I strongly recommend this insightful article. It deals with food-fads but brings to mind a great many popular controversies where even the non-religious fall into patterns of “religious dogma” thinking:
I particularly appreciated this pithy soundbite:
Nutritional evangelists, like their religious forebears, are heavy on pathos and ethos, but woefully lacking in logos.
Here the author identifies the nutritional narratives of paradise past (our ancestors had almost Edenic diets), complete with a Satan-like evil deceiver (drug companies) and a “gospel message” (the promised bliss and salvation of “natural” foods):
The phenomenon that Rozin describes isn’t unique to nutritional nonsense. Vaccine refusal (with its clear relationship to paleo and anti-GMO narratives of paradise past) depends on faith in what amounts to a religious ideology, complete with an evil deceiver—big pharma!—and the promise of salvation through avoiding unnatural chemicals. Unfortunately, research consistently shows the futility of combating ideologically motivated belief with facts and reasoned argument. No matter how well you make your evidence-based arguments, your vegetarian friend will continue to believe that avoiding meat cures cancer, and your gluten-free aunt will insist that eating bread causes Alzheimer’s.
Notice how almost primal notions of nutritional good and evil drives the “logic” of food-fad “neutri-evangelical” ideologues. [Nutritional-evangelism is my term, not the author’s—but such language follows so naturally from the articles’ observations.]
In my opinion the author provides excellent explanations for why we often find our evidence-driven arguments totally unsuccessful in deterring impassioned advocates who treat their ideological positions as if based upon religious dogma. And the logical fallacies and thinking patterns are so similar to those commonly found among so many origins-ministry activists.
I think Biologos readers will find the article worth their time. As an Ex-YEC who was a “creation science” evangelist of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the article revives my embarrassment and sobering awareness of personal culpability for significant harms to multiple generations of evangelicals and to American science education in general.