It's odd, you know. Whenever I find myself moved to comment on one of the Reg's stories, it usually seems to be something about religion.
I think it's because I find these articles' 'forums' - and sometimes the article themselves, depending how troll-y they are to begin with - the most irritating, because some (most) of you are clearly bright people. You work, in many cases, in a complex industry. You understand stuff like code and networking and all these tricksy things that I, as a mere scribbler, couldn't hope to grasp. The intelligence and the humour generally show through pretty clearly around here.
And then the subject of religion comes up, and suddenly there's a flurry of comments dripping with predictability and sheep-like conformity, not to mention (most annoyingly) prejudice and irrationality.
As I post this, there are only forty-one comments. I've no doubt, if past performance is anything to go by, that number will go up by an order of magnitude by the time the forum is closed. There will be smart-alec references to invisible pink unicorns, spaghetti monsters, teapots and so on. Fairies at the bottom of the garden, and allusions to 'a bearded man sitting on a cloud'. There will be dismissive phrases such as 'sky-pixie' and 'imaginary friend'. There will be jeering and insults directed at the foolish (and probably evil) idiots who believe in such stupid a stupid idea as religion. I expect all this, because this seems to be what we always get when a crowd of intelligent people decide to show off their intelligence at the expense of those they deem beneath them.
And running through all of it will, as usual, be the tacit agreement that 'religion' is one single homogenous belief structure, and that every believer is essentially the same.
If this all seems over-defensive, consider some of the comments already submitted here. As some have rightly tried to point out, this article refers to research that quite explicitly suggested that religious people feel happier or more contented after a head injury.
In other words, as an AC has rightly said:
"The research had nothing to do with /changes/ in level of belief. [...] The article even suggested that this was likely more to do with the sociat-support that generally comes bundled in with religious beleif rather than the belief itself."
Yet, already, we've got presumably otherwise intelligent people offering such comments as:
"Religion=malfunction, then?" - Anteaus
"So bashing a bible on a religious type's head will make them happier ?" - Karl H
"The more your brain function is impaired by physical trauma, the more religion makes sense." - fixit_f
"Summary: Thinking is unpleasant. People who don't accept what abook or a preacher say, on the sole authority of said book or preacher, have to think for themselves." - Chris Hance
As far as I can tell from the Reg article we're all responding to, no-one has suggested anything approaching the statements made by those first three I've quoted - and the statement from Chris Hance is just a dazzling non-sequitur.
Oh, and 'BristolBachelor' offers the slightly unsettling phrase "religious er.. people". Are we really now at the point where it's the privilege of the 'rational' and the 'intellectual' to question whether the religious are entitled to be called people? Or perhaps I'm reading this wrong?