God Created Gravity: Why the U.S. Can’t Keep Pace With Slovenia | Jeff Schweitzer

God Created Gravity: Why the U.S. Can’t Keep Pace With Slovenia | Jeff Schweitzer.

Jeff Schweitzer’s post bemoaning the problems in society caused by religion is getting a lot of attention around the web.  Schweitzer blames religion for the battles on teaching evolution in schools, the denial of climate change, and the anti-vaccine movement.  I thought I’d reproduce the comment I left at his post here:

I’m not religious, and I share many of these frustrations. However while religion (particularly biblical literalism) is indeed the reason many people resist the teaching of evolution, blaming religion uniquely for climate change denial and the vaccine scare isn’t accurate, and is probably counter-productive.

To be sure, conservatives may evoke religion as part of their justification, but the actual causes come from somewhere else. In the case of climate change, moneyed interests have mounted a campaign to convince people that climate change is a fraud. From what I know of the anti-vaccine scare, it was more of an tragic grassroots movement.

It’s also worth noting that irreligion is no guarantee of evidence based thinking. I’ve encountered too many nonbelievers who buy into UFOs, Bigfoot, GMO scares, and other related notions.

I’m all for people making decisions based on evidence. But that includes those advocating evidence stick to it themselves. Using hyperbole in an attempt to sell evidence based thinking, aside from being ironic, accomplishes little, except to throw red meat to those who already agree.

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6 Responses to God Created Gravity: Why the U.S. Can’t Keep Pace With Slovenia | Jeff Schweitzer

  1. amanimal says:

    Excellent observations ‘SAP’ and well-stated.

    Re: “… irreligion is no guarantee of evidence based thinking.”

    In reading Bruce Hood’s ‘Supersense’ I’m starting to winder if Matthew Hutson may be right in subtitling the introduction to ‘The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking’ with the statement “We’re All Believers”.

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    • Thanks! Also thanks for faving my HuffPost comment!

      I haven’t read Hutton, but I suspect most of us have the innate intuitions that lead to belief. Some of us have learned not to trust those intuitions, although any of us at times can be taken in by them. (Of course some, like autistic folks, actually don’t appear to have some of those intuitions.)

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      • amanimal says:

        I’ve only read the online preview and initially wasn’t overly impressed, but I think it was mostly just something about his writing that rubbed me the wrong way. I may have to go back for a 2nd look.

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        • As I’ve gotten older, the number of books I don’t finish has increased. It’s pretty rare for me to regret ones I’ve abandoned. Sometimes it’s because I was only interested in a small portion of the book, other times because the author had an agenda I didn’t care to explore, and some authors are tedious or just annoying.

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          • amanimal says:

            Here too – it wasn’t easy at first., but when I got toward the end of Shermer’s ‘Believing Brain’ I put it down and toward the end of Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ I skipped over the last few very detailed examples he gave.

            Hutson’s writing was more a matter of just a term or phrase here and there that I found a little to “cutesy”(?) and thus annoying. I don’t mind a little humor in my preferably dry science writing, but I do have my limits.

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          • You just made me realize that I’ve never finished a book by Shermer or Harris. Never gave much thought to that before. I’ve often found both men captivating speakers, but not so much their writings.

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