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Traditionalists More Rational Than Others

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With the media swooning over Dicky Dawkins’ fulminations against all things religious, who would have thought that the Dickster actually belongs to the less rational (statistically speaking) group:  Check out the report at the WSJ.  Here’s an excerpt:

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won’t create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that’s not a conclusion to take on faith — it’s what the empirical data tell us.

“What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

As nature abhors a vacuum, so does the human mind abhor nihilism. If the choices for belief are between nothing and something preposterous, the preposterous will always win. This is why the staunch materialists like Dawkins and Dennett cannot win. Sam Harris is actually the most likely of the "Four Horsemen" to succeed in the long run, because he embraces mysticism. Two older observations of this phenomenon here and here. Discussion of the Chesterton misquote here. The fact that it's a misquote doesn't ruin the truth in it, IMO. angryoldfatman
Wasn't Dawkins latest book/TV thing an anti-superstition (meaning astrology, palm reading, etc.) type of thing? Winston Macchi
Is anybody really surprised this is the case though ? It has been true since the beginning of Christianity that were orthodox Christian belief increased superstition went down. Jason Rennie
Maher believes asperin is lethal. Dawkins believes in magic chemicals with mystical properties. I suppose I practice too much dental hygene to understand them. Upright BiPed
Four myths proving the maxim that when people stop believing in God they’ll believe anything (Chesterton didn’t really say that, apparently—but it sounds like him): People actually believed that life could generate spontaneously from the mud of a friendly warm pond. People actually believed that unhappiness was nothing more than mental illness and could be cured. People actually believed that abolishing private property and overthrowing the means of production could change human nature and produce utopia. People actually believed that man could evolve into a superman and generate “new gods and new ideals” by abolishing any thought of God. Oh, well. God bless the dreamers for dreaming they were God. allanius
My mistake. The movie comes to theaters on October 3rd. Oh well, I'm not going to see it. PannenbergOmega
Didn't Bill Maher's movie tank? PannenbergOmega

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