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.
Wow, Ravi, that was quite a statement, BUT, RE: "atheism has played a role in the rise of moral relativism" - I would have to disagree. I maintain that disillusionment with religion and belief in other superstitions has contributed to BOTH, atheism and moral relativism. You're assuming a cause and effect that I'm not seeing.
What you say about alpha males is a generalization - I AM an alpha male, and a lot of lovely ladies have been very kind to me, but I have cared for every child I've ever produced, and some that I haven't.
We need to find our own moral compasses, and not depend on an irrational belief system, based on invisible magic men, to tell us which decisions to make. The men who make up the rules by which a religion operates are human, just like yourself, and just as prone to human error, and if we're referring to the Judaeo/Christian/Islamic reliigion, then those men weren't nearly as knowledgeable as you and I. If you feel so strongly about your position - and don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that your premise is wrong, just that religion is not the solution - then I suggest you become a strong, atheist, moral leader and campaign for your principles, just as you're doing here, but without religion.
Okay I think a number of people here have mistaken some of what you are saying. Saying that you said Atheism=promiscuity/polyamory is a strawman argument. You said it demonstrates a tendency to promote it, and provided examples, and even clarified that you don't mean atheism as it is defined, but atheism as it is practiced in the community. I get that and am following you.
The problem that you seem to be experiencing is that although evolutionary psychology makes a compelling argument for monogamy, especially under David Buss, many in the behavioral sciences, do not find it matches the data accumulated via the Kinsey institute and other research. Most of that data strongly supports polyamory. The theories of evolutionary psychology are not testable, because they are simply speculations about how evolution took its course, rather than looking at data from the fossil record.
I would encourage you to look at the whole picture. At this moment, the actual scientific evidence is not on the side of evolutionary psychology. Just because it uses the word "evolution" doesn't mean that it is the product of scientific testing. In this case, it is the product of speculation and guesswork.
As an atheist, I encourage you to go to primary sources, the actual journal articles that are out there, rather than magazines, or anything of that nature when preparing to make a public claim. I appreciate that you are trying to discover the truth and remain open to what you discover, but at this point, I don't think you have engaged yourself in enough of the pro-polyamory data to really settle yourself on this issue.
I have a feeling this man is not really an atheist. His lack of understanding of what the word atheist is supposed to mean seems like a red flag.
Well, Kris, I think he has tied Atheism to sexual behavior, or at least to taking the opposite stance of conservative Christianity on 'moral issues'.
Yeah, although it could have been worded better, that seemed to be clearly what he meant as I read through it.
Yeah but come on, it comes across as a "massive" generalization of atheists.
I am going to take him at his word. As being an atheist only requires a disbelief in god it is highly possible that he could be an atheist... yet erroneous in his ideas of the implications of atheism on sexuality.... in reality pure atheism has no implications.
Let's say you're right: that atheism promotes promiscuity and promiscuity is bad. (To be clear, I'm not conceding these points.)
If you are really an atheist/agnostic, why wouldn't your first impulse be to build a science-based (non-religious) campaign to promote monogamy? If something is worth pursuing, pursue it with truth, not lies.
Karen, as I understand him, I think he is of the impression that although he is right, the power of the tendency for atheists to have no opinion on sexual behaviors makes him feel that he can't convince enough people to make something like that work.
But I don't get why he doesn't just post his contrary opinion on sex as a discussion topic.
There are a few good points in your argument.
The Sexual Revolution, freeing women to be sexual beings just like men, took a lot of power away from women. Men gain power in a relationship by getting sex, women get power in a relationship by withholding it. That is generally true, though some will find exceptions, I'm sure. But this is the world many women want and who are we to take it from them?
You're absolutely right: Few things diminish the prospects for success, wealth, and health of a child more than being single-parented, and as it happens that parent tends to be a mother. I think there are stats showing that single fathers actually do better, but as it happens men are less interested than women in raising children and if they do a better job it is probably mostly attributable to the fact that men are on the whole somewhat wealthier in those situations.
What I can't get past is the idea that you'd live the lie of a false religion with a theology you can't believe because pretending would result in a better world.
Well he gets some credit here. He isn't saying he is going back to believing again. He said that he "decided that perhaps virulently promoting atheism (as this community is doing) isn't really good for society".
I guess I have been alive too long, I have seen so much promoted as a 'good', and then not seen much positive outcome. I have seem what happens when people virulently promote theism, 'God Save US!' from that option.
I will take a little less nationalism, and just a little less shameful theist promotion, if fewer people give a rip about the theist argument. It could be a little quieter, a little more sane, and a little more peaceful without the JW at my door on a Saturday morning disturbing a nice dream.