My response to Susan Blackmore, Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind
1. The comparison of numbers of children by religious and non-religious is an argument against religion, in my opinion. It might have been an evolutionary advantage when the world's population was low, when over-population was not a problem. We need to stop reproducing Homo sapiens. To continue means more hunger, disease, poverty, and exploitation because of an overabundance of available workers and more enforced hardships for women, already overburdened with social conditions being what they are.
2. Fear of overpopulation by non-religious is no rational reason to favor religion. Fear can and should alert us to the dangers of too many mouths to feed and not enough water to support agriculture for humans, animals, fish, and all flora. With the human population, a responsible goal would be to have a population that can support all life. The needs of the Earth must take precedence over the wants of religious humans.
3. To assume "data suggesting that religious people are happier and possibly even healthier than secularists may or may not be true." It depends on how one defines religious, secular, healthier and happier. Because my interests involve family violence, I find the data is growing that "non-church affiliated women experienced lower rates of domestic violence than conservative Christian women". (Brinkerhoff et al. 1992)
4. Zuckerman cites a study that finds that "Christians Are More Likely to Experience Divorce Than Are Non-Christians. (Barna, 1999).
5. The most secular nations in the world report the highest levels of happiness among their population.
6. During the Holocaust, "the more secular people were, the more likely they were to rescue and help persecuted Jews."
7. "atheists and agnostics, when compared to religious people, are actually less likely to be nationalistic, racist, anti-Semitic, dogmatic, ethnocentric, and authoritarian."
8. "Secularism also correlates to higher education levels."
9. "Atheists and other secular people are also much more likely to support women's rights, gender equality, gay and lesbian rights."
10. "Religious individuals are more likely to support government use of torture."
11. Religious research easily picks up on results that favor religion over secular and too often without citations. Zimmerman cites his research. It may be easier for religious to believe unsupported research as they also believe unsupported claims of religion.
12. I also have difficulty with Sue Blackmore because she seems too easily persuaded to one side or another. Although she writes powerfully, she does not provide the kinds of evidence that persuades me.
13. Nothing justifies the perpetuation of plain falsehoods regarding atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists, falsehoods that in turn perpetuate prejudice against them.
~ Phil Zuckerman, Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of Social Sci...
~ Brinkerhoff MB, Grandin E, Lupri E. 1992. Religious involvement and spousal violence: the Canadian case. J. Sci. Stud. Relig. 31(1):15–31
~ David Niose, Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans.