Steven Pinker’s Designated “Malignant” Delusion

How Those Reckless Evangelicals are a Danger to Society

To any of you who believe in an afterlife - in a transcendental reality - you best be warned you are beholden to a “malignant delusion,” according to Harvard psychology professor and author, Steven Pinker. Placing the good professor’s statement in context, in a May 21st tweet, he opines:

Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would make them longer, safer, and happier.

To support this absurd assertion, Pinker links an article from the Washington Post by Gary Abernathy, “What’s really behind Republicans wanting a swift reopening? Evangelicals.” In the article, Abernathy was taking note of the comparison between the reaction of political conservatives with those of political progressives with respect to the lockdown edicts from state and local governments due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Citing the results from an NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll revealing a sharp partisan divide – with the majority of Republicans feeling that the worst of the pandemic is over and the majority of Democrats believing the worst is yet to come – Abernathy believes there is lack of concern for reasons that are different from Zeeshan Aleem of Vox. Whereas Aleem suggests the divide is due to the differing kinds of media consumed by each group (with political conservatives, listening to voices “downplaying” the impact of the virus, whereas “more informed” progressives heed objective voices projecting more serious outcomes), Abernathy’s explanation is much more cynical.

Noting the “danger” posed to the country because evangelicals are a cornerstone of the GOP, Abernathy states their fundamental beliefs in an eternal life engenders fatalism, saying, “As far as many evangelicals are concerned, life passes quickly, suffering is temporary and worrying solves nothing.” Apparently, because of these beliefs evangelicals are willing to take risks that their more “objective” atheistic counterparts are not.

The Harvard professor, noting the psychology that drives the decisions of many conservatives in a now-deleted tweet termed their beliefs as malignant delusions. As an author and wordsmith, Pinker in his carefully crafted statement implies that evangelicals - as delusional, mentally-ill nutballs - adhere to a world-view that facilitates great harm, calamity, and even death. His insults continue as under no uncertain terms he asserts that the belief in an afterlife drives evangelicals to actually devalue human life, thus, they are not as inclined to make civilization better to improve it. So, this delusion explains why political conservatives are largely indifferent to the severity of COVID-19.

I guess we can all breathe a great sigh of relief that the religion that informs atheists – that of materialism, is on the upswing in the west! We can all take great comfort knowing that the “objectivity” of atheists will do nothing short of making the world a better place (maybe the good professor will give them all an “A”). As a matter of reference, history has given us an impressive record on which to reflect: after all, who would not relish living in the utopian society that Karl Marx dreamed of? Think of all the unborn lives both valued and preserved under the patently “objective” eugenics doctrine espoused by Margaret Sanger (whose ideological child blossomed into Planned Parenthood). Consider that beacon on a hill – China – where there are very few human rights abuses as the atheistic Chinese Communist Party in cherishing life, actively seeks to make life “longer, safer, and happier” for all – just ask the parents of all those large families, there.

In contemplating the stellar record of those who are not beholden to the “malignant delusion” of an afterlife… I think I’d hedge my bets for optimal survival living in the “dangerous” society governed by those nutball evangelicals. Considering the record of history –both recent and past – the COVID-19 infected world those rotten evangelicals espouse would still bespeak survival rates greater than those of preborn infants entering Planned Parenthood clinics, or citizens in socialist societies challenging the doctrine of Marx.

Emily has had a lifelong appreciation for science, teaching, and research. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno with a BS degree in molecular biology and a minor in cognitive psychology. As an undergraduate, she conducted summer research in immunology, microbiology, behavioral and cognitive psychology, scanning tunneling microscopy and genetics; she also published research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and co-authored a chapter on scanning tunneling microscopy. She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology at University of Cincinnati and a Certificate in Apologetics with the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Emily has had the joy of teaching high school chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, anatomy & physiology, and pre-engineering classes over the last thirteen years. As a former Darwinian evolutionist, Emily enjoys stating the case for intellectual agency, considering the arguments posited by the intelligent design movement as much more credible than those proffered by Darwinists.

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