For example, I have an atheist friend who is sadly an anti-vaccer, another half believes is water divining. The point being atheism is no guarantee of a woo-free wordview.

Have any of you here had similar experiences with friends etc?

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Yeah. My brother's girlfriend doesn't believe in god, but she believes in souls and ghosts.

Atheism is a disbelief in gods, sadly it doesn't cover all of the supernatural and paranormal.

With no god to go to and no heaven or hell, maybe she thinks all the souls have a favourite hangout spot.

Hahaha! I haven't had a chance to ask her about it, but from what my brother says it is more of a fear of death thing. She just wants to think that she and her loved ones will somehow continue to exist after death.

I had a friend who claimed to be atheist and said the same thing. She believed there was a place to go to after death where "everything would be OK", I believe were her words. It is strange how even hardened skeptics can't seem to let go of that happy place in the clouds. 

And so, when in another thread someone asked whether if religion could be abolished overnight what would happen?, the answer is that as long as some of us can't handle the idea of death, there will be religion of some sort.

At its core, atheism just deals with the question of belief in deities. Not unicorns, the Loch Ness monster, ghosts, telepathy, reincarnation or any of the multitude of other supernatural beliefs. For that, try skepticism. :)

Having one sane opinion doesn't mean you're sane.

Sure. I don't think it's all that big of a deal for the most part though. If someone close to me sank all their money into homeopathic remedies, or relied solely on Reiki instead of ever seeing a doctor, I might be concerned, but it just hasn't ever been the case. Entertaining fantastical things as a pastime or trying a hokey alternative on a lark with a bit of expendable income seems perfectly reasonable to me provided an individual can put higher priorities in a more rational perspective.

Oh, and belief in ghosts, specifically, is often more popular than I would expect. Again, I don't know anyone with an unhealthy fixation on ghosts, so if they have their reasons for speculating the existence of spirits, I mostly just let it alone. I don't really get it, but it doesn't interfere with any other aspect of our interactions.

Well, we have some very New Agey "atheists" here. You've mentioned the anti-vaccination yahoos. Some of us are just not ready for the hard science approach just yet.

Yea, but in the case of the anti-vaccers, are concepts like herd-immunity all that hard to understand? I guess they just latch on to the hyperbole with clenched teeth and cannot let go. 

What's that about herd-immunity? 


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