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Do you think that some atheists have the same blind devotion to science as they do to religion?

My reason for this comment is a conversation I recently had with someone over medication.
I made a comment that I prefer to not take any medication and use diet and nature whenever possible.
The person I was talking to freaked out and asked me how I could call myself an atheist, believer of science and yet I denied the benefit of modern medicine.

I tried to explain that I don't deny the benefits but I also understand that it isn't full proof either. How can people be so skeptical about religion but yet refuse to be skeptical about medicine?

I see so much hate for people who don't embrace all science without question from atheists. Doesn't being a skeptic also apply to other aspects of our lives?

Crimson67 8 Dec 31

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Skepticism is integral to science. Science begs that we question it, and scientists should as well. While I think it's natural for lay people to question science, some of it is so specialized, especially when it comes to medicine, that even grasping the basics can be difficult, and therefore hard to question. Still, we can't blindly trust those areas of science that appear largely driven by profits.

bingst Level 8 Dec 31, 2017

I know a couple of scientists that almost worship their classical education. They refer to any kind of new knowledge or approach as quackery. They're really stuck in the mud, and yes - they sound just like the religious fundamentalists they mock.


True science is evidence based and open to being proven wrong and challenged. There is a lot of dogmatic pseudoscience these days and it's another form of rigid fundamentalism masquerading as science. Follow the money. There is huge profit to be made by fear mongering and brain washing folk with pseudoscience.

Bebel Level 4 Dec 31, 2017

I don't think science encourages blind devotion. Science welcomes questioning and testing. Science is challenged all the time.

I too prefer not to take medications, not for "science" but because I don' t trust big pharma. Big Pharma does not want cures, they want customers. Just tell them Question EVERYTHING, and follow the money.

Exactly. It isn't pure science. It's driven by profits, not the good of humanity. And I agree that they aren't interested in cures. They're interested in making everything a manageable chronic illness, managed by their drugs of course.


And Big Pharma who spends big bucks to lobby congress and raises the price of drugs already on the market is to be trusted? It is so easy to get "peer reviewed" articles published. I choose to be skeptical and take drugs only when absolutely necessary. []

I won't say pharmaceutical companies aren't looking for ways to maximize their profits and there haven't been some morally questionable actions on the business side. I can't abide claims of withholding cures to deadly ailments or intentionally keeping people in a state of perpetual sickness. That's conspiracy talk and where I draw the line.


Jeez, they must not pay attention to the side effects on most medication !
And all the opioid addiction from prescription medications.


There is nothing wrong with a reasonable skepticism. However, I have to say that were it not for a certain antibiotic 25 years ago, I would have died.

Sure, no one can say positive strides have not been made in pharmaceuticals, but we have to be careful with them. Being critical helps.


Medicine is a business. And I’m skeptical whenever someone is trying to sell me something. I think science as a pursuit of knowledge is perfectly reasonable, but when you mix in business and politics, the value of the pursuit becomes diluted. There is plenty of evidence where the scientific results of drug trials have been either falsified or slighted in the favor of business concerns. Sorry, I’m kinda cynical.


Yes. Fundamentalism of any sort is a blind faith. Critical thinking is hard. Picking an ideology of any sort and following it without question is lazy at best.


Devotion to science isn't blind. Science requires objective evidence for all claims and self-corrects over time when errors are made. Religion requires faith which is believing without evidence or, worse, believing despite evidence to the contrary.
Every medication approved by the FDA has been subject to rigorous testing. Mistakes do happen, of course, but they're discovered and corrected. You have far less reason to be skeptical about that than about the miraculous claims of religion. The research that goes into developing new medications is peer-reviewed and available for anyone to see. Science welcomes skepticism, religion withers away when exposed to it.

Except when one realizes that the maker of the drug does the clinical trials and not the FDA.



Bingo... How often we hear about this wonderful drug that cures something and 20 years later it happened that causes damage to another organ or worse. I do try to stay away as much I can from any medication including aspirin and acetaminophen included. I am a Veteran and VA is always offering medication of every shape and form. Even my depression I avoided the make me feel happy pills. The Danger of Over Medication is Around Us. Science do not only cures it also kills. So We Can't Be Blind.

I suspect the parameters that allow new medications on the market has changed.
There have also been false shortages of various Rx and removal of others while pharmaceuticals pushed those that still retained the patent.
Look what happened to Darvocet(ancient RX!) & Vicoden(I can't take that anyway but) poof but here we have a prescription opiate epidemic. Why anyone wants to do those recreationally is beyond me- I've watched a loved one who had to take those suffer the gastrointestinal effects.


also science is in bed with the pharma industry so depending on whose research one reads there are many rivers to cross

  1. If you accept it without questioning it, it's not science. Period. Doesn't matter what it is. Anyone who doesn't get that doesn't know science.

  2. Western medicine has problems--like everything else that people create. One of the problems is over-prescribing of medications (a la opioid crisis). It's a thing. Doesn't mean you should never take drugs, or should necessarily be prohibitively skeptical of all possible Rxs. But be skeptical. Ask questions, do research. Get a second opinion, maybe. Approaches and attitudes can vary widely. Sometimes not. Sometimes the biochemistry is very clearcut. It depends.

I'm with you: my feeling is that drugs should be an intervention of last resort--after you've worked on your diet and exercise and sleep and psycho-social-emotional well being. Im not saying have a crack at curing your diabetes with kale smoothies. I'm saying maybe give the Big Macs a rest and switch to decaf if you have high blood pressure BEFORE you start taking pills...not instead of.


After having endured mistakes made by physicians ranging from GPs, a pediatrician and more than one highly regarded veterinarian I've been left no choice but to question everything & verify what I can.
There are dangerous prescription drugs out there. E.g. Avelox. I was once prescribed this years ago & just happened to do a search on it before taking it. Well that shit scared the living crud out of me that I wouldn't take it. On follow up the GP chastised me "you can't trust the internet!".
FF years look at the delayed side effects of that Rx, some people have had crippling injuries as a result of tendon damage from this medication.
I'm so glad I looked it up.
And I've countless stories like this. One of my dogs was given a hardcore antibiotic. In my desperation and mind fatigue battling this situation I unfortunately did not verify like I normally would. Well FF months later & liver values are off. The only thing different given was this Rx which can cause delayed effects. I was never advised to provide liver support while giving that med.....

Further, I've witnessed vaccination reactions in both my kid & one dog. One dog suffered the effects of having been given a bunch of shots all at once for years. It took forever for her system to "calm down".
I now titer all my animals. It's much easier & more cost effective in the long run despite the initial expense than dealing with the effects of an immune system gone haywire, new allergies, prescription diet, etc etc.

While I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I'm a "slow vaxxer", and very cautious, but damn some people are so assimilated because "science".
Uhm, do more research people. Just like dangerous medications, not everyone and everything can tolerate a barrage on the immune system.

Thank you, @Qualia for sharing your experiences, these are similar to mine.

As a result, i haven't used any allopathic medicine in two decades, and i try to eat organic, and treat myself through research and consultation.

We have to do it for our health and wellbeing.

@Maya405 People in the medical world are just that, people, they're human and they make mistakes. They're also immersed in the mantra "when hearing hoofbeats think horses, not zebras", so yeah, that makes so much sense say, if you're in Africa. LOL

I've a ton of medical mistake, incompetence stories, one fatal so my position is set in stone. Drs don't like "Dr. Google", TFB! don't expect blind trust after serious mistakes have been made.

More often than not, cases like yours are outliers and five minutes with "Dr. Google" does not equal four years of medical school and four years of residency, especially if you don't have the science background to understand what you're reading.

True if looking at medical vernacular but when a yearly rabies vaccination is the identical one to the 3 year all trust goes out the window.

In the case of my dog the side effects/warnings were not presented to me. As is too often the case medical people are pressed for time so explaining reasoning in depth is a rarity. So to expect implicit blind trust from my POV is not happening.

I was also told a melanoma on one of my dogs was a wart. Had to get a second opinion and had it removed & biopsied. Don't tell me something's a freaking wart when it's GD cancer.

@Qualia Not really an "outlier". I've got tons. Another one is the cancer my late dh's GP missed until it was stage 4. He was not one to skip the dr.


I have not encountered such blind devotion on any atheist or agnostics I met...I am skeptical of many things not just religion, medicine, law...

good one .... law. it is a bachelor of ARTS in uni. says alot


I posted some links about global warming and People have no interest in looking at the other side that man-made carbon dioxide is not causing global warming it probably is cosmic rays and the sun and the cloud cover density which it is believed that cosmic rays have an effect on cloud cover. Please do some research about this new information. And read some of my coming about global warming. Because there is no global warming now they changed it and call climate change and yes we have had climate change for millions of years so they cannot be wrong.

dc65 Level 7 Dec 31, 2017

I agree with you 100%. The person you were talking to was not listening to what you were saying, you said you try to control your health with diet but if it becomes necessary you will take the medication. Most medications have some side effects and you have to weigh the benefits over the harm they do with the side effects to what good they are doing for you if you need prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs. An example high cholesterol there are people that cannot take Staton drugs like Lipitor because of the side effects. It is much better to control your cholesterol with diet. I'm speaking from experience.

dc65 Level 7 Dec 31, 2017

I wouldn't "freak out" on you because we all have to take our own path. And whether or not one takes medicine has nothing to do with atheism. But being sceptical doesn't mean just doubting, it means following the evidence. Lack of evidence in a god lead me to atheism, and evidence that modern medicine works leads me to that. Just try and make sure your path is evidence based. Especially when it comes to medicine, it can be dangerous otherwise.

Faith is a worthless trait. If you aren't going to be evidence-based in what you believe then you have thrown out any criteria for believing anything at all. I believe, despite what the text may say, that even the biblical god believes this. Otherwise what is the point of all the claims about miricles?


I think some people have blind devotion to science regardless of whether they are atheist or not .


Relying on exercise and nutrition for health isn't anti-science. Take a look at the Microbiological and Biological effects of what's consumed and how the body is challenged - that is not denying modern medicine, that's the molecular basis of "natural" health care.

MrsG Level 1 Jan 4, 2018

How does that mean this person was not skeptical about drugs too? I also prefer natural methods first, but there are times during which the dangers of side effects are the best alternative to death. Whenever I need chemical help, I look at all the alternatives, including life style changes and meditation - as most atheists that I know of.


actually, if diet and nature work, it seems that is preferable to putting various chemicals into your body. Science isn't confined to artificial substances as best I know.


First of all, I don't think atheists have blind devotion to religion. Second, I'm not entirely sure atheists know much more about science as their religious counterparts. Even on this site you see people who call themselves atheist who espouse the ideals of Depak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer...

A lot of people I run across can easily answer most of the simple questions about things like holistic medicine, vaccinations, flat earth... but there's still a large gap in what they actually do understand scientifically. In fairness, it's true of us all, but it's those who consider that they know far more than they do.

As Socratic paradox goes: "The only thing I know, is that I know nothing." That realization is the beginning of wisdom, and that's the real reason science exists... because of our deep and yearning desire to "know."


Of course not! Science is built around skepticism - scientists continually (and continously) challenge their belief system - which is about as far away as you can ever get from religion ...


conforming your beleifs to evidence presented to you by reality is the opposite of a religious beleif. As someone with no medical degree, and very limited knowledge on the medical industry, I am more than happy to put the decision making of any drugs that I am taking in the hands of people who are far better educated than myself on this subject. I suffer with Colitis and need to take immune suppressant drugs so that I don't have any of the symptoms that comes with colitis. Being skeptical is fundamental to the process of science. Medications go through rigorous tests again and again before they are approved and people are working all the time to immprove medical care. Without the process that we call science, we would not be able to differentiate between drugs that work and drugs that don't work


@witchymom, i feel frustrated by this attitude/pov as well. Thanks for pointing to it, i'm still struggling with how to express it.

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