Friday, 30 May 2008

Here's a neat game to get into...

There is a class of campaigning atheists who believe that abusing science is their best propaganda tool. One of the neat tricks they try to pull again and again is the "let's do a scientific study to explain religion" game.

Once you spot what's going on, you'll start to wonder how these supposed lovers of free thought manage to apply so little skeptical thought to their own game. How so? Notice that these same "scientists" never run studies to attempt to explain the origins of atheism. Nope - it's always theism that they assume requires some explanation, and atheism gets a free pass. What's the assumption underlying the "scientific" study at the very beginning, before any data's come in? That atheism needs no accounting for, and that religion in humanity requires an explanation. Ho hum!

Here's such a study, published in New Scientist (a not infrequent offender in the "confusing atheism with science" stakes), in which the "researchers" wrote a computer program that they intended to model a genetic simulation, together with the assumption that there could be a "genetic predisposition to pass along unverifiable information". They programmed into their model some more of their curious assumptions, which resulted in the outcome that this "predisposition to pass along unverifiable information" gave a survival advantage.

What next? Ah, the conclusion. These "scientists" then declared that teaching religion (with no distinctions - as atheists they assume all religions are the same!) is a form of passing along unverifiable information, and then they concluded that this could be why religion survives amongst men. New Scientist duly published this so-called research, thus falsifying the thesis that all papers in scientific journals are the results of careful and searching peer review.

We do wonder, though, how it is that these skeptical thinkers never thought of classifying teaching atheism as a form of spreading unverifiable information? Or perhaps there was a paper we missed in a previous issue that showed that atheism had been finally verified? Perhaps it contained the still missing explanations for the mechanism as to how matter, time and space could arise out of nothing, how the complex machinery of life assembled itself, and how self-conscious thinking beings such as humans could arise in an impersonal atheistic universe?

Next time you see a "scientists have explained how religion spreads" news story, ask yourself this question: Why has there still not been one "why atheism spreads" investigation from these scientists? Once you ask that, you'll see what's going on: not science, but atheistic philosophy dressed up as if it were.

Hat tip: Uncommon Descent

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