Stale, leftover Halloween candy: Scientific American on … Satan
|November 4, 2013||Posted by News under Science, Culture, News|
The misleading begins almost immediately:
Some 70 percent of Americans, according to a 2007 Gallup Poll, believe in his existence. This personification of evil has implications beyond the supernatural, influencing how we think about what it means for people to be “pure evil.” And as we prepare to playfully celebrate the wicked and depraved on Halloween night, it’s worth pausing to reflect on some of the psychological and behavioral consequences of these beliefs.
Hold it right there.
The belief, among theists, that evil is, at bottom, a person (just as good is, at bottom, a Person), has nothing to do with a claim that some humans are “pure evil.” That isn’t even possible if we hold that they were created by God.
The belief that good is embodied in a Person (and/or evil in a person as well) relates to the fact that all our rational experience of good and evil is of choices made by persons. We do not credit inanimate objects with moral qualities; we do not even credit intelligent animals with them, only persons.
If this is the quality of the thinking behind the research, we can probably ignore the rest of it. I’d be inclined to say that Scientific American should be ashamed of publishing such glaring nonsense, but shame is one of those things they have likely outgrown.