Oh for the dear pre-PC days of yore »« It was so disruptive

Fascism Telegraph-style

Eamon pointed out the source of the rather…harsh description of atheists that Michael Nugent quoted in his address to the constitutional convention in Ireland. It’s by Sean Thomas last August 14th in the Torygraph.

He starts with the science of theists are better.

A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.

Mental health – blood pressure – recovery from broken hips – more children – coping with stress – more happy – less suicidal – ALL THE THINGS.

What’s more, these benefits are visible even if you adjust for the fact that believers are less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs. And let’s not forget that religious people are nicer. They certainly give more money to charity than atheists, who are, according to the very latest survey, the meanest of all.

So which is the smart party, here? Is it the atheists, who live short, selfish, stunted little lives – often childless – before they approach hopeless death in despair, and their worthless corpses are chucked in a trench (or, if they are wrong, they go to Hell)? Or is it the believers, who live longer, happier, healthier, more generous lives, and who have more kids, and who go to their quietus with ritual dignity, expecting to be greeted by a smiling and benevolent God?

Obviously, it’s the believers who are smarter. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mentally ill.

Well, in that case, it must be time to round us all up.

And I mean that literally: the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness. And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith: we have, as a species, evolved to believe, which is one crucial reason why believers are happier – religious people have all their faculties intact, they are fully functioning humans.

Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.

All that, just to end up with yet another Telegraph bashing of Dawkins. As is well apparent I’m very annoyed with Dawkins myself, but stupid arbitrary bullying like that might be the one thing that could make me more sympathetic to him.

Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    Personally, I think believing in a fictitious sky pixie is a mental illness. DSM 5 lists Delusional Disorder as part of Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders.

  2. smrnda says

    I don’t buy that atheists are meaner, nor do I buy the ‘less charitable’ thing. I don’t think charity is the way to solve social problems, and secular nations with secular people supporting strong welfare states do better than religious ones that rely on charity. Saying an atheist doesn’t give to charity is like saying they don’t say their prayers – it assumes (falsely) that the thing the atheist isn’t doing solves problems, and ignores the fact that more effective acts are there.

    don’t have a link, but I also believe the ‘benefits of faith’ tend to be only prevalent in religious nations, which could just mean that outsiders get less social support. I’m skeptical of religious people being healthier in the US, mostly since the most religious regions have pretty dismal health outcomes.

    On nicer, religious people are very tribalist, nice to the insiders and mean to everyone else. Ask GLBT people who how nice religious people are.

  3. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Article: Epiphenom – Being religious doesn’t make the English happier

    Article: Epiphenom – The happiness smile

    Article: Epiphenom – Happy worshippers, unhappy believers

  4. says

    I probably give more to ‘charitable works’ than the average Christian of my socio-economic status. And by that, I mean I give more money that actually goes to helping people in need. I don’t have to give as much because every dollar I give goes a lot further. Why?

    Because I don’t give the church a cut.

  5. karmacat says

    There is something about the vehemence in the writing that makes me wonder if it is a kind of phobic reaction. He is afraid that maybe religion isn’t so great, that he has to really over-defend religion. That is too much speculation on my part. It certainly sounds like he is angry with atheists and takes their criticism of religion personally

  6. iknklast says

    Of course, there are studies that show the opposite, too. But since he has a study that shows all that, maybe I should just go off in a corner to finish living out my short, miserable life, and while I’m at it, stop giving money to Doctors Without Borders, food to the local food bank, and Christmas presents to kids who don’t have any. Now that I know what the studies show, and what I’m supposed to be like, I guess I’d better conform…oh, wait. I’m an atheist. I don’t have to conform to anyone’s dogma, no matter how much evidence they show me.

    And, since these are people who are always claiming evidence for the impossible, and their evidence amounts to “Here it is in my book, which must be right because it’s printed on really thin, gold-tinged paper, and some of the words are in red, so you know they’re really, really, really real.” That evidence? Oh, yeah. Nope, not quite convincing yet. Can you get that book to spontaneously turn into a bowl of spaghetti? No? FSM can.

  7. monad says

    I don’t remember the source, but I thought it was well-established atheists on average give less to charities. The sweet and simple explanation was that churches count.

  8. Dunc says

    Sure. Because living a a society which constantly reminds you that you are regarded as some sort of aberration couldn’t possibly have any adverse effects on your mental health, right?

  9. Matt G says

    Appeal to Consequences. Whether or not any of that is true, it says nothing about the truth claims of religion.

  10. James Howde says

    There’s a very good podcast on Reasonable Doubt by Luke Galen about the idea that Christians are nicer.

    The very short version is the points smrnda & monads made plus often studues equate being religious with going to church. In the US (where most studies are done) that means they are really comparing people who join stuff versus people who don’t – the proportion of athiests being too small to have a meaningful effect.

  11. says

    “So which is the smart party, here? Is it the atheists, who live short, selfish, stunted little lives – often childless – before they approach hopeless death in despair, and their worthless corpses are chucked in a trench (or, if they are wrong, they go to Hell)?”

    Wow, glad I have so much to look forward too.

  12. says

    The things they will do to ignore the fact that religion is in many ways just an expression of socialization. What a bigoted ass. He will provide cover for others to be more prejudiced and bigoted still…

  13. Greta Christina says

    ….short, selfish, stunted little lives – often childless – before they approach hopeless death in despair, and their worthless corpses are chucked in a trench…

    Yup – believers sure are nicer. Exhibit A. /sarcasm.

    (or, if they are wrong, they go to Hell)?

    Pascal;s Wager? PASCAL’S FREAKING WAGER? Are you kidding me?

  14. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Some people are assholes. Religion has a tendency to enable that assholiness. (Sadly, so does the current state of the Atheoskeptical Movement. )

  15. aziraphale says

    “More children”. Probably true. Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it”

    Unfortunately he forgot to add “When you have done that, SLOW DOWN”

  16. Shatterface says

    I’ve looked into the whole ‘hard wired for religion’ stuff for a feature on atheism and ‘theory of mind’ I’m working on and have concluded that either (a) religion is a spandrel piggybacking on genuinely useful evolutionary traits or (b) God made everyone but autistics predisposed to believe in him then made belief a condition of entry into Heaven because he fucking hates autistics

    And all this attempt by religious nuts label non-believers as ‘mentally ill’ suggests they fucking hate autistics too.

    I’d rather embrace oblivion than share eternity with either religious nuts or their hate-filled shit of a god.

  17. Shatterface says

    Oh, yes – and if God ‘hard wired’ people for belief what the hell happened to this ‘free will’ he have everyone?

    And why bother crucifying his own son if all he had to do was tweak our DNA?

  18. Shatterface says

    Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.

    I’m glad religion makes people who say things like this ‘nicer’ because I’d hate to see the kind of things they’d write if they were nasty. As it is we should be grateful they’re just the kind of people who would cheer if they saw ldisabled people falling down the stairs.

  19. Shatterface says

    The more you think of it the more the ‘hard-wired for faith’ meme looks like faithists shooting themselves in the foot and mistaking it for stigmata.

    For centuries they’ve told us that we have to work at faith – and now they’re telling us some people just won the genetic lottery and the rest of us lucked out.

    They want to claim faith as a virtue while their own interpretation of genetics suggests that it is no more worthy of respect than any other genetic trait, such as height or hair colour.

  20. noxiousnan says

    Go Shatterface, you’re on fire! I’ve speculated along the same lines on you’re a) theory of hard-wired faith. I’ll have to give b) some consideration. You may be on to something. :)

    This level of open bigotry against atheists as well as mentally and physically disabled people is appalling.

  21. Pieter B, FCD says

    faithists shooting themselves in the foot and mistaking it for stigmata.

    I just had to see that again. That is a thing of beauty.

  22. brucegee1962 says

    The more you think about the “hard-wired for faith” argument from the theist standpoint, the less sense it makes.

    So whatever deity created people is supposed to have made us all so that we’re predisposed to believe in supernatural stuff, including deities of various description, werewolves, witches, the whole nine yards. But then gave people a lack of actual evidence in any of these things — because maybe it was fun to see people running around and making up all these false religions, along with, presumably, whichever is the “true’ religion that you happen to believe in?

    Now, from the atheist statement, what he’s saying makes perfect sense. Yes, it’s reasonable to believe that cultures (not individuals) evolved for religion — in the sense that cultures that were united by a shared set of beliefs and practices would tend to do a better job of cooperating to compete for resources vs. other cultures without such unity.

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