Certain Atheist myths need putting to rest. These have been disproved so many times and they keep repeating the same tired old mistakes over and over, becasue they have the new data that badly misses the point, but the badly construed data is always refreshed with more badly understood back up. John Loftus, my friend from the DC site starts the ball rolling (on the CADRE Blog) when he made an argument about faith being discorded by the modern secular world.
Would you mind trying to explain the trend? As a rule people in these fields of learning tend to move toward doubt. Why is that? Take a stab at it. Why is it that Universities once started to propagate the gospel are now bastions of secularism and that in each generation new universities and book publishing companies are started to overcome the liberal tendencies of the generation that went before? Since there are no cold hard scientific facts about these ideas then trends over time are very important and could even be decisive if someone were to consider what they point to.
Here is Loftus is very confused. What seems like a clear trend to him is nothing of the sort. In backing this up with further comments he lets go the particular myths I want to address here:
(1) The Zuckerman "study" showing "we don't need God to have a good society (this is exactly what Loftus says in describing it).
(2) Christians alone do charitable giving
(3) Christians are probably not more healthy.
(4) Godlessness is rare in jails (for this this we should read "Christian's go to jail more often" because that the claim atheists most often make.
Each of these concerns were expressed by John in the CADRE comment section:
However, the facts are that to have a good society we don't need God, that charitable giving is not something that Christians alone do, that Christians are probably not more healthy, and that even where we'd expect it the most godlessness is rare in our jails.He had more major points to make but I will deal with those in another way.
First lets examine his overall claim, from the quotation above. He says universities started to propagate the Gospel are Bastians of secularism. But they are also still Bastians of faith. He's not at a major university such as Harvard or Yale so he just doesn't know. J.D. Walters is at a major University (Princeton). I think we should ask him. He has a good sense of the level of acceptance at Princeton. Walters is a member of the CADRE and did a thing that started the free for all with Loftus. When I took Greek my professor (UT system) was from Yale. I made a similar kind of statement to the one Loftus made and this professor set me straight. There are Christians at all major universities. They do not have to hide, they do not keep their beliefs a secret. In some failed they may compartmentalize, not witnessing or doing apologetic, but they do not hide their faith as a secret. All the major universities are still tied in with Churches and religious organizations and all the major universities of the sort Loftus mentions have major theological schools or seminaries which are world class. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other such schools (Drew, Emory) have leading seminaries and theology schools and produce top ranked theologians. These Universities have compartmentalized, this is probably due to the influences of science in the previous century, but they have not abandoned religious believers or cut them out of of the fold.
John states: "Since there are no cold hard scientific facts about these ideas then trends over time are very important and could even be decisive if someone were to consider what they point to." There are plenty of cold hard facts, and when atheists are presented with them they often run away, as John does this time in arguments I am about to give. In each of the four cases of side arguments above Lofuts is out gunned on the evidence. He does ont present any sort of refutation for the evidence I presented. He merely asserts that he's right. The only data he presents other than these four deal with divorce rate (he present some data although from a highly biased source) and and that was it.
One more thing needs to be said before we get to the knitty gritty. He argues that just because something works doesn't mean it's true. Then most of his arguments are about atheism working better: we don't God, not more healthy, lower divorce rate. If things working don't matter then why does he keep harping on these issues of effectiveness?
On the argument no (1) that we don't need God to have a better society, he is using the Zuckerman study. I did a four part serious on Zuckerman and showed that such a conclusion is totally misleading. I have three basic arguments:
(1) Social position of church not equate to unbelief
What Zuckerman really shows is a shift in the social position of church membership and it's role in daily life. 80% of the Swedes are still members, only the role in daily life has changed.
(2) This cannot be equated with a loss or religious belief among the masses
nor can it be taken as "doing without God." Neither Zuckerman nor Lofuts can offer one shred of data that directly shows that the Nordic sense of a reasonable society is really divorced from Christian values. Strong atheism is small and only about half the country are atheists and they are weak atheist. The population shows signs of seeking spiritual growth and belief in God and transcendent things.
(3) Historically the values that gave the Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians their modern social democracies are based upon their Christian past.
The atheists don't study history. Atheists are poor students of history. They haven't even bothered to study the history of Sweden's social democracy.
In terms of the four myths, turn to the second myth:
(2) Christians alone do charitable giving.
I don't think anyone claims that. There are studies that Christians give more than atheists. There are also studies that show that atheists don't like Altruism or love. On the other hand, what does this have to do with God's existence? Is that not a contradiction for John to argue this way?
(3) Christians are probably not more healthy.
Huge body of work that says they are. One point that needs to be made here before we talk about studies. John made the statement in that comment box debate that my studies are "Christians." That is typical. I've seen many many atheists make this assertion. One guy accused me of using Pastors emailing their congregations
(a) Mental health greater for religious people:
J. Gartner, D.B. Allen, The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., National Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3090
"The Reviews identified 10 areas of clinical status in which research has demonstrated benefits of religious commitment: (1) Depression, (2) Suicide, (3) Delinquency, (4) Mortality, (5) Alcohol use (6) Drug use, (7) Well-being, (8) Divorce and martital satisfaction, (9) Physical Health Status, and (10) Mental health outcome studies....The authors underscored the need for additional longitudinal studies featuring health outcomes. Although there were few, such studies tended to show mental health benefit. Similarly, in the case of teh few longevity or mortality outcome studies, the benefit was in favor of those who attended chruch...at least 70% of the time, increased religious commitment was associated with improved coping and protection from problems."
[The authors conducted a literature search of over 2000 publications to glean the current state of empirical study data in areas of Spirituality and health]
Dr. Jorge W.F. Amaro, Ph.D., Head psychology dept. Sao Paulo
"A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine. The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding."
"Nowadays there are many who do not agree with the notion that religious behavior a priori implies a neurotic state to be decoded and eliminated by analysis (exorcism). That reductionism based on the first works by Freud is currently under review. The psychotherapist should be limited to observing the uses their clients make of the representations of the image of God in their subjective world, that is, the uses of the function of omnipotence. Among the several authors that subscribe to this position are Odilon de Mello Franco (12), .... W. R. Bion (2), one of the most notable contemporary psychoanalysts, ..."
[sources sited by Amaro BION, W. R. Atenção e interpretação (Attention and interpretation). Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 1973.
MELLO FRANCO, O. de. Religious experience and psychoanalysis: from man-as-god to man-with-god. Int. J. of Psychoanalysis (1998) 79,]
Neilson on Maslow
"One outgrowth of Maslow's work is what has become known as Transpersonal Psychology, in which the focus is on the spiritual well-being of individuals, and values are advocated steadfastly. Transpersonal psychologists seek to blend Eastern religion (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) or Western (Christian, Jewish or Moslem) mysticism with a form of modern psychology. Frequently, the transpersonal psychologist rejects psychology's adoption of various scientific methods used in the natural sciences."
"The influence of the transpersonal movement remains small, but there is evidence that it is growing. I suspect that most psychologists would agree with Maslow that much of psychology -- including the psychology of religion -- needs an improved theoretical foundation."
(b) Physical health greater for religious people
there is a vast body of data on this, one might find as many as a thousand studies. There are certainly over a hundred.
"Doctrors find Power of faith hard to ignore
By Usha Lee McFarling
Knight Ridder News Service
(Dec. 23, 1998)
"Some suspect that the benefits of faith and churchgoing largely boil down to having social support — a factor that, by itself, has been shown to improve health. But the health effects of religion can't wholly be explained by social support. If, for example, you compare people who aren't religious with people who gather regularly for more secular reasons, the religious group is healthier. In Israel, studies comparing religious with secular kibbutzim showed the religious communes were healthier."Is this all a social effect you could get from going to the bridge club? It doesn't seem that way," said Koenig, who directs Duke's Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health .Another popular explanation for the link between religion and health is sin avoidance."
"The religious might be healthier because they are less likely to smoke, drink and engage in risky sex and more likely to wear seat belts.But when studies control for those factors, say by comparing religious nonsmokers with nonreligious nonsmokers, the religious factors still stand out. Compare smokers who are religious with those who are not and the churchgoing smokers have blood pressure as low as nonsmokers. "If you're a smoker, make sure you get your butt in church," said Larson, who conducted the smoking study."
see also: he Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993 For data on a many studies which support this conclusion.
Poloma and Pendelton The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3290.
"The authors found that religious satisfaction was the most powerful predicter of existential well being. The degree to which an individual felt close to God was the most important factor in terms of existential well-being. While frequency of prayer contributed to general life satisfaction and personal happiness. As a result of their study the authors concluded that it would be important to look at a combindation of religious items, including prayer, religionship with God, and other measures of religious experince to begin to adequately clearlify the associations of religious committment with general well-being."
(4) Godlessness is rare in jails (for this this we should read "Christian's go to jail more often" because that the claim athestis most often make.
Atheists keep doing this, and its' so totally hilarious becasue it'sn ot more than a misreading of the tabels they are quoting from. John uses two sources. His first source is an atheist website:
Look at what the table says:
The table says it's a list of inates per their religious affiliations. It lists Christian, hindu and so froth. Note, this is their religous affiliation not what they think about religion.
atheits cannot read statsitics. they ahve big reading comprehension problems and they get stuff like this wrong so often. The proof?
The number of atheists listed is 156, or 0.209 %. But right below that table it says:
Unkown/No answer, 18381. Or eighteen thousand, three hundred and eighty one. In other words they are completey ignoring the pile who say they have no religion (makes them atheists, duh) and those who don't answer and they are only looking at the ones who checked the box that tier religion is atheist! Their religion is atheist, get it? Not tha they all those who don't believe in God but those who are willing to say their religion is atheist.
total in prisions 96968. Nintiy six thousand, nine hundred and eight. Out of those Catholics are 359% and Protestants are 35%. So there are a lot more "Christians" supposedly than atheists, but certainly not as small as the impression given by the chart or the quotes.
Now we have to ask, what criteria is used to indicate Christian belief? do they give them a battery of tests? do they make them recite the creeds? Do they score them on the M scale? No, they let them check a box. Now if you were in jail, you are sentenced to ten years, but you could get parole in a couple of years, and you hear that being a Christian helps you get parole, wouldn't you pretend to be a Christian? Of if you were afraid wouldn't you turn to God? Yes, brave atheist you may think you would not but you would. So we have no reason to believe that these people were living a Christan life and following Christian belief prior to their arrest. That's jus silly.
Swift claims the total number of atheists is 0.209% but it's really more like 1 in 9. Even so I think the numbers are inflated. When I did my page on this for Doxa last year I recorded that stats as:
this could be a latter version and it went up, but above you see the version Loftus linked to puts it 10% higher. The total number in prison for both sets of figures is identical: 96968. Check my page on Doxa linked above. That tells me the stats have been copied wrong. But I jsut saw it so I don't think I got it wrong.
The second source Loftus Uses is juas as deceptive. It's a page called skepticfiles
It featrues a large collection of quotations that bsically pull the same Trick. I also expossed a British site that used UK stats in the same way, that one had a huge "other" category that was as high as almost 50% (no religion in other words). So they are doing the same thing. Look at a couple of the quotes:
In Joliet, there were 2,888 Catholics, 1,020 Baptists, 617 Methodists and
Does it really seem rational that there is no even one atheist in Joliet, a major prision? But there may none who checked atheism as their religious perference. They may have checked "Ohter" or not responded.
Michigan had 82,000 Baptists and 83,000 Jews in their state population.If this is still making the same mistake it means 22 times as many as those atheists who atheism as their religion rather than just checking "none" or "other."
But in the prisons, there were 22 times as many Baptists as Jews, and 18 times
as many Methodists as Jews. In Sing-Sing, there were 1,553 total inmates with
855 of them Catholics (over half), 518 Protestants, 177 Jews and 8 non-
religious. There's a very interesting qualified statistic.
Steiner first surveyed 27 states, and found 19,400 Christians, 5,000 with
no preference, and only 3 Agnostics (one each in Connecticut, New Hampshire,
and Illinois). A later, more complete survey found 60,605 Christians, 5,000
Jews, 131 Pagans, 4,000 no preference, and only 3 Agnostics.
This quote just point blank tells us they made the same mistake. What does it mean to say "500 with no preference?" That is not logical, 5000 Christians with no prefernce? It makes more sense taht 5000 checked the box that says "I have no religous preference" because most of them are not religous becuase they are atheist or agnsotic. Then only a tiny group that checked "atheist" as their religious prefernce. Atheism is their religion.
I know this is the case because it was clearly spelled out on the UK stats and I wrote to the UK prisons and asked them. This years ago on secular web.
think about it. doesn't something seem wrong here? 1 in 9 in the first "study" (the first miseread table of stats) is atheist. That's far more 0.209% more like at least 10%. But in all these other major priosons its' 22 times more Chrsitains, No atheists at all at a major prsions. Its' just obvious they are reading it wrong.
The atheists want us to think that these guys were Mother Teresa or John Wesley ardently praying all the time and living by golden rule and reading the Bible every night and one day they just had to run out and do soemthing bad because that's what Christianity does to you. No there is no such data. Its' stupid!
These myths are lies and we stop their spread. this is clearly the result of a hate group. they mock and ridicule the target with hateful lies exaggerating the truth about the hatred group just as the FBI says hate groups do.