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
IQ by Belief in God and Political Orientation
🔊 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

An anonymous commenter channeled the sentiments of many irreligious readers in a recent post discussing the religious angle of the coronavirus divide:

Religious people everywhere are dumb. Doesn’t matter if they are progressive or conservative.

Dumb fundies *want* to meet their God so they don’t mind dying from coronavirus.

Coronavirus isn’t a left vs right issue. It’s a dumb vs smart issue and a secular vs religious issue.

The commenter’s disdain aside, the first assertion is an empirical question. The last assertion is, too, but I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it by.

Using the GSS, the following table shows average IQ extrapolated from Wordsum scores by political and theistic orientations. To avoid racial confounding and language fluency issues, results come exclusively from non-Hispanic whites born in the US:

The correlation between lack of theistic belief and intelligence is a phenomenon of the left and to a lesser extent of the middle. It doesn’t much characterize the political right.

GSS variables used: RACECEN1(1), HISPANIC(1), GOD(1)(2)(3-5)(6), WORDSUM, POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)

 
• Category: Ideology, Science • Tags: GSS, IQ, Religion 
Hide 172 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. AP says:

    This reflects the modern educational system, that tends to be antireligious. The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious, and people were more religious generations ago, when the very smartest of people were more intelligent than the current smartest of people (average IQ has risen due to the spread of literacy but does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant or Heisenberg, or the martyred Florensky?).

    • Replies: @216
    Secularists are fond of the argument that the Internet is destroying religion because it allows for exposure to "superior logic".

    What is usually not mentioned is exposure to pr0n.
    , @advancedatheist

    The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious
     
    Atheists have made enormous contributions to civilization:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_science_and_technology

    You have to wonder why these nonbelievers in god would have bothered if they suffered from the "nihilism" that atheism allegedly causes. It looks like "nihilism" doesn't denote an atheist belief, but rather a self-serving Christian belief about atheism.
    , @U. Ranus

    does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant
     
    No question about it in the case of Dawkins. His earlier writing, crowned by The Extended Phenotype, was clearly the product of a brilliant mind.

    Later on, something happened. We'll probably never know what (or who) exactly stopped him, but it wasn't lack of IQ.

    , @indocon
    Weren't James Watts and Adam Smith both Protestant ministers? I can't think of two more influential people for the last 300 years.
  2. The last assertion is, too, but I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it by.

    I take it schoolmarm is laid back about dangling prepositions. Personally, I hate them, but the alternative (“by which to evaluate it”) is by far the greater evil IMO.

    Anyway, one of the problems here is that the MSM continues to use the term “creationism” to refer to any suggestion that natural processes are not, by themselves, sufficient to explain the discoveries of modern biochemistry, genetics, and cosmology.

    This is rank sophistry at the very least. The term “creationism” should be reserved for Scriptural, authority-based (rather than observational) approaches to the study of nature.

    • Disagree: Twinkie
    • Troll: 216
    • Replies: @iffen
    This is rank sophistry

    What? Rank sophistry?

    This ain't rocket science.

    What is your IQ?

    Do you believe that a god(s) exist?
    , @Audacious Epigone
    Grammatical incorrectness is not the thing our schoolmarm--or any schoolmarm, these days--is concerned about!
    , @Sparkon
    Two points:

    1. There is no grammatical rule that forbids or prohibits ending a sentence with a preposition.

    In this case, the terminal "by" was unnecessary anyway, as I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it makes perfect sense, and "by" is redundant. The pronoun "it" refers back to "assertion," so AE has yet to come across good data to evaluate the assertion.

    2. The highest scores on AE's bar graph were recorded by "Agnostics" in almost every category, but not a peep about agnosticism here.
    , @Truth
    The anti- dangling prepostion thing is, was and always will be a canard that we have just become accustomed to (sorry, to which we have become accustomed).

    This is a clumsy attempt to Latinize English, which is a Germanic language with many Latin-derived words. Germanic languages by and large do not punish dangling prepositions.
  3. @AP
    This reflects the modern educational system, that tends to be antireligious. The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious, and people were more religious generations ago, when the very smartest of people were more intelligent than the current smartest of people (average IQ has risen due to the spread of literacy but does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant or Heisenberg, or the martyred Florensky?).

    Secularists are fond of the argument that the Internet is destroying religion because it allows for exposure to “superior logic”.

    What is usually not mentioned is exposure to pr0n.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    Secularists are fond of the argument that the Internet is destroying religion because it allows for exposure to “superior logic”.
     
    What utter nonsense. Secularism was ascendant long before the internets, and militant atheism is now on the decline among philosophers. Theism is far more philosophically respectable now than it has been for generations. This will take time to trickle down to the pseudointellectual know-it-alls of "new atheism."

    And why the troll tag? Have I given some offense? Be a mensch and clue me in.

  4. @Rosie

    The last assertion is, too, but I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it by.
     
    I take it schoolmarm is laid back about dangling prepositions. Personally, I hate them, but the alternative ("by which to evaluate it") is by far the greater evil IMO.

    Anyway, one of the problems here is that the MSM continues to use the term "creationism" to refer to any suggestion that natural processes are not, by themselves, sufficient to explain the discoveries of modern biochemistry, genetics, and cosmology.

    This is rank sophistry at the very least. The term "creationism" should be reserved for Scriptural, authority-based (rather than observational) approaches to the study of nature.

    This is rank sophistry

    What? Rank sophistry?

    This ain’t rocket science.

    What is your IQ?

    Do you believe that a god(s) exist?

    • Replies: @Anon
    137 and yes I do believe that God exists
  5. Mean is a single dimension, this would be more useful if var or stddev was included. Nice link to Razib’s 10-year-old popular science article, I wonder if there are any more recent results?

  6. The correlation between lack of theistic belief and intelligence is a phenomenon of the left

    One would have to be dumb to be religious and, at the same time, subscribe to a political ideology that seeks to destroy religion and subvert the religious.

  7. @216
    Secularists are fond of the argument that the Internet is destroying religion because it allows for exposure to "superior logic".

    What is usually not mentioned is exposure to pr0n.

    Secularists are fond of the argument that the Internet is destroying religion because it allows for exposure to “superior logic”.

    What utter nonsense. Secularism was ascendant long before the internets, and militant atheism is now on the decline among philosophers. Theism is far more philosophically respectable now than it has been for generations. This will take time to trickle down to the pseudointellectual know-it-alls of “new atheism.”

    And why the troll tag? Have I given some offense? Be a mensch and clue me in.

    • Replies: @216
    Your post wasn't germane to the original. And wasn't marked with an O/T

    Nothing about creationism was discussed by the proprietor. So I found it annoying and attention seeking.

    Thus the troll.
    , @advancedatheist

    militant atheism is now on the decline among philosophers. Theism is far more philosophically respectable now than it has been for generations.
     
    Philosophers have long defined "god" in an esoteric way to distinguish it from the way the unenlightened common folk use the term. Spinoza in the 17th Century gave the game away when he defined "god" with "nature," which explains why the respectable philosophers in his time and for a few generations afterwards wanted to distance themselves from this disreputable Jewish fellow, while at the same time they secretly read his books and repackaged his ideas in more socially acceptable forms. For example, it turns out that John Locke, despite his reputation as a kind of Christian, cribbed a lot of his ideas from Spinoza's philosophy. Also philosophers have long played a double game where they held that the unintelligent common people need the fictions of the folk religion to keep them in line, while the more intelligent people like themselves can follow the philosophical arguments which get to the truths of life and proper conduct without the woo-woo.

    So it doesn't say much that modern academic philosophers have started to talk and write about "god" again, because I can guarantee you that they don't mean the sort of god which shows up in folk religiosity.

  8. The graph leaves unanswered the question whether higher IQ correlates with truer opinions or simply indoctrination.

  9. @Rosie

    Secularists are fond of the argument that the Internet is destroying religion because it allows for exposure to “superior logic”.
     
    What utter nonsense. Secularism was ascendant long before the internets, and militant atheism is now on the decline among philosophers. Theism is far more philosophically respectable now than it has been for generations. This will take time to trickle down to the pseudointellectual know-it-alls of "new atheism."

    And why the troll tag? Have I given some offense? Be a mensch and clue me in.

    Your post wasn’t germane to the original. And wasn’t marked with an O/T

    Nothing about creationism was discussed by the proprietor. So I found it annoying and attention seeking.

    Thus the troll.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    . So I found it annoying and attention seeking.
     
    Lame. In future, I'll make it a point not to GAF about your opinion. If I troll tagged everyone that gets on my damned nerves around here, I wouldn't have time for anything else.

    As to your contention that my post wasn't "germane," you are quite wrong about that. The evidence for intelligent design is very strong, and the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least. Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.

  10. @216
    Your post wasn't germane to the original. And wasn't marked with an O/T

    Nothing about creationism was discussed by the proprietor. So I found it annoying and attention seeking.

    Thus the troll.

    . So I found it annoying and attention seeking.

    Lame. In future, I’ll make it a point not to GAF about your opinion. If I troll tagged everyone that gets on my damned nerves around here, I wouldn’t have time for anything else.

    As to your contention that my post wasn’t “germane,” you are quite wrong about that. The evidence for intelligent design is very strong, and the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least. Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    The evidence for intelligent design is very strong
     
    So what's the evidence that "intelligent design" shaped the observed shifts from life forms like worms to ammonites to vertebrates?

    the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least.
     
    The academic establishment has (post-Boas) been dishonest about hominin evolution, but remains steadfastly honest about everything else.  (The dishonesty about hominins sucks, and the liars should be defenestrated.)

    Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.
     
    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence.  The theists posit a god who did X.  Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.
    , @Buzz Mohawk

    The evidence for intelligent design is very strong...
     
    This deist agrees. However, he finds your efforts to display intelligence laughable. Nobody gives a shit about dangling prepositions, whatever they dangle by.

    Rosie, I have enjoyed commenting with you, and I think you are better than this.

    Teach the rule to your children at home, during your home schooling. That is fine. We here know the rules, and we will follow them as we see fit.

    One of the most annoying things about places like this is the preponderance of nerds who think they have to prove how smart they are by stating the obvious. What they actually do is show how banal they are.

    , @davidgmillsatty
    Where is the evidence for intelligent design as opposed to random chance. In a universe as big as ours, life probably has to happen at some point in time.
  11. @Rosie

    The last assertion is, too, but I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it by.
     
    I take it schoolmarm is laid back about dangling prepositions. Personally, I hate them, but the alternative ("by which to evaluate it") is by far the greater evil IMO.

    Anyway, one of the problems here is that the MSM continues to use the term "creationism" to refer to any suggestion that natural processes are not, by themselves, sufficient to explain the discoveries of modern biochemistry, genetics, and cosmology.

    This is rank sophistry at the very least. The term "creationism" should be reserved for Scriptural, authority-based (rather than observational) approaches to the study of nature.

    Grammatical incorrectness is not the thing our schoolmarm–or any schoolmarm, these days–is concerned about!

    • Replies: @Rosie

    or any schoolmarm, these days–is concerned about!
     
    Grammar's for Wypipo.
  12. @Audacious Epigone
    Grammatical incorrectness is not the thing our schoolmarm--or any schoolmarm, these days--is concerned about!

    or any schoolmarm, these days–is concerned about!

    Grammar’s for Wypipo.

  13. I wonder if these wordsum scores might be influenced by verbal tilt.

    It could be that there is a bias for progressives to have a higher verbal and a lower math. I don’t think it would explain the whole difference, but I’d be surprised if it did not influence the result. I expect that this would also be higher at the atheist end of the spectrum.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    It could be that there is a bias for progressives to have a higher verbal and a lower math.
     
    That has been my observation.  I have not yet seen a "progressive" who could handle scientific notation.

    I expect that this would also be higher at the atheist end of the spectrum.
     
    I think there are conflicting influences there.  The higher the math abilities, the less the likelihood of being fooled by numerical sophistry.
  14. @AP
    This reflects the modern educational system, that tends to be antireligious. The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious, and people were more religious generations ago, when the very smartest of people were more intelligent than the current smartest of people (average IQ has risen due to the spread of literacy but does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant or Heisenberg, or the martyred Florensky?).

    The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious

    Atheists have made enormous contributions to civilization:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_science_and_technology

    You have to wonder why these nonbelievers in god would have bothered if they suffered from the “nihilism” that atheism allegedly causes. It looks like “nihilism” doesn’t denote an atheist belief, but rather a self-serving Christian belief about atheism.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Rosie

    You have to wonder why these nonbelievers in god would have bothered if they suffered from the “nihilism” that atheism allegedly causes. It looks like “nihilism” doesn’t denote an atheist belief, but rather a self-serving Christian belief about atheism.
     
    I'd love to see how many kids those scientists have. That's the real test. Of course, atheist or not, everyone has an interest in seeking accolades when they are alive.
  15. Conservative atheists tend to be autistic, and so that is why they are low IQ. I am not saying that to be mean either.

    • Replies: @Ian Smith
    Conservative atheists are few and far between. Robert M. Price is the only one I can think of off hand. Atheists who break with liberalism are more likely to be libertarians.
    One thing that keeps high IQ whites on the Democrat plantation is the aggressive stupidity of Fox News Republicans and evangelical Christians. Even a lot of fairly intelligent Republicans are still very narrow minded and philistine. I can’t blame people for not wanting to be associated with them.
  16. I will elaborate. When I attended community college a lot of the guys that I met that were both atheists and conservatives had autism. This trend disappeared when I transferred to a four year school. Autistic people tend to have lower IQs on average, even if they are high functioning. From my personal experience, conservative atheists tend to be autistic. People can disagree, and I am fine with that.

    • Replies: @Criticsbl
    Please make sure to read through your post before publishing it.

    1. You don't know whether or not the conservative atheists you met really were autistic (which they probably weren't)
    2. Your failure to make the same generalization in a four year school should give you the hint that maybe your generalization was wrong after all.

    It's simply poor argumentation.
  17. The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions. (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.) After all, no one seriously thinks that Greek paganism will become a living creed ever again, and you would have trouble selling a story set in a technologically advanced civilization in the future where this has happened. We all understand on some level that religions really can die and become historical curiosities.

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now. Atheists give Christians the creeps because we look like an invasion of time travelers from an advanced civilization in the future after Christianity has disappeared.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now.
     
    Your problem is with your claim about "all current religions," as if it's impossible to compare the merits of these.
    , @Mr. Rational
    Out of "Agrees" ATM, dammit.
    , @SunBakedSuburb
    "old religions have expiration dates"

    I'm neither religious or anti-religious. God is impersonal, a creator-destroyer, a universal consciousness that is oblivious to our existence even though we are embedded in its fabric of energy. I like the idea of religions, and other systems of thought and belief, casting off notions when they become untenable. Religions, without abandoning their core beliefs, can regenerate and become more meaningful to their believers. But regeneration is a threat to the human hierarchies that derive power from religions. The decay continues.
    , @anonymous

    The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions.
    (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.)

     

    A religion based on truth does not "expire." It is like saying truth expires. Truth never expires. It may be obfuscated for a while, sometimes that could be decades, centuries or millennia.

    Since you mention Islam also, muslims believe that the original religion of man (Adam PBUH) was true monotheism (God is One, and the only One worthy of worship... the Tawheed), which was much later codified as Islam, as the world knows it now.

    Just because the descendants of Adam and Eve, PBUT, chose to innovate and deviate from the path of true monotheism, adding various paganisms (man/animal/idol worship), does not mean that the truth of the One God expired.

    The truth remained dormant, until the next prophet came to once again exhort mankind to true monotheism, which was again conveniently forgotten by man, until around 600AD, when mankind finally got it, by the will of God. Islam was born.

    Religions based on falsehoods can and do deserve to die (e.g. Greek paganism, even though I believe some of its aspects are alive in Christianity, such as Hades, etc.). There are various other faiths based on pagan polytheist mangods-worship whose edifices currently float wobbling on an ocean of unverifiable falsehoods/hearsay (e.g. man was created in the image of God)... examples; Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, and various others. I do believe they face an existential threat, not from outside, but from within, unable to sustain on the deceit by which they propagate.

    Now, coming to Islam... the truth of the Tawheed is on rock-solid grounding. If a person believes we couldn't have materialised out of nothing, then the person cannot dispute the Tawheed. This is the reason why Islam never has to be tweaked, which seems to be a constant and pathetic effort of pagans. This is also the reason why God willed that Muhammad SAW would be the last prophet. The truth was firmly established, finally.

    Btw, Islam does not consider other religions as "expired," which seems to imply that it saw in their core, some truth, which it then "improved" upon. Pagan polytheist mangods-worship never stood the chance of being the "truth."

    Islam stands above all that. It knows that these pagan faiths will simply collapse under the weight of their own deceit. It is simply a matter of time. Other pagan faiths instinctively understand this too. That is why they consider Islam as an existential threat which must be vilified and combatted. The current reality reflects that.

  18. According to Edward Dutton the IQ gap associated with religious belief is not on g.

    Also, “normal” religious belief has low heritability. A predisposition to religious experiences (visions etc) seems to be much more heritable.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-019-00926-3

  19. @AP
    This reflects the modern educational system, that tends to be antireligious. The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious, and people were more religious generations ago, when the very smartest of people were more intelligent than the current smartest of people (average IQ has risen due to the spread of literacy but does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant or Heisenberg, or the martyred Florensky?).

    does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant

    No question about it in the case of Dawkins. His earlier writing, crowned by The Extended Phenotype, was clearly the product of a brilliant mind.

    Later on, something happened. We’ll probably never know what (or who) exactly stopped him, but it wasn’t lack of IQ.

    • Replies: @res
    I only see two books meeting your criteria here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Selected_publications
    The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype

    Can you recommend any others?
  20. @advancedatheist
    The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions. (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.) After all, no one seriously thinks that Greek paganism will become a living creed ever again, and you would have trouble selling a story set in a technologically advanced civilization in the future where this has happened. We all understand on some level that religions really can die and become historical curiosities.

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now. Atheists give Christians the creeps because we look like an invasion of time travelers from an advanced civilization in the future after Christianity has disappeared.

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now.

    Your problem is with your claim about “all current religions,” as if it’s impossible to compare the merits of these.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    Come to think of it,evolution, assuming it is what Darwinists think it is (random mutation plus natural selection), might actually provide a decent model for understanding religious history.

    Your claim is, essentially, that lots of religions have died. Therefore it is reasonable to suppose that all religions will die, and then there will be no more religion.

    But this is rather like saying that, since most species that have ever existed are now extinct, we should suppose that all extant species will also go extinct. Then, eventually all the species will go extinct and there will be no more life.

    Of course, this fails to take account of the emergence of new, more "fit" and well-adapted species. I think here is where your claim of inevitable secularization goes wrong.
    , @orionyx
    Comparing the merits of different religions is pointless when you consider that all religions require one to swallow certain basic and untestable propositions in order to adhere to any one of them. Comparing their merits, then, is like comparing the merits of different formulations of sandwiches, each of which incorporates a layer of shit. Whatever you call them, they're all shit sandwiches.
  21. @advancedatheist

    The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious
     
    Atheists have made enormous contributions to civilization:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_science_and_technology

    You have to wonder why these nonbelievers in god would have bothered if they suffered from the "nihilism" that atheism allegedly causes. It looks like "nihilism" doesn't denote an atheist belief, but rather a self-serving Christian belief about atheism.

    You have to wonder why these nonbelievers in god would have bothered if they suffered from the “nihilism” that atheism allegedly causes. It looks like “nihilism” doesn’t denote an atheist belief, but rather a self-serving Christian belief about atheism.

    I’d love to see how many kids those scientists have. That’s the real test. Of course, atheist or not, everyone has an interest in seeking accolades when they are alive.

    • Replies: @advancedatheist
    Scientists who have children tend to show regression towards the mean in their offspring, namely, that their children will trend towards the ordinary. (The atheist Carl Sagan fathered five children with his three different wives, for example, but none of them has become particularly distinguished.) By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.
    , @Anonymous
    People who have indoor plumbing have much lower fertility than those who do not.
  22. @Rosie

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now.
     
    Your problem is with your claim about "all current religions," as if it's impossible to compare the merits of these.

    Come to think of it,evolution, assuming it is what Darwinists think it is (random mutation plus natural selection), might actually provide a decent model for understanding religious history.

    Your claim is, essentially, that lots of religions have died. Therefore it is reasonable to suppose that all religions will die, and then there will be no more religion.

    But this is rather like saying that, since most species that have ever existed are now extinct, we should suppose that all extant species will also go extinct. Then, eventually all the species will go extinct and there will be no more life.

    Of course, this fails to take account of the emergence of new, more “fit” and well-adapted species. I think here is where your claim of inevitable secularization goes wrong.

    • Replies: @Fluesterwitz
    Nice argument, welcome to religion as meme. Maybe it would be helpful to state beforehand whether we talk about religion as a social practice or about personal epiphany and faith. These phenomena can be entirely discrete. Your argument appears to concern the former, does it?
  23. One interesting thing about the red bars, is that it is hard to get an average of 100 from them without the ‘atheist’ share being minuscule.

    With the purple bars it’s hard to get an average of 100 from them without ‘firm theist’ share being minuscule.

    Both of those things seem reasonable, given what I understand ‘conservative’ and ‘moderate’ to mean in the context of US political self-identification.

    Liberal‘ tho? I don’t think it means anything, because the global Left has been totally gutted since the series of betrayals that started in the Blair/Clinton era.

    Ask yourself: would a self-identified US liberal vote for Hillary Clinton?

    If ‘yes’, then ‘liberal’ doesn’t mean anything, because Hillary Clinton is observably a neocon – and therefore a type of Trotskyist revolutionary.

    And since in US political discourse “liberal” just means “not a full-throated Bomb Iran Exceptionalist summer-patriot“, so its no surprise that smart folks default to ‘liberal’.

    .

    The key takeaway though is that regardless of political persuasion, ‘firm theists’ are lower-than-average IQ (barely so for Conservatives, but anyone playing with an IQ of 100 is not good for much of anything anyway).

    • Replies: @SFG
    Hillary Clinton was for feminism, LGBT, a higher minimum wage, more immigration, and all the things the left likes now.

    The 'Bomb Iran' neoconnery she does to keep her donors happy is a tertiary consideration for most of those people. Lefties don't like war (and indeed you hear just those complaints in places like Jacobin on the far-left), but they sucked it up and voted for Hillary against Trump.

  24. Lin says:

    Such attempt to ‘correlate’ IQ with ‘religiousity’ is redundant and boring.
    ‘Religiousity’ could be manifested in a number of ways:
    –Moral inspiration of the founders..prophets…
    –Tradition and culture..(The single most important positive facets of Christianity IMO is promoting monogamy)
    –Theocratic power/interests of the priesthood.
    –Vehicle of tribal/racial/ethnic power, eg 1) the last prophet is an arab and Arabic is the official language of paradise Jannah 2)notion of ‘chosen people’…
    –Business/profit interests of centers of worship, like those of the mega churches in US https://deadstate.org/cnn-anchor-grills-pastor-who-wants-parishioners-to-hand-over-stimulus-checks-isnt-this-a-time-for-the-church-to-give/
    –Being and identity; basically a tag (,like I’m a Christian and I don’t want muslims around me)
    –(Throw in yours…)
    ………….……….
    Any person who believes there’s something big beyond his existence, or believe in some form of paradise(eg communist paradise) could be called ‘religious’.
    ………..
    Humans are tiny organisms in the universe, so there must be entities out there with power we mortals can’t fathom and we might call them God/gods. Ever wonder why the semite God is referred to as ‘Father in Heaven’? That Father in Heaven is not necessarily benevolent to humans, examples abound, like
    –The Tower of Babel episode
    –Killing of Egypt first born and internal ethnic cleansing against the Hebrew Golden Calf worshippers in the book of Exodus.
    ………..
    If God is a biologist, humans are like the bacteria inside a petri dish and the God biologist provided nutrient/sustenance to the bacteria. If the bacteria attempt to leak outside the petri dish like ancient astronomers of Babel attempted to probe the sky and made the God biologist felt threatened OR after the completion of the God biologist’s experiment, the petri dish will be thrown to the incinerator. That’s all Folks.

  25. This paradigm does not account for people like myself who have been atheists for much of our lives for no other reason that we thought science had managed to account for everything in purely naturalistic terms. I never looked into the science myself – I just assumed that people with the qualifications to do so had figured everything out. So I spent my life studying history and playing music. Only a chance comment by a friend led me in a completely different direction – one he did not even expect himself. I am now a confirmed theist and regard the idea that everything came out of nothing because the nothing suddenly exploded as about the most preposterous idea human beings have ever come up with. I do not believe that my IQ had anything to do with this change in belief. I simply blame myself for not having applied my intelligence earlier in life to matters of science instead of blithely assuming scientists had it all sorted.

    • Replies: @Anon

    This paradigm does not account for people like myself who have been atheists for much of our lives for no other reason that we thought science had managed to account for everything in purely naturalistic terms.
     
    The problem here is that I think the media and education gatekeepers promote those who toe the secular anti-religion line while ignoring prominent scientists who don’t.

    The most highly-promoted scientists, or purveyors of science, in the past couple of decades have been Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. Both are secularists and mock religion. Before them was Carl Sagan who held the same views and mocked religion.

    Meanwhile, the liberals (feminist left) have a perfect opportunity to promote ‘women in STEM’ with someone like Karin Öberg, a full professor of astronomy at Harvard and the youngest women to obtain full professorship in science at Harvard. Problem is (for secularists) Öberg is a Catholic convert, an orthodox Catholic, and takes her faith seriously and is not shy about expressing it.

    https://astronomy.fas.harvard.edu/people/karin-oberg

    Some of the most accomplished men and women in science at places like Harvard, Cornell, Chicago, et al., are men and women of faith.

    https://www.catholicscientists.org/about/leadership

    , @Mr. Rational
    So you've gone from "I don't know" to "I don't know, ergo $deity did it".
    , @davidgmillsatty
    So you don't believe in the big bang? So what? There is a lot science does not have sorted out.

    But the dumbest idea religion has ever come up with is "life after death." The concept of life after death is what drives the belief that there must be a god. If you conclude there is no life after death, then theism sounds like a really dumb idea.
  26. @Rosie

    . So I found it annoying and attention seeking.
     
    Lame. In future, I'll make it a point not to GAF about your opinion. If I troll tagged everyone that gets on my damned nerves around here, I wouldn't have time for anything else.

    As to your contention that my post wasn't "germane," you are quite wrong about that. The evidence for intelligent design is very strong, and the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least. Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.

    The evidence for intelligent design is very strong

    So what’s the evidence that “intelligent design” shaped the observed shifts from life forms like worms to ammonites to vertebrates?

    the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least.

    The academic establishment has (post-Boas) been dishonest about hominin evolution, but remains steadfastly honest about everything else.  (The dishonesty about hominins sucks, and the liars should be defenestrated.)

    Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.

    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence.  The theists posit a god who did X.  Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence. The theists posit a god who did X. Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.
     
    Au contraire.

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.

    -Charles Darwin
     
    Lo and behold:

    https://youtu.be/fFq_MGf3sbk

    If this doesn't convince you, then nothing ever will.
  27. @songbird
    I wonder if these wordsum scores might be influenced by verbal tilt.

    It could be that there is a bias for progressives to have a higher verbal and a lower math. I don't think it would explain the whole difference, but I'd be surprised if it did not influence the result. I expect that this would also be higher at the atheist end of the spectrum.

    It could be that there is a bias for progressives to have a higher verbal and a lower math.

    That has been my observation.  I have not yet seen a “progressive” who could handle scientific notation.

    I expect that this would also be higher at the atheist end of the spectrum.

    I think there are conflicting influences there.  The higher the math abilities, the less the likelihood of being fooled by numerical sophistry.

    • Replies: @davidgmillsatty
    I have observed many who can do scientific notation and then some. My brother has a PhD in biophysics for example and he would probably qualify as a progressive being on the left of the Democratic spectrum. The term progressive does not have much meaning anymore. Neither does the world liberal.
  28. @Rosie

    . So I found it annoying and attention seeking.
     
    Lame. In future, I'll make it a point not to GAF about your opinion. If I troll tagged everyone that gets on my damned nerves around here, I wouldn't have time for anything else.

    As to your contention that my post wasn't "germane," you are quite wrong about that. The evidence for intelligent design is very strong, and the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least. Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.

    The evidence for intelligent design is very strong…

    This deist agrees. However, he finds your efforts to display intelligence laughable. Nobody gives a shit about dangling prepositions, whatever they dangle by.

    Rosie, I have enjoyed commenting with you, and I think you are better than this.

    Teach the rule to your children at home, during your home schooling. That is fine. We here know the rules, and we will follow them as we see fit.

    One of the most annoying things about places like this is the preponderance of nerds who think they have to prove how smart they are by stating the obvious. What they actually do is show how banal they are.

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @Rosie

    Rosie, I have enjoyed commenting with you, and I think you are better than this.
     
    Thanks, I think.

    In any event, I am well aware of the fact that AE knows the rules. Otherwise, I'd have explained it to him. My comment was intended to be rather a criticism of English than a criticism of AE. I thought I'd made that clear.


    One of the most annoying things about places like this is the preponderance of nerds who think they have to prove how smart they are by stating the obvious. What they actually do is show how banal they are.
     
    You might consider a more charitable alternative explanation: attempts at levity don't always translate well on comment boards.
    , @David
    Buzzymandias, Schoolmarm of Schoolmarms.

    Just thought it was funny. Not calling you out.

  29. @advancedatheist
    The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions. (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.) After all, no one seriously thinks that Greek paganism will become a living creed ever again, and you would have trouble selling a story set in a technologically advanced civilization in the future where this has happened. We all understand on some level that religions really can die and become historical curiosities.

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now. Atheists give Christians the creeps because we look like an invasion of time travelers from an advanced civilization in the future after Christianity has disappeared.

    Out of “Agrees” ATM, dammit.

  30. @Buzz Mohawk

    The evidence for intelligent design is very strong...
     
    This deist agrees. However, he finds your efforts to display intelligence laughable. Nobody gives a shit about dangling prepositions, whatever they dangle by.

    Rosie, I have enjoyed commenting with you, and I think you are better than this.

    Teach the rule to your children at home, during your home schooling. That is fine. We here know the rules, and we will follow them as we see fit.

    One of the most annoying things about places like this is the preponderance of nerds who think they have to prove how smart they are by stating the obvious. What they actually do is show how banal they are.

    Rosie, I have enjoyed commenting with you, and I think you are better than this.

    Thanks, I think.

    In any event, I am well aware of the fact that AE knows the rules. Otherwise, I’d have explained it to him. My comment was intended to be rather a criticism of English than a criticism of AE. I thought I’d made that clear.

    One of the most annoying things about places like this is the preponderance of nerds who think they have to prove how smart they are by stating the obvious. What they actually do is show how banal they are.

    You might consider a more charitable alternative explanation: attempts at levity don’t always translate well on comment boards.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    ... attempts at levity don’t always translate well on comment boards.
     
    Believe me, I know. Thanks for your reply.
  31. @Rosie

    Rosie, I have enjoyed commenting with you, and I think you are better than this.
     
    Thanks, I think.

    In any event, I am well aware of the fact that AE knows the rules. Otherwise, I'd have explained it to him. My comment was intended to be rather a criticism of English than a criticism of AE. I thought I'd made that clear.


    One of the most annoying things about places like this is the preponderance of nerds who think they have to prove how smart they are by stating the obvious. What they actually do is show how banal they are.
     
    You might consider a more charitable alternative explanation: attempts at levity don't always translate well on comment boards.

    … attempts at levity don’t always translate well on comment boards.

    Believe me, I know. Thanks for your reply.

  32. @Mr. Rational

    The evidence for intelligent design is very strong
     
    So what's the evidence that "intelligent design" shaped the observed shifts from life forms like worms to ammonites to vertebrates?

    the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least.
     
    The academic establishment has (post-Boas) been dishonest about hominin evolution, but remains steadfastly honest about everything else.  (The dishonesty about hominins sucks, and the liars should be defenestrated.)

    Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.
     
    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence.  The theists posit a god who did X.  Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.

    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence. The theists posit a god who did X. Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.

    Au contraire.

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.

    -Charles Darwin

    Lo and behold:

    If this doesn’t convince you, then nothing ever will.

    • Replies: @advancedatheist
    The Intelligent Design advocates have made a major concession to the materialist world view by accepting our insight that biological organisms work like machines. They just differ from mainstream materialists over how those machines came into existence.
    , @Mr. Rational
    I have been watching the flagellum argument for creationism since the 1980's.  It's bogus.  The basis of the flagellum is the bacterial Type 2 secretory system, and many of the proteins in the filament itself have known precursors.

    The rest don't bother me.  So those proteins evolved from things we haven't discovered, or no longer exist.  Most species that have ever existed no longer exist, and their genes have vanished.  This is perfectly consistent with TENS, and are not a credible argument for creationism.

    Know what would prove TENS wrong?  A fossil rabbit in a Precambrian sediment.  But we know you creationists have already tried to "prove" humans walked with dinosaurs by mis-interpreting or faking impressions in fossil mud, so you are going to have to be uncharacteristically honest to be convincing.

    After dealing with creatonut sophistry and dishonesty for over 3 decades, you've got a really tough row to hoe to convince me.
    , @davidgmillsatty
    Life, no matter how complex, can easily happen by chance, and given the size of the universe most probably has been inevitable. Atoms attract other atoms and molecules attract other molecules. In the right combination they will be able to replicate or reproduce or replicate or reproduce with mutations.
    , @Wency
    I think you're going down the wrong road here.

    Did God intervene in the natural laws to cause this or that improbable characteristic to develop in animals? Probably not. In any event, it wasn't necessary, and the influence must have been subtle enough as to look like a natural phenomenon. Over millions and millions of years, a lot of things can happen.

    Did God invent the natural laws and set matter and energy on such a course as to make the development of life in all its forms inevitable? Yes, of course. Something set those natural laws into place. Something invented the very idea of natural laws. Reality would be much easier to explain if nothing existed (if only there was something to then do the explaining). But the universe does exist, with all its matter, energy, and natural laws, and we can only attribute this to an immense and ineffable force that we theists call "God".

    On these matters, the atheist can differ with the theist only in believing that the immense and ineffable force responsible for creation is also dumb and inanimate, that all of reality is a purposeless accident, that man's will and intelligence exceeds that of the Creator, that he owes nothing and has no reason to be thankful to the Creator.

    "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools..."
  33. SFG says:
    @Kratoklastes
    One interesting thing about the red bars, is that it is hard to get an average of 100 from them without the 'atheist' share being minuscule.

    With the purple bars it's hard to get an average of 100 from them without 'firm theist' share being minuscule.

    Both of those things seem reasonable, given what I understand 'conservative' and 'moderate' to mean in the context of US political self-identification.

    'Liberal' tho? I don't think it means anything, because the global Left has been totally gutted since the series of betrayals that started in the Blair/Clinton era.

    Ask yourself: would a self-identified US liberal vote for Hillary Clinton?

    If 'yes', then 'liberal' doesn't mean anything, because Hillary Clinton is observably a neocon - and therefore a type of Trotskyist revolutionary.

    And since in US political discourse "liberal" just means "not a full-throated Bomb Iran Exceptionalist summer-patriot", so its no surprise that smart folks default to 'liberal'.

    .

    The key takeaway though is that regardless of political persuasion, 'firm theists' are lower-than-average IQ (barely so for Conservatives, but anyone playing with an IQ of 100 is not good for much of anything anyway).

    Hillary Clinton was for feminism, LGBT, a higher minimum wage, more immigration, and all the things the left likes now.

    The ‘Bomb Iran’ neoconnery she does to keep her donors happy is a tertiary consideration for most of those people. Lefties don’t like war (and indeed you hear just those complaints in places like Jacobin on the far-left), but they sucked it up and voted for Hillary against Trump.

  34. @Rosie

    You have to wonder why these nonbelievers in god would have bothered if they suffered from the “nihilism” that atheism allegedly causes. It looks like “nihilism” doesn’t denote an atheist belief, but rather a self-serving Christian belief about atheism.
     
    I'd love to see how many kids those scientists have. That's the real test. Of course, atheist or not, everyone has an interest in seeking accolades when they are alive.

    Scientists who have children tend to show regression towards the mean in their offspring, namely, that their children will trend towards the ordinary. (The atheist Carl Sagan fathered five children with his three different wives, for example, but none of them has become particularly distinguished.) By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.
     
    Even if true, and I admit it certainly is at least partially true, what does that have to do with the question of atheist nihilism? In order for people to go on benefitting from science and technology, there must actually be people in existence. Atheist societies aren't very good at reproducing themselves.

    They just differ from mainstream materialists over how those machines came into existence.
     
    There's also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life
    , @anonymous

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.
     
    If someone was to come up with a tally of all the greatest discoveries and inventions of mankind, you will find a random mix of the theists, and the atheists.

    Your point then becomes meaningless.
    , @Truth

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.
     
    You mean, suffered.
  35. @Rosie

    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence. The theists posit a god who did X. Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.
     
    Au contraire.

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.

    -Charles Darwin
     
    Lo and behold:

    https://youtu.be/fFq_MGf3sbk

    If this doesn't convince you, then nothing ever will.

    The Intelligent Design advocates have made a major concession to the materialist world view by accepting our insight that biological organisms work like machines. They just differ from mainstream materialists over how those machines came into existence.

  36. @advancedatheist
    Scientists who have children tend to show regression towards the mean in their offspring, namely, that their children will trend towards the ordinary. (The atheist Carl Sagan fathered five children with his three different wives, for example, but none of them has become particularly distinguished.) By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.

    Even if true, and I admit it certainly is at least partially true, what does that have to do with the question of atheist nihilism? In order for people to go on benefitting from science and technology, there must actually be people in existence. Atheist societies aren’t very good at reproducing themselves.

    They just differ from mainstream materialists over how those machines came into existence.

    There’s also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life

    • Replies: @Talha

    Atheist societies aren’t very good at reproducing themselves.
     
    “PEW: Why people with no religion are projected to decline as a share of the world’s population“
    https://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2017/04/07091603/PF_17.04.05_projectionsUpdate_natIncUnafil310px_2NEW.png

    There’s also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life
     
    I think it is a relatively modest challenge; produce a single self-replicating cell from scratch - from completely inorganic starting material. Atheists have been asking to see proof of the Divine for a while but now, I think it’s fair to ask for a mere cell, no? Now, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine it’s fairly straightforward at this point to solve the abiogenesis puzzle. 🤔

    Peace.
  37. @Rosie

    Secularists are fond of the argument that the Internet is destroying religion because it allows for exposure to “superior logic”.
     
    What utter nonsense. Secularism was ascendant long before the internets, and militant atheism is now on the decline among philosophers. Theism is far more philosophically respectable now than it has been for generations. This will take time to trickle down to the pseudointellectual know-it-alls of "new atheism."

    And why the troll tag? Have I given some offense? Be a mensch and clue me in.

    militant atheism is now on the decline among philosophers. Theism is far more philosophically respectable now than it has been for generations.

    Philosophers have long defined “god” in an esoteric way to distinguish it from the way the unenlightened common folk use the term. Spinoza in the 17th Century gave the game away when he defined “god” with “nature,” which explains why the respectable philosophers in his time and for a few generations afterwards wanted to distance themselves from this disreputable Jewish fellow, while at the same time they secretly read his books and repackaged his ideas in more socially acceptable forms. For example, it turns out that John Locke, despite his reputation as a kind of Christian, cribbed a lot of his ideas from Spinoza’s philosophy. Also philosophers have long played a double game where they held that the unintelligent common people need the fictions of the folk religion to keep them in line, while the more intelligent people like themselves can follow the philosophical arguments which get to the truths of life and proper conduct without the woo-woo.

    So it doesn’t say much that modern academic philosophers have started to talk and write about “god” again, because I can guarantee you that they don’t mean the sort of god which shows up in folk religiosity.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    So it doesn’t say much that modern academic philosophers have started to talk and write about “god” again, because I can guarantee you that they don’t mean the sort of god which shows up in folk religiosity.
     
    That is absolutely true, which is why I disagree with your claim that the arc of history bends towards atheism. It bends towards the universal and transcendent God of the philosophers, with local folk deities eventually coming to be seen as imperfect conceptualizations thereof.
  38. @Rosie

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.
     
    Even if true, and I admit it certainly is at least partially true, what does that have to do with the question of atheist nihilism? In order for people to go on benefitting from science and technology, there must actually be people in existence. Atheist societies aren't very good at reproducing themselves.

    They just differ from mainstream materialists over how those machines came into existence.
     
    There's also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life

    Atheist societies aren’t very good at reproducing themselves.

    “PEW: Why people with no religion are projected to decline as a share of the world’s population“

    There’s also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life

    I think it is a relatively modest challenge; produce a single self-replicating cell from scratch – from completely inorganic starting material. Atheists have been asking to see proof of the Divine for a while but now, I think it’s fair to ask for a mere cell, no? Now, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine it’s fairly straightforward at this point to solve the abiogenesis puzzle. 🤔

    Peace.

    • Agree: Rosie, RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @advancedatheist
    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world's population over the last century in the first place, even in traditionally religious countries which didn't try to impose nonbelief through central planning. Religious belief in Russia apparently had started to decline well before the Bolshevik Revolution, for example.
    , @Anonymous

    Atheists have been asking to see proof of the Divine for a while but now, I think it’s fair to ask for a mere cell, no? Now, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine it’s fairly straightforward at this point to solve the abiogenesis puzzle.
     
    It's an invalid comparison. I don't need to prove anything to say I don't believe in the teapot. I just say, I haven't seen any indication the teapot exists outside of some people having "visions" which I don't consider to be sufficient evidence.
  39. @advancedatheist

    militant atheism is now on the decline among philosophers. Theism is far more philosophically respectable now than it has been for generations.
     
    Philosophers have long defined "god" in an esoteric way to distinguish it from the way the unenlightened common folk use the term. Spinoza in the 17th Century gave the game away when he defined "god" with "nature," which explains why the respectable philosophers in his time and for a few generations afterwards wanted to distance themselves from this disreputable Jewish fellow, while at the same time they secretly read his books and repackaged his ideas in more socially acceptable forms. For example, it turns out that John Locke, despite his reputation as a kind of Christian, cribbed a lot of his ideas from Spinoza's philosophy. Also philosophers have long played a double game where they held that the unintelligent common people need the fictions of the folk religion to keep them in line, while the more intelligent people like themselves can follow the philosophical arguments which get to the truths of life and proper conduct without the woo-woo.

    So it doesn't say much that modern academic philosophers have started to talk and write about "god" again, because I can guarantee you that they don't mean the sort of god which shows up in folk religiosity.

    So it doesn’t say much that modern academic philosophers have started to talk and write about “god” again, because I can guarantee you that they don’t mean the sort of god which shows up in folk religiosity.

    That is absolutely true, which is why I disagree with your claim that the arc of history bends towards atheism. It bends towards the universal and transcendent God of the philosophers, with local folk deities eventually coming to be seen as imperfect conceptualizations thereof.

  40. My upcoming guest post, of which the draft is nearly complete and is awaiting typing, will address a lot of this in much greater detail.

  41. Atheist societies aren’t very good at reproducing themselves.

    We have more atheists in the world than ever, both relatively and in absolute numbers. And notice that this has happened in Hayekian fashion outside of communist countries, namely, spontaneously, organically and without central planning to make in happen. No government official in Canberra, say, has ever ordered Australians to stop believing in god.

    There’s also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life

    Uh, excuse me? Haven’t you head of synthetic biology?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_biology

    • Replies: @Rosie

    We have more atheists in the world than ever, both relatively and in absolute numbers. And notice that this has happened in Hayekian fashion outside of communist countries, namely, spontaneously, organically and without central planning to make in happen. No government official in Canberra, say, has ever ordered Australians to stop believing in god.
     
    The question is whether that growth in the atheist population is sustainable.

    And I don't know that it's fair to say there's been no central planning. The Supreme Court has been a rather effective central planner these last few decades.

    Uh, excuse me? Haven’t you head of synthetic biology?
     
    I have now, though I haven't fully thought through the implications. Given that synthetic biology, such as it is, is intelligently designed, I don't think it undermines the case for Intelligent Design.

    The idea that life is mechanical hardly seems Earth-shattering. The very fact of death by natural causes would seem to establish that. The question has always been, and continues to be, whether humans have eternal soul to go along with their mechanical bodies.
  42. @Talha

    Atheist societies aren’t very good at reproducing themselves.
     
    “PEW: Why people with no religion are projected to decline as a share of the world’s population“
    https://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2017/04/07091603/PF_17.04.05_projectionsUpdate_natIncUnafil310px_2NEW.png

    There’s also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life
     
    I think it is a relatively modest challenge; produce a single self-replicating cell from scratch - from completely inorganic starting material. Atheists have been asking to see proof of the Divine for a while but now, I think it’s fair to ask for a mere cell, no? Now, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine it’s fairly straightforward at this point to solve the abiogenesis puzzle. 🤔

    Peace.

    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world’s population over the last century in the first place, even in traditionally religious countries which didn’t try to impose nonbelief through central planning. Religious belief in Russia apparently had started to decline well before the Bolshevik Revolution, for example.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    Religious belief in Russia apparently had started to decline well before the Bolshevik Revolution, for example.
     
    Hmmmm...
    , @Talha
    Since I’m Muslim, I’m not really into a strictly biological explanation, personally. I’m open to a variety of explanations.

    But it does seem that atheism is maladaptive for reproduction, according to its own evolutionary/biological standards. That’s just what the numbers have shown thus far. Unless you know of studies that show atheists (somewhere) to have gotten their TFR back on track.

    Peace.
    , @AP

    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world’s population over the last century in the first place
     
    Well, diseases can spread, despite being harmful for organisms, until those organisms who are resistant or immune are the last ones left and repopulate.

    We see this happening with Tasmanian Devils and their contagious cancer:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/19/tasmanian-devils-developing-immune-response-to-contagious-face-cancer

    Secularism spreads in societies, and as it claims its victims there is a concomitant fall in fertility rates. Eventually those subpopulations or perhaps individuals particularly immune to secularism will be left and will repopulate.
  43. Yes, we all know that the noughties or zeroes were the best decade ever, especially on the internets.

    GW Bush and chimp memes

    9/11 and 9/11 conspiracy theories

    War on terror, blogging and warblogging, goat fucking and camel fucking islamophobe memes

    No Facebook, no Twitter, no Youtube, no Instagram, no chans, no social media at all. Internets were for asocial freaks only.

    And the best content even on the internets were the NEVER ENDING ATHEIST/RELIGIOUS WARS!

    All who remember it, knows it was the best time of their lives. Everyone wants it back!

    EVERY SINGLE ONE!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I think we'll remember the 2010s in a similar nostalgic way. A simpler time, when a group of anonymous internet right-wingers could come together and criticize multiculturalism or feminism without it descending into an argument about whether Bill Gates was poisoning us with vaccines.
  44. Anon[369] • Disclaimer says:
    @Nuncle
    This paradigm does not account for people like myself who have been atheists for much of our lives for no other reason that we thought science had managed to account for everything in purely naturalistic terms. I never looked into the science myself - I just assumed that people with the qualifications to do so had figured everything out. So I spent my life studying history and playing music. Only a chance comment by a friend led me in a completely different direction - one he did not even expect himself. I am now a confirmed theist and regard the idea that everything came out of nothing because the nothing suddenly exploded as about the most preposterous idea human beings have ever come up with. I do not believe that my IQ had anything to do with this change in belief. I simply blame myself for not having applied my intelligence earlier in life to matters of science instead of blithely assuming scientists had it all sorted.

    This paradigm does not account for people like myself who have been atheists for much of our lives for no other reason that we thought science had managed to account for everything in purely naturalistic terms.

    The problem here is that I think the media and education gatekeepers promote those who toe the secular anti-religion line while ignoring prominent scientists who don’t.

    The most highly-promoted scientists, or purveyors of science, in the past couple of decades have been Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. Both are secularists and mock religion. Before them was Carl Sagan who held the same views and mocked religion.

    Meanwhile, the liberals (feminist left) have a perfect opportunity to promote ‘women in STEM’ with someone like Karin Öberg, a full professor of astronomy at Harvard and the youngest women to obtain full professorship in science at Harvard. Problem is (for secularists) Öberg is a Catholic convert, an orthodox Catholic, and takes her faith seriously and is not shy about expressing it.

    https://astronomy.fas.harvard.edu/people/karin-oberg

    Some of the most accomplished men and women in science at places like Harvard, Cornell, Chicago, et al., are men and women of faith.

    https://www.catholicscientists.org/about/leadership

    • Agree: AP
  45. @advancedatheist
    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world's population over the last century in the first place, even in traditionally religious countries which didn't try to impose nonbelief through central planning. Religious belief in Russia apparently had started to decline well before the Bolshevik Revolution, for example.

    Religious belief in Russia apparently had started to decline well before the Bolshevik Revolution, for example.

    Hmmmm…

  46. The correlation between lack of theistic belief and intelligence is a phenomenon of the left and to a lesser extent of the middle. It doesn’t much characterize the political right.

    Of course you’d have to consider the possibility that for the political right religion is a kind of tribal marker. So it’s possible that even intelligent people on the right will claim to be firm theists because it’s a way of asserting allegiance to the political right.

    They don’t want to admit to being atheists or agnostics because those beliefs are associated with liberalism.

    Religion and politics are inextricably entwined these days.

    • Agree: Fluesterwitz
  47. @Rosie

    The last assertion is, too, but I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it by.
     
    I take it schoolmarm is laid back about dangling prepositions. Personally, I hate them, but the alternative ("by which to evaluate it") is by far the greater evil IMO.

    Anyway, one of the problems here is that the MSM continues to use the term "creationism" to refer to any suggestion that natural processes are not, by themselves, sufficient to explain the discoveries of modern biochemistry, genetics, and cosmology.

    This is rank sophistry at the very least. The term "creationism" should be reserved for Scriptural, authority-based (rather than observational) approaches to the study of nature.

    Two points:

    1. There is no grammatical rule that forbids or prohibits ending a sentence with a preposition.

    In this case, the terminal “by” was unnecessary anyway, as I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it makes perfect sense, and “by” is redundant. The pronoun “it” refers back to “assertion,” so AE has yet to come across good data to evaluate the assertion.

    2. The highest scores on AE’s bar graph were recorded by “Agnostics” in almost every category, but not a peep about agnosticism here.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Man, I was wondering where you were... at!
  48. @Rosie
    Come to think of it,evolution, assuming it is what Darwinists think it is (random mutation plus natural selection), might actually provide a decent model for understanding religious history.

    Your claim is, essentially, that lots of religions have died. Therefore it is reasonable to suppose that all religions will die, and then there will be no more religion.

    But this is rather like saying that, since most species that have ever existed are now extinct, we should suppose that all extant species will also go extinct. Then, eventually all the species will go extinct and there will be no more life.

    Of course, this fails to take account of the emergence of new, more "fit" and well-adapted species. I think here is where your claim of inevitable secularization goes wrong.

    Nice argument, welcome to religion as meme. Maybe it would be helpful to state beforehand whether we talk about religion as a social practice or about personal epiphany and faith. These phenomena can be entirely discrete. Your argument appears to concern the former, does it?

    • Replies: @Rosie

    Nice argument, welcome to religion as meme. Maybe it would be helpful to state beforehand whether we talk about religion as a social practice or about personal epiphany and faith. These phenomena can be entirely discrete. Your argument appears to concern the former, does it?
     
    No, I very much intended it to refer to the latter.
  49. Religion serves some purposes that are less needed in highly organized societies, like those often composed of smarter people. If there were wide scale social collapse, religiosity would likely make a comeback, even if the population IQ hadn’t changed, or maybe even if it had increased.

  50. @advancedatheist
    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world's population over the last century in the first place, even in traditionally religious countries which didn't try to impose nonbelief through central planning. Religious belief in Russia apparently had started to decline well before the Bolshevik Revolution, for example.

    Since I’m Muslim, I’m not really into a strictly biological explanation, personally. I’m open to a variety of explanations.

    But it does seem that atheism is maladaptive for reproduction, according to its own evolutionary/biological standards. That’s just what the numbers have shown thus far. Unless you know of studies that show atheists (somewhere) to have gotten their TFR back on track.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    Unless you know of studies that show atheists (somewhere) to have gotten their TFR back on track.
     
    Materialism is inherently antinatalism. Materialists cannot articulate any reason for existence. Their only moral precept is the alleviation of suffering, i.e. negative utility. The ultimate logical conclusion of negative utilitarianism is a death wish.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha
  51. @advancedatheist

    Atheist societies aren’t very good at reproducing themselves.
     
    We have more atheists in the world than ever, both relatively and in absolute numbers. And notice that this has happened in Hayekian fashion outside of communist countries, namely, spontaneously, organically and without central planning to make in happen. No government official in Canberra, say, has ever ordered Australians to stop believing in god.

    There’s also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life
     
    Uh, excuse me? Haven't you head of synthetic biology?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_biology

    We have more atheists in the world than ever, both relatively and in absolute numbers. And notice that this has happened in Hayekian fashion outside of communist countries, namely, spontaneously, organically and without central planning to make in happen. No government official in Canberra, say, has ever ordered Australians to stop believing in god.

    The question is whether that growth in the atheist population is sustainable.

    And I don’t know that it’s fair to say there’s been no central planning. The Supreme Court has been a rather effective central planner these last few decades.

    Uh, excuse me? Haven’t you head of synthetic biology?

    I have now, though I haven’t fully thought through the implications. Given that synthetic biology, such as it is, is intelligently designed, I don’t think it undermines the case for Intelligent Design.

    The idea that life is mechanical hardly seems Earth-shattering. The very fact of death by natural causes would seem to establish that. The question has always been, and continues to be, whether humans have eternal soul to go along with their mechanical bodies.

    • Replies: @orionyx

    The question has always been, and continues to be, whether humans have eternal soul to go along with their mechanical bodies.
     
    The question has been answered, to my complete satisfaction anyway, by Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary: see his entry on In'ards.
  52. @Talha
    Since I’m Muslim, I’m not really into a strictly biological explanation, personally. I’m open to a variety of explanations.

    But it does seem that atheism is maladaptive for reproduction, according to its own evolutionary/biological standards. That’s just what the numbers have shown thus far. Unless you know of studies that show atheists (somewhere) to have gotten their TFR back on track.

    Peace.

    Unless you know of studies that show atheists (somewhere) to have gotten their TFR back on track.

    Materialism is inherently antinatalism. Materialists cannot articulate any reason for existence. Their only moral precept is the alleviation of suffering, i.e. negative utility. The ultimate logical conclusion of negative utilitarianism is a death wish.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha

    • Replies: @Talha

    Materialism is inherently antinatalism.
     
    Well, it seems to be the only ideology that I've come across that has an expressly anti-natalist faction - if you've heard of EFILISM:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzMnR6IAe18

    Which makes sense within the framework. I mean, if we are just a rearrangement of self-aware, cooperative cells, then what makes us any more special than another arrangement of moving self-aware, cooperative cells. I certainly don't see why humans are special.

    Their only moral precept is the alleviation of suffering, i.e. negative utility.
     
    Well, we can be hyper-destructive to ourselves, other beings and the general environment around us; we do have the capability to cause a nuclear winter across the world and some sociopathic hyper-nerds are still not content with this and are talking about the feasibility of kinetic orbital bombardment.

    There was a nice debate about human exceptionalism recently and can you ground it in a materialist presupposition (see below the MORE tag).

    IF I believed in some kind of Gaia consciousness, then I might consider the possibility that the increase in atheism is a kind of a recalibration to bring the human population into more balance; and why it seems to strike more in populations that come from more opulent and materially lavish societies and thus a greater drain on natural resources (per capita) - I mean, I've seen videos of villages in parts of the world (we smugly call them ****holes) where a person walks miles to fetch water and consumes about 1/25 of the energy of of us does.

    Peace.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0XuDqg2iRA
  53. @U. Ranus

    does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant
     
    No question about it in the case of Dawkins. His earlier writing, crowned by The Extended Phenotype, was clearly the product of a brilliant mind.

    Later on, something happened. We'll probably never know what (or who) exactly stopped him, but it wasn't lack of IQ.

    I only see two books meeting your criteria here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Selected_publications
    The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype

    Can you recommend any others?

    • Replies: @U. Ranus

    The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype

    Can you recommend any others?
     
    Those are the good ones.
  54. @Rosie

    Unless you know of studies that show atheists (somewhere) to have gotten their TFR back on track.
     
    Materialism is inherently antinatalism. Materialists cannot articulate any reason for existence. Their only moral precept is the alleviation of suffering, i.e. negative utility. The ultimate logical conclusion of negative utilitarianism is a death wish.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha

    Materialism is inherently antinatalism.

    Well, it seems to be the only ideology that I’ve come across that has an expressly anti-natalist faction – if you’ve heard of EFILISM:

    Which makes sense within the framework. I mean, if we are just a rearrangement of self-aware, cooperative cells, then what makes us any more special than another arrangement of moving self-aware, cooperative cells. I certainly don’t see why humans are special.

    Their only moral precept is the alleviation of suffering, i.e. negative utility.

    Well, we can be hyper-destructive to ourselves, other beings and the general environment around us; we do have the capability to cause a nuclear winter across the world and some sociopathic hyper-nerds are still not content with this and are talking about the feasibility of kinetic orbital bombardment.

    There was a nice debate about human exceptionalism recently and can you ground it in a materialist presupposition (see below the MORE tag).

    IF I believed in some kind of Gaia consciousness, then I might consider the possibility that the increase in atheism is a kind of a recalibration to bring the human population into more balance; and why it seems to strike more in populations that come from more opulent and materially lavish societies and thus a greater drain on natural resources (per capita) – I mean, I’ve seen videos of villages in parts of the world (we smugly call them ****holes) where a person walks miles to fetch water and consumes about 1/25 of the energy of of us does.

    Peace.

    [MORE]

    • Replies: @Rosie
    Wow. I could only handle about 2 minutes of that first video. Yes, from what I watched, it absolutely makes perfect logical sense if you are a materialist.

    The other video I watched all the way through. I'll have to think more about that. My sense is that the very fact of human exceptionalism is the basis of our obligation to grant moral consideration to other animals (a the very least by refraining from cruelty) without any expectation of reciprocity or assumption of any moral agency on their part.
    , @SunBakedSuburb
    "Gaia consciousness"

    Which is the religious branch of the Greens. Because I'm not based in the three major religions, I find the idea that natural systems, like planets, having their own consciousness, imaginative and intriguing. But Environmentalism is being used by incredibly corrupt people like Tom Steyer to gather financial and political power. And the Gaia movement will probably turn out to be another trap in which the seekers become suckers with empty pockets and wasted time.
  55. @Talha

    Materialism is inherently antinatalism.
     
    Well, it seems to be the only ideology that I've come across that has an expressly anti-natalist faction - if you've heard of EFILISM:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzMnR6IAe18

    Which makes sense within the framework. I mean, if we are just a rearrangement of self-aware, cooperative cells, then what makes us any more special than another arrangement of moving self-aware, cooperative cells. I certainly don't see why humans are special.

    Their only moral precept is the alleviation of suffering, i.e. negative utility.
     
    Well, we can be hyper-destructive to ourselves, other beings and the general environment around us; we do have the capability to cause a nuclear winter across the world and some sociopathic hyper-nerds are still not content with this and are talking about the feasibility of kinetic orbital bombardment.

    There was a nice debate about human exceptionalism recently and can you ground it in a materialist presupposition (see below the MORE tag).

    IF I believed in some kind of Gaia consciousness, then I might consider the possibility that the increase in atheism is a kind of a recalibration to bring the human population into more balance; and why it seems to strike more in populations that come from more opulent and materially lavish societies and thus a greater drain on natural resources (per capita) - I mean, I've seen videos of villages in parts of the world (we smugly call them ****holes) where a person walks miles to fetch water and consumes about 1/25 of the energy of of us does.

    Peace.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0XuDqg2iRA

    Wow. I could only handle about 2 minutes of that first video. Yes, from what I watched, it absolutely makes perfect logical sense if you are a materialist.

    The other video I watched all the way through. I’ll have to think more about that. My sense is that the very fact of human exceptionalism is the basis of our obligation to grant moral consideration to other animals (a the very least by refraining from cruelty) without any expectation of reciprocity or assumption of any moral agency on their part.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    It turns out Ghandi went ahead and spelled it out in so many words, unless this quote is fake:

    Suppose for a moment that all procreation stops, it will only mean that all destruction will cease. Moksha is nothing but release from the cycle of births and deaths. This alone is believed to be the highest bliss, and rightly.
     
    My favorite quote from the YT compilation below:

    "What could be more obscene than a woman proudly carrying a future corpse in her belly?"

    https://youtu.be/xOPIbXJUA3s

  56. @Rosie
    Wow. I could only handle about 2 minutes of that first video. Yes, from what I watched, it absolutely makes perfect logical sense if you are a materialist.

    The other video I watched all the way through. I'll have to think more about that. My sense is that the very fact of human exceptionalism is the basis of our obligation to grant moral consideration to other animals (a the very least by refraining from cruelty) without any expectation of reciprocity or assumption of any moral agency on their part.

    It turns out Ghandi went ahead and spelled it out in so many words, unless this quote is fake:

    Suppose for a moment that all procreation stops, it will only mean that all destruction will cease. Moksha is nothing but release from the cycle of births and deaths. This alone is believed to be the highest bliss, and rightly.

    My favorite quote from the YT compilation below:

    “What could be more obscene than a woman proudly carrying a future corpse in her belly?”

    • Replies: @Talha
    It really is a conversation between glass-half-full and glass-half-empty:
    "I won't say that I regret my life but it was unnecessary."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmYDGlixAag

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair ("Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?").

    Are there exceptions to the rule? Sure, but we are talking about general trends.

    Peace.
  57. If these stats show anything, I would say..

    1. they’re about intelligent, talented people & not about geniuses (who are very rare, by the way)

    2. it is better to be agnostic than atheist, because atheism is, in most Joe Sixpack versions, a sort of belief

    3. “theists”are a mixed bag. For instance, they’re not easy to define. Among geniuses, Aristotle was, technically, a theist. But: he didn’t believe in an interventionist God (his God is just thought that thinks itself & is unconcerned with human, or any other life); also, he didn’t believe in “immortality of the soul”. So, while technically Aristotle was a theist- in practice & behavior, he was almost an atheist. Simply, a God for him was just an object of analysis & not a living presence, nor something that/who could have anything to do with his, or any other human life.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    "it is better to be agnostic than atheist"

    Agreed. Atheists, in my experience, tend to be more rigid in their beliefs. Many atheists find religion in science, which is folly considering the recent performance of various epidemiologists. Scientists and clerics can be equally corrupted by power.
  58. @Rosie
    It turns out Ghandi went ahead and spelled it out in so many words, unless this quote is fake:

    Suppose for a moment that all procreation stops, it will only mean that all destruction will cease. Moksha is nothing but release from the cycle of births and deaths. This alone is believed to be the highest bliss, and rightly.
     
    My favorite quote from the YT compilation below:

    "What could be more obscene than a woman proudly carrying a future corpse in her belly?"

    https://youtu.be/xOPIbXJUA3s

    It really is a conversation between glass-half-full and glass-half-empty:
    “I won’t say that I regret my life but it was unnecessary.”

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair (“Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”).

    Are there exceptions to the rule? Sure, but we are talking about general trends.

    Peace.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Rosie

    It really is a conversation between glass-half-full and glass-half-empty:
     
    Yes, it really is that simple.
    , @dfordoom

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair (“Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”).
     
    Yes that's true. But it doesn't necessarily line up neatly with being religious or anti-religious. More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they're religious or are people more likely to be religious because they're inherently optimistic?

    And there are pessimistic religious people, especially Christians, who think the world is evil and that the sooner God brings it all all to an end with the Last Judgment the better. They're often the kinds of Christians who are horrified by any sort of sensual pleasure. As George Bernard Shaw put it, they disapprove of sex because it might lead to dancing. There's a strong anti-life strand in Christianity.

    And there have been Christian sects who believed in absolute celibacy - no sex even in marriage. Not surprisingly these sects were short-lived!

    Are there optimistic materialists? I'd say that there used to be but maybe they're less common these days. Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    “Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”

    If it's such a nightmare, then why stick around?

    And do you really think you have things harder than your grandparents did? How about than your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents did?
  59. @Nuncle
    This paradigm does not account for people like myself who have been atheists for much of our lives for no other reason that we thought science had managed to account for everything in purely naturalistic terms. I never looked into the science myself - I just assumed that people with the qualifications to do so had figured everything out. So I spent my life studying history and playing music. Only a chance comment by a friend led me in a completely different direction - one he did not even expect himself. I am now a confirmed theist and regard the idea that everything came out of nothing because the nothing suddenly exploded as about the most preposterous idea human beings have ever come up with. I do not believe that my IQ had anything to do with this change in belief. I simply blame myself for not having applied my intelligence earlier in life to matters of science instead of blithely assuming scientists had it all sorted.

    So you’ve gone from “I don’t know” to “I don’t know, ergo $deity did it”.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    So you’ve gone from “I don’t know” to “I don’t know, ergo $deity did it”.
     
    Natural processes are either sufficient to explain our observations of the universe, or they are not. So yes, Nuncle's reasoning is sound.

    In theory, you could posit an alien designer or something, but then you're really just back too arguing about theology, with the hypothetical alien as god.

    Does God transcend nature? Is God many, one, or something in between these? Is God corporeal or not? Etc.
  60. @Rosie

    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence. The theists posit a god who did X. Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.
     
    Au contraire.

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.

    -Charles Darwin
     
    Lo and behold:

    https://youtu.be/fFq_MGf3sbk

    If this doesn't convince you, then nothing ever will.

    I have been watching the flagellum argument for creationism since the 1980’s.  It’s bogus.  The basis of the flagellum is the bacterial Type 2 secretory system, and many of the proteins in the filament itself have known precursors.

    The rest don’t bother me.  So those proteins evolved from things we haven’t discovered, or no longer exist.  Most species that have ever existed no longer exist, and their genes have vanished.  This is perfectly consistent with TENS, and are not a credible argument for creationism.

    Know what would prove TENS wrong?  A fossil rabbit in a Precambrian sediment.  But we know you creationists have already tried to “prove” humans walked with dinosaurs by mis-interpreting or faking impressions in fossil mud, so you are going to have to be uncharacteristically honest to be convincing.

    After dealing with creatonut sophistry and dishonesty for over 3 decades, you’ve got a really tough row to hoe to convince me.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    A fossil rabbit in a Precambrian sediment.
     
    You don't get to dictate the terms of the debate by imposing arbitrary proof standards.

    and many of the proteins in the filament itself have known precursors.
     
    So what?

    The key is the precise arrangement of the parts as well as the presence of the parts.


    So those proteins evolved from things we haven’t discovered, or no longer exist.
     
    This is the heart of the materialist position: a demand that theists throw the fight before all the evidence is in, on the grounds of inevitability or something.

    This is not a logical argument. It is a prediction of discoveries that may or may not ever be made.

    , @Audacious Epigone
    I suppose deep down inside I knew this was fiction all along...

    https://www.amazon.com/Dinotopia-Land-Apart-Time-Anniversary/dp/1606600222
  61. Anonymous[416] • Disclaimer says:
    @Talha

    Atheist societies aren’t very good at reproducing themselves.
     
    “PEW: Why people with no religion are projected to decline as a share of the world’s population“
    https://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2017/04/07091603/PF_17.04.05_projectionsUpdate_natIncUnafil310px_2NEW.png

    There’s also the fact that we cannot reverse engineer life
     
    I think it is a relatively modest challenge; produce a single self-replicating cell from scratch - from completely inorganic starting material. Atheists have been asking to see proof of the Divine for a while but now, I think it’s fair to ask for a mere cell, no? Now, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine it’s fairly straightforward at this point to solve the abiogenesis puzzle. 🤔

    Peace.

    Atheists have been asking to see proof of the Divine for a while but now, I think it’s fair to ask for a mere cell, no? Now, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine it’s fairly straightforward at this point to solve the abiogenesis puzzle.

    It’s an invalid comparison. I don’t need to prove anything to say I don’t believe in the teapot. I just say, I haven’t seen any indication the teapot exists outside of some people having “visions” which I don’t consider to be sufficient evidence.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    It’s an invalid comparison. I don’t need to prove anything to say I don’t believe in the teapot.
     
    True, but then a teapot doesn't explain anything that needs explaining.

    People who have indoor plumbing have much lower fertility than those who do not.
     
    Which stands to reason, since not having indoor plumbing, I assume correlates with high infant mortality and consequent need for higher fertility.
  62. Anonymous[416] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rosie

    You have to wonder why these nonbelievers in god would have bothered if they suffered from the “nihilism” that atheism allegedly causes. It looks like “nihilism” doesn’t denote an atheist belief, but rather a self-serving Christian belief about atheism.
     
    I'd love to see how many kids those scientists have. That's the real test. Of course, atheist or not, everyone has an interest in seeking accolades when they are alive.

    People who have indoor plumbing have much lower fertility than those who do not.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    I'm not so sure this is the slam dunk some think it is.
  63. @advancedatheist
    The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions. (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.) After all, no one seriously thinks that Greek paganism will become a living creed ever again, and you would have trouble selling a story set in a technologically advanced civilization in the future where this has happened. We all understand on some level that religions really can die and become historical curiosities.

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now. Atheists give Christians the creeps because we look like an invasion of time travelers from an advanced civilization in the future after Christianity has disappeared.

    “old religions have expiration dates”

    I’m neither religious or anti-religious. God is impersonal, a creator-destroyer, a universal consciousness that is oblivious to our existence even though we are embedded in its fabric of energy. I like the idea of religions, and other systems of thought and belief, casting off notions when they become untenable. Religions, without abandoning their core beliefs, can regenerate and become more meaningful to their believers. But regeneration is a threat to the human hierarchies that derive power from religions. The decay continues.

  64. Anonymous[154] • Disclaimer says:

    The dissident right as a whole is much more secular than the Republican base. Maybe it’s IQ, maybe it’s more simply a matter of age and gender. When there are splits in the dissident right this allows one to contrast the faction opposing them with the Republican base and use the difference in worldviews as a wedge, even if they are just as secular as their opponents. This is what’s happening with the corona deniers. They are not Christian fundamentalists, rather, they are an alliance of the InfoWarriors and Trump-is-Secretly-Building-a-Wall-ers. They don’t attend church but like to trot out the cross to use as a convenient political cudgel when they lose the rational argument, which is often.

    • Replies: @Wency
    I imagine the biggest factor is that most members of the dissident right probably score exceptionally low on agreeableness. By nature, its members reject both the mainstream left-infused narrative and the main counter-narrative to it, mainstream conservativism. We like to disagree with people.

    I would suspect most of us broke with our parents' religion at some point, whether we ended up religious in the end or not. My sense is that mainstream conservatives seem to be a much more agreeable sort who never really broke from their parents' religion -- at most maybe they de-emphasized it during some life stages, maybe they still de-emphasize it, but they never critically examined it, never proclaimed themselves atheists for a period, and they never did anything drastic like convert to a different branch of Christianity (for reasons other than marriage).
  65. @Mr. Rational
    I have been watching the flagellum argument for creationism since the 1980's.  It's bogus.  The basis of the flagellum is the bacterial Type 2 secretory system, and many of the proteins in the filament itself have known precursors.

    The rest don't bother me.  So those proteins evolved from things we haven't discovered, or no longer exist.  Most species that have ever existed no longer exist, and their genes have vanished.  This is perfectly consistent with TENS, and are not a credible argument for creationism.

    Know what would prove TENS wrong?  A fossil rabbit in a Precambrian sediment.  But we know you creationists have already tried to "prove" humans walked with dinosaurs by mis-interpreting or faking impressions in fossil mud, so you are going to have to be uncharacteristically honest to be convincing.

    After dealing with creatonut sophistry and dishonesty for over 3 decades, you've got a really tough row to hoe to convince me.

    A fossil rabbit in a Precambrian sediment.

    You don’t get to dictate the terms of the debate by imposing arbitrary proof standards.

    and many of the proteins in the filament itself have known precursors.

    So what?

    The key is the precise arrangement of the parts as well as the presence of the parts.

    So those proteins evolved from things we haven’t discovered, or no longer exist.

    This is the heart of the materialist position: a demand that theists throw the fight before all the evidence is in, on the grounds of inevitability or something.

    This is not a logical argument. It is a prediction of discoveries that may or may not ever be made.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    You don’t get to dictate the terms of the debate by imposing arbitrary proof standards.
     
    The rabbit-in-precambrian-rock is just one of literally millions of things that would overturn TENS.  You funnymentalist creatonuts have been searching for such things practically since Darwin published.  Meanwhile, paleontologists searching for the ancestors of modern whales noted that there were sediments of the right age in China, went there to look for fossils... and bam, they found exactly what they were looking for.  TENS has predictive value.  "Goddidit" does not.

    Evolution was a known and accepted fact long before Darwin published.  The fact that fossils in the geologic column changed more and more away from extant forms as rocks got older, and most of the forms found in old rocks had no known living counterparts, was common knowledge by the 1850's.  Explaining why this was the case is where TENS came in.  All it did was tie the facts together.
  66. @Bardon Kaldian
    If these stats show anything, I would say..

    1. they're about intelligent, talented people & not about geniuses (who are very rare, by the way)

    2. it is better to be agnostic than atheist, because atheism is, in most Joe Sixpack versions, a sort of belief

    3. "theists"are a mixed bag. For instance, they're not easy to define. Among geniuses, Aristotle was, technically, a theist. But: he didn't believe in an interventionist God (his God is just thought that thinks itself & is unconcerned with human, or any other life); also, he didn't believe in "immortality of the soul". So, while technically Aristotle was a theist- in practice & behavior, he was almost an atheist. Simply, a God for him was just an object of analysis & not a living presence, nor something that/who could have anything to do with his, or any other human life.

    “it is better to be agnostic than atheist”

    Agreed. Atheists, in my experience, tend to be more rigid in their beliefs. Many atheists find religion in science, which is folly considering the recent performance of various epidemiologists. Scientists and clerics can be equally corrupted by power.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    >Agreed. Atheists, in my experience, tend to be more rigid in their beliefs.

    "Natural" atheists-i.e, people who would have still been atheists 70 years ago without believing in Marxism or some ideology that necessitated it and took on its own religious characteristics-usually tend toward the analytical and don't have much natural intuition. This leads to a number of self-selecting characteristics: disproportionately male, uninterested in social norms and human connections, and often located in the hard sciences where empirical judgement is everything and you can't engage in verbal BS or appeals to dogma to justify yourself. A degree of mild autism is commonplace as well, and one of the hallmarks of that is... rigidity, in all areas of life.

    This is not the same thing as an irreverent agnostic (or Deists a few centuries ago, perhaps), or the type of person who would have been part of the local morality committee in a previous time period and today believes in social justice instead.

  67. “The atheist Carl Sagan fathered five children with his three different wives, for example, but none of them has become particularly distinguished.”

    Carl Sagan was an atheist? I always had the impression that He thought He was God.

  68. Theistic beliefs typically owe their origin to monotheistic religions
    such as Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, all of which accept the Hebrew
    Book of Genesis in one form or another. But it’s entirely possible to
    be, say, a Christian, although not a traditional one, and reject the Jewish
    belief that God (i.e., Supreme Being) created the world. While you’re
    at it you might as well reject the whole Old Testament (although you
    might accept it as a work of literature the way we enjoy reading the
    Greek Mythology, for example), and, of course, such attempts were indeed
    made early in the history of Christianity.

    Once you reject the concept of the Creator God, theism becomes more
    intellectually respectable because you no longer have to blame God
    for evil, suffering, and death, and all those volumes devoted to apologetics
    in monotheistic religions become unnecessary. Thus the ancient Greeks
    who rejected the concept of God the Creator were I believe closer to the
    truth than the ancient Hebrews. We therefore return on some level to the
    European pagan tradition (albeit in purified form) with its emphasis
    on immanent divinity, thus restoring balance between the two concepts
    of divinity, transcendent and immanent, the balance that had been lost
    in traditional Christianity due to its overemphasis on transcendent
    divinity. What you end up with has some affinity to Advaita Vedanta or
    even to Buddhism. The fact that some form of immanent divinity exists
    is very much based on empirical evidence. With meditative practice
    you will learn in expanded states of consciousness to perceive shimmering
    light around tree branches or even edges of light around ordinary objects
    (there is absolutely no need for psychedelic drugs here). In more advanced
    transegoic states you will perceive ecstatic fields around people and
    around yourself (which have nothing to do with the human aura) but
    this may require years of purification. All of this is consistent with
    panentheism, that is the belief that ALL is in GOD, where God can be
    thought of as a Higher Power (as in 12-step programs) but not a Creator
    God.

    So if God did not create it, how did everything come into existence?
    Who said that everything we see around us actually exists? I myself
    incline toward the simulation hypothesis (see, for example, the recent book
    The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk who is associated with MIT).
    In other words, the Universe does not really exist, it’s merely a simulation.
    In simple models of relativistic cosmology one can show that the total
    energy of the Universe is zero due to the fact that the positive mass energy
    mc^2 is canceled out by the negative gravitational energy of all masses,
    roughly -GMm/r. Hence E =0 in the sense that 2 + (-2) = 0. If E = Mc^2 = 0,
    where M is the mass of the Universe, then M = 0. It’s difficult to think
    of the Universe as truly existing if its total mass is zero.

    I could turn this topic into a long essay but unfortunately have no time
    for it.

    • Replies: @Anon 2
    As a corollary to the Simulation Hypothesis we can conclude that
    wars are senseless because to fight over things that don’t even exist
    makes absolutely no sense
    , @Truth

    Thus the ancient Greeks
    who rejected the concept of God the Creator were I believe closer to the
    truth than the ancient Hebrews.
     
    Really? Then why did the former accept the latter's beliefs?
    , @Anon 2
    Unlike the IQ fetishists on this blog I believe that, given the shortness of human
    life, if you are overdeveloped in one area, you will pay a price by being under-
    developed in many other areas. So a very high IQ person will typically be over-
    developed intellectually, and underdeveloped emotionally, athletically,
    artistically, and spiritually. Let me focus on the latter. As I mentioned
    before, the existence of immanent divinity (but not of the Creator God) can be
    demonstrated empirically. Our spiritual technology is today so powerful
    that one no longer has to join a monastery in order to develop his spiritual
    abilities. One can lead a normal life, and still grow spiritually.

    How is immanent divinity that permeates all things, including our
    bodies, demonstrated? The phenomena I described previously are
    very subtle, and hence can only be perceived after years of practice
    and purification. Purification is primarily mental, and consists
    mainly of forgiveness and removal of hateful thoughts. If this is
    successful, a whole new world will arise in your awareness -
    ecstatic emotions; Kundalini awakening in which you will experience
    your own chakras (energy centers); all sorts of luminous phenomena;
    perceiving ecstatic fields around others as well as yourself; looking
    at tree branches will produce ecstatic feelings so you’ll want to spend
    a lot of time surrounded by trees, and far from the “madding crowds”
    of big cities; perception may become extremely 3-D so people will look
    like beautiful sculptures /this is an unbelievable experience!/; you may
    acquire an ability to heal others with your mere presence; you will
    experience a sense of great strength that cannot come from your body,
    strength which gives you dominion over the physical universe and
    enables you to do miracles. All this is accessible but requires time
    to manifest itself in your life. What I am describing is the process
    of theosis or deification, which is the standard goal in Christianity.
    That’s why it’s important to be developed intellectually but not over-
    developed because that won’t leave you enough time for spiritual
    growth.

    Mere intellectual development pales by comparison with spiritual
    development. In fact, Zen masters often forbid their disciples to
    read books because when reading, you’re dealing with mere symbols
    and models of reality, not reality itself. As Alfred Korzybski, founder
    of General Semantics, said, “The map is not the territory,” or to put
    it more vividly, you can’t get full by eating the menu. You want the
    real food. Nobody can prove to you that immanent divinity exists.
    You can’t learn to prove it by reading a book. It’s something that only
    you can demonstrate empirically for yourself. God is not accessible to
    fools who worship the unholy trinity of power, money, and fame.
    We come to God with empty hands.
  69. @Talha
    It really is a conversation between glass-half-full and glass-half-empty:
    "I won't say that I regret my life but it was unnecessary."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmYDGlixAag

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair ("Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?").

    Are there exceptions to the rule? Sure, but we are talking about general trends.

    Peace.

    It really is a conversation between glass-half-full and glass-half-empty:

    Yes, it really is that simple.

  70. “So those proteins evolved from things we haven’t discovered, or no longer exist.”

    At first there were proteins. And then they exploded.

  71. @No Pill
    I will elaborate. When I attended community college a lot of the guys that I met that were both atheists and conservatives had autism. This trend disappeared when I transferred to a four year school. Autistic people tend to have lower IQs on average, even if they are high functioning. From my personal experience, conservative atheists tend to be autistic. People can disagree, and I am fine with that.

    Please make sure to read through your post before publishing it.

    1. You don’t know whether or not the conservative atheists you met really were autistic (which they probably weren’t)
    2. Your failure to make the same generalization in a four year school should give you the hint that maybe your generalization was wrong after all.

    It’s simply poor argumentation.

    • Replies: @grinning
    Low IQ autistic atheist detected
  72. Anonymous[417] • Disclaimer says:
    @another anon
    Yes, we all know that the noughties or zeroes were the best decade ever, especially on the internets.

    GW Bush and chimp memes

    9/11 and 9/11 conspiracy theories

    War on terror, blogging and warblogging, goat fucking and camel fucking islamophobe memes

    No Facebook, no Twitter, no Youtube, no Instagram, no chans, no social media at all. Internets were for asocial freaks only.

    And the best content even on the internets were the NEVER ENDING ATHEIST/RELIGIOUS WARS!

    All who remember it, knows it was the best time of their lives. Everyone wants it back!

    EVERY SINGLE ONE!

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DXGT14AXcAYHFKN.jpg

    I think we’ll remember the 2010s in a similar nostalgic way. A simpler time, when a group of anonymous internet right-wingers could come together and criticize multiculturalism or feminism without it descending into an argument about whether Bill Gates was poisoning us with vaccines.

    • Agree: dfordoom
  73. @Talha

    Materialism is inherently antinatalism.
     
    Well, it seems to be the only ideology that I've come across that has an expressly anti-natalist faction - if you've heard of EFILISM:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzMnR6IAe18

    Which makes sense within the framework. I mean, if we are just a rearrangement of self-aware, cooperative cells, then what makes us any more special than another arrangement of moving self-aware, cooperative cells. I certainly don't see why humans are special.

    Their only moral precept is the alleviation of suffering, i.e. negative utility.
     
    Well, we can be hyper-destructive to ourselves, other beings and the general environment around us; we do have the capability to cause a nuclear winter across the world and some sociopathic hyper-nerds are still not content with this and are talking about the feasibility of kinetic orbital bombardment.

    There was a nice debate about human exceptionalism recently and can you ground it in a materialist presupposition (see below the MORE tag).

    IF I believed in some kind of Gaia consciousness, then I might consider the possibility that the increase in atheism is a kind of a recalibration to bring the human population into more balance; and why it seems to strike more in populations that come from more opulent and materially lavish societies and thus a greater drain on natural resources (per capita) - I mean, I've seen videos of villages in parts of the world (we smugly call them ****holes) where a person walks miles to fetch water and consumes about 1/25 of the energy of of us does.

    Peace.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0XuDqg2iRA

    “Gaia consciousness”

    Which is the religious branch of the Greens. Because I’m not based in the three major religions, I find the idea that natural systems, like planets, having their own consciousness, imaginative and intriguing. But Environmentalism is being used by incredibly corrupt people like Tom Steyer to gather financial and political power. And the Gaia movement will probably turn out to be another trap in which the seekers become suckers with empty pockets and wasted time.

  74. @Anon 2
    Theistic beliefs typically owe their origin to monotheistic religions
    such as Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, all of which accept the Hebrew
    Book of Genesis in one form or another. But it’s entirely possible to
    be, say, a Christian, although not a traditional one, and reject the Jewish
    belief that God (i.e., Supreme Being) created the world. While you’re
    at it you might as well reject the whole Old Testament (although you
    might accept it as a work of literature the way we enjoy reading the
    Greek Mythology, for example), and, of course, such attempts were indeed
    made early in the history of Christianity.

    Once you reject the concept of the Creator God, theism becomes more
    intellectually respectable because you no longer have to blame God
    for evil, suffering, and death, and all those volumes devoted to apologetics
    in monotheistic religions become unnecessary. Thus the ancient Greeks
    who rejected the concept of God the Creator were I believe closer to the
    truth than the ancient Hebrews. We therefore return on some level to the
    European pagan tradition (albeit in purified form) with its emphasis
    on immanent divinity, thus restoring balance between the two concepts
    of divinity, transcendent and immanent, the balance that had been lost
    in traditional Christianity due to its overemphasis on transcendent
    divinity. What you end up with has some affinity to Advaita Vedanta or
    even to Buddhism. The fact that some form of immanent divinity exists
    is very much based on empirical evidence. With meditative practice
    you will learn in expanded states of consciousness to perceive shimmering
    light around tree branches or even edges of light around ordinary objects
    (there is absolutely no need for psychedelic drugs here). In more advanced
    transegoic states you will perceive ecstatic fields around people and
    around yourself (which have nothing to do with the human aura) but
    this may require years of purification. All of this is consistent with
    panentheism, that is the belief that ALL is in GOD, where God can be
    thought of as a Higher Power (as in 12-step programs) but not a Creator
    God.

    So if God did not create it, how did everything come into existence?
    Who said that everything we see around us actually exists? I myself
    incline toward the simulation hypothesis (see, for example, the recent book
    The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk who is associated with MIT).
    In other words, the Universe does not really exist, it’s merely a simulation.
    In simple models of relativistic cosmology one can show that the total
    energy of the Universe is zero due to the fact that the positive mass energy
    mc^2 is canceled out by the negative gravitational energy of all masses,
    roughly -GMm/r. Hence E =0 in the sense that 2 + (-2) = 0. If E = Mc^2 = 0,
    where M is the mass of the Universe, then M = 0. It’s difficult to think
    of the Universe as truly existing if its total mass is zero.

    I could turn this topic into a long essay but unfortunately have no time
    for it.

    As a corollary to the Simulation Hypothesis we can conclude that
    wars are senseless because to fight over things that don’t even exist
    makes absolutely no sense

  75. @Mr. Rational
    So you've gone from "I don't know" to "I don't know, ergo $deity did it".

    So you’ve gone from “I don’t know” to “I don’t know, ergo $deity did it”.

    Natural processes are either sufficient to explain our observations of the universe, or they are not. So yes, Nuncle’s reasoning is sound.

    In theory, you could posit an alien designer or something, but then you’re really just back too arguing about theology, with the hypothetical alien as god.

    Does God transcend nature? Is God many, one, or something in between these? Is God corporeal or not? Etc.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    Natural processes are either sufficient to explain our observations of the universe, or they are not.
     
    The Miller-Urey experiment proved that the building blocks of life arise by abiological processes.  Of all of the creatonuts arguing that the improbability of abiogenesis makes it impossible, I have never seen one calculate the probability of the generation of e.g. guanine from water, simple gases and an electric discharge or UV light.  Yet it IS generated.

    In theory, you could posit an alien designer or something
     
    "Who designed the designer?"  I'm wise to that crap, Rosie.  The answer is that the possibility is built into the electron configurations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.  Since the possibility exists, it will arise where conditions allow.  If there was "a designer", it is back at the level of whatever sets the laws of quantum mechanics.  This is as far from the Christian god as you can get; all the evidence we have says that the deists are the believers closest to the truth.
  76. @AP
    This reflects the modern educational system, that tends to be antireligious. The greatest writers, scientists and thinkers have tended to be religious, and people were more religious generations ago, when the very smartest of people were more intelligent than the current smartest of people (average IQ has risen due to the spread of literacy but does anyone think that someone like Dawkins or Dennett are more intelligent than, say, Kant or Heisenberg, or the martyred Florensky?).

    Weren’t James Watts and Adam Smith both Protestant ministers? I can’t think of two more influential people for the last 300 years.

  77. anonymous[905] • Disclaimer says:
    @advancedatheist
    The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions. (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.) After all, no one seriously thinks that Greek paganism will become a living creed ever again, and you would have trouble selling a story set in a technologically advanced civilization in the future where this has happened. We all understand on some level that religions really can die and become historical curiosities.

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now. Atheists give Christians the creeps because we look like an invasion of time travelers from an advanced civilization in the future after Christianity has disappeared.

    The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions.
    (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.)

    A religion based on truth does not “expire.” It is like saying truth expires. Truth never expires. It may be obfuscated for a while, sometimes that could be decades, centuries or millennia.

    Since you mention Islam also, muslims believe that the original religion of man (Adam PBUH) was true monotheism (God is One, and the only One worthy of worship… the Tawheed), which was much later codified as Islam, as the world knows it now.

    Just because the descendants of Adam and Eve, PBUT, chose to innovate and deviate from the path of true monotheism, adding various paganisms (man/animal/idol worship), does not mean that the truth of the One God expired.

    The truth remained dormant, until the next prophet came to once again exhort mankind to true monotheism, which was again conveniently forgotten by man, until around 600AD, when mankind finally got it, by the will of God. Islam was born.

    Religions based on falsehoods can and do deserve to die (e.g. Greek paganism, even though I believe some of its aspects are alive in Christianity, such as Hades, etc.). There are various other faiths based on pagan polytheist mangods-worship whose edifices currently float wobbling on an ocean of unverifiable falsehoods/hearsay (e.g. man was created in the image of God)… examples; Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, and various others. I do believe they face an existential threat, not from outside, but from within, unable to sustain on the deceit by which they propagate.

    Now, coming to Islam… the truth of the Tawheed is on rock-solid grounding. If a person believes we couldn’t have materialised out of nothing, then the person cannot dispute the Tawheed. This is the reason why Islam never has to be tweaked, which seems to be a constant and pathetic effort of pagans. This is also the reason why God willed that Muhammad SAW would be the last prophet. The truth was firmly established, finally.

    Btw, Islam does not consider other religions as “expired,” which seems to imply that it saw in their core, some truth, which it then “improved” upon. Pagan polytheist mangods-worship never stood the chance of being the “truth.”

    Islam stands above all that. It knows that these pagan faiths will simply collapse under the weight of their own deceit. It is simply a matter of time. Other pagan faiths instinctively understand this too. That is why they consider Islam as an existential threat which must be vilified and combatted. The current reality reflects that.

    • Replies: @Nodwink

    Islam never has to be tweaked
     
    This is a ludicrous statement. Islam is almost entirely created by Islamic experts, who always put their own spin. By the tenth century CE, something like 100,000 pages of commentary had been identified.

    Even the most fundamentalist nation on the planet tweaked their rules about women driving. For decades it was, sinful, evil, un-Islamic. Then it was OK. What changed?
  78. Here’s a clue. Intelligence is the result of environment, regarding critical thought. The less certain you are about the world around you, the more you have to engage in rationalizing what one might consider the grey —

    For people of faith, there’s nothing wrong with critically thinking, nothing wrong with science, nothing wrong about a desire and efforts to explain the real world – save when it challenges what they understand as Gods reality — moral reality especially.

    So it does not really mater if you are “religious”. What matters if how much critical thought via investigation and practice you engage in and how that is stimulated – genetics is important, but that can be overcome if one is diligent enough or even if simply is so engrossed. But if one believes in God and has relations with the same — then it may follow that they are satisfied with God’s answers or even God’s non-answers. And on a moral plane there simply is less doubt. More people of faith are not going to be combing medical journals and psychiatrists to answer questions about why they feel a certain way —

    And there is this High IQ, whatever that is , is less important to success tan capable people. It my be admirable for status signaling , but at the end of the day — we don’ need a high IQ president, or congress or supreme court. You don’t need a high iq person to balance the books. Note: high IQ people are more inclined to figure out a way to balance the books , so they appear balanced, they’ll engage in formula for making money making far outside the scope to predict, high IQ , think that high IQ is a substitute for effective an honest maintainance — it’s clearly not.

    As the article by Dr. Hudson gets to —

    if the economy operates in growth during a frozen economy — ten you know the stick market is reflecting a different reality — certainly not one most of the US operates in —

    and that should be stunningly alarming — using the markets in the electronic communication age o reflect the economy is simply – wrong. But high IQ people have managed to convince themselves and billions that the markets determine the state of the economy — that has been incorrect for many many decades.

    Te high IQ men and women on the Supreme Court actually wrote into existence a legal standard for killing human beings in the womb —– take a look ate intellectual gymnastics it took to obliterate the obvious reality —

    or it could simply be that secular oriented people have better genetics.

    Snort.

    The beginning of wisdom

    fear God and keep his word.

  79. anonymous[905] • Disclaimer says:
    @advancedatheist
    Scientists who have children tend to show regression towards the mean in their offspring, namely, that their children will trend towards the ordinary. (The atheist Carl Sagan fathered five children with his three different wives, for example, but none of them has become particularly distinguished.) By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.

    If someone was to come up with a tally of all the greatest discoveries and inventions of mankind, you will find a random mix of the theists, and the atheists.

    Your point then becomes meaningless.

    • Replies: @advancedatheist
    But atheists have pulled their weight in contributing to scientific knowledge and technological capability as their numbers have grown, if not disproportionately so.
  80. I think science is fascinating. But imagine my surprise when I watched a programs about what unvserse lies at the center of all others — ours based on the newest data — though there is some debate. Certainly plenty of those in the scientific community don’t want to enter classrooms and say those pesky christians were right — ‘But for the wrong reasons . . and it appears probably the Earth is center stage — ggggrrr . . . grrrrrr . . . darn it.’

    Laugh.

    but at the end of the day, if Atlas wasn’t going hit the Earth and neither was Swan —- does the physics and cosmology matter to Frank and Sue working 60 hours a week to put food on their table — probably not. IQ matters in how it serves the community at large. I am sure Frank and Sue would be delighted of their children were top tier scientists, but they would as delighted if their children were successful parents and care takers worked to do for theirs as they had done for them.

    I appreciate my education. But that is bit one aspect and an unnecessary one at that, to being an effective human being. And those who believe in God — have an edge in that department, in my view.

    And for the record I tend to a belief in God whether the universe is center stage or a third rate left stage hand.

    • Replies: @Alexander Turok

    ut imagine my surprise when I watched a programs about what unvserse lies at the center of all others — ours based on the newest data — though there is some debate. Certainly plenty of those in the scientific community don’t want to enter classrooms and say those pesky christians were right — ‘But for the wrong reasons . . and it appears probably the Earth is center stage — ggggrrr . . . grrrrrr . . . darn it.’
     
    I assume this is a reference to Bostrom's trilemma. If it is, it's totally wrong to say the universe being a simulation implies that the Christians were right. Someone creating a computer simulation is not God, he's not omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, and most importantly he didn't somehow conceive a child with a human a woman to grant forgiveness to the sins of mankind.
  81. @EliteCommInc.
    I think science is fascinating. But imagine my surprise when I watched a programs about what unvserse lies at the center of all others -- ours based on the newest data -- though there is some debate. Certainly plenty of those in the scientific community don't want to enter classrooms and say those pesky christians were right --- 'But for the wrong reasons . . and it appears probably the Earth is center stage -- ggggrrr . . . grrrrrr . . . darn it.'


    Laugh.

    but at the end of the day, if Atlas wasn't going hit the Earth and neither was Swan ---- does the physics and cosmology matter to Frank and Sue working 60 hours a week to put food on their table -- probably not. IQ matters in how it serves the community at large. I am sure Frank and Sue would be delighted of their children were top tier scientists, but they would as delighted if their children were successful parents and care takers worked to do for theirs as they had done for them.

    I appreciate my education. But that is bit one aspect and an unnecessary one at that, to being an effective human being. And those who believe in God -- have an edge in that department, in my view.

    And for the record I tend to a belief in God whether the universe is center stage or a third rate left stage hand.

    ut imagine my surprise when I watched a programs about what unvserse lies at the center of all others — ours based on the newest data — though there is some debate. Certainly plenty of those in the scientific community don’t want to enter classrooms and say those pesky christians were right — ‘But for the wrong reasons . . and it appears probably the Earth is center stage — ggggrrr . . . grrrrrr . . . darn it.’

    I assume this is a reference to Bostrom’s trilemma. If it is, it’s totally wrong to say the universe being a simulation implies that the Christians were right. Someone creating a computer simulation is not God, he’s not omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, and most importantly he didn’t somehow conceive a child with a human a woman to grant forgiveness to the sins of mankind.

  82. Most people are absurdly ill-informed here. Better read some good stuff on the topic (if you can, I mean if you possess enough emotional maturity & critical thinking).

    [MORE]

  83. @Rosie

    A fossil rabbit in a Precambrian sediment.
     
    You don't get to dictate the terms of the debate by imposing arbitrary proof standards.

    and many of the proteins in the filament itself have known precursors.
     
    So what?

    The key is the precise arrangement of the parts as well as the presence of the parts.


    So those proteins evolved from things we haven’t discovered, or no longer exist.
     
    This is the heart of the materialist position: a demand that theists throw the fight before all the evidence is in, on the grounds of inevitability or something.

    This is not a logical argument. It is a prediction of discoveries that may or may not ever be made.

    You don’t get to dictate the terms of the debate by imposing arbitrary proof standards.

    The rabbit-in-precambrian-rock is just one of literally millions of things that would overturn TENS.  You funnymentalist creatonuts have been searching for such things practically since Darwin published.  Meanwhile, paleontologists searching for the ancestors of modern whales noted that there were sediments of the right age in China, went there to look for fossils… and bam, they found exactly what they were looking for.  TENS has predictive value.  “Goddidit” does not.

    Evolution was a known and accepted fact long before Darwin published.  The fact that fossils in the geologic column changed more and more away from extant forms as rocks got older, and most of the forms found in old rocks had no known living counterparts, was common knowledge by the 1850’s.  Explaining why this was the case is where TENS came in.  All it did was tie the facts together.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    The rabbit-in-precambrian-rock is just one of literally millions of things that would overturn TENS.
     
    Well good, at least we agree about that much.

    TENS cannot be "overturned" as if it were a statute or a Supreme Court precedent. It can only be judged more or less likely to be true than the alternatives, depending on the evidence.

    TENS has predictive value. “Goddidit” does not.
     

    Even if that is true, it's not the ultimate question. Much of science is not utilitarian. The likes of you suffer from a fundamental lack of curiosity about truth for it's own sake, quite apart from how useful it is.

    In any event, "it was a lucky coincidence" doesn't have much predictive power, either, and barely constit0an explanation of any sort, let alone a satisfying one for genuine seekers of truth.

  84. “I assume this is a reference to Bostrom’s trilemma. If it is, it’s totally wrong to say the universe being a simulation implies that the Christians were right. Someone creating a computer simulation is not God, he’s not omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, and most importantly he didn’t somehow conceive a child with a human a woman to grant forgiveness to the sins of mankind.”

    Interesting and

    No.

    This is simply about location. I have not extrapolated anything about the essence of God.

    Here’s my simple comment. I don’t debate people who say there’s no God. There’s no point. No offense, I am not dismissing your comment. However it is a nonsequitor. Whether the universe is huge holographic simulation has absolutely nothing to do with it. But I certainly buy that there is a creator who set the matter in motion and keeps chaos at bey for now.

    As my comment indicates a cosmologists, physicists, etc. might begrudge that admission (about the location of our system in relation to all others) however, those who are pure secularists would say, they got the location right, but for the wrong reason(s).

  85. @No Pill
    Conservative atheists tend to be autistic, and so that is why they are low IQ. I am not saying that to be mean either.

    Conservative atheists are few and far between. Robert M. Price is the only one I can think of off hand. Atheists who break with liberalism are more likely to be libertarians.
    One thing that keeps high IQ whites on the Democrat plantation is the aggressive stupidity of Fox News Republicans and evangelical Christians. Even a lot of fairly intelligent Republicans are still very narrow minded and philistine. I can’t blame people for not wanting to be associated with them.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    One thing that keeps high IQ whites on the Democrat plantation is the aggressive stupidity of Fox News Republicans and evangelical Christians.
     
    I certainly agree with that.
  86. @Anonymous

    Atheists have been asking to see proof of the Divine for a while but now, I think it’s fair to ask for a mere cell, no? Now, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine it’s fairly straightforward at this point to solve the abiogenesis puzzle.
     
    It's an invalid comparison. I don't need to prove anything to say I don't believe in the teapot. I just say, I haven't seen any indication the teapot exists outside of some people having "visions" which I don't consider to be sufficient evidence.

    It’s an invalid comparison. I don’t need to prove anything to say I don’t believe in the teapot.

    True, but then a teapot doesn’t explain anything that needs explaining.

    People who have indoor plumbing have much lower fertility than those who do not.

    Which stands to reason, since not having indoor plumbing, I assume correlates with high infant mortality and consequent need for higher fertility.

  87. @Mr. Rational

    You don’t get to dictate the terms of the debate by imposing arbitrary proof standards.
     
    The rabbit-in-precambrian-rock is just one of literally millions of things that would overturn TENS.  You funnymentalist creatonuts have been searching for such things practically since Darwin published.  Meanwhile, paleontologists searching for the ancestors of modern whales noted that there were sediments of the right age in China, went there to look for fossils... and bam, they found exactly what they were looking for.  TENS has predictive value.  "Goddidit" does not.

    Evolution was a known and accepted fact long before Darwin published.  The fact that fossils in the geologic column changed more and more away from extant forms as rocks got older, and most of the forms found in old rocks had no known living counterparts, was common knowledge by the 1850's.  Explaining why this was the case is where TENS came in.  All it did was tie the facts together.

    The rabbit-in-precambrian-rock is just one of literally millions of things that would overturn TENS.

    Well good, at least we agree about that much.

    TENS cannot be “overturned” as if it were a statute or a Supreme Court precedent. It can only be judged more or less likely to be true than the alternatives, depending on the evidence.

    TENS has predictive value. “Goddidit” does not.

    Even if that is true, it’s not the ultimate question. Much of science is not utilitarian. The likes of you suffer from a fundamental lack of curiosity about truth for it’s own sake, quite apart from how useful it is.

    In any event, “it was a lucky coincidence” doesn’t have much predictive power, either, and barely constit0an explanation of any sort, let alone a satisfying one for genuine seekers of truth.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    Much of science is not utilitarian.
     
    Engineering is utilitarian.  Science is primarily descriptive.

    The likes of you suffer from a fundamental lack of curiosity about truth for it’s own sake, quite apart from how useful it is.
     
    Aside from your error of grammar, I am intensely curious about things like the cosmic background radiation and what it shows about the nature of the early universe.  I don't have the chops to understand the fine details (my skills are of a more practical bent) and it's absolutely worthless for anything that I do, but I find this stuff fascinating.  YOU are the one who waves things away with "goddidit".

    In any event, “it was a lucky coincidence” doesn’t have much predictive power, either, and barely constit0an explanation of any sort
     
    Theory predicted that precursor of X would be found in sediments of age Y, which existed at site Z.  The prediction was correct.  The regular success of such predictions constitutes confirmation of the theory, and the conceptual framework of the theory IS an explanation.  The ineffable whims of a deity are not.
  88. @Rosie

    The last assertion is, too, but I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it by.
     
    I take it schoolmarm is laid back about dangling prepositions. Personally, I hate them, but the alternative ("by which to evaluate it") is by far the greater evil IMO.

    Anyway, one of the problems here is that the MSM continues to use the term "creationism" to refer to any suggestion that natural processes are not, by themselves, sufficient to explain the discoveries of modern biochemistry, genetics, and cosmology.

    This is rank sophistry at the very least. The term "creationism" should be reserved for Scriptural, authority-based (rather than observational) approaches to the study of nature.

    The anti- dangling prepostion thing is, was and always will be a canard that we have just become accustomed to (sorry, to which we have become accustomed).

    This is a clumsy attempt to Latinize English, which is a Germanic language with many Latin-derived words. Germanic languages by and large do not punish dangling prepositions.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    The anti- dangling prepostion thing is, was and always will be a canard that we have just become accustomed to (sorry, to which we have become accustomed).
     
    Lol.

    This is a clumsy attempt to Latinize English, which is a Germanic language with many Latin-derived words. Germanic languages by and large do not punish dangling prepositions.
     
    Dangling prepositions might sound fine in German, I wouldn't know, but they sound awful in English, though as I said, there is nothing better.
  89. @advancedatheist
    Scientists who have children tend to show regression towards the mean in their offspring, namely, that their children will trend towards the ordinary. (The atheist Carl Sagan fathered five children with his three different wives, for example, but none of them has become particularly distinguished.) By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.

    You mean, suffered.

    • Replies: @advancedatheist
    At least the harmful things doable with ideas from science and technology work.
  90. @Anon 2
    Theistic beliefs typically owe their origin to monotheistic religions
    such as Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, all of which accept the Hebrew
    Book of Genesis in one form or another. But it’s entirely possible to
    be, say, a Christian, although not a traditional one, and reject the Jewish
    belief that God (i.e., Supreme Being) created the world. While you’re
    at it you might as well reject the whole Old Testament (although you
    might accept it as a work of literature the way we enjoy reading the
    Greek Mythology, for example), and, of course, such attempts were indeed
    made early in the history of Christianity.

    Once you reject the concept of the Creator God, theism becomes more
    intellectually respectable because you no longer have to blame God
    for evil, suffering, and death, and all those volumes devoted to apologetics
    in monotheistic religions become unnecessary. Thus the ancient Greeks
    who rejected the concept of God the Creator were I believe closer to the
    truth than the ancient Hebrews. We therefore return on some level to the
    European pagan tradition (albeit in purified form) with its emphasis
    on immanent divinity, thus restoring balance between the two concepts
    of divinity, transcendent and immanent, the balance that had been lost
    in traditional Christianity due to its overemphasis on transcendent
    divinity. What you end up with has some affinity to Advaita Vedanta or
    even to Buddhism. The fact that some form of immanent divinity exists
    is very much based on empirical evidence. With meditative practice
    you will learn in expanded states of consciousness to perceive shimmering
    light around tree branches or even edges of light around ordinary objects
    (there is absolutely no need for psychedelic drugs here). In more advanced
    transegoic states you will perceive ecstatic fields around people and
    around yourself (which have nothing to do with the human aura) but
    this may require years of purification. All of this is consistent with
    panentheism, that is the belief that ALL is in GOD, where God can be
    thought of as a Higher Power (as in 12-step programs) but not a Creator
    God.

    So if God did not create it, how did everything come into existence?
    Who said that everything we see around us actually exists? I myself
    incline toward the simulation hypothesis (see, for example, the recent book
    The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk who is associated with MIT).
    In other words, the Universe does not really exist, it’s merely a simulation.
    In simple models of relativistic cosmology one can show that the total
    energy of the Universe is zero due to the fact that the positive mass energy
    mc^2 is canceled out by the negative gravitational energy of all masses,
    roughly -GMm/r. Hence E =0 in the sense that 2 + (-2) = 0. If E = Mc^2 = 0,
    where M is the mass of the Universe, then M = 0. It’s difficult to think
    of the Universe as truly existing if its total mass is zero.

    I could turn this topic into a long essay but unfortunately have no time
    for it.

    Thus the ancient Greeks
    who rejected the concept of God the Creator were I believe closer to the
    truth than the ancient Hebrews.

    Really? Then why did the former accept the latter’s beliefs?

    • Replies: @Anon 2
    The short answer is that the ancient Greeks became subjugated by Rome.
    Then in AD 313 (Edict of Milan) the Roman Empire effectively converted to
    Christianity, and the Greeks being part of the Empire had to obey the edict. Until
    the 18th century, much of Europe was effectively governed by the rule “cuius regio,
    eius religio” (lit. whose realm, his religion), i.e., there was no freedom of
    religion - you had to practice the religion of your ruler.
  91. @Truth

    Thus the ancient Greeks
    who rejected the concept of God the Creator were I believe closer to the
    truth than the ancient Hebrews.
     
    Really? Then why did the former accept the latter's beliefs?

    The short answer is that the ancient Greeks became subjugated by Rome.
    Then in AD 313 (Edict of Milan) the Roman Empire effectively converted to
    Christianity, and the Greeks being part of the Empire had to obey the edict. Until
    the 18th century, much of Europe was effectively governed by the rule “cuius regio,
    eius religio” (lit. whose realm, his religion), i.e., there was no freedom of
    religion – you had to practice the religion of your ruler.

    • Replies: @Truth
    Not quite true.

    The "Christianization of Greece (and the rest of the Mediterranean) started a few years after "Jesus" died. Read the book of Paul, the only time I got a belly laugh from the bible was in this verse...


    Acts 17:19-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
    19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
     

    So Greece was not forced into "Christianity" in 313AD, rather, the Christian movement was growing so fast that Rome (and Constantanople) had to come up with their own bizzaro-world renditions of Christianity, which was the Old and New Testament melded with every local pagan tradition they could find, thus making it easier for regional acceptance.
  92. @Talha
    It really is a conversation between glass-half-full and glass-half-empty:
    "I won't say that I regret my life but it was unnecessary."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmYDGlixAag

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair ("Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?").

    Are there exceptions to the rule? Sure, but we are talking about general trends.

    Peace.

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair (“Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”).

    Yes that’s true. But it doesn’t necessarily line up neatly with being religious or anti-religious. More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they’re religious or are people more likely to be religious because they’re inherently optimistic?

    And there are pessimistic religious people, especially Christians, who think the world is evil and that the sooner God brings it all all to an end with the Last Judgment the better. They’re often the kinds of Christians who are horrified by any sort of sensual pleasure. As George Bernard Shaw put it, they disapprove of sex because it might lead to dancing. There’s a strong anti-life strand in Christianity.

    And there have been Christian sects who believed in absolute celibacy – no sex even in marriage. Not surprisingly these sects were short-lived!

    Are there optimistic materialists? I’d say that there used to be but maybe they’re less common these days. Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    >More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they’re religious or are people more likely to be religious because they’re inherently optimistic?

    You know, that's a fascinating question. As someone genuinely trying to be more optimistic and trying to simultaneously recalibrate his metaphysical outlook, I wish I could answer it, but I can't. Too early in the journey, I guess.

    >There’s a strong anti-life strand in Christianity.

    Not necessarily: within the context of marriage, the Puritans really, really loved to have sex: the whole "be fruitful and multiply" part. So much so that wives could divorce their husbands for impotence. (Many modern Muslim cultures work similarly. There really are things like "Go home and have marathon sex day with your spouse" encouraged by mosques. Of course, needless to say, your spouse is supposed to be legally wedded and of the opposite sex.)

    There's a strong anti-life strand in modern American culture: give your life for your company, show Our Values (TM) and be a Team Player, or we can replace you with 10,000 other struggling, precariat 20/30-somethings. "Mainstream" modern American Christianity reflects that. Groups like Mormons and fundamentalist Catholics tend to be the outliers, with relatively large families. I'm a big personal believer that mainstream religion is ultimately subordinate to culture rather than the other way around, so this partly reflects ideological bias, but I don't think it is hard to see the anti-natalist trends within an increasingly neo-feudal socioeconomic structure within the US.

    >Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.

    In yet another stark contrast between the Old Left and the New, good Communist Party members were generally expected to get married, reproduce the old fashioned way, and set a societal example. Chicken or the egg?

    , @Talha

    But it doesn’t necessarily line up neatly with being religious or anti-religious.
     
    Yes, as I mentioned, there are general trends and exceptions to the general trend - no doubt.

    More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they’re religious or are people more likely to be religious because they’re inherently optimistic?
     
    Yes, the chicken and egg scenario. I don't know really. I personally find converts to religions to be of use in such an analysis since they were born and acclimated to a certain worldview and switched. One thing I have noted among the Muslim converts I have come across (whether in person or online) is a recurring theme of; "For the first time in my life, I do not feel alone."

    Now, the question arises; did the religion give them this sense of optimism and hope or...did they naturally find it, because no matter the degree of distress and loneliness they may have had, they held out hope and optimism in finding something until they finally did and settled on this particular religion as an avenue. I don't know - it is an interesting question.

    Are there optimistic materialists? I’d say that there used to be but maybe they’re less common these days. Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.
     
    Yes, good points.

    Peace.
  93. @Anon 2
    Theistic beliefs typically owe their origin to monotheistic religions
    such as Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, all of which accept the Hebrew
    Book of Genesis in one form or another. But it’s entirely possible to
    be, say, a Christian, although not a traditional one, and reject the Jewish
    belief that God (i.e., Supreme Being) created the world. While you’re
    at it you might as well reject the whole Old Testament (although you
    might accept it as a work of literature the way we enjoy reading the
    Greek Mythology, for example), and, of course, such attempts were indeed
    made early in the history of Christianity.

    Once you reject the concept of the Creator God, theism becomes more
    intellectually respectable because you no longer have to blame God
    for evil, suffering, and death, and all those volumes devoted to apologetics
    in monotheistic religions become unnecessary. Thus the ancient Greeks
    who rejected the concept of God the Creator were I believe closer to the
    truth than the ancient Hebrews. We therefore return on some level to the
    European pagan tradition (albeit in purified form) with its emphasis
    on immanent divinity, thus restoring balance between the two concepts
    of divinity, transcendent and immanent, the balance that had been lost
    in traditional Christianity due to its overemphasis on transcendent
    divinity. What you end up with has some affinity to Advaita Vedanta or
    even to Buddhism. The fact that some form of immanent divinity exists
    is very much based on empirical evidence. With meditative practice
    you will learn in expanded states of consciousness to perceive shimmering
    light around tree branches or even edges of light around ordinary objects
    (there is absolutely no need for psychedelic drugs here). In more advanced
    transegoic states you will perceive ecstatic fields around people and
    around yourself (which have nothing to do with the human aura) but
    this may require years of purification. All of this is consistent with
    panentheism, that is the belief that ALL is in GOD, where God can be
    thought of as a Higher Power (as in 12-step programs) but not a Creator
    God.

    So if God did not create it, how did everything come into existence?
    Who said that everything we see around us actually exists? I myself
    incline toward the simulation hypothesis (see, for example, the recent book
    The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk who is associated with MIT).
    In other words, the Universe does not really exist, it’s merely a simulation.
    In simple models of relativistic cosmology one can show that the total
    energy of the Universe is zero due to the fact that the positive mass energy
    mc^2 is canceled out by the negative gravitational energy of all masses,
    roughly -GMm/r. Hence E =0 in the sense that 2 + (-2) = 0. If E = Mc^2 = 0,
    where M is the mass of the Universe, then M = 0. It’s difficult to think
    of the Universe as truly existing if its total mass is zero.

    I could turn this topic into a long essay but unfortunately have no time
    for it.

    Unlike the IQ fetishists on this blog I believe that, given the shortness of human
    life, if you are overdeveloped in one area, you will pay a price by being under-
    developed in many other areas. So a very high IQ person will typically be over-
    developed intellectually, and underdeveloped emotionally, athletically,
    artistically, and spiritually. Let me focus on the latter. As I mentioned
    before, the existence of immanent divinity (but not of the Creator God) can be
    demonstrated empirically. Our spiritual technology is today so powerful
    that one no longer has to join a monastery in order to develop his spiritual
    abilities. One can lead a normal life, and still grow spiritually.

    How is immanent divinity that permeates all things, including our
    bodies, demonstrated? The phenomena I described previously are
    very subtle, and hence can only be perceived after years of practice
    and purification. Purification is primarily mental, and consists
    mainly of forgiveness and removal of hateful thoughts. If this is
    successful, a whole new world will arise in your awareness –
    ecstatic emotions; Kundalini awakening in which you will experience
    your own chakras (energy centers); all sorts of luminous phenomena;
    perceiving ecstatic fields around others as well as yourself; looking
    at tree branches will produce ecstatic feelings so you’ll want to spend
    a lot of time surrounded by trees, and far from the “madding crowds”
    of big cities; perception may become extremely 3-D so people will look
    like beautiful sculptures /this is an unbelievable experience!/; you may
    acquire an ability to heal others with your mere presence; you will
    experience a sense of great strength that cannot come from your body,
    strength which gives you dominion over the physical universe and
    enables you to do miracles. All this is accessible but requires time
    to manifest itself in your life. What I am describing is the process
    of theosis or deification, which is the standard goal in Christianity.
    That’s why it’s important to be developed intellectually but not over-
    developed because that won’t leave you enough time for spiritual
    growth.

    Mere intellectual development pales by comparison with spiritual
    development. In fact, Zen masters often forbid their disciples to
    read books because when reading, you’re dealing with mere symbols
    and models of reality, not reality itself. As Alfred Korzybski, founder
    of General Semantics, said, “The map is not the territory,” or to put
    it more vividly, you can’t get full by eating the menu. You want the
    real food. Nobody can prove to you that immanent divinity exists.
    You can’t learn to prove it by reading a book. It’s something that only
    you can demonstrate empirically for yourself. God is not accessible to
    fools who worship the unholy trinity of power, money, and fame.
    We come to God with empty hands.

    • Replies: @Anon 2
    Re: Immanent divinity

    How does one get started on the spiritual path? There are many paths but
    some are faster than others. One of the fastest that I know of is “A Course
    in Miracles”(1976). But at 1330+ pages it’s not for the faint of heart. Monotheistic
    religions are primarily about transcendent divinity whereas spirituality is
    primarily about immanent divinity. The Course combines both approaches
    into a harmonious whole.
  94. @Anon 2
    Unlike the IQ fetishists on this blog I believe that, given the shortness of human
    life, if you are overdeveloped in one area, you will pay a price by being under-
    developed in many other areas. So a very high IQ person will typically be over-
    developed intellectually, and underdeveloped emotionally, athletically,
    artistically, and spiritually. Let me focus on the latter. As I mentioned
    before, the existence of immanent divinity (but not of the Creator God) can be
    demonstrated empirically. Our spiritual technology is today so powerful
    that one no longer has to join a monastery in order to develop his spiritual
    abilities. One can lead a normal life, and still grow spiritually.

    How is immanent divinity that permeates all things, including our
    bodies, demonstrated? The phenomena I described previously are
    very subtle, and hence can only be perceived after years of practice
    and purification. Purification is primarily mental, and consists
    mainly of forgiveness and removal of hateful thoughts. If this is
    successful, a whole new world will arise in your awareness -
    ecstatic emotions; Kundalini awakening in which you will experience
    your own chakras (energy centers); all sorts of luminous phenomena;
    perceiving ecstatic fields around others as well as yourself; looking
    at tree branches will produce ecstatic feelings so you’ll want to spend
    a lot of time surrounded by trees, and far from the “madding crowds”
    of big cities; perception may become extremely 3-D so people will look
    like beautiful sculptures /this is an unbelievable experience!/; you may
    acquire an ability to heal others with your mere presence; you will
    experience a sense of great strength that cannot come from your body,
    strength which gives you dominion over the physical universe and
    enables you to do miracles. All this is accessible but requires time
    to manifest itself in your life. What I am describing is the process
    of theosis or deification, which is the standard goal in Christianity.
    That’s why it’s important to be developed intellectually but not over-
    developed because that won’t leave you enough time for spiritual
    growth.

    Mere intellectual development pales by comparison with spiritual
    development. In fact, Zen masters often forbid their disciples to
    read books because when reading, you’re dealing with mere symbols
    and models of reality, not reality itself. As Alfred Korzybski, founder
    of General Semantics, said, “The map is not the territory,” or to put
    it more vividly, you can’t get full by eating the menu. You want the
    real food. Nobody can prove to you that immanent divinity exists.
    You can’t learn to prove it by reading a book. It’s something that only
    you can demonstrate empirically for yourself. God is not accessible to
    fools who worship the unholy trinity of power, money, and fame.
    We come to God with empty hands.

    Re: Immanent divinity

    How does one get started on the spiritual path? There are many paths but
    some are faster than others. One of the fastest that I know of is “A Course
    in Miracles”(1976). But at 1330+ pages it’s not for the faint of heart. Monotheistic
    religions are primarily about transcendent divinity whereas spirituality is
    primarily about immanent divinity. The Course combines both approaches
    into a harmonious whole.

    • Replies: @orionyx
    I had a cousin who made a pretty good living by promising to teach the gullible how to achieve the sort of transcendent states you're talking about. He also told them that in that state, they'd be able to levitate. He got mad at me for suggesting that he should just slip into such a state and levitate to the ceiling just to show us it works. I got mad at myself for wasting time listening to such bilge. Nowadays, when I hear the same sort of thing, I just say Show me!
    Can you?
  95. @dfordoom

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair (“Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”).
     
    Yes that's true. But it doesn't necessarily line up neatly with being religious or anti-religious. More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they're religious or are people more likely to be religious because they're inherently optimistic?

    And there are pessimistic religious people, especially Christians, who think the world is evil and that the sooner God brings it all all to an end with the Last Judgment the better. They're often the kinds of Christians who are horrified by any sort of sensual pleasure. As George Bernard Shaw put it, they disapprove of sex because it might lead to dancing. There's a strong anti-life strand in Christianity.

    And there have been Christian sects who believed in absolute celibacy - no sex even in marriage. Not surprisingly these sects were short-lived!

    Are there optimistic materialists? I'd say that there used to be but maybe they're less common these days. Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.

    >More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they’re religious or are people more likely to be religious because they’re inherently optimistic?

    You know, that’s a fascinating question. As someone genuinely trying to be more optimistic and trying to simultaneously recalibrate his metaphysical outlook, I wish I could answer it, but I can’t. Too early in the journey, I guess.

    >There’s a strong anti-life strand in Christianity.

    Not necessarily: within the context of marriage, the Puritans really, really loved to have sex: the whole “be fruitful and multiply” part. So much so that wives could divorce their husbands for impotence. (Many modern Muslim cultures work similarly. There really are things like “Go home and have marathon sex day with your spouse” encouraged by mosques. Of course, needless to say, your spouse is supposed to be legally wedded and of the opposite sex.)

    There’s a strong anti-life strand in modern American culture: give your life for your company, show Our Values (TM) and be a Team Player, or we can replace you with 10,000 other struggling, precariat 20/30-somethings. “Mainstream” modern American Christianity reflects that. Groups like Mormons and fundamentalist Catholics tend to be the outliers, with relatively large families. I’m a big personal believer that mainstream religion is ultimately subordinate to culture rather than the other way around, so this partly reflects ideological bias, but I don’t think it is hard to see the anti-natalist trends within an increasingly neo-feudal socioeconomic structure within the US.

    >Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.

    In yet another stark contrast between the Old Left and the New, good Communist Party members were generally expected to get married, reproduce the old fashioned way, and set a societal example. Chicken or the egg?

  96. @SunBakedSuburb
    "it is better to be agnostic than atheist"

    Agreed. Atheists, in my experience, tend to be more rigid in their beliefs. Many atheists find religion in science, which is folly considering the recent performance of various epidemiologists. Scientists and clerics can be equally corrupted by power.

    >Agreed. Atheists, in my experience, tend to be more rigid in their beliefs.

    “Natural” atheists-i.e, people who would have still been atheists 70 years ago without believing in Marxism or some ideology that necessitated it and took on its own religious characteristics-usually tend toward the analytical and don’t have much natural intuition. This leads to a number of self-selecting characteristics: disproportionately male, uninterested in social norms and human connections, and often located in the hard sciences where empirical judgement is everything and you can’t engage in verbal BS or appeals to dogma to justify yourself. A degree of mild autism is commonplace as well, and one of the hallmarks of that is… rigidity, in all areas of life.

    This is not the same thing as an irreverent agnostic (or Deists a few centuries ago, perhaps), or the type of person who would have been part of the local morality committee in a previous time period and today believes in social justice instead.

  97. @iffen
    This is rank sophistry

    What? Rank sophistry?

    This ain't rocket science.

    What is your IQ?

    Do you believe that a god(s) exist?

    137 and yes I do believe that God exists

  98. @Ian Smith
    Conservative atheists are few and far between. Robert M. Price is the only one I can think of off hand. Atheists who break with liberalism are more likely to be libertarians.
    One thing that keeps high IQ whites on the Democrat plantation is the aggressive stupidity of Fox News Republicans and evangelical Christians. Even a lot of fairly intelligent Republicans are still very narrow minded and philistine. I can’t blame people for not wanting to be associated with them.

    One thing that keeps high IQ whites on the Democrat plantation is the aggressive stupidity of Fox News Republicans and evangelical Christians.

    I certainly agree with that.

  99. @Truth

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.
     
    You mean, suffered.

    At least the harmful things doable with ideas from science and technology work.

    • Replies: @Truth
    Certainly, to make one fat, lazy, uninspired, simple-minded, distracted, unhealthy, and with a lifetime sense of loss over the feeling that one should have had more.
  100. @anonymous

    By contrast, literally billions of people have benefited from the ideas of atheist scientists and technologists.
     
    If someone was to come up with a tally of all the greatest discoveries and inventions of mankind, you will find a random mix of the theists, and the atheists.

    Your point then becomes meaningless.

    But atheists have pulled their weight in contributing to scientific knowledge and technological capability as their numbers have grown, if not disproportionately so.

  101. I don’t know of any scholarship which shows the connection between Nietzsche’s announcement of the “death of god” in the 1880’s with the Soviet project to create a functional godless society a couple generations later. After all, no one had to read Nietzsche’s difficult books, much less heed what he had to say in them. Thoughtful people grappled with Nietzsche’s ideas any way on their own initiative.

    That many of Nietzsche’s readers recognized right away what he meant by the death of god shows that they shared his experience where god no long felt real to them. This left them in a situation of trying to ground their understanding of life on a different foundation. The Bolsheviks came out of this development of Western culture, and it looks as if they saw their political opportunity in Russia to accelerate the process of adaptation to the new godless world that Nietzsche had pointed out to them.

    Of course the results didn’t turn out the way the Bolsheviks imagined. But you would expect the first experiments in trying to adapt to a new way of experiencing the world wouldn’t necessarily succeed. After all, it probably took our ancestors many generations to adapt from the animism of the hunter-gatherers to the theism of the early farmers. People still struggled with this transformation in the Bronze Age, given the story in Genesis which warned against listening to a talking snake from the animist tradition. Perhaps the animist holdovers viewed the early god-believers as the equivalent of “atheists” for disregarding the existence and authority of their “self-evident” nature spirits.

    Just as the Catholics in the 16th Century probably viewed the early Protestants as “atheists” when they stopped praying to the Virgin Mary and the saints.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Prior to Constantine, Christians were often charged with the crime of atheism in the Roman empire.
    , @Almost Missouri

    "it probably took our ancestors many generations to adapt from the animism of the hunter-gatherers to the theism of the early farmers."
     
    I think the archaeological evidence is that it usually took only a single generation, or only a single day. The early farmers wiped out the local hunter-gatherers (or at least their adult males) and voila, the conversion to early farmer theism (or whatever religion they had) was complete.
  102. “And there are pessimistic religious people, especially Christians, who think the world is evil and that the sooner God brings it all all to an end with the Last Judgment the better. They’re often the kinds of Christians who are horrified by any sort of sensual pleasure. As George Bernard Shaw put it, they disapprove of sex because it might lead to dancing. There’s a strong anti-life strand in Christianity.”

    A couple of responses here:

    1. there are believers who are eager for Christ’s return. And clearly, would prefer he come today. That’s not pessimism if you understand what they are talking about. Because his return means a new heaven and a new earth, in which they will dwell. That’s an optimistic view in my — get through the bad as quickly as possible to get to the good.
    Note nothing in scripture calls on christians to engage in behaviors to speed that process along except to give the good news. But indications are that Jesus himself – suggested that the day be forestalled — because it won’t pretty.

    And I would like to see how one extrapolates that belief into – they don’t like or abhor desire sensual pleasure. The reason that christian ten to pay a good deal of attention to sensual issues is because they generally if not experientially get just how damaging those pleasures can be in the wrong context, time – space. I say that as someone who fully supports celibacy/abstinence and practices the same.

    Mr. Shaw was a great writer, but he misunderstands the issue. Most christians love dancing. They most who have concerns about dancing know that if one is not careful about how said dance is practiced, it could lead the pleasures of relations out context and that would be an issue. His mischaracterized the the christian view so as suggest a slippery slope, but ignores the very reality that one of the primary aspects of dancing is that of courtship which is intended to lead to relations — christians prefer that said relations be with one’s spouse

    to be clear, spouse male to female partners – exclusively. Not the high IQ manufactured by liberals to normalized same relational conduct. One of the irritating things about christians — is their annoying tend to be positive, contented – regardless of ho whacked out things may get. It would be a mistake to characterize their advocacy for moral health as negative — because they express some standard violation.

    Mr. Bernard Shaw was wrong.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    there are believers who are eager for Christ’s return. And clearly, would prefer he come today. That’s not pessimism if you understand what they are talking about.
     
    But it does go along with a pessimism about the world we actually live in.
  103. @EliteCommInc.
    "And there are pessimistic religious people, especially Christians, who think the world is evil and that the sooner God brings it all all to an end with the Last Judgment the better. They’re often the kinds of Christians who are horrified by any sort of sensual pleasure. As George Bernard Shaw put it, they disapprove of sex because it might lead to dancing. There’s a strong anti-life strand in Christianity."


    A couple of responses here:


    1. there are believers who are eager for Christ's return. And clearly, would prefer he come today. That's not pessimism if you understand what they are talking about. Because his return means a new heaven and a new earth, in which they will dwell. That's an optimistic view in my -- get through the bad as quickly as possible to get to the good.
    Note nothing in scripture calls on christians to engage in behaviors to speed that process along except to give the good news. But indications are that Jesus himself - suggested that the day be forestalled -- because it won't pretty.

    And I would like to see how one extrapolates that belief into - they don't like or abhor desire sensual pleasure. The reason that christian ten to pay a good deal of attention to sensual issues is because they generally if not experientially get just how damaging those pleasures can be in the wrong context, time - space. I say that as someone who fully supports celibacy/abstinence and practices the same.

    Mr. Shaw was a great writer, but he misunderstands the issue. Most christians love dancing. They most who have concerns about dancing know that if one is not careful about how said dance is practiced, it could lead the pleasures of relations out context and that would be an issue. His mischaracterized the the christian view so as suggest a slippery slope, but ignores the very reality that one of the primary aspects of dancing is that of courtship which is intended to lead to relations -- christians prefer that said relations be with one's spouse

    to be clear, spouse male to female partners - exclusively. Not the high IQ manufactured by liberals to normalized same relational conduct. One of the irritating things about christians -- is their annoying tend to be positive, contented - regardless of ho whacked out things may get. It would be a mistake to characterize their advocacy for moral health as negative -- because they express some standard violation.

    Mr. Bernard Shaw was wrong.

    there are believers who are eager for Christ’s return. And clearly, would prefer he come today. That’s not pessimism if you understand what they are talking about.

    But it does go along with a pessimism about the world we actually live in.

  104. “But it does go along with a pessimism about the world we actually live in.”

    For some portion of christians the above might be accurate. But even there, if one considers the “good woks” (charity) among and outside of christian communities, there’s every reason to believe that most christians are a positive lot.

    I used to help a woman ages ago feed people in a park. She was certain about evil and its presence among certain people — yet every day, she was able, there she was feeding people in the most sincere meaning of Christ. She wanted Christ Christ to every second, yet here she was feeding people she didn’t know and some she had serious concerns about.

    Th idea that christians are somehow anti-world is not really born out in their behavior. And while I am certainly no one to follow — christians know that for the time being this world is not their world, they are foreigners in it and their mission is to give Christ and there are myriad of ways to accomplish that, some arguably better than others.

    “All things work for good for those who know and love the Lord.”

    That’s really an annoying yet positive belief among Christians — which is a reminder to them to stay on course in a hostile world. But mire than that christians are positive because they know thy are still in the toughest battle possible and that battle is maintain their walk against their personal desires.

    • Replies: @dfordoom


    “But it does go along with a pessimism about the world we actually live in.”
     
    For some portion of christians the above might be accurate. But even there, if one considers the “good woks” (charity) among and outside of christian communities, there’s every reason to believe that most christians are a positive lot.
     
    I didn't suggest that being pessimistic about the world or rejecting life was true of all Christians. I merely suggested that there was a strand in Christianity that could be characterised that way.

    There are lots of different strands in Christianity. There's the Puritan strand for example, which has always struck me as being pretty repulsive. But then there are Christians who dislike Puritanism as much as I do (Hilaire Belloc considered Puritanism to be a dangerous and wicked heresy).

    I speculated earlier on whether religion leads to optimism or whether optimism leads to religion. One could also ask if Puritan sects caused people to hate and fear sensuality or whether people who already hated and feared sensuality were more likely to be attracted to Puritan sects.

    When it comes to belief systems it's always interesting to ponder which way the arrow of causality points. Does a belief in the free market make people selfish or are selfish people simply attracted to free market economics? Does liberalism change people's outlook and beliefs or does liberalism merely attract people who are already inclined to such outlooks and beliefs?

    I'm personally inclined to believe that people have a particular psychological makeup and that then determines the belief systems they will adopt. Or at least it determines the type of belief systems they will adopt. Which means there's virtually no chance of changing people's basic belief system. People choose the belief system that fits their psychological and emotional makeup. No amount of reasoned argument will shift them, although it is possible to persuade them to adopt another similar belief system. In East Germany after the war lots of sincere Nazis became sincere communists. Any authoritarian ideology appealed to them.

    And didn't someone once say that Catholics made good Marxists?
  105. @Rosie

    . So I found it annoying and attention seeking.
     
    Lame. In future, I'll make it a point not to GAF about your opinion. If I troll tagged everyone that gets on my damned nerves around here, I wouldn't have time for anything else.

    As to your contention that my post wasn't "germane," you are quite wrong about that. The evidence for intelligent design is very strong, and the academic establishment is not being forthcoming about it to say the least. Hence pervasive atheism among the college-educated.

    Where is the evidence for intelligent design as opposed to random chance. In a universe as big as ours, life probably has to happen at some point in time.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    Neither intelligent design nor random chance can make a living thing, because living things are substantial forms not biomechanical machines. I will explain all of this in my essay.
  106. @EliteCommInc.
    "But it does go along with a pessimism about the world we actually live in."


    For some portion of christians the above might be accurate. But even there, if one considers the "good woks" (charity) among and outside of christian communities, there's every reason to believe that most christians are a positive lot.

    I used to help a woman ages ago feed people in a park. She was certain about evil and its presence among certain people -- yet every day, she was able, there she was feeding people in the most sincere meaning of Christ. She wanted Christ Christ to every second, yet here she was feeding people she didn't know and some she had serious concerns about.

    Th idea that christians are somehow anti-world is not really born out in their behavior. And while I am certainly no one to follow -- christians know that for the time being this world is not their world, they are foreigners in it and their mission is to give Christ and there are myriad of ways to accomplish that, some arguably better than others.

    "All things work for good for those who know and love the Lord."

    That's really an annoying yet positive belief among Christians -- which is a reminder to them to stay on course in a hostile world. But mire than that christians are positive because they know thy are still in the toughest battle possible and that battle is maintain their walk against their personal desires.

    “But it does go along with a pessimism about the world we actually live in.”

    For some portion of christians the above might be accurate. But even there, if one considers the “good woks” (charity) among and outside of christian communities, there’s every reason to believe that most christians are a positive lot.

    I didn’t suggest that being pessimistic about the world or rejecting life was true of all Christians. I merely suggested that there was a strand in Christianity that could be characterised that way.

    There are lots of different strands in Christianity. There’s the Puritan strand for example, which has always struck me as being pretty repulsive. But then there are Christians who dislike Puritanism as much as I do (Hilaire Belloc considered Puritanism to be a dangerous and wicked heresy).

    I speculated earlier on whether religion leads to optimism or whether optimism leads to religion. One could also ask if Puritan sects caused people to hate and fear sensuality or whether people who already hated and feared sensuality were more likely to be attracted to Puritan sects.

    When it comes to belief systems it’s always interesting to ponder which way the arrow of causality points. Does a belief in the free market make people selfish or are selfish people simply attracted to free market economics? Does liberalism change people’s outlook and beliefs or does liberalism merely attract people who are already inclined to such outlooks and beliefs?

    I’m personally inclined to believe that people have a particular psychological makeup and that then determines the belief systems they will adopt. Or at least it determines the type of belief systems they will adopt. Which means there’s virtually no chance of changing people’s basic belief system. People choose the belief system that fits their psychological and emotional makeup. No amount of reasoned argument will shift them, although it is possible to persuade them to adopt another similar belief system. In East Germany after the war lots of sincere Nazis became sincere communists. Any authoritarian ideology appealed to them.

    And didn’t someone once say that Catholics made good Marxists?

  107. @davidgmillsatty
    Where is the evidence for intelligent design as opposed to random chance. In a universe as big as ours, life probably has to happen at some point in time.

    Neither intelligent design nor random chance can make a living thing, because living things are substantial forms not biomechanical machines. I will explain all of this in my essay.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    Neither intelligent design nor random chance can make a living thing, because living things are substantial forms not biomechanical machines.
     
    There's a precursor to your claim, that organic substances could only be made by organisms and there was no way to make organic stuff from inorganic stuff.  That claim was proven false when Wöhler synthesized urea from inorganic reactants.

    Many of the constitutents of life ARE machines.  The ribosome is a machine.  The mitochondrion is a machine.  We use such machines all the time, in processes like the polymerase chain reaction.  I recall an effort some time ago to synthesize a bacterium, starting by building its genome from DNA bases.  If any such effort succeeds, it will prove that bacteria, at least, are machines.
  108. @Nuncle
    This paradigm does not account for people like myself who have been atheists for much of our lives for no other reason that we thought science had managed to account for everything in purely naturalistic terms. I never looked into the science myself - I just assumed that people with the qualifications to do so had figured everything out. So I spent my life studying history and playing music. Only a chance comment by a friend led me in a completely different direction - one he did not even expect himself. I am now a confirmed theist and regard the idea that everything came out of nothing because the nothing suddenly exploded as about the most preposterous idea human beings have ever come up with. I do not believe that my IQ had anything to do with this change in belief. I simply blame myself for not having applied my intelligence earlier in life to matters of science instead of blithely assuming scientists had it all sorted.

    So you don’t believe in the big bang? So what? There is a lot science does not have sorted out.

    But the dumbest idea religion has ever come up with is “life after death.” The concept of life after death is what drives the belief that there must be a god. If you conclude there is no life after death, then theism sounds like a really dumb idea.

  109. @Mr. Rational

    It could be that there is a bias for progressives to have a higher verbal and a lower math.
     
    That has been my observation.  I have not yet seen a "progressive" who could handle scientific notation.

    I expect that this would also be higher at the atheist end of the spectrum.
     
    I think there are conflicting influences there.  The higher the math abilities, the less the likelihood of being fooled by numerical sophistry.

    I have observed many who can do scientific notation and then some. My brother has a PhD in biophysics for example and he would probably qualify as a progressive being on the left of the Democratic spectrum. The term progressive does not have much meaning anymore. Neither does the world liberal.

  110. @Rosie

    Atheism just carries this process further to all current religions, and it shows an arrow of time going from nonexistent atheists a few generations back to numerous atheists now.
     
    Your problem is with your claim about "all current religions," as if it's impossible to compare the merits of these.

    Comparing the merits of different religions is pointless when you consider that all religions require one to swallow certain basic and untestable propositions in order to adhere to any one of them. Comparing their merits, then, is like comparing the merits of different formulations of sandwiches, each of which incorporates a layer of shit. Whatever you call them, they’re all shit sandwiches.

  111. @Rosie

    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence. The theists posit a god who did X. Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.
     
    Au contraire.

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.

    -Charles Darwin
     
    Lo and behold:

    https://youtu.be/fFq_MGf3sbk

    If this doesn't convince you, then nothing ever will.

    Life, no matter how complex, can easily happen by chance, and given the size of the universe most probably has been inevitable. Atoms attract other atoms and molecules attract other molecules. In the right combination they will be able to replicate or reproduce or replicate or reproduce with mutations.

    • LOL: Rosie
  112. “And didn’t someone once say that Catholics made good Marxists?”

    As someone raised Catholic, some are collectivists, but in my circles — capitalism was the meal of the day. It easy to mistake how are to exercise charity as some manner of marxist, libertarian community,

    predicated on the idea that everyone the same and will bestow on each other fair play and dealing based on the the principles of fair and play and dealings are healthy for all system.

    I stray —- if one wants to limit the christians into what some practice or think, I could not nor would I defend that no christian engages in pessimism.

    Nor would I deny that there are some christians so legalistic in their view, that the central purpose of the law and faith in Christ gets blurred. However, in response to the puritan contend —

    https://www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/puritanism

    https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1601-1700/who-were-the-puritans-11630087.html

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=puritans&&view=detail&mid=410349CCB2626BD676BD410349CCB2626BD676BD&&FORM=VRDGAR

    I think the desire toward being Holy and enforcing a life to holiness has gotten the Puritan’s some bad press.

  113. @dfordoom

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair (“Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”).
     
    Yes that's true. But it doesn't necessarily line up neatly with being religious or anti-religious. More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they're religious or are people more likely to be religious because they're inherently optimistic?

    And there are pessimistic religious people, especially Christians, who think the world is evil and that the sooner God brings it all all to an end with the Last Judgment the better. They're often the kinds of Christians who are horrified by any sort of sensual pleasure. As George Bernard Shaw put it, they disapprove of sex because it might lead to dancing. There's a strong anti-life strand in Christianity.

    And there have been Christian sects who believed in absolute celibacy - no sex even in marriage. Not surprisingly these sects were short-lived!

    Are there optimistic materialists? I'd say that there used to be but maybe they're less common these days. Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.

    But it doesn’t necessarily line up neatly with being religious or anti-religious.

    Yes, as I mentioned, there are general trends and exceptions to the general trend – no doubt.

    More interestingly, are people more likely to be optimistic because they’re religious or are people more likely to be religious because they’re inherently optimistic?

    Yes, the chicken and egg scenario. I don’t know really. I personally find converts to religions to be of use in such an analysis since they were born and acclimated to a certain worldview and switched. One thing I have noted among the Muslim converts I have come across (whether in person or online) is a recurring theme of; “For the first time in my life, I do not feel alone.”

    Now, the question arises; did the religion give them this sense of optimism and hope or…did they naturally find it, because no matter the degree of distress and loneliness they may have had, they held out hope and optimism in finding something until they finally did and settled on this particular religion as an avenue. I don’t know – it is an interesting question.

    Are there optimistic materialists? I’d say that there used to be but maybe they’re less common these days. Communist true believers were often very optimistic people.

    Yes, good points.

    Peace.

  114. @Rosie

    We have more atheists in the world than ever, both relatively and in absolute numbers. And notice that this has happened in Hayekian fashion outside of communist countries, namely, spontaneously, organically and without central planning to make in happen. No government official in Canberra, say, has ever ordered Australians to stop believing in god.
     
    The question is whether that growth in the atheist population is sustainable.

    And I don't know that it's fair to say there's been no central planning. The Supreme Court has been a rather effective central planner these last few decades.

    Uh, excuse me? Haven’t you head of synthetic biology?
     
    I have now, though I haven't fully thought through the implications. Given that synthetic biology, such as it is, is intelligently designed, I don't think it undermines the case for Intelligent Design.

    The idea that life is mechanical hardly seems Earth-shattering. The very fact of death by natural causes would seem to establish that. The question has always been, and continues to be, whether humans have eternal soul to go along with their mechanical bodies.

    The question has always been, and continues to be, whether humans have eternal soul to go along with their mechanical bodies.

    The question has been answered, to my complete satisfaction anyway, by Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary: see his entry on In’ards.

  115. @Rosie

    So you’ve gone from “I don’t know” to “I don’t know, ergo $deity did it”.
     
    Natural processes are either sufficient to explain our observations of the universe, or they are not. So yes, Nuncle's reasoning is sound.

    In theory, you could posit an alien designer or something, but then you're really just back too arguing about theology, with the hypothetical alien as god.

    Does God transcend nature? Is God many, one, or something in between these? Is God corporeal or not? Etc.

    Natural processes are either sufficient to explain our observations of the universe, or they are not.

    The Miller-Urey experiment proved that the building blocks of life arise by abiological processes.  Of all of the creatonuts arguing that the improbability of abiogenesis makes it impossible, I have never seen one calculate the probability of the generation of e.g. guanine from water, simple gases and an electric discharge or UV light.  Yet it IS generated.

    In theory, you could posit an alien designer or something

    “Who designed the designer?”  I’m wise to that crap, Rosie.  The answer is that the possibility is built into the electron configurations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.  Since the possibility exists, it will arise where conditions allow.  If there was “a designer”, it is back at the level of whatever sets the laws of quantum mechanics.  This is as far from the Christian god as you can get; all the evidence we have says that the deists are the believers closest to the truth.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    I’m wise to that crap, Rosie.
     
    Just to be clear, I'm not attempting to convince you of anything. It's other people who actually like the idea of God that I'm concerned about.

    The answer is that the possibility is built into the electron configurations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Since the possibility exists, it will arise where conditions allow.
     
    The mere fact that a thing is possible does not mean one ought to assume that it has occurred.

    Your assumption that it does is a reflection of your epistemic hostility to theism. You demand evidence that rules out chance altogether, when all we really need is evidence to show mere improbability.
    , @Wency
    "This is as far from the Christian god as you can get; all the evidence we have says that the deists are the believers closest to the truth."

    I just want to respond to this -- the essential argument between Deists and Christians is not on whether God acts contrary to the laws of nature that He set up, but on the matter of whether Scripture contains important truths about God other than those that are directly observable from creation, and the implications this has for the relationship between man and God.

    The notion that God has only seldom if ever interfered in the natural laws is entirely compatible with the Christian God. Indeed, can we even draw a meaningful distinction between direct interference in natural laws and an entirely foreseen consequence of those laws at the time of their inception? Particularly given that much of what we perceive as natural laws, it now seems, are essentially probabilistic anyway. Could a miracle be conceived of as a naturally-occurring event with immeasurably low but nonzero probability, entirely foreseen and intended by the Author of nature at the time of its authoring? If it helps you, I don't see why not.
  116. @Rosie

    The rabbit-in-precambrian-rock is just one of literally millions of things that would overturn TENS.
     
    Well good, at least we agree about that much.

    TENS cannot be "overturned" as if it were a statute or a Supreme Court precedent. It can only be judged more or less likely to be true than the alternatives, depending on the evidence.

    TENS has predictive value. “Goddidit” does not.
     

    Even if that is true, it's not the ultimate question. Much of science is not utilitarian. The likes of you suffer from a fundamental lack of curiosity about truth for it's own sake, quite apart from how useful it is.

    In any event, "it was a lucky coincidence" doesn't have much predictive power, either, and barely constit0an explanation of any sort, let alone a satisfying one for genuine seekers of truth.

    Much of science is not utilitarian.

    Engineering is utilitarian.  Science is primarily descriptive.

    The likes of you suffer from a fundamental lack of curiosity about truth for it’s own sake, quite apart from how useful it is.

    Aside from your error of grammar, I am intensely curious about things like the cosmic background radiation and what it shows about the nature of the early universe.  I don’t have the chops to understand the fine details (my skills are of a more practical bent) and it’s absolutely worthless for anything that I do, but I find this stuff fascinating.  YOU are the one who waves things away with “goddidit”.

    In any event, “it was a lucky coincidence” doesn’t have much predictive power, either, and barely constit0an explanation of any sort

    Theory predicted that precursor of X would be found in sediments of age Y, which existed at site Z.  The prediction was correct.  The regular success of such predictions constitutes confirmation of the theory, and the conceptual framework of the theory IS an explanation.  The ineffable whims of a deity are not.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    Theory predicted that precursor of X would be found in sediments of age Y, which existed at site Z. The prediction was correct. The regular success of such predictions constitutes confirmation of the theory, and the conceptual framework of the theory IS an explanation. The ineffable whims of a deity are not.
     
    Noone is disputing change over time, so you're attacking a straw man, which is all you ever do in regards to this issue.

    YOU are the one who waves things away with “goddidit”.
     
    This is asinine. I am not the one attempting to circumscribe scientific inquiry. You are.
  117. @Intelligent Dasein
    Neither intelligent design nor random chance can make a living thing, because living things are substantial forms not biomechanical machines. I will explain all of this in my essay.

    Neither intelligent design nor random chance can make a living thing, because living things are substantial forms not biomechanical machines.

    There’s a precursor to your claim, that organic substances could only be made by organisms and there was no way to make organic stuff from inorganic stuff.  That claim was proven false when Wöhler synthesized urea from inorganic reactants.

    Many of the constitutents of life ARE machines.  The ribosome is a machine.  The mitochondrion is a machine.  We use such machines all the time, in processes like the polymerase chain reaction.  I recall an effort some time ago to synthesize a bacterium, starting by building its genome from DNA bases.  If any such effort succeeds, it will prove that bacteria, at least, are machines.

    • Replies: @res
    I think you are going to enjoy ID's essay. Hopefully he has a light touch on the comment moderation. Should be fun ; )
  118. @Buzz Mohawk

    The evidence for intelligent design is very strong...
     
    This deist agrees. However, he finds your efforts to display intelligence laughable. Nobody gives a shit about dangling prepositions, whatever they dangle by.

    Rosie, I have enjoyed commenting with you, and I think you are better than this.

    Teach the rule to your children at home, during your home schooling. That is fine. We here know the rules, and we will follow them as we see fit.

    One of the most annoying things about places like this is the preponderance of nerds who think they have to prove how smart they are by stating the obvious. What they actually do is show how banal they are.

    Buzzymandias, Schoolmarm of Schoolmarms.

    Just thought it was funny. Not calling you out.

  119. @Mr. Rational

    Neither intelligent design nor random chance can make a living thing, because living things are substantial forms not biomechanical machines.
     
    There's a precursor to your claim, that organic substances could only be made by organisms and there was no way to make organic stuff from inorganic stuff.  That claim was proven false when Wöhler synthesized urea from inorganic reactants.

    Many of the constitutents of life ARE machines.  The ribosome is a machine.  The mitochondrion is a machine.  We use such machines all the time, in processes like the polymerase chain reaction.  I recall an effort some time ago to synthesize a bacterium, starting by building its genome from DNA bases.  If any such effort succeeds, it will prove that bacteria, at least, are machines.

    I think you are going to enjoy ID’s essay. Hopefully he has a light touch on the comment moderation. Should be fun ; )

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Coming May 26th!
  120. @Anon 2
    Re: Immanent divinity

    How does one get started on the spiritual path? There are many paths but
    some are faster than others. One of the fastest that I know of is “A Course
    in Miracles”(1976). But at 1330+ pages it’s not for the faint of heart. Monotheistic
    religions are primarily about transcendent divinity whereas spirituality is
    primarily about immanent divinity. The Course combines both approaches
    into a harmonious whole.

    I had a cousin who made a pretty good living by promising to teach the gullible how to achieve the sort of transcendent states you’re talking about. He also told them that in that state, they’d be able to levitate. He got mad at me for suggesting that he should just slip into such a state and levitate to the ceiling just to show us it works. I got mad at myself for wasting time listening to such bilge. Nowadays, when I hear the same sort of thing, I just say Show me!
    Can you?

  121. @Anon 2
    The short answer is that the ancient Greeks became subjugated by Rome.
    Then in AD 313 (Edict of Milan) the Roman Empire effectively converted to
    Christianity, and the Greeks being part of the Empire had to obey the edict. Until
    the 18th century, much of Europe was effectively governed by the rule “cuius regio,
    eius religio” (lit. whose realm, his religion), i.e., there was no freedom of
    religion - you had to practice the religion of your ruler.

    Not quite true.

    The “Christianization of Greece (and the rest of the Mediterranean) started a few years after “Jesus” died. Read the book of Paul, the only time I got a belly laugh from the bible was in this verse…

    Acts 17:19-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
    19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

    So Greece was not forced into “Christianity” in 313AD, rather, the Christian movement was growing so fast that Rome (and Constantanople) had to come up with their own bizzaro-world renditions of Christianity, which was the Old and New Testament melded with every local pagan tradition they could find, thus making it easier for regional acceptance.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Christianity was still a minority religion in the early 300s: roughly about 10% of the empire. But crucially, it was an urban religion, with disproportionate representation in the wealthiest, most cultured places in the empire. That gave it the ability to punch above its numerical weight.

    (Islam, too, owed much of its success to its essentially urban character. Even today, the dynamic in places like Indonesia reflects this: the much ballyhooed religious syncretism is heavily tied into a rural, specifically Javanese kampung context, and it rapidly disappears in favor of a more orthodox form of Islam when people move to the city.)

    It also helped that there was a general trend toward monotheism, even with pagan-ish overtones, during the Crisis of the Third Century: the emperor Aurelian being a particularly prominent example of this societal trend. Diocletian, with his desires to revive the Olympian pantheon to its former glory, was a reactionary fighting against the tide in this context.

  122. @advancedatheist
    At least the harmful things doable with ideas from science and technology work.

    Certainly, to make one fat, lazy, uninspired, simple-minded, distracted, unhealthy, and with a lifetime sense of loss over the feeling that one should have had more.

  123. BTW, there is no such thing as an “atheist” what they are is “non-deist Satanists.” Satanism is anything that works to sever one’s connection with The Most High.

  124. AP says:
    @advancedatheist
    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world's population over the last century in the first place, even in traditionally religious countries which didn't try to impose nonbelief through central planning. Religious belief in Russia apparently had started to decline well before the Bolshevik Revolution, for example.

    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world’s population over the last century in the first place

    Well, diseases can spread, despite being harmful for organisms, until those organisms who are resistant or immune are the last ones left and repopulate.

    We see this happening with Tasmanian Devils and their contagious cancer:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/19/tasmanian-devils-developing-immune-response-to-contagious-face-cancer

    Secularism spreads in societies, and as it claims its victims there is a concomitant fall in fertility rates. Eventually those subpopulations or perhaps individuals particularly immune to secularism will be left and will repopulate.

    • Replies: @Wency
    I don't think we can say yet what sort of people precisely will restart the engine of human reproduction, only that the majority of people and ideas we have floating around currently are vastly inadequate to the task, so some sort of radical change in the human population is coming. Though it's coming over a period of centuries -- we can really only engage in sci-fi speculation about it right now.

    The average religious American still doesn't even produce 3 children. Natural selection really wants women who produce a number closer to 10 children right now, a time when there is no scarcity in life-sustaining resources available to those children. A relatively small group that produces a large number of children and gets those children to do the same can have a huge impact amidst such an anti-natal background population over a period of 100-200 years.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    That's my line of reasoning, too. When, though? For at least a couple of generations now, we've seen a clear positive correlation between religiosity and procreation, yet religiosity continues to decline.
  125. @Truth
    Not quite true.

    The "Christianization of Greece (and the rest of the Mediterranean) started a few years after "Jesus" died. Read the book of Paul, the only time I got a belly laugh from the bible was in this verse...


    Acts 17:19-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
    19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
     

    So Greece was not forced into "Christianity" in 313AD, rather, the Christian movement was growing so fast that Rome (and Constantanople) had to come up with their own bizzaro-world renditions of Christianity, which was the Old and New Testament melded with every local pagan tradition they could find, thus making it easier for regional acceptance.

    Christianity was still a minority religion in the early 300s: roughly about 10% of the empire. But crucially, it was an urban religion, with disproportionate representation in the wealthiest, most cultured places in the empire. That gave it the ability to punch above its numerical weight.

    (Islam, too, owed much of its success to its essentially urban character. Even today, the dynamic in places like Indonesia reflects this: the much ballyhooed religious syncretism is heavily tied into a rural, specifically Javanese kampung context, and it rapidly disappears in favor of a more orthodox form of Islam when people move to the city.)

    It also helped that there was a general trend toward monotheism, even with pagan-ish overtones, during the Crisis of the Third Century: the emperor Aurelian being a particularly prominent example of this societal trend. Diocletian, with his desires to revive the Olympian pantheon to its former glory, was a reactionary fighting against the tide in this context.

  126. @Criticsbl
    Please make sure to read through your post before publishing it.

    1. You don't know whether or not the conservative atheists you met really were autistic (which they probably weren't)
    2. Your failure to make the same generalization in a four year school should give you the hint that maybe your generalization was wrong after all.

    It's simply poor argumentation.

    Low IQ autistic atheist detected

    • Troll: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Alexander Turok
    You forgot to call us euphoric too.
  127. @Mr. Rational

    Much of science is not utilitarian.
     
    Engineering is utilitarian.  Science is primarily descriptive.

    The likes of you suffer from a fundamental lack of curiosity about truth for it’s own sake, quite apart from how useful it is.
     
    Aside from your error of grammar, I am intensely curious about things like the cosmic background radiation and what it shows about the nature of the early universe.  I don't have the chops to understand the fine details (my skills are of a more practical bent) and it's absolutely worthless for anything that I do, but I find this stuff fascinating.  YOU are the one who waves things away with "goddidit".

    In any event, “it was a lucky coincidence” doesn’t have much predictive power, either, and barely constit0an explanation of any sort
     
    Theory predicted that precursor of X would be found in sediments of age Y, which existed at site Z.  The prediction was correct.  The regular success of such predictions constitutes confirmation of the theory, and the conceptual framework of the theory IS an explanation.  The ineffable whims of a deity are not.

    Theory predicted that precursor of X would be found in sediments of age Y, which existed at site Z. The prediction was correct. The regular success of such predictions constitutes confirmation of the theory, and the conceptual framework of the theory IS an explanation. The ineffable whims of a deity are not.

    Noone is disputing change over time, so you’re attacking a straw man, which is all you ever do in regards to this issue.

    YOU are the one who waves things away with “goddidit”.

    This is asinine. I am not the one attempting to circumscribe scientific inquiry. You are.

  128. @Truth
    The anti- dangling prepostion thing is, was and always will be a canard that we have just become accustomed to (sorry, to which we have become accustomed).

    This is a clumsy attempt to Latinize English, which is a Germanic language with many Latin-derived words. Germanic languages by and large do not punish dangling prepositions.

    The anti- dangling prepostion thing is, was and always will be a canard that we have just become accustomed to (sorry, to which we have become accustomed).

    Lol.

    This is a clumsy attempt to Latinize English, which is a Germanic language with many Latin-derived words. Germanic languages by and large do not punish dangling prepositions.

    Dangling prepositions might sound fine in German, I wouldn’t know, but they sound awful in English, though as I said, there is nothing better.

  129. @Mr. Rational

    Natural processes are either sufficient to explain our observations of the universe, or they are not.
     
    The Miller-Urey experiment proved that the building blocks of life arise by abiological processes.  Of all of the creatonuts arguing that the improbability of abiogenesis makes it impossible, I have never seen one calculate the probability of the generation of e.g. guanine from water, simple gases and an electric discharge or UV light.  Yet it IS generated.

    In theory, you could posit an alien designer or something
     
    "Who designed the designer?"  I'm wise to that crap, Rosie.  The answer is that the possibility is built into the electron configurations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.  Since the possibility exists, it will arise where conditions allow.  If there was "a designer", it is back at the level of whatever sets the laws of quantum mechanics.  This is as far from the Christian god as you can get; all the evidence we have says that the deists are the believers closest to the truth.

    I’m wise to that crap, Rosie.

    Just to be clear, I’m not attempting to convince you of anything. It’s other people who actually like the idea of God that I’m concerned about.

    The answer is that the possibility is built into the electron configurations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Since the possibility exists, it will arise where conditions allow.

    The mere fact that a thing is possible does not mean one ought to assume that it has occurred.

    Your assumption that it does is a reflection of your epistemic hostility to theism. You demand evidence that rules out chance altogether, when all we really need is evidence to show mere improbability.

    • Replies: @Talha

    The mere fact that a thing is possible does not mean one ought to assume that it has occurred.
     
    I, personally, am willing to be very generous on this front. I know people did experiments developing amino acids from assumptions about the environment on pre-life Earth. I say forget all that. Do whatever environmental conditions you want, make them as favorable as you want, make them completely ideal. Just start from completely inorganic base chemicals and - you already know all the required bonds and the configurations and all the various cell organs/structures - build up a living, self-replicating single cell. Given the current level of technology and industrial capacity, I would imagine this is a slam dunk (I mean you could outsource the project as a worldwide cooperative; Germany works on the mitochondria, Japan on the cell wall/membrane, the US on the nucleus, etc.). You can even go prokaryote cell if it makes it easier.

    It would be a crowning achievement of humanity - we created life from non-life! It would end the argument in one fell swoop.

    Peace.
  130. @Fluesterwitz
    Nice argument, welcome to religion as meme. Maybe it would be helpful to state beforehand whether we talk about religion as a social practice or about personal epiphany and faith. These phenomena can be entirely discrete. Your argument appears to concern the former, does it?

    Nice argument, welcome to religion as meme. Maybe it would be helpful to state beforehand whether we talk about religion as a social practice or about personal epiphany and faith. These phenomena can be entirely discrete. Your argument appears to concern the former, does it?

    No, I very much intended it to refer to the latter.

  131. Anyone who has ever prepared fresh pineapple and regretted seeing so much waste cannot possible believe that there has been intelligent design, God or otherwise.

    • Replies: @Talha
    Humans do much of the waste, if you've seen other animals eat a pineapple (monkeys for instance) - they try to use every bit of it up to the shell. They'll even chew on the leaves.

    Peace.
    , @Mr. Rational
    Are you kidding?  Pineapples came from some wild species that humans domesticated.  It wasn't given to us as a food plant, it's a work in progress.
  132. @Rosie

    The atheism comes because the theists are obviously wrong about the evidence. The theists posit a god who did X. Since we observe not-X, their position is obviously wrong.
     
    Au contraire.

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.

    -Charles Darwin
     
    Lo and behold:

    https://youtu.be/fFq_MGf3sbk

    If this doesn't convince you, then nothing ever will.

    I think you’re going down the wrong road here.

    Did God intervene in the natural laws to cause this or that improbable characteristic to develop in animals? Probably not. In any event, it wasn’t necessary, and the influence must have been subtle enough as to look like a natural phenomenon. Over millions and millions of years, a lot of things can happen.

    Did God invent the natural laws and set matter and energy on such a course as to make the development of life in all its forms inevitable? Yes, of course. Something set those natural laws into place. Something invented the very idea of natural laws. Reality would be much easier to explain if nothing existed (if only there was something to then do the explaining). But the universe does exist, with all its matter, energy, and natural laws, and we can only attribute this to an immense and ineffable force that we theists call “God”.

    On these matters, the atheist can differ with the theist only in believing that the immense and ineffable force responsible for creation is also dumb and inanimate, that all of reality is a purposeless accident, that man’s will and intelligence exceeds that of the Creator, that he owes nothing and has no reason to be thankful to the Creator.

    “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…”

  133. @Anonymous
    The dissident right as a whole is much more secular than the Republican base. Maybe it's IQ, maybe it's more simply a matter of age and gender. When there are splits in the dissident right this allows one to contrast the faction opposing them with the Republican base and use the difference in worldviews as a wedge, even if they are just as secular as their opponents. This is what's happening with the corona deniers. They are not Christian fundamentalists, rather, they are an alliance of the InfoWarriors and Trump-is-Secretly-Building-a-Wall-ers. They don't attend church but like to trot out the cross to use as a convenient political cudgel when they lose the rational argument, which is often.

    I imagine the biggest factor is that most members of the dissident right probably score exceptionally low on agreeableness. By nature, its members reject both the mainstream left-infused narrative and the main counter-narrative to it, mainstream conservativism. We like to disagree with people.

    I would suspect most of us broke with our parents’ religion at some point, whether we ended up religious in the end or not. My sense is that mainstream conservatives seem to be a much more agreeable sort who never really broke from their parents’ religion — at most maybe they de-emphasized it during some life stages, maybe they still de-emphasize it, but they never critically examined it, never proclaimed themselves atheists for a period, and they never did anything drastic like convert to a different branch of Christianity (for reasons other than marriage).

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
  134. @iffen
    Anyone who has ever prepared fresh pineapple and regretted seeing so much waste cannot possible believe that there has been intelligent design, God or otherwise.

    Humans do much of the waste, if you’ve seen other animals eat a pineapple (monkeys for instance) – they try to use every bit of it up to the shell. They’ll even chew on the leaves.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @iffen
    Humans do much of the waste, if you’ve seen other animals eat a pineapple (monkeys for instance) – they try to use every bit of it up to the shell. They’ll even chew on the leaves.

    So it's intelligent design until we get to humans?

    Maybe, I have never thought of it that way. Perhaps he created humans first, realized the mistakes and made improvements.
  135. @Rosie

    I’m wise to that crap, Rosie.
     
    Just to be clear, I'm not attempting to convince you of anything. It's other people who actually like the idea of God that I'm concerned about.

    The answer is that the possibility is built into the electron configurations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Since the possibility exists, it will arise where conditions allow.
     
    The mere fact that a thing is possible does not mean one ought to assume that it has occurred.

    Your assumption that it does is a reflection of your epistemic hostility to theism. You demand evidence that rules out chance altogether, when all we really need is evidence to show mere improbability.

    The mere fact that a thing is possible does not mean one ought to assume that it has occurred.

    I, personally, am willing to be very generous on this front. I know people did experiments developing amino acids from assumptions about the environment on pre-life Earth. I say forget all that. Do whatever environmental conditions you want, make them as favorable as you want, make them completely ideal. Just start from completely inorganic base chemicals and – you already know all the required bonds and the configurations and all the various cell organs/structures – build up a living, self-replicating single cell. Given the current level of technology and industrial capacity, I would imagine this is a slam dunk (I mean you could outsource the project as a worldwide cooperative; Germany works on the mitochondria, Japan on the cell wall/membrane, the US on the nucleus, etc.). You can even go prokaryote cell if it makes it easier.

    It would be a crowning achievement of humanity – we created life from non-life! It would end the argument in one fell swoop.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @res
    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don't underestimate how difficult it might be.
  136. @Mr. Rational

    Natural processes are either sufficient to explain our observations of the universe, or they are not.
     
    The Miller-Urey experiment proved that the building blocks of life arise by abiological processes.  Of all of the creatonuts arguing that the improbability of abiogenesis makes it impossible, I have never seen one calculate the probability of the generation of e.g. guanine from water, simple gases and an electric discharge or UV light.  Yet it IS generated.

    In theory, you could posit an alien designer or something
     
    "Who designed the designer?"  I'm wise to that crap, Rosie.  The answer is that the possibility is built into the electron configurations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.  Since the possibility exists, it will arise where conditions allow.  If there was "a designer", it is back at the level of whatever sets the laws of quantum mechanics.  This is as far from the Christian god as you can get; all the evidence we have says that the deists are the believers closest to the truth.

    “This is as far from the Christian god as you can get; all the evidence we have says that the deists are the believers closest to the truth.”

    I just want to respond to this — the essential argument between Deists and Christians is not on whether God acts contrary to the laws of nature that He set up, but on the matter of whether Scripture contains important truths about God other than those that are directly observable from creation, and the implications this has for the relationship between man and God.

    The notion that God has only seldom if ever interfered in the natural laws is entirely compatible with the Christian God. Indeed, can we even draw a meaningful distinction between direct interference in natural laws and an entirely foreseen consequence of those laws at the time of their inception? Particularly given that much of what we perceive as natural laws, it now seems, are essentially probabilistic anyway. Could a miracle be conceived of as a naturally-occurring event with immeasurably low but nonzero probability, entirely foreseen and intended by the Author of nature at the time of its authoring? If it helps you, I don’t see why not.

  137. @iffen
    Anyone who has ever prepared fresh pineapple and regretted seeing so much waste cannot possible believe that there has been intelligent design, God or otherwise.

    Are you kidding?  Pineapples came from some wild species that humans domesticated.  It wasn’t given to us as a food plant, it’s a work in progress.

    • Replies: @iffen
    Everything is a work in progress.
  138. @AP

    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world’s population over the last century in the first place
     
    Well, diseases can spread, despite being harmful for organisms, until those organisms who are resistant or immune are the last ones left and repopulate.

    We see this happening with Tasmanian Devils and their contagious cancer:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/19/tasmanian-devils-developing-immune-response-to-contagious-face-cancer

    Secularism spreads in societies, and as it claims its victims there is a concomitant fall in fertility rates. Eventually those subpopulations or perhaps individuals particularly immune to secularism will be left and will repopulate.

    I don’t think we can say yet what sort of people precisely will restart the engine of human reproduction, only that the majority of people and ideas we have floating around currently are vastly inadequate to the task, so some sort of radical change in the human population is coming. Though it’s coming over a period of centuries — we can really only engage in sci-fi speculation about it right now.

    The average religious American still doesn’t even produce 3 children. Natural selection really wants women who produce a number closer to 10 children right now, a time when there is no scarcity in life-sustaining resources available to those children. A relatively small group that produces a large number of children and gets those children to do the same can have a huge impact amidst such an anti-natal background population over a period of 100-200 years.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @AP

    The average religious American still doesn’t even produce 3 children.
     
    Maybe, but he does produce more children than does the average secular American (other than rich secular Americans, who tend to have large families).

    The particular groups within the USA who do have large families are not typical Americans but belong to various subcultures: the Amish; Mormons; Hasidic Jews; very traditional Catholics; and recent immigrants from Latin America. All of these groups are religious.

    So for example, the Amish population has increased from 50,000 in 1970 to over 300,000 in 2018:

    https://cdn01.dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/amish-growth-rate.png

    A relatively small group that produces a large number of children and gets those children to do the same can have a huge impact amidst such an anti-natal background population over a period of 100-200 years.
     
    If the Amish keep it up (in concert with secularist population decline) they will become a huge minority in the regions where they settled, within 100 years.
  139. res says:
    @Talha

    The mere fact that a thing is possible does not mean one ought to assume that it has occurred.
     
    I, personally, am willing to be very generous on this front. I know people did experiments developing amino acids from assumptions about the environment on pre-life Earth. I say forget all that. Do whatever environmental conditions you want, make them as favorable as you want, make them completely ideal. Just start from completely inorganic base chemicals and - you already know all the required bonds and the configurations and all the various cell organs/structures - build up a living, self-replicating single cell. Given the current level of technology and industrial capacity, I would imagine this is a slam dunk (I mean you could outsource the project as a worldwide cooperative; Germany works on the mitochondria, Japan on the cell wall/membrane, the US on the nucleus, etc.). You can even go prokaryote cell if it makes it easier.

    It would be a crowning achievement of humanity - we created life from non-life! It would end the argument in one fell swoop.

    Peace.

    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.

    • Replies: @Talha

    how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance.
     
    Sure, but that is chance. I'm asking people with resources and intelligence and volition to pull it off. So, for instance, it took millions of years to create rock formations like this in Illizi province of Algeria, but I could throw a few hundred guys to do the same within a few days or weeks:
    https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/11/e3/51/74/tadrart-tassili-n-ajjer.jpg

    Throw a million scientists at it along with ideal conditions - throw AI at it, throw a million top-of-the-line processors at it. I'm not asking for any restrictions other than start from inorganic base chemicals.


    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.
     
    Don't worry, I think it's impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.

    But I'm 100% willing to be proven wrong. I'm willing to wait, but I personally don't think one single (even primitive) cell is much to ask for.

    Peace.

    , @Rosie

    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.
     

    Res, I think you're still assuming that chance is the best explanation if it is at all possible. I'm not sure this is the correct starting point.

    I really liked a bike theft thought experiment I heard once. Suppose your bike is stolen, and you know you fasted your tamper-proof bike lock and there is no way it could have been broken.

    The question isn't really whether it is possible that someone guessed your combo, but whether it is more or less likely that someone discovered your combo, or made some educated guess, like your wedding anniversary or something.

    Perhaps there is something I'm not understanding, but this more-likely-than-not standard seems like the most appropriate one.

    I'll also say that I completely understand the methodological benefits of using supernatural intervention as an explanation of last resort, but in that case, I think it's important to be clear that materialism is a working assumption of science that serves a purpose but shouldn't be confused with absolute, ultimate truth to the point that people feel justified in treating others with contempt. Fortunately, such contempt is rare around here, and that is much appreciated.

    , @Mr. Rational

    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance.
     
    Not just a billion years, but 5.1e14 square meters times some massive Avogadro-like factor per square meter... and the documented, repeatable likelihood of production of proteins and nucleases from inorganic precursors repeated per square meter.

    Such are the conclusions from the Miller-Urey experiment.
  140. @res
    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don't underestimate how difficult it might be.

    how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance.

    Sure, but that is chance. I’m asking people with resources and intelligence and volition to pull it off. So, for instance, it took millions of years to create rock formations like this in Illizi province of Algeria, but I could throw a few hundred guys to do the same within a few days or weeks:
    Throw a million scientists at it along with ideal conditions – throw AI at it, throw a million top-of-the-line processors at it. I’m not asking for any restrictions other than start from inorganic base chemicals.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.

    Don’t worry, I think it’s impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.

    But I’m 100% willing to be proven wrong. I’m willing to wait, but I personally don’t think one single (even primitive) cell is much to ask for.

    Peace.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @res
    Do you think a billion years was enough to get from single celled organisms to non-human primates by chance?

    Is that more or less complex than creating a single celled organism from raw chemicals?

    BTW, are you thinking of a prokaryote or eukaryote?
    https://www.livescience.com/65922-prokaryotic-vs-eukaryotic-cells.html

    Eukaryotes developed at least 2.7 billion years ago, following 1 to 1.5 billion years of prokaryotic evolution, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Scientists hypothesize that the nucleus and other eukaryotic features may have first formed after a prokaryotic organism swallowed up another, according to the University of Texas. According to this theory, the engulfed organism would have then contributed to the functioning of its host.
     
    I am guessing "even primitive" implies prokaryote?
    , @Mr. Rational

    I think it’s impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.
     
    You were proven wrong more than 2 centuries ago.
  141. Edwardmh says: • Website

    The House of Representatives has voted to allow votes by proxy. Oregon Republican Greg Walden called the temporary changes to House rules, “a wrecking ball of Democratic lawmaking.”
    https://www.governing.com/now/Congress-Makes-History-and-Approves-Proxy-and-Virtual-Voting.html

    Article 1, Section 5 states: “a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business.” The quorum requirement is a requirement of physical presence. There is no exception for vote by proxy. Indeed, that section of the Constitution states that Congress “may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.”

    Indeed, the Constitution expressly prohibits any vote being taken other than in person. Article 1, Section 5 states that “[n]either House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.”

    The proxy voting seems to be a set up for a voting on a very important piece of legislation. At 9:33:00 of the above video, the Congressmen announced:

    “THE HOUSE CAN VOTE ON COVID-19-RELATED BILLS ON MAY 27 AND 28.”

    That is a purposefully vague statement. It seems the speaker did not want to mention H.R. 6666. The only pending COVID-19 legislation of which I am aware is H.R. 6666. With a vote by proxy, that means that a person can vote in advance without even hearing the arguments for or against the bill. Voting by proxy on a bill has never been done. It is unconstitutional. This seems like a set up to ram through a police state while we are not watching. Please contact your Congressmen and the President and ask them to vote no on H.R. 6666. I will set forth the reasons below.

    At 9:43:00 of the video, a Congressman from New Jersey asked to be removed as a co-sponsor of H.R. 6666. Notice the odd chuckles that surrounded his request. It was very odd. Why would a Congressman want his name removed from a bill as a co-sponsor?

    House Bill 6666 is truly scary. It sets up an Orwellian police state.

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6666/text?r=2&s=1

    Remember: government is one thing and one thing only; it is force.

    House Bill 6666 provides for quarantining and contact tracing. Those seem innocuous enough. But those words have hidden meanings.

    Contact tracing is a code-word for a police-state. They will trace you through interviews and electronically through your phones.

    H.r. 6666 provides: “The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, may award grants to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID–19, to trace and monitor the contacts of infected individuals, and to support the quarantine of such contacts.”

    Keep in mind it is not limited to infected persons. It includes contacts with infected persons. The contacts will be traced, monitored, and quarantined.

    Quarantine is a code-word for house-arrest. They will show up at your door and your house will be sealed and electronically monitored. If you leave your house (i.e., escape), you will be arrested and quarantining elsewhere (i.e., force detention camp with forced medication and vaccines).

    This is a HUGE operation! The budget is $100 billion for 2020 and “such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal year 2021 and any subsequent fiscal year during which the emergency period continues.” That is an unlimited budget for a police-state.

    Understand that the word “quarantine” has a particular definition under federal law. They have already laid the groundwork for the police state.

    42 C.F.R. § 70.1 states: “Quarantine means the separation of an individual or group reasonably believed to have been exposed to a quarantinable communicable disease, but who are not yet ill, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the quarantinable communicable disease.”

    You can be quarantined even though you are NOT ill. You can be quarantined if they reasonably believe that you have been exposed to a communicable disease.

    Under 42 C.F.R. § 70.6, you only need to be in a “qualifying stage” of the disease to be quarantined. Qualifying stage includes: “The precommunicable stage of the quarantinable communicable disease, but only if the quarantinable communicable disease would be likely to cause a public health emergency if transmitted to other individuals.” 42 CFR § 70.1.

    Under the 42 C.F.R. § 70.6, if you have a qualifying stage of exposure, which includes a “precommunicable stage of the quarantinable communicable disease” you can be quarantined. So, what does that mean? That means that you can be quarantined through apprehension and detention, while you are not ill, nor are even a threat to spread the disease, if they reasonably believe that you have been exposed to a person who has a quarantinable communicable disease.

    The regulations are already on the books calling for the apprehension and detention of any person the CDC believes has been exposed to COVID-19, even if you are not ill. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/42/70.6

    42 C.F.R. § 70.6 authorizes the apprehension and detention of persons with (or even without) a quarantinable communicable disease if they have been exposed to someone who has had the disease. Go to the link above. They will feed you and force you to receive “appropriate medical treatment” (i.e. vaccines) while you are detained.

    “The Director will arrange for adequate food and water, appropriate accommodation, appropriate medical treatment, and means of necessary communication for individuals who are apprehended or held in quarantine or isolation under this part.” 42 C.F.R. § 70.6.

    The director is a reference to the director of the CDC. That is presently Robert R. Redfield. https://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/robert-redfield/index.html

    Orwell’s1984 is coming to you soon. If H.R. 6666 passes they will have an unlimited budget to come and get you.

  142. res says:
    @Talha

    how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance.
     
    Sure, but that is chance. I'm asking people with resources and intelligence and volition to pull it off. So, for instance, it took millions of years to create rock formations like this in Illizi province of Algeria, but I could throw a few hundred guys to do the same within a few days or weeks:
    https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/11/e3/51/74/tadrart-tassili-n-ajjer.jpg

    Throw a million scientists at it along with ideal conditions - throw AI at it, throw a million top-of-the-line processors at it. I'm not asking for any restrictions other than start from inorganic base chemicals.


    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.
     
    Don't worry, I think it's impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.

    But I'm 100% willing to be proven wrong. I'm willing to wait, but I personally don't think one single (even primitive) cell is much to ask for.

    Peace.

    Do you think a billion years was enough to get from single celled organisms to non-human primates by chance?

    Is that more or less complex than creating a single celled organism from raw chemicals?

    BTW, are you thinking of a prokaryote or eukaryote?
    https://www.livescience.com/65922-prokaryotic-vs-eukaryotic-cells.html

    Eukaryotes developed at least 2.7 billion years ago, following 1 to 1.5 billion years of prokaryotic evolution, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Scientists hypothesize that the nucleus and other eukaryotic features may have first formed after a prokaryotic organism swallowed up another, according to the University of Texas. According to this theory, the engulfed organism would have then contributed to the functioning of its host.

    I am guessing “even primitive” implies prokaryote?

    • Replies: @Talha

    Do you think a billion years was enough to get from single celled organisms to non-human primates by chance?
     
    No.

    Is that more or less complex than creating a single celled organism from raw chemicals?
     
    Don't know. The first issue is details. The biggest question is abiogenesis as far as I'm concerned; that is the crux of the matter...life, self-replicating, self-preserving (meaning it avoids harm and takes actions to perpetuate itself - that is probably the most primitive form of awareness/consciousness), life.

    I am guessing “even primitive” implies prokaryote?
     
    Yes, eukaryote is ideal, but prokaryote (primitive, since they don't even have a solid nucleus) is good enough - it is, after all, alive. I don't care if plant, animal or even fungal...a single, self-replicating cell will do.

    I'm only speaking on my own behalf and what I'd like to see; if others are convinced by what's already been researched and discovered, I'm happy for them.

    Peace.
  143. @res
    Do you think a billion years was enough to get from single celled organisms to non-human primates by chance?

    Is that more or less complex than creating a single celled organism from raw chemicals?

    BTW, are you thinking of a prokaryote or eukaryote?
    https://www.livescience.com/65922-prokaryotic-vs-eukaryotic-cells.html

    Eukaryotes developed at least 2.7 billion years ago, following 1 to 1.5 billion years of prokaryotic evolution, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Scientists hypothesize that the nucleus and other eukaryotic features may have first formed after a prokaryotic organism swallowed up another, according to the University of Texas. According to this theory, the engulfed organism would have then contributed to the functioning of its host.
     
    I am guessing "even primitive" implies prokaryote?

    Do you think a billion years was enough to get from single celled organisms to non-human primates by chance?

    No.

    Is that more or less complex than creating a single celled organism from raw chemicals?

    Don’t know. The first issue is details. The biggest question is abiogenesis as far as I’m concerned; that is the crux of the matter…life, self-replicating, self-preserving (meaning it avoids harm and takes actions to perpetuate itself – that is probably the most primitive form of awareness/consciousness), life.

    I am guessing “even primitive” implies prokaryote?

    Yes, eukaryote is ideal, but prokaryote (primitive, since they don’t even have a solid nucleus) is good enough – it is, after all, alive. I don’t care if plant, animal or even fungal…a single, self-replicating cell will do.

    I’m only speaking on my own behalf and what I’d like to see; if others are convinced by what’s already been researched and discovered, I’m happy for them.

    Peace.

  144. @res
    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don't underestimate how difficult it might be.

    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.

    Res, I think you’re still assuming that chance is the best explanation if it is at all possible. I’m not sure this is the correct starting point.

    I really liked a bike theft thought experiment I heard once. Suppose your bike is stolen, and you know you fasted your tamper-proof bike lock and there is no way it could have been broken.

    The question isn’t really whether it is possible that someone guessed your combo, but whether it is more or less likely that someone discovered your combo, or made some educated guess, like your wedding anniversary or something.

    Perhaps there is something I’m not understanding, but this more-likely-than-not standard seems like the most appropriate one.

    I’ll also say that I completely understand the methodological benefits of using supernatural intervention as an explanation of last resort, but in that case, I think it’s important to be clear that materialism is a working assumption of science that serves a purpose but shouldn’t be confused with absolute, ultimate truth to the point that people feel justified in treating others with contempt. Fortunately, such contempt is rare around here, and that is much appreciated.

    • Replies: @res
    Comments like my earlier one are kind of fun because of the Rorschach test nature they possess. I did not really assert that much.

    One of the reasons creationist (and the descendant intelligent design) arguments have been treated with contempt is because so many of them are one of:
    - Laughably poor arguments.
    - Attempts to portray a so-so argument as inviolable truth.

    An additional reason is the response which is received when points are decisively disproved. For example, the arguments based on gaps in the fossil record as those are filled in. Those responses make very clear most of the people making the arguments are not really arguing in good faith.

    You at least seem reasonable in attempting a real argument.

    The standard I tend to focus on is Occam's razor, which I think is similar to your more-likely-than-not standard. That is why I made my comment. The degree to which people underestimate both the time and space available for life to evolve (is it possible to really comprehend a billion years or a billion trillion stars?) affects their (our) ability to make good judgments of likelihood.

    For a real discussion of this I think it is important to raise some subsidiary points.

    1. Possibility of a creator doing so with intent and active involvement going forward.
    2. Possibility of the course of evolution on Earth being affected by outside material or forces by accident.
    3. Possibility we are all just in a simulation.
    4. The ever popular "where did the creator come from?"
    5. Worth mentioning that the universe appears to be old and huge and much time had passed before even the Sun and Earth showed up.

    I generally don't enjoy in engaging in discussions like this because religion is a matter of belief. Not truth. (and sometimes people treat science in a similar fashion) Arguing about something like this is very likely to deeply offend at least person in the conversation and unlikely to change anyone's mind.

    FWIW I just finished a science fiction book (Sin of Origin by John Barnes) where a major premise is that intelligent life was spread by societies blowing themselves up with nuclear weapons and the resulting matter being spread around to other star systems and evolving from there over and over (an oversimplified and dramatized summary, but close). Has me in kind of an odd place thinking about this.
  145. res says:
    @Rosie

    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.
     

    Res, I think you're still assuming that chance is the best explanation if it is at all possible. I'm not sure this is the correct starting point.

    I really liked a bike theft thought experiment I heard once. Suppose your bike is stolen, and you know you fasted your tamper-proof bike lock and there is no way it could have been broken.

    The question isn't really whether it is possible that someone guessed your combo, but whether it is more or less likely that someone discovered your combo, or made some educated guess, like your wedding anniversary or something.

    Perhaps there is something I'm not understanding, but this more-likely-than-not standard seems like the most appropriate one.

    I'll also say that I completely understand the methodological benefits of using supernatural intervention as an explanation of last resort, but in that case, I think it's important to be clear that materialism is a working assumption of science that serves a purpose but shouldn't be confused with absolute, ultimate truth to the point that people feel justified in treating others with contempt. Fortunately, such contempt is rare around here, and that is much appreciated.

    Comments like my earlier one are kind of fun because of the Rorschach test nature they possess. I did not really assert that much.

    One of the reasons creationist (and the descendant intelligent design) arguments have been treated with contempt is because so many of them are one of:
    – Laughably poor arguments.
    – Attempts to portray a so-so argument as inviolable truth.

    An additional reason is the response which is received when points are decisively disproved. For example, the arguments based on gaps in the fossil record as those are filled in. Those responses make very clear most of the people making the arguments are not really arguing in good faith.

    You at least seem reasonable in attempting a real argument.

    The standard I tend to focus on is Occam’s razor, which I think is similar to your more-likely-than-not standard. That is why I made my comment. The degree to which people underestimate both the time and space available for life to evolve (is it possible to really comprehend a billion years or a billion trillion stars?) affects their (our) ability to make good judgments of likelihood.

    For a real discussion of this I think it is important to raise some subsidiary points.

    1. Possibility of a creator doing so with intent and active involvement going forward.
    2. Possibility of the course of evolution on Earth being affected by outside material or forces by accident.
    3. Possibility we are all just in a simulation.
    4. The ever popular “where did the creator come from?”
    5. Worth mentioning that the universe appears to be old and huge and much time had passed before even the Sun and Earth showed up.

    I generally don’t enjoy in engaging in discussions like this because religion is a matter of belief. Not truth. (and sometimes people treat science in a similar fashion) Arguing about something like this is very likely to deeply offend at least person in the conversation and unlikely to change anyone’s mind.

    FWIW I just finished a science fiction book (Sin of Origin by John Barnes) where a major premise is that intelligent life was spread by societies blowing themselves up with nuclear weapons and the resulting matter being spread around to other star systems and evolving from there over and over (an oversimplified and dramatized summary, but close). Has me in kind of an odd place thinking about this.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    The standard I tend to focus on is Occam’s razor,
     
    Occam’s razor is unfortunately not much help here, primarily because it begs the question of what is the simplest explanation for a thing. If I am not mistaken, even Stephen Hawking admitted that there is merit in the fine-tuning argument, and suggested "multiverse" as a possible solution.

    I don't know that a multiverse is simpler than God. I certainly don't think it is, but then, it is a somewhat subjective aesthetic judgment, I suppose. My view is that there is a great deal of scope for the will in religious belief. In that respect, I take after William James.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Will_to_Believe


    The ever popular “where did the creator come from?”
     
    I've never found this one to be particularly compelling. The fact that an explanation sometimes begs an explanation of it's own does not ordinarily render it inadmissible, let alone necessarily false. The correct explanation for the terracotta army is that ancient Chinese artisans created and placed them there. The fact that we don't know how the artisans got there (or maybe we do, I have no idea) is beside the point.

    In any event, I will always follow the evidence where it leads, but I will never again stop being a Christian. As such, I believe that humanity was made in the image of God. It therefore cannot be good to suppress our natural curiosity and/or look away in fear. To do so would dishonor our own nature and the good judgment of our Creator.

    , @Mr. Rational

    3. Possibility we are all just in a simulation.
     
    Begs the same question:  who created the simulation/creator?
  146. @res
    Comments like my earlier one are kind of fun because of the Rorschach test nature they possess. I did not really assert that much.

    One of the reasons creationist (and the descendant intelligent design) arguments have been treated with contempt is because so many of them are one of:
    - Laughably poor arguments.
    - Attempts to portray a so-so argument as inviolable truth.

    An additional reason is the response which is received when points are decisively disproved. For example, the arguments based on gaps in the fossil record as those are filled in. Those responses make very clear most of the people making the arguments are not really arguing in good faith.

    You at least seem reasonable in attempting a real argument.

    The standard I tend to focus on is Occam's razor, which I think is similar to your more-likely-than-not standard. That is why I made my comment. The degree to which people underestimate both the time and space available for life to evolve (is it possible to really comprehend a billion years or a billion trillion stars?) affects their (our) ability to make good judgments of likelihood.

    For a real discussion of this I think it is important to raise some subsidiary points.

    1. Possibility of a creator doing so with intent and active involvement going forward.
    2. Possibility of the course of evolution on Earth being affected by outside material or forces by accident.
    3. Possibility we are all just in a simulation.
    4. The ever popular "where did the creator come from?"
    5. Worth mentioning that the universe appears to be old and huge and much time had passed before even the Sun and Earth showed up.

    I generally don't enjoy in engaging in discussions like this because religion is a matter of belief. Not truth. (and sometimes people treat science in a similar fashion) Arguing about something like this is very likely to deeply offend at least person in the conversation and unlikely to change anyone's mind.

    FWIW I just finished a science fiction book (Sin of Origin by John Barnes) where a major premise is that intelligent life was spread by societies blowing themselves up with nuclear weapons and the resulting matter being spread around to other star systems and evolving from there over and over (an oversimplified and dramatized summary, but close). Has me in kind of an odd place thinking about this.

    The standard I tend to focus on is Occam’s razor,

    Occam’s razor is unfortunately not much help here, primarily because it begs the question of what is the simplest explanation for a thing. If I am not mistaken, even Stephen Hawking admitted that there is merit in the fine-tuning argument, and suggested “multiverse” as a possible solution.

    I don’t know that a multiverse is simpler than God. I certainly don’t think it is, but then, it is a somewhat subjective aesthetic judgment, I suppose. My view is that there is a great deal of scope for the will in religious belief. In that respect, I take after William James.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Will_to_Believe

    The ever popular “where did the creator come from?”

    I’ve never found this one to be particularly compelling. The fact that an explanation sometimes begs an explanation of it’s own does not ordinarily render it inadmissible, let alone necessarily false. The correct explanation for the terracotta army is that ancient Chinese artisans created and placed them there. The fact that we don’t know how the artisans got there (or maybe we do, I have no idea) is beside the point.

    In any event, I will always follow the evidence where it leads, but I will never again stop being a Christian. As such, I believe that humanity was made in the image of God. It therefore cannot be good to suppress our natural curiosity and/or look away in fear. To do so would dishonor our own nature and the good judgment of our Creator.

  147. AP says:
    @Wency
    I don't think we can say yet what sort of people precisely will restart the engine of human reproduction, only that the majority of people and ideas we have floating around currently are vastly inadequate to the task, so some sort of radical change in the human population is coming. Though it's coming over a period of centuries -- we can really only engage in sci-fi speculation about it right now.

    The average religious American still doesn't even produce 3 children. Natural selection really wants women who produce a number closer to 10 children right now, a time when there is no scarcity in life-sustaining resources available to those children. A relatively small group that produces a large number of children and gets those children to do the same can have a huge impact amidst such an anti-natal background population over a period of 100-200 years.

    The average religious American still doesn’t even produce 3 children.

    Maybe, but he does produce more children than does the average secular American (other than rich secular Americans, who tend to have large families).

    The particular groups within the USA who do have large families are not typical Americans but belong to various subcultures: the Amish; Mormons; Hasidic Jews; very traditional Catholics; and recent immigrants from Latin America. All of these groups are religious.

    So for example, the Amish population has increased from 50,000 in 1970 to over 300,000 in 2018:

    A relatively small group that produces a large number of children and gets those children to do the same can have a huge impact amidst such an anti-natal background population over a period of 100-200 years.

    If the Amish keep it up (in concert with secularist population decline) they will become a huge minority in the regions where they settled, within 100 years.

    • Replies: @Wency
    The Hassidic (both in the US and Israel) and Anabaptist growth is indeed interesting. Though I have to wonder if either keeps up its rate. Most likely family size decreases along with retention rate as the size of their population causes hardships in pursuing their traditional lifestyle. It looks like the Amish birthrate has already dropped somewhat, which might align with the fact that a lower and lower percentage is engaged in farming.

    But my understanding is that their culture assigns status to motherhood. A woman isn't really worth listening to if she's not a mother of many children. The thought of life as an old maid is terrifying and shameful. The thought of grabbing status by going out and pursuing a career as a "strong independent woman" is unthinkable. That's what pro-natal culture looks like. I have to imagine the culture that ultimately inherits America will either look a lot like that, or it will look like mothers in the projects or trailer parks perennially pregnant by a different man. Or maybe both will co-exist to some degree.

    Mainstream Christian culture does NOT look like either of those. The most it does is pay lip service to the notion that children are a blessing, sex is for marriage, and marriage is for families. Which isn't nothing, but it's also a very long way from being truly pro-natal. I don't know how it could even get there. As a result, it has much more trouble than the Amish maintaining or growing its numbers, as its mildly above-average birthrate isn't enough to compensate for the attrition due to the ever-increasing cultural power of secularism and "spiritual but not religious" thinking.

    Globally, of course, religious people are doing much better. Which is another way of saying, as is well-known on this site, that the Global South is doing most of the reproducing.

    , @res
    This looks like the original source of that graph:
    https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/31/amish-population-america-growth-rates/

    Does anyone have that data or a semi-log plot of it? The reference they give at that link only has data back to 1992. In the text at the link they only give four data points.


    The Amish population in 2018 was estimated to be 324,900, according to Elizabethtown College’s Amish Studies Center. Twenty years ago, the Amish population was 169,442, and twenty years prior to that, the population was 69,653. In 1901, the total Amish population in the United States was 6,300.
     
  148. @grinning
    Low IQ autistic atheist detected

    You forgot to call us euphoric too.

  149. @Talha
    Humans do much of the waste, if you've seen other animals eat a pineapple (monkeys for instance) - they try to use every bit of it up to the shell. They'll even chew on the leaves.

    Peace.

    Humans do much of the waste, if you’ve seen other animals eat a pineapple (monkeys for instance) – they try to use every bit of it up to the shell. They’ll even chew on the leaves.

    So it’s intelligent design until we get to humans?

    Maybe, I have never thought of it that way. Perhaps he created humans first, realized the mistakes and made improvements.

    • Replies: @Talha
    I’m just saying we’re not the only species to consider in the design. Ants do just fine with any fruit. They were certainly around before us.

    Peace.
  150. @Mr. Rational
    Are you kidding?  Pineapples came from some wild species that humans domesticated.  It wasn't given to us as a food plant, it's a work in progress.

    Everything is a work in progress.

  151. @iffen
    Humans do much of the waste, if you’ve seen other animals eat a pineapple (monkeys for instance) – they try to use every bit of it up to the shell. They’ll even chew on the leaves.

    So it's intelligent design until we get to humans?

    Maybe, I have never thought of it that way. Perhaps he created humans first, realized the mistakes and made improvements.

    I’m just saying we’re not the only species to consider in the design. Ants do just fine with any fruit. They were certainly around before us.

    Peace.

  152. @res
    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance. As well as underestimating the number of opportunities a billion trillion stars and their associated planets provide.

    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don't underestimate how difficult it might be.

    I think people tend to underestimate how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance.

    Not just a billion years, but 5.1e14 square meters times some massive Avogadro-like factor per square meter… and the documented, repeatable likelihood of production of proteins and nucleases from inorganic precursors repeated per square meter.

    Such are the conclusions from the Miller-Urey experiment.

  153. @Talha

    how much time a billion years provides for something to occur by chance.
     
    Sure, but that is chance. I'm asking people with resources and intelligence and volition to pull it off. So, for instance, it took millions of years to create rock formations like this in Illizi province of Algeria, but I could throw a few hundred guys to do the same within a few days or weeks:
    https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/11/e3/51/74/tadrart-tassili-n-ajjer.jpg

    Throw a million scientists at it along with ideal conditions - throw AI at it, throw a million top-of-the-line processors at it. I'm not asking for any restrictions other than start from inorganic base chemicals.


    Put more directly, I like your idea, but don’t underestimate how difficult it might be.
     
    Don't worry, I think it's impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.

    But I'm 100% willing to be proven wrong. I'm willing to wait, but I personally don't think one single (even primitive) cell is much to ask for.

    Peace.

    I think it’s impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.

    You were proven wrong more than 2 centuries ago.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    I forgot urea was a lifeform.
    , @Talha
    Uh hunh, when I see a self replicating cell, I’ll be the first to admit defeat.

    If the above experiment was good enough for you to solve abiogenesis, that’s great, as I said; I’m happy for you.

    If a cell (basic building block of all organisms) is just like a complex LEGO set, then once you get all the composite pieces together and fit them according to the diagram, the cell should automatically come to “life”, since there is no magic trick or hidden force behind it.

    I await the results eagerly.

    Peace.

  154. @res
    Comments like my earlier one are kind of fun because of the Rorschach test nature they possess. I did not really assert that much.

    One of the reasons creationist (and the descendant intelligent design) arguments have been treated with contempt is because so many of them are one of:
    - Laughably poor arguments.
    - Attempts to portray a so-so argument as inviolable truth.

    An additional reason is the response which is received when points are decisively disproved. For example, the arguments based on gaps in the fossil record as those are filled in. Those responses make very clear most of the people making the arguments are not really arguing in good faith.

    You at least seem reasonable in attempting a real argument.

    The standard I tend to focus on is Occam's razor, which I think is similar to your more-likely-than-not standard. That is why I made my comment. The degree to which people underestimate both the time and space available for life to evolve (is it possible to really comprehend a billion years or a billion trillion stars?) affects their (our) ability to make good judgments of likelihood.

    For a real discussion of this I think it is important to raise some subsidiary points.

    1. Possibility of a creator doing so with intent and active involvement going forward.
    2. Possibility of the course of evolution on Earth being affected by outside material or forces by accident.
    3. Possibility we are all just in a simulation.
    4. The ever popular "where did the creator come from?"
    5. Worth mentioning that the universe appears to be old and huge and much time had passed before even the Sun and Earth showed up.

    I generally don't enjoy in engaging in discussions like this because religion is a matter of belief. Not truth. (and sometimes people treat science in a similar fashion) Arguing about something like this is very likely to deeply offend at least person in the conversation and unlikely to change anyone's mind.

    FWIW I just finished a science fiction book (Sin of Origin by John Barnes) where a major premise is that intelligent life was spread by societies blowing themselves up with nuclear weapons and the resulting matter being spread around to other star systems and evolving from there over and over (an oversimplified and dramatized summary, but close). Has me in kind of an odd place thinking about this.

    3. Possibility we are all just in a simulation.

    Begs the same question:  who created the simulation/creator?

    • Agree: res
  155. @Mr. Rational

    I think it’s impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.
     
    You were proven wrong more than 2 centuries ago.

    I forgot urea was a lifeform.

  156. @Mr. Rational

    I think it’s impossible to bring out life from inorganic base/starting material.
     
    You were proven wrong more than 2 centuries ago.

    Uh hunh, when I see a self replicating cell, I’ll be the first to admit defeat.

    If the above experiment was good enough for you to solve abiogenesis, that’s great, as I said; I’m happy for you.

    If a cell (basic building block of all organisms) is just like a complex LEGO set, then once you get all the composite pieces together and fit them according to the diagram, the cell should automatically come to “life”, since there is no magic trick or hidden force behind it.

    I await the results eagerly.

    Peace.

  157. @AP

    The average religious American still doesn’t even produce 3 children.
     
    Maybe, but he does produce more children than does the average secular American (other than rich secular Americans, who tend to have large families).

    The particular groups within the USA who do have large families are not typical Americans but belong to various subcultures: the Amish; Mormons; Hasidic Jews; very traditional Catholics; and recent immigrants from Latin America. All of these groups are religious.

    So for example, the Amish population has increased from 50,000 in 1970 to over 300,000 in 2018:

    https://cdn01.dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/amish-growth-rate.png

    A relatively small group that produces a large number of children and gets those children to do the same can have a huge impact amidst such an anti-natal background population over a period of 100-200 years.
     
    If the Amish keep it up (in concert with secularist population decline) they will become a huge minority in the regions where they settled, within 100 years.

    The Hassidic (both in the US and Israel) and Anabaptist growth is indeed interesting. Though I have to wonder if either keeps up its rate. Most likely family size decreases along with retention rate as the size of their population causes hardships in pursuing their traditional lifestyle. It looks like the Amish birthrate has already dropped somewhat, which might align with the fact that a lower and lower percentage is engaged in farming.

    But my understanding is that their culture assigns status to motherhood. A woman isn’t really worth listening to if she’s not a mother of many children. The thought of life as an old maid is terrifying and shameful. The thought of grabbing status by going out and pursuing a career as a “strong independent woman” is unthinkable. That’s what pro-natal culture looks like. I have to imagine the culture that ultimately inherits America will either look a lot like that, or it will look like mothers in the projects or trailer parks perennially pregnant by a different man. Or maybe both will co-exist to some degree.

    Mainstream Christian culture does NOT look like either of those. The most it does is pay lip service to the notion that children are a blessing, sex is for marriage, and marriage is for families. Which isn’t nothing, but it’s also a very long way from being truly pro-natal. I don’t know how it could even get there. As a result, it has much more trouble than the Amish maintaining or growing its numbers, as its mildly above-average birthrate isn’t enough to compensate for the attrition due to the ever-increasing cultural power of secularism and “spiritual but not religious” thinking.

    Globally, of course, religious people are doing much better. Which is another way of saying, as is well-known on this site, that the Global South is doing most of the reproducing.

  158. res says:
    @AP

    The average religious American still doesn’t even produce 3 children.
     
    Maybe, but he does produce more children than does the average secular American (other than rich secular Americans, who tend to have large families).

    The particular groups within the USA who do have large families are not typical Americans but belong to various subcultures: the Amish; Mormons; Hasidic Jews; very traditional Catholics; and recent immigrants from Latin America. All of these groups are religious.

    So for example, the Amish population has increased from 50,000 in 1970 to over 300,000 in 2018:

    https://cdn01.dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/amish-growth-rate.png

    A relatively small group that produces a large number of children and gets those children to do the same can have a huge impact amidst such an anti-natal background population over a period of 100-200 years.
     
    If the Amish keep it up (in concert with secularist population decline) they will become a huge minority in the regions where they settled, within 100 years.

    This looks like the original source of that graph:
    https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/31/amish-population-america-growth-rates/

    Does anyone have that data or a semi-log plot of it? The reference they give at that link only has data back to 1992. In the text at the link they only give four data points.

    The Amish population in 2018 was estimated to be 324,900, according to Elizabethtown College’s Amish Studies Center. Twenty years ago, the Amish population was 169,442, and twenty years prior to that, the population was 69,653. In 1901, the total Amish population in the United States was 6,300.

    • Replies: @Wency
    I dug around on Amish data at one point some years ago, and this sort of population explosion in the 20th century seemed to be generally corroborated.

    I did find one resource that had better, newer data, which is where I saw the indication that their birthrate has slowed somewhat in the 21st century, and also that it's somewhat sensitive to economic cycles.

    But I don't think I'd be able to dig any of this up again without the same sort of Google-fu you were doing.
  159. @anonymous

    The implicit historical teleology of atheism really bothers Christians because they apparently came up with the idea that old religions have expiration dates when a god issues the newer version, and they traditionally considered Judaism one of those expired religions.
    (When Islam arose later, Muslims in turn viewed Christianity as an expired religion.)

     

    A religion based on truth does not "expire." It is like saying truth expires. Truth never expires. It may be obfuscated for a while, sometimes that could be decades, centuries or millennia.

    Since you mention Islam also, muslims believe that the original religion of man (Adam PBUH) was true monotheism (God is One, and the only One worthy of worship... the Tawheed), which was much later codified as Islam, as the world knows it now.

    Just because the descendants of Adam and Eve, PBUT, chose to innovate and deviate from the path of true monotheism, adding various paganisms (man/animal/idol worship), does not mean that the truth of the One God expired.

    The truth remained dormant, until the next prophet came to once again exhort mankind to true monotheism, which was again conveniently forgotten by man, until around 600AD, when mankind finally got it, by the will of God. Islam was born.

    Religions based on falsehoods can and do deserve to die (e.g. Greek paganism, even though I believe some of its aspects are alive in Christianity, such as Hades, etc.). There are various other faiths based on pagan polytheist mangods-worship whose edifices currently float wobbling on an ocean of unverifiable falsehoods/hearsay (e.g. man was created in the image of God)... examples; Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, and various others. I do believe they face an existential threat, not from outside, but from within, unable to sustain on the deceit by which they propagate.

    Now, coming to Islam... the truth of the Tawheed is on rock-solid grounding. If a person believes we couldn't have materialised out of nothing, then the person cannot dispute the Tawheed. This is the reason why Islam never has to be tweaked, which seems to be a constant and pathetic effort of pagans. This is also the reason why God willed that Muhammad SAW would be the last prophet. The truth was firmly established, finally.

    Btw, Islam does not consider other religions as "expired," which seems to imply that it saw in their core, some truth, which it then "improved" upon. Pagan polytheist mangods-worship never stood the chance of being the "truth."

    Islam stands above all that. It knows that these pagan faiths will simply collapse under the weight of their own deceit. It is simply a matter of time. Other pagan faiths instinctively understand this too. That is why they consider Islam as an existential threat which must be vilified and combatted. The current reality reflects that.

    Islam never has to be tweaked

    This is a ludicrous statement. Islam is almost entirely created by Islamic experts, who always put their own spin. By the tenth century CE, something like 100,000 pages of commentary had been identified.

    Even the most fundamentalist nation on the planet tweaked their rules about women driving. For decades it was, sinful, evil, un-Islamic. Then it was OK. What changed?

  160. @Sparkon
    Two points:

    1. There is no grammatical rule that forbids or prohibits ending a sentence with a preposition.

    In this case, the terminal "by" was unnecessary anyway, as I’ve yet to come across good data to evaluate it makes perfect sense, and "by" is redundant. The pronoun "it" refers back to "assertion," so AE has yet to come across good data to evaluate the assertion.

    2. The highest scores on AE's bar graph were recorded by "Agnostics" in almost every category, but not a peep about agnosticism here.

    Man, I was wondering where you were… at!

  161. @Talha
    It really is a conversation between glass-half-full and glass-half-empty:
    "I won't say that I regret my life but it was unnecessary."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmYDGlixAag

    Glass-half-full tends toward optimism and hope (leads to wanting to take a chance to bring kids into the world), glass-half-empty tends toward pessimism and despair ("Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?").

    Are there exceptions to the rule? Sure, but we are talking about general trends.

    Peace.

    “Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”

    If it’s such a nightmare, then why stick around?

    And do you really think you have things harder than your grandparents did? How about than your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents did?

    • Agree: Talha
    • Replies: @Wency
    The problem with saying, "We have no hope, so we're having no kids" is that kids ARE the hope.

    Without kids, life is a downhill slog that increasingly consists of doing the same crap year after year, day after day, only with less energy, more pain, and a more jaded attitude.

    In your personal life, everything is breaking down all the time. Friends drift away, good memories become more distant, you get fatter, uglier, slower in mind and body. Everything that you used to find fun gradually becomes a little less exciting, a little more boring.

    Kids though, kids are growing up. They pack your life with variety. Every day they're getting smarter, quicker, stronger, prettier. You get to experience that along with them. Of course, at some point this stops, but if they took the right lessons from you, the grandchildren shouldn't be far behind.
  162. @Mr. Rational
    I have been watching the flagellum argument for creationism since the 1980's.  It's bogus.  The basis of the flagellum is the bacterial Type 2 secretory system, and many of the proteins in the filament itself have known precursors.

    The rest don't bother me.  So those proteins evolved from things we haven't discovered, or no longer exist.  Most species that have ever existed no longer exist, and their genes have vanished.  This is perfectly consistent with TENS, and are not a credible argument for creationism.

    Know what would prove TENS wrong?  A fossil rabbit in a Precambrian sediment.  But we know you creationists have already tried to "prove" humans walked with dinosaurs by mis-interpreting or faking impressions in fossil mud, so you are going to have to be uncharacteristically honest to be convincing.

    After dealing with creatonut sophistry and dishonesty for over 3 decades, you've got a really tough row to hoe to convince me.

    I suppose deep down inside I knew this was fiction all along…

  163. @Anonymous
    People who have indoor plumbing have much lower fertility than those who do not.

    I’m not so sure this is the slam dunk some think it is.

  164. @res
    This looks like the original source of that graph:
    https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/31/amish-population-america-growth-rates/

    Does anyone have that data or a semi-log plot of it? The reference they give at that link only has data back to 1992. In the text at the link they only give four data points.


    The Amish population in 2018 was estimated to be 324,900, according to Elizabethtown College’s Amish Studies Center. Twenty years ago, the Amish population was 169,442, and twenty years prior to that, the population was 69,653. In 1901, the total Amish population in the United States was 6,300.
     

    I dug around on Amish data at one point some years ago, and this sort of population explosion in the 20th century seemed to be generally corroborated.

    I did find one resource that had better, newer data, which is where I saw the indication that their birthrate has slowed somewhat in the 21st century, and also that it’s somewhat sensitive to economic cycles.

    But I don’t think I’d be able to dig any of this up again without the same sort of Google-fu you were doing.

  165. @Audacious Epigone
    “Why the hell would I want to bring kids into this nightmare?”

    If it's such a nightmare, then why stick around?

    And do you really think you have things harder than your grandparents did? How about than your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents did?

    The problem with saying, “We have no hope, so we’re having no kids” is that kids ARE the hope.

    Without kids, life is a downhill slog that increasingly consists of doing the same crap year after year, day after day, only with less energy, more pain, and a more jaded attitude.

    In your personal life, everything is breaking down all the time. Friends drift away, good memories become more distant, you get fatter, uglier, slower in mind and body. Everything that you used to find fun gradually becomes a little less exciting, a little more boring.

    Kids though, kids are growing up. They pack your life with variety. Every day they’re getting smarter, quicker, stronger, prettier. You get to experience that along with them. Of course, at some point this stops, but if they took the right lessons from you, the grandchildren shouldn’t be far behind.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Kids though, kids are growing up. They pack your life with variety. Every day they’re getting smarter, quicker, stronger, prettier. You get to experience that along with them.
     
    Sure. But you're still left with the problem that as far as most people are concerned one child is enough, or at most two. It's not that people don't like kids. They just don't want very many of them.

    Even in economic good times people don't want to have lots of kids. They want to have one, or maybe two.

    I don't think that a lack of hope is the reason birth rates have declined steadily over a very long period of time. In fact it may be just the opposite. As life in the West got better and better (slowly growing prosperity, better health, better living conditions, more luxuries, the establishment of the welfare state, more opportunities in general, more opportunities for having fun, more entertainment, plus it became easier and easier to have enjoyable recreational sex without having to worry about unwanted pregnancies) people had more hope for a better future. They responded by having fewer kids.

    If you look at the East Asian countries you see the same pattern. As life got better and better in places like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore people responded by having fewer kids.

    One reason might be that people saw a more hopeful future for their children so they felt it was worthwhile concentrating their energies on just one kid and giving that one kid the best possible chance of having a very much better life.

    I do think that times of extreme uncertainty will depress birth rates but in general fertility declines as life gets better.
  166. @advancedatheist
    I don’t know of any scholarship which shows the connection between Nietzsche’s announcement of the “death of god” in the 1880’s with the Soviet project to create a functional godless society a couple generations later. After all, no one had to read Nietzsche’s difficult books, much less heed what he had to say in them. Thoughtful people grappled with Nietzsche’s ideas any way on their own initiative.

    That many of Nietzsche’s readers recognized right away what he meant by the death of god shows that they shared his experience where god no long felt real to them. This left them in a situation of trying to ground their understanding of life on a different foundation. The Bolsheviks came out of this development of Western culture, and it looks as if they saw their political opportunity in Russia to accelerate the process of adaptation to the new godless world that Nietzsche had pointed out to them.

    Of course the results didn’t turn out the way the Bolsheviks imagined. But you would expect the first experiments in trying to adapt to a new way of experiencing the world wouldn’t necessarily succeed. After all, it probably took our ancestors many generations to adapt from the animism of the hunter-gatherers to the theism of the early farmers. People still struggled with this transformation in the Bronze Age, given the story in Genesis which warned against listening to a talking snake from the animist tradition. Perhaps the animist holdovers viewed the early god-believers as the equivalent of “atheists” for disregarding the existence and authority of their "self-evident" nature spirits.

    Just as the Catholics in the 16th Century probably viewed the early Protestants as "atheists" when they stopped praying to the Virgin Mary and the saints.

    Prior to Constantine, Christians were often charged with the crime of atheism in the Roman empire.

  167. @Wency
    The problem with saying, "We have no hope, so we're having no kids" is that kids ARE the hope.

    Without kids, life is a downhill slog that increasingly consists of doing the same crap year after year, day after day, only with less energy, more pain, and a more jaded attitude.

    In your personal life, everything is breaking down all the time. Friends drift away, good memories become more distant, you get fatter, uglier, slower in mind and body. Everything that you used to find fun gradually becomes a little less exciting, a little more boring.

    Kids though, kids are growing up. They pack your life with variety. Every day they're getting smarter, quicker, stronger, prettier. You get to experience that along with them. Of course, at some point this stops, but if they took the right lessons from you, the grandchildren shouldn't be far behind.

    Kids though, kids are growing up. They pack your life with variety. Every day they’re getting smarter, quicker, stronger, prettier. You get to experience that along with them.

    Sure. But you’re still left with the problem that as far as most people are concerned one child is enough, or at most two. It’s not that people don’t like kids. They just don’t want very many of them.

    Even in economic good times people don’t want to have lots of kids. They want to have one, or maybe two.

    I don’t think that a lack of hope is the reason birth rates have declined steadily over a very long period of time. In fact it may be just the opposite. As life in the West got better and better (slowly growing prosperity, better health, better living conditions, more luxuries, the establishment of the welfare state, more opportunities in general, more opportunities for having fun, more entertainment, plus it became easier and easier to have enjoyable recreational sex without having to worry about unwanted pregnancies) people had more hope for a better future. They responded by having fewer kids.

    If you look at the East Asian countries you see the same pattern. As life got better and better in places like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore people responded by having fewer kids.

    One reason might be that people saw a more hopeful future for their children so they felt it was worthwhile concentrating their energies on just one kid and giving that one kid the best possible chance of having a very much better life.

    I do think that times of extreme uncertainty will depress birth rates but in general fertility declines as life gets better.

  168. @res
    I think you are going to enjoy ID's essay. Hopefully he has a light touch on the comment moderation. Should be fun ; )

    Coming May 26th!

  169. @AP

    The strictly biological explanation has to explain how atheists became a substantial part of the world’s population over the last century in the first place
     
    Well, diseases can spread, despite being harmful for organisms, until those organisms who are resistant or immune are the last ones left and repopulate.

    We see this happening with Tasmanian Devils and their contagious cancer:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/19/tasmanian-devils-developing-immune-response-to-contagious-face-cancer

    Secularism spreads in societies, and as it claims its victims there is a concomitant fall in fertility rates. Eventually those subpopulations or perhaps individuals particularly immune to secularism will be left and will repopulate.

    That’s my line of reasoning, too. When, though? For at least a couple of generations now, we’ve seen a clear positive correlation between religiosity and procreation, yet religiosity continues to decline.

  170. @advancedatheist
    I don’t know of any scholarship which shows the connection between Nietzsche’s announcement of the “death of god” in the 1880’s with the Soviet project to create a functional godless society a couple generations later. After all, no one had to read Nietzsche’s difficult books, much less heed what he had to say in them. Thoughtful people grappled with Nietzsche’s ideas any way on their own initiative.

    That many of Nietzsche’s readers recognized right away what he meant by the death of god shows that they shared his experience where god no long felt real to them. This left them in a situation of trying to ground their understanding of life on a different foundation. The Bolsheviks came out of this development of Western culture, and it looks as if they saw their political opportunity in Russia to accelerate the process of adaptation to the new godless world that Nietzsche had pointed out to them.

    Of course the results didn’t turn out the way the Bolsheviks imagined. But you would expect the first experiments in trying to adapt to a new way of experiencing the world wouldn’t necessarily succeed. After all, it probably took our ancestors many generations to adapt from the animism of the hunter-gatherers to the theism of the early farmers. People still struggled with this transformation in the Bronze Age, given the story in Genesis which warned against listening to a talking snake from the animist tradition. Perhaps the animist holdovers viewed the early god-believers as the equivalent of “atheists” for disregarding the existence and authority of their "self-evident" nature spirits.

    Just as the Catholics in the 16th Century probably viewed the early Protestants as "atheists" when they stopped praying to the Virgin Mary and the saints.

    “it probably took our ancestors many generations to adapt from the animism of the hunter-gatherers to the theism of the early farmers.”

    I think the archaeological evidence is that it usually took only a single generation, or only a single day. The early farmers wiped out the local hunter-gatherers (or at least their adult males) and voila, the conversion to early farmer theism (or whatever religion they had) was complete.

  171. @res
    I only see two books meeting your criteria here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Selected_publications
    The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype

    Can you recommend any others?

    The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype

    Can you recommend any others?

    Those are the good ones.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Audacious Epigone Comments via RSS