In a study involving 275 atheist scientists from elite universities 72 said they had so called 'spiritual qualities' consistent with science.

Per the article:

"Ecklund and Long noted that the spiritual scientists saw boundaries between themselves and their nonspiritual colleagues because their spirituality facilitated engagement with the world around them. Such engagement, according to the spiritual scientists, generated a different approach to research and teaching: While nonspiritual colleagues might focus on their own research at the expense of student interaction, spiritual scientists' sense of spirituality provides nonnegotiable reasons for making sure that they help struggling students succeed."

The study was conducted by researchers from Rice university and is to be published in the June issue of the journal, Sociology of Religion.

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Oh, Blasted !!!!   i am soooooooooooo embarassed - the reply stupid thing (yeah, i know it doesn't have it's own spirit !!!!!!!!!)  confused me - argh!!


sorry, everyone --jeez  :P

dear john jubinsky -


i like your part of the discussion quite a bit, as i agree with you that there is a 'spirituality' out there.  to me it's the energy of Gaia herself or itself really. and i don't call it a 'belief', it just is.


Does this have any meaning to you?  - alexa


My position is not that I believe there is an energy associated with life that is not associated with non-life. It is that I cannot rule out such a thing because I simply don't know enough about what sustains life.

To me life appears to be very different from non-life and on this basis alone I must entertain the possibility that there is an energy involved in it that is not involved in non-life. If there is I would expect it to be scientific in nature. However, scientifically, whether there is has not been determined.

Nonetheless, in that this question has not been scientifically resolved, those who insist that there can be no such energy are the ones who are harboring a belief rather than those who are agnostic concerning the matter.

If such an energy existed remember that it would support freewill and, in this, would allow bad to harm good. As such, it would be more indifferent than good. Accordingly, if it existed I think it should be viewed as a purely scientific entity and not revered. I think good can only come from within people (animals) by exercising the freewills that indifferent nature has afforded them.

Notwithstanding, for reasons that have nothing to do with good, I understand nature to be such that it must satisfy the good from within by supplying them feelings of dignity, self-esteem and the desire to be better while (for reasons that involve too much explanation for me to present right now) being incapable of completely satisfying (and ultimately at all satisfying) the bad.

I like your positive attitude.

"True atheists make no allowance for any kind of supernatural nonsense."


Wow. That's just simply not true. Atheism doesn't mean that you don't believe in anything you can't prove, it means you don't believe in a god. There are a lot of reasons people might not believe in a god- logic isn't the only reason. You might think it's the only GOOD reason, but that doesn't change the definition. Who are you to judge a "true" atheist?


And until you know everything there is to know about the universe and the way it works, who are you to say that what appears to be "supernatural" doesn't exist at all? Depending on what kind of "supernatural" you're talking about, it could be perfectly natural, just not within our current understanding. It's perfectly ok to have had experiences that demonstrate that there are things you don't understand about the world we live in, things that nobody can explain to you, and to still not believe in god. These aren't things you have to prove to anyone, because it doesn't matter if anyone believes you or not- you know you can't prove it, but you also know that you don't have an explanation for it. So you leave yourself open to wondering what it COULD be, without pretending to know the answer.


If you've never experienced anything that you couldn't explain, I feel sorry for you. There is great joy in the unknown, in the mystery of it all, in the knowledge that we have so much more to learn and to figure out. And if you HAVE ever experienced something you can't explain, but you ignored it because you couldn't explain it, well, that's just not very scientific.

Strictly speaking, this statement, "True atheists make no allowance for any kind of supernatural nonsense" is false. 


Atheism refers to a lack of belief in gods, not a lack of belief in any supernatural concepts.  Many atheists believe in other supernatural constructs, such as animism, afterlives, reincarnation, psychic powers, etc. The proper term for someone who rejects ALL supernatural claims is 'naturalist'.

Per Webster the definition of Atheism is:

2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

I think of the word in two parts: A - theism. Of course A means without and theism means the belief in a deity.

Spiritual is one of those squishy words/ideas that, like quicksand, can swallow you whole & kill you. To me, spiritualism is the gateway drug to delusion and, thus, religion. My woo-woo detector howls & bullshit meter glows red whenever I hear the word or its cousins: "soulful", "essence", "heart", "gut" and all of the rest of the squish-words that 'journamalists' use to describe something they think is outside simple brain functions. They are, of course, rewarded by their 'FreeMarkets!' overlord-oppressors when they do this so our media is chock full of this crap.


Forget who said/wrote this: "Spiritualism is a parasite that weakens our intellectual immune system."


Works for me. Nope. No spiritualism for this guy. Not even a teeny-tiny little bit. Opens the floodgates to the woo-woo, every time.

I would like to know what they mean when they say "spiritual". I've had people say I'm spiritual because I do find meaning in life. When they say "While nonspiritual colleagues might focus on their own research at the expense of student interaction, spiritual scientists' sense of spiritualty provides nonnegotiable reasons for making sure that they help struggling students succeed", it gives me the feeling that they mean spiritual in that sense. The idea that if someone gives their life meaning, and places values on immaterial things, uses sympathy and empathy, then they are spiritual. But I don't believe in anything supernatural, and I still help my peers when they needs it. And I know a lot of atheists that don't believe in the supernatural that would help others also. So either the spiritual scientists are smearing the nonspiritual scientists, saying they are only worried about themselves and their work(I don't see 20% of atheist scientists doing this as likely), or by "nonspiritual" they mean bitter, cold atheists that feel like life is worthless and there is no point in helping other(against, I don't see 80% of atheist scientists believing this). Basically, I feel that something is off with this study.
The word 'spiritual' annoys me as much as people who say they believe in God, but the 'god' they believe in is completely different from the one(s) represent by organized religion - Einstein's 'god' is a good example.

Elsewhere on AN there is a discussion about the word "truth".  It is inexact in that it refers to what one honestly BELIEVES is so.  I think that our debates would be more clear if we just stop using the word "truth" except meaning - the opposite of "lies".   If we say "facts" instead of "truth", one's own perception or belief doesn't get mistaken for testable, proveable reality.  I say, "Keep your truth, just give me the facts!"




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