My views on irrationality
I found a quote online that pretty much sums up my position:
Unfortunately, blaming war and tyranny on government is like blaming house fires on oxygen. Strictly speaking, it's true, but no fire marshal would ever get a good performance review if that's his answer to everything. To understand house fires, you'll have to look at wiring, storage, smoking, materials and cooking, and not just insist, "It's oxygen, I tell you! Oxygen is evil! Why won't anyone listen to me?"
Just replace "government" with "faith based beliefs" or "irrationality". As soon as I read this, it inspired this post. There seems to be a strawman of me that I think if the person who did bad thing X was more rational they still would have done it. That's not true and is like saying a building would still catch fire if there wasn't any oxygen in it.
However, imagine the fire marshall that just stamped "oxygen" as the cause of every fire.
I often get accused of posting studies or making points that are irrelevant. I was originally annoyed and frustrated everytime that happend, and I can't believe it took me this long to realize why.
IT'S BECAUSE THE POINTS ARE SO BROAD THE SPECIFICS CAN BE SEEN AS IRRELEVANT.
The faulty wiring in the TV is irrelevant as to whether or not the oxygen let the fire burn. But what piece of information is more useful? Should I dismiss the faulty wiring because it doesn't address the oxygen?
For those of us with training in science, we know that broad terms that apply to everything and don't answer the specifics are useless. You have to get specific and make testable predictions.
Now to be fair, the only study I've seen Greg Paul's two studies being citied, but once again these are too broad. For example did non-faith come before or after the low social dysfunction? What other factors were taken into account?
The answers of course are "I dunno" and "no other factors". Too broad and doesn't seem to get specific enough.
Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to comment on human irrationality.
The fact of the matter is all building have oxygen and all humans have irrationality.Though it is not a perfect analogy. Buildings have more or less the same concentration of oxygen as other buildings, humans don't have the same concentration of irrationality as other humans. However just like all buildings have oxygen, all humans have irrationality.
For example I don't think it's a coincedence that New Age woo such as astrology are rising as religion is declining.
Europe is one the least faithful continents on Earth, however it isn't without it's irrationalities.
For example, 41% of Europeans think that astrology is science  and even in atheistic Denmark, 49% believe in a Life/Spirit force, in Sweden it's 53% In total, only 23% of Swedes and 19% of Danes don't believe in either a God or life/spirit force.
This is why I want to focus on the underlaying issue of the bad things people do because all buildings have oxygen, and yet some won't burn down, and all humans are irrational, yet we don't all do really terrible things. I'd like to maintain focus rather than just shrugging my shoulders and saying it was irrationality or if they were more rational about it they wouldn't have done it. Like I said this is technically true, however it doesn't really answer anything in any meaningful sense.
I for one would rather get to the root of the fire rather than just let what actually causes fires keep going on without us knowing what to do about it.