What is it with “Psychology Today” ?

Within 3 days I have now come across 2 entirely idiotic and evidence-free articles in Psychology Today, that attempt to paint atheists and secularists in a bad light. First there was this piece, “When The Going Gets Tough, The Atheists Go Praying“, and today I read this vapid bit of nonsense, “Do we need religion to be ethical? While not essential, religion helps people be good“.
That’s a lot of bullcrap in only 3 days !
Let’s deal with the first one first. A guy called Raj Raghunathan asserts :

Perhaps atheism is a luxury of the well-to-do. Put differently, everyone–even the most hardcore atheists, I think–will start believing in God if put under a high amount of stress. Think of the last time you prayed to God, and I will bet that, for many of you (whether you generally classify yourself as an atheist or not), it would have been when you were under stress. For most of us so-called atheists, when things go horribly wrong, we think of God.

One is tempted to just dismiss this load of crap out of hand, since it is really entirely irrelevant what some guy called Raj thinks is the matter. We don’t get any supporting evidence, no quotes, no links, just Raj making assertions. Here’s what I think Raj : I think that atheists and non-believers don’t pray to supernatural beings when the going gets tough (which one would we pray to, by the way, would there be different gods to pray to in cases such as family deaths, or earthquakes ?), and by not praying atheists and secularists don’t waste time with non-existent supernatural entities, and can actually focus on the difficult things they might be faced with. Maybe Raj just can’t get it into his head that there are people out there who don’t use appeals to the supernatural to deal with life, be that an earthquake, a family death, or the outcome of a Cricket match.

Now to the second article. All becomes clear when you take a look at what the guy does : Thomas Plante is “Professor of Psychology and Director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University”. In other words, a professional wooist. But man, is he confused :

Religious organizations have a wide variety of comprehensive services, programming, groups, lectures, readings, models, and so forth that can regularly impart, support, and provide corrective feedback about ethical principles and guidelines to their members. The secular community just doesn’t seem to have the organizational structure to do so.

So, he is trying to tell us that the reason that the religious don’t go around murdering and pillaging, is that they periodically check in with their basecamp, where they receive “ethical feedback”, and non-believers, since they lack such organisations, are murderous monsters who lack ethics and morality.
All the priests and clergy raping children, Northern Ireland, Israel, Pakistan, the Crusades, all done by secularists, in the name of atheist gods ? What a total moron.

Religious engagement and practices encourages and supports “clean living.” Research has consistently found that religious people are less likely to engage in criminal behavior, marital infidelity, alcoholism, unprotected sexual activity as well as being more likely to engage in pro social behaviors such as volunteerism and charity.

See above. Also, what is it with Psychology Today and wild assertions ? Again, we get no evidence for these claims, no links to this “research”. It’s not even sloppy journalism, it’s making shit up. Some facts for Mr Plante : Teen pregnancy. Criminal behaviour. Charity.

I can’t quite believe that made-up nonsense like those 2 pieces could actually be published anywhere. “Psychology Today” is now officially off my list of things to read at the airport.

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