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Monday, January 3, 2011

Silly Study Of The Week

 Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN is drawing some heat because of an article he wrote about on January 1st. The article draws from a study done by Julie Exline. Ms. Exline extrapolated that atheists and agnostics were angrier with God than anyone else. She gleans that religious people are less angry with God and more likely to see His intentions as well-meaning. Not surprisingly, religious folks are referencing this study to seek proof in their supposition that atheists secretly believe God exists.

But the problem is that the study used an Abrahamic God's existence as the default setting. If you actually participated in the study, you would know that atheists were asked to suppose they believed in God or remember a time when they believed. And with all of the wars, disease, and disaster occurring there certainly would be reasons to be irate with God if one believed. Moreover, with all of the genocides, spread of HIV/AIDS, and halting of scientific study done in the name of God, an atheist could certainly be angry with the concept of God. If one is asked their idea of a hypothetical being, the opinion is less likely to be favourable if one has extensive knowledge of religion itself but doesn't believe in a God.
  Conversely, you are less likely to be angry at God if you believe that a tsunami was sent as punishment or that your child died of cancer to become an angel .If everything is the will of a supernatural being, no amount of anger will alter Its will. The major faiths all hinge belief on a basis of complete surrender, faith mandating belief without question, let alone anger.

While the intent of readers, and maybe Dr. Gupta himself, may have been to catch atheists in a gotcha moment; to prove that non-believers harbour secret faith. However all that the study and Dr. Gupta's poorly-written article prove is that atheists are just as good at pretending as anyone else. Next..

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