Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who Is Reality Based?

This is kinda funny:

A new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals some startling differences between Republicans and Democrats on issues of spirituality and supernatural phenomenon....

"Conservatives and Republicans report fewer experiences than liberals or Democrats communicating with the dead, seeing ghosts and consulting fortunetellers or psychics," the Pew study says. For example, 21 percent of Republicans report that they have been in touch with someone who is dead, while 36 percent of Democrats say they have done so. Eleven percent of Republicans say they have seen a ghost, while 21 percent of Democrats say so. And nine percent of Republicans say they have consulted a fortuneteller, while 22 percent of Democrats have.

There's more. Seventeen percent of Republicans say they believe in reincarnation, while 30 percent of Democrats do. Fourteen percent of Republicans say they believe in astrology, while 31 percent of Democrats do. Fifteen percent of Republicans say they view yoga as a spiritual practice, while 31 percent of Democrats do. Seventeen percent of Republicans say they believe in spiritual energy, while 30 percent of Democrats do.

This must be what comes of worshipping the earth goddess Gaia.


Pari Passu said...

I agree that communicating with the dead, consulting fortunetellers and psychics, and seeing ghosts, and believing in reincarnation, astrology, and spiritual energy is irrational. But the elephant in the room (pun intended) is the embrace by Democrats and, especially, Republicans of equally irrational ideas: such as the resurrection of a Jewish carpenter who was crucified by the Romans 2000 years ago, the belief that he is the son of the Middle East Sky God, that the Middle East Sky God created the Earth and the Univrse in 6 days 6,000 years ago, intercessory and imprecatory prayer, and, for at least some of them, Papal infallibility.

A Gallup Poll entitled "Religious Intensity Remains Powerful Predictor of Politics" (December 11, 2009) finds that Republicans suffer from this sort of irrationality at a greater level than Democrats: "Americans' religious intensity continues to be a major predictor of party identification. A new analysis of more than 29,000 interviews Gallup conducted in November finds that Republicans outnumber Democrats by 12 percentage points among Americans who are classified as highly religious, while Democrats outnumber Republicans by 30 points among those who are not religious."

In short, there is plenty of irrationality to go around especially in the United States.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I don't know. Its hard to get behind the "new atheism" when they have such a difficult time sticking to elementary logic themselves. (If so, we wouldn't see the ad hominem be their preferred method of argumentation.)

Besides, I find it difficult to consign Henri Bergson, Charles Sanders Peirce, Eric Voegelin, Miguel de Unamuno, GK Chesterton, and countless others into a bin labelled "Warning: Crazy Person" for any reason. To do so smacks of an almost insane hubris (ala Christopher Hitchens).

In any event, pop spiritualism has always been a particularly inane offering far surpassing traditional religions in their mendaciousness. IN that vein the "new atheism" hasn't really set themselves apart. If one ever has the ill fortune to listen to Richard Dawkins descend into yet another intellectually dishonest rant (which is basically all his rants), then you know the depths such "thinking" can reach.

And as for papal infallibility, if I ever find a person who actually knows what it means, that will be the first.

deus ex machina said...

I did not say anything about New Atheism nor did I say that religious people are "crazy." I merely pointed out that to nonbelievers any particular religious beliefs seems irrational even those who may believe in some other religious belief. To paraphrase that Jewish Carpenter: those who worship in glasses churches should not throw stones at those who worship in glass temples or mosques or new age salons.

You go on a long digressive and ad hominem rant, begging the matter of whether Christian beliefs are less rational than other types of religion or spiritualism. Of course, the answer is, rationality of religious beliefs is in the eye of the believing (or non-believing) beholder. The only bit you even engage is the part about papal infallibility and then you only do so to say you don't understand it.

Was Senator Tom Coburn's appeal earlier this week for Americans to "pray" that a Democrat "can't make the vote" on health care bill so that the Republican filibuster would succeed a reasonable exercise? Did the people who made such a prayer to the Middle East Sky God to intervene and save the day act reasonably in doing so? Is that any less reasonable than going to a fortuneteller or consulting an astrologer? Is a Hindu's belief in reincarnation less rational that a Chrisitan/Muslim/Jew's belief in heaven (and hell)? I say No. What say you?

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Well, you seemed to be saying all spiritual thought was "irrational", so that doesn't really much other room to stand upon. Sorry if my assumption/guess you were an atheist was off base. (I suppose you could be some sort of pantheist, but you don't see many of those these days.)

My point was, if one has read the people I listed above (some Christian, some just theists) the claim of irrationality is hard to adhere to. (If you are really interested read Peirce's essay "The Fixation of Belief" for the limits of the term "irratonality".)

Besides, there is a difference between saying something isn't dealing with reality and saying something isn't rational. For example, Euclidean geometry deals with "objects" (e.g. perfect circles, infinite lines, etc.) that don't exist in reality, but it is hardly irrational. Philsophically speaking I'm a Pragmatist, so these types of distinctions are important to me.

My poking fun at the folks at the Daily Kos and HuffPo for their snide assertions that only Democrats deal with "reality" since some Republican voters are fundamentalist Christians, was merely pointing out the pot calling the kettle black.

Besides, I find it amusing that if one is a spell casting wiccan one is more likely to be a party of the self-described "reality based community."

OH well....

Happy Solstice!

Salaam Aleikum said...

Happy Solstice to you as well.