November 29, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

God Delusion, or Atheist Delusion?

“Live Science” lets a so-called “expert” equate all religion with psychological delusions. The tables should be turned on atheists.

At Live Science, Ryan McKay and Robert Ross used a “science news” platform to ridicule religion, equating it to clearly pathological psychological delusions. With the suggestive title, “Is belief in God a delusion?” they give faint flattery to sincere religious people, but quickly overwhelm them with ridicule.

Our aim here is neither to demonize, nor to defend, religious belief. While religion is a source of solace and comfort for millions, particular religious beliefs can be “malignant” in Pinker’s sense – devaluing and damaging mortal lives. And, unfortunately, malignant beliefs that are shared by the many are far more dangerous than those shared by the few.

The article fails as a scholarly analysis of religion for several reasons.

  • The article gives prominence to atheists Stephen Pinker and Richard Dawkins, well-known atheists.
  • Atheism is portrayed as a control group that presumably is free of delusions.
  • The field of psychology has enough problems of its own to be considered reliable (22 May 2014). Remember the “replication crisis” that still plagues it (6 Oct 2019), and the history of fraud and misconduct?
  • The authors refer favorably to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” the so-called “bible” of psychiatry. This manual has been criticized heavily. (10 May 2013)
  • Their choice of examples includes a ridicule of Donald Trump, revealing their political biases.
  • The article mentions delusional beliefs that have nothing to do with religion.
  • The article fails to mention delusions of atheism, such as the belief that the Stuff Happens Law explains their minds.
  • Atheism has no category for terms like delusion, malignant, and pathological. In atheism, stuff just happens.
  • Atheism is delusional itself on the grounds that it is self-refuting. It claims there is no supernatural, but appeals to matters of truth and morality that are immaterial.

Surely some religions, such as Islamic extremism, are capable of “devaluing and damaging mortal lives.” But how about atheism? Many of the most horrendous mass murders and genocides were committed for the cause of atheism, spurred on by Darwinian evolution (see 9 Jan 2019 and 30 Nov 2005, for example).

An article so careless and biased cannot be taken seriously. Any loving, upright-living and dedicated pastor who spends his life caring for the weak and suffering should wag his head in disbelief that claims of this sort are being promoted on a “science” site.

Live Science tries to absolve itself from the mess with the ending disclaimer, “The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.” But aren’t they calling this article part of a series on “Expert Voices”? If this has to do with scientific voices and debates, why is there no opportunity for the other side to share its voice and rebuttal? For shame!




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