Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Atheism in the news? Not really...

Read this post from the blog of the religion reporter at our local newspaper.

My comment was long, so I wasn't sure if it got posted and thought I'd post it here, as well.

Three comments, in mixed order:

First, the study isn't worth the attention it's getting. In addition to all of the other problems with IQ, the variance here simply isn't notable. This is a weak correlation and little more.

Second, the UTSA event is not to everyone's taste, but your question; "why equate it with pornography?" is an interesting one. The implication is that you'd like to label porn as 'bad' but the Bible as 'good' or 'not as bad'. I don't find pornography objectionable, yet I find the Bible incredibly, your implication is correct, they're not equal. I think most Bible-supporters know this which is why, despite calling it the "Good Book" not one of them would agree to let me read Bible stories of my selection to their children.

Some people are uncomfortable about nudity and sex, and that's their prerogative.

Those, though, who would exalt a book that explicitly endorses slavery - the owning of another human as property, the beating of that property and the instruction for slave to obey cruel masters - just one of many objectionable points, can never claim the moral high ground. They have sacrificed their humanity for a poisonous and corrupt ideology.

And that, leads me to the third point - the focus on the fact that this individual had books on atheism and demons. There is nothing within atheism (because it's a single position on a single question) that would direct one to burn a church. Atheism is not a necessary and sufficient cause for any act, let alone this one.

But the problem here is the self-righteous bigotry in both the headlines, the focus and the commentary. Where is the headline that reads "Bible found among clinic bombers belongings"?


  1. You left off the title Matt :)

  2. If I recall, there was a single book on Atheism found at the girlfriend's house. And several bibles found at the arsonist's house.

  3. Comment's there now, sans the links and bold.

    But I always figured they called it "smut for smut" because of the, uh, smut. (Erotic literature counts as porn, right?) It's kind of disingenuous to complain about that if you're familiar with Lot's story, or aware of the Song of Solomon.

    Frankly, I'm most concerned that this is going to bring another round of "atheists worship the Devil!" Jeez, I've been hearing that crap since third grade.

  4. I have Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Dan Bennett and Sam Harris' books here. I'm about to have a devil worshiping séance.

    Any takers?

  5. I have read about this studies, I am dubious as well about it.

    As for equating Devil worship and atheism, this one always makes me laugh. Seriously, how can someone be so bloody clueless? It reminds me of something: there were some heavy metal aficionados with whom I was hanging around during teenage, when I was sitll a good Catholic boy. They believed in God just as much as I did, but they were on the other guy's side. And they were shocked when a common friend said he was an atheist.

    Anyway...where can I change my old Bible again? Can I exchange Gospels books as well, if they don't have the whole Bible in the book? I got some from primary school.

  6. Atheism is not a necessary and sufficient cause for any act, let alone this one.

    Atheism isn't really anything at all. It just describes an absence. Wouldn't it make life easier if people could get that through their heads. :-)

  7. I'd say that many of the people who make the connection are aware of the lack of content of the term atheism for their purposes, which is why they append 'devil worship'.

  8. Years ago I told a (rather clueless) coworker of mine that I didn't believe in god. She asked "Oh, do you believe in the devil then?"

    Uh, nooo...

    But I suppose it makes sense from the highly insulated worldview of a Christian; it's either god or the devil. The possibility of opting out completely hasn't occurred to them.

  9. @NA
    Can you have a seance for someone who isn't dead? Can you have a seance for someone who doesn't exist?

    In that case, I think I'll try to contact John Chrichton and tell him not to worry about getting back to earth; it's pretty much hosed, anyway.

  10. There are responses to your comment, BTW. People greatly in need of pwning, though I doubt they'd see the response.

  11. The article replies are great--atheists quoting scripture to demonstrate the theist claims of what is (and ISN'T) in their Bibles is flat wrong. How priceless is that?

    There was so much wrong with that article--but what hit me the most was the backhand at the researchers who did the atheist study...sure they found atheists are smart--they're scientists, so they're atheist-biased!

    Wow. Really WOW. Did the author actually say this? That the study is rigged because the researchers wanted this result? Using study blinds is normal, and would eliminate any desired bias--so to say they got a result and imply bias means an accusation of cheating, unless you're saying they're so incompetent they can't put safeguards in place to handle bias--like a blind or two? Really?

  12. I touched on one of the stories at my blog...

    It sickened me. how myopic can you get. Also yeah the study would be cool if true but is bullshit.

  13. Also not just a bible from the clinic bombers. Tiller's murderer for example was connected to the Army of God...another member of which is the one that shot him the first time. Pure scum.


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