Comment: Christian God not the only delusion

Latest Pew survey shows the US delusions spread wider than ‘simply’ beliefs in ever-present God; Jesus as incarnate god; and bible as the inerrant word of god. It is also reincarnation, astrology, evil-eye, …

Would you believe that 22% of Christians say they believe in reincarnation?
supernatural beliefs

16% believe in the “evil eye”.
supernatural beliefs by demographic

Alex McCullie

News: 33% US Believe Scripture As Literal Word of God

According to the national survey of religious belief from Pew Forum 33% of people in the US believe that their respective scriptures are the literal word of God. The highest believing group is the ‘Historically Black Churches’ at 62%. Some of the lowest groups are Hindus, Buddists and Jews. Christian groups dominate the literalists.
(Pew breakdown here.)

Alex McCullie

News: Pew Report – I May Go To Heaven

A new Pew report of religious beliefs in the US again shows that many religious people believe eternal life is available to other faiths and even non-faiths. 56% of surveyed believed that people with no religious faith may still have eternal life after death and that even applies to atheists (42% – presumably kicking and screaming)  with white catholics giving atheists the most hope.

So how does one get eternal life? Again, according to the survey it’s by ‘Believing in Jesus’ just ahead of ‘Being a good person’. (full report from Pew Forum

Here’s one extract that’s interesting…

Mainline Protestants who attend religious services at least once a week are also somewhat more likely than their less-observant counterparts to describe theirs as the one, true faith, though large majorities of both groups say many religions can lead to eternal life (75% and 85%, respectively). The religious attendance gap is virtually nonexistent among white Catholics; more than eight-in-ten weekly churchgoers and less-observant Catholics alike say many religions can lead to eternal life (85% and 84%, respectively).

Alex McCullie

PS For the record unaffiliated seems to include atheists, agnostics and no particular religious beliefs

News: Shock – Celebs Make Ridiculous Unscientific Claims

Sense About Science website is promoting their Celebrities and Science Review 2008 listing ridiculous unscientific claims made by celebrities and politicians. The Independent newspaper highlights some amusing findings, such as:

Mr Obama and John McCain blundered into the MMR vaccine row during their presidential campaigns. “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate,” said President-elect Obama. “Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it,” he said.

His words were echoed by Mr McCain. “It’s indisputable that [autism] is on the rise among children, the question is what’s causing it,” he said. “There’s strong evidence that indicates it’s got to do with a preservative in the vaccines.”

Exhaustive research has failed to substantiate any link to vaccines or any preservatives. The rise in autism is thought to be due to an increased awareness of the condition.


Sarah Palin, Mr McCain’s running mate, waded into the mire with her dismissal of some government research projects. “Sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not,” Ms Palin said. But the geneticist Ellen Solomon takes Ms Palin to task for not understanding the importance of studies into fruit flies, which share roughly half their genes with humans. “They have been used for more than a century to understand how genes work, which has implications in, for example, understanding the ageing process,” she said.


Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all espoused the idea that you can detoxify your body with either diet (scientifically unsupportable) or, in the case of Moore, products such as “highly trained medical leeches” which make you bleed. Scientists point out that diet alone cannot remove toxins and that blood itself is not a toxin, and even if it did contain toxins, removing a little bit of it is not going to help.

and finally…

But top prize went to the lifestyle guru Carole Caplin for denouncing a study showing that vitamin supplements offer little or no health benefits as “rubbish” – it is the third year on the run that she has been mentioned in the review. Science author and GP Ben Goldacre pointed out that the study Ms Caplin referred to was the most authoritative yet published. “Carole should understand that research can often produce results which challenge our preconceptions: that is why science is more interesting than just following your nose,” Dr Goldacre said. (full article from The Independent)

Alex McCullie