Field of Science

Between the Devil and Darwinism

The 2008 Harris Poll is out, and shows that more Americans believe in the Devil (59%) than accept the reality of evolution by natural selection (47%). Still, that's a slight improvement over last year, when the figures were 62% vs 42% (but it's within the margin of error), and at least they're doing better than Kazakhstan (just).

The high levels of belief in the Devil has nasty implications for society at large. Back in 2006, Gary Jensen (a criminologist at Vanderbildt University) showed that so-called 'passionate dualism' - i.e. religious worldview characterised by intense beliefs in a clash between good and evil - is a major cause of homicide.

Hat tip: AMJ

1 comment:

  1. Instilling fear of the devil is a primary means by which theists keep believers in the fold. Whipping up fear of awful consequences is easy. Whipping up love and devotion to an unseen deity - especially one who punishes unbelievers with gruesome punishment for infidelity - is much more difficult to do. Subtract the fear from the manipulative equation and theism loses most of its power to hold people.

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