Adeistic

rational rejection of supernatural mythologies

Absolutist Fears

Religionists are scared of scientific knowledge because, at some deep level that they are too scared to admit, science refutes the creation mythology in Genesis.  If Genesis is refuted, then to those who think in Absolute Terms, the entire Bible is refuted as being The Word of God. 

Religionists are so scared of knowledge that many, such as the creationist family in “God’s Christian Warriors”, are home-schooling their children to ensure that they cannot bite the forbidden fruit of secular knowledge. If the facts supported religionist beliefs, then creationists would not need to attack or defend against knowledge.

We humans have all inherited remnants of the “reptilian brain”, by which I indicate the autonomic/emotional core that is found throughout the animal kingdom.

The apes that ultimately evolved into humans enjoyed survival advantages over those of their cousins who had not inherited genes for the Great NeoCortical Leap Forward. That is, in hominid evolution, those apes with the greatest cognitive advantage were able to survive, proliferate, and outnumber their rivals.

The persistence of religion, despite the far greater explanatory power of scientific knowledge, relies upon this emotional side of human nature. However, those who wish to impose their religious views on society are also well aware that the Idea of God must be instilled into children while they are still stuck in the magical-thinking stage. Let any child, even a child of average intelligence, grow to adulthood before attempting to convince them that some old book holds more “Truth” than empirical facts, and that mind will most likely have escaped religion’s clutches. Only early indoctrination can keep the synagogues, mosques, and churches filled with individuals willing to put an inculcated obsession ahead of humanity.

Catch ‘em young and many of them will never outgrow magical thinking because some are not genetically endowed with the cognitive powers to overcome illogic. Religionists seem unwilling to grasp the fact that atheists have escaped religious indoctrination through the operation of critical thinking rather than that atheists are victims of scientific cultism, naturally immoral, or incapable of emotional response.

Religionists, however, are scared of scientific knowledge because at some deep level that they are too scared to admit science refutes the creation mythology in Genesis. Religionists are so scared of knowledge that many, such as the creationist family in “God’s Christian Warriors”, are home-schooling their children to ensure that they cannot bite the forbidden fruit of secular knowledge. If the facts supported religionist beliefs, then creationists would not need to attack or defend against knowledge.

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August 25, 2007 - Posted by | atheism, Christiane Amanpour, creationism, critical thinking, education, God's Warriors, religion, science

6 Comments »

  1. This does not, of course, explain why adult atheists convert to Christianity. It is amazing how “religionists” are incapable of understanding you, but you are certain you understand them perfectly. If religionists are scared of scientific knowledge, then why are there a large percentage of scientists who are religious?

    You have made it so clear. The smart people are atheists and the stupid people are religionists. How did I not see that before? Oh, yeah,it’s because I’m a stupid religionist with too much of a reptile brain.

    We could briefly explore the fact that your “religionists” are in fact straw men (or children). You seem to have focused on a particular characteristics of a particular subset of Christians, and from what scant evidence you have offered it appears that this subset is further fractionally defined by the geographical boundaries of the United States.

    You have exposed your own pseudo-scientific mind to lack the simply ability to construct a logical argument. It appears that you are mimicking something you read somewhere, then piggy-backing it onto some sort of negative emotional response to a unique phenomenon within your culture.

    Unfortunately you may have “escaped religious indoctrination” but it clear has not been “through the operation of critical thinking”.

    Comment by Dave | August 26, 2007 | Reply

  2. If you had read the post carefully, you’d see that I was referring to that subsection of believers who believe in Biblical inerrancy – Creationist Absolutists. Science does refute The Book of Genesis, but does not present a threat to deists.

    If you read carefully rather than emotionally, you will see that I did not use any categorical statements.

    “This does not, of course, explain why adult atheists convert to Christianity.”

    It did not attempt to. Presumably some atheists do convert back to Christianity and some convert to Judaism or Islam. Any atheists who do convert, and I doubt that the numbers are high, have lived embedded within a religious culture, which is precisely the point. Unless, that is, you know something that I don’t about conversions amongst remote hunter-gatherer tribes not previously exposed to the J-C-I monotheistic religions. If you have a URL to reputable research on actual numbers, I’d be interested to read it.

    Atheists have typically reached a rational view of the utter lack of foundation for belief in the supernatural. Some atheists do abandon belief in God because they feel that God abandoned them to personal traumas, but most atheists recognize that all philosophical attempts to “prove” God’s existence have failed and that the God of the Gaps is not the best interpretation of the evidence.

    “It is amazing how “religionists” are incapable of understanding you, but you are certain you understand them perfectly.”

    Ridicule will not win you any arguments. You are reading something into my post that I did not write. I did not explain my intended meaning when I “religionist”. Most Christians are probably moderate believers, whereas religionists make a religion of being religious. They are obsessed with defending their beliefs and imposing their morality on society. I assume that you live in England or Canada, yet you were well able to recognize that I was talking of American creationists, so my description clearly did fit the bill.

    What religionists seem not to fully comprehend are the empirical, rational, and logical reasons for atheism. Theists don’t understand them because they do not consider them without emotional prejudice.

    You also may not be aware of the latest theist theory that atheists are atheists by virtue of having Asperger’s syndrome. I’d be interested to see a study on this question. However, reading blog reporting of AS : religiosity correlations, I noted that the theists actually scored higher on AS inventories than the atheists.

    “If religionists are scared of scientific knowledge, then why are there a large percentage of scientists who are religious?”

    I was not referring to scientists, who only represent a small proportion of the population, but to religionists who neither comprehend the nature nor content of science. So, your comment is irrelevant. I assume that you understand Venn diagrams and that you do understand the distinction.

    Those scientists who are religious have almost certainly been exposed to religious teachings since early childhood (we all are exposed in Western society) and are more likely to be physicists or mathematicians than biologists. Scientists as a group contain the highest proportions of atheists.

    ”You have made it so clear. The smart people are atheists and the stupid people are religionists. How did I not see that before? Oh, yeah,it’s because I’m a stupid religionist with too much of a reptile brain.”

    I indicated that by “reptile brain” I meant emotional. Your reaction is very emotional in tone, which goes to demonstrate my point. I’m not calling you a lizard, nor did I call you stupid since the post was not directed at you. You merely took it personally.

    You may or may not be familiar with the triune model of brain evolution : essentially the same autonomic (automatic) structures from reptiles upward; the same limbic (emotional) structures from mammals upwards; and, enlarged neocortex in the primates. Humans having the greatest brain : body weight ratio. I conflated reptilian and limbic under “reptilian”, but my point was that we have both an emotional brain, with dedicated anatomic structures, and a cognitive brain. Religion appeals to the emotions. Before you bother to argue with that, I’d point out that Christians have been using emotional “religious experience” in an attempt to prove God’s existence since Jean Jacques Rousseau.

    I’m surprised that the correlation was news to you since there are many studies that indicate a positive correlation between atheism and IQ, educational level, science background, and liberal attitudes. Theists demonstrate a negative correlation with those parameters. Since I assume that you understand Venn diagrams, I also assume that you realize that such correlations are not 100% categories.

    “We could briefly explore the fact that your “religionists” are in fact straw men (or children).”

    The straw man fallacy only refers to attacking a weakened version of the opponent’s argument. I might have impugned the cognitive capacities of theists, but I did not deal with theist arguments, weakened or not, so your accusation is off-target.

    “You seem to have focused on a particular characteristics of a particular subset of Christians, and from what scant evidence you have offered it appears that this subset is further fractionally defined by the geographical boundaries of the United States.”

    Absolutely. I made it quite clear that I was referring to absolutist creationists. I have encountered quite a large number of them, so I consider my assessment quite accurate. Many of them display fascinating cognitive disorders and regurgitate highly illogical arguments built on distortions of fact.

    ”You have exposed your own pseudo-scientific mind to lack the simply ability to construct a logical argument.”

    Since you know nothing of my level of scientific education or of the quality of my mind, I’ll let that fallacious ad hominem slide.

    “It appears that you are mimicking something you read somewhere, then piggy-backing it onto some sort of negative emotional response to a unique phenomenon within your culture.”

    You might want to think so, but you’d be incorrect in so far as American creationist literalists go. The fact that American creationists are trying so hard to have creationism placed in the science curriculum illustrates both my point about need for childhood indoctrination and religionist fear of science. I don’t have to prove my point with logic, the known facts illustrate my point.

    ”Unfortunately you may have “escaped religious indoctrination” but it clear has not been “through the operation of critical thinking”.”

    Another ad hominem and you are incorrect again. You can’t insult me, though you are definitely trying to insult me in place of making a logical argument against the facts. You are upset at feeling that you’ve been called a reptile, which is quite understandable. I was rattling the cage a bit. Your upset does not alter the fact that American religionists act as I have described. You also appear to have attempted to post the identical comment in several places – I am only letting this one through, David.

    Comment by adeistic | August 26, 2007 | Reply

  3. I’ll start with the last bit first. As you will have noticed on my own blog where I commented about this post, I only posted identical comments in several places because there were several different blogs with the same blog post under different names. I did not spam anything repeatedly onto the same blog. I think it is an unusual tactic to create a variety of blog identities just to put out the same information multiple times. This is actually a different blog from the one where I made my original comment and to which I referred in my own blog.

    Now to the substance of your comments:

    If you had read the post carefully, you’d see that I was referring to that subsection of believers who believe in Biblical inerrancy – Creationist Absolutists.

    You are correct. Since I posted my comments at your “So Say We” blog and didn’t see anything about Creationist Absolutist in the preamble to the same post on your “Naturalism” blog or your “MetaThoughts” blog, I didn’t catch a slightly different preamble on this blog where you mention the creationist family on the “God’s Christian Warrior’s” program. Otherwise you only mention them well into the body of the post, which indicated that they were an example rather than the archtype upon which your entire premise rested.

    Science does refute The Book of Genesis

    Where? This seems to be your presupposition, to which you assume all right thinking people must subscribe.

    Unless, that is, you know something that I don’t about conversions amongst remote hunter-gatherer tribes not previously exposed to the J-C-I monotheistic religions.

    I’m surprised you are not at least familiar in a rudementary way with Christian missionary work in reaching those people of the world who do not live with any exposure to monotheistic religion.

    If you have a URL to reputable research on actual numbers, I’d be interested to read it.

    Since any numbers are going be produced by religious organisations, I’m sure you would not consider them reputable.

    Atheists have typically reached a rational view of the utter lack of foundation for belief in the supernatural.

    Atheists operate in the presupposition that that which is empirical must a) be true, and b) be the only source of truth. This is based upon the prior assumption that the human mind is capable of knowing and understanding all things. Because of these things, God’s existence must be proved to be true, as if God, should He exist, would have some sort of obligation to meet the criteria of human-derived intellectual frameworks.

    I did not explain my intended meaning when I “religionist”. Most Christians are probably moderate believers, whereas religionists make a religion of being religious. They are obsessed with defending their beliefs and imposing their morality on society.

    So “religionist” is a category of your own making. You write with vacillating certitude and hesitation about Christians. It appears that your knowledge of Christians is based upon your perception of the “religionists” while ackowledging that there may be some you would find more palatible because they compartmentalise and internalise religion away, thereby letting social policy be decided by right-thinking non-religious liberals.

    I assume that you live in England or Canada, yet you were well able to recognize that I was talking of American creationists, so my description clearly did fit the bill.

    If you read my “About” page to find out, you would know that I am an American living in England. What I was able to recognise is that your descriptions fit stereotyping I have seen in the past. The anti-intellectual stereotype wouldn’t be possible if you couldn’t find at least a few examples of what you describe. However, having been a Creationist on several different philosophical and theological levels, I don’t think I fit the stereotype and I know many, many young earth Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents who do not.

    What religionists seem not to fully comprehend are the empirical, rational, and logical reasons for atheism. Theists don’t understand them because they do not consider them without emotional prejudice.

    Again, you presume to understand your opponent while assuming that he cannot understand you.

    You also may not be aware of the latest theist theory that atheists are atheists by virtue of having Asperger’s syndrome.

    Not being a sort of generic theist, I don’t keep up with their latest theories. I know that within the complex subsets of Christian apologists, there are a variety of epistemological views – an internal debate that has raged for centuries. From whence this particular theory sprang, I wouldn’t know. I also haven’t read any blogs about the correlation between “religiosity” and AS, so I wouldn’t know the validity of their research or conclusions.

    religionists who neither comprehend the nature nor content of science

    Being quite familiar with fundamentalist Christian homeschooling, which does seem to be something of the focus of your ire, the predominant curricula employed tend to include as much science content as their public school counterparts. What I think you are referring to are religionists who do not accept the dominant philosophy of science rather than science itself. I believe the only bits of science that are in dispute concern theories of origins.

    scientists who are religious have almost certainly been exposed to religious teachings since early childhood

    Your theory is consistent: it’s that darn religious teaching that damages so many minds, that even otherwise rational scientists can escape it’s dastardly clutches.

    more likely to be physicists or mathematicians than biologists

    Because the former have not been as thoroughly indoctrinated in atheistic evolutionary theory. If you deal with a purer science, God gets harder to avoid. Romans 1:20 and all that. One exception would certainly be Alister McGrath, whose Oxford doctorate is in molecular biophysics. Much of his theological work deals directly with atheism, including, The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World, Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life, and The Dawkins Delusion?

    Your reaction is very emotional in tone

    My apologies, Mr Spock.

    You may or may not be familiar with the triune model of brain evolution

    How true.

    I’d point out that Christians have been using emotional “religious experience” in an attempt to prove God’s existence since Jean Jacques Rousseau

    The religious experience argument, like any other argument, does not prove or disprove anything. It provides evidence. One of the leading proponents of this argument is Oxford philosophy professor Richard Swinburne (retired 2002). I would suggest reading some of his work to understand why such an argument should not be dismissed out of hand.

    there are many studies that indicate a positive correlation between atheism and IQ, educational level, science background, and liberal attitudes. Theists demonstrate a negative correlation with those parameters. Since I assume that you understand Venn diagrams, I also assume that you realize that such correlations are not 100% categories.

    I teach using Venn diagrams, even when I teach on Religion and Science. So what you are saying is that all theists aren’t stupid – just most of them. And of course I shouldn’t treat these studies as suspect because they were done by atheists, should I?

    The fact that American creationists are trying so hard to have creationism placed in the science curriculum illustrates both my point about need for childhood indoctrination and religionist fear of science.

    Here is where I think you misunderstand the motivation of American creationists. The idea of childhood indoctrination is motivated independent of any issues about competing views of origins as propounded through scientific theories. This is an expression of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Proverbs 22:6 (which I use as examples, not as specific prooftexts) in Christian views of childraising.

    I don’t have to prove my point with logic, the known facts illustrate my point.

    Your known facts are a little skewed, so I wouldn’t ditch the logic entirely yet.

    You are upset at feeling that you’ve been called a reptile, which is quite understandable.

    Understandable, but not true. It takes a lot more than that to upset me. Actually, I was more upset by your approach to blogging which appears to be a new type of spamming.

    Comment by Dave | August 26, 2007 | Reply

  4. Dave, I posted a reply here Response to Dave. I should have broken the response up into mini-posts, it was the dickens to edit.

    Comment by adeistic | August 26, 2007 | Reply

  5. […] sequence: Absolutist Fears,  Comments;   Bouncing back to Dave , Comment; No Things in Moderation; […]

    Pingback by Absolutist Fears to Emotion « Adeistic | September 2, 2007 | Reply

  6. […] started out with your  statement, “This does not, of course, explain why adult atheists convert to Christianity.” I […]

    Pingback by Conversions II: Selling the Product « Adeistic | September 2, 2007 | Reply


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