Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Lack of Faith Disturbs You

This is not good. I just realized that I'd posted my second, longish comment in twenty-four hours on a Glenn Greenwald post, yet I hadn't been able to muster the energy to post here since Wednesday. Actually I've been fairly busy, doing more reading of actual print than I have in some time, but still, that doesn't stop me unless I'm procrastinating for other reasons. Which I guess I am. It's amazing how much you can get done as long as it's not what you are supposed to be doing.

Consider this, from The Telegraph last June.

Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, said many more members of the "intellectual elite" considered themselves atheists than the national average.

A decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence, he claimed.

But the conclusions - in a paper for the academic journal Intelligence - have been branded "simplistic" by critics.

Professor Lynn, who has provoked controversy in the past with research linking intelligence to race and sex, said university academics were less likely to believe in God than almost anyone else.

That last paragraph sets off all kinds of alarms about Professor Lynn's intelligence and the quality of his research, let alone his claims. So, let's see ... why, he has his own home page, on which he lists "Eugenics" among his interests, and
In 1991 I extended my work on race differences in intelligence to other races. I concluded that the average IQ of blacks in sub-Saharan Africa is approximately 70. It has long been known that the average IQ of blacks in the United States is approximately 85. The explanation for the higher IQ of American blacks is that they have about 25 per cent of Caucasian genes and a better environment.
He has also published defenses of eugenics and is a director of the proudly 'politically incorrect' Pioneer Fund. So this man, despite his stature in certain circles, is not the best source for today's atheists to cite.

Some of them have done just that, though. I found the first two paragraphs quoted at Atheism Soup, though any rational person would immediately recognize that correlation -- in this case between rising IQs and dwindling church attendance -- does not equal cause. Besides, any decently scientifically-literate person should know that there's reason to doubt the equation of IQ with intelligence. Atheism Soup got those two paragraphs, which constituted the entire post, from Deep Thought, which might be a subblog of Atheism Soup. No doubt Atheism Soup's readers, being rationalists, will be as critical as I was, rather than taking such transparent and malign nonsense simply on trust. Snort.

The atheist cult of personality seems to be growing, as shown by the image above. See why I'm feeling a bit down? Hemingway as a role model? Well, as with the corresponding Christian cult of personality, it allows the lazy and mediocre to uplift themselves by identifying with people of higher status.