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Atheism, Christianity, Religion

Anecdotes from Apostates

I suppose I’m writing this blog as a jab at my reader Alison, but I think it has relevance for everyone, so I don’t feel too bad.  For at least two years, Alison has attacked my position that religion causes dysfunction on several grounds, but one of the most common is accusing me of using anecdotes to prove a point.  As you can hopefully see from my previous post, it is not necessary to point at a story and say, “See… this one story proves my whole point!”  One anecdote is an interesting topic for coctail parties.  A few hundred anecdotes are data.  Furthermore, psychology already has principles in place that apply to religion, and the causal connection is well established.  I believe I’ve covered this topic adequately, so I will not rehash it.

I certainly don’t intend to dig up thousands of testimonials just to prove to one skeptic that there is a common theme to thousands of testimonials.  However, I’d like to point the readers to a wonderful website specifically for ex-Christians to tell their stories.  ExChristian.net is filled with personal anecdotes from people who have left Christianity.  Some stories are snarky, some are angry, and some are just plain sad.  I’d encourage anybody — atheist, Christian, or otherwise — to spend some quality time getting to know some of these folks through their own experiences.

I suppose one of the reasons Alison has gotten hung up on anecdotes is that she may not understand how psychological studies gather data.  To put it simply, the standard model for sociological questionnaires is literally a way to quantify anecdotes.  For instance, if we ask a thousand high school students for their family background and other environmental factors, and then ask them to rate how important a variety of  religious practices are in their lives, we are literally gathering a thousand personal anecdotes — just in the form of raw data.

Anecdotes don’t prove the existence of God.  That’s because God is claimed to be an actual being that exists outside of the human mind.   However, when we study the human experience, we have little choice but to rely on the testimony of humans.  While it’s true that fMRI and other scientific advances have given us a great deal of knowledge about the mechanical functioning of the human brain, we are still utterly incapable of experiencing another person’s existence.  We must rely on their testimony to know what’s going on.

In light of this, I’d like to offer you a few snippets of testimony from ex-Christians.

Our Sunday school teachers and youth pastors would always encourage us to bring our friends from school to church, but I never wanted to. First of all, I didn’t have any friends at school, because I was taking to heart the whole “You are in this world, but not of it” ideology. I also took on God’s view that anybody who was not a believer was “wicked.” So, anybody at school was to me a potential convert, but nobody for me to actually be friends with, other than to potentially witness to. But I didn’t want to bring these people to church, because church was my safe haven, free from the evil, evil world. I realize now, looking back, that I would even try to figure out if my teachers were Christians or not, and if I determined by what they said or did that they must not be, I don’t think I learned from them as well because I would subconsciously discredit what they — or anybody who wasn’t a Christian, for that matter — had to say. This indoctrination was very subtle and I didn’t even realize I had this mentality and how unhealthy and off-base it was at the time.

I can relate to this person’s experience because it’s strikingly similar to mine.  For that matter, my ex-wife told me the same thing about her school years.  In fact, over the years, I’ve heard this story from so many ex-Christians that when I hear the beginning of it from someone new, I can finish it for them.  I’m a very outgoing person who makes friends easily, but in school, I had exactly one friend.  I was afraid of everyone else because they weren’t as Christian as me.  If that ain’t dysfunction, I don’t know what is.

Despite the fact that I have freed my own mind from the shackles of belief, the venom of Christianity still flows through my life. In the mind of my beloved wife, I am now the enemy – to be hated and feared. I am less than human because I cannot bring myself to accept that it is right to send most people in the world to a lake of eternal fire and torment.

If there is anything I’d like to say in closing, it would be that Christianity isn’t harmless. It really is that bad. It may be too late for me to live free of the damage it can cause. Perhaps by sharing this, I can impress upon those for whom it is not too late the importance of not allowing this hideous disease of the mind to gain any foothold in your life.

I feel pity for this man’s wife, as well as for him.  This story, too, is repeated by thousands of ex-Christians.   Off the top of my head, I can think of at least a half a dozen people I’ve known who have experienced the exact same thing.  At the last Atheist Conference I attended, I spent over an hour talking with someone who used to be a Christian Counsellor and after deconverting, got a real degree and now helps ex-Christians through the mental anguish of leaving the faith.

The first recollection I have of realizing something was wrong was when I first legitimately considered the question “where did God come from?” I was probably 13 years old and assumed somebody would have an answer to this fairly basic question. I posed it to my Mom and she had nothing to give me. I asked other people with a fair amount of shame, assuming that I was either not supposed to be asking these things, or at the least, I was stupid for not knowing the answer. It didn’t take long to realize that this was, in fact, a GOOD question to ask, and that began the unraveling of the tall tales I’d been fed. Unlike Santa Claus, for which I have no recollection of the time the news was broken to me, this one seemed a bit more important, even in my barely adolescent mind, since the stakes were quite a bit higher. I mean I would still get presents under the tree, so no big loss there, but on the other hand, there was the vague understanding that I was going to die and NOT come back to life.

Spend some time on ExChristian.net.  It’s a good site.  I don’t think you have to go there with the intention of proving that Christianity causes dysfunction.  Frankly, I’m still at a loss as to how anyone could spend any amount of time socializing with ex-Christians and not see the connection.  (At the risk of divulging too much personal information, I know that Alison has not, so I don’t entirely blame her for her position.)

Personally, I’ve used ExChristian.net as a catalyst several times.  When I feel unmotivated, or get tired of hearing the same tired arguments over and over, I read the stories of those who are on the road to recovery, and it reminds me of just how traumatic my own deconversion was.  When I remember the years it took for me to overcome my own mental dysfunction, I am reinvigorated, and recommit to what will surely be a lifelong battle to combat the poison that is religious indoctrination.

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Discussion

29 thoughts on “Anecdotes from Apostates

  1. The difference Hamby, in a psychologist gather data from high school students and you asking a bunch high school students are as follows:

    For one thing, and most important of all, they don’t just ask pointed questions, or focus on one area.

    For example, if I wanted to study the effects of indoctornation among high school students, I wouldn’t JUST ask about their religious experience. I would also try to gauge their personality.

    For example if Susie is a devout Christian and goes faithfully to church/Sunday school and prays everyday, and say, she is happy and chirp, is it because of Christianity, or her Type A personality?

    Or Bob who is the same as Susie religious wise, but is extremely violent and ill tempered. Is he like that because of religion, or because his parents are in the middle of a divorce because his dad is an abusive alcoholic and Bob turned to religion to help cope with the stress?

    You see the difference, between you and actual psychologists is that they take other factors into account and try to have a scientific process {such as *ahem* peer review} in which to get to root of the matter.

    I have sat in on quite a few of the thesis defences in my psychology department, and I have yet to see somebody say ‘Well, why do I have to prove this, if I don’t have to prove that people at baseball games eat lots of hot dogs???”

    And of course I could link to an astrology website for testomonials that helped so many people find love by a simple astrological consultation!

    Posted by Alison | August 27, 2009, 3:36 pm
  2. Another thing of course, is that Way of the Master probably gets flooded with e-mails of how people read their site, came to Christ and improved their lives and ditched their sinful life styles such as drug abuse etc….

    Does this prove religion is good? Of course not. Like I said, other factors need to be considered.

    The fact of the matter Hamby, I could point to all the wonderful religious people and use that as “data” for religion as positive.

    I can guarentee you that if a religious apologist came to RRS or here, and spewed the same logic you are, except the opposite of what you’re saying, then my objections will come in handy.

    Honestly, what if somebody grew up in an abusive alcoholic family and expierenced social and mental dysfunction from such, and then went on a quest to end alcohol consumption. Would they have any logical arguments aside from the damage booze did to their family? Would that be enough to go on a crusade against alcohol?

    And no, I’m not just talking about simply not drinking. I’m talking about trying to stop everyone from drinking. Saying that bars are a poison in our society etc…..

    Posted by Alison | August 27, 2009, 4:24 pm
  3. Alison, you looked right past the part where I said I am not using these anecdotes to try to prove my point.

    I’m actually glad you brought up the reverse situation. I have responded to theists using personal anecdote, and there are two different reactions depending on what they are attempting to prove from anecdote. If they’re trying to prove the existence of god, of course I’ll chide them for trying to prove something anecdotally when it demands scientific evidence. However, when someone tells me that they were horribly unhappy and became happy after finding religion, I believe them.

    I’ve never said that some people don’t find happiness in religion. Clearly they do. Dysfunction is not synonymous with unhappiness. I’m sure there are people who are happy when honor killings are carried out. I’m afraid your posts, while informative and essentially correct with regard to psych methodology, have nothing to do with my contention regarding religion and dysfunction.

    Again, I must challenge you to offer an alternative explanation for a man who believes he should kill his child for the glory of God. If this is not religious belief causing a societal ill, what is it?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 27, 2009, 4:47 pm
  4. Again, I must challenge you to offer an alternative explanation for a man who believes he should kill his child for the glory of God. If this is not religious belief causing a societal ill, what is it?

    Hamby I can’t because I don’t know the cirumstances of the person.

    Does he have a mental illness? etc etc…

    So all you are doing is dropping a scenario on my lap and claiming that unless I have an alternative explanation, you are right.

    This is like Jack Thompson. Can you offer an alternative explanation as to why Jimmy Bob joined a gang and did a drive by after playing Grand Theft Auto? If not, it MUST be Grand Theft Auto then. I mean you can do drive bys in that game right?

    I mentioned the psychological methodology for a reason. There isn’t enough data for me to offer an alternative explanation, maybe he was a socio-path, I don’t know. The psych methodology will fail to produce a cause, seeing as to how little information is available.

    And yes, my writing on psych methodology does have barring on your argument, because you’re not using psych methodology, you are using arguments from ignorance [you can’t DISprove that religion causes harm], special pleading [would you ask for proof people at baseball games eat hotdogs!?!?!] and appeals to emotion [It’s so obvious I don’t need peer-reviewed studies!!]

    Posted by Alison | August 27, 2009, 5:16 pm
  5. Alison, let me try one more time. This article is specifically NOT about proving a causal connection between religion and dysfunction. It is a blatant appeal to emotion. I admit as much at the very beginning and in the final paragraph.

    Let me just avoid subtlety and tell you what I’m doing. You’ve accused me of appealing to anecdote in previous arguments where I clearly did not. I wrote this piece as an example of what an appeal to anecdote looks like. THIS is an appeal to emotion and anecdote. The previous entry is not.

    Get it?

    Now, let’s return to the issue at hand. If you don’t want to admit that the religious belief in honor killing is the cause of honor killings, let’s take something even simpler. I mentioned prayer before. Let’s go on the assumption (I suppose you’ll grant this) that for practical purposes, no sane atheists pray as a genuine act. That is, if an atheist prays, he is being polite, or humoring someone. Can we agree that people who don’t believe in a deity won’t pray to a deity?

    So prayer is an entirely religious behavior. Only religious people do it. Would you like to demand a peer reviewed study proving a causal relationship between religious belief and prayer, or are you comfortable admitting that religious belief is the cause of people praying?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 27, 2009, 5:29 pm
  6. Prayer and what you’re talking about is a false comparision.

    We don’t see non-religious people pray.

    We DO see non-religious people murder and commit astrocities.

    This is why you need peer reviewed scientific studies for your view, and not for prayer.

    Is society not complicated? Did you not say in your first entry that it’s hard to pin down an exact cause?

    THAT’S WHY YOU NEED PEER REVIEW. BECAUSE IT’S SUCH A COMPLICATED PROCESS.

    For Christ’s sake, you basically made two blogs posts about the fact that you don’t have any scientific evidence behind this.

    and yet you’re doing the best to avoid backing up your claims scientifically.

    Posted by Alison | August 27, 2009, 5:42 pm
  7. Did I make a comparison? I don’t think so. I asked a direct question. Do you have any problem with the causal connection between religious belief and prayer?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 27, 2009, 6:07 pm
  8. Yes Hamby, praying to a deity would require belief in a deity.

    I know where you’re going with this:

    “Oh but if they didn’t believe in God, then they wouldn’t have killed in God’s name like they wouldn’t pray if they didn’t believe in God!!!”

    Maybe Scott Atran can put it better than me

    http://www.edge.org/discourse/bb.html#atran

    Of course, if it can be proven that religious beliefs are particularly dangerous to life and limb — at least any more dangerous than a belief in the cleansing power of “democracy” — attempts at (say) de-Islamicization might be as important as de-Nazification. Yet there is no such proof, and in the absence of any proof, or even compelling data of any sort. In fact, those of us doing actual empirical research in this area have uncovered evidence to the contrary of what was claimed. Jeremy Ginges, a psychologist at the New School, finds that belief in God does not promote violence, combative martyrdom or almost anything else the “God delusion” was blamed for at the conference. University of British Columbia psychologists Ara Norenzayan and Ian Hansen have recently shown, for some 10,000 subjects surveyed in several countries and continents, that although believing “my God is the only God” increases the odds of scapegoating by 32%, simply believing “there is a God” decreases the tendency to blame others for one’s troubles by 45%. These researchers also show that atheists with exclusivist beliefs are just as likely to scapegoat others as Christians, Jews or Muslims.

    It is true that Elizabeth Loftus and Mahzarin Banaji presented compelling data on the formation of false beliefs and implicit biases. But the relevance of this research to the formation or suppression of religious beliefs is distant and doubtful. For one thing, religious beliefs are not false in the usual sense of failing to meet certain truth conditions, like “the earth is flat” or “natural grass is orange. ” Rather, core religious beliefs, like poetic metaphors, are literally senseless in that they altogether lack truth conditions; that is, there are no logical or empirical criteria for judging whether such utterances are true or not.

    As Aristotle and Kant noted, there is no more literal sense — no right or wrong to the matter — to deciding if “a bodiless God is omnipotent” than to deciding if “a colorless green idea has wings” As Hobbes surmised, such notions are truly incomprehensible. They are used primarily to evoke other ideas in an open-textured manner, depending on the context at hand and on people’s interests at a given time. That is why religious ideas can be “adapted” to so many different situations, and in contrary ways. Literal dogmatists who try to pin down the meaning of core religious beliefs are quite the exception, not the rule.

    Posted by Alison | August 27, 2009, 7:26 pm
  9. So, we’re in agreement that religious belief causes prayer?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 27, 2009, 10:18 pm
  10. Whoops, hit submit too early. So, unless I miss my mark pretty badly, people believe that prayer is a good idea because their religion tells them so. They do it because their religion has convinced them of the truth of prayer’s effectiveness, right?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 27, 2009, 10:19 pm
  11. Honestly Hamby, I just linked to an article from somebody who actually studies this stuff and yet you continue to press on with your flawed logic.

    Even if religion can cause one behaviour [like prayer], it’s non-sequitar to say that it therefore causes another [like murder and astrocities.]

    You are comparing apples and oranges, and I know you are going to make a comparision to prayer and your other article so I decided a pre-emptive strike.

    Posted by Alison | August 27, 2009, 10:30 pm
  12. So, is it fair to say that the belief that prayer works is the cause for prayer?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 1:59 am
  13. Yes, Hamby, you found a behaviour that would require religion because religion says that prayer works.

    Congratulations, now will you respond to the exert of the article I posted?

    Seriously, stop dodging. I answered your little red herring about prayer.

    If you don’t, I’m out considering it indicates that you won’t listen to any counter arguments.

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 5:49 am
  14. I’ve addressed your counterarguments before. I’m not going to repeat myself just because you didn’t like my answers the first time.

    Having clearly established that religious belief causes people to perform specific acts, we can say in general that *Religion is the cause of some behaviors, including at least prayer.*

    Looking only at prayer, we can observe the following: Religious people pray for many things. Some only pray over their food, while others pray nearly constantly, believing that they are exerting considerable control over their own lives and the lives of those around them. Some people, believing what their religion teaches them — that prayer is an effective cure for disease, pray for their children to be cured, and take them to the doctor. Other people pray for their children believing that it is the *best* way to cure them, and eschew professional medical help.

    Recently, *another* child in the U.S. died because the parents did the last thing. I feel comfortable calling the negligent death of a child a *bad* thing. Having established that people pray because of religious belief, I feel comfortable saying that religious belief is the cause of this particular incident. (Again, can you think of something besides religion that convinced them they should pray?)

    At this point, I’m done. I’ve proven that religious belief causes atrocity. I could go through the exercise of examining whether prayer is the *only* action that religious belief causes, but I think one would have to be an incorrigible nit-pick to raise that objection. The obvious truth is that people do things as a result of religious belief, and when some religious beliefs are taken seriously, as they often are, they lead to behaviors that cause quantifiable harm.

    So I guess now you’ll want to say that it’s not the religion — it’s that only a fucked in the head person would take religion seriously? No… you wouldn’t be that foolish. Or, maybe you’ll say that such people would do *something* bad even if they didn’t have religious belief. If you said that, I’d say you were obfuscating. No, Alison. I’ve drawn an unambiguous line from religious belief to a specific atrocious act, and you’ve agreed with me at every step of the (painfully tedious) way that religion was the cause. You don’t get to hedge now just because you don’t like the conclusion.

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 10:25 am
  15. I’m not really sure what to respond to in Mr. Atran’s excerpt. He’s not compelled by the evidence. Bully for him. He doesn’t think evidence to the contrary is relevant. Again, fine. From this little excerpt, I can’t tell what evidence he finds uncompelling and irrelevant, nor can I tell whether or not the data he’s interpretting really points to his conclusion.

    He writes relatively well. That’s one thing I can say.

    I suppose I can also say that he’s flat wrong about one claim. There is a large (and growing) class of religious belief that is demonstrably false in the usual sense of failing to meet certain truth conditions. I could begin with “Evolution is false,” or “The earth is 6000 years old.” I could extend that to “prayer is an effective cure for cancer.” I could go to “Homosexuality is unnatural.”

    These are all demonstrably false religious beliefs, each of which contributes to behaviors that are dysfunctional in the strictest sense. Would you like me to take each one of these and draw a straight line from religious belief to a societally dysfunctional behavior?

    I’m pretty sure I don’t need to worry about this excerpt any more. If Mr. Atran can’t figure out that some religious beliefs are false in an objective sense, I’m not going to worry too much about his interpretation of data.

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 10:33 am
  16. Allison, do you believe that the European witch trials of the 15-17th centuries would have occurred without the religious influence/tension of the split between Catholics and Protestants?

    Posted by fuckyourfavoritedreams | August 28, 2009, 10:35 am
  17. Actually Hamby, you missed the most important part

    Jeremy Ginges, a psychologist at the New School, finds that belief in God does not promote violence, combative martyrdom or almost anything else the “God delusion” was blamed for at the conference. University of British Columbia psychologists Ara Norenzayan and Ian Hansen have recently shown, for some 10,000 subjects surveyed in several countries and continents, that although believing “my God is the only God” increases the odds of scapegoating by 32%, simply believing “there is a God” decreases the tendency to blame others for one’s troubles by 45%. These researchers also show that atheists with exclusivist beliefs are just as likely to scapegoat others as Christians, Jews or Muslims.

    So it doesn’t look like actual study of the psychology of religion is producing the results they should if you’re right.

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 1:18 pm
  18. Good! You ignored my argument and cited an ambiguous statistic from a guy who doesn’t even admit that religious beliefs can be falsified. I admit, you’ve got a compelling argument.

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 3:42 pm
  19. While I’m at it, what in the world does scapegoating and not scapegoating have to do with this? So he demonstrated that cross-culturally, religious belief alters people’s perceptions of cause and effect, with a tendency to blame oneself more than others. Is that good? Personally, I’d rather blame someone else if someone else is to blame. Is the religious viewpoint more objectively accurate? Do people who believe in god accurately attribute causality, or is this an example of them having a skewed view of reality… which would be dysfunctional?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 3:55 pm
  20. Hamby, the same objections apply to your post, so no need to re-hash, you just keep ignoring my points and continuing to do what you do with different paramaters.

    As for the article, it wasn’t really the stats, it was the first part, about the whole showing that belief in God doesn’t promote violence, combative martyrdom or almost anything else the “God delusion” was blamed for at the conference. University.

    Honestly, and you rag on me for my reading? His point about beliefs not being falsifiable is that many of them are metaphorical, such as a moderate could re-interpt a bible verse metaphorically, if it’s dis-proven literally.

    Another thing:

    So he demonstrated that cross-culturally, religious belief alters people’s perceptions of cause and effect, with a tendency to blame oneself more than others. Is that good? Personally, I’d rather blame someone else if someone else is to blame. Is the religious viewpoint more objectively accurate? Do people who believe in god accurately attribute causality, or is this an example of them having a skewed view of reality… which would be dysfunctional?

    Do you even know what scapegoating is?

    Didn’t think so. scape goating is when you blame somebody else for some thing that’s your fault. So blaming another person when it’s their fault isn’t scape goating.

    In other words, the people who merely believe in God are more likely to take responsibility for their actions, contrary to one of your views where they put the blame on somethings else [such as a devil] and hence “scape goat”

    So yet another one of your views falls flat on their face when people actually study them empiraclly.

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 4:06 pm
  21. Off topic, but have you stopped going to RRS too?

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 4:24 pm
  22. I ask because at Kevin’s request in the last topic, I might make a topic about my views of religion/cause there. Maybe tonight or tomorrow.

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 4:37 pm
  23. No, I haven’t stopped going. I’ve been laying back some, though. Too many apples in the cart, and I need to focus on the ones that seem to be reaching the most people right now.
    I’m grabbing close to 1000 hits a day right now, and many of them are new visitors.

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 4:49 pm
  24. Honestly, and you rag on me for my reading? His point about beliefs not being falsifiable is that many of them are metaphorical, such as a moderate could re-interpt a bible verse metaphorically, if it’s dis-proven literally.

    So… um… relevance?

    Do you even know what scapegoating is?

    Didn’t think so. scape goating is when you blame somebody else for some thing that’s your fault. So blaming another person when it’s their fault isn’t scape goating.

    In other words, the people who merely believe in God are more likely to take responsibility for their actions, contrary to one of your views where they put the blame on somethings else [such as a devil] and hence “scape goat”

    So yet another one of your views falls flat on their face when people actually study them empiraclly.

    So, your point, if I understand it correctly, is that cause and effect are easy to figure out for taking surveys across cultures. The people who took blame for various things in their lives were all accurately gauging cause and effect, and none of them were falsely attributing blame to themselves because of… say… the teaching that man is inherently sinful and bears the blame for all the evil in the world?

    But I’m incapable of asserting a direct causal link between believing prayer is good and praying?

    I think maybe your demands of proof are little biased.

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 4:55 pm
  25. For the record, I’d love to hear your theory on what causes the correlations you so frequently dismiss as not being related to religion. Maybe repost it on your blog, too?

    Posted by hambydammit | August 28, 2009, 4:56 pm
  26. Have you ever taken a science class? You don’t have to propose an alternative explanation to show that a model doesn’t have lots of support.

    That’s correct – though a model that does not have support is not guaranteed to be wrong (Geocentricity vs Heliocentricity demonstrated as much).

    It’s not up to you to disprove a bald assertion; however, once it has gone beyond the stage of ‘bald assertion’ via explanation, extrapolation and evidence, the burden does fall on you to explain why the evidence is insufficient, why the explanation does not work and why the extrapolations are not properly connected.

    Look at Darwin and Wallace’s ‘Origin of Species’. Almost all of the work Darwin did was based on observations he made himself – not previous work or data he gathered – while he voyaged on the HMS Beagle. Is it fair for a dissenter to simply (as you have done here) dismiss all of Darwin’s work out of hand and claim that the burden is still on proponents of natural selection? Of course not. Do contend that Ken Miller is using a fallacious argument when he points to a large body of fossils, like those of horses, and asks Creationists what their alternative explanation is for the apparent descent with modification? If you aren’t, then you should probably be retracting your own argument here.

    This is like Jack Thompson. Can you offer an alternative explanation as to why Jimmy Bob joined a gang and did a drive by after playing Grand Theft Auto? If not, it MUST be Grand Theft Auto then. I mean you can do drive bys in that game right?

    It is not like Jack Thompson, as good ‘ol Jack deliberately lies and uses falsified data to back-up bald assertions (or, in some cases, whole cloth fabrications). Where is Hamby lying? Where is he citing a study that is inapplicable or citing a study and tweaking it’s results? Where is he just plain fabricating a given story?

    I think Mr. Thompson would actually have had a good case to make if he actually had the results that he claimed to have (he at one point claimed to have an impartial, double-blind study demonstrating causality between teenage violence and specific video games; of course, the claim turned-out to be a little white lie), just like a lot of UFOologists would have a good case to make if they actually had all of the alleged evidence they did.

    So, unless you want to accuse Hamby of fabricating something, Alison, why don’ you just go ahead and offer a counter-argument?

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | August 28, 2009, 9:00 pm
  27. For the record, I’d love to hear your theory on what causes the correlations you so frequently dismiss as not being related to religion. Maybe repost it on your blog, too?

    I didn’t necessarily show what causes the correlation, I argue why I don’t think it’s religion.

    http://cptpineapple.blogspot.com/

    I probably messed up the formatting but it’s late and I’m not as good a writer as you.

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 11:13 pm
  28. That’s correct – though a model that does not have support is not guaranteed to be wrong (Geocentricity vs Heliocentricity demonstrated as much).

    Here’s the burden of proof, I believe this is yours.

    Look at Darwin and Wallace’s ‘Origin of Species’. Almost all of the work Darwin did was based on observations he made himself – not previous work or data he gathered – while he voyaged on the HMS Beagle. Is it fair for a dissenter to simply (as you have done here) dismiss all of Darwin’s work out of hand and claim that the burden is still on proponents of natural selection?

    I never read Orgins of the Species, but if he came to me and said that these birds on this island had different beaks, then yeah, I would require more evidence.

    Oh and he did indeed gather data himself, but it was independtly confirmed through academic research

    Where is Hamby lying? Where is he citing a study that is inapplicable or citing a study and tweaking it’s results? Where is he just plain fabricating a given story?

    Right, this assumes that Hamby actually citied a study, my bad.

    and why does Thompson need studies? I mean it’s obvious right? Would you ask him to prove that a baseball bat to the knee would hurt?

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 11:28 pm
  29. Messed up the quotes [again]

    last part should read:

    Where is Hamby lying? Where is he citing a study that is inapplicable or citing a study and tweaking it’s results? Where is he just plain fabricating a given story?

    Right, this assumes that Hamby actually citied a study, my bad.

    and why does Thompson need studies? I mean it’s obvious right? Would you ask him to prove that a baseball bat to the knee would hurt?

    Posted by Alison | August 28, 2009, 11:29 pm

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