EssentialstheDiagonal is a personal blog by Mike Gerra, skeptic, technologist, psychologist, artist, humanist, collector of grand, eclectic ideas.theDiagonal blog connects the dots across multiple disciplines for inquisitive, objective and critical thinkers, exploring the vertices of big science, disruptive innovation, global sustainability, illuminating literature and leftfield art. It is on this diagonal that creativity thrives, big ideas take flight and reason triumphs.
Tag Archives: atheism
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Alain de Botton is a writer of book-length essays on love, travel, architecture and literature. In his latest book, Religion for Atheists, de Botton argues that while the supernatural claims of all religions are entirely false, religions still have important things to teach the secular world. An excerpt from the book below.
From the Wall Street Journal:
One of the losses that modern society feels most keenly is the loss of a sense of community. We tend to imagine that there once existed a degree of neighborliness that has been replaced by ruthless anonymity, by the pursuit of contact with one another primarily for individualistic ends: for financial gain, social advancement or romantic love....read more
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
theDiagonal has carried several recent articles (here and here) that paint atheists in the same category as serial killers and child molesters, particularly in the United States. Why are atheists so reviled?
A study by Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayanat at the University of British Columbia shows that it boils down to trust. Simply put, we are more likely to find someone to be trustworthy if we believe God is watching over us.
Interestingly, their research also showed that atheists are more likely to be found in greater numbers in a population governed by a stable government with a broad social safety-net. Political instability, it seems, drives more citizens to believe in God.
From Scientific American:
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The social standing of atheists seems to be on the rise. Back in December we cited a research study that found atheists to be more reviled than rapists. Well, a more recent study now finds that atheists are less disliked than members of the Tea Party.
With this in mind Louise Antony ponders how it is possible for atheists to acquire morality without the help of God.
From the New York Times:
I was heartened to learn recently that atheists are no longer the most reviled group in the United States: according to the political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell, we’ve been overtaken by the Tea Party. But even as I was high-fiving my fellow apostates (“We’re number two! We’re number two!”), I was wondering anew: why do so many people dislike atheists?...read more
Sunday, January 1, 2012
No introduction or explanation required.
Send to Kindle
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
For adults living in North America, the answer is that it’s probably more likely that they would prefer a rapist teacher as babysitter over an atheistic one. Startling as that may seem, the conclusion is backed by some real science, excerpted below.
From the Washington Post:
A new study finds that atheists are among society’s most distrusted group, comparable even to rapists in certain circumstances.
Psychologists at the University of British Columbia and the University of Oregon say that their study demonstrates that anti-atheist prejudice stems from moral distrust, not dislike, of nonbelievers.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” said Azim Shariff, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and a co-author of the study, which appears in the current issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Monday, September 19, 2011
From The Stone forum, New York Times:
Led by the biologist Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” atheism has taken on a new life in popular religious debate. Dawkins’s brand of atheism is scientific in that it views the “God hypothesis” as obviously inadequate to the known facts. In particular, he employs the facts of evolution to challenge the need to postulate God as the designer of the universe. For atheists like Dawkins, belief in God is an intellectual mistake, and honest thinkers need simply to recognize this and move on from the silliness and abuses associated with religion.
Most believers, however, do not come to religion through philosophical arguments. Rather, their belief arises from their personal experiences of a spiritual world of meaning and values, with God as its center....read more
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Some people claim that morality is dependent upon religion, that atheists cannot possibly be moral since god and morality are intertwined (well, in their minds). Unfortunately, this is one way that religious people dehumanise atheists who have a logical way of thinking about what constitutes moral social behaviour. More than simply being a (incorrect) definition in the Oxford dictionary, morality is actually the main subject of many philosophers’ intellectual lives. This video, the first of a multi-part series, begins this discussion by defining morality and then moving on to look at six hypothetical cultures’ and their beliefs.
Send to Kindle
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
In his new book, American atheist Sam Harris argues that science can replace theology as the ultimate moral authority. Kenan Malik is sceptical of any such yearning for moral certainty, be it scientific or divine....read more
Thursday, March 29, 2007
In these newly religious times, it no longer seems superfluous to rearm the atheists with arguments. When push comes to shove, atheists can only trust their reason, writes Burkhard Müller.
Some years ago I wrote a book entitled Drawing a Line – A Critique of Christianity [Schlußstrich – Kritik des Christentums], which argued that Christianity was false: not only in terms of its historical record, but fundamentally, as a very concept. I undertook to uncover this falsity as a contradiction in terms. While I do not wish to retract any of what I said at the time, I would now go beyond what I argued then in two respects....read more