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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 16: Are materialist atheists smarter than other types of believers?

At any rate, so claimed a 1986 study about which Regis Nicoll writes here.

I say "smarter than other types of believers" because atheism is a form of belief like any other. Usually, in North America today, materialist atheism is meant. There are non-materialist varieties of atheism, but they are not usually strident, like the new (materialist) atheists.

Interestingly, materialist atheism tends to develop structures similar to other religious institutions (the latest is summer camps for kids). It all reminds me of Julian Huxley's 1959 proposal for a religion of evolution - but that for another day.

So, for a free copy of the The Spiritual Brain, which argues for non-materialist neuroscience, provide the best answer to this question: Are materialist atheists really smarter than other people? By what measure would we know? What difference does social privilege - such as tenure at a tax-funded institution and general acceptance in popular media make in determining who is smart?

Here are the contest rules. Four hundred words or less. Winners receive a certificate verifying their win as well as the prize. Winners must provide me with a valid postal address, though it need not be theirs. A winner's name is never added to a mailing list. Have fun!

Here's Uncommon Descent Contest Question 16 at the site, so go there to enter in the Comments box.


Here's a bit of background on the subject.

Atheism and popular culture: Religious commitment as mild dementia

Albert Einstein on the importance of faith in the reality of what we see

An event I did not happen to attend: British atheist graces Toronto

Spirituality and popular culture: Amazon's #1 atheist book is Christian

Religion: There is atheism, and then there is materialist atheism

The new atheists: Santa's sleigh came and went, and never gave them what they needed

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