PDA

View Full Version : Explaining why there are atheists and people who don't believe in the paranormal



Jichard
09-05-2015, 04:21 PM
Some recent posts have tried to argue that either atheists don't exist or atheists latenty believe there is a Creator or the paranormal. For example:


Atheists - Really Secret Believers?

You just can't keep a good God down.


Even Atheists Intuitively Believe in a Creator: New research suggests seeing the natural world as purposefully created is our default setting.

http://www.psmag.com/nature-and-technology/even-atheists-intuitively-believe-in-a-creator

So it seems that the natural default position is belief.


The actual science is showing more that religious/paranormal belief is ingrained in our brains.


Of course, this is false. There are lots of atheists who don't believe in God or the paranormal. And there are some pretty interesting explanations for why these atheists exist. For example, these atheists are more prone to analytic thinking:



"The origins of religious disbelief"
http://www.ascs.uky.edu/sites/default/files/Norenzayan%26Gervais_2013%20TiCS_0.pdf


"Although most people are religious, there are hundreds of millions of religious disbelievers in the world. What is religious disbelief and how does it arise? Recent developments in the scientific study of religious beliefs and behaviors point to the conclusion that religious disbelief arises from multiple interacting pathways, traceable to cognitive, motivational, and cultural learning mechanisms. We identify four such pathways, leading to four distinct forms of atheism, which we term mindblind atheism, apatheism, inCREDulous atheism, and analytic atheism. Religious belief and disbelief share the same underlying pathways and can be explained within a single evolutionary framework that is grounded in both genetic and cultural evolution.

[...]

The worldwide prevalence of atheists is nontrivial, numbering over half a billion or possibly more [...]."


"Analytic cognitive style predicts religious and paranormal belief"
http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~dkoehler/reprints/cognitive%20style%20predicts%20religiosity.pdf


"An analytic cognitive style denotes a propensity to set aside highly salient intuitions when engaging in problem solving. We assess the hypothesis that an analytic cognitive style is associated with a history of questioning, altering, and rejecting (i.e., unbelieving) supernatural claims, both religious and paranormal. In two studies, we examined associations of God beliefs, religious engagement (attendance at religious services, praying, etc.), conventional religious beliefs (heaven, miracles, etc.) and paranormal beliefs (extrasensory perception, levitation, etc.) with performance measures of cognitive ability and analytic cognitive style. An analytic cognitive style negatively predicted both religious and paranormal beliefs when controlling for cognitive ability as well as religious engagement, sex, age, political ideology, and education. Participants more willing to engage in analytic reasoning were less likely to endorse supernatural beliefs [emphasis added]. Further, an association between analytic cognitive style and religious engagement was mediated by religious beliefs, suggesting that an analytic cognitive style negatively affects religious engagement via lower acceptance of conventional religious beliefs. Results for types of God belief indicate that the association between an analytic cognitive style and God beliefs is more nuanced than mere acceptance and rejection, but also includes adopting less conventional God beliefs, such as Pantheism or Deism. Our data are consistent with the idea that two people who share the same cognitive ability, education, political ideology, sex, age and level of religious engagement can acquire very different sets of beliefs about the world if they differ in their propensity to think analytically."

firstfloor
09-06-2015, 01:09 AM
Jesus the skeptic, (or this is how an atheist (or skeptic agnostic) might deflect his antagonist because he knows that the fall would kill him – non-belief in paranormal is in the Bible – and the opposite):

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ]”

- Matthew 4:6, 7

Jichard
09-06-2015, 12:21 PM
Jesus the skeptic, (or this is how an atheist (or skeptic agnostic) might deflect his antagonist because he knows that the fall would kill him – non-belief in paranormal is in the Bible – and the opposite):

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ]”

- Matthew 4:6, 7

It's interesting how certain sections on the Bible seem to presuppose a belief in paranormal things, such as magic. For example:



Exodus 7 : 8-12, 20-22, 8: 6-7


8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a wonder,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a snake.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did as the Lord had commanded; Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same by their secret arts. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and they became snakes; but Aaron’s staff swallowed up theirs.

[...]

20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood, 21 and the fish in the river died. The river stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

[...]

6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts, and brought frogs up on the land of Egypt.


These are magical arts, akin to the dark arts discussed in Harry Potter.

Adam
09-22-2015, 08:17 AM
This thread is mistitled. I first rethought the proper title by substituting "how" in place of "why". But that's not quite right either. The thread as it has developed thus far is more addressed to "What are the means by which people become atheists?

As originally titled, of course, the answer is "The Devil made my do it!"
Satan wants possession (or at least obsession) over souls. In earlier times he could effect this by inculcating evil practices within the very religions by which humans worshipped God--the Black Arts, magic, and practices such as VooDoo. In an age and cultures disbelieving in the supernatural, the best form of control over the soul is atheism by which one worships oneself.