The problem of Faith

There’s an interesting article on Atheism that Wired did in November 2006. I’ll be getting to more of the issues it raises later, but I thought this point was critical:

There’s good evidence from research by anthropologists such as Pascal Boyer and Scott Atran that a grab bag of cognitive predispositions makes us natural believers.

The problem is, that’s correct. And it’s true regardless of whether or not your “beliefs” are “super-natural”. The modern environmental movement is a constant refuge for those who want to believe, but no longer have a “God”. Consider “Anthropogenic Global Warming”. It doesn’t matter that the “warming” of the 20th Century all happened from 1900 – 1950 (when the “temperature of the Earth” went up 1.0 degrees C), and that the temperature actually dropped 0.2 degrees C from 1950 – 2000 (down 0.5 C from 1950 – 1970, up 0.3 from 1970 – 2000), it doesn’t matter that the Kyoto Accord wouldn’t accomplish a damn thing, even if all it’s signatories followed it rigorously, all that matters is that Mankind is Evil, and must Repent it’s ways.

Then there’s “nutrition”. The news hit last week that a study looked at ways to lose weight, and found (once again) that fat is fine, and carbs are bad. That it doesn’t matter whether the fats are saturated or unsaturated. That low carbs and don’t worry about the calories (or the fats) is better for losing weight, and better for your cholesterol, than low fats and calorie restriction. What’s the response: lots of religious zealotry about how meat is still bad, blah, blah, blah. The people who “study” nutrition “science” hav their beliefs, and nothing will change them. That’s not science, that’s religion.

IMHO, we’d be a lot better off if all those “natural believers” just picked a real religion to join, focused their need for belief on their religion, and stopped inflicting it on science and politics.

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