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.
Does Atheism = polygamy or promiscuity? Sorry, this seems like a huge non-sequitur to me.
Spot on. Nuff said.
Agree, and it came to my mind that Islamic and Mormons are polygamists.
Shankar, your entire construct falls under the weight of its fallacy: Atheism doesn't promote promiscuity, it only rejects the existence of deities. Period. On the other hand, religion doesn't hinder promiscuity. I quickly Google some statistics (just to go along your lines), and found a study by "The Barna Research Group, an evangelical Christian organization that does surveys and research to better understand what Christians believe and how they behave, studied divorce rates in America in 1999 and found surprising evidence that divorce is far lower among atheists than among conservative Christians - exactly the opposite of what they were probably expecting".
In other words, I am starting to believe religion promotes promiscuity, and it's bad for society. Oh well, that part I already knew.
I was wondering, do atheists as a group engage in married bliss, serial monogamy, or coustured hermitage?
If atheists were practicing promiscuity, it would seem to me that more atheists could be dieing of STDs. If atheists are mostly nerds, and nerds can't get dates, then promiscuity could be mostly hot air from theists. After two marriages, maybe this nerd should have been a playboy as graduate school in the fine arts?
Are there some very out spoken atheists out there that engage in the practices of three standard deviations out sexual skills, that skew the bell curve? Like if you wanted a A in chem class you had me as a lab partner, but if you wanted mind blowing sex you called Frank, he could train you in the fine details....
"Many atheists don't seem to realize the far reaching social effects of promiscuity."
Please explain. I see no correlation between Atheism and Promiscuity.
That's exactly what I was thinking. I believe he said it's because atheism, as a whole, is silent on the subject. If I read that correctly and that is what he's saying, I have to say that there is no reason for atheism to not be silent on the subject, since promiscuity or the lack thereof, is no one's business but the person/people involved.
Actually, driving homosexuals into underground subcultures and/or forcing them to marry opposite sex partners is demonstrably deleterious for social stability. I realize a few sects of the cult of Christ have accepted this and rejected the doctrines that drive it - but one must ask why those doctrines existed in the first place.
Atheism only has one doctrine - do not believe in skymonsters without evidence. That doctrine tends to imply a wider doctrine of evidence based standards. You say promiscuity is bad; I share that view, but I haven't examined the evidence for it. Assuming that evidence exists and can be validated, then I presume most Atheists could be easily convinced to withhold any endorsements of that sort of behavior.
My personal preference is for serial monogamy - based on my experience and observations that suggest it is the most practical arrangement for modern living. "Til death do us part" is a terrible standard, as far as I've observed.
I dont see a correlation between atheism and promiscuity?? I went to a Catholic/Christian college and everybody was having sex with everybody else. It was a huge college orgie, doing drugs, sharing partners. I'm pretty sure human sexuality is relative like all other things in this world. There are people who chose to be monogamous and their are people who chose to be polygamous. Is any one better than the other....who am I to judge? I'm a monogamous person but I have a friend who is in a monogamous situation (married) but clearly meant to be polygamous. It's all relative.
Shankar - "Atheism promotes promiscuity" - You have provided no data to back up this claim and a quick Google search indicates that this claim is probably false. If we take for example a common indicator of "promiscuity", teenage pregnancy rates. Recent data collected in the USA points to the opposite of your claim - The Center for Disease Control has a large scale study in which it is shown that there is a strong correlation between states that are more fundamentalist Christian (Bible belt) and a very high ratio of teenage pregnancy. - http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2012/04/teen-birthrates-a...
The total teenage pregnancy rate is dropping across the USA and fortuitously this lines up with a drop in religiosity and a rise of Atheism.
There is not necessarily a cause effect relationship at play here, and I surmise that both teenage pregnancy and religiosity are possibly encouraged by factors such as poverty and lack of good education.
Please note: I am not stating that religiosity causes promiscuity. I am merely showing that your claim is incorrect when applied to "promiscuity" in the form of teenage pregnancies.
My own experiences within my local Atheist community and previously in my church community is that "promiscuity" is not as much of an issue in my Atheist community and I surmise that this may be because Atheists tend to take more responsibility for their own actions.
It's not just teenage pregnancy. Bible belt states also have higher divorce rates.
That's true Karen, but the good part, is that after the divorce, she still lets him call her "Sis" --