Hmmm…. I'm not sure, but I believe Deacon Duncan considered my response to his Unscientific America trolling, and deleted it. I suppose time will tell. What is it with atheists and censorship, anyways? Do the dissenters now fear the dissent they were once so fond of championing?
DD's post was about the great American intellectual decline, and of course, he blames religious influence – and only religious influence – for the current problems facing our education system. I've noticed that many otherwise educated individuals erroneously brand religion as the convenient scapegoat for society's ills-du-jour, and for me, such usually comes across as rhetorical stretching, just like when religious individuals blame evolution for society's problems.
I felt DD's argument had a tincture of merit, but was also grossly oversimplified. I figured I might as well post my thoughts somewhere else they be wasted, so my response follows. I'm mostly interested in your thoughts on the great American intellectual decline, but I'd also like to know if anyone can speculate on why this comment might have been deleted.
TWIM values free speech. Ads get cut, that’s about it. Comments and criticisms from readers, writers, logicians, freethinkers, believers, skeptics, atheists, agnostics,
scientists, theologians, philosophers, cranks, haters and trolls are welcomed. As in the flesh, inflammatory vitriol is subject to harsh rebuttal.
The twentieth-century frontier experiments conducted by Duncan MacDougall M.D. of Havervill, Massachusetts are worthy of mention. As a skeptic, it should be noted that MacDougall approached his research from a methodological naturalist’s point of view, writing with detectable resentment towards the blind faith demanded from theologians and so-called metaphysicians regarding the existence of the spirit / soul. Thus his experiments suffer from confirmation bias in that McDougall set out with a specific goal, to disprove existence of a soul that transcends death.
His hypothesis was simple enough:
…the soul substance so necessary to the concept of continuing personal identity after death of the material body must still be a form of gravitative matter…”
Hence it must have weight.