In order to find the solution, you must find the probelm
In recent discussions offsite, I am often confronted [particularly for Kevin R Brown] as to why I make the arguments I make. Why I hold the views I hold. Again, since I no longer have a blog, the RRS site will be were my thoughts are dumped.
People [Kevin in particular] seem to think that I make these arguments because I want people to remain in religion, or I want people to be bigots or terrorists.
Imagine I go to the doctor. I complain about coughing, sneezing and chest pains. I go in and the describe the symptoms, and without even examining me, the doctor then writes up a perscription and sends me on my way.
Is this a good way to practice medicine?
It's absurd. Lots of things cause coughing, lots of things cause sneezing, lots of things cause chest pain. It could be a single thing that's causing all three symptoms, [and maybe symptons I'm not aware of] or it could be a host of other things. The medicine could very well kill me, either directly, or indirectly by leaving my actual condition untreated. Of course, the doctor may have correctly guessed and gave me the correct medicine and the medicine didn't cause any complications. But wouldn't it be better if he examined me?
Now how about this?
Imagine if I take it further. The doctor read in a medical journal, that there was a woman in Portugal who had the same symptoms as me, and it turns out she had an ovary infection, so the ovaries had to be removed. Now, what if the doctor used that to put me under the knife? What if the doctor wanted to remove YOUR ovaries or testicles based on a condition somebody else had?
Better yet, is asking the doctor to examine me in any way implying that I want to stay sick?
I think this example shows that in order to cure the disease, you have to know what it is.
That's exactly why I'm a harsh critic of cause and religion. That's why I demand peer reviewed evidence. That's why I provide peer reviewed evidence. It's because I DON'T want people to be terrorist. I DON'T want people to be bigots, I DON'T want people hold group cohesion at a higher value as truth and morality. In order to actually get progress going, in order
If it's religion that causing suicide bombings or authoratianism then why isn't the evidence showing this? Why aren't atheists in the anti-theist movement who are making these claims trucking in loads of peer reviewed evidence that it is? Why do they so readily dismiss evidence that goes against it? To be fair, the only actual peer reviewed papers they present are the two Gregory Paul studies. However, Paul's papers are to test whether or not atheist countries are worst off. They're not. That's all his papers prove and show. To suggest otherwise is to confuse correlation with causation. Couldn't the poverty and high crime rate cause the religion seeing as people use religion as comfort? Maybe a little of religion amplifying ills, and a little of the ills amplifying religion? Okay, but which one dominates? If we get rid of the religion will it lower the ills? How do we know that?
This is what gets me about the atheist movement. Take Kevin as the example. Look at his comments on this entry. Apperantly scientists not coming to the same conclusion as Mr. Brown they're closet theists. His best rebuttal is that Harris, Htichens, Dennet, Eugenie Scott, Tyson, etc... disagree. You can read his ad homs at this entry. [I'm Alison in the comments and to avoid confusion, the first entry I linked to is the most recent]
I find it extremely disturbing that people who claim to be spread science, reason, and empircialism are so eager to dismiss and even downright discourage it.
I think the best way to get rid of a problem is to actually determine the problem. Which means setting intuition and emotions aside, and rely on actual critical and scientific thinking.
And I for one think atheists should lead by example.