Philosophy

Freethinking for Your Child

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Danny Postel at New Humanist frets over his kids, with their theistic mom, freethinking their way to possibly religious conclusions. I suppose it is the sort of thing that the more passionately atheist would worry about–which might have been a reason not to reproduce with a theist, from their perspective. He goes on to talk about some "humanism for kids" books that he seems justly ambivalent about, and does ultimately admit his kids can and will ultimately believe what they decide to believe.

But his article made me wonder. His kids are 6 and 10; how many educated adults have the same beliefs and attitudes about religion as they did at that age? My knee-jerk thought based on introspection and looking at my peer group says, not many. Not sure if there's any research on this specific topic that's thought to be bulletproof and authoritative, but I'm skeptical how much hand-wringing over your kids intellectual attitudes at age 6 and 10 is warranted.

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  1. I can think of more than a few people who thought and read their way out of the most passionate beliefs of their parents. Good luck!

  2. Most people tend to freethink their way away from theism, so I doubt he has much to worry about.

  3. Surefire way to make your kids atheists: send them to Catholic school.

  4. Brian Doherty,

    Is this the link you’re referring to?

    ‘I can think of more than a few people who thought and read their way out of the most passionate beliefs of their parents.’

    I did. My father (rest his soul) was a socialist agnostic (and I only call him an agnostic because he declared the concept of God to be meaningless, rather than false).

  5. Is there a link to the article, Brian? I’d love to read it.

  6. I was only ever indoctrinated by religous nuts(Church of Christ and Catholics and government lovers in school), yet I turned out to be a atheist, anarchist, conspiracy nut.

    If those kids turn out religous it isn’t because of their stupid mom teaching them to be…it is just because they got lots of stupid genes and drank plenty of fluoride and vaccine juice.

  7. The link is now where it was meant to be in the original post.

  8. I read my children Momma Voted For Obama nightly, so they can grow up in the one true faith.

  9. I still tell my kids the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real and then when they find out it is fake I’m gonna say …”see you shouldn’t ever believe people when they tell you stuff that doesn’t make sense…no matter who tells it to you and no matter how many serious grown ups and TV shows tell you the same crap, it is probably a lie if it doesn’t make sense to your mind! You can’t trust anyone to figure out the truth for you, you have to find it out for yourself” “I love you lots but even I lied about this stuff just so I could have this power trip of ‘teaching you a good lesson’… now imagine the petty reasons someone could think up to lie to you if they didn’t even care about you!”

  10. i’m a non-militant atheist, so i don’t understand what it’s like to be offended by god and godstuff. sounds like he’s wrapped up in his own religious insecurities and is projecting it on his kids.

  11. This reminds me of what David Bazan has said about his daughter (although I can’t dig up the original source article right now).

  12. From the article:

    ‘To be sure, I’d always been comfortable with our familial arrangement: our boys have parents with very different views on religion – their mother a Catholic, their father an agnostic humanist. This is only one of the several ways in which our family is “mixed”: Nilsa is from Puerto Rico, I from the Midwestern US; she grew up in a working-class family in the countryside, I in a middle-class one in the suburbs; she speaks to the children in Spanish, I in English.’

    The author’s wife sounds like a wise Latina woman (except for the part about marrying him, of course, but love is blind).

    Let me offer some stuff from my own experience to indicate what kind of literature humanist parents should expose their kids to:

    As a kid, I read Bertrand Russel’s *Why I am Not a Christian,* which I got off the family bookshelf. I learned about the stupidity and wickedness of Christianity (re-reading it recently, I found that one of the counts in Russell’s indictment against Christianity was that the Pope *opposed socialism* – can you imagine!).

    My Dad read to me from Gibbon’s *Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,* including the famous Chapter 15 (on Christian origins). Gibbon said that the number of people who were killed in persecutions *by* Christians was greater than the number of Christians killed in persecutions by anti-Christians. This argument – even if it were true in the 18th century – is certainly out of date today, as I have come to realize.

    There were Isaac Asimov’s fulminations against fundamentalism (he was more of a Gaia theory guy, if his Foundations novels are anything to go by).

    Don’t forget Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth.

  13. I didn’t have a clue when I was 10. Still don’t.

  14. As someone formerly involved with conservative evangelicals of a younger demographic (think 18-30), I can say that I’ve met plenty of theists who came from hyper atheist, secular upbringings. Not to say they made up the majority of believers I knew (maybe 20%?), but to say that people can’t rationally conclude in a theistic vision of the world would be outright ridiculous.

  15. I don’t know. If the heart of the matter is theism vs. atheism, I’d bet that most individials raised as theists remain so in later life. I’d guess many people change their views on the “details” of religion (e.g. the role of organized religion, the nature of a “higher” power, etc.), but I’d bet those crossing the line between theism and deism represent a significant minority of the population. The percentage of the population that believes in some deity has remained fairly constant over previous decades.

    So, if Mr. Postel views theism as the sign of some sort of failed upbringing, it’s likely a pretty big deal for him. It’s an odd thing to be concerned about… I mean political liberalism is a blind faith with little basis in reality. But if my kid grows up to be a liberal, I can think of far worse things (like serial killer, president of the United States, etc.). Like the religious nuts, he’ll just be living a life of delusion.

  16. I agree with Bluebook. 12 years of Catholic school definitely sealed the deal for me.

  17. passionately atheist

    Is there any other kind of atheist?

  18. Wow, free thinking! What a concept!

    RT
    http://www.anon-tools.tk

  19. Scary as it may be, there seem to be a lot of people who still believe everything they did at 6, just with a bit more “God hates fags” thrown in.

  20. Is there any other kind of atheist?

    I like to call myself an apatheist. God doesn’t exist, and who cares?

  21. passionately atheist

    Is there any other kind of atheist?

    I’m pretty much nonchalant about my atheism. Ideally, the fact that I don’t believe in god(s) should matter about as much as the fact that I don’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster.

    If someone wants to believe that a Magic Sky Daddy impregnated a young Jewish girl so that she could give birth to Son of Magic Sky Daddy, far be it from me to disagree. But when they think I should believe it, too, I tend to get a little more passionate about my atheism.

    Plus, I can find common ground with Christians who recognize that Scientology sucks ass.

  22. I’m pretty much nonchalant about my atheism.

    As am I. And I’ve been so since before I was 10.

  23. If there is no God, then God help us.

    I believe in God because of my own study, thought and prayer, but I consider that the “religious indoctrination” I received from my parents, who loved me very much and were intelligent educated people, was a blessing.

    And I don’t have to mock the beliefs of agnostics and atheists or anyone else to justify my faith.

  24. I haven’t RTFA, but kids are impressionable, especially before, say, their teenage years. How much of what we’re taught as kids is wrong or so severely underinformed as to be wrong for all intents and purposes? 50%? 70%? More? Hell, the only things of value were math and language classes. The rest I had to relearn as a teenager or adult.

  25. a guy i knew in high school just recently friended me on facebook and let me in on his newfound religious beliefs – born again christian of one variety or another. what amazed me is that he’s the same guy who stood at the front of the class wearing a marilyn manson ‘beware of god’ t-shirt during our class picture.
    just goes to show you that these things are never pre-determined or predictable.

  26. Most theists I have encountered are fairly decent people who only want to do the right thing. How they get to that conclusion may be a little loopy, but we all walk a crooked road as far as that goes.

    I have also met, of both the theist and atheist persuasion, argumentative jerks who will accept nothing less than total conversion to their way of thinking. They are the people I find myself avoiding.

  27. Wait, this guy is an advocate of freethinking. However, when his children seem to make their own conclusion about something he does not agree with, he freaks. It sounds like he only support freethinking as long as it is his kind of thinking too.

    Jeez, if they really are freethinking, then they will probably bounce back a forward between beliefs for a while.

  28. I still tell my kids the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real and then when they find out it is fake I’m gonna say …”see you shouldn’t ever believe people when they tell you stuff that doesn’t make sense…no matter who tells it to you and no matter how many serious grown ups and TV shows tell you the same crap, it is probably a lie if it doesn’t make sense to your mind! You can’t trust anyone to figure out the truth for you, you have to find it out for yourself”

    That doesn’t make sense to my mind, Dad, so sorry, but I don’t believe you.

  29. We neither went to church ourselves nor made any big deal about our agnosticism, but the children went sometimes with their grandmothers, to different denominations. We sent the daughter to a Catholic school in first and second grades. Home-schooled both kids after that, encouraging them to find and follow their own interests.

    The daughter eventually converted to Orthodox Judaism and is politically liberal. The son is an atheist and a libertarian.

    I followed the example of my mother. She was a fundamentalist Christian who took me to church every week when I was a boy, but told me I should decide on a belief system for myself, not simply adopt hers.

  30. I have also met, of both the theist and atheist persuasion, argumentative jerks who will accept nothing less than total conversion to their way of thinking. They are the people I find myself avoiding.

    A friend of mine recently became an atheist and in the process became a major pain in the ass. For starters, he think that because becoming an atheist was a rational decision, it only follows that every decision he has made since then is rational – ergo, if you disagree with him, it’s because you’re being irrational.

    Because he recently experienced prejudice as an atheist (i.e., a Christian disagreed with him) he suddenly identifies with the downtrodden of the world. Everything – no matter how small – is a fucking crusade to wipe out injustice.

    He thinks no one likes him since he became an atheist, but he hasn’t yet learned that one can still be an atheist without having to be an overbearing fuckhead.

  31. I came to the conclusion just today that I have no concern one way or the other if there is a god. If there isn’t one or it is simply an uninvolved universe creator, I obviously have nothing to worry about and if there is one that is supposedly loving and all powerful, he’s a giant douche as evidenced by the fact a baby in Ohio had her toes eaten by a rat and the Almighty did nothing to stop it from happening.

  32. “what amazed me is that he’s the same guy who stood at the front of the class wearing a marilyn manson ‘beware of god’ t-shirt during our class picture.”

    This probably made him a better candidate for conversion than (say) me at his age, because he was obviously deeply engaged with the subject of God.

    When you’re arguing with God, at least you’re focusing on the importance of the issue.

    My own route to God was longer, because it took me longer to realize the importance of the whole subject – as opposed to just casually assuming that atheism/agnosticism was the default position of all thinking people.

  33. I mean, no biggie, thinking people are atheists, pancakes taste good with syrup, what’s the big deal? Agonizing over God or pancake syrup didn’t seem like an important thing at that age. Your friend was one up on me because he was agonizing at least over the former. And who knows where reflection and soul-searching will lead you?

  34. What about those who want our kids to grow up knowing about the Flying Spaghetti Monster? What should we have them read?

    I had an experience similiar to Max’s, I was neither pro nor anti Flying Spaghetti Monster. Of course, what I did not realize was that my friends who actively mocked Him were better positioned because when you’re arguing with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, at least you’re focusing on the importance of the issue.

  35. “he hasn’t yet learned that one can still be an atheist without having to be an overbearing fuckhead.”

    indeed. it has to do with realizing that while deciding on atheism (or theism) is a profound personal decision, that this does not entitle or justify you trying to foister that decision on others.

  36. You meant “foist”.

  37. how many educated adults have the same beliefs and attitudes about religion as they did at that age?

    Me. I didn’t believe it when I was six and my mom’s boyfriend forced us all to attend Catholic church, and I don’t now.

    I think the journey from believer to non-believer is probably a lot more common than the reverse.

  38. I think that those parents who make a huge deal over the whole thing may be more likely to raise a kid who goes the other way – it’s certainly one way to rebel against your parent and assert your independence!

    I was really interested in showing how smart I was to be an atheist when I was in my teens. Now I could really care less, the whole argument seems pretty pointless. As long as I have the freedom to believe what I want to believe, what does it really matter what anybody else believes? There are idiots of all persuasions out there – and good people too.

    My son (now 9) has been atheist for as long as I remember. My daughter (now 7) believed for a while, and went to church with my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law eventually got tired of “doing her duty” by taking her all the time, and so my daughter has mostly lost interest too I think.

    I’d prefer my kids not become religious (of any stripe), but as long as they are reasonably healthy and happy, it doesn’t really matter too much.

  39. Thank you, MNG, you inspired me to seize a great marketing opportunity – a bestseller called The Flying Spaghetti Monster Is Not Great. I’m sure it would sell very well indeed, since the issue is of equal importance to the God Issue which gets such disproportionate attention.

  40. ‘I didn’t believe it when I was six and my mom’s boyfriend forced us all to attend Catholic church, and I don’t now.’

    Forgive my prying, but did that fact that it was your mother’s boyfriend taking you to church affect your receptivity to Catholicism?

  41. please ignore usual grammatical errors – grammar is oppressive anyway.

  42. Nah, it wasn’t him specifically. I wasn’t raised with any religion and to find it suddenly in my life was jarring to say the least. My mom found religion (for real, post-boyfriend) a few years later and I didn’t want any part of it then, either. I just wanted to go back to reading Isaac Asimov and watching Cosmos.

  43. On the other hand, I think one’s propensity to “spread the faith”, or non-faith, as the case may be, is a personality trait that affects more than just religion. So I think this guy is probably pretty autocratic in everything. Not me. IF I had kids, I would like to think that I would let them make up their own minds.

  44. If there is no God, then God help us needs to get off his lazy fucking ass.

  45. Postel’s worries might be unwarranted but they seem pretty normal for a parent. He’s probably gonna fret about his kids listening to “that awful rap music” and not “the good music I had when I was growing up” when his kids become teenagers.

  46. i’m a non-militant atheist, so i don’t understand what it’s like to be offended by god and godstuff.

    From what i can tell, it tends to go along with having had to extricate oneself from superstition, and getting a lot of shit about it from one’s family and former friends.

    I was raised without religion myself, so I tend not to take it all personally.

    -jcr

  47. one can still be an atheist without having to be an overbearing fuckhead.

    Surprisingly enough, it’s also possible to be an environmentalist, a vegetarian, or a hybrid vehicle owner without being an overbearing fuckhead. Of course, it’s the overbearing fuckheads among any group that tend to get the most attention.

    -jcr

  48. For starters, he think that because becoming an atheist was a rational decision, it only follows that every decision he has made since then is rational – ergo, if you disagree with him, it’s because you’re being irrational.

    Becoming an atheist is not always a rational decision. It’s possible to come to the right answer for the wrong reasons, such as “I’m going to be an atheist because it will really piss off my parents.”

    -jcr

  49. Interestingly, I consider myself a devout Catholic, but I became that way through my own curiosity about various world religions and “the meaning of life” and all that, not through any sort of indoctrination. I converted as a teenager. (I did have sort of a generically protestant upbringing, but nothing that suggested I HAD to be religious or HAD to even believe in God.)

    What’s funny is that even I, as a very religious person, really detest extreme indoctrination of kids into a religious mindset. For example, I think the fact that most kids take their first communion around 7 or 8 years of age is just utterly ridiculous.

    How can a kid that age be expected to understand, appreciate, or most importantly, ASSENT to the sort of worldview that embraces the idea of communion and transubstantiation, etc.? I actually kind of see where this yuppie humanist is coming from.

    I think he seems to be losing a LITTLE too much sleep over what’s probably ultimately a non-issue (and I think there’s a good deal of personal handwringing about his ‘agnosticism’ that he’s projecting onto his kids), but I can see why he’s concerned that his children will get roped into taking sides on issues of life and the world in a way that has the potential to create a lot of consternation for them in the future.

    It really is problematic, even from a religious perspective…

  50. I don’t have to mock the beliefs of agnostics and atheists or anyone else to justify my faith.

    Sounds like you’re actually a believer. It tends to be the ones who suspect that it’s all bullshit but don’t want to admit to themselves that they have doubts who insist on shoving it down other people’s throats.

    -jcr

  51. Of course, it’s the overbearing fuckheads among any group that tend to get the most attention.

    True.

  52. Wow, I’m not entirely sure any of what I just said actually makes sense (WAY too late at night), but basically it boils down to:

    Narrowly indoctrinating your kids is probably bad.
    Exposing them to a variety of ideas is probably good.
    I can see why, then, this father is concerned for his kids.
    And I say all this as someone who will raise my children to be Catholic like myself (hopefully not too forcefully, though).

  53. Or the most badly earned attention, at least.

  54. I don’t see the issue in the quoted article. The guy thinks his view is right and ‘best’. He does not want make his kids share his views, but in balance to their church going wants them to be aware of the alternative and the arguements for it.

  55. Actually, there is a correlation between people’s religious beliefs and their parents’ beliefs. And the more seriously parents take their religious beliefs, the more likely their children will too.

    The idea that most children who grow up in religious families outgrow religion doesn’t make much sense when you consider most people in the United State identify with some religious group. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that just 1.6% of Americans identify as atheist or agnostic.

    I suspect Brian’s peer group is an unrepresentative sample.

  56. I actually got to know Danny a little bit in Chicago and he’s really a nice guy. Really liked him.

    Not sure what that has to do with anything, but thought I’d mention it.

  57. Jonas,

    I have had some of the same concerns myself. I’m a Catholic, and I wonder about indoctrinating my 3 year old. I think it’s good to provide him with an example of faithful living (he should see me praying, performing acts of charity, & come with the family to church), but I’m more iffy on the idea of forcing him to parrot words and rituals he can’t understand.

    Some of our friends teach their toddlers to repeat the Our Father or Hail Mary. To me, this seems like a party trick at best, and cheapens the meaning of the prayer and the meaning of faith. I was a lapsed Catholic for a long time until I re-arrived at the conclusions that I couldn’t fully accept when they were indoctrinated by rote repetition.

  58. Voros,

    Due to your research, I have a cheap Cueto in my keeper league.

    Not sure what that has to do with anything, but thought I’d mention it.

  59. I never understood how an atheist could ever hold a relationship (much less reproduce) with a theist. Can anyone please let me know how this happens? After all, no matter what christians say, they tend to have a really screwed up way of thinking and messed up philosophies.

  60. Francis Bacon said,

    “A little philosophy leads to atheism; more philosophy leads back to religion.”

    That’s what happened to me. When I was an atheist, I was disbelieving in the Christianity of my youth, before finding the mature version, that I wasn’t ready for before.

  61. “I just wanted to go back to reading Isaac Asimov and watching Cosmos.”

    The best way to get someone to think honestly about God and form their own reality based conclusion is a solid education in the hard sciences. I’d recommend physics but I’m biased that way.

    I’d estimate anyone who really follows the scientific thought process will end up an atheist 85% of the time. Lot’s of anecdotal evidence that some people who definitely understand science choose to believe in God, but I think it’s 15% rare.

  62. After having been both an atheist and a Christian, the view that I’ve never understood is agnosticism.

    I mean, no matter how little evidence you think there is, to me, if you think it leans toward there probably not being a God, then you are an atheist. If you think that it leans toward there probably being a God, then you are a theist.

    It seems to me, to be an agnostic, you have to not care enough about the most important possible question of existence to examine the evidence and pick a side. That has always struck me as a astronomically staggering amount of indifference.

  63. Oh, I’m tom_sizemore. I got my aliases confused.

  64. I just realized that my comment was completely stupid. I will self-flagellate myself with several shots of Jagermeister.

  65. Can’t we all just get along and band together against the real enemy?

    The Judean People’s front!

  66. tom/Guy, agnosticism makes a lot more sense than you give it credit for (more sense than atheism, I think). Basically, the idea is that the only proper subjects of knowledge are the things we can observe in the universe. God is not such a thing and therefore a god is not the sort of thing you can know anything about.

  67. His kid’s name is Theo?!

  68. “the idea is that the only proper subjects of knowledge are the things we can observe in the universe.”

    That’s just Logical Positivism. It was refuted when it was realized that the statement, “the only proper subjects of knowledge are the things we can observe in the universe,” is not itself describing knowledge of anything in the universe.

    So I say that we are justified in believing in what we perceive but also in whatever else is implied by what we perceive, according to our best explanations of what we perceive.

    So our best explanations, either, on balance, point toward God, or point away from him. Which is why I say agnosticism is just a refusal to judge the evidence.

  69. All this puts me in mind of one of the Iron Laws:

    You aren’t free unless you are free to be wrong.

    That’s the problem with free-thinkers; they may not agree with you.

  70. Stupid HTML. Last sentence no bold.

  71. Guy, I disagree, but maybe you’ll convince me. I am an agnostic who believes there probably isn’t a god, but since I am not willing to rule it out since I can’t really know it, I will not commit to atheism even if I think it is the most logical answer. The creation of the universe is unknown. I understand the Big Bang Theory but it does not explain where the matter came from. I am curious, but do not expect to find out. What I am confident in enough to be agnostic is that none of the existing religions on Earth make any sense.

  72. Nick-

    What about anarcho-free enterprise-individualism? Its a great religion!

  73. Nick,

    What I’m saying is, for anything that you believe at this moment to exist or not exist, there exists logically-possible evidence that you could receive tomorrow that would make you change your mind.

    X demonstrates its existence to me, if it plays a necessary role in my current best explanations about the world.

    X demonstrates its non-existence by not playing a necessary role in my current best explanations about the world.

    That’s true of God, the existence of the external world, other minds, everything.

    There is no such thing as an entity whose existence or non-existence is impervious to the possibility of disproof in the future.

    So agnostics are creating an epistemological category for God that would obviously make no sense if applied to any other question of existence.

  74. So, given what I said above, it seems to me that the only possible meaning of “agnostic” is,

    I don’t feel like deciding what my best explanation is.

  75. well, god (and gods) stand outside of normal existence and normal time. it’s their, like, thing and all.

    also, you forget apathy. some of us don’t care what runs the universe, if anything. if it cares that much it can get my cell # and let me know what the dealie is. or just text me.

  76. How exactly is this a libertarian issue at all?

  77. So, given what I said above, it seems to me that the only possible meaning of “agnostic” is,

    … “without enlightenment.” Thomas Huxley (Darwin’s bulldog) coined the term to describe himself. He did not say it wasn’t possible to be enlightened, just that he was not and could not find a way to prove or disprove the existence of god.

    One could argue that this was the safe way of being an atheist in that time and place, but his writing is pretty convincing that he did not believe it is a scientific question.

  78. ‘I’d estimate anyone who really follows the scientific thought process will end up an atheist 85% of the time.’

    I do not have access to accurate statistics any more than you do, but I have the impression that scientists are sometimes vulnerable to silly ideas which use a ‘scientific’ label.

    Prominent Western scientists like J.B.S. Haldane and J.D. Bernal have puffed enthusiastically at the crack pipe of Communism. After all, doesn’t Marxism provide a scientific, non-theistic explanation of the world? To say nothing of scientists who, while falling short of full-on communism, embrace some form of socialism (like my dad).

    To a scientist, the appeal of socialism is a lot like the appeal of atheism. Both philosophies proclaim their opposition to religious superstition. Both are (or were) fashionable among the intelligentsia. Both suggest a prominent role for scientific and technical workers – socialism promises them government jobs where they’re paid to follow their research interests for the good of the community, while atheism makes man (and his apogee, scientific man) the top of the heap in the entire universe.

    ‘I never understood how an atheist could ever hold a relationship (much less reproduce) with a theist. Can anyone please let me know how this happens?’

    See what happens when you cut funding for sex education in the schools!

    Oh, well, if you missed out on sex ed, watch a Hollywood romantic comedy of the ‘opposites attract’ variety. Better than nothing.

  79. Oh, and I almost forgot to cheer on the atheist v. agnostic battle.

    ATHEISTS: Grow a pair, you cowardly fence-sitters!

    AGNOSTICS: Stuff it, you are no better than the fundamentalists!

  80. …but I have the impression that scientists humans are sometimes vulnerable to silly ideas which use a ‘scientific’ any old label.
    FTFY

    After all, doesn’t Marxism provide a scientific, non-theistic explanation of the world?
    I missed the part where Marxism explains evolution. Didn’t the proponents of Marxism give us the gift of of Lysenkoism?

    To a scientist, the appeal of socialism is a lot like the appeal of atheism.
    To the straw scientist in your mind, perhaps.

    There are plenty of polling results that indicate the wide gulf between the percent of scientists with religious beliefs versus non-scientists. As well, plenty of polling results indicating that overall religious belief is falling. Kind of like the belief in Marxism. 😉

  81. I solidified my religious and political beliefs as a teenager.

  82. jasa,

    ‘To the straw scientist in your mind, perhaps.’

    That’s funny, the socialist and atheist/agnostic scientists shom I came across in real life or through studying history seemed real enough – I suppose they were cleverly concealing the fact that they were merely stereotypes invented by the Religious Right Noise Machine.

    ‘I solidified my religious and political beliefs as a teenager.’

    Undoubtedly as a result of your scientific training.

    Thank you for the link to the famous scientific journal, USA Today. From the article you linked to:

    ‘While 95% of the public said they believe in God or a higher power, 41% of scientists don’t believe in either. Nearly half of scientists say they’re atheist, agnostic or believe “nothing in particular” but only 17% of the general public is unaffiliated.’

    So, to put it another way, a *majority* of scientists surveyed were *not* atheists or agnostics. Thus proving that atheism and agnosticism are the scientific positions.

  83. whom I came across

  84. That’s funny, the socialist and atheist/agnostic scientists shom I came across in real life or through studying history seemed real enough – I suppose they were cleverly concealing the fact that they were merely stereotypes invented by the Religious Right Noise Machine.
    So you admit you are a proxy for the RRNM? Interesting. Not what I would have thought.

    While we are sharing anecdotes, all the socialists I have met have been crunchy granola types or scientist “groupies”. I’ve yet to meet an actual scientist or engineer that is a socialist. I’ve only been in the biz 30 years though, so there’s time.

    ‘I solidified my religious and political beliefs as a teenager.’
    Not my verbage. Do try to be careful in your attributions.

    Thank you for the link to the famous scientific journal, USA Today.
    Jezus, Max, there’s plenty of choices. Google for them yourself, ya lazy bastard. 🙂

    So, to put it another way, a *majority* of scientists surveyed were *not* atheists or agnostics.
    But a far higher percentage of scientists were atheist or agnostic, as compared to the great unwashed, Thus proving that atheism and agnosticism are the scientific positions. 🙂

    If you want hard science links, I could have linked this, but I really wasn’t feeling that rude yesterday.

  85. ‘I’ve yet to meet an actual scientist or engineer that is a socialist.’

    I cite several socialist scientists, and you reply that you’ve never met any.

    Reminds me of that joke where the guy is charged with rape, and the prosecutor says he can find fve witnesses who saw the defendant commit the crime, and the defendant replies by saying that he can find fifty witnesses who *didn’t* see him do it.

  86. Overt socialism is not in fashion nowadays, so the lack of socialists in the modern scientists you met speaks to changes of fashion. When it was in fashion, many scientists fell for it. I have little doubt that researchers of a socialist disposition could have found a positive correlation between I.Q. and socialist beliefs, had they done a study in the first half of the twentiety century, or even later.

  87. I cite several socialist scientists, and you reply that you’ve never met any.
    If your point was that some scientists are socialist, I wouldn’t dream of arguing otherwise. Was that your point? 😉

    Overt socialism is not in fashion nowadays, so the lack of socialists in the modern scientists you met speaks to changes of fashion.
    Sort of like the decrease in religiosity speaks to changes in fashion?

    I have little doubt that researchers of a socialist disposition could have found a positive correlation between I.Q. and socialist beliefs…
    So, we’ve established that you don’t like my common man (USA Today) links, and you don’t like my hard science links. Why am I not surprised?

    Reminds me of an argument about AIDS with a socialist that I had. He was convinced it was a CIA plot. All the hard science evidence I showed him was ignored. When I finally found a lefty magazine article that discredited the idea, he found that to be compelling evidence. 🙂

  88. I grew up in the Ethical Society which included members of many faiths. Some had switched to the “freethinking” mode, some were in mixed faith marriages and some just wanted to enhance their life on Earth before they died and “went to Heaven.” My parents were Polish Jews who left their religious heritage in Europe and did not reveal it until my adulthood. On a daily basis, I think like an atheist. But…when the going gets tough, I sometimes pretend to myself that there may be a Supreme Being and to be on the safe side, I just might say a prayer. I am not committed to any rituals or dogma, but I feel I have the best of both the religious and non-religious worlds. I have a nonreligious theory that energy does not die. It takes various forms and transcends time and space. So, when a person, animal or plant dies, the energy is released and finds a new host in another person, animal or plant.Reincarnation. I do believe in that!

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