From Boston today (by way of Ric), I see there’s “research” on the relative health of believers and nonbelievers. I’m not going to focus on the results however, but instead discuss two lines which pissed me off.
• “the most pious Christians and the convinced atheists”
• “becoming debilitated strengthened [atheist's] convictions, and their convictions strengthened them”
Alright, I take issue with both of these statements. For the first one, why is one “pious” and the other “convinced”? Why aren’t they both convinced? Why the distinction? Now if you want to make a distinction, perhaps you could say “the most faithful Christians”, for that then would indicate the true distinction between the basis of believer/nonbeliever thinking, that of faith versus reasoning. I object to the use of “pious” for it carries an implication of good. Yes I know the word is associated with religion, but it commonly is used to denote good or worth, often synonymous with “noble”. So not only does the author mistake what the basis of distinction is between believer and nonbeliever, but also implies a value judgement.
The next mistake then is understandable since, as we’ve just seen, he doesn’t know what the difference is between how people come to belief or nonbelief. Atheism is generally arrived at by examining god claims and finding them unwarranted to believe. Something completely unrelated to that subject like the death of a loved one, having a shitty life, or becoming debilitated hasn’t a thing to do with the issue. This is the ever repeated straw man atheism which the religious love to rail against, the atheist who is an atheist because they’re sad or angry. Well Nathan, and anyone else reading this, that’s not how it works.
So take what you will from this “research”, but something which might be interesting for these researchers to do is actually take all of 2 minutes and learn what atheism is, and how there’s a damn difference between faith based and reasoned decision making. Until I see these clowns have grasped that, I see little weight in their reported research.
Oh well, what do you expect out of Boston, right?