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View Diary: Atheist Digest '10: Debunking Dogmas, Part I: Creationism (211 comments)

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  •  Point by point substantive response (1+ / 0-)
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    Ignoring your gratuitous personal insult at the opening of your comment, I will focus on the substantive assertions you have made:

    1. [religious belief and god-belief] is not declining in raw numbers, of which the non-western world holds several billion more members of the species than the west does.

    First, to address a common Western stereotype revealed in your comment:

    Among the top ten most atheistic/agnostic/non-god-believing nations in the world, three are Asian - Vietnam (81%), Japan (65%), and South Korea (30-52%).

    There was also an assumption that the former Soviet republics, once freed from the tyranny of the atheistic USSR, would experience a religious revival. In fact, the opposite has proven true; there has been a decline in religiosity in nearly all of them - all of the democratic ones without exception. The Czech Republic and Estonia are also in the top ten least religious/theistic nations in the world. Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovenia are in the top twenty. All have experienced significant declines in both religiosity and theism in the past twenty years.

    As for raw numbers, the largest numbers of atheists in the world live in non-Western nations:

    China, Japan, Russia, and Vietnam are the top four in raw number of atheists. South Korea is in ninth place.

    All together, these four nations alone account for about a quarter of a billion atheists.

    And that is not even including North Korea, where accurate statistics are unavailable.

    In all places where historical data is available, religiosity has decreased. For example, in the US those who answer "none" when asked of their religion has doubled in 20 years, while those stating they do not believe in a god has tripled during the same period.

    In Australia, the number of atheists went from near zero 30 years ago to about 30% today.

    Overall, in Europe today, only 52% believe in a god, down substantially in each nation, from the most to the least currently religious.

    In fact, even religious authors writing articles alleging a religious revival worldwide, end up citing sources that contradict their own assertions.

    For example, in 2006 an article by Samuel Shah and Monica Duffy Toft claimed that Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, were "on the march", amidst a supposed retreat of secularism. The primary source they cite is the World Christian Encyclopedia. Yet the opening paragraph of the very article they cite in the WCE states something very different, something they chose to leave out of their analysis:

    The number of nonreligionists...  throughout the 20th century has skyrocketed from 3.2 million in 1900, to 697 million in 1970, and on to 918 million in AD 2000.... Equally startling has been the meteoritic growth of secularism.... Two immense quasi-religious systems have emerged at the expense of the world's religions: agnosticism.... and atheism.... From a miniscule presence in 1900, a mere 0.2% of the globe, these systems.... are today expanding at the extraordinary rate of 8.5 million new converts each year, and are likely to reach one billion adherents soon. A large percentage of their members are the children, grandchildren or the great-great-grandchildren of persons who in their lifetimes were practicing Christians"

    (BTW, they undercount Chinese atheists by at least a factor of two. It is largely accepted that the number of atheists globally has already exceeded 1 billion, some say 1.2 billion).

    In point of fact, religiosity does not correlate to geography. It correlates most closely with two things: societal health and per capita income, as noted in this 2005 report published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Religion & Society:
    Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies

    Gregory Paul, author of the 2005 report, has followed it up with a more extensive statistical study, using the 25-measure "Successful Socities Scale" - another measure of societal health and well-being - which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Psychology. Unfortunately, it is available only in PDF form, but you are welcome to download and review it here (note: it is a 44-page PDF)

    Since the global trend is toward improved societal health and per capita income, as shown in the Gapminder animation of global trends over the past two hundred years:
    It is reasonable to project that religiosity and theism will continue to decrease worldwide.

    In addition, in all nations, atheism and non-religion both strongly correlate with generation - each successive generation is less religion and less theistic than previous generations. This holds true throughout the world.

    Again, the trend is clear.

    1. Gee. If you're going to blame religion for the hatred and killing in this world - and it's definitely responsible for a whole lot of it - then why not hope that the death of religions would usher in a golden age of peace and non-violence? I'd wish at least that much on my great-grandkids. Wouldn't you?

    The problem with your straw man is that, as I clearly stated in the comment you quoted, I never blamed religion for all the hatred and killing in this world. I asked you to document where I have made such a claim, you have not. Again, you reveal that you are addressing me as a stereotype of what you believe atheists argue, not as a human being who has actually made comments on the record here at Daily Kos.

    1. How about Stalin?

    Sigh. Please do a Dkos search on "Stalin and atheism" for a review of all the rebuttals to this tired nonsequitur. I won't even bring up the statistical fact that religiosity and theism have actually declined since the reign of Stalin. Nor will I counter with "how about the Inquisition" or "how about the Crusades" or any number of instances where people were explicitly killed and tortured for their religious beliefs, because it is a fallacious argument.

    Rather, the facts show that the most secular, atheistic nations are the most peaceful and healthiest.

    If the Paul studies don't convince you, you might want to review the Global Peace Index here:

    (scroll below the global map for the straight table listings.

    The top ranking nations on the whole array of qualitative and quantitative measures of peacefulness are the most secular and atheistic; the bottom ranking nations are the most religious and theistic.


    I guess I'm talking about what Jung called "Mystic Vision," or Huxley's "Perennial Philosophy." People do have a capacity to intuit and/or directly perceive 'more' than just the waking world of our normal senses. It appears to be fairly universal to the species, as well as to some other hominid species we've discovered and researched. Like Neandertals.

    Oy. Conjecture, no matter how impressive the name-dropping, is not fact. There is no evidence to support your factual-sounding assertion that people "do have a capacity" to intuit or perceive anything beyond our normal senses. Nor is there any evidence of the existence of anything beyond the known realm of matter/energy (energy in the physical sense, not the mystical sense) to sense in the first place.

    As for the absurd notion that we have evidence "discovered and researched" about what Neandertals could intuit or directly perceive outside the spectrum of physical reality, well, that's just so in the realm of science fiction and/or fantasy that a rational rebuttal would probably fall on deaf ears. I would dearly LOVE, however, to see you provide any evidence to support this "discovery" and "research".

    I've provided numerous links to reputable sources. You provide none. Provide some, then we'll talk about what has been "discovered" and 'researched" about what Neanderthals "intuited" or "perceived" (or modern humans, for that matter).

    If it's genetically based - and it likely is, related to mutations and epigenetic expression suites that led us to our big brains - then those who don't have the ability may out-breed the old variety of humans and humanity will lose the capacity altogether via evolution.

    Despite the misapplication of random scientific terms in a scientifically-sounding mishmash of nonsense, there is no "it" to begin with. There is no evidence of any supernatural anything, nor any psychic ability to perceive the nonexistent supernatural anything. None. Provide evidence of your extraordinary assertions, not more pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.


    Some of my best friends are atheists.

    Wow. Just. Wow.

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 05:56:25 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  "Wow" to you. (1+ / 0-)
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      And I thought my comments were long and densely packed.

      Among the top ten most atheistic/agnostic/non-god-believing nations in the world....

      Are those stats (national atheist percentages, 1-1.2 billion atheists on the globe, etc.) included in the documents you linked to? If not, are your other cites available online?

      I'd like to add all of the above sources to my big ol' folder of "Atheist Cites" bookmarks. (A folder that, as you've noticed earlier on this thread, includes a link or two to comments by you.)

      Here's a gratuitous random bookmark from that folder:

      The larger problem with this week’s ON FAITH question ["Can faith effect (sic) health?"] is that it is being asked at all. This question should not be seen as a matter of personal conviction or opinion at all. People’s hunches, anecdotal recollections, or personal convictions are of no more weight here than they would be about the causes of global warming. You have asked an empirical question, and there are established methods for answering such questions. Encouraging any other approach is actually undermining proper respect for scientific methods and facts, right alongside the nefarious tactics of the tobacco companies, the global warming skeptics, and the “teach the controversy” Intelligent Design crowd who have so successful [sic] persuaded so many people to treat factual material as if it were mere opinion.

      - Daniel Dennett, "You Want Facts or Feelings?"

      Okay, that wasn't entirely random.

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