I don’t have much for you today. Lately I’ve been much more interested in reading than writing, but I came across an article from the BBC today titled “Will religion ever disappear?” It’s a wonderfully written piece by Rachel Nuwer. Honestly, I was very impressed by the scholarly quality of this article, which, upon Googling her name, makes sense. She holds two master’s degrees, one in a science field and one in scientific writing. Furthermore, according her her bio page on her personal website, she’s a published scholar in a peer-reviewed journal.
Her approach to the question raised in the title of her piece is a combination literature review and critical analysis (basically the exact thing graduate students are taught to do in pursuing a master’s degree). The answers she gives should be uncomfortable to both believers and non-believers alike, which brings me to the main thrust of this post: Reading her article is a perfect exercise in cognitive dissonance discomfort mitigation. Refer to my most recent post for more info on that. How you respond to this article should reveal something about you. For example, Richard Dawkins’ assertion that no child is born religious is directly contradicted in Nuwer’s article with a linked peer-reviewed study. Atheists might have a difficult time accepting this. Religious people, too, might suffer cognitive discomfort by reading this article, even the bits that seem to lend credit to religions.
What I will find most interesting is, regardless of your religious beliefs or lack thereof, how you mitigate the cognitive discomfort. Will you seek to verify her arguments and, with strong evidence, modify your current beliefs about certain phenomena? Will you seek to justify her contradictory arguments by incorporating them into your pre-existing beliefs? Or will you completely ignore her arguments, even in the face of strong evidence, and stick to your original beliefs, unaltered?
Enough of my babble. Go read the article!
Calvin said “Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.” So not much dissonance with my long held beliefs.
Good referral though.