I will not be blogging much about this as I think promoting the literacy and the love for science is helpful, whereas the science vs. religion debate is fruitless. Those who spend all their time engaging it completely have their priorities mixed up. (Like any extremist-minded person does.) People: spend some time promoting good science and not always attacking things science says nothing about!
1. Firstly, I Don't Take Issue With Them Being Atheist.
Let me start out with saying I do not take offense that they are atheist. I actually understand where many are coming from. They see that many traditional claims made by religious people seem untrue (like the world being only 7000 years old) and see many religious people rejecting basic science like evolution. Furthermore, they think a world with no God fits the data better than one that does. They just don't see evidence for God in nature so they have a hard time believing God is there.
Fine. I'm not going to discuss this here. In am not attacking atheists in general but these new atheists who not only oppose religion but for whatever reason seem obsessed with it.
*Also, I apologize in advance if I appear to be stereotyping all atheists.* They are not all like this... but some are.
2. They're Being Hypocritical When They Make Claims Without Applying Basic Scientific Rigor.
They trot out tired, half-truthful stereotypes, and they cherry-pick historical examples of religious wrongdoing while ignoring the innumerable instances in which the faithful have performed great acts of decency and charity.I will make this simple for them to understand: They can't get their claims published in established, reputable, peer reviewed journals.
They will claim how important it is to use evidence, good intellectual rigor and tout how believable claims should be strong enough to stand the peer review process. And yet their new atheist claims usually are not! (And they hope we accept their unpublished claims!)
Where has Dawkins published a paper in a reputable journal demonstrating religion is more harmful than good? (As he claims.) Where are the articles showing religious people fall into the stereotypes they glean from cherry picking history? (As any good scientist knows not to do.) They reality is, when it comes to scientific rigor, new atheist are hypocrites. (Or show me their own peer reviewed journal articles backing such claims!)
3. Many Have Become Fundamentalists Themselves. (Often Belittling Scientists Who Are Better Scientists Then They Could Ever Dream Of.)
Some new atheists have become as fundamentalist minded as the very people they deride. They live in a world where everything is black and white with no grey. I personally know of many who can't stand someone is a great scientist... if they happen to even be understanding of religious people.
Even if I won a Nobel Prize for physics (which won't happen by the way) all they would see is the fact that I am LDS and wrote a post like this. For example, take the Templeton Prize winners. Many of these people are better scientists than the vast majority of all these new atheists will ever be and yet they are often derided and treated with ridicule.
Once you have crossed the line to demeaning scientists who are 10 times the scientist you will ever be because they find meaning in something beyond the realm of science... you have officially become an extremist.
4. Many Hide Behind Science To Promote Their Pet Agendas.
New atheists are no different than than politicians who use the the politicization of science to promote their pet agenda! The fact is: science neither confirms nor denies the existence of God and these people try to hide behind pseudo-scientific arguments to do just that. Anyone who tries to to use science to prove God does or does not exist is wasting everybody's time and is being just as disingenuous as the above politicians.
Science cannot prove the existence of God, the Easter Bunny or for that matter the existence of good, love, beauty, morality, etc... And yet they are so quick to write volumes on how foolish people are for finding meaning in the former entities and yet not the later ones. There is definitely a biased agenda at play here.
5. What They Should Do.
If you are an atheist who is concerned with the horrible level of science literacy in the world, fine. I'm not attacking that. What I am attacking is a hypocritical, non-rigorous, fundamentalist agenda some have taken up pretending it is somehow backed by good science!
What these people need to do is get their priorities in order:
- Demonstrate the wonders and benefits from accepting good science.
- Demonstrate how much progress has been achieved from humans using science at their disposal.
- Stick to claims that can be backed by the peer reviewed literature and avoid pet agendas that have nothing to do with science.
Since I wrote the above I wanted to add this for reference:
6. Atheism Causes You To Be Unproductive And Unsuccessful In Life.
Look at the above two images. This study clearly shows that while atheists have a higher IQ on average, they also end up with less money than other people on average. Obviously atheism causes you to be unproductive, unsuccessful and live largely below your potential. How many politicians, generals, famous actors and actresses or successful businessmen are atheist? Basically if you are smart but don't want to amount to much in life, studies that you should take up atheism.
Obviously this is a joke, but one made to prove a point. There are probably 100 reasons besides atheism to explain why atheists have above average IQs and yet cannot figure out how to make as much money as the average person or hold political office, etc... I recognize this. It would be dumb of me to jump to such conclusions from such a non-rigorous interpretation of data such as.
I just wish some atheists would give religious people the same courtesy. I wish they would pause and ask themselves if they have sufficiently gone through the 100 reasons, other than religion, to explain the data they like to flaunt? For a people with such high IQs, I must say it seems like such an intellectually stupid thing to do.
Please just stick to promoting good science! Blanket lumping together and attacking religion in general is often done unscientifically, is unproductive and a waste of time. (It is as unproductive and intellectually disingenuous as me writing books on how atheists are just unsuccessful eggheads.) But then perhaps people prone to atheism are naturally good at being inefficient and unproductive and so I just have to realize that trying to tell such people to do something helpful with their lives won't work. Again, joke. :)