Atheist Propaganda

Atheists researcher butthurt about logic:

The research began a few years ago, when a series of polls revealed atheists to be some of the least liked people in areas with religious majorities, which is to say, much of the world. In one poll, only 45% of American respondents said they would vote for a qualified atheist presidential candidate and overwhelmingly preferred to vote for African American, Jewish and female candidates. Americans also rated atheists as the group that least agrees with their vision for the country and the group they’d most disapprove of their child marrying.

The resulting paper, published in the current online issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, includes six studies all designed to measure people’s perception of an atheist’s trustworthiness. The first study asked 351 Americans from across the country to compare the trustworthiness of an atheist and a gay man, since both represent groups often described as threatening to majority religious values. They rated atheists significantly higher than gay men on distrust, though lower on levels of disgust.

First, set aside the huge methodological problems that AoS has already ably pointed out.  Set aside the inherent prejudice of saying, “why aren’t we rated higher than those N-s, K-s, C-s, and F-s?”

Atheism, aside from being Jewish, is the only thing on the list that everyone agrees is a choice.  (And there are some people who think that if you mother was Jewish, you are Jewish, no choice allowed.)  No one chooses to be black.  (Aside from Barack Obama.)  No one chooses to be a woman.  (Aside from a very few transgendered people, I guess.)  Even when it comes to being gay, not everyone agrees that being gay is a choice.  But everyone agrees that you choose to be an atheist.

So wouldn’t you expect in a rational world that people would hold someone who firmly adheres to what they consider to be a bad choice to be less trustworthy than someone who is in a situation due to pure chance?

7 Comments

  1. Kevin Baker says:

    “But everyone agrees that you choose to be an atheist.”

    Hmmm….

    I find that I just cannot bring myself to believe in the existence of the God of Abraham, or Vishnu, or Osiris, or Zeus, or …

    I believe that someone existed who people revere as the Buddha, but I don’t think he qualifies as a God.

    So, did I choose to be an atheist, or am I simply not hypocritical enough to act as though I believe when I can’t actually believe? I mean, hey, I’d like to believe – it makes life much easier in several respects – but I just can’t.

    It’s trite, but one quotation I’ve always liked is “I submit that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer God than you. When you understand why you reject all other possible Gods, you will understand why I reject yours.”

  2. daniels says:

    I could make the same argument that every adult Christian, Muslim, Hindu, whatever, chooses that faith. Why choose one over the other? Simply because you were raised that way? Are you saying it is better to lie and fraudulently claim a faith you do not agree with?

  3. Phelps says:

    Kevin, do you really deny the existence of choice in the matter? Is this one of those “we are all biological machines and free will is an illusion” arguments?

    Daniels, it’s a matter of agreement. If you had asked 100 atheists, “do you trust evangelical Christians or secular humanists more?” I would expect to see that secular humanists win out, because they agree on basic principles.

    You are rejecting a basic philosophical principle that they hold. Why should they trust someone who thinks 180 degrees opposite to their most basic belief?

    (FWIW, I’m looking at this from a near agnostic Deist viewpoint.)

  4. Phelps says:

    I could make the same argument that every adult Christian, Muslim, Hindu, whatever, chooses that faith.

    Agree 100%. What’s the difference?

  5. Kevin Baker says:

    Phelps, how does one choose to believe? In anything? Santa Claus, Relativity, orbital mechanics? Do you believe in Bigfoot? Why or why not? Life after death? Why or why not? Is it a conscious or unconscious thing?

    “I believe I’ll have another beer” /= “I believe Jesus Christ is my savior.”

    Here’s what I believe: I believe (but have no proof) that whatever it is that makes us sentient beings doesn’t just vanish when the circuitry of the human brain turns to mush. I have no evidence to support that belief, it’s an article of faith. I don’t know where that belief comes from, and I cannot justify it to anyone. If you want to call that “whatever it is” a soul, feel free.

    However, I don’t believe in the God of Abraham, or in any other omnipotent, omniscient Creator Of Us All. I cannot adequately explain to you why I don’t, just as you cannot adequately explain to me why you do. You just do. Faith is an act of the subconscious, I think.

  6. Rauðbjorn says:

    Are you saying we live in a rational world?

  7. Phelps says:

    The world is rational. I’m much less convinced about the people living on it.