Originally posted by generalissimo
Philosopher Mortimer J Adler once said:
"The increase of secularism and irreligion in our society does not reflect a decrease in the number of persons who are truly religious, but a decrease in the number of those who are falsely religious; that is, merely superstitious. There is no question but that science is the cure for superstition, and, if ...[text shortened]... ous were primarily and essentially superstitious.”
Does anyone agree with this analysis?
So how many people are religious and not superstitious? Does it matter?
If superstitious people are in the majority in a democracy, it leads to draconian measures to ameliorate their built in superstitions, leading to such events as the Salem Witch trials or other barbaric trials, such as holding someone underwater to see if they are in league with the devil, if they survive they are with the devil and they are killed, if they drown, they were not of the devil, poor woman.
But advances in science and philosophy have to reach the majority, not limited to geek journals if said advances are to reach the superstitious and have any change of changing them.
I for one would be suspicious of anyone claiming to have lost some treasured superstition as the result of reading more refined philosophic essays or new science proving the old wrong and thus removing some block to releasing said superstition, whatever that may have been.
I don't think people with deep felt superstitions would ever change, as a percentage of similar minded folk, maybe a few percent would see the light and cast off the superstition binding them but I think people, especially the older they are, would hang on to their precious superstitions ever the harder in light of newer knowledge, be it in science or philosophy. Besides, most people read at about an 9th grade level anyway and any refined philosophic treatise would likely go over their heads and thus not reach them.
With that in mind, it looks to me like the real superstition buster is better education and not letting right wing christian nut jobs, for instance, force the superstition of creationism to be taught in a science classroom as some kind of fantasy rebuttal of evolution.
That IMHO is where the crux of the issue lies, better education, better teachers, reaching the young before superstition can get buried in the young psyche.