Atheism and the social sciences

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Atheists have had a negative effect on the social sciences.

The economist and sociologist Karl Marx. The political theorist Vladimir Lenin

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[1] See also: Atheism and communism

The economist and sociologist Karl Marx said "[Religion] is the opium of the people". Marx also stated: "Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction.[2]

Political philosophy, or political theory is considered by some political scientists as a sub-discipline of political science. The political theorist Vladimir Lenin similarly wrote regarding atheism and communism: "A Marxist must be a materialist, i.e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i.e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could."[3]

Marxism is an revolutionary movement developed by the German scholar and activist Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels. Marx's approach is indicated by the opening line of the Communist Manifesto (1848): “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. Marx believed that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, would produce internal tensions which would lead to its destruction.

Communism, as it emerged around 1918-20, was a late political manifestation of Marxist philosophy. Lenin in Russia and later Mao Zedong in China tailored Marx's ideas it to their expedient political needs.

Eventually, the communist Soviet Union collapsed due to: an inferior economic system, lack of personal liberties for its populace due to excessive central government control and an economy burdened by militarism.[4]

In September 2010 Fox News reported concerning communist Cuba:

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked Castro if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.

The Cuban government had no immediate comment on Goldberg's account.[5]

Communism and mass murder

See also: Atheism and mass murder

It is estimated that in the past 100 years, governments under the banner of atheistic communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 and 259,432,000 human lives.[6] Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel's mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[7]

The atheist psychologist Sigmund Freud promoted pseudoscience

Sigmund Freud in his laboratory

See also: Sigmund Freud's view of religion and Atheism and depression and Atheism and suicide

Sigmund Freud and the atheistic and pseudoscientific Freudian psychoanalysis has had a cultish following.[8][9] See also: Atheist cults

Freud was a proponent of the notion that theism was detrimental to mental health.[10] Oxford Professor Alister McGrath, author of the book The Twilight of Atheism, stated the following regarding Freud:

One of the most important criticisms that Sigmund Freud directed against religion was that it encourages unhealthy and dysfunctional outlooks on life. Having dismissed religion as an illusion, Freud went on to argue that it is a negative factor in personal development. At times, Freud's influence has been such that the elimination of a person's religious beliefs has been seen as a precondition for mental health.

Freud is now a fallen idol, the fall having been all the heavier for its postponement. There is now growing awareness of the importance of spirituality in health care, both as a positive factor in relation to well-being and as an issue to which patients have a right. The "Spirituality and Healing in Medicine" conference sponsored by Harvard Medical School in 1998 brought reports that 86 percent of Americans as a whole, 99 percent of family physicians, and 94 percent of HMO professionals believe that prayer, meditation, and other spiritual and religious practices exercise a major positive role within the healing process.[10]

The prestigious Mayo Clinic reported on December 11, 2001:

In an article also published in this issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed published studies, meta-analyses, systematic reviews and subject reviews that examined the association between religious involvement and spirituality and physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life and other health outcomes.

The authors report a majority of the nearly 350 studies of physical health and 850 studies of mental health that have used religious and spiritual variables have found that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes.[11]

Atheism and historical revisionism

See: Atheism and historical revisionism

Doctors believe in God more than social scientists. Medical science is often more reliable than social science

Few, if any, political scientists predicted early on that Donald Trump would be the leading Republican candidate in the 2016 GOP primary. 27 percent of American political scientists believe in the existence of God while 76 percent of American doctors said they believe in God.[12] Compared to medical science which has many effective medicines and surgical procedures, the social science of political science is often unreliable.

See also: Atheism and health

Physical sciences, social sciences and reliability

In an article entitled How reliable are the social sciences?, Cary Cutting wrote in the New York Times:

While the physical sciences produce many detailed and precise predictions, the social sciences do not. The reason is that such predictions almost always require randomized controlled experiments, which are seldom possible when people are involved. For one thing, we are too complex: our behavior depends on an enormous number of tightly interconnected variables that are extraordinarily difficult to distinguish and study separately. Also, moral considerations forbid manipulating humans the way we do inanimate objects. As a result, most social science research falls far short of the natural sciences’ standard of controlled experiments.[13]

In 2014, the science journal Nature reported that over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test.[14]

Doctors, social scientists and belief in God

NBC News reported: "In the survey of 1,044 doctors nationwide, 76 percent said they believe in God, 59 percent said they believe in some sort of afterlife, and 55 percent said their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine."[15]

On the other hand, according to, 31 percent of social scientists believe in God. 27 percent of political scientists, who are social scientists, believe in the existence of God.[16]

Compared to medical science which has many effective medicines and surgical procedures, social science is often unreliable. For example, few economists (economics is a social science) in academia predicted the Great Depression or the 1987 financial crisis. Ludwig von Mises was snubbed by economists worldwide when he warned of a credit crisis in the 1920s.[17] Few, if any, political scientists predicted early on that Donald Trump would be the leading Republican candidate in the 2016 GOP primary.

The abstract for the journal article Measurement Validity: A Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research which was published in The American Political Science Review indicated "Scholars routinely make claims that presuppose the validity of the observations and measurements that operationalize their concepts. Yet, despite recent advances in political science methods, surprisingly little attention has been devoted to measurement validity."[18]

The political scientist Emily Thorson wrote at the Politico website:

Late last semester, a student showed up during my office hours. She sat down across from me, looking worried. I assumed she wanted to discuss her upcoming paper, but she had something else in mind. “Professor,” she said. “How did Donald Trump happen?”

This is the question everyone seems to be asking these days. Trump’s rise has defied the predictions of pundits and pollsters, repeatedly embarrassing those who swore that he would flame out. I’m a political scientist, and I count myself among that number. In September, I offered my students a $500 bet that he wouldn’t become the Republican nominee — a wager I’m increasingly glad that none of them took me up on.[19]

See also


  1. Investigating atheism: Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
  2. Mulligan, Martin (1959). "Private property and communism" translation of Marx, Karl (1932), Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Moscow: Progress Publishers).
  3. Rothstein, Andrew and Issacs, Bernard (1973). "The attitude of the worker's party to religion" translation of Lenin, Vladimir (1909), Proletary, No. 45, May 13 (26), Collected Works, (Moscow: Progress Publishers) vol. 15, pp. 402-13.
  4. Thayer Watkins, San José State University, Department of Economics
  6. Multiple references:
  7. Rummel, R. J. (November 1993). "How many did communist regimes murder?" University of Hawaii website; Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  8. The Freudian psychoanalysis cult by Kevin MacDonald, Ph.D.
  9. The pretensions of the Freudian cult by Thomas Szasz, The Spectator, 4 OCTOBER 1985, Page 32
  10. 10.0 10.1 McGrath, Alister (February 28, 2005). "The twilight of atheism". Christianity Today website. Retrieved on May 23, 2015.
  11. Mueller, Dr. Paul S. et al. (December 2001). "Religious involvement, spirituality, and medicine: implications for clinical practice". Mayo Clinic Proceedings vol. 76:12, pp. 1225-1235. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic Proceedings website on July 20, 2014.
  12. How reliable are the social sciences? by Cary Cutting, New York Times
  13. Over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test, Bature
  14. Most doctors believe in God, NBC News
  15. Scientists belief in God varies starkly by discipline,
  16. The man who predicted the depression, Wall Street Journal
  17. Adcock, Robert, and David Collier. 2001. “Measurement Validity: A Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research.” The American Political Science Review 95(3): 529-546.
  18. 5 Political Myths Trump Is Exploding by Emily Thorson, Politico