The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersAudacious Epigone Blog
Divine Optimism, Secular Sulking
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

In a recent post investigating the relationship between intelligence, theism, and political orientation, an interesting discussion broke out in the comments concerning the putative correlation between theism and optimism, and the causal nature of that alleged correlation.

I wondered if such a relationship exists. Atheists on average have higher IQs, higher educational attainment, and higher incomes than theists do, after all. These are material reasons for optimism, aren’t they?

In 2016, the GSS specifically asked respondents about whether or not they were optimistic about their futures. The following graph shows the percentages who indicated they were. To avoid racial confounding, results are restricted to non-Hispanic whites:

Maybe the godly know something atheists don’t, or maybe ignorance is bliss.

GSS variables used: LOTR3(1-3)(4-5), RACECEN1(1), HISPANIC(1), GOD(1)(2)(3-5)(6)

 
• Category: Arts/Letters, Ideology • Tags: God, GSS, Happiness 
Hide 85 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. A.E., how far into the future? That’s the first question I’d want to know, as the Theists are of course optimistic about where they will end up the day they die. I’m not saying this as a joke. I can see that anyone who believes in God may interpret the question this way.

    • Replies: @Servant of Gla'aki
  2. Maybe the godly know something atheists don’t, or maybe ignorance is bliss.

    Well, when was the last time you saw a retard depressed about the national debt? I know one retard with Down syndrome and another (much smarter) with an IQ of 69. In both cases, they are unshakably happy so long as they are fed and entertained by the retard box.

    So I know for certain that ignorance is bliss at the lower ranges of IQ. Why should that not continue to be the case as IQ’s climb toward the average?

    • Replies: @Lowe
  3. Lowe says:
    @Stan d Mute

    Do you think it is smart to worry about the national debt? That sounds stupid to me.

    If you want something smart to worry about, try something you can control somewhat, like dying in a car accident, slipping in the shower, or becoming dependent on alcohol.

    • Agree: AP
  4. Anon[306] • Disclaimer says:

    If intelligence is confounding, control for it.
    -Firm Theist

  5. Jay Fink says:

    I am a member of a Facebook group for people who grew up in Las Vegas. There was a discussion about the huge economic hit the city is taking and whether they will make a comeback or if it will never be the same. The pessimists and realists used reasoning and data while the optimists had a blind faith approach “Quit all your negativity, we will be back bigger than ever #VegasStrong”. Time will tell which side is right but it was obvious to me that the pessimists had higher IQs and it was the first time I ever noticed that.

  6. (…) an interesting discussion broke out in the comments concerning the putative correlation between theism and optimism (…)

    There were internet comments in 1759?

    • LOL: iffen
  7. @Jay Fink

    The Godly know that “here they have no lasting city”, so they are pessimistic that any works of the flesh can provide permanent happiness; but they are optimistic that there is a transcendental solution to man’s existential crisis, so they have the courage to stay and fight for those fragmentary gains that can be achieved under the ambiguous conditions of existence. If some end upon which salvation does not depend seems out of reach and hopeless, they have no need to invest themselves in it; but they will work for anything that seems good and prudent and especially for someone’s salvation, for which they are willing to sacrifice their very lives.

    The atheists, on the other hand, believe wholeheartedly in some finite end that provides them with the courage to live (for belief in nothing is not tolerable to the human soul); but because these ends are finite and ambiguous, their deification results in some amount of illogic and fanaticism.

    Now, as far as Las Vegas goes, it seems believable to me that a desert rat hole that exists for the sole purpose of throwing money away, should find it difficult to carry on when there is no money to throw down it anymore. I think the whole Southwestern USA is in a pretty precarious position going forward. Not just Vegas but also Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and dozens of smaller cities simply have no reason to exist in their current form. And if society can no longer organize effectively enough to maintain the dams and irrigation projects on the much overused Colorado river, then Katie bar the door.

  8. @Intelligent Dasein

    Your IQ is like 15, at best.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  9. If I thought the District of Corruption or Silicon Valley or the Chinese Communists were the highest powers I would be pretty fucking pessimistic. Imagine how disappointed people must feel who believe the President has God like powers. People can choose what they believe. So why not beliefs that provide comfort, courage and peace?

    • Replies: @Alexander Turok
  10. The IQ range of your original chart didn’t go very high. An IQ of 11o won’t even get someone into Mensa, though it’s more than adequate for a gender studies professor.

    Some characteristics are positively correlated with IQ up to a certain point, but negatively correlated above that point. I do not know if atheism is one of them. Some atheists are extremely intelligent (e.g., Richard Dawkins) but so are some theists (e.g., Owen Gingerich). It would be an interesting question to explore, though data might be too scarce at the extreme right tail of the IQ distribution.

  11. @WorkingClass

    People can choose what they believe.

    Most can, yes, and that shows that they aren’t thinking rationally. Rational thinkers are driven by the evidence, they have no “choice” in where the evidence leads them.

  12. @Intelligent Dasein

    The Godly know that “here they have no lasting city”, so they are pessimistic that any works of the flesh can provide permanent happiness; but they are optimistic that there is a transcendental solution to man’s existential crisis, so they have the courage to stay and fight for those fragmentary gains that can be achieved under the ambiguous conditions of existence.

    Bingo. In the Western philosophical tradition, happiness is derived from virtue. If you live your life with wisdom, charity, courage, etc, you will ultimately flourish. In the modernist rejection of classical philosophy, this model is discarded either in favor of material goods or whimsical desires.

    The nice thing about virtue is that it is always an option; you can always choose to act charitably or courageously, though it is often hard. Thus, you are in control of your own destiny, your own happiness, at least to some degree. This isn’t the case following the modern view; there is no guarantee that a particular desire is attainable. If it isn’t, then of course you will feel pessimistic.

    Of course, there are probably some atheists who do believe in eudaimonia through virtue. They aren’t logically incompatible. But at this point it mainly seems to be a Theist thing.

  13. @Alexander Turok

    Yes of course. Belief and rational thinking are not the same thing.

  14. Anonymous[466] • Disclaimer says:

    The atheist-religionist debate has died down in mainstream society but grown stronger in the dissident right. Ordinary people looking at it must be thinking “hey guys, that’s so 2005, don’t you know the atheist-religionist war is over? Everyone lost.”

    And what’s the cause? A man who has absolutely no interest in either practicing religion or engaging in criticism of it. But he sees it as a way to gain support without having to do anything. Those pesky immigration restrictionists like Ann Coulter want actual results, much easier to appeal to people who just want to hear “praise Jesus, glory to Jesus.”

    • Replies: @DanHessinMD
  15. A123 says:

    Atheists on average have higher IQs, higher educational attainment, and higher incomes than theists do, after all. These are material reasons for optimism, aren’t they?

    The self identified liberal/left “Atheists” actually have a religion (or at least a faith). The tenants of SJW Globalism. And, that faith system is a brutal & daily assault on mental health. For example,

    — There have been “Only 10 years” to save the planet from Global Cooling / Warming / Change for 50 years.
    — They must accept as morally right — Being fired from the job associated with their education to be replaced by a H1B visa holder.
    — They must be on guard every second of every day to avoid “microagressions”.
    — Caucasians are obligated to sacrifice because of their “White Privledge”
    — They must accept as morally right — Daughters and nieces being defeated in school sports by males claiming to be female.
    — Wind power and endangered species are the top priority. Except wind turbines kill endangered species such as raptors.

    To be a devout SJW Globalist, there must be 100% faith in dogmas that are internally contridictory. At a minimum, this is a permanent mental burden from “Cognative Dissonance”.

    PEACE 😷

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  16. What about Deists?

    The false dichotomy of Atheists / Theists leaves a lot out — even when we stick Agnostics and Uncertain Believers in between.

    Deists conclude that there is something we call God, but we see no evidence of an afterlife.

    (If there is one, we just have to admit that we can’t know about it through reason or observation. We can hope for it if we want to, but we can’t see it and no one else can either. All accounts of life after death come from human “revelations” contained in religious texts with no basis in fact.)

    Therefore, we can’t really enjoy the long-term optimism of what I think here are called Theists and Uncertain Believers.

    You see, implicit in most of the widely assumed meanings of “Theist” or “Believer” is belief in something that will take care of you and perhaps grant you eternal life. You have a soul, and promissory notes in the form of religious texts, and rules given to you to live by (rather than natural law.)

    We Deists are another category altogether. We believe in God, but, judging from my own experience, we would measure as pessimistic if identified and surveyed. Reasoning from human history and current events at any given time, how could we be optimistic?

  17. I don’t see how a god necessarily solves the problems that traditional theists want it to solve. A logically possible god could have created human life without any purpose, meaning, a moral standard, an afterlife or a guarantee of ultimate justice. Theists just came up with this with wish list and assigned it to their idea of god for basically self-serving reasons, when a god bears no obligation to organize its creation for humans’ convenience.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  18. iffen says:
    @Alexander Turok

    they have no “choice” in where the evidence leads them.

    Don’t they have a choice of what they accept as qualifying as evidence?

  19. dfordoom says: • Website
    @advancedatheist

    I don’t see how a god necessarily solves the problems that traditional theists want it to solve. A logically possible god could have created human life without any purpose, meaning, a moral standard, an afterlife or a guarantee of ultimate justice.

    In fact there’s no logical reason why a god has to be good, in the sense that we humans understand the concept. A god might well be, from our point of view, cruel and sadistic. Or he might be whimsical and think that humans are very amusing pets. Much the way we think of white mice. Or a god might have an outlook that is so incomprehensible to us that we can’t tell if he’s good or evil.

    You can also believe in gods and be a dualist.

  20. @Anonymous

    Trump isn’t faking religion. He grew up with Norman Vincent Peale as his pastor. It gives him great emotional uplift obviously. Without a faith system, few could endure that level of pressure. There is a reason every successful civilization includes a faith system. It is highly beneficial evolutionarily for the practitioners, who have tended to be tougher, cope better emotionally, cooperate better, think more long-term (beyond their own lifetime) and leave more offspring. Religious Victorian England utterly dominated the world. Atheistic modern England accepts the systematic sexual abuse of thousands of its children (Rotherham scandal etc etc) over many years by a small minority in its midst. I know which kind of Englishman I would rather be. This is what we see empirically. Individual atheists can make great contributions. On a society level, the data doesn’t look great to me.

    • Disagree: Nodwink
  21. In my experience, the view that atheists have of themselves as hyper-rational beings is total bunk. Almost everyone is irrational. For example, most atheists in America believe ridiculous things about sex/gender as a social construct and use their galaxy brains not to arrive at the truth, which is actually quite simple, but rather to try to rationalize this and other SJW nonsense. A primitive tribesman or a five-year-old is more likely to know the reality of gender (which is a pretty basic thing for functioning in this world) than a modern atheist. In Communist countries they pushed out religion and got ideologies that were much more destructive. The point is, since people will be irrational anyway, you might as well go for something which evolved to be useful or helpful over the millennia.

  22. Wielgus says:
    @DanHessinMD

    Darwin operated in Victorian England. Late in the Victorian era, other powers were beginning to arise, such as Germany. British domination was fragile and depended on “we have got the Maxim gun and they have not.” Maxim himself was quite irreligious, by the way.

  23. Dumbo says:
    @JohnPlywood

    Dude, you must be black to be so unselfconscious.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  24. @Dumbo

    He’s certainly not marine plywood, which is pretty good stuff.

    Medium density fibreboard, perhaps.

  25. @A123

    “To be a devout SJW Globalist, there must be 100% faith in dogmas that are internally contridictory. At a minimum, this is a permanent mental burden from “Cognative Dissonance”.”

    Not at all. It’s no burden at all to them. That’s human nature. Remember you’re talking about a substitute religion.

    If the contradictions were brought close to home, maybe it would create a problem. But (to use child grooming as example) the Senior Social Worker class take good care to keep little Tamsin and Freya well away from Ahmed and his pals.

    • Replies: @Observator
  26. Nodwink says:
    @DanHessinMD

    There is a subset of (mostly) atheists who are convinced of the rationality of Man – Ayn Rand-style libertarians. I don’t think there are many serious people who believe this today.

  27. Stargazer says:

    Without God, life is meaningless.

    • Replies: @Talha
  28. I wondered if such a relationship exists. Atheists on average have higher IQs, higher educational attainment, and higher incomes than theists do, after all. These are material reasons for optimism, aren’t they?

    All of which equips them to know that despite everything they do and achieve, all that awaits them at the end of this life is the same dirt-nap enjoyed experienced by everyone else in the world.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  29. @The Alarmist

    It’s the journey, not the destination.

  30. Talha says:
    @Stargazer

    Im not sure all atheists/agnostics would say this – after all, the chart does show that a significant minority of them is optimistic. However, belief in the Divine (and specifically in having some sort of relationship with It) certainly does help one translate or process life and its successes and failures.

    I can only speak for my tradition when I say that despairing of Divine Mercy is a grave mistake, but I’m fairly certain that other religions generally have similar attitudes. Though it does depend; dfordoom pointed out in another thread how certain strains/sects of a religion might be extremely doom and gloom.

    When one believes that there is a Divine Hand in all that one experiences, then the failures and tribulations become tests of patience and successes and highlights become tests of gratitude.

    And this is not even taking into account the transitory nature of life.

    Peace.

  31. UK says:

    After recently having a series of very restorative internal spiritual experiences I became a lot more optimistic. Prior to that, I was an agnostic of almost complete ambivalence.

    It is hard for me to pin down exactly what caused the change in outlook as none of it came through any sort of organised religious system and therefore I can be very flexible in the terminology I use to describe the experience but the end result is that everything makes more sense, feels better and I even have a firm belief, based on what happened, that an eternity of bliss eventually awaits us…I am still getting used to taking that latter experience seriously when communicating with others…

    I mean, just that last bit would surely make anyone more optimistic but I am uncertain that it is actually the main contribution in my case.

    The effect is a sort of psychological inversion of being that perhaps religion can encourage or maybe temporarily, while at a service perhaps, enable?

    Meditation or praying might be a route towards it as people say that things just come to them during that time, which seems to be a sort of half-way house to recognising that you actually are the things that come to you – which is a very happy realisation – but one that I struggle to communicate effectively.

    I suppose, and forgive me for my fumbling unfamiliarity with actual Christian doctrine, that a lot of very smart people reject religion after typifying it as a stand-in for executive control e.g it is about God the Father. By this I mean that they, perhaps condescendingly, see it as a way for children and also those who they really think of as “the less intelligent” to get a handle on their emotions. And no doubt, a lot of religion does serve this function, but there’s also the Holy Spirit side of it that those very logical self-controlled people might benefit from engaging with as a way to allow themselves to “let go”. I imagine they also might be typified in a condescending manner.

    Anyway, both of these types of people, it seems to me, will be more optimistic if they gain in the way described from religious attendance. The former will not feel at the mercy of their emotions so much and the latter will feel much more aligned. Though these experiences might be seen as more akin to a drug or cheat in that they give people insight into what they might achieve but don’t actually give them that permanent achievement.

  32. @Jay Fink

    Your anecdote is corrupted by the topic, some things just tend to get worse and so when someone wants to be positive there’s just not much to work with “data”-wise, it doesn’t matter if you ask megamind why his terminally ill son is going to get better, he’s not going to be able to come up with an argument more “high IQ” than his faith and hope that he will.

    There’s also the fact optimism is totally rational in the long run for most things (even without any encouraging “data”), because even if things are bad, they’ll probably get better eventually since there’s fewer ways in which they can get worse given they’re already in such a sorry state.

    This principle is more applicable to one’s “life” in general than anything else, if it’s bad that’s just more ways in which it can get better, but if it’s good then it getting a bit worse isn’t that big a deal since it’s already pretty nice. Being fundamentally pessimistic (as in thinking things can’t/won’t get better) is irrational because even when correct it’s never in your interest to think you’re powerless to affect things for the better (not to mention that it’s pointlessly depressing). Nobody ever got motivated to give 110% by thinking nothing that they do will matter, and even if it doesn’t it’s no real loss to try.

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
  33. @Mr. Rational

    Big Cope.

    According to your own logic, nothing you say, do, or experience on this “journey” (which is really just the illusory delusion of a chemical soup) can matter at all. A rock in a pond has as meaningful and real a life as a deluded meat-puppet like yourself.

    In fact a rational atheist (clearly not you mr. “””rational”””) who was being honest would refuse to answer this survey question as it’s meaningless. There’s no such thing as “better” and “worse” for a system of physical reactions, and so to be “optimistic” or not would be meaningless since it implies an opinion on the meaningless question of “will things get better, or worse?”. (And let me just preemptively say any attempt at trying to justify some sense of moral value or experiental “worth” within a purely material existence is also a laughably transparent cope).

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  34. UK says:

    I agree, sort of. I would add though that, for many people, “the light within you” and “God” are interchangeable in meaning. Or perhaps even that you are that light, which may well be connected, as everyone may be to the divine.

    I looked at the part of me that includes my own fear of death not too long ago. As in, really just looked at it, rather than thinking about it or judging it, and eventually I saw a rather hackneyed vision of my own cosmic insignificance. The type that looks like the clichéd version of “you are like a speck of sand on a speck of sand on a speck of sand etc.” And then I kept looking in a mildly welcoming way regardless, and it combined with a terrific sense of amazement that how, despite my cosmic insignificance, I was perfectly significant to myself. (This is hard for me to communicate so apologies if it isn’t clear.) Nonetheless, what it means is that the bigger and the more terrifying the universe is, the more amazing it is that I have meaning in my own way. In other words, my fear of death and insignificance, when I became actually strong enough to really look at it, turned out to be a profound sense of meaning and that, by never really looking it at it, I had hidden this profound sense of meaning from myself and instead been kind of haunted by my misperceiving of it.

    Perhaps the above can be put into more straightforwardly religious terms?

    • Replies: @Talha
  35. @DanHessinMD

    “The point is, since people will be irrational anyway, you might as well go for something which evolved to be useful or helpful over the millennia.”

    Winston Churchill

    http://www.gutenbergcanada.ca/ebooks/churchillws-myearlylife/churchillws-myearlylife-00-h-dir/churchillws-myearlylife-00-h.html#chap08

    “As it was I passed through a violent and aggressive anti-religious phase which, had it lasted, might easily have made me a nuisance. My poise was restored during the next few years by frequent contact with danger. I found that whatever I might think and argue, I did not hesitate to ask for special protection when about to come under the fire of the enemy: nor to feel sincerely grateful when I got home safe to tea. I even asked for lesser things than not to be killed too soon, and nearly always in these years, and indeed throughout my life, I got what I wanted. This practice seemed perfectly natural, and just as strong and real as the reasoning process which contradicted it so sharply. Moreover the practice was comforting and the reasoning led nowhere. I therefore acted in accordance with my feelings without troubling to square such conduct with the conclusions of thought.

    It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is an admirable work, and I studied it intently. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more. In this or some other similar book I came across a French saying which seemed singularly apposite. ‘Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connait pas.‘ It seemed to me that it would be very foolish to discard the reasons of the heart for those of the head. Indeed I could not see why I should not enjoy them both. I did not worry about the inconsistency of thinking one way and believing the other. It seemed good to let the mind explore so far as it could the paths of thought and logic, and also good to pray for help and succour, and be thankful when they came. I could not feel that the Supreme Creator who gave us our minds as well as our souls would be offended if they did not always run smoothly together in double harness. After all He must have foreseen this from the beginning and of course He would understand it all.

    Accordingly I have always been surprised to see some of our Bishops and clergy making such heavy weather about reconciling the Bible story with modern scientific and historical knowledge. Why do they want to reconcile them? If you are the recipient of a message which cheers your heart and fortifies your soul, which promises you reunion with those you have loved in a world of larger opportunity and wider sympathies, why should you worry about the shape or colour of the travel-stained envelope; whether it is duly stamped, whether the date on the postmark is right or wrong? These matters may be puzzling, but they are certainly not important. What is important is the message and the benefits to you of receiving it. Close reasoning can conduct one to the precise conclusion that miracles are impossible: that ‘it is much more likely that human testimony should err, than that the laws of nature should be violated‘; and at the same time one may rejoice to read how Christ turned the water into wine in Cana of Galilee or walked on the lake or rose from the dead. The human brain cannot comprehend infinity, but the discovery of mathematics enables it to be handled quite easily. The idea that nothing is true except what we comprehend is silly, and that ideas which our minds cannot reconcile are mutually destructive, sillier still. Certainly nothing could be more repulsive both to our minds and feelings than the spectacle of thousands of millions of universes—for that is what they say it comes to now—all knocking about together for ever without any rational or good purpose behind them. I therefore adopted quite early in life a system of believing whatever I wanted to believe, while at the same time leaving reason to pursue unfettered whatever paths she was capable of treading.

    Some of my cousins who had the great advantage of University education used to tease me with arguments to prove that nothing has any existence except what we think of it. The whole creation is but a dream; all phenomena are imaginary. You create your own universe as you go along. The stronger your imagination, the more variegated your universe. When you leave off dreaming, the universe ceases to exist. These amusing mental acrobatics are all right to play with. They are perfectly harmless and perfectly useless. I warn my younger readers only to treat them as a game. “

    A123 – note the lack of mental torment from cognitive dissonance!

    • Thanks: UK, AaronB
    • LOL: A123
  36. @Buzz Mohawk

    You see, implicit in most of the widely assumed meanings of “Theist” or “Believer” is belief in something that will take care of you and perhaps grant you eternal life. You have a soul, and promissory notes in the form of religious texts, and rules given to you to live by (rather than natural law.)

    Every living creature has a soul which is of itself and per se the form of its body. It has a substantial form which is its essence and which allows it to exist as a self-identical living creature. The essence is immaterial and monadic; it is not affected by accidental change. The existence of the soul is not controversial. Existing things belong to natural kinds which is the basis of the very natural law you’re referring to.

    Deists conclude that there is something we call God, but we see no evidence of an afterlife.

    The immortality of the human soul is by its own rational nature and does not involve what might be called, after a fashion, direct dependence upon God, except in the ontological sense that everything depends upon God anyway. In perceiving natural kinds rather than mere sense impressions, in employing rational judgments involving nous, and in ascertaining the existence of nonmaterial realities such as justice and equitability, the human soul participates in the eternal ideas and gives evidence of its own proper aveternity.

    • Thanks: Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  37. Anonymous[140] • Disclaimer says:
    @DanHessinMD

    Religious Victorian England utterly dominated the world.

    Religion wasn’t taken seriously by much of Victorian England’s elite.

    Atheistic modern England accepts the systematic sexual abuse of thousands of its children (Rotherham scandal etc etc) over many years by a small minority in its midst.

    And countries which are even more atheistic like Russia and Japan would never tolerate that.

    • Replies: @Drahthaar
  38. AaronB says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Churchill really was a wonderful man, wasn’t he.

    To take logic so seriously as to actually let it hurt you is absurd. To take beliefs so seriously!

    Everything should work towards your benefit and health – if logic helps you fly planes and cure disease, do it. If religious belief helps you face danger and loss, do it.

    Whatever is natural and tends to your health and benefit – do it.

    We’ve lost that perspective and become fanatics – we want to be martyrs to some abstract idea, like logic, not realizing that everything is supposed to tend to our benefit. We are not supposed to martyr our selves for the benefit of some – idea!

    Churchill’s basic idea is – take nothing seriously. Not logic, not beliefs. Use them both to your benefit and health. Do not make idols of your ideas – don’t forget they are meant to help you, not hurt you.

    Its the only way to live.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  39. @Athletic and Whitesplosive

    According to your own logic, nothing you say, do, or experience on this “journey” (which is really just the illusory delusion of a chemical soup) can matter at all.

    It matters to me.

    There’s no such thing as “better” and “worse” for a system of physical reactions

    Cogito, ergo sum.

    You’re not the first militant theist who’s completely missed the point.

    • Agree: Stan d Mute
  40. A123 says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    A123 – note the lack of mental torment from cognitive dissonance!

    Actually, you just demonstrated Cognitive Dissonance.

    You accused Winston Churchill of being a ‘modern’ SJW Globalist. Except he passed away a ‘non-modern’ 55 years ago.

    I listed 6 mentally damaging characteristics of ‘modern’ SJW Globalism. How many of these characteristics overlap the quote from Churchill’s early life? None, or possibly one?

    If you place Churchill on the ‘modern U.S.’ categories from AE’s related article, he would be a Moderate or Conservative aethiest. He certainly would not be a SJW Globalist/Liberal atheist.

    https://www.unz.com/anepigone/iq-by-belief-in-god-and-political-orientation/
    .

    _____

    Also, let me clarify my position. As the underlying article was about statistics, my response should have been taken in that context as a statistical concept. As with any population, there will be a distribution. Some will be negatively impacted by the internal inconsistencies of SJW Globalism while others will be more resilient.

    You probably could find one contemporary SJW Globalist who is mentally untroubled. However, an individual anecdote has little bearing in the context of statistical distributions.

    PEACE 😷

  41. Dr. Doom says:

    There is an inherent pessimism about atheism.

    The belief in a Higher Power that loves you and an afterlife that awaits you can make life seem less pessimistic.

    Its a cold cruel world, and having something more to believe in makes it less scary.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  42. @Achmed E. Newman

    …the Theists are of course optimistic about where they will end up the day they die. I’m not saying this as a joke. I can see that anyone who believes in God may interpret the question this way.

    Not everyone who believes in God is completed unworried about their Eternal fate, however.

  43. My observation is higher IQ ppl tend to be realists they see things, they connect the dots better they are deeper thinkers and poses a more analytical mind and the correlation between higher IQ and atheism would verify this. Being more “realistic” they are more skeptical of God or religion “where’s the evidence? Very pious religious types tend to be “head in the sand” about the harsh realities of life, tend to be “ppl pleasers”, are the types easily duped and taken advantage of by cons, scams etc “tv evangalists” for example, and have more “faith in humanity” and are more guilible. They also tend to live in self constructed “fantasy world’s” they don’t often see things for what they really are… I also tend to think that religion especially prayer is a dopamine hit for for them which makes them feel good whence more optimistic.

  44. @Alexander Turok

    Most can, yes, and that shows that they aren’t thinking rationally. Rational thinkers are driven by the evidence, they have no “choice” in where the evidence leads them.

    Obviously, this is true to an extent ie. I don’t have the option to cease believing in the existence of France; despite the fact I’ve never been there, the evidence for its existence is overwhelming. But often times, it’s not entirely clear what conclusion one should draw from the available data.

  45. @Intelligent Dasein

    I think, therefore I am, and I think you’re showing off.

  46. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dr. Doom

    The belief in a Higher Power that loves you and an afterlife that awaits you can make life seem less pessimistic.

    It can also lead to complacency. God will make everything alright so there’s no need for us to bother.

    Christianity in particular can also lead to self-righteousness and turn people into moral busybodies.

    It can encourage emotional wallowing in crazy Save the World projects.

    And optimism is not always a good thing.

    I’m not saying that all religious people are like that, but there are both upsides and downsides to both religion and atheism.

    • Replies: @UK
  47. Anonymous[172] • Disclaimer says:
    @DanHessinMD

    For example, most atheists in America believe ridiculous things about sex/gender as a social construct and use their galaxy brains not to arrive at the truth, which is actually quite simple, but rather to try to rationalize this and other SJW nonsense.

    For an intelligent person told he must pick between that and the world being 6000 years old as a result of the behavior people like yourself,* it’s understandable that they would pick the former. After all, expressing belief in the SJW crap can help you get a job.

    In Communist countries they pushed out religion and got ideologies that were much more destructive

    You’re inverting cause and effect here.

    The point is, since people will be irrational anyway, you might as well go for something which evolved to be useful or helpful over the millennia.

    It isn’t helping, though. Most American christian denominations are involved in the “refugee resettlement” scan. They aren’t fighting feminism. They are contributing to the fracturing of the American Right along religious lines.

    *And I hold people like you responsible for this. I’ve heard before people directly saying that one cannot be conservative without believe in the “Judeo-Christian God.” You might not say that, but you don’t speak out against it, and indirectly work to give them intellectual heft by legitimizing their irrationality. After all, the fundamentalists aren’t wrong in claiming they are the “truest” Christians. By the most straightforward reading, the Bible does say the world is 6,000 years old.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  48. @YetAnotherAnon

    As the saying goes, not believing in god is a religion the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby. And there is no one atheist set of values or beliefs, the same way that people who really believe there’s an invisible man in the sky cannot manage to agree on exactly what kind of a gizmo it is or what it says to them.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  49. dfordoom says: • Website

    As the saying goes, not believing in god is a religion the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby. And there is no one atheist set of values or beliefs

    Amazing how people work on the assumption that you have to be either religious or an atheist. Most people are agnostics. Do you think agnosticism is a religion?

  50. UK says:
    @dfordoom

    Contemporary developments might be seen to show that Christianity often functioned as an outlet for those types and not a cause. Perhaps it even moderated them a bit.

  51. @Observator

    As the saying goes, not believing in god is a religion the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    I’ve read and talked with people a lot, and I’ve never heard that “saying” before. It sounds like something a Dawkins follower might have coined 20 years back and everyone agreed he like totally owned that Christian.

    I didn’t say non-religious people all had the same secular religion – the reality is much more like Chesterton’s ” ‘When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything’“. You should see where that took some of my non-religious friends in the 1970s – to some pretty strange places.

    The “God-shaped hole” persists, and manifests itself in all sorts of ways – environmentalists lament sinful man and prophesy fiery and imminent punishment for sin against the planet (though a lot of them like nothing better than a long-haul flight to some exotic destination) – feminists look to a lost Eden before patriarchy – leftists are big on taboo – “he said n***er! Fire him at once!” or “he attacked George Soros – on Holocaust Memorial Day, too!“, just the way a Victorian might have accused someone of gambling “and on the Sabbath, too! “.

    But in all of these there’s the (self-)righteousness, the saved and the damned, the sinners to be scorned and cast out – indeed these days white people seem to be the scapegoat or sacrificial lamb for some – I wonder where those concepts came from?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Mr. Rational
  52. Anonymous[171] • Disclaimer says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    I wonder where those concepts came from?

    The solution isn’t to re-adopt a religion that came from the same place. If we absolutely need some supernatural beliefs, let’s revive our ancient traditions instead.

  53. J1234 says:

    In a recent post investigating the relationship between intelligence, theism, and political orientation, an interesting discussion broke out in the comments concerning the putative correlation between theism and optimism, and the causal nature of that alleged correlation.

    I wondered if such a relationship exists. Atheists on average have higher IQs, higher educational attainment, and higher incomes than theists do, after all. These are material reasons for optimism, aren’t they?

    Fascinating question. Don’t forget, atheism – while relying on evidence and critical thinking – is also the path of least resistance in today’s world. Your Sundays are free, no need to follow restrictive tenets of morality or faith and no need to even attempt a lifelong commitment to traditional family structure. These facets of atheism can be very appealing to stupid people or those who lack self-discipline.

    Note, I did not call them tenets of atheism, I called them facets, because some atheists can actually embrace these things, but you probably do find them more aversion to them within atheism than within functional Christianity. So what does that mean? It means there are probably a lot of different versions of atheists.

  54. Anon[328] • Disclaimer says:

    They believe they are going to heaven, where they will be young, loved, healthy forever, and reunited with their families and taken care of by their Savior.

    Whats not to like? Of course they are happy. It keeps them from taking big time economic success too seriously. They settle for middle management more than they perhaps should. Family and church activities take up more of their free time, so they perhaps dont invent search engines in their garages nearly as often.

    The preaching about raptures up to heaven has got so many Christians thinking they will dissapear in their lifetimes (its preached that not all who were in the generation of Israels rebirth in 1967, when Jerusalem became part of Israel, would pass away until prophesies were fufilled like the rapture, second coming, Armageddon fought in the Megiddo Valley, etc) that many dont take saving for retirement as seeiously as they otherwise might also.

  55. Jay Fink says:
    @Athletic and Whitesplosive

    You make good points but the issue is not will Las Vegas stay at this level and never recover at all…of course it will get better from here. The question is will it make a full recovery?

  56. Talha says:
    @UK

    Thanks for sharing these experiences and inner thoughts, much appreciated.

    Peace.

  57. Drahthaar says:
    @Anonymous

    “Religion wasn’t taken seriously by much of Victorian England’s elite.”

    That is simply not true, whatever the point you are trying to make.

  58. @AaronB

    That is a solid insight.

  59. @Anonymous

    By the most straightforward reading, the Bible does say the world is 6,000 years old.

    I give some slack to the apologists who say that too much was lost in translation, but that was the biggest factor in my rejection of Christianity in favor of a deism-flavored atheism.

    The universe seems to be set up in a way that if there actually was any supernatural intervention in it, past or present, we’d never be able to prove it.

  60. @YetAnotherAnon

    I’ve never heard that “saying” before.

    That just shows how naïve you are.  It’s decades old at least.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  61. Wielgus says:
    @DanHessinMD

    If we are getting onto sexual abuse scandals in England, it might be worth mentioning that Jimmy Savile published a book in 1979 entitled God’ll Fix It while Cyril Smith, the paedophile, enormously fat and state-protected MP, was a practising Unitarian.
    Both men used religion as part of the “respectable” cover they employed to lure their prey.

  62. @YetAnotherAnon

    Churchill: “I therefore acted in accordance with my feelings, without troubling to square such conduct with the conclusions of thought.”

    He goes on to say: “Thus I employed this foolproof method to make myself into one of the chief architects of turning a local squabble over a city in Poland into the largest, bloodiest war in all of human history. You’re welcome.”

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  63. dfordoom says: • Website
    @DanHessinMD

    Religious Victorian England utterly dominated the world.

    Nonsense. Victorian England did not even dominate Europe. In the Victorian era the major European powers, politically and militarily, were France and Germany. Britain had a vast, mostly worthless, empire. The idea that Britain was a kind of 19th century superpower is a common illusion in the Anglosphere.

  64. @Mr. Rational

    I don’t think “naive” means what you think it means. Maybe the usage is different over the pond.

  65. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Neville Chamberlain gave the guarantee to Poland and declared war on Germany, not Churchill, who said he was ‘astonished’ when he heard of the guarantee (he also said it meant a major war).

    “Moreover, how could we protect Poland and make good our guarantee? Only by declaring war upon Germany and attacking a stronger Western Wall and a more powerful German Army than those from which we had recoiled in September, 1938. Here is a line of milestones to disaster. Here is a catalogue of surrenders, at first when all was easy and later when things were harder, to the ever-growing German power. But now at last was the end of British and French submission. Here was decision at last, taken at the worst possible moment and on the least satisfactory ground, which must surely lead to the slaughter of tens of millions of people.”

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    “a local squabble over a city in Poland”

    From the minutes of Hitlers General Staff conference, May 23, 1939. I assume they haven’t been forged.

    Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all. It is a question of expanding our living space in the East and of securing our food supplies. There is, therefore, no question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision: to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of the Czech affair. There will be war. Our task is to isolate Poland. The success of the isolation will be decisive. “

  66. Stargazer says:
    @Mr. Rational

    God could have created the universe one millisecond ago and we would never know.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  67. @YetAnotherAnon

    Those are interesting points, guess I’ll have to adjust my view.

    I knew Chamberlain was in charge in 39 when the really stupid decisions were made, but I just assumed (wrongly I guess) that since Winnie was so high up in the power structure and was so pig-headed on so many other matters, that he was OK with this nonsense, but I guess not. Good for him, for once at least. Still doesn’t let him off the hook for persisting in a war that nobody wanted, and a thousand other idiocies. Your Danzig/Poland quote is interesting, but the issue as to how it fits in the larger picture is one for experts, not me.

    Weirdly I am not a history buff but rather a historiography buff, and since we are still living in the shadow of the victors’ fake historiography and partially fake history, Churchill and Roosevelt deserve to be kicked in the shins as often as possible to make up for lost time, as there are no heroes in the piece, only different flavors of villain.

    The thing interests me because I believe that, like the American Civil War but unlike the Great War, the Second World War could have been prevented by better statecraft. But I don’t write the history books, I only rue ’em.

    • Replies: @UK
    , @YetAnotherAnon
  68. UK says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    This quote is just for you (-;

    “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

    Winston Churchill

  69. AaronB says:

    What I love are people who free my mind.

    The moment someone tells me I must think this or that, I must have this or that belief, I feel like I am being put in a prison.

    There is s kind of atheism that is a prison – you must think there is no God, you must think the world is only material (why?!) . People describe atheism as freedom from belief – but in most forms, it is a mental prison. It is not the “negative capability” described by Keats, but a positive belief systems that limits your mind.

    There is a kind of religion that is s mental prison – you must believe so and so about God, life, etc.

    But in my view the best religion frees the mind – it says, reality is larger and more mysterious than your perceptions and beliefs. Not smaller. Only someone living in a mental prison could be a confirmed atheist.

    And the best “atheism” is like the best religion – it says, only someone living in a mental prison can trap God in such specific ideas.

    There is a kind of religion that is really atheism, and a kind of atheism that is really – faith.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
    , @anon
  70. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Winnie wasn’t high up in the power structure, he was a backbench MP – but he had been a major political figure for 30 years, with a lot of supporters.

    He wanted to fight Hitler, but thought it should have happened much earlier. How much this was influenced by being baled out of bankruptcy in the early-mid 30s by wealthy Jews I’m not sure. Impressive stock-picking on their part.

    • Replies: @UK
  71. UK says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Churchill identified a resurgent Germany and then a Nazi Germany as a huge threat long before WWII.

    While I’m sure the argument would be inventive, I’d pity the person who tried to make the case that he was wrong; especially given that his campaigning to build the RAF proved so crucial to saving Britain from invasion. This campaign won out in the cabinet in 1936.

    Had he been more influential earlier then the British military would have been much better prepared. Perhaps Mussolini’s Italy would have remained opposed to German expansion. And perhaps through a policy of containment the Nazi party would have had to focus on building Germany up and not on Lebensraum.

    Without a huge war as a backdrop and with a country to govern, they would no doubt have ended up becoming far more moderate. All that Hitlerian ranting nonsense only goes down well in the preparation for war or war itself, when everyone is losing their minds.

  72. @Stargazer

    In which case the fabrication of our memories would make Him the literal Prince of Lies.

  73. @AaronB

    What I love are people who free my mind.

    Keep your mind open, but not so open that your brains fall out.

    • LOL: iffen
    • Replies: @AaronB
  74. AaronB says:
    @Mr. Rational

    I think – if I understand you correctly – you’re warning me against being so receptive to new ideas that I might accept some patently absurd ones, as commonly found on the extreme Left.

    But I am advocating never settling down in any system – not exchanging one set of ideas for another.

    The problem with the extreme Left is not that they are too receptive to new ideas, but that they have a very rigid set of ideas that are just the obverse of traditional ideas, and so still defined by them.

    Besides – my heuristic of never believing anything that leads to obvious negative effects should be protective 🙂

  75. anon[219] • Disclaimer says:
    @AaronB

    What I love are people who free my mind.

    Well then, you’d have really loved Jim Jones.

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
  76. @UK

    “identified Germany as a huge threat long before WWII”

    Britain: “Germany is mad! They want to take over the whole world! And by ‘the whole world’ I mean a bit of northern Czechoslovakia and some long-disputed parts of western Poland. But srsly, guys, this whole world-domination thing is the embodiment of evil. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to meet with my ministers in Bombay, Calcutta, Peshawar, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Pretoria, Belfast, Ottawa, Vancouver, Canberra and Christchurch.”

    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
    , @UK
  77. Rosie says:
    @Alexander Turok

    Most can, yes, and that shows that they aren’t thinking rationally. Rational thinkers are driven by the evidence, they have no “choice” in where the evidence leads them.

    Oh dear. This is only true when the evidence is overwhelmingly one-sided.

    The evidence is not overwhelmingly one-sided, so yes, whether one takes a skeptical or credulous attitude toward religion is very much a voluntary matter.

  78. Wielgus says:
    @Mr. Rational

    Before his mysterious death in 1593, one of the remarks an informer claimed Christopher Marlowe made was that according to the Indians, the world was much older than 6,000 years. Marlowe was accused of atheism.

  79. @anon

    That’s the stupidest comment I’ve read today.

  80. UK says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Sure, and Churchill was still right to sound the alarm.

  81. @Buzz Mohawk

    The three responses grouped into what I call “uncertain believers” are:

    SOME HIGHER POWER,

    BELIEVE SOMETIMES, and

    BELIEVE BUT DOUBTS

    “Some higher power” comprises 10.5% of the total response pool. That’s probably the closest thing to the deist response the survey question allows for.

    Atheist =DONT BELIEVE

    Agnostic = NO WAY TO FIND OUT

    Firm theist = KNOW GOD EXISTS

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  82. @DanHessinMD

    There is little question in my mind that Proverbs gets closer to the truth of human nature than what passes for knowledge in the typical public school curriculum these days does.

  83. @Mr. Rational

    The universe seems to be set up in a way that if there actually was any supernatural intervention in it, past or present, we’d never be able to prove it.

    This is precisely how I arrived at my agnosticism.

  84. @Audacious Epigone

    Thank you. I just saw your reply.

    FWIW I credit you and Mr. Unz for publishing ID’s massive screed, and I have appreciated his communication with me here on UR occasionally, but I see his article — and his reply to my deist comment — as sheer intellectual showing off by someone who takes religious revelations, Catholic dogma, and ancient philosophical definitions as givens and then argues from them.

    Any response to him would require getting down in the same mud his mind lives in, and I won’t and can’t do it. There is an old saying from George Bernard Shaw:

    Thank you for your blog, AE.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Your comment will appear after approval from the schoolmarm. Racial slurs, dehumanizing language, personal identifying information, spamming, the advocation of illegal activity, or excessive profanity will not be approved. Approval of a comment does not imply endorsement of its contents by the authors of this blog or by The Unz Review.


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Audacious Epigone Comments via RSS