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.
Hank, I bow in admiration to your awesomeness.
well stated!! +1
Ditto. Well said.
Atheism has nothing to do with polygamy, atheism is the absence of faith in a deity no more no less. So that argument is automatically debunked based on definition alone.
Again based on definition, your argument is incorrect and inconsistent to what atheism means. While religious doctrines promote sexual repression in many different ways, that does not mean that atheism does the total opposite. Atheism has no stance on a persons sex life whatsoever. The only thing atheism has a stance on is the lack of believe in deities. Promiscuity is a subjective choice and opinion based on individualism, sometimes it can be based on friends, surroundings etc, but it has nothing to do with one being an atheist.
Same as "Argument 2", it has nothing to do with ones sex life. Since there is an absence of an atheist scripture there is no way of atheism promoting anything but lack of faith in a deity.
All you are doing here is taking into account that religion has these rules against sex and claiming and assuming that because religion is lacking in atheists they must promote everything religion supports. That is a logical fallacy. Religion is not an authority on morality, morals are leaned from experience, individualism, and influence of others (not necessarily religious others). You are making baseless claims, and generalizations without really backing them up. You are just irrationally assuming because religion is lacking so is morality. I would suspect that even as an atheist you are still attached to your religious upbringing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is certainly the impression I get
Shanker I really have to ask you though. Do you actually understand what it means to be an atheist? Because I have to tell you man, you are not demonstrating an understanding of the basic idea of what an atheist is.
You seem to keep stating the obvious, but not consider the implications. Just like saying "Everyone should be free to do whatever they want. Period! How dare you tell anyone what to do??"
You aren't realizing that MOST people have no fcking idea what they should do. It's become fashionable to claim people are able to decide for themselves, on highly nuanced issues. Heck, I have thought about it for years now, ever since I discovered the amount of promiscuity on this planet (I'm 23, where I come from, promiscuity is highly undesirable in civil society. It was all "You know, in America, women (and men) have sex with people they just met!" kind of news through media and rumours.)
I STILL don't fcking know if its alright or not. I always thought its wrong, but then, what's wrong with it? Still there's some internal thing saying its wrong, is it conditioning?
I have still not met any highly ethical non-religious people who are not highly analytical, as well as highly bothered about ethics. Its foolish to assume everyone thinks that much. We all know how irrational humans can get. In this context, you want to claim the same old "its got nothing to do with my sex life"?
Of course he understands what being an atheist means. People build up their entire lives around their religious morals. When atheism unceremoniously deconstructs it, there needs to be that message that atheism doesn't consist of having NO moral code. It's just that there's no god in the picture.
If you were able to make all of life's decisions easily by mere consideration of logic, that's great. I am also reaching towards that goal, bit by bit. But not everyone can do that. And I doubt they have to. We need some societal control. Be it god, govt, parents, dictator, etc.. or one's own ethical code. Atheists are those who pick that last. It's hard for everyone to know what to do though.
RE: "It's hard for everyone to know what to do though."
I don't agree - I belong to the Holy Church of Jerry Springer, who closes each show with one simple commandment: "Be good to yourself and each other."
I can live with that --
Define "good." Is it what you suppose is good or what the other person does? OR is there some objective good outside the both of you?
Good - What the majority agrees on is good, and which doesn't deny any person of food, clothing, shelter, air, water, and safety from physical harm.
Everything else is up to the majority.
Oh boy, I think I'm going to get ripped apart :D. Anyway let's see what archaeopteryx says.
It seems you're mistaking a rule you just made up (that the good is "What the majority agrees on is good, and which doesn't deny any person of food, clothing, shelter, air, water, and safety from physical harm") for some sort of objectively true principle.
I didn't just make it up. I just put it down in words. It does seem like THE basic rule. Its not objective. Its what we have accepted as a precondition to living in a civilized society as we know it.
Are you just suggesting moral relativism instead?
Edit: I'm genuinely curious and interested to know how good can be defined. I am not invested in this opinion to defend it. So no attacking intended. I'm being open.
I think moral relativism is unavoidable. The Spartans threw deformed babies off a cliff, which sounds horrible to us but not to them. Were they just bad people or did they live by an ethic that worked for them?
Well, I can tell you that it DID work for them. Nobody messed with the Spartans, not even the Persians.