Thursday, 13 February 2014

So Much For The (Hopes of) New Atheism.

I post this without much comment, mainly because the story itself is its own comment.
According to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say astrology, the study of celestial bodies’ purported influence on human behavior and worldly events, is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific.”
By contrast, 92 percent of the Chinese public think horoscopes are a bunch of baloney.
What’s more alarming, researchers show in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators study, is that American attitudes about science are moving in the wrong direction. Skepticism of astrology hit an all-time high in 2004, when 66 percent of Americans said astrology was total nonsense. But each year, fewer and fewer respondents have dismissed the connections between star alignment and personality as bunk.
Not surprisingly, those with less science education and less “factual knowledge” have become increasingly willing to accept astrology as legitimate science, with 65 percent of such individuals considering the pseudo-science credible in 2012, up from 48 percent in 2010.
Young people are also especially inclined to offer astrology scientific legitimacy, with a majority of Americans ages 18 to 24 considering the practice at least “sort of” scientific, and the 25-34 age group is not far behind them.
Some might feel optimistically, that as people become more 'enlightened' and turn away from what we might call traditional religious faith, society as a whole will become more rational; more scientific-thinking.


This seems to bear out the paraphrase of G. K. Chesterton that if people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing; they'll believe in anything.


Take Care


h/t the mcj

3 comments:

Warren said...

Your title suggests an assumption that there is a correlation between belief in astrology and atheism. Do you have any scientific evidence? My hunch (with no scientific evidence) is that there is a much stronger correlation with other "spiritual" beliefs.

John K said...

My point was that the "new atheists" envision, in the absence of Christianity, a world governed by what they would consider rationality. Not the case. People just substitute another, 'superstition'.

Warren said...

Sorry for missing your subtlety. I thought you were making a direct statement that a significant percentage of atheists believe in astrology. I imagine atheists would largely be on board with you in terms of your assessment that people tend to substitute one superstition for another. Of course, they would also argue that Christianity is one of those superstitions.