[FoRK] Bullish on Facebook

kelley kelley at inkworkswell.com
Fri Apr 24 17:05:45 PDT 2009

At 06:52 PM 4/24/2009, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

>On Apr 24, 2009, at 3:02 PM, Tom Higgins wrote:
>>>>It's easy: there's no god.
>>>>Where's the religion?
>>>I was not talking about atheism per se.
>>Oh come on....bait and switch terminology?
>No, a generalization of the concept, from "I do not believe in God(s)"
>to "I do not believe nutty things". Most atheists who got to the "I do
>not believe in God(s)" never make it to "I do not believe nutty
>things". Apparently belief in God was disposable but some beliefs in
>other nutty things are sacrosanct. They did not become atheists
>through any kind of systematic attempt at rationality, they became
>atheists by accident and left the rest of their nutty beliefs intact.
>To give an extreme example, all the people who I personally know that
>are irretrievably on the trendy "vaccines are evil" bandwagon are
>atheists. No amount of reasoning will argue them out of this position,
>and I've wasted more than a little time trying. Their belief in the
>evil of vaccines is fundamentally religious in nature regardless of
>the fact they don't believe in God. And as a consequence, their
>children do not get vaccinated. It may not be a religion, but it is
>functionally indistinguishable from a religious belief.
>Most nutty beliefs are only harmful to the extent they are wasteful of
>finite resources, and a few are occasionally directly harmful.
>Naturally, people generally do not view their nutty beliefs as
>wasteful or harmful.
>J. Andrew Rogers

but "all the people who I personally know that are irretrievably on the 
trendy "vaccines are evil" bandwagon" is hardly an example of using any 
sort of scientific approach. it's crude empiricism.

Here's a study, which references still others, that suggests that there is 
a higher propensity to be suspicious of the government among those who 
exempt their children from vaccines. similarly, they tend to be very 
suspicious of established medicine and tend to use CAM professionals -- 
complementary and alternative medicine.

That bit about being suspicious of the government and establishment 
institutions  amused me to no end! (reminded me of the old motto: scratch a 
hippie, find a libertarian)


the study's author also points out in an interview that the increasing 
rates of exempting children from vaccination is about the same whether for 
non-religious exemptions or religious exemptions (where they could compare 
in states where they allow non-religious exemptions for "philosophical" or 
"personal" beliefs).


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