When intellectually-oriented atheists or agnostics choose to opine on religious matters, they sometimes tend to surject their own predictably negative views of religious practice into the discussion. This is particularly true when they deign to inform us how rigorously logical they are. Examining two attempts to cast pearls of agnostic or atheist logic before the deeply religious swine demonstrate the predictable vapidity of the hostile irreligious.
Mathematicians at Cornell University assure us of the demise of religious faith in Modern Society. John Derbyshire, on the other hand, assures us that radically evangelical faiths will breed us all into the ground.
Coincidental to a time period that featured the execution of 20 individuals over a burned Koran, William M. Briggs chooses to post on a recent mathematical paper that predicts the demise of religious faith. Oh, the joys of life’s irony.
In 1850 in the Netherlands nearly everybody was a Christian. A century later, three out of four said they still were. But if you believe mathematicians Daniel Abrams and Haley Yaple and physicist Richard Wiener, in just one more century, by 2050, only one in four souls in Ned’s Land will claim to be affiliated with that once great religion.
“Religion May Become Extinct” – (HT: William M. Briggs).
The authors claim that secular societies kill religious groups over time in a manner reminiscent of how a good, sturdy lawn of Bermuda Grass will come to self-regulate its Crab Grass population. Secular societies simply offer alternative ways to spend the time. The believers quit and go play their X-Boxes.
This predictable piece of “research” from Cornell University makes this claim based upon simple mathematical models. Thomas Malthus said something similar. The mathematical logic behind this “startlingly original conclusion” is no more complicated than fundamental resentment of the religious.
The BBC invites the paper’s lead to author explain the logic driving his research.
“Obviously we don’t really believe this is the network structure of a modern society, where each person is influenced equally by all the other people in society,” he said. However, he told BBC News that he thought it was “a suggestive result”. “It’s interesting that a fairly simple model captures the data, and if those simple ideas are correct, it suggests where this might be going. “Obviously much more complicated things are going on with any one individual, but maybe a lot of that averages out.”
So if a bunch of things that obviously aren’t true about modern society hold, than the future will occur in accordance with my deeply held personal bigotries. The logic of Aristotle brought to you by Cornell University. No wonder they had no qualms with temporarily appointing Cynthia McKinney as a Professor of Architecture.
Conservative John Derbyshire does no better with his reasoning when he attempts to prove by absurd example that an unholy mixture of the cast from Deliverance and the worst of The Taliban will inherit the future. He begins thus, before declining into utter deracination.
Did you know that Osama bin Laden has twenty-five children? And that his Dad had fifty-four?
(HT: Takimag, ObCit)
Golly-gee Willikers! I hope the dude didn’t pop a hernia! It gets illogical below.
Fifty-four kids! Piety will do that for ya.
Certainly! Just ask Pope Benedict. The failed assumption without loss of generality here is almost as painful as a root canal sans Novocain. It’s very hard for the average Saudi male to even acquire one wife unless he was smart enough to be born a millionaire. Saudi society is similar to that of the Mongol Empire. Genghis Kahn had innumerable offspring, 66% of the Mongol males never could afford marriage.
In between the bouts of hyperbolic scare-mongering, featuring The Iniquitous Quiverfull Movement, he does accurately state that religious and traditional societies reproduce at higher rates than their secular counterparts. This has more to do with the failure of secular and non-religious people to adequately value life. It also results from the welfare states in many modern, secular societies providing a social safety net that replaces the family. The fecund faithful aren’t attempting any sort of Revenge of The Cradle against the Infidels or Infernalists.
Religion will neither die, nor take over the world. The people that make either claim do so from an irrational fear and hatred of religion. These non-religious people base their conclusions on numerous logical fallacies and misunderstandings of religion.
The rioters that beheaded 20 UN workers in Afghanistan do not represent all practitioners of religion. The lady John Derbyshire cited who bore 13 kids for her faith does not exemplify the majority of Christian families who seem to believe 2 to 4 children are what rational people can successfully manage. The Cornell Mathematicians, John Derbyshire and other atheists who issue polemic fatwas against religion do so using fabricated or manipulated data. Don’t believe the hate.