November 16, 2009

Conservapedia, "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia"

Here is my experience with The page on "atheism and beliefs" states the following:


Religion and God
  • Comprehensible God: extending from an arrogance in their own reason, atheists believe that if God exists, He and His works must be comprehensible. Therefore, they argue that God does not exist from paradoxes and such arguments as the Problem of Evil, which God transcends.[9]
  • Disbelief from silence: atheists believe that God does not exist, merely because there is no absolute proof that he does exist, a logical fallacy. Atheists believe that science disproves God[10] but have no actual evidence that this is the case.
  • Moral superiority: atheists believe that religion causes strife and that atheists are inherently morally superior to theists. This flies in the face of actual evidence, which shows that atheists are markedly less generous than theists.[11]
  • Moral relativism: atheists believe that no absolute morals exist, God-inspired or otherwise, and thus rely on vague, transient, and corrupting notions of morality.[12]
  • Satan: Atheists deny the existence of Satan, while simultaneously doing his work.
  • Superior intellect: atheists believe that atheists are inherently more intelligent than theists, and some even consider this an "inevitable product of ongoing social selection."[13]

really caught my eye was the last feature attributed to atheists, namely superior intellect. As a matter of fact, there exists some good empirical data on this issue (which is, indeed, an empirical issue). So, in the interest of intellectual honesty and Truth, I thought I'd add to this misleading bullet point a few citations, to show that the idea of a negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity needn't be a mere belief had by atheists. Instead, it is an hypothesis confirmed, albeit tentatively, by the empirical data. The resulting emended bullet point read as follows:
  • Superior intellect: atheists believe that atheists are inherently more intelligent than theists, and some even consider this an "inevitable product of ongoing social selection."Gordon Stein, ''An Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism,'' 164. In fact, a recent peer-reviewed study (which confirms a number of prior peer-reviewed studies), found a strong negative correlation between IQ and religious belief.[] Similarly, it was reported in ''Nature'' that only 7% of "great" scientists today profess "personal belief" in a supernatural deity.[] The connection between intelligence and atheism, therefore, appears not only to be statistically strong but to be getting stronger, at least according to the available data published in high-profile academic journals like ''Nature''.
I also added a comment on the "Talk page" explaining why I added these few extra sentences. I was not at all unreasonable, and indeed I stated that, in my opinion, the bullet point as it stood suggested that "superior intellect" is a mere belief of atheists, arrogant and dogmatic as they are, when in fact a number of respectable academic studies have confirmed that atheists are generally more intelligent, educated, and so on.

What was the response? Incredibly, not only (i) were my comments on the "atheism and beliefs" page deleted (of course), but (ii) my comment on the "Talk" page was also expunged, (iii) my user account was permanently deleted (one must create an account to edit pages), and (iv) my IP address was permanently blocked! (See screen shot below.) In other words, from my computer at home I can
never create another account to edit

To be fair, all I did was
add relevant data with citations -- indeed, citations of papers one of which was published in arguably the most prestigious science journal in the world (i.e., Nature). What an extreme response to my edits, one that seems -- at least in my opinion -- to be wholly incommensurate with the "crime." Very frightening, if you ask me.

Finally, I should add that the editor who blocked me is Andy Schlafly, the proud Christian conservative founder of His username is Aschlafly.

A screen shot of the "Talk page" after my comments were deleted and my IP address permanently blocked.

November 15, 2009

Technological Neutralism in Action

"I am making a nuclear weapon. I really don't see a problem with this because, like most other members of the NRA, I hold a neutralist view of technology: technology is a mere tool, neither good nor bad in itself. The morality of an artifact depends on how we use it. Thus, my maxim is this: Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people. As far as I am concerned, everyone should have the right to own their own nuclear weapon. That should be a constitutional amendment. Nuclear weapons are neither good nor bad -- what matters is how they are used, either for good or bad. Let people have their guns! Let people have their weapons! Technology doesn't cause harm, humans do!!"

November 1, 2009

Intelligent Design and the Atheist's Nightmare

I was thinking about Intelligent Design the other day when I was suddenly interrupted by the hiccups. I then got a cramp in my leg, my foot twitched, and my ears began to ring (as they sometimes do). After taking some Sudafed to alleviate my allergies (especially to pollen), I spent the evening trimming my unibrow and clipping my fingernails. I also took a shower, lest I start to stink!! Fortunately, though, God made bananas just right for eating.