Alex Kocman, writing at Matt Barber’s wayward home for clueless dumbasses, seizes on a recent Science 2.0 article that is barely any better to claim that “atheists may not exist.” Funny, I’m pretty sure I exist and I’m pretty sure lots of other atheists do too. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that they both articles vastly oversimplify the issue and draw ridiculous conclusions from far more reasonable premises.
For some, “God doesn’t believe in atheists” is just a clever (nor not-so-clever) jab directed against the faithless in our culture. But based on the findings of secular researchers, the statement may not be so far from reality.
That is because multidisciplinary research is increasingly backing the idea that human beings are hard-wired to believe in God, according to Science 2.0 writer Nury Vittachi in an article titled, “Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke.”
Actually, it is a joke, but not in the sense that it’s funny.
“[A]theism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” Vittachi cites avowed atheist Graham Lawton as writing in New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”
Even atheists hold to several tacitly religious concepts, including the existence of an immortal soul, according to Lawton. The article also cites another atheist researcher who demonstrated that all people engage in internal monologue, regardless of whether the person to whom their thoughts are directed is actually present.
Equally demonstrable is the intrinsic human tendency to believe in divine justice. Vittachi describes both religious and non-religious persons as possessing the innate sense that “If I commit a sin, it is not an isolated event but will have appropriate repercussions.” This sense of cosmic justice is credited for the popular belief in “karma.”
This idea, he writes, is played out on a number of differently levels—including narrative literature, where even atheist authors invariably write stories that “exist to establish that there exists a mechanism or a person—cosmic destiny, karma, God, fate, Mother Nature—to make sure the right thing happens to the right person.”
Even the staunchest nontheists are not exempted from such habits, according to the writer. “If a loved one dies, even many anti-religious people usually feel a need for a farewell ritual, complete with readings from old books and intoned declarations that are not unlike prayers,” Vittachi writes. “In war situations, commanders frequently comment that atheist soldiers pray far more than they think they do.”
According to the writer, atheists tend to exhibit the same sociological, psychological dependence on the intangible as religious folk do, even if the former reject the existence of anything supernatural. “Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don’t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which ‘The Universe’ somehow has a purpose for humanity,” says Vittachi.
The funny thing is that Kocman doesn’t recognize the contradiction between that last paragraph and everything else he writes. “People who stop being part of organized religious groups” does not equal “atheists.” As for the rest of this, it’s positively ridiculous. I’d love to see some actual evidence that atheists — not “those who have left organized religion” but actual atheists — believe in an immortal soul or divine justice. I know hundreds of atheists and not a single one of them believes in any such thing. I’m sure you might find a few, but the idea that this is a common belief among atheists is simply ludicrous.
I count myself among those who does believe that there may well be elements of human development that make us more likely to believe in supernatural agency, particularly a tendency toward dualism. But anyone who leaps from that idea to claim that “atheism is psychologically impossible” needs to take a remedial course in logic immediately. This is the mother of all non-sequiturs.