Why atheists are not as rational as some think + Templeton funds more atheist-bashing

#1
Why atheists are not as rational as some like to think
https://theconversation.com/why-atheists...ink-103563

EXCERPT: Many atheists think that their atheism is the product of rational thinking. They use arguments such as “I don’t believe in God, I believe in science” to explain that evidence and logic, rather than supernatural belief and dogma, underpin their thinking. But just because you believe in evidence-based, scientific research – which is subject to strict checks and procedures – doesn’t mean that your mind works in the same way.

When you ask atheists about why they became atheists (as I do for a living), they often point to eureka moments when they came to realise that religion simply doesn’t make sense.

Oddly perhaps, many religious people actually take a similar view of atheism. This comes out when theologians and other theists speculate that it must be rather sad to be an atheist, lacking (as they think atheists do) so much of the philosophical, ethical, mythical and aesthetic fulfilments that religious people have access to – stuck in a cold world of rationality only.


The problem that any rational thinker needs to tackle, though, is that the science increasingly shows that atheists are no more rational than theists. Indeed, atheists are just as susceptible as the next person to “group-think” and other non-rational forms of cognition. For example, religious and nonreligious people alike can end up following charismatic individuals without questioning them. And our minds often prefer righteousness over truth, as the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has explored.


[...] But are atheists more likely to embrace science than religious people? Many belief systems can be more or less closely integrated with scientific knowledge. Some belief systems are openly critical of science, and think it has far too much sway over our lives, while other belief systems are hugely concerned to learn about and respond to scientific knowledge.

But this difference doesn’t neatly map onto whether you are religious or not. Some Protestant traditions, for example, see rationality or scientific thinking as central to their religious lives. Meanwhile, a new generation of postmodern atheists highlight the limits of human knowledge, and see scientific knowledge as hugely limited, problematic even, especially when it comes to existential and ethical questions. These atheists might, for example, follow thinkers like Charles Baudelaire in the view that true knowledge is only found in artistic expression.

And while many atheists do like to think of themselves as pro science, science and technology itself can sometimes be the basis of religious thinking or beliefs, or something very much like it. For example, the rise of the transhumanist movement, which centres on the belief that humans can and should transcend their current natural state and limitations through the use of technology, is an example of how technological innovation is driving the emergence of new movements that have much in common with religiosity....

MORE: https://theconversation.com/why-atheists...ink-103563



Templeton funds more atheist-bashing
https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com...t-dissing/

EXCERPT: Lois Lee, a religious scholar whom I’ve written about before, is the lead investigator on a big Templeton grant, or, as The Conversation describes her in erroneous spelling, “Principle [sic] Investigator on the Understanding Unbelief programme.” Templeton gave her and her co-PI Stephen Bullivant (also a religious scholar) nearly three million dollars to study the nature and variety of “unbelief”. While the grant summary pretends that this is a dispassionate inquiry into the origin and nature of atheism, I wrote at the time that giving the grant to these two was “like asking creationists to direct a sociological study of why so many scientists accept evolution.”

And indeed, it’s clear from Lee and Bullivant’s writings that their study is tendentious. It’s not a rational inquiry into atheism, but rather an attack on atheism, and, in Lee’s latest article in The Conversation, “Why atheists are not as rational as some like to think”, she positively celebrates irrationality. [...]

I’m not sure I want to dissect this egregious and lightweight piece; it’s best summed up by saying its thesis is this: “Atheists are irrational, just like religious people.” In other words, “You’re just as bad as we believers are”: not a very persuasive argument. In fact, Lee adduces no strong evidence that atheists are just as irrational as believers. Rather, she uses a series of arguments, many of which rest on opinion rather than data, e.g. “some atheists are irrational” or “many atheists don’t arrive at their nonbelief through reason or science, but because they’re indoctrinated by their parents.

Who would deny this? Certainly not all atheists arrive at their stand by reason, but many of them have enough rationality to think “there’s no evidence for religious beliefs”, which is all the rationality you need to reject religion. You don’t have to be rational in every aspect of your life. Further, Lee fails to mention that religious belief is completely irrational—in the sense that there’s no evidence supporting the existence of Gods or the factual (and conflicting) assertions of the world’s many religions.

So yes, perhaps to some people “atheists aren’t as rational as you’d like to think”, but so what? What matters is not whether atheists are 100% rational, or whether some of them become atheists for reasons other than reason, but whether the claims of religion are true. That crucial issue isn’t discussed. Lee’s purpose here is simply to criticize atheists rather than to examine whether atheism can be seen as it truly is: a rational response to a lack of evidence for gods....

MORE: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com...t-dissing/
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#2
Really? So you felt the need to make a genetic fallacy to assuage the cognitive dissonance invoked by the first article?
Scientism is ubiquitous among atheists, and there is no rational argument for it. It's just a belief.
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#3
(Sep 28, 2018 04:23 PM)C C Wrote: Many atheists think that their atheism is the product of rational thinking.

I guess that sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.

Quote:They use arguments such as “I don’t believe in God, I believe in science” to explain that evidence and logic, rather than supernatural belief and dogma, underpin their thinking. But just because you believe in evidence-based, scientific research – which is subject to strict checks and procedures – doesn’t mean that your mind works in the same way.

Right. Allying one's self with science doesn't mean that one is behaving like a scientist.

I've always found it odd how so many atheists use the word "science" as if it means "sound reasoning". So to them, if you talk about any other intellectual tradition (philosophy, history or whatever) it can't be sound reasoning simply by definition.

Quote:The problem that any rational thinker needs to tackle, though, is that the science increasingly shows that atheists are no more rational than theists. Indeed, atheists are just as susceptible as the next person to “group-think” and other non-rational forms of cognition.

I don't think that it's always true, but it often is. Anyone who has tried to talk to the more opinionated and outspoken internet atheists has encountered a smug sort of irrationality with a huge chip on its shoulder. (It actually reminds me of talking to religious fundamentalists.)
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#4
Quote:Meanwhile, a new generation of postmodern atheists highlight the limits of human knowledge, and see scientific knowledge as hugely limited, problematic even, especially when it comes to existential and ethical questions. These atheists might, for example, follow thinkers like Charles Baudelaire in the view that true knowledge is only found in artistic expression.

I consider myself somewhat of a postmodern atheist. I don't jump on the bandwagon of scientism like most atheists do. That to me is a sort of continued religious devotion to an infallible authority and ideology. My deepest objection to theism is simply the self-evident absence of God from every aspect of my experience. We never see him or hear from him or touch him. He is simply absent in a world that appears to get along very well without him. If God DOES exist, he is doing a very good impression of not existing. And how that lie would contribute to our freewill is beyond me. If the reality is that God is real, then it would be liberating to us to know that, not to succumb to a delusion of him not existing. No. God is an omnipresent absence in my life I have been trying to fill since the age of 23. And just not believing in any one thing, in the deepest Zen Buddhist sense, has gotten me thru this spiritual crisis so far.
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#5
(Sep 28, 2018 08:20 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: I consider myself somewhat of a postmodern atheist. I don't jump on the bandwagon of scientism like most atheists do.

I don't either.

But I don't want to call myself "postmodern" since my views aren't influenced by Saussure, Derrida, Foucault or any of the trendy French crowd. I'm much more in the tradition of David Hume.
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#6
(Sep 28, 2018 09:51 PM)Yazata Wrote:
(Sep 28, 2018 08:20 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: I consider myself somewhat of a postmodern atheist. I don't jump on the bandwagon of scientism like most atheists do.

I don't either.

But I don't want to call myself "postmodern" since my views aren't influenced by Saussure, Derrida, Foucault or any of the trendy French crowd. I'm much more in the tradition of David Hume.

I was influenced by Sartre and Derrida and Foucault. But not so much anymore. I think what we call reason is up for grabs.
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#7
Quote:Many atheists think that their atheism is the product of rational thinking. They use arguments such as “I don’t believe in God, I believe in science”

I've never heard this before. Met plenty of theists more rational than I and some not so rational. They also believed in science.
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#8
(Sep 28, 2018 08:20 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: I don't jump on the bandwagon of scientism like most atheists do. That to me is a sort of continued religious devotion to an infallible authority and ideology.
Wholly agreed.
But then the modern left, of which most atheists (Yaz excluded) identify, are the new puritans.
Quote:My deepest objection to theism is simply the self-evident absence of God from every aspect of my experience. We never see him or hear from him or touch him. He is simply absent in a world that appears to get along very well without him. If God DOES exist, he is doing a very good impression of not existing. And how that lie would contribute to our freewill is beyond me. If the reality is that God is real, then it would be liberating to us to know that, not to succumb to a delusion of him not existing. No. God is an omnipresent absence in my life I have been trying to fill since the age of 23. And just not believing in any one thing, in the deepest Zen Buddhist sense, has gotten me thru this spiritual crisis so far.

That's only an issue if you believe the fallacy that an absence of evidence is evidence of absence (absence of black swan sightings assumed as evidence there can be no black swans).* Calling an absence "self-evident" is rather silly, because only things that are present can evidence anything. Considering all the benefits studies have found in believing in a god of some form or another, I'd hardly say the world (80% of which is still theist) has been shown capable of "get[ting] along very well without him". Any irrefutable evidence of a god would necessarily remove free will from the equation, just like how you cannot deny the sun exists without demonstrating mental illness. You could lie or be delusional enough to deny the sun, but a liar knows the truth and the delusional do not have the freedom to recognize the truth. You are liberated...to decide what you believe. Any succumbing to delusion is, due to free will, your own doing.

But on a more sympathetic note....
God is that emptiness within you waiting for you to accept it. That emptiness shared by every human, that can either be what divides us, by making us feel alone, or what connects us, by understanding that it is not only similar in everyone but identical.




* The converse being an actual evidence of absence, in which something positively expected is lacking, such as an empty pocket might evidence the absence of your keys...because you always put them there. In the case of a god, what specific thing should we expect to find that we don't? We don't know, because we have no basis, such as an expectation of past experience.
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#9
Quote:In the case of a god, what specific thing should we expect to find that we don't?

The calming protective father figure I was raised to believe in and trust in and required years to uproot from my psyche. It's like an addict overcoming his addiction to a drug. He will always miss that artificial source of bliss for the rest of his life.
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#10
(Sep 29, 2018 02:52 AM)Magical Realist Wrote:
Quote:In the case of a god, what specific thing should we expect to find that we don't?

The calming protective father figure I was raised to believe in and trust in and required years to uproot from my psyche. It's like an addict overcoming his addiction to a drug. He will always miss that artificial source of bliss for the rest of his life.

And what specific evidence would you expect to find for that? No suffering? Wise and protective fathers know that some lessons, that will protect you later in life, are only learned the hard way. Calming in the bible is a result of surrendering to the will of god, specifically in the face of any hardship.
But even before that, what evidence would you expect to indicate that what people led you to believe was true?

You have to be specific if you really want to assert actual evidence of absence. There has to be something that we unequivocally know would be the case if there were a god. Otherwise, it's just the fallacy that you haven't found any black swans.
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