A Short Survey For Atheists About Belief and Rationality

The other day I wrote about atheists and how we're not all evolved alike. We're all very individual with how we got to where we are regarding religion and our beliefs.
Today I created a short 6 question survey about reconciling belief and rationality. I'd love it if you'd take it and leave comments. I tried to add a 7th question about superstition. Are you superstitious even though you're an atheist? Comments and thoughts are most welcome either here or over at HDC. Thanks.

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Comment by Neece on January 28, 2009 at 8:49pm
thanks Cowpunk. You're right, I need an other option for every question. Unfortunately I have yet to find a survey/poll program that lets people leave comments for the questions. If you, or anyone else, knows of any such programs that I can then post to my blog, please share! :)
Comment by HotMess on January 28, 2009 at 1:13am
You must always provide the "other" option, with room to explain, for every question. This was a very nice survey, however. It helps outline a basic pathway away from religion.
Comment by Neece on January 25, 2009 at 9:40pm
I really appreciate your feedback, everyone. I know the survey isn't perfect. It was my first one. Thanks very much! :D
Comment by jc morrison on January 24, 2009 at 11:23pm
came out as 100% atheist [phew!]

also, i am not superstitious at all.
Comment by Tao Jones on January 24, 2009 at 11:46am
In terms of horoscopes, I don't think planetary alignments can influence anything for us personally. However, if you think about it... parents are probably only going to start taking a baby outside regularly when they are a few months old. Surely a baby bundled up tight with a cold nose is going to form slightly different views of the world than a near naked baby sweating profusely. How could they not?

What I would be interested in is a study something like this. See if there is any correlation at all between personality and month of birth in young children living in the same area in the northern hemisphere. Do the same study with children in the southern hemisphere. Compare results of the two studies.
Comment by Shlarg on January 24, 2009 at 11:12am
Couldn't answer the first question. I'm not agnostic. I'm an atheist.
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on January 24, 2009 at 4:15am
The questionnaire was well-meaning but, as mentioned by others, it has some significant failings. The forced choices do not accurately or adequately reflect my position. For example, while I generally prefer to look for evidence before believing something this is (a) frequently unrealistic and (b) some "real" things are difficult to measure, see or touch. "Love" and "pain" are concepts which I have no doubt are real. Both, however, are difficult to quantify or "prove".
Comment by Tao Jones on January 24, 2009 at 1:42am
I did the survey but, unfortunately, I found it rather problematic. For a few of the questions, none of the answers applied to me. Yet for other questions, I wanted to choose multiple answers. Also, I don't think the survey tallied my results properly as I don't think it registered all my responses when multiple answers were allowed.

My answers:

1. Atheist and agnostic. I do not believe in any god or divinity. But I do not claim special knowledge of the (non)existence or nature of any god or divinity. It's possible, even if incredibly improbable. I am very certain of my atheism and agnosticism so the "not sure" doesn't apply.

2. Religious, strict

3. Drastically different, lost belief

4. Closest to dissonant 1 but I wouldn't use those words to describe my atheism. I don't see faith and rationality being completely incompatible. They are just measuring two different things.

5. This question was particularly troublesome for me. I do require scientific evidence for claims/observations about the objective world -- what is "really real." There are concepts that exist in the human mind, or subjective world, that cannot be tested in a laboratory. For example:

-Karma is more neuro-linguistic programming than something spiritual. If I project positivity, I will tend to react positively to what happens to me. It's not "magic" and there isn't some gnome somewhere keeping track to pay me back threefold. But Karma exists in that it is the way my brain interprets events and relates that to my consciousness.

-Aliens probably do exist somewhere out there so I guess I believe in them as far as that statement goes. I do not have knowledge of this, however.

-Ghosts and reincarnation probably don't exist in the way most people think of those terms. I think our "spirit" (more like "school spirit" not "holy spirit") can live on in the minds of those we have touched. It's more than a simple memory.. it's... our programming. It's not magical or mystical or anything like that but, subjectively, this sort of thing happens.

6. I tried to pick all of the above here. I think our culture is overmedicated as it is but depending on the ailment, I'm sure there are ancient remedies that work just as well as our pills. And I think there are some times when the placebo effect is exactly what is needed. It's not magic so I'm going to trust science to figure it all out.
Comment by Neece on January 24, 2009 at 1:17am
Exactly! You said it! For most of that stuff, "my skepticism overrides my wishful thinking." Thanks Richard. :)
Comment by Richard Healy on January 24, 2009 at 1:15am
100% atheist.

Q7: Are you superstitious even though you're an atheist? No, not really. One of my steps towards atheism that I took as a child was realising I couldn't believe in ghosts if I didn't think surviving death made sense. So the 'reality' of ghosts just vanished and never came back.

I think a lot of superstition works that way. Horoscopes are rubbish once you realise orbiting lumps of rock millions of miles away is bad way to run your life.

UFO's in the less-than-credible-sense: are ridiculous unless you start granting to the visiting alines the abilities to navigate the vast distances involved. This is not the same thign as doubting extra terrestrial life may exist, but even if it did, how would it get here and would we even recognise it's evolution. Even if they knew we were here and left now - would the human race be extinct by the time they got here? Not that these questions invalidate the possibility but my skepticism overrides my wishful thinking.



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