I am an atheist/ agnostic but after careful thinking, I've decided that perhaps virulently promoting atheism (as this community is doing) isn't really good for society. Please don't get offended, just read my arguments below calmly and rationally. If you can argue that I am wrong, I will listen to those arguments and change my opinion.
Note 1: I am using science in all my arguments, not religion.Not all my links point to scientific studies, but I'm sure you could find relevant evolutionary psychology papers if you googled for it.
Note 2: Please don't take offense, I'm not a sexist or a misogynist. I am trying hard to be as unemotional as possible in my arguments.
Argument 1: Polygamy is bad for society
What percentage of our (pre-civilizational/ barbaric) ancestors are males? The answer is not 50%. As evolutionary psychology points out, 80% of our female ancestors managed to reproduce but only 40% of our male ancestors did so. (Link: http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm). Simply put, in barbaric societies, males were the high-risk high-reward sex whereas females were the low-risk low-reward sex.
Males are genetically polygynous (interested in sex with as many women as possible - this makes sense as men can produce millions of sperm every day and have a low reproductive cost)
Females are naturally hypergamous (interested in only one man but the best; the top 'alpha' man - this makes sense as a female produces one egg per month and has a high reproductive cost due to pregnancy and child birth).
When sexuality is uncontrolled, the combination of male polygyny and female hypergamy results in polygamy a.k.a harems (one man having sex & children with multiple women).
The ones who suffer are the beta males - the ones who have been sexually selected out. They typically become violent and don't contribute to society. There is an argument to be made that the Taliban practices polygamy and this is the source of violent behavior of terrorists from that part of the world. (Link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200706/ten-politically-inco...)
When promiscuity is controlled through strictly enforced monogamy, every man gets a wife. This reduces violent behavior and unlocks the productive capacity in males. I don't have the link available but a man who is already married or believes that he will marry in the future will be 4x productive as an unmarried man who does not believe that he will ever marry (e.g.) Japanese grass-eaters ostracized by an increasingly promiscuous Japan (Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/27/japan-grass-eaters-sala...)
Alpha men don't significantly contribute to society - they are not scientific geniuses or hard workers. They are typically physically aggressive men. Contrary to feminist dogma, physically dominant men (even dominant to the point of abusive) are attractive to women because they exhibit alpha tendencies - The Dark Triad of Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy.
Alpha men understand their higher attractiveness (compared to betas) and adopt a pump-and-dump sexual attitude. They have many sexual partners but don't bother helping with raising their young; some of their young will die due to lack of resources but they make up for it in numbers.
Betas adopt a nourish-and-protect sexual attitude. They have only one sexual partner, whom they win by proving their love and commitment. Then they have children with only this partner, but provide resources and protection to ensure their children grow up successfully.
Monogamy is the cornerstone of civilization. See the Moralia versus Libertalia argument (Link: http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2011/10/14/relationshipstrategies/how...). In a monogamous society, with greater male economic participation and lesser violence, prosperity, rule of law and art flourish.
Argument 2: Promiscuity naturally leads to beta ostracism and harms society
Promiscuity - Defn: Any form of sex outside of monogamous marriage (including exclusive relationships)
Non-exclusive relationships (polyamorous relationships) are almost always polygamous (one alpha man with many women). This results in many beta men losing out.
Exclusive relationships also result in beta men losing out - Why? If enough alpha men are not available, hypergamous females would rather not enter into any relationship at all rather than be with beta men - "The Where have all the good men gone?" tirade from many women in modern promiscuous culture.
Promiscuity is the leading cause of single motherhood. Many women will rather have children with alpha men (who will later abandon them) rather than with good beta providers (whom they find dull and boring).
The social effects of unleashed promiscuity are enormous - 40% out of wedlock births, single motherhood and increased Govt debt/ taxation to support single motherhood by the State which steps in to replace the father.
Single motherhood produces children 2 to 10 times more likely to suffer from:
Argument 3: Atheism promotes promiscuity (Edit: by being silent about it)
I am not saying that atheism caused promiscuity (that happened in the 60s due to a variety of other reasons including feminism) but atheism has played a role in the rise of moral relativism, especially with respect to promiscuity.
The Golden Rule is perhaps the first tenet of religious morality but it is not the only one. The second most important tenet of religious morality is monogamy.
I have seen many arguments about how atheists are equally moral (if not more so) than religious people. In all these arguments, people assume that morality = Golden Rule.
Based on my personal experiences, many atheists seem to think that:
Morality = the Golden Rule
Promiscuity = personal freedom (i.e.) promiscuity is acceptable behavior that the Church restricts because the Church is old and stupid. Many atheists don't seem to realize the far reaching social effects of promiscuity.
This moral relativism on promiscuity is obvious even in this site. For example http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/atheists-are-not-moral-peo... does not deal with promiscuity at all. http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/what-is-your-stance-on-mar... has answers from many atheists clearly exhibiting moral relativism on the subject of promiscuity.
[Edit: The majority of your arguments were against this. I can understand why this may look like a strawman argument. Let me clarify:
There is a strong correlation between divorce risk and low IQ. There is also a strong correlation between high IQ and atheism (giving you folks a compliment, take it :) ).
Atheism as a movement, originated primarily amongst high IQ society. But it has now gone mainstream and is growing fast, scarily fast almost. As Uncle Ben put it, "with great power comes great responsibility". But Atheism does not seem to be taking up that responsibility from the Church. Yes, the Church is broken and old and corrupt and its practitioners are bigots and hypocrites. But, it is still the only thing out there taking a stand against promiscuity. Atheists seem to walk away from the responsibility of condemning promiscuity and most Atheists promote sexual freedom.
Morality naturally comes to Atheists because they are high-IQ individuals who are better able to visualize the impact of their life choices in the future. But, as atheism goes mainstream and the Church dies out, what happens to all the voices condemning promiscuous behavior?
We are not more evolved now in anyway than we were in the past. We are, still at our core, apes struggling to build great civilizations. We all (especially low IQ individuals) need moral guidance to help us in this struggle, to make better life choices.
Can you point links to me about prominent Atheists condemning promiscuity? Is the Atheist movement willing to take up the mantle of promoting social morality from the Church after slaying it? ]
[Edit 2: I am not a troll, I've just been super busy last few days, I will have more time this weekend to reply to some comments below. The essential thing I am trying to say is that religion is not pure evil, and we should not look at it in terms of black and white.
There are definitely good things about religion. There is a very interesting theory that religions also evolve over time and the most popular religions are the most useful ones to society, and they became popular precisely because they were an advantage to societies that adopted them. For example, societies with religions that promoted monogamy were almost always more successful in combat over societies that had religions that did not emphasize monogamy. The reason is because in societies that practiced monogamy, soldiers had a genetic stake in survival of that society (they had their own children to protect). Rome fell because of polygamy - the top politicians had harems and orgies and monopolized the women, resulting in loss of morale amongst troops who did not get the chance to be fathers. Rome was increasingly forced to rely on mercenaries rather than patriotic troops to protect her. After the treasury ran out, Rome collapsed because disenfranchised beta males, who had no genetic stake in Rome, simply walked off and allowed the barbarians to invade.
My point of view has always been "What is best for society?", and not "What is true?". Atheism is the correct working hypothesis because there is no proof for God and we have to use Occam's razor at all times. I don't see any downside consequences of high IQ people discovering/ discussing Atheism. But, we have a moral obligation (as the high IQ elites in our society) to do what's best for society. Imagine a ghetto filled with the poorest, uneducated people in our society. We have to make the decisions that will benefit them.
I don't really have a problem with Atheism, but I have significant issues with the Atheist Movement. For instance, take the advertisement "There is no God, Relax". This advertisement is targeted at people who have made bad choices in their life and have been sexually irresponsible. They are probably feeling guilty about these choices and the Atheist Movement is offering them an easy way out. It tells them "There is no Hell or Heaven, so relax and continue making bad choices". In reality, there is no hell or heaven, but there are societal consequences of your choices. In reality, guilt is often a very useful biological mechanism for correcting bad behavior, but Atheism is offering them a way to rationalize away their guilt so that they can continue making bad choices. I am speaking about this from personal experience, I have known people who commit adultery and rationalize their guilt because they think that the concept of 'sin' is meaningless as there is no God.
Also, to all people accusing me of being a sexist and having double standards, I am not asking for double standards from men and women; I am demanding high standards of expected social morality from both sexes. How is that sexist in any way?]
I am going to judge the merit of a social construct on the basis of its usefulness, not on the basis of its truthfulness. I will only promote an idea to society only if I am convinced it will help society.
If the Traditional Conservative Church (not the Modern version that tolerates no-fault divorce) is useful to society as an institution that encourages monogamy, I would rather have that than Atheism.
I feel that your concern of cultural health is a good one,but bringing in the idea of religion/atheist as somehow correlated with cultural sexual behavior is off. I live in the bible bet and most of the Fornicators that I feel you are referring to are Religious people. In it's very nature a true atheist is a searcher of evidence and knowledge. What it sounds like you are saying is that Atheism should formulate a sort of moral standard to replace faith based standard. But Atheism is different from church which are both different from Social Morality. Teaching social responsibility in public schools is a good start.(personal note) I feel your looking at the issue from a religious perspective.
But Javier, if atheism is to replace religion to some extent, which is inevitable in this day and age, then surely it has a responsibility to replace some of the functions of religion.
Agreed Simon. At the beginning of every great nation, there has been a unity that has helped to make it great, but in time, each of those civilizations have decayed and collapsed - Rome, Greece, Egypt, and more. Of course religion had nothing to do with it, as many of these countries represented a highly religious culture. But sociologists, I feel, should be attempting to autopsy those who have gone before, to pinpoint the causes of their expiration, so that new cultures, ours included, might avoid their fate.
Why does atheism need to replace some functions of religion? Some of the greatest groups I have been with just liked looking through a telescope, studying plants, promoting social justice, etc. I think the world made up of people solving problems for the greater good, would help delete the need for penance. Even the churches could be retasked for centers of great science programs, that would really frost their cookies!
I quess if you still need to break bread, we could include the sacred bean dip, and a buffet. Hell I would show up at that mass in a heart beat!
Education is the key to form a strong understanding both individually and socially. Yes the past held a lot of their educated people in religion, but that was the past. In our present religious groups do not hold the floor of the educated and progressive by their nature this was bound to happen. But atheism is not as stringent as the religious. Much like the republicans and democrats. the latter being more individually than the former. I feel that atheism works fine for the individual. But for a larger number of people I should not be called Atheism. Humanist to me sounds more appropriate just because your an atheist does not subscribe you into an affiliation as much as we would like. But that is a good thing.
I think there are many things which religion does brilliantly and which would be sorely missed if religion were to disappear. This is why I don't want to get rid of religion. We don't all have to be the same, people can do things differently, and there's room for everyone as long as they don't cause harm.
There are the many community initiatives which give invaluable practical help to vulnerable people. There are also, for want of a better phrase, the "spiritual offices": a reliable moral guide, advice on what to do and how to behave, over-arching principles and philosophy. And of course, there's going to church, which many people love. Frankly, if we don't want to lose these benefits, then we need to either come up with our own versions or just allow the church to carry on with the good work it does. And there's nothing to stop us having both versions going at the same time, then perhaps we could learn from each other.
I think it's in our interests to work with the Church as it is, and try and improve it, rather than to destroy it.
I would like to believe that we can come up with these devices in Secular thought. Spirituality is not a dirty word. and philosophy and the positive benefits of the church are something to consider. But there is a harm that religion causes by it's very nature as well. I just go what my personal experience tells me. As the current internet generation has shown. Availability of knowledge leads to more informed people. But it also leaves us lacking in traditional constructs such as religious gatherings or worship. In biology, every new advancement comes at a price. I feel that this is the nature of our present times. and although I really would love to take up the benefits of a religious upbringing. I feel that compromise with religion is not going to benefit in the long run socially. on a personal level it is fine, but here is my problem. religion can be followed without education. secular thought cannot.
Javier - we don't have to compromise with religious people in order to work with them. We are entitled to hold people to the highest standards of behaviour and integrity. In any case, to do less would be an insult to them.
I've always felt that atheists miss out on many of the undeniable benefits of religion. I think it's true that while atheism is of course not a religion, it does squarely take the place of religion for most serious atheists. What do we talk about all day long on Think Atheist? The finer points of theology, religion, The Bible, moral philosophy, the meaning of life etc. etc. Sounds pretty religious to me.
As for a congregation - you're in one right now.
It would be good if we could produce some solid moral philosophy and spirituality of our own, and talk about our ideas with the religions, get everyone to share this stuff, and in the process, nail it more thoroughly than has been done so far, and make it accessible to everyone.
I agree that chartering a sort of code of morals can be beneficial. But I also do not want to sound like there is a segregation between those who do not live to the moral standard from those who do. I see what you mean though, and I would have to say that an attempt to work together with the religious would be great. If there is work that can be done together.
Maybe it does sound religious, but I think that word carries too much connotations. It is part of our human nature to want to profess and unite I believe. I think being united would be a great thing.
But things like politics religion and economics tell me that People in large numbers tend to just go on faith of what they are told. And I do not want to end up in that kind of evolution. Turning this idea into just another "flag" with a large group of followers, and I think I am not the only one who thinks so to.
I would never advocate belief in the Easter Bunny just because I think society would be better off believing in him. Who am I, to decide what's best for society?
The number 1 problem with this post is that while discussing marriage and sexual relationships you fail to consider the woman as anything more than what many men consider her: weak, defenseless, dependent, and needing to be protected.
Women are individuals. When speaking of marriage... well you should consider that many of the problems in this society are the RESULT of narrow religious definitions of sexual relationships and futile efforts to enforce them rather than the "Sexual revolution." Connect the dots and you'll see what I mean.
I know this guy is quite crude... but he hits on a lot of the points I'm trying to make: