Is Secular Humanism a Religion After All?

is nothing sacred_gahan_wilsonI once scoffed at the claim made by fundamentalists, advocates for “Scientific Creationism,” that Secular Humanism is in fact a religion, a variety of paganism. Their aim was to dismiss Evolutionary Biology as the “creation myth” of this rival faith. And if it is okay to teach the Secular Humanist creation myth, why can’t you teach Creationism in public schools? Of course, fundamentalists did not mean to say (to admit) that their account of divine creation in six days is itself a myth. They were just saying that Evolution and Creation were alternative accounts of origins and of the diversity of life-forms, each account with its own reading of the data of biology, geology, paleontology, etc. They were willing to admit that their own version was dictated by religious presuppositions, and they wanted evolutionists to admit that their version was equally the result of “religious” presuppositions.

As I say, I have always rejected such claims, and I still do. As I read the works of Creationists and Evolutionists, it seems to me that Creationism’s approach is completely deductive. They feed the scientific data through a theological meat grinder, like old Procrustes, the predatory innkeeper who directed his taller guests to place their legs through holes in the footboard of the short bed, after which he would employ his trusty hacksaw. If the guest was shorter, Procrustes would handcuff him to the headboard and place his feet in stirrups, then start cranking the rack! The guest would fit the Procrustean bed come hell or high water! The “scientific theories” offered by “Scientific Creationists” are farcical pseudoscience.Suess Procrustes by robert m price

I agree with the late, great philosopher of science, Paul Feyerabend (Against Method) that it doesn’t matter where one derives one’s heuristic paradigm. “The only axiom that does not inhibit research is ‘anything goes!’” Velikofsky got his astronomical model from the Bible and other ancient sources (though not in the same manner as Scientific Creationism). But so what? Might as well test it out! On one or two of his guesses he lucked out. Harry Rimmer and Henry O. Morris got their “paradigm” from Genesis chapters 1 and 6-9? You can’t laugh it off a priori. If you did, that would be the genetic fallacy. You have to check it out: how naturally, how economically, does it seem to fit the data? Does it depend on a lattice of ad hoc hypotheses? If so, well, next contestant, please! This is where and how Scientific Creationism strikes out.

Evolutionism, by contrast, proceeds inductively, forming a tentative hypothesis, trying to connect the dots provided by the evidence. Scientists are not trying to accommodate the data to an alien framework, whittling square pegs so they can be jammed into round holes. And, as Ed Suominen and I have argued in Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution, it turns out that there is no place left for a Creator as a needful causative factor. Not only do the data not require an Intelligent Designer; the data is incompatible with such a Being. He or She or It dies the death of a thousand cuts by Occam’s Razor. One does not start out with a commitment to Atheism or philosophical Naturalism; such a belief is instead the result of the inquiry.

So Creationism and Evolutionism are not on a par. Evolutionism is not religious in the sense Creationists claim, as if scientists were having to manipulate the evidence into conformity to prior (atheistic) beliefs. But in recent years I have begun to think that in another, equally important, sense, Secular Humanism is after all a religion, a set of incorrigible dogmas held, essentially, by faith. I think playwright David Mamet sums it up pretty effectively.

The new religion will not be identified as such. It will be called Multiculturalism, Diversity, Social Justice, Environmentalism, Humanitarianism, and so on. These, individually and conjoined, assert their imperviousness to reason, and present themselves as the greatest good. (Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, p. 39)

But hold on! Mamet is talking about political Liberalism, not Secular Humanism, right? True, but my point is (and this will not surprise you) that Secular Humanism is almost completely committed to Leftism. There is no place in it for those who, though Atheists and Naturalists, are of a politically conservative bent. I served as the Director of the New York Metro Center for Inquiry until the higher-ups fired me because I voted for George W. Bush. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not bitter about it.

Tom Flynn
Tom Flynn

Nothing could change my fond affection for the late Paul Kurtz and my friends Tom Flynn, Eddie Tabash, Joe Nickel, Jan Eisler and others still affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism. And in retrospect, my departure was inevitable precisely because of our political differences. I didn’t expect it, but clarification is nothing to regret, much less to resent.

And what became clear to me was the indistinguishability of Secular Humanism and Political Leftism. It has become even clearer very recently when Director Tabash sent out an announcement that the primary mission of CSH/CFI going forward would be to battle the policies of the incoming administration of Donald Trump, for whom I happily voted.

I am a skeptic vis-à-vis the Paranormal, the Supernatural, Superstition, and Metaphysical Idealism (especially including Theism). It seems quite natural to me to be equally skeptical toward political ideologies, especially those which refuse to take seriously hard facts of human nature, both individually and collectively. I am skeptical of Utopianism, Globalism, and Socialism. Their most vocal adherents are dogmatic, intolerant, and naively optimistic. They are, as Freud said of conventional religion, projecting a wish world onto the real world. They shame, shun, and despise all who do not share their faith. The complacent arrogance of these believers who simply disdain conservatives as fools and villains (I am frequently their target, not that I’m complaining) is, as I see it, exactly like that of cock-sure evangelical apologists who write off religious skepticism as a smokescreen for moral turpitude.

Secular Humanism bears another prominent mark of religious faith: the Chicken Little apocalypticism of Climate Change. Global Warming believers repeatedly set deadlines for melting ice caps, species extinctions, rising sea levels, etc., etc. In short, the Great Tribulation. And like the doomsday deadlines of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth), these predictions are embarrassed again and again. Judge Rutherford, Harold Camping, Al Gore—what’s the difference?

By contrast, political conservatism is pessimistic, skeptical, chastened and sober. True, I am no climatologist, but “you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” (John 3:8). I practice the hermeneutic of suspicion. I ask “Who benefits?” and it seems to me that the whole business is intended to promote two things: first, the gradual transfer of power from elected officials into the hands of unelected technocrats, producing “a state whose parameters, definitions, and prescriptions are controlled by a self-selecting group of ‘experts’ who can never be proved wrong” (Mamet, p. 36).

And second, Globalist redistribution of Western wealth (instead of encouraging capitalistic development, teaching the poor nations to fish instead of just giving them a fish). It even morphs into pious asceticism, the back-patting self-righteousness of needless self-denial. “So the new [religious] group, which is the Left, is prepared and is in the process of sacrificing production, exploration, exploitation of natural resources, and an increasing standard of living upon the altar of ‘global warming.’” (Mamet, p. 40).

One thing that makes me suspicious about climate apocalypticists is that they fudge data. They intimidate the rest of us, telling skeptics to just shut up because “the science is settled.” But it ain’t. They boast that 99% of scientists believe in it, so that, if you don’t, you’re a Flat Earther, as dumb as a Creationist. But I can’t help suspecting that the Birkenstock is on the other foot. I gather the number is more like 52%.[1] And there are reports, including leaked e-mails, that reveal the fudging of data and the enforcement of orthodoxy by barring dissenting views from publication. Sounds like cynical apologetics to me. Oh, I admit Global Warming might be real anyway, but I’m not joining the parade. I am firmly convinced of the Secular “creation myth” of evolution, but I remain wary of its apocalyptic myth. (You may be rolling your eyes at that, but doesn’t that very reaction denote your orthodox intolerance for heresy?).

Mamet is correct:

This new group will, of course, like any group in history, create taboos and ceremonies of its own. But to ensure solidarity these new observances must absolutely repudiate the old; and the cult will indict these previous observances as, for example, paternalism, patriotism, racism, colonialism, xenophobia, and greed. (p. 39).

What else are Politically Correct speech codes and denunciations of “cultural appropriation”? The quota systems and ethnic self-segregations, the trigger warnings and micro-aggressions, the equation of patriotism with jingoism and racism? The Cromwellian-Orwellian crusade to eradicate expressions of traditional faiths in public life? It all amounts to the Shariah of the Left.

I used to say that Secular Humanism was not an alternative kind of religion but rather an
alternative to religion. I was wrong.

So says Zarathustra.


[1] The survey of AMS members found that while 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe climate change is occurring and mostly human-induced, 48 percent of members do not believe in man-made global warming.

Furthermore, the survey found that scientists who professed “liberal political views” were much more likely to believe in the theory of man-made global warming than those without liberal views.

“Political ideology was the factor next most strongly associated with meteorologists’ views about global warming. This also goes against the idea of scientists’ opinions being entirely based on objective analysis of the evidence, and concurs with previous studies that have shown scientists’ opinions on topics to vary along with their political orientation,” writes survey author Neil Stenhouse of George Mason University.

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13 Responses to Is Secular Humanism a Religion After All?

  1. PB says:

    Fantastic article! You’re the best, and I’m not rolling my eyes.

  2. Kapitano says:

    If a religion is any belief system that any adherent regards as unquestionable, then all belief systems are religions. Perhaps we need a word that describes such an attitude to beliefs, but I don’t think it’s useful to extend “religion” to cover the beliefs themselves.

    Rather, it’s a necessary feature of religious belief to be self-confirming, and a contingent features of other beliefs.

  3. Michael Fantina says:

    Ah, ha! Yes, Bob there is a religion in Secular Humanism. A nasty business that. I was amazed some years back when I would encounter these apostles of this well establish and forbidding creed. If folks began beheading creationists, republicans and climate nay sayers, the faithful would cheer! I have but little doubt. Good stuff!!

  4. Phyllis.Stein says:

    What secular humanism shares with religion as traditionally conceived is that its proponents exert a social pressure to ‘believe’, i.e. share its tenets, and see to it there’s a social cost when you don’t. Along these lines, you can see what’s really behind today’s commitment to a historical Jesus: each hypothesized non-supernatural Jesus is a victory for secular humanism. That’s why 57 varieties have been allowed to proliferate. Likewise, there’s a strong social pressure within the relevant departments to ‘believe’ in such a secular Jesus, no matter what kind.

  5. I.B.GodFree says:

    Climate science vs meteorology science. Learn the difference.

    Meteorology is concerned with short term (7-10 days) weather fluctuations. Climate science is concerned with long term effects (decades/centuries/millennia and longer).

    Weather is what you see looking out your window today. Climate history investigates very long term effects of daily weather compiled over vast periods of time. Dendrochronology (tree ring studies) informs scientists about dry/wet/warm/cold weather over hundreds and thousands of years. Ice core drilling in, say Greenland or the Antarctic, have shown the climate over hundreds of thousands of years. Other techniques have shown climate effects over millions of years. In addition climate science is concerned with the varying compositions of gasses in our atmosphere, notably CO2, methane, etc.

    More than half of meteorologists are employed by news stations (tv and radio). These people, as well as the news readers, are paid by the corporate owners and could likely reflect the opinions of the owners. Independence of news/weather departments went away back in the 1980’s. Here is a typical “weatherperson”;

    Bob’s footnote is quoting “The Daily Caller” who references an AMS (American Meteorological Society [socialists?]) survey and Bob merely repeats the Caller’s claim that 48% of members do not “believe” in man made climate change. I will overlook for now that belief has no place in science in lieu of facts. Apparently Bob did not think to click on the link that his “Daily Caller” had provided just to check up on the claim. I did. You should do so. It comes as a pdf.


    The 3rd paragraph is very instructive, enough so to quote here;

    “Research conducted to date with meteorologists and other atmospheric scientists has shown that they are not unanimous in their views of climate change. In a survey of Earth scientists, Doran and Zimmerman (2009) found that, while a majority of meteorologists surveyed are convinced humans
    have contributed to global warming (GW; 64%), this was a substantially smaller majority than that found
    among all Earth scientists (82%). Another survey, by Farnsworth and Lichter (2009), found that 83%
    of meteorologists surveyed were convinced human induced climate change is occurring, again a smaller
    majority than among experts in related areas, such as ocean sciences (91%) and geophysics (88%).”

    So in the survey report 64% agree about human contribution to GW not the 52% reported by the Caller”. The survey goes on to say that another survey found that 83% of meteorologists agree. The survey goes on to report that 88% of geophysics scientists also agree and that 91% of ocean science scientists agree!

    Reading further into the survey you will find this insightful fact;

    “Climate science expertise. Previous research using survey data (Doran and Zimmerman 2009) and citation analysis (Anderegg et al. 2010) has suggested that greater expertise in climate science, measured in terms of academic background and publishing record, is associated with higher conviction that human caused global warming is occurring. For example, in Doran and Zimmerman’s survey study, while only 82% of the total sample indicated they are convinced that humans have contributed to global warming, 89% of active publishers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and 97% of climate experts who publish primarily on climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature indicated they were convinced (Doran and Zimmerman 2009; Kendall Zimmerman 2008). As a result, our first hypothesis is as follows: H1: As compared with professionals with less expertise in climate change, professionals with more expertise will have higher levels of personal certainty that global warming is happening, will be more likely to view it is as mostly human caused, and will be more likely to view it as harmful rather than beneficial.”

    AMAZING! The actual survey concludes that the more expertise that scientists have about climate change the more likely that they will conclude that the change is mostly human caused. To the point that the group with the most expertise are 97%convinced about human culpability! There is the 97% figure that Bob and the Daily Caller deny! In their own reported survey! [Here I must conclude that Bob did not click on the survey link to do his normal due diligence-his integrity is beyond reproach for me. He must be too trusting in this Daily Caller, as christian apologists are with the likes of N. T Wrong, Bill Craig, Josh McDowell, etc. whom Bob diligently deconstructs].

    Overkill? Here is the AMS’s webpage on this topic;

    Previously Bob has harangued his readers regarding “Climategate”. This by now old canard has been debunked so many times. Fact check this yourself but if too lazy to do so, here is just one of many;

    That Bob lives in the Fox Bubble is OK with me, I love the guy. What does perturb me is that his lack of basic due diligence in the matter of the facts of science could spill over into a possible similar lack when making claims about religious beliefs. [I wonder if Bob has consulted his respected friend Ed Suominen, who has engineering qualifications-not climate science-, regarding Ed’s take on climate change? If Ed agrees with the 97% would Bob dismiss that out of hand? Apparently, confirmation bias, like rust, never sleeps].

  6. Jim Boswell says:

    I. B. GodFree kills you, Robert Price.

  7. I.B.GodFree says:

    Jim, I am presuming that you are referring to ideacide, not homicide. It was my intention to urge Bob to use his prodigious thinking talents and employ them in investigating science claims of climate change instead of relying on the opinions (not thoroughly vetted facts) of certain bloggers.
    I now respond to Bob’s subtle ax grinding regarding his dismissal from CFI’s NY office for their “political differences” and for “voting for George W. Bush”. Was that really the primal cause?

    CFI policies are rooted in science, reason and secular values and ascribe to the principle that (small d) democratic discourse should be inclusive as possible. One’s political affiliation or voting record would not be a cause for termination (if it was demonstrably so, Bob would have an excellent case for wrongful termination). CFI’s two major thrusts are Secular Humanism (SH) and Scientific Inquiry (SI).

    1) The SH side is engaged in many facets of secularism, not the least of which is their deep concern that the religious right will encroach upon our government and get additional religious privilege through Congress and SCOTUS. Eddie Tabash is primarily focused on the SCOTUS concerns and has been writing and speaking about this for years. To think that this means that CFI is anti-GOP (and their self confessed voters) is absurd. Remember also that Tabash is the non executive board chair. It is the CEO (recently Ron Lindsay and now Robyn Blumner) that run the Center and form public policy.

    2) The SI side is concerned with protecting and promoting scientific fact and debunking woo-woo “science”. A review of past issues of their magazine Skeptical Enquirer will show many articles both in defense of the science claims of climate change (CC) and exposing the false claims of CC deniers. Many articles.

    I would urge Bob again to consult his friends (Flynn, Nickle, Eisler, et. al.) as to their take on CC.

    It is CFI’s public posture that man made CC is real and dangerous for all human (and many other forms of) life. It is a fact accepted by virtually everyone at CFI. One might wonder just how CFI might think about one of their “Directors” as an outspoken CC denier?? This seems to me to be a more plausible explanation than your having voted for Bush.

    Conflating secular humanism with political leftism (whatever that is) is nonsense. Should I therefore conclude that Bob’s politics are political rightism (whatever that might mean)?

    As for CC Chicken Little apocalypticism-what Great Tribulation? Please show any documentation where CC scientists are “repeatedly” wrong in setting “deadlines” for melting ice caps, species extinctions, rising sea levels, etc..They don’t set deadlines a la Camping et. al., they point to the facts that the ice caps are melting, that species are going extinct (we are in the sixth great extinction) and that the sea level is rising (anyone interested in buying some very cheap property in the Maldives, Micronesia, Fiji, Seychelles, etc.?). Remember it is weather people that forecast things over the next few days. CC science forecasts things over decades and centuries. Here is an example of how they “forecast” (no Howard Campingitis here);

    To answer Bob’s question as to cui bono (who benefits)-how about the Koch brothers and all of the powerful fossil fuelocracy? Coal, oil, gas/gasoline producers as well as internal combustion engines manufacturers have zero interest in changing their fortune making enterprises. Wall Street is complicit as well. Can anyone really think that academics and “technocrats” (whoever they are) have any hegemony over those all powerful Plutocrats? Your “Globalist redistribution of Wealth” Bob is being redistributed from you me (and your readers) to the Plutocrats!


  8. Phyllis.Stein says:

    One reads the above and despairs. Every comment by ‘I. B. Godfree’ is easily answered.

    1. Quibbling about the percentage of true believers among meteorologists, climate scientists, earth scientists, etc., misses the obvious point: there is no unanimity. And whether it’s 52% or 64% in the one example, it’s the height of stupidity to assert the latter figure is more meaningful than the former.

    2. When it comes to the oft-cited ‘97% of climate scientists’ figure, here again the point is obvious: probably 97% of New Testament scholars believe in a historical Jesus. Given the extent to which ideology reigns in the university, it is of no great importance that 97% of climate scientists ***who publish*** on climate change agree, especially when agreement is no doubt a prerequisite for getting one’s research published.

    3. On that score, the automatic objection is: yes, but unlike New Testament studies, this is science! Is it? And what does that even mean? In the 1970s, climate scientists were calling for the imminent return of the ice age. In 2001, they were saying all of the arctic ice would be gone by 2015. The fact is, and it’s a very scientific and empirical fact: there is a difference between observation and projections. The former involves the sampling of ice cores and other direct study. The latter involves computer simulations that are only as good as: a) the assumptions plugged into them; b) processing power; c) the interpretative ability of those running the simulations.

    Climate change could well be underway and it could be human-influenced. But there is plenty reason to doubt when the assertion comes freighted with enormous (and unnecessary) social pressures. The very idea that today you might be a climate change ‘denier’ in the sense that one can be a holocaust denier shows you the disingenuousness involved in the debate.

    I could go on. But for all the purported appeals to reason, Godfree’s comments seem to exhibit – in my opinion – all the usual sloppy thinking mixed with hysteria.

  9. I.B.GodFree says:

    Thanks for the link to the climate scientists that, as you state, ” In 2001, they were saying all of the arctic ice would be gone by 2015″. That link was from an article published in a respected peer reviewed science journal? No wait, you provided no such link.

    Like this link to an article on how climate change is contributing to local species extinction;

    This must be caused by my hysterical sloppy thinking . Ad hominem attacks are the last bastion of bankrupt ideas.

  10. Viriditas says:

    “What is truth?” — Pontius Pilate
    “The truth — you can’t handle the truth!” — Jack Nicholson
    “I am the truth”. — fictional character Jesus of Nazareth

    With regard to the reference to the report by the American Meteorological Society, I did due diligence and read it as well as the follow up reports by the AMS and have come to the conclusion that the Daily Caller has reported incorrectly.

    Thank you, I.B. Godfree for your comments, and disentangling the lines of incorrect reasoning. It was necessary to write that much to explain it all. Thank you for saving me the trouble.

    Not long ago the Tobacco Industry produced papers that mimic truth, writing scientific reports that showed that there was no substantial evidence that nicotine was addictive. The thing is, many climate change refuters have ties with the oil industry, or with some think tank thereof, so really, how can I take them seriously? A greater percentage of conservatives are creationists, and to the thinking of these folks, it follows that we might as well use up the earth’s resources because Jesus is coming with the new Earth and the New Jerusalem and this present Earth will be discarded.

    I would be skeptical of Mamet as well. Is Mamet now the new Procrustes? Doesn’t Mamet stretch and cleave everything into his schema, either by omission or by exaggeration? While it may be indeed interesting to read the stratospheric opinions of a cultural philosopher, to employ deductive reasoning upon the descent to Earth only seems to me to land in a mess of conflicting facts, and possibly a tainted way of viewing and interpreting everything.

    As regards secular humanism, would that include people like Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine? On a different note — apolitical — what about looking at our world in terms of materialism vs vitalism? (I’m referring here to Rupert Sheldrake’s book Science Set Free).

    By the way, quotes like the one from Salman Rushdie cut both ways, left and right. Except when a scientist states that the earth revolves around the sun.

  11. Phyllis.Stein says:

    Secular humanism is a Christian heresy.

  12. Gene says:

    Excellent article. Thank you Dr. Price.

    I never got involved with atheist activism because very early on it was clear to me that one must be a leftist liberal Democrat in order to be a secular humanist.

    (And saying “Whatever that means” in response to someone’s comment is childish and lacking of any intellectual intent.)

    Whatever that means.

    I have long thought of the leftist liberal Democratic party as a state religion. My favorite definition of religion is “A system of beliefs that incorporate a supreme being from whom favor is sought.” Liberalism is certainly a system of beliefs, even though it is not totally unified. (See Bernie and Hillary.) Their entire platform is to seek favors from the government, whether a poor person wanting an upgrade on their Obama phone, a small business wanting a secured loan, college students not wanting to take personal responsibility for their own actions (student debt), or big corporations wanting another tax break. And on and on and on it goes. The object in life is to seek everything, from cradle to grave, from the government.

    I remember 25 years of “Man Made Global Warming” headlines all over the news, almost everyday. And then in the early 2000’s if was found out that there was massive fraud in the “Man Made Global Warming” business. The leading scientists were producing fraudulent data. For example, temperature monitors were strategically placed beside massive A/C units on top of buildings. And much of the conclusions reached are still being used today, even though much of the base data was deleted so no one could check their findings. These scientists had eliminated peer review. Hello! Eliminating peer review would be like the Pope announcing that he was a mythicist and he had began the process of canonizing Dr. Price.

    For several years into this second millennium the phrase “Global Warming” was used. One had to read past the first paragraph in articles to see the words “man made”. But that was the still the claim. One problem has been the persistence of cold temperatures. Damn this weather!

    So we have the Apostle Bill Nye telling the faithful to say “Climate Change” when it’s cold outside, and to say “Global warming” when it’s hot outside. I love the Apostle Laurence Krause. However on this topic, he goes on and on for hours with facts about research studies, and how the planet it is getting hotter. Correlation study after correlation study. And then he proclaims from on high, “GOD NEEDS TO SAVE US!” Oh, sorry, wrong belief system. “GOV NEEDS TO SAVE US!”

    Yes climate change happens all the time. Yes, evidence shows that our planet is currently warming up, just as it has done many, many times in the past. Our sun is big and not very consistent with it’s heat output. The spinning earth, the earth’s axial wobble… Yes, if God created the world he did a really shitty job of it. It’s estimated that in the last 75,000 years, about every 11,000 years our planet warmed up drastically and this warming echoed in a very long and cold period of time, as in ice age cold. Where were all the people and cow farts back then?

    Climate change is happening. Our planet is in a warming phase. I am not convinced that it is being caused by man.

    I am convinced that we must get our pollution under control or there won’t be anyone left to argue about whether man made global warming is real or not.


  13. rjenbody says:

    I enjoyed your article very much and was surprised to find out that a right leaning atheist is a rare bird, indeed. Perhaps it’s just admitted right leaning atheists? It would likely take the air out of any room full of conservatives were one to admit to atheism, I reckon? Strange, though, considering the strong call for “Christian Values” has been ever present in the party platform, the platform that seems the most at odds with the very teachings they so vocally espouse.

    The parable of the rich man and the camel seems to be lost on the party with unwavering support for policies that would further enrich the already rich, at the cost of pretty much everyone else. Give Caesar what is Caesar’s and they all sign a no new taxes pledge, lest they become Grover Norquist’s next victim. Universal health care is a blasphemy on the right even though their beloved Jesus was constantly giving free health care and He is the very Alpha and Omega, quite universal, indeed. Mind you, I have some conservative leanings, too; but it is not lost on me the very blatant hypocrisy. I apologize, but this is not my original purpose for writing, but your points on this matter just struck my inner irony bell, and this alarm has rung loud and for a long time with me.

    My actual point, however, was a rather simple one. I don’t care to debate global warming one way or another with you or any of the previous, brilliant, commenters; and though I’m sure I should, I don’t really have a dog in that hunt, nor do I care to know why I should. I will say this however, when someone finds need to lie, purposely misconstrue facts, or simply exaggerate to make his or her point, then it tells me they do not truly believe the point they are trying to make. If the truth alone does not suffice, what you are selling is a lie. This little truism I live by was driven home in the churches I grew up in.

    I recall hearing stories about “a young man” or “an old man” who either did or experienced something miraculous. These little stories were always very moving and emotional, really driving home the point the good pastor was trying to make. My favorite doesn’t exactly fit the pattern, but I think you’ll get my point.

    It was this very scary story about these Russian scientists would bored a hole deep into the earth’s crust and when the reached as deep as they could they began to hear weeping and crying, the very cries of the damned in Hell echoing up the pipes for the scientists to hear. A great story to make Hell seem very real and palpable, but the thing was it wasn’t true. Yes, the borehole exists, but no cries of the damned come out of it.

    Those “young man” or “old man” stories were not true, as claimed; but, more likely a second-hand story stolen from some work of fiction or just an urban legend that met the preacher’s needs. These were never sold as parables, but as true. You see, when I began to realize these stories were untrue, that’s when I began to question the teachings of the church, most of which I now find absurd.

    So, tell me, how is fabricated, falsely obtained or exaggerated data, published, but not peer reviewed, supposed to create any more fear in me than the story of the borehole to Hell? It doesn’t.

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