Friday, August 17, 2012

TIA: the meme spreads

Courtesy of Scott Atran, the argument that religion does not cause war has now reached both Science and The Chronicle of Higher Education:
it's not the criticism of ecclesiastical overreach that bothers Wilson and Atran; it's the conflation of science and advocacy. Wilson supports efforts to destigmatize atheism, like the running feature "Why I Am an Atheist" on Pharyngula, and said so in his anti-Dawkins posts. Atran believes that "attacking obscurantic, cruel, lunatic ideas is always a good idea." It's proclaiming that religion is rotten to the core that they think is misguided.

That includes laying the blame for much of human conflict at the feet of the faithful. In a recent Science article, Atran and Jeremy Ginges, an associate professor of psychology at the New School, cite evidence suggesting that "only a small minority of recorded wars" have been mainly motivated by religious disputes (though making distinctions between religious and political causes is notoriously knotty). They complain in the article that the New Atheists are quick to remind everyone how fundamentalism fuels Al Qaeda but neglect to mention the role of churches in the civil-rights movement. The New Atheists are, according to Atran and Ginges, cherry-picking the horrors. "Science produced a nuclear bomb. Therefore we should throw away science," says Atran, to illustrate the baby-bathwater logic. "Sometimes it can be really noxious, and other times it can be quite helpful."
The Science article is entitled "Religious and Sacred Imperatives in Human Conflict" and appears in Science 336, 855 (2012). The relevant passage cites The Encylopedia of Wars and states: "In fact, explicit religious issues have motivated only a small minority of recorded wars. There is little religious cause for the internecine Russian and Chinese conflicts and world wars responsible for history’s most lethal century of international conflict."

Given the absurd assertions by science fetishists who insist that I do not understand science, I find it more than a little ironic that a number of real scientists are not only making use of my ideas, but my methods as well, in publishing professional peer-reviewed science.

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Blogger Heuristics August 17, 2012 4:09 AM  

Sure, I dont understand why it is so rare for people to go to and take a look at the sociological research about religion, how hard can it be? Just type in something like "religiosity charity", "religiosity drug abuse", "religiosity violence" etc etc.

Anonymous testy August 17, 2012 6:10 AM  

Comment test.

Anonymous MendoScot August 17, 2012 8:51 AM  

So had Scott read TIA? Or was it second hand?

Blogger VD August 17, 2012 10:03 AM  

So had Scott read TIA? Or was it second hand?

No, I'm confident he got it from Wikipedia, which copied the numbers from TIA.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick August 17, 2012 10:07 AM  

At least your great intellect is not being wasted.

Anonymous Josh August 17, 2012 10:08 AM  

Wikipedia is peer reviewed, probably more so than most academic articles.

Anonymous TLM August 17, 2012 10:23 AM  

It appears you've hit the exacta today. Congrats. First the TIA thing and now you're boy Roissy has an article up that could have been condensed to something you said a while back and much more clearly. "The iron doesn't care".

Anonymous Heh August 17, 2012 10:25 AM  

"Wikipedia is peer reviewed, probably more so than most academic articles."

This is true for definitions of "peer review" that include "screened to ensure consistency with liberal dogma" (as important for wiki as for academia).

Anonymous Flinders August 17, 2012 10:55 AM  

I've recently noticed that a lot of left sites insert themselves in references. Is there a way to check how often say the HuffPo and Jezebel are cited?

Blogger Giraffe August 17, 2012 10:57 AM  

Wikipedia is peer reviewed, probably more so than most academic articles.

You just have to have politically correct peers.

Blogger VD August 17, 2012 11:03 AM  

I've recently noticed that a lot of left sites insert themselves in references.

Yep. Ironically, WND is not considered a reliable source. But sites that are set up to police WND or other right-wing sites, such as Media Matters and ConWebWatch, are. It's a complete joke.

Anonymous JartStar August 17, 2012 11:05 AM  

The Old Atheists tried to know their history and theology. The New Atheists celebrate their ignorance of what they attack. It’s one of the chief reasons they are so contemptible.

Anonymous Stickwick August 17, 2012 11:06 AM  

Congrats, Vox. This is a big victory for the side of reason.


OT: The White House apparently tried to get Hillary on the 2012 ticket as Obama's second banana, but she declined. The reasons given sound plausible. This allegedly took place two weeks ago. It doesn't look like this plays into the theory Vox's government insider posed for a brilliant Stalinist coup, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Anonymous Roundtine August 17, 2012 11:24 AM  

Congratulations Vox.

Anonymous JartStar August 17, 2012 11:28 AM  

Another very easy way Wikipedia is abused is purposeful de-emphasis or lack of sections on a topic, and the emphasis on a topic. For instance you could take a famous person from history, list one or two accomplishments out of dozens in a few sentences, and then spend several paragraphs detailing the single minor scandal in their lives with quote after quote of approved sources. All of it would be perfectly true but would produce an extremely skewed article.

Blogger James Dixon August 17, 2012 11:54 AM  

> The reasons given sound plausible.

I think she picked up on my suggestion here and was hoping Romney would offer. :)

Blogger Galt-in-Da-Box August 17, 2012 12:15 PM  

It's all pretty humorous when you consider many of these "New Atheists" should more honestly call themselves New Age Atheists:
They worship not drugs, booze, nor other mens' privates, but the Earth-bitch, preaching the Fried Planet gospel far and wide...and are absolutely every bit just as braindead and full of loathing of their fellow humans!

Anonymous Outlaw X August 17, 2012 11:17 PM  

Once, Vox I remember you saying I want to write a classic. This was well after TIA, but I think you were thinking fiction. I laughed to myself and never told you, you already have and it was TIA.

I read Chesterton and Orthodoxy, and his fight with his critics as a response to Heretics, Look at him now. Rembrandt paints a bunch of death culture stuff and you write about life. Lighten up bud you got them all by the balls. Money and Temporary Fame, F*ck it. You are on the winning side.

Lose the Game stuff though, Christian or not.

I have more to say, but not here. Maybe I will, but it is not needed, history will take care of it, and you are the last one to need your ego patted.

Keep doing what you do.

Anonymous Outlaw X August 17, 2012 11:44 PM  

Vox = Chesterton
Dawkins = R.G. Street

Same stuff, different time.

Anonymous Outlaw X August 17, 2012 11:53 PM  

G.S. Street not R.G. Street.

THE only possible excuse for this book is that it is an answer to a challenge. Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel. When some time ago I published a series of hasty but sincere papers, under the name of "Heretics," several critics for whose intellect I have a warm respect (I may mention specially Mr. G.S.Street) said that it was all very well for me to tell everybody to affirm his cosmic theory, but that I had carefully avoided supporting my precepts with example. "I will begin to worry about my philosophy," said Mr. Street, "when Mr. Chesterton has given us his." It was perhaps an incautious suggestion to make to a person only too ready to write books upon the feeblest provocation. But after all, though Mr. Street has inspired and created this book, he need not read it. If he does read it, he will find that in its pages I have attempted in a vague and personal way, in a set of mental pictures rather than in a series of deductions, to state the philosophy in which I have come to believe. I will not call it my philosophy; for I did not make it. God and humanity made it; and it made me.

Anonymous rho August 18, 2012 1:52 AM  

Blaming religion for war is clearly ridiculous, similar to blaming the archduke Ferdinand for causing WWI.

Conflict is what we do best. What we do second best is justify ourselves by blaming somebody else for our actions.

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