Fundamentalist Atheists

It looks like the atheists are getting a bit more antagonistic with their bus ads:

Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant.”
— Robert F. Kennedy

It’s fitting since the atheists who put messages like this on buses are as detrimental to the goals of science as Muslims who fly planes into buildings. All this really does is let atheists know what it feels like to see shortsighted fundamentalists do things in their name that they know is counterproductive.

“An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

Religious groups have their faith which says that they need to preach their positions regardless of the consequences. Atheists are bound by no such creed. These atheists paint themselves as scientists, but where’s the science behind the effects of antagonistic advertising messages?

The scientific position on religiosity is it is a coping mechanism for imparting socialization and giving a sense of security in an uncertain world. There is extensive research (as well as simple common sense) that you don’t develop nuanced perspectives by making people feel attacked. When you attack people they tend to entrench and polarize. Regardless of how how clever your arguments are, pissing contests end up being primarily about pissing and not solving problems.

So, to real scientists I would say, it isn’t fair that religious people demonize atheists and teach their believers that we are morally corrupt. Since when do we believe the world is fair? We’re scientists. We understand that our society is an amazingly complex amoral system. It doesn’t matter what we think is fair, when we want to see changes in the system we rely on data and theory.

The data suggests that religiosity encourages a rigidity of behavior and discourages critical thinking in ways that are detrimental to the individual and to society. The data does not suggest that bickering is in any way a productive method of doing something about it. So, if you people who have decided to be vocal proponents for science could maybe actually use a little science in attempting to reach your goals, that’d be awesome.

“I like being moved. I don’t like being pushed.”
— John Cage

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