Templeton funds more atheist-dissing

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If nothing else, this is a peek inside the minds of believers. It is interesting to hear why they think we are atheists. It kind of reminds me of a Rorschach test where the answer is much more interesting than what the ink blot may actually look like.

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Couldn’t the $3M be used for “better” research?

Better according to whom? If the purpose is to reaffirm biases already present in the christian community then it could be $3M well spent.

This is interesting, because I found that the Coyne article does exactly this with atheists-theists reversed. Reading the Coyne article, I found it interesting to hear what he thinks of theists. To be sure, I don’t agree with everything in the Lee article, and I found it to be non-rigorous. Nevertheless, I don’t think a piece from the Conversation is supposed to be rigorous.

I also found that debates (more like polemics) on whether theists or atheists are more rational silly. Most of these pieces do not rigorously define what they mean by rationality and reason. It is easy to define reason and rationality in such a way that your position sounds reasonable while your opponent’s foolish.

Anecdotally, it seems to me that people who claim that they have the reason or rationality high ground usually don’t know the first thing about rationality or reason except that it is something that smart people do.


What could possibly be better than getting rid of atheists? :smiley:

Oh, here we go.

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I fully agree. I think the discussion is better framed within skepticism. Rationality has connotations and value judgments tied to it. Skepticism focuses more on the method of how we gain knowledge and arrive at beliefs. I think there is much more productive discussion when someone says they are skeptical of a claim instead of saying that you are irrational for having a specific belief.

Exactly. It’s an attempt to make yourself look superior to others instead of trying to find where you agree and disagree.


Like this letter to editor?

Learning to get along with other people.


Lots of atheists and agnostics study religious belief. Even though I don’t know who Lois Lee is, I think there’s nothing wrong with studying atheism in principle.

Of course, if it were me to choose, I would always allocate millions towards tabletop experiments in fundamental physics! :wink:


3 posts were merged into an existing topic: ID Inquiry + Infinite Money

A post was merged into an existing topic: ID Inquiry + Infinite Money

May as well link the original

Coyne can get pretty excited, but that is a weird article. As Coyne does note, everyone is irrational is what I’m taking from it. Well, speak for yourself :slight_smile: I’m pretty sure most people here will agree with me on that point. Then again, a lot of people don’t really think about things so deeply. But are they really proceeding blindly without having considered things in any way? We’ll certainly see certain tendencies based on people’s background etc. But she’s already lost me at her first paragraph really. If someone asserts to me that they have rational reasons for believing or not believing in these questions, and can explain them, I don’t think I will be in much doubt about it. We’re not talking about rocket science here in the end.

I think Coyne has misinterpreted her third paragraph, but on the other hand I have no idea what she means there. How is that “similar”?

She goes on to say:

The problem that any rational thinker needs to tackle, though, is that the science increasingly shows that atheists are no more rational than theists.

Where’s the problem? I’m not surprised. Does that make us all irrational?

Then there’s this:

Even atheist beliefs themselves have much less to do with rational inquiry than atheists often think. We now know, for example, that nonreligious children of religious parents cast off their beliefs for reasons that have little to do with intellectual reasoning. The latest cognitive research shows that the decisive factor is learning from what parents do rather than from what they say. So if a parent says that they’re Christian, but they’ve fallen out of the habit of doing the things they say should matter – such as praying or going to church – their kids simply don’t buy the idea that religion makes sense.

I’m getting a somewhat different feeling from the abstract of that article:

Religious Actions Speak Louder than Words: Exposure to Credibility Enhancing Displays Predicts Theism

One of the central aims of the cognitive science of religion (CSR) is to explain why supernatural agent beliefs are so widespread. A related but distinct aim is to explain why some individuals hold supernatural agent beliefs but others do not. Here, we aim to provide an initial test of the power of exposure to what Henrich calls “credibility enhancing displays” (or “CREDs”) in determining whether or not an individual holds explicit supernatural agent beliefs. We present evidence from two studies of Americans suggesting that exposure to CREDs, as measured by a scale we developed and validated, predicts current theism vs. non-theism, certainty of God’s existence/non-existence, and religiosity while controlling for overall religious socialization. These results are among the first to empirically support the theorized significance of CREDs for the acquisition of supernatural agent beliefs.

I will try to give that a read, looks interesting.

There’s this

Some parents take the view that their children should choose their beliefs for themselves, but what they then do is pass on certain ways of thinking about religion, like the idea that religion is a matter of choice rather than divine truth. It’s not surprising that almost all of these children – 95% – end up “choosing” to be atheist.

Frankly, on this one, it seems clear to me on which side rationality lies.

She talks about the mutual applicability of science a bit; no argument from me there.