The Science is Still Out on Religion Anyways

Written by The Star-Splitter

This is a response to Shadow to Light’s article “More Evidence that New Atheists are Closed-Minded“. Using two studies, he attempts to confirm what was said in a previous post that “they [atheists] have to acknowledge there is scientific evidence that shows they are mean, narcissistic, closed-minded, and have trouble getting along with others.” Let’s begin with saying this.

Notice how you can’t make an argument for your religion.

What a pathetic strategy that theists- sorry, let me separate you and dehumanize you by saying that you’re a New Theist since you like to do the same to atheists- have taken. You don’t want to provide evidence or make arguments anymore, relying only on personal attacks of “well, you’re a meany head”. Let’s say that there was a study which said atheists were, 100% of them, by every definition, mean, narcissistic, and closed-minded. That is still not an argument for any religion.

The ironic thing is that the first study he cites isn’t even in support of his assertion. First off, I doubt the survey’s authenticity because I can only find it off of a mediocre website. Second off, it’s from a website run by and titled around atheism- that’s something that Shadow to Light should be bringing up, but I guess he didn’t even do a second of background checking. Lastly, just how the paper is phrased, it seems very unofficial and amateur. But anyways, let’s just look at a few quotes from the poll.

Fortunately, one of the many questions our empirical research was able to address was, “are all atheists angry, argumentative and dogmatic”? Our results lead us to answer that question with a resounding “absolutely not”!

In other words, our research showed over 85% of the non-believers sampled to be more or less your “average Joe” when it came to being “angry, argumentative and dogmatic”, they fall right in line with current societal norms, nothing strange here – sorry non-believers, you’re pretty normal when it comes to being psychologically well-adjusted.

If you want to make a faulty argument, it only seems fitting that you’d use faulty resources I guess. The second study is… well, it’s not. It’s a guy who analyzed three “important New Atheist” books, then two theists’ books and his own book. Really? That’s the best you got? And essentially, it was just a bar graph of the full text with a control-f to find certain words like always. How about this: we actually read the book, we look at those words in context, and we make an argument? Let’s do a little better than this.

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One Response to The Science is Still Out on Religion Anyways

  1. Ignostic Atheist says:

    The second study was responded to by Sam Harris yesterday fairly well, pointing out that context matters. People have been pointing that out since Haidt’s article came out. Also, Harris’ style is to use a lot of negative absolutes, things like, “Not always,” which translates into, “Sometimes,” or posing examples of what is not occurring, as in, “Certainly not.”

    To quote a comment early in Haidt’s comments:

    Post: February 4 2014 8:35 pm By: R Scott LaMorte

    I can’t see how such a simplistic analysis can provide useful info when the words aren’t viewed in context. Here’s the first two hits of each of the “certainty words” as found in Harris’s The Moral Landscape:
    I’m also curious about how this certainty-words are used in context. Here’s a few from Harris’s The Moral Landscape:
    Always:
    “Rational, open-ended, honest inquiry has always been the true source of insight into [facts about the well-being of conscious creatures]. Faith, if it is ever right about anything, is right by accident.”
    “Many people seem to think that a universal conception of morality requires that we find moral principles that admit of no exceptions. If, for instance, it is truly wrong to lie, it must always be wrong to lie—and if one can find a single exception, any notion of moral truth must be abandoned.”
    Never:
    “The world’s profusion of foods never tempts us to say that there are no facts to be known about human nutrition or that all culinary styles must be equally healthy in principle.”
    “And science and religion—being antithetical ways of thinking about the same reality—will never come to terms.”
    That’s last one is pretty dogmatic, sure. But I agree with that statement. Faith that runs contrary to evidence will never reconcile with knowledge based on evidence. Gays either burn in hell or they do not. It can’t be both with the same meaning of the words.
    Certainly:
    “I am certainly not claiming that moral truths exist independent of the experience of conscious beings—like the Platonic Form of the Good—or that certain actions are intrinsically wrong.”
    “Which is to say that there may be some forms of love and happiness that are best served by each of us being specially connected to a subset of humanity. This certainly appears to be descriptively true of us at present.”
    Every:
    “I am not suggesting that we are guaranteed to resolve every moral controversy through science. “
    “Having received tens of thousands of letters and emails from people at every point on the continuum between faith and doubt, I can say with some confidence that a shared belief…”
    Undeniable:
    “Some version of this progression [of evolutionary morality] has occurred in our case, and each step represents an undeniable enhancement of our personal and collective well-being.”
    “It is undeniable, however, that if one side in this [9/11 conspiracy] debate is right about what actually happened on September 11, 2001, the other side must be absolutely wrong.”

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