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.
Did they have a lot of deformed babies then? I kind of got a lemming tossing image in my head, of dozens of bundles going over a cliff. But most babies weren't born deformed. I had heard they left all newborn babies out in the open overnight and if they survived they were true Spartans.
My dad came from Sparta, oddly randomly :)
That's the point isn't it? Just because something WORKS doesn't make it right. Attrition of the weak, disabled, sick, weird, etc all definitely WORK to make the society free of genetic weaknesses - if we are all Darwinists.
Morality/Ethics is more than something that just WORKS.
Moral relativism is like Survival of the fittest - We implicitly dropped both when we signed up for this thing we live in called Civilization. There are right things and wrong, and however much screwing around is natural and enjoyable to humans, the effects on others have to be considered. Not left to "As long as they're consenting......"
A little research tells me that the baby tossing thing may be historically inaccurate, though it's still a matter of dispute. I think we can be sure, though, that someone who couldn't contribute to the Spartan way of life didn't have a very bright future.
Setting Sparta aside, we still have the Mayan human sacrifice thing. Were they just bad people or did human sacrifice fit into their worldview in a way we simply can't fathom because we can't relate to it?
Because ethics/morals are relative to one's current culture, it's easy to believe that the way other societies did things is wrong because they feel wrong. But consider that Hindus think our eating of beef is morally wrong, or that the Muslim world believes that drinking a beer is wrong, or that to a Mexican family leaving the family to get an education instead of working in the fields to support them is wrong. In certain Native American and Pacific Islander tribes, aunts and uncles introduce teens to their first sexual experiences. Relativity becomes obvious once you start looking around. I don't think it's possible to refute that when people do things we wouldn't do, we'd like to think that there is something objectively wrong about it, whereas ethical objectivity can only come from a super-reality, not from the one we live in.
You sound like you'd be fine with slipping back into the dark ages of slavery and whatnot...... no right?
But yeah, you are right that there were different standards before. However, I believe that we can easily prove that life today is better than it was = more people have the basics and can contribute.
I also conjecture that no religion promotes promiscuity, but rather only a lack of religiosity promotes it. Any religion. Since religion set our expectations of law and order for ages, I am not sure the taboo on promiscuity is merely oppression and suppression of women. (male promiscuity is a different issue).
Did you also know that I was a Hindu? smartly ambiguous statement you made :) I think though Hinduism practically teaches tolerance and moral relativism. I hope they're not the same thing.
@ Milind R
You sound like you'd be fine with slipping back into the dark ages of slavery and whatnot...... no right?
No, but that's because I'm a child of today, not an ancient Greek or Egyptian or someone in the pre-Civil War South. It's just like religion. People tend to believe the religion they grew up in and to think that their religion is the center of the religious world. As many theists discover when they come here to defend theism, we don't think of theism only in terms of the Christian sect.
For a moral/ethical view to have any universality would require an overarching metaphysical structure dictating what's right and what's wrong apart from local time and space. One way that could be is to have a deity. Is there another way?
If not, I think we have to live with the notion that our own views feel good on us. They feel right. But there's not way to justify them other than that they are part of our own culture.
To say that, is to not recognize the difference between our current, modern age, and possibly any time before.
Yes there are overarching metaphysical concepts that have an objective definition of good. To keep things clear, I'm going to state assumptions one by one, in the next few posts
Assumption: (rest in the next, assuming we agree on this)
1) Civilized society, characterized by cooperation, agriculture, anti-darwinist thinking, and caring for children for maybe a couple of decades...... it's here to stay. It is better OBJECTIVELY on every scale humans care about as compared to nomadic lifestyle, or the warring and killing clans lifestyle... Agree?
You also haven't responded to any of my other statements.
Edit: also misunderstood your usage of "our" with regard to eating beef.
It is better OBJECTIVELY on every scale humans care about as compared to nomadic lifestyle, or the warring and killing clans lifestyle... Agree?
You also haven't responded to any of my other statements.
What make it objective? It seems to me that we, in our culture, LIKE not living a nomad's lifestyle, we like not warring and killing. However that is our preference, even today it isn't the preference of other cultures. When one prefers something, it is subjective not objective.
I'll never answer everyone's every point because I am involved in several threads at any given time and would like to have time leftover not to be spent posting on TA. To answer every point of every thread would have me in TA all day long, and I'm not quite THAT obsessed.
Come on Guys - start a new line, hunting for the Reply button is harder than trying to find the TV remote!
Milind, I'm not at all clear as to how hiding our heads in the sand of "anti-darwinist thinking" can be advantageous to any society --
RE: "To answer every point of every thread would have me in TA all day long" - I can't think of ANYone who wants that --
I think you've nailed it Millind, pay no attention to the laughing head - out of sight, out of mind.
I tried being a playboy during my last single period. I figured that I needed more experience lookng for a good soul(s) to have a life with. You know what, it looked like most the people with multiple partners were not really happy! In Polyamory, it did not look like there a stable set of relationships in the bunch. There was still some domestic violence, mis-treatment, and a tendency to treat each other as someone to have sex with, but not have an emotional life with.
Maybe my ex-catholic survival residuals were kicking in, but the life style just did not work for me. Don't get me wrong, sex can be nice, but if it is only about the 'getting off', hang gliding and good food can work about as well! A near celebrate humanist/atheist is also possible, it could be very peaceful, sane, with little crazy making.
I am happily married now for 8 years. I have some women friends, but with no privilages, and I stay bussy with my intellectual and creative pursuits.
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.