When is Pseudoscience and Superstition Not?

Apparently when you’re Denyse O’Leary.

It’s an old article, but I just noticed it under Google News today: Does religion protect us against pseudoscience? In this article, O’Leary cites a Wall Street Journal article that cites a Baylor University study which claims to know “what Americans really believe” with regard to the supernatural and the paranormal. According to O’Leary’s quote of WSJ: “traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology.”

This should come to no great surprise to anyone who’s studied religion and religious cult practices, which includes “spells” that prevent adherents from straying to other superstitions. Indeed, Christian cults and Christianity in general have perfected this spell to such a degree that adherents and believers assign occult practices, superstitions, and paranormal beliefs that are outside of Christianity to works of “Satan,” or temptations of evil.

But, in many cases, they truly believe things like witchcraft and the paranormal to actually exist! They may not have faith in these things, but they *do* believe these things to be real forces that are to be avoided at risk of inviting “Satan.”

The real irony, however, is in the notion that other people’s superstitions are superstition and your own superstitions are not. So, for even those Christians who don’t think there’s anything of substance to astrology, tarot cards, ouji boards, and palm reading, there’s still a belief in magical processes like virgin births, zombie messiahs, walking on water, casting out demons, talking in tongues, angels, prayer/incantation, etc.

What O’Leary is really doing with her article, is looking for a way to ridicule Bill Maher who’s Religulous just opened at theaters as an anti-religious documentary (its opening night grossed more than Expelled, apparently). I’ll be the first to admit that being atheist doesn’t imply that you’re skeptical and not superstitious. Maher certainly has some kooky beliefs.

But the most ironic comment of the article is: “it turns out that traditional religion is an excellent prescriptive against many superstitions and much pseudoscience.”

For those of you that don’t know, Denyse O’Leary is one of the biggest proponants of pseudoscience on the internet. She posts frequently at pseudoscience websites and writes articles promoting pseudoscience in her quest to make “intelligent design” out to look like a real science. She’s for having the pseudoscience of creationism taught in public schools.

In short: she’s a nutjob that far exceeds Maher’s silly concerns about health and medicine.

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