Quoting Janet Holmes "My problem with people who admit to being religious is that they have conclusively proved their inability to think straight”. (See under “Origin of Atheist Pride”, page 3 of 6, dated 25 May 2009):

Janet is right. How can people be relied upon to make independent, logical, responsible, well-founded judgements in other matters too? This can be important in all fields but is especially significant for local, national and world government.

How sad it is that Earth's greatest evolutionary success is afflicted thus.

How long will it be before the world's majority are atheist, and the religious universally recognised for the aberrants that they are?

Tags: Aberrant, religion

Views: 47

Replies to This Discussion

When I began this topic by coining as a heading a 6-word epigram on religion and atheism, I knew that I had oversimplified---but that is what most epigrams do.

So regarding the substance of the topic I had in mind, rather, a view of the grand sweep of evolution in the universe.

Our universe bangs into existence, and trillions of galaxies result.
In various places (well, at least in the one that we know about) life appears, and the passage of time leads to life forms, their evolution, and ultimately intelligent life (Homo sapiens)---the intelligence revealed physically by the great discoveries of science and technology.
But on Earth this did not go smoothly during the known Homo sapiens period.
Instead, progress was checked by perverse religious interventions and influences.
And if fundamentalism had wholly succeeded, growth in the sciences would have faltered and stopped. We would be held back in the creationist world of the christian Middle Ages, the Hamish, and the Muslim mullahs. Here is what I mean by aberration, a deviant wilful diversion from the rational advances of the world, a halt to the progress of religion-free science.
Instead of a world benefitting from the truths of science and medicine, we would have an aberrant backward world built on fictional tales and lies.
Taking last things first, it will probably be some time (and may never happen at all) before the majority of earth's population are atheists. There is tremendous cultural momentum behind religions and they are quite capable of morphing into unexpected forms and veering in unanticipated directions. It seems likely they will be around for a good while, certainly for the foreseeable future.

And, frankly, I think it overstates the case to claim that all the religious are aberrant (i.e. suffering a moral or mental lapse or flaw). While it certainly may be true of some, it's impossible to make such a categorical indictment of all religious people because they have such varied beliefs. It's all well and good to declare that belief in any sort of god is a mental aberration, but whether accurate or not, such statements ignore the tremendous differences that exist in such beliefs. If we are going to call all god-belief an aberration, then we must allow for degrees of aberration, else the label is a misnomer.

There are profound differences between the woman who says she believe in "a benign, supernatural force" in the universe because it comforts her to think that is the case and the man who says he believes in "God" because he talks to it in private moments and acts on its instructions. Both points of view may be aberrant, but I hardly think both are equally dangerous. The former may simply be a somewhat quirky blip in an otherwise rational outlook. The latter could be a sign of severe mental derangement and might pose serious dangers for other people, depending upon the nature of the "instructions" in question. I am far from being any kind of apologist for religious outlooks of any sort, but I think we make a serious error when we attempt to lump all believers together and fail to recognize the differences between them.

While it is certainly true, in my view at least, that the universe gives every appearance of having no sort of god in it and therefore atheism probably is true, it is not the case that atheists are necessarily any more intelligent or even any better at coping with day-to-day existence. Atheists are not exempt from faulty thinking or blind prejudice or plain stupidity. Becoming an atheist does not automatically elevate anyone into a paragon of rationality or wisdom.

One who believes in a god may well be capable of rational, responsible, well-founded judgements in other areas. And some who are godless seem incapable of those things. Blanket indictments in either direction are, it seems to me, unfounded and unwarranted.

Finally, though I share a, perhaps unfounded, prejudice on behalf of my species, I think it quite a stretch to label ourselves "Earth's greatest evolutionary success."
A very sane response. Thanks.
Thanks for your thoughts, George.

I ask the members in this forum a simple question: Does evolutionary success favor atheism or theism?

It is true that rational thought has brought about many siginifcant improvements to the survivability of homo sapiens sapiens. These benefits can be had by atheists and theists alike. So, who wins the evolutionary contest?

Answer: The ones that leave the greatest number of surviving offspring to the next generation win.

Sorry, if you decided that it was irrational and unpleasurable to have children of your own for what ever cognitive process you followed, when your atheist genes and culture die, the theists will continue to be the majority until some of them manage to annihilate our species.

The commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" has a very real-world, evolutionary advantage to "aberrant" believers.
I am afraid that religion will never be abandoned. It provides an easy expanation of all the things that are not understood by indivduals or societies. There seems to be a religiosity tencency in humans. Once indoctrinated in a belief system, abandoning it requires a great deal of thought and the ability to withstand the criticism of others who are membors of the belief system. Religion is taken as a fact. To look at it objectively seems to be a hurdle that most people cannot or do not overcome because 1) there is no apparent reason to question the belief system 2) the thought capacity to pose questions of religeous beliefs is often inadequate 3) there is an inability to overcome social and familial pressures to conform and so on.
Yet, people do abandon religious belief with a regularity that causes considerable distress to organized religions and the religious establishment generally. While we non believers deplore the religiosity of our societies, especially here in the U.S. where I live, those who are religious deplore the movement toward secularism.

One of the points that often seems to get lost in these discussions is that for all of recorded human history, religions have been the repositories of the great narratives about the history of the universe, of nations, of people. It is only within the last four centuries or so that we have had anything like modern science and, thus, have developed the ability to deal with those grand themes in a manner that is more fact-based and rational. Think of all we have learned about the universe and our place in it during the last two centuries, since Darwin's birth. It's not surprising to me that religions are durable. What I find remarkable is that we have been able to learn as much as we have during such a relatively short span.

It may well be the case that religions will be with us for a long time to come. I don't think that's because we have some inherent need for religions, though. What we do seem to have a need for is a sense of community and a perception of meaning that fixes our place in the cosmos and explains it. Because religions are very creative in finding new forms and modes of expression, they may never disappear completely. I will settle for the disappearance of those forms of religion that are truly toxic and demeaning to humankind.

The difficulty is that it requires more effort to learn science than to accept myth. Even a superficial understanding like mine takes a certain amount of reading and intellectual effort. The mythic lies of religions, however, require a mostly emotional effort that is not nearly so demanding. Ultimately, I think that may be what keeps religions around—not that they are necessary but that they are easier.
Very good explanation. I've always thought it takes more thought to be an atheist than to take the easy way and believe something just because they are told to and everyone else does, so why not?
Sam Harris made a point in his book 'Letter to a Christian Nation' that religion is the only area of life where belief without evidence is not considered madness.
Dr. Meaden, your post reminds me of two excerpts from Mirror Reversal that shows startling agreement. I wrote the following five years ago.

The leaders of the church hierarchy don’t give a damn – ‘cause they believe the world is going to be destroyed anyway. And it looks like it will, in a self-fulfilling prophecy. What a cruel ironic cosmic joke! Books written by goat herders and fishermen, determining the destiny of mankind and the entire planet.” She almost choked on her words, “The whole idea of a Virgin Mother makes me sick, as if it’s shameful to be born through the mammalian birth canal.”

In later chapters,

On this side, the very pillars of society – the judgment of right and wrong -- are decayed and corrupt.
How long will it be before the world's majority are atheist, and the religious universally recognised for the aberrants that they are?

Here's a possible answer to your question, also from Mirror Reversal.

“With religion and superstition so powerful here, it’ll take centuries before humanity can evolve into a spiritual entity. People will steal the gold right out of your teeth, they will. We remain in the Dark Ages. But maybe, some day, scholars, writers, artists and teachers will be respected more than warriors, athletes, and egotistic pop-culture celebrities. Maybe some day enlightened leaders will spend more money on education and health than on machine guns and cruise missiles. Maybe some day enlightened leaders will learn that technology will never solve humanity’s real problems and that the key to happiness resides in reconnecting with our primitive selves which is basically good.”
Here is a classical example of a Bible Thumping Brainless Twit. I nearly posted this in the Humour Group, but it is really too serious to be funny. I apologize for the lenght of this. You will understand why as you read it.

I joined the Biblical Archaeology Forum on July 22nd 2009. I thought it might have intelligent people of scientific minds. There is a "know-all" there who goes under the nic "Elijah" who believes the Exodus happened as did Noah's Flood. He writes about climing Mt. Ararat with a paid guide and sdaw remains of Noah's Ark. Here are some posts about it"

ELIJAH:
The only potential i consider possible of Ron Wyatt is his Red Sea parting of east Aqaba instead of west Suez.
I personally thik that if he has truth there that he was offended at the rejection with an atitude of I will show you, God is with me, and I will discover EVERYTHING.

Well God does help me discover everything I aim for, but it is in a theory sense that he does so as I read what others find and say and publish. Nothing of anyone is free from being questioned, nor should not be questioned. The Bible promises that the truth will go thru the fire along with those who bear it. This doesnt mean people of truth survive some fire while everyone else is destroyed, but rather refers to purging of what is false by a fire of questioning persecution. It should be expected even if so horridly morally wrong in some extents.

The many chronologies indicate that Hyksos entered Egypt first at Peleg's death which varies in year BC depending on the chronology. But these years are not geneological as everyone thinks, they are astral. After Peleg's death, Abram came in the 1st year of 12th dynasty. He was regarded as Hyksos intrusion also but 12th dynasty was Shemetic (Hyksos). Though scholars say Hyksos are primary Hitite from Turkey to Ararat, they include Shemetic Chaldean (Ur) who left Peleg's death gooing to Ararat. Shemetic Hyksos left Ur when 3rd dynasty was destroyed by Hitite in 1900 BC but they went to found India, and this is also true then again when their relatives left Babylon in 1625 BC for India. These dates are confused with Hyksos leaving Egypt when slavery started in 1600 BC just before Aaron & Moses was born. Moses was born marking the fall of Babylon in 1594 BC.
The flight of Moses in 1553 BC at 40 is marked in Egypt as the exodus of Hyksos which actually occurred 40 years later when Moses at 80 came back. So many scholars attempt to prove that 215 years of Israel cannot reach 600,000 men between age 20 to 60 but they fail to see that these Hyksos left with Moses by agreeing to be citizens of the 12 tribes of Israel they followed. If we use the scripture which says the day will come where 10 men are saved on the skirt of a Jew, this could imply there were 10 Hyksos for every Israelite going thru the Red Sea. Moses was accepted by Israel when he came back to release Israel, then rejected during the plagues being told he was causing greater slavery, then accepted to flee Israel lest you stay behind and be killed by Pharaoh, then feared for the parted Red Sea, then defied saying Jehovah is with all of us not just you. So very human just like today. Just like Ron Wyatt.

I too have my prejudice, I get the impression all the time that Australia is very much anti Bible and anti church and anti JW. The striving for evolution and gay marriage etc in Australia seems to be the strongest in the world when you talk to them. Perhaps a false impression I have; I just do not converse well with them without them hating me.
LOL Makes you think Olivia Newton John and Helen Reddy are rare atitudes. But I hope we can do well here if you wish to discuss topics.

My Reply:
Elijah seem to shoot his mouth off with BS about "Noah's Flood " and the fictitous Ark with crap that

would make a true scientist puke.

I ask if he has any connections with :
"Answers in Genesis"
http://www.answersingenesis.org/ and it's "Creation Museum"
The current director: Ken Ham is a failed "science" from, I am sorrry to admit, Australia and is a lying

quack.

"Wyatt Archaeological Research"
http://www.wyattmuseum.com/
The late Ron Wyatt was not an Archaeologist, He and his whole mob consist of a bunch of lying quacks.

I say that the bible is very poor fiction fuill of errors and contradictions and the Roman Catholic Church was founded on a lie and exists on the basis of a fraud.

THERE WAS NO GOD AND NO "CREATION" .

Now I made that somewhat harsh because other members have been critical of Elijah. I do not suffer fools gladly.

I am expecting to be "excommunicated" from this Group. I would like that, to be the first Martyr of the First Church of Atheism of which I am an ordained minister.

"His Holiness" Dave Allen was right.

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