Bigfoot Evolved

Michael Egnor

“Skeptical” atheist Steven Novella has a blog post on “Mande Barung,” an Indian version of the Himalayan Yeti and the North American Bigfoot. Novella ruminates on the credulity of one Dipu Marak, a local passionate believer in the shy mythical creature. Debunking Yeti sightings is low-hanging fruit for skeptics like Novella, whose skepticism knows no limits — except for his own materialist ideology, about which he is credulous to the bone. One wonders why atheist “skeptics” need to explain to their readership — presumably compliant atheist skeptics all — that Yeti probably don’t exist.
Logan Gage explains why. Gage has a superb essay entitled, “Which Secular Superstition do you Believe?” Gage asks:

…[Who] is more likely to believe wild eyed superstitions these days, the religious or irreligious?

The answer, Gage observes, is unambiguous:

Just last week Rodney Stark, a respected scholar at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, released a study entitled “What Americans Really Believe.” Stark and fellow researchers commissioned The Gallup Organization to poll Americans on questions of religious import…Many of the fascinating findings of this year’s Baylor Religion Survey, which asks much deeper questions than typical religious surveys, center on atheists and the irreligious…Gallup asked questions regarding belief in things like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, Atlantis, haunted houses, and astrology. Baylor’s researchers aggregated these figures, producing an index of paranormal belief. As Mollie Ziegler Hemingway reported in The Wall Street Journal, “While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did.”…”In fact, the more traditional and evangelical the respondent, the less likely he was to believe in, for instance, the possibility of communicating with people who are dead.”

The theistic and particularly the Christian view that nature is the creation of a rational mind is the foundation of modern science. Atheistic ideology, which denies rational purpose or design in nature, does nothing to advance science. Gage notes:

Even many non-religious historians of science now understand that, far from perpetuating old superstitions, the Judeo-Christian tradition constituted a radical break with pagan thought. It posited a single rational mind behind the universe rather than myriad irrational spirits in the universe…This Gestalt shift was crucial in the rise of modern science. It is no accident that experimental science arose in the West where the idea of the intelligibility of nature took root, for it made sense to seek orderly laws of nature if there exists a rational lawgiver of the universe…While the findings of the Baylor study appear counterintuitive, perhaps they shouldn’t. Once we lose “faith” in the rational intelligibility of the universe, what is left to dissuade us from the latest findings of UFO-logy?

It is amusing that, despite the pretensions of atheist “skeptics” such as Novella, atheists are much more likely to believe pseudoscientific claims such as UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, psychics, Atlantis, and astrology than are traditional religious believers. Four times as likely, to be precise (31% vs. 8%). Yet this should come as no surprise. Nearly all atheists believe that the genetic code and the intricate nanotechnology in living cells arose entirely by random mutations and natural selection. Compared to the belief that life arose by chance and tautology, Bigfoot and astrology seem downright plausible.
Gage sums it up eloquently:

The existential question facing science today is whether it can survive an intellectual milieu dominated by the materialist superstition.

Michael Egnor

Senior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.