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'm pretty sure most Christians get less promiscuous tail than sexually active atheists. (I would hope so!) Surely SOME Christians moderate their sexual activity.
Has anyone considered that a definition of promiscuity is first in order - preferably without using religious references?
Unseen already provided a reasonable enough definition elsewhere in this thread. I assume at this point in time he is using that same definition:
"Promiscuity isn't having lots of sex, it's having lots of sex partners."
Riley's use of the term 'sleeping around' seems consistent with Unseen's definition, so I think we're on the same page on the definition at play.
And outside of a presumably sincere committed relationship, that's a problem, how?
I'm not exactly sure if you are addressing me with the page break in the way.
If you are, I don't recall suggesting that it is a problem. I am simply agnostic on the idea that atheists are generally more promiscuous in practice than Christians. It seems plausible to me that atheists are more, less or equally promiscuous compared to Christians.
Essentially, I'm addressing Shankar S, who initiated this discussion, but any and all of my posts are open to the responses of any who choose to post one.
I see. I was confused by the position of your comment in the sub-thread. Thanks for the clarification.
Promiscuity has long meant indiscriminate sex with multiple partners. I don't think it has ANY religious overtones.
PROMISCUITY—characterized by or involving indiscriminate mingling or association, especially having sexual relations with a number of partners on a casual basis. (Dictionary.com)
I guess some of this conversation is about the idea of 'excess sex'. I expect that atleast a few people here know what I 'mean'. If you have many partners, your risk of STD's might increase, is this a reasonable behavior to indulge as a 'rational' person? Since the indulgence takes place often, in a data poor environment, you are just casting a coin, hopping for 'heads' everytime..;p).
Is 'heads' sexist?
I expect there are bio-mechanical, biochemical, and cognitive limits to sex. Excess abrasion could be one of the bio-mechanical limits. A cognitive limit might be 'hay I have enough thank you!', or the inability to keep track of names over a count of 5-7.
It is unclear if high intelligence could be a predictor of number of sex partners. If you have problems remembering a list of names under 7, you might be a subgenius. Over 7, someone under oath?
The addition of each or every 'limit' that ones sexual exploits might pass through, could add one more additional negative feedback to the behavior. In the beginning, it might seem to very cool, but in time where does it end?
I expect this could be total BS for people with a sexual addiction, but even thy might report how their lives are affected.
'Excess sex' with one partner? It might be time to revisit your prenupuals or renew your vows ...;p) LOL
Stopped reading half way through, the arguments were bloody idiotic. Looks like you're a theist in disguise trying to push your moronic ideals in the guise of an scientific argument.
Atheism doesn't promote anything. Some, or many atheists promote certain things, but not atheism.
Now onto your charge that atheism promotes promiscuity - nope, cavemen were thought to be monogamous, for survival reasons. Promiscuity = more kids = more strain on the tribe. And cavemen didn't have religion, so there you go, your argument has been busted.
Also, you didn't take into account the greatest equalizer that your so called beta's can have - brain power! Smart is in.
And the biggest error in your argument, at least in the part I read, is that you assume that women will just give into their biological urges to mate with the guy who hit the genetic lottery regardless of how many women he's mating with. You clearly don't know anything about women. And I'd think you're a misogynist for thinking that unless forced by religion to me monogamous all women would start lining up to mate with your so called alpha males, and those alpha males will hit anything that moves.
Holy idiocy Batman! Anyone with half a brain could see that you have jack.
I have more than half a brain,
Your argument is invalid
I highly appreciate this article. Most of the comments to this actually remind me of a more intelligent version of religious based hate comments and that makes me sad. The man posted a very legitimate article and all the masses can do is bash on a few lines taken as harshly as possible. Shankar is trying to broaden awareness to what could happen given the circumstances so that the athiest movement does not repeat mistakes from the past.
Those of you who keep cheapening the article by claiming it says atheism equals promiscuity obviously missed the point. I'd imagine you view promiscuity as a moral taboo and don't practice it personally, but imagine those with fewer moral qualms even under religious authority. Imagine what they would do if that authority was stripped away and wasn't replaced by some other strictly moral authority. I can imagine a society much like the movie "Idiocracy" only with a few intelligent 'Overlords'.
The point of the article from my perspective was to encourage intelligent, rational, choices keeping the society as a whole in mind. I don't believe Shankar was meaning to suggest the athiest movement should demand monogamy, but rather the movement should highly suggest it or at least start considering taking up responsibilities that the religious communities normally would.
Imagine what they would do if that authority was stripped away and wasn't replaced by some other strictly moral authority.
Probably more or less the same thing they were going to do anyway. Perhaps they'd just be more forthright about it. Religion doesn't seem to actually regulate morality; it leverages pre-existing morality in an effective marketing scheme. Even morality in the Abrahamic faiths -- fairly inflexible religions -- bends to the will of the masses.
Look at the subject of homosexuality: There are churches out there that blow homosexuality way out of proportion and preach as if it was a major sin on which we should fixate. Then there are also churches that not only tolerate homosexuality, but openly accept it and claim that Jesus-god doesn't have the slightest issue with it. How can two such radically different opinions be taken from the same books, especially when those books say very little on the subject? Well, that's because these religious organizations aren't necessarily trying to act as a moral guide; they are trying to read the social current and pander to niche demographics to shore up attendance. There is a balance set in which religious authority makes some moral allowances while asking for other moral sacrifices so that its adherents can feel it all has some legitimacy without having to feel too deeply deprived or conflicted. That balance can be recalculated to meet the changing needs of any given population.
It isn't the church to which you conform in religious morality; it's simply your surrounding culture. Religion may be a strong reinforcement of this trend, but it isn't as if atheists do not feel cultural moral pressure in the absence of religious authority. Perhaps we don't always cave to it, but that doesn't mean we don't feel it. There's just a bit more room for individualism without a parent organization looming over us all the time.
Obviously, I'm speaking in generalizations.
I don't believe Shankar was meaning to suggest the athiest movement should demand monogamy, but rather the movement should highly suggest it or at least start considering taking up responsibilities that the religious communities normally would.
He seems to be stating pretty clearly that the atheist movement itself is an issue when applied to the masses. Your interpretation does not seem to be well supported.