Most atheists believe in the supernatural

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Tony.Williams
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Most atheists believe in the supernatural

Post by Tony.Williams » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:08 am

An item in the current New Scientist (unfortunately not available on-line unless you're a subscriber) concerning the UK-based Understanding Unbelief project (https://research.kent.ac.uk/understandingunbelief/) which interviewed "thousands of of self-identified atheists and agnostics" from six countries: Brazil, China, Denmark, Japan, UK and USA. Some results:

- 71% of atheists, and 92% of agnostics, believe in at least one supernatural phenomenon or entity

- 12% of UK atheists believe in reincarnation; nearly 20% believe in life after death

- globally, the most common belief is fatalism: that "significant life events are meant to be" (a particular bugbear of mine - whenever an athlete fails some challenge on TV, some idiot commentator intones "it was not meant to be" and I yell abuse at the screen...)

- in the UK and US, 20-30% of atheists and 40% of agnostics believe that there are "underlying forces of good and evil"

- in the UK, the concept of karma is endorsed by around 10% of atheists and 30% of the general population

- Japanese atheists are the most atheistic, scoring single-digit percentages for most beliefs and about 20% for fate and good & evil

- Chinese atheists are the least atheistic, with more than 30% professing a belief in astrology

- marginally better news: in the UK, c.67% of atheists and agnostics (compared with 46% of the general population) believe that "the scientific method is the only reliable path to knowledge"

The above study was presented at a conference in the Vatican by a UK academic, but there have been challenges from other researchers who say that atheists usually don't believe in any supernatural phenomena. The article finishes by commenting that this contradiction could be down to the precise wording of the questions.

Matt
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Re: Most atheists believe in the supernatural

Post by Matt » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:37 pm

"The £2.3m programme is made possible through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation."
Not wanting to engage in a genetic fallacy, but experience of these chaps warns us to scrutinise this carefully.

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chaggle
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Re: Most atheists believe in the supernatural

Post by chaggle » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:16 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Templeton_Foundation

First I've heard of them - I can see why they could be controversial.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Temp ... us_funding
Horgan stated "misgivings about the foundation's agenda of reconciling religion and science". He said that a conference he attended favored scientists who "offered a perspective clearly skewed in favor of religion and Christianity."[68] Horgan fears recipients of large grants from the Foundation sometimes write what the Foundation wants rather than what they believe.[68] Richard Dawkins, in his 2006 book The God Delusion, interprets Horgan as saying that "Templeton's money corrupts science", and characterizes the prize as going "usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion".[69] Donald Wiebe, scholar of religious studies at the University of Toronto, similarly criticized the Foundation in a 2009 article entitled Religious Biases in Funding Religious Studies Research?. According to him, the Foundation supports Christian bias in the field of religious studies, by deliberately imposing constraints to steer the results of the research.[65]
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

Tony.Williams
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Re: Most atheists believe in the supernatural

Post by Tony.Williams » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:12 am

Why am I not surprised? :roll:

Croydon13013
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Re: Most atheists believe in the supernatural

Post by Croydon13013 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:38 am

At the risk of falling for the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, I would suggest that anyone who believes in "at least one supernatural ... entity" is not an atheist.

I appreciate that some people are complicated. My mother used to say that she was Church of England but that she didn't believe in god; a friend used to claim atheism but talked endlessly about god, hated god, etc. However this study is utter bollocks.
thIS sIGnaTure iS an

Tony.Williams
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Re: Most atheists believe in the supernatural

Post by Tony.Williams » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:56 am

Logically, atheism should be based on the lack of any objective evidence for the existence of any kind of supernatural being. Therefore someone who is an atheist should also reject belief in anything for which there is no objective evidence; astrology, telepathy etc etc. However, superstitions seem quite common among people who claim to be atheists.

As you say, people are complicated...

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chaggle
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Re: Most atheists believe in the supernatural

Post by chaggle » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:12 pm

Even Dawkins admits he's a cultural Christian. Probably a C of E one I would think.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

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