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New Scientist : Time to accept that atheism, not God, is odd
New Scientist ^ | 03/2010 | Editorial

Posted on 03/05/2010 10:26:58 AM PST by SeekAndFind

IF YOU'RE one of those committed atheists in the Richard Dawkins mould who dreams of ridding the world of religious mumbo-jumbo, prepare yourself for a disappointment: there is no good evidence that education leads to secularisation.

In fact, the more we learn about the "god instinct" and the refusal of religion to fade away under the onslaught of progress, the more the non-religious mindset looks like the odd man out. That is why anthropologists, psychologists and social scientists are now putting irreligion under the microscope in the same way they once did with religious belief (see "Where do atheists come from?").

The aim is not to discredit atheism but to understand how so many people can override a way of thinking that seems to come so naturally. For that reason, atheists should welcome the new scrutiny.

Atheism still has a great deal to commend it, not least that it doesn't need supernatural beings to make sense of the world. Let's hope the study of atheism leads to new insights into how to challenge such irrationality.

(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...


TOPICS: General Discusssion; Religion & Culture; Religion & Science; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: atehist; atheism; atheist; dawkins; faithandphilosophy; god; intolerance; liberalfascism; origins; richarddawkins
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1 posted on 03/05/2010 10:26:58 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I posit that humankind is becoming less intelligent with the education of today, not more. I further posit, that the intelligence of people in the U.S. from it’s founding up through the 1800’s and into the early 1900’s was head and shoulders above what we see today.


2 posted on 03/05/2010 10:30:34 AM PST by SoldierDad (Proud Papa of two new Army Brats! Congrats to my Soldier son and his wife.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Atheism still has a great deal to commend it, not least that it doesn't need supernatural beings to make sense of the world.

Atheism is dependent on an unsupported belief: "There are no gods".

This cannot be known with surety. To believe it, requires an act of faith. The position cannot be proven, because to do so would be to prove a negative, and that cannot be done.

Religion depends on an act of faith. Believers know this and accept this.
Atheism depends on an act of faith. Believers usually cannot accept this and delude themselves into thinking that their worldview is based on logic. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

3 posted on 03/05/2010 10:31:55 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (We're all heading toward red revolution - we just disagree on which type of Red we want.)
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To: SoldierDad

My priest always says about atheists..if they’re so convinced that there’s NO God, then why do they worry so much when others pray?


4 posted on 03/05/2010 10:33:55 AM PST by ken5050 (Save the Earth..It's the only planet with chocolate!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Any dogma that insists that something does not exist is scientifically suspect.


5 posted on 03/05/2010 10:33:57 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: ken5050

Good point.


6 posted on 03/05/2010 10:35:52 AM PST by SoldierDad (Proud Papa of two new Army Brats! Congrats to my Soldier son and his wife.)
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To: SoldierDad

I believe we are in an interesting pandemic of what I like to call “arrogant ignorance”.

Too many people today don’t know what they don’t know. And are too arrogant to know it.


7 posted on 03/05/2010 10:36:51 AM PST by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: ClearCase_guy

“Atheism is dependent on an unsupported belief: “There are no gods”.

This cannot be known with surety”

One cannot be sure of of Russell’s teapot or the Flying Spaghetti Monster either.


8 posted on 03/05/2010 10:37:31 AM PST by Catphish
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To: RobRoy

Not only that, but they are pompous about their arrogance.


9 posted on 03/05/2010 10:37:42 AM PST by SoldierDad (Proud Papa of two new Army Brats! Congrats to my Soldier son and his wife.)
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To: ken5050

I’ve never met a real atheist. Face to face, on further questioning, they all have eventually admitted they are more agnostic than atheist.


10 posted on 03/05/2010 10:38:00 AM PST by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: Catphish
People can believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster if they want to. I don't shout them down. I don't chase them out of schools. I don't ban them from the public square. I'm secure enough to let them have their beliefs and go about their business.

But evangelical atheists are on a mission to stamp out Christianity. It would appear that, as a Christian, I'm a bit more enlightened than the religious fanatics who obsess on the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

11 posted on 03/05/2010 10:41:38 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (We're all heading toward red revolution - we just disagree on which type of Red we want.)
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To: SoldierDad
I posit that humankind is becoming less intelligent with the education of today, not more.

Agreed.

If you consider that a biological definition of intelligence must include the proliferation of one's genetic material (e.g., reproduction), the Western world has become decidedly less intelligent over the past century.

12 posted on 03/05/2010 10:41:40 AM PST by B Knotts (Calvin Coolidge Republican)
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To: B Knotts

How ironic.

Mankind is getting more and more EDUCATED but less INTELLIGENT !!


13 posted on 03/05/2010 10:43:05 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: ClearCase_guy
Religion depends on an act of faith. Believers know this and accept this. Atheism depends on an act of faith. Believers usually cannot accept this and delude themselves into thinking that their worldview is based on logic. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

That is a very astute observation, my FRiend!

One of the most dynamic illustrations of this principle can be seen in the Fictional Culture of Star Trek's Planet Vulcan.

The Culture there is steeped in hubris over its conquest of Emotion and Superstition through the application of "LOGIC."

Yet, upon examination, the Culture, Morals, Customs, and Beliefs, and practices of Vulcan Society are more Spiritually Rigid, Avuncular, and Superstitious than the most primitive tribes of headhunters!

It must have something to do with that "mating once every seven years" thingy. LOL.

14 posted on 03/05/2010 10:43:07 AM PST by left that other site (Your Mi'KMaq Paddy Whacky Bass Playing Biker Buddy)
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To: SeekAndFind

If you get deep enough into physics, string theory and all, you’ll find that there is no other explanation for all matter but that it is due to the existence of a divine being.

My experience anyway.


15 posted on 03/05/2010 10:45:21 AM PST by KosmicKitty (WARNING: Hormonally crazed woman ahead!!)
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To: ken5050

If they are REALLY convinced there is no God, then others praying should not bother them in the least.

No. I think the DO believe in God, and are anrgy at Him for some reason of their own.


16 posted on 03/05/2010 10:46:34 AM PST by left that other site (Your Mi'KMaq Paddy Whacky Bass Playing Biker Buddy)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Well, I was addressing a philosophical rather than political issue. But I with you there. I don’t like people of any stripe who are strident and imposing in regards to their religious beliefs (or non-beliefs).


17 posted on 03/05/2010 10:46:53 AM PST by Catphish
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To: RobRoy

“I’ve never met a real atheist. Face to face, on further questioning, they all have eventually admitted they are more agnostic than atheist.”

I suspect that some sociopaths may be true atheists.


18 posted on 03/05/2010 10:47:33 AM PST by rightwingcrazy
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To: SoldierDad

Agreed.

Reading the letters home from soldiers during The War Between the States attests to that!


19 posted on 03/05/2010 10:47:45 AM PST by left that other site (Your Mi'KMaq Paddy Whacky Bass Playing Biker Buddy)
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To: ClearCase_guy

There's NO Flying Spaghetti Monster????


20 posted on 03/05/2010 10:48:52 AM PST by left that other site (Your Mi'KMaq Paddy Whacky Bass Playing Biker Buddy)
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To: KosmicKitty
If you get deep enough into physics, string theory and all, you’ll find that there is no other explanation for all matter but that it is due to the existence of a divine being.

BINGO!


21 posted on 03/05/2010 10:50:43 AM PST by left that other site (Your Mi'KMaq Paddy Whacky Bass Playing Biker Buddy)
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To: SoldierDad

I would disagree. I don’t think a lack of intelligence is the problem — I think arrogance is the problem.

I would suggest that secular “intelligence” abounds, and that “intelligence” breeds arrogance ... which leads to athiesm, because arrogant people become less able to fathom anything greater than themselves (or humanity generally).

“Intelligence” may very well lead to liberalism for the same reason ... as people determine that, due to their “intelligence”, they are more capable of determining what is best for the great unwashed.

SnakeDoc


22 posted on 03/05/2010 10:51:54 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SoldierDad

I posit that you are wrong.
While those that made up the upper trades/professional class were probably heads above those in the same professions today in learning, that has nothing to do with intelligence.

As far as education, it isn’t even close. Today’s population, for all its failings, is infinitely better educated and literate. I don’t know how you could measure it from the get go, but the National Assessment of Adult literacy has a chart showing that in 1870 the illiteracy of the total population was 20% with Black Americans at 79%. In 1979 it fell to .6% overall with Black Americans at 1.6%.

Now the social content and competency level on subjects taught by the education Socialists is a differnt topic. All they need is the right information.


23 posted on 03/05/2010 10:51:55 AM PST by IrishCatholic (No local Communist or Socialist Party Chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I can understand the mindset of atheism, although I disagree with it, but why are so many atheists resentful of those of us who do believe? It’s the anti-God fervor of many atheists that leads me to believe that they are insecure. Afterall, I haven’t burned any heretics at the stake for some time now...


24 posted on 03/05/2010 10:52:31 AM PST by Spok (Free Range Republican)
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To: left that other site

No. I think the DO believe in God, and are anrgy at Him for some reason of their own.

Seeing how some “athiests” conduct themselves (especially here in lefty Minnesota), it’s not trying to submit a logical premise that “there is no God”, it’s more shaking a fist toward Heaven and yelling “No, God!”. Open rebellion. Much like Satan’s rebellion.


25 posted on 03/05/2010 10:54:01 AM PST by Fred Hayek (From this point forward the Democratic Party will be referred to as the Communist Party)
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To: Fred Hayek

Yes. That is the impression I get, Too.


26 posted on 03/05/2010 10:57:48 AM PST by left that other site (Your Mi'KMaq Paddy Whacky Bass Playing Biker Buddy)
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To: ClearCase_guy

That was a remarkable piece of insight. I’ve never thought of atheism in such terms. You are right. The existence or absence of God, both being unprovable, both require an act of faith.

Wow, I learned something. Thanks.


27 posted on 03/05/2010 11:00:07 AM PST by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Depression Countdown: 43... 42... 41...)
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To: Catphish

>> One cannot be sure of of Russell’s teapot or the Flying Spaghetti Monster either.

This is true. There is no proof of either God or the monster. But, the aforementioned monster is not supported by the circumstantial evidence which weighs in favor of the existence of God ...

... such as the 66 books of the Bible, by different authors, spanning thousands of years documenting eyewitness and historical evidence of the existence of Him and His Son; or,
... the archeological evidence demonstrating the existence of Biblical places, events and practices (which lends voracity to the accuracy of the Bible); or,
... the scientific evidence which suggests to me a system so complex that it cannot be written-off to random chance; or,
... the personal experiences of million-upon-millions of individuals who have seen the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.

When your “spaghetti monster” can cite to circumnstantial evidence if its existence from historical, archeological, scientific and personal records ... I’ll take it more seriously. Until then, it is but a ridiculous straw-man constructed by desperate athiests.

SnakeDoc


28 posted on 03/05/2010 11:00:42 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: Freedom_Is_Not_Free

The watch-like precision of the movements of our solar system and the universe display an obvious need for a higher intelligence than man. Or consider the absolutely dazling workmanship of approx 3 billion quadrenary-coded commands found in each DNA strand, each determining what lifeform will develop.

Could that all really be just a matter of chance?


29 posted on 03/05/2010 11:06:29 AM PST by BrandtMichaels
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To: BrandtMichaels

**display an obvious need for a higher intelligence than man**

Or .....display the existence of a power beyond the comprehension of man.


30 posted on 03/05/2010 11:15:30 AM PST by sodpoodle (Despair - Man's surrender. Laughter - God's redemption.)
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To: ken5050

Your priest is a smart man.


31 posted on 03/05/2010 11:16:24 AM PST by RedDogzRule ("When men stop believing in God they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.")
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To: RobRoy
an interesting pandemic of what I like to call “arrogant ignorance”.

Too many people today don’t know what they don’t know. And are too arrogant to know it.

This applies to other topics as well. The most educated society in history is the most foolishly ignorant.

32 posted on 03/05/2010 11:16:26 AM PST by politicianslie (Lying got Obama elected, they don't care what you think, shut up and pay your taxes)
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To: BrandtMichaels

To the average person that makes sense, things are much too complicated to just have happened.

However, there is a verse in the new testament that says somthing to the effect of “in thier vain, men will refuse to believe to truth.”

Wish I could remember exactly where that is.


33 posted on 03/05/2010 11:17:32 AM PST by Bulwyf
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To: ClearCase_guy

Who’d want to believe in and put their faith and trust in a “god” that they can easily comprehend with their human mind? I prefer to believe in a God, who is eternally greater than I am, and whom I cannot fully fathom. That called humility and “fear of God”, something atheists themselves can never deign to acknowledge.

Deep down I think atheists know that they are weak and small, like everyone else but their pride won’t allow them to admit it. So, they place their beliefs and energy in evangelizing on behalf of humanistic endeavors, such as socialism, which to them is a pseudo-replacement for God.


34 posted on 03/05/2010 11:22:59 AM PST by RedDogzRule ("When men stop believing in God they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.")
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To: left that other site
It must have something to do with that "mating once every seven years" thingy. LOL.

They get to mate once every seven years??? Lucky devils.

35 posted on 03/05/2010 11:34:20 AM PST by FateAmenableToChange
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To: SoldierDad

No need to posit... there is a grade school test from the 1800’s which most teachers and college graduates would fail.


36 posted on 03/05/2010 11:44:33 AM PST by PIF
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To: sodpoodle; Bulwyf

You know these days we throw the terms billions and trillions around like mere childs play, but...

If you take the approx 3 billion lines of code in DNA as an equivalent stack of books (avg size/avg print), they would reach a height roughly equal to the Washington Monument.

Could any of us read that many books in our lifetime? Better yet, fully comprehend them? No wait better still, write that many meaningful books in a lifetime?

Another dazzling display of the awesome power of the Creator God is the trillions of msg/sec comprising the involuntary communications between the brain and cells, rifling through each lifeform from birth till death.

Let’s go one further though, let’s say molecular scientists succeed in unraveling all of the meaning of the 3 billion lines of code and create their own ‘designer lifeform.’ Are they going to be able to ‘breathe’ life into it?

BTW you can use blueletterbible.org to find most any scripture and in most every translation (like the one about being fearfully and wonderfully made in the womb).


37 posted on 03/05/2010 11:44:34 AM PST by BrandtMichaels
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To: ClearCase_guy

“Religion depends on an act of faith. Believers know this and accept this.

Atheism depends on an act of faith. Believers usually cannot accept this and delude themselves into thinking that their worldview is based on logic. In fact, quite the opposite is true.”

Clear Case, you are aptly named.


38 posted on 03/05/2010 11:45:35 AM PST by Persevero ("Our culture is far better than a retarded Islamic culture." -Geert Wilders)
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To: Spok

To my knowledge it was not atheists that were burned at the stake.

It was usually Protestants of one variation or another.


39 posted on 03/05/2010 11:48:08 AM PST by Persevero ("Our culture is far better than a retarded Islamic culture." -Geert Wilders)
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To: SnakeDoctor

The Flying Spaghetti Monster joke can be traced easily from its origin a short time ago.

Hardly the same evidence for the God of Scripture, as you mentioned.


40 posted on 03/05/2010 11:49:05 AM PST by Persevero ("Our culture is far better than a retarded Islamic culture." -Geert Wilders)
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To: Persevero

From a recent Bible study in we came across the greek word ‘rhema’ relating to the ‘word of God.’ At first it struck me odd b/c in John 1 it reads that the “Word was with God and the Word was God” where ‘word’ in this context was translated from ‘logos’ or logic.

Then it struck me that surely God is saying inferentially that He is the ‘Logos God’ or the God of logic, science, and nature, but also the ‘Rhema God’ or the God of the unseen wind, miracles, and super-natural.

Think about it sooner or later your gonna read a scripture and say “but that’s impossible.”

“All things are possible with God” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” - wow what an awesome God who constantly refreshes and renews me.


41 posted on 03/05/2010 11:54:24 AM PST by BrandtMichaels
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To: RedDogzRule

I think the saying goes, “A God small enough for me to understand isn’t big enough to help me.”


42 posted on 03/05/2010 11:54:31 AM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: SnakeDoctor
Amen. Are you by chance a Missler fan?

Shalom.

43 posted on 03/05/2010 11:57:50 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: PIF

Yes, I know. I’ve seen that test. Too bad that some who have posted back to me think that people of today are more literate and more intelligent than people were during the 1700’s and 1800’s. I believe there is no contest.


44 posted on 03/05/2010 12:19:42 PM PST by SoldierDad (Proud Papa of two new Army Brats! Congrats to my Soldier son and his wife.)
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To: SnakeDoctor

I think we are all missing the point, because we are too focused on our own society (Western society, in this case).

In Japan, the higher your IQ the more likely you are to be a Christian.

In Russia, the higher your IQ the more likey you are to be religious and favor free markets and capitalism.

In China, the higher your IQ the more likely you are to favor individual rights.

In the USA, the higher your IQ the more likely you are to be a big-government socialist.

What do all these have in common? We are talking about holding a view that is not traditional in that country.

Japan: traditionally non-Christian.
Russia: traditionally (at least under USSR) atheist and communist.
China: traditionally group oriented (the rights and needs of the group come ahead of the rights of the individual).
USA: traditionally small-government & individual rights.

All this really means is that people with high IQs are more open to non-traditional ideas—and nothing more.

And “more likely to believe” is different thant “everyone believes”. We’re talking a small percentage of people, not a wholesale stampede.

The next time someone drops the “smart people are atheist” (or liberals) argument you can reply: “Not in Russia. In Russia the smartest people are religious, favor free markets and capitialism, and individual rights over group rights.” The ask them if they understand why.


45 posted on 03/05/2010 12:36:47 PM PST by Brookhaven
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To: SeekAndFind

Then we should study mindset of a monotheist vs hinduist vs zen budhist etc. Atheist or zen monk both are equally different from a Christian


46 posted on 03/05/2010 12:38:08 PM PST by dimk
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To: SeekAndFind

bumpus ad summum


47 posted on 03/05/2010 12:46:52 PM PST by Dajjal (Obama is an Ericksonian NLP hypnotist.)
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To: BrandtMichaels
Let’s go one further though, let’s say molecular scientists succeed in unraveling all of the meaning of the 3 billion lines of code and create their own ‘designer lifeform.’ Are they going to be able to ‘breathe’ life into it?

You're starting too big. It's quite possible that a designer life form need not be all that complex to meet some reasonable definition of "life." There are projects underway to do just that.

More interesting, though, are the logical implications of success in such a project. Here we have a hypothetical new life form ... which required an intelligent creator to bring it into being.

It would not support the atheist view of the universe, to say the least.

48 posted on 03/05/2010 1:01:46 PM PST by r9etb
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To: SoldierDad

Right. Too bad that so many forget that educateed people in those times had not only read all the French and English classical works of the time and were widely read in both Modern Latin and Classical Greek. Now people learn Spanish and imagine they are educated - somehow, while they busily do their sums on some fashion of a caluclator.


49 posted on 03/05/2010 1:03:56 PM PST by PIF
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To: SoldierDad

I couldn’t possibly agree more! Everything you’ve stated here is EXACTLY what I’ve been saying for some time. An age of enlightenment? Hardly.

I recently had a discussion with a colleague in an offshoot of the entertainment industry who claims he is a closet atheist. He suggested he hasn’t “come out” because of the backlash he’d suffer...from colleagues...in the entertainment industry.

I wrote him recently about how I didn’t feel atheism could stand philosophically, because it would demand a universal knowledge of something no one has proof of. His response to me was “ill take science and reason over superstition any day—!

I love this response. He completely misunderstood or ignored everything I said about philosophy and recognizing logically what can and cannot be proven...and genuinely believes he’s on the side of reason. And I continue to be unfamiliar with the science that disproves the existence of God that he mentions.

No, we are living in a dark, dark age, where sound bytes have replaced knowledge. People believe something, but cannot define why they believe it, or even adequately defend their beliefs. I believe posterity will mark this time period as relativism run amok, where every man could believe whatever he chose, and be justified in knowing nothing.

-B


50 posted on 03/05/2010 1:35:14 PM PST by B-online
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