The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinski – A Book Review

Bias. In order to undercut an unpleasant argument, just claim that prejudicial self-interest blinds another person from seeing the error of their ways.

So what to make of Dr. Berlinksi, with a Ph.D. from Princeton and time spent as a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University, who opens his critique of the New Atheists by claiming:

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Is Religion Bad for Kids?

Imagine with me two different parenting styles: Type A and Type B. When these two types are scientifically compared to one another, and the outcomes of each approach to children are carefully measured, a wide difference emerges. Furthermore, the differences are controlled for factors such as race, age, sex, rural vs. urban residence, region, parental education, number of siblings, whether the mother works, and the presence of a father or male guardian at home.

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Genes and Morality

Has science replaced religion as a guide to morality? Are our genes a better guide to right and wrong than revelation from a divine being? Can science lead us to a new morality?

A recent study, by Abigail Marsh and her team at Georgetown, might imply that science is replacing religion when it comes to our moral beliefs. Their study offers some initial insights into a potential link between our genes and our moral judgments. As Georgetown’s website summarizes,

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Paula Kirby: Is Religion a Parasite?

Paula Kirby, a “consultant to secular organizations,” recently wrote in an article for The Washington Post that, “Religion is a parasite that feeds on all that is good in humanity as a whole and then proclaims it as its own gift to the world.”

That’s a very strong, unqualified, and unconditional statement. If true, religious practice is a very serious problem, one that we should all work to eradicate.

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Atheism, Determinism and Social Problems

My goal is to clarify the logical connections between atheism, determinism, and negative social outcomes. (Please notice how I define atheism). It is very important to note that I am not saying that atheists (the people) are responsible for more negative social outcomes compared to people with other belief systems. There are a wide range of variables that affect what choices we make.

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Atheism and Science

In a desire to foster a great respect and appreciation between atheists and Christians, and for other religious people, I want to celebrate the high esteem that we often share for science: for the scientific method, for scientific experiments, for scientists, for scientific results, and so on.

To begin, many atheists have made outstanding contributions to our scientific knowledge, and we should celebrate their work. To mention just a few people:

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Atheism and the Denial of Love

As I have argued earlier, atheism leads to determinism. (Please notice how I define atheism). The most important reason that atheism leads to determinism is that atheism requires that everything be subject to naturalistic, scientific explanation. From an atheistic perspective, there can be no thing, event, or action which cannot be given a total explanation by reference to physical objects and natural laws. As Charles Darwin put it: “Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.” Humans and human actions are part of nature; therefore, we and our choices are the result of fixed laws.

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