Atheist Dogma: Are You Sure?

jonathan_haidt_2012_03In a recent ‘study’, Dr Jonathan Haidt has claimed that well known atheists have taken a dogmatic position with regard to their arguments against religion and the existence of supernatural deities.  The study was covered by creationtoday.org… That fine example of modern, unbiased journalism and intellectual honesty.

He based his study on what he describes as  ‘certainty words’.

I contend that this particular study is not worth the paper it is written on and will examine what the good Dr Haidt has to say.

A new study released by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt compared Atheists with popular conservative pundits like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Anne Coulter.  Here’s why Dr. Haidt did the study, “When I was doing the research for The Righteous Mind, I read the New Atheist books carefully, and I noticed that several of them sounded angry. I also noticed that they used rhetorical structures suggesting certainty far more often than I was used to in scientific writing, words such as ‘always’ and ‘never,’ as well as phrases such as ‘there is no doubt that’ and ‘clearly we must’.”(emphasis mine)

Because of this change in presentation Dr. Haidt compared the writings of the new atheists to people like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck who are known for their dogmatic positions.   The study analyzed the entire text of each of their newest books for words and phrases that denote dogmatic opinions. Phrases like:  “always” “never,” “certainly,” “every,” and “undeniable.” and in atheist Sam Harris’s book these dogmatic phrases represented over 2.5% of every word in the book.  That’s five dogmatic words for every 200 words in the book!

ct-graph-image

By looking at this graph you can see how every one of these new atheists, including Richard Dawkins, were more extreme in their presentations than even Glenn Beck.

In essence, this study proved the opposite of what atheists claim.  The new atheists aren’t scientists trying to present every side of the truth and allow their audience to come to their own conclusions but rather they are pushing people to believe a predetermined conclusion.

The new atheists have an extreme prejudice that tops even the most right wing political pundits!

This is, without a doubt, one of the most intellectually dishonest articles I have ever read. Doctor Haidt has claimed with this paper that atheists, especially the more well known within the atheist community are just as indoctrinated and dogmatic as the worst religious fundamentalist.

And on what has he based his assertions? Why the use of ‘certainty words’ found within their works.

What he doesn’t state is how these words are used.  Unlike a religious writer might do, these words are used entirely correctly by the skeptics in question and are applied only to describe known facts or current scientific knowledge.

For instance, a christian may write:

Jesus’ existence is undeniable as it is so well documented in the bible.

What a skeptic might say is:

The bible is completely unsupported by any other historical document with any credibility, therefore it is unlikely that Jesus was a real person.  And even if he is shown to be a true historical figure, it would still be undeniable that his divinity is not proven.”

You see the difference?

An critical thinker would say, “never has“, not “never will“.

cedc6-img_21635b15dThe problem is, at least for me, Dr Haidt has cherry picked words on a gargantuan scale.  Something that religious apologists are well known for…  At least he is showing consistency if not honesty.

Simply counting the instances of each of these words is not enough.  They need to be studied in context.  I know, that is a term so overused by the Jeebots*, that it has rapidly become something of a cliché.  But it still stands, that this is the actual case with the articles written by atheists.

They apply the words to events from history and evidence that has withstood the scientific method in order to be shown as factual and true.

No atheist can or does say that God definitely does not exist, we say instead; that based on the current evidence or lack of it, we cannot accept the existence of any and all supernatural entities.

Also, I challenge his conclusion:

In essence, this study proved the opposite of what atheists claim.

No it doesn’t. It simply shows that Dr Haidt knows how to use the word count feature on his word processor.

The new atheists aren’t scientists trying to present every side of the truth and allow their audience to come to their own conclusions but rather they are pushing people to believe a predetermined conclusion.

Nope! Sorry, matey. They are asking for conclusive evidence of the existence of a supernatural deity and at the same time explaining how all of the evidence provided so far, in favour of God is sadly lacking and for the most part, doesn’t even count as evidence anyway… With the reasons why and a logical counter for each and every one of the points.

No critical thinker,  honest scientist or skeptic will ever come to a conclusion and then build their arguments back from it. Only Jeebots do that.

The new atheists have an extreme prejudice that tops even the most right wing political pundits!

The only prejudice shown by atheists is against incredulity and an inability to think for ones self.

Source:
1.   New Study Exposes Atheist Dogma – Creation Today

*The word ‘Jeebot’ is stolen from Godless Mom because I like it and it is after all, eminently fitting.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Atheism, Christianity, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s