know that, even if they were true, they'd be losing propositions.
If Buddhism is true, then Buddhism is a blind alley. If Darwinism is true, then Darwinism is a blind alley.
Why learn more and more about every brick in a blind alley?
Suppose you're diagnosed with terminal cancer? Would you want to spend every moment of your remaining time learning everything you could about the ins and outs of terminal cancer?
If the truth does us no good, then why should we care? At that point, the truth becomes our enemy. If it's true, we're screwed.
So, as soon as we learn enough to find out that certain positions are losers, we can safely ignore them and redirect our attention to positions which are more promising—which would be beneficial if they were true.
The point I'm making is not that we should indulge in make-believe or wishful thinking. Rather, the only truth worth knowing is a truth that does us some ultimate good.
Otherwise, it's like measuring the gas chambers for new drapes. Picking the right fabric. Along with an upbeat color scheme.
If a certain proposition is a losing proposition, then we have nothing to lose by ignoring it. For, if it's true, then we're going to be on the losing end of the proposition either way, and there's nothing we can do about it. If it's true, then we lose whether we believe it or not. We lose whether we live by it or not.
So, we should invest our time in claims which, if true, offer a return on the investment.
Dawkins is betting on a losing horse. And he knows it’s a losing horse. First you die, then you rot.
What is more, he wants you to bet on his losing steed.
He thinks it’s terribly important to map the anatomy of his losing steed. Terribly important to know more and more about his losing steed.
You can never know too much about a losing horse. After all, it’s the only racehorse you’ve got.
Is it a thoroughbred loser or a half-breed loser? Arabian loser or losing Mustang?
We have high standards for our losing steeds. Peer-reviewed losers. Losers with doctorates from Ivy League universities. Tenured losers. Nobel Laureate losers.
Our losers are better than your losers.
Every losing horse deserves an Ivy League vet to shoot it after the race. Every losing horse deserves an Ivy League slaughterhouse.
And we can never been too fastidious about the jockey we hire to ride our losing horse. There’s a strict screening process. References. Background checks. Credentials from all the best racetracks. The Derby. The Belmont. The Gold Cup.
And it’s terribly important to narrow the odds. It isn’t enough to know that you’re betting on a losing horse. No, you need to know by how much the horse is going to lose.
It’s terribly important to determine whether Dawkins’ losing odds are right on the mark, or Wilsons’ losing odds are right on the mark.
It’s terribly important to know whether the margin of Dawkins’ losing odds are closer to the crushing defeat than Wilsons’ losing odds.
How long are the losing odds? Will we lose by 50 to 1 or 100 to 1? Whether the losing odds are long or short is a question of pressing importance.
And that’s not all. By how many laps did we lose? Two laps? Ten laps?
So much to learn, and so little time.
But what’s most important of all is to bet all your money on the losing horse. No hedging allowed!
It’s every man’s civic duty to bet his life savings on a horse he knows is a bound to lose. Anything less would be unsportsmanlike.
We may be losers, but we can take pride in our losing streak. It’s no small achievement to rack up an unbroken losing streak. That takes a lot of practice.