September 21, 2011

Another Gnu Atheist, another untrue "growth" claim

It's getting kind of tiresome, reading Gnu Atheists (whether explicitly self-identifed as such or not) who claim there's an "atheist growth explosion" in this U.S. When there's not.

The latest? Some B-ranker named Greg Paul at the Washington Post freelance forum, who wayyyy gets it wrong. Atheism is not growing. Period. That said, looking at the author's Wiki page, which I will not link, he seems disposed to overblown claims. The author doesn't explicitly call himself a "Gnu" there, but it wouldn't surprise me. In the column, he also repeats the Gnu canard that atheism, or "democratic atheism," as he notes (trying to cut Stalin and Mao out of the loop) are morally superior to theism. Since we don't have that long a time frame for democratic atheism, there's not much of the "scientific proof" that he claims, first. He also distorts information from Gallup polls, ignores the part in the Harris polls that undercuts him and more.


For someone who touts science in the same breath with "democratic atheism," he's got a lot of chutzpah.

Reality? As I've blogged before, the comprehensive 2008 ARIS survey does show a strong growth in the "irreligious," but they include people "spiritual but not religious," Christians tired of organized denominations, neopagans, New Agers and many others who either believe in one or more gods, or if technically atheist (some New Agers and Buddhists fit there) nonetheless have anti-naturalistic metaphysical beliefs.

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