No, Dr. Krauss, Religion Isn’t Going to Disappear in One Generation

Lawrence Krauss spoke earlier this year at the Victorian Skeptics Cafe and expressed his belief that religion could disappear in a single generation. He cites shifts in public opinion on civil rights issues, but I don’t think he understands how they differ from religion.

“People say, ‘Well, religion has been around since the dawn of man. You’ll never change that.’ But I point out that… this issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you have a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is. It’s gone. One generation is all it takes,” he said at an event called the Victorian Skeptics Cafe 2014.

Video of his comments were uploaded to YouTube by Adam Ford on Monday.

“So, I can tell you a generation ago people said there is no way people would allow gay marriage, and slavery — essentially — [gone in] a generation, we got rid of it,” Krauss continued. “Change is always one generation away… so if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away. And that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”

But I think he misses something very important. Slavery was indeed defended largely on the basis of religion, as is discrimination against gay people today. But while the religious justifications for slavery lost in the court of public opinion, this did little to nothing to reduce religious belief itself. The same is true of virtually every bad religious idea in history. The Enlightenment humanized Christianity but it did not go away. Women won the right to vote largely in the face of Christian beliefs, but Christianity did not go away.

Religions, despite the continual pretensions of its adherents that it is the one true source of eternal truth, are highly adaptable. Religions evolve along with society. How could they not? Religion is manmade, as is society. I think we’re quite clearly witnessing a fairly significant diminishing of religious belief today and I think that’s a very good thing. But if you think religion is going to disappear any time soon, you’re really deluding yourself.

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  • raven

    But if you think religion is going to disappear any time soon, you’re really deluding yourself.

    True.

    1. Humans create their own gods. And when the old ones don’t work any more, they just make new ones up.

    2. While religion won’t entirely disappear, it will most likely become close to irrelevant for running our society. Which is OK.

    3. We seem to be a generation or two behind the rest of the west so that gives one an idea of what to expect. Something like the UK, France, Japan, or Scandinavia.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I find it interesting to read historical freethinking authors, such as Robert Green Ingersoll. I find claims about how religion is disappearing rapidly, then I look around me and I see it didn’t happen.

  • raven

    I once did a study of how religions die. And die they do. What happened to the Egyptian gods, Norse gods, or the Greek and Roman gods? They aren’t entirely gone but a lot of them have ended up being TV, movie, and literary stars. Not a bad job but it isn’t ruling the universe.

    1. Without external forcing, they wax and wane but never entirely disappear. The Zoroastrians are still around although quite a few of them now live in..the USA.

    2. What usually happens is a new religion shows up, takes over, and they shrink. The remains are finished off by one form of persecution or another. This is what happened to Roman Paganism.

    There was once a whole branch of xianity related to the Nestorians that went as far east as China. They were downsized by the Mongols and the Moslems and barely exist any more.

  • lordshipmayhem

    The one thing I do find hopeful is the number of people currently quite prepared to stand up and say, “Religion is bollocks!” Before the Internet, these were isolated individuals and easily socially outcast. Now, they can communicate with each other and discover that indeed, we are not lone little voices that need to remain timid mice hiding in the shadows.

    Will religion die off? Meh, probably not. Quackery hasn’t. But it’s also become easier to learn the principles of science and reason. There will still be the conspiracy theorists, the germ theory denialists, and the religious True Believers. But their power is beginning to wane.

    “The Internet – where religion goes to die.”

  • kosk11348

    I find it interesting to read historical freethinking authors, such as Robert Green Ingersoll. I find claims about how religion is disappearing rapidly, then I look around me and I see it didn’t happen.

    Well, it depends on how you define “rapidly.” Even a change occurring over a few centuries can be thought of as rapid if compared against the whole of human history. For millennia, human begins had no accurate conception of themselves. It hasn’t even been 200 years yet since we discovered we aren’t fallen angels, but an evolved species of social ape. Give it time to sink in.

  • eric

    I don’t put it outside the realm of ‘credible possibility’ that the US could be as irreligious as the more irreligious parts of Europe by, say, 2034. I think that’s highly unlikely, but stranger social trends have happened.

    Where I would probably disagree with Krauss in a more significant way is over the question of whether it’s worth putting a lot of social resources into to accomplish it. Gay rights? Yes. Equal and civil rights for other marginialized groups? Yes. The concept of secular goverment and separation of church and state? Yes. Turning Christians into atheists? No, not IMO. Everyone has their own priorities and that’s okay, but promoting secularist thinking is for me the much higher priority than promoting atheistic thinking.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    raven “3. We seem to be a generation or two behind the rest of the west so that gives one an idea of what to expect. Something like the UK, France, Japan, or Scandinavia.”

    THOSE HELLHOLES?!!!

  • Sastra

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if in a generation or two “Spirituality” beats out “Religion.” But don’t expect to see much change. Both involve the supernatural, mysticism, faith, and claims which impact on the real world. Religion is just more organized. Imo disorganized religion is unlikely to be much of an improvement: the disorganized seem to band together well enough when they’re fighting the common enemy of ‘secularism.’

  • colnago80

    Well, you sure as hell have some trouble believing this based on yesterday’s election results.

  • colnago80

    By the way, apparently whackjob Gordon Klingenschmuck won his race for a seat in Colorado’s lower house.

  • lorn

    He is falling, like a lot of people do, into binary thinking where religion is either omnipresent and dominate, or subservient and essentially insignificant. Religion sentiment and the surrounding irrationality will never go away or stop being a potential threat to rationality and clear thought. As with most issues, like racism and sexism, it needs to be managed.

    Failure to understand that those issues will never go away, because the human mind is inherently prone to bigotry and irrationality, leaves people vulnerable to backsliding and major reversals after major advances as people more out of crisis management mode, let down their guard, disband coalitions, and focus on other things.

    Religion and superstition will never go away because, in part, people desire to have a sense of control over forces beyond their ability to control. Repeated standard psychological testing shows that just the perception of control has a profound effect in the ability of a person to keep functioning under stress. Religion is the embodiment of the switch connected to nothing that is labeled as being an alternative to just taking it. It is the illusion of having control that is comforting and reassuring.

  • John Pieret

    Um … where is he talking about? … Africa? the Middle East? Central Asia? Southern Asia (India, Pakistan, et al.)? Southeastern Asia (Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, et al.)?

    Is he kidding? All those places are no closer to having religion die out than they are to having anti-gay and gender discrimination die out and many still have slavery.

    He has a serious case of Westernmyopia and forgets that “those” people are increasingly coming here.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Depending on how you want to measure it, which surveys you look at, and how you want to extrapolate, it’s still going to take several decades at least before non-belief becomes a majority in the US. And there are almost certainly diminishing returns, since once all the wishy-washy people stop believing, what you’re left with are the hardcore faithful. There’s just no evidence that irreligiousness is going to dominate anytime soon, much less that religion will be driven to near-extinction.

  • doublereed

    But I think he misses something very important. Slavery was indeed defended largely on the basis of religion, as is discrimination against gay people today. But while the religious justifications for slavery lost in the court of public opinion, this did little to nothing to reduce religious belief itself.

    This is missing his point. Slavery was ubiquitous and accepted for millenia. Then over the course of the 19th century, it was made illegal in every country on the planet. This is a rapid change.

    He’s not saying that religion will go away because ideas of civil rights gained, he’s saying that religion is just another idea that could be destroyed rapidly by a single generation.

    But if you think religion is going to disappear any time soon, you’re really deluding yourself.

    Similarly, people before the Civil War probably said that about Slavery.

    People underestimate change, and tend to think that the Status Quo will always rule even though change is constant and even faster than ever before.

  • scienceavenger

    @2 But it did. The problem is what the term “religion” refers to keeps changing. In Ingersoll’s day, religion was far more of a day-to-day, if not moment-to-moment, element of people’s lives than it is now. Most so-called Christians today are categorized as atheists by the metaphorical extra-terrestrials observing us. Or to put it in more concrete terms, is there any doubt that the average American today spends FAR less time talking to his minister and sitting in the pews than they did in Ingersoll’s day?

  • doublereed

    By “constant”, I meant “happening all the time” not “happening at a constant rate” which would make my last statement a blatant contradiction…

  • hunter

    Religions come and go. Religion itself seems to be fairly persistent.

    I find a tendency for people to discuss religion in terms of Christianity — at least, in this country. There are a lot of others. Some have come and gone, others seem to still be quite lively. I can’t speak first-hand, but my understanding is that traditional Japanese religion is still very much a part of life in Japan, and I haven’t noticed any sharp decline in the number of Hindus or Buddhists. (One of my favorite responses to commenters who start pounding their Bibles in comment threads is “Which god would that be? There are a few hundred to pick from.”)

    I’ve even seen it hypothesized that human being are genetically predisposed toward belief. I don’t know how one would go about proving or disproving that, but it’s an interesting idea, probably stemming from the fact that everything we know of early man indicates some sort of belief in — well, gods, spirits, an afterlife, what have you.

    And of course, even for those who put their money on science and rational thought, there’s still an element of faith in the evidence — that it does, indeed, give a true picture of the universe. Of course, evidence is open to interpretation.

    So it seems that people want to believe in something, whether it be gods or physics.

    Krauss’ comments are really pretty silly.

  • raven

    And of course, even for those who put their money on science and rational thought, there’s still an element of faith in the evidence — that it does, indeed, give a true picture of the universe.

    NO!!! (This is Post-Modernism BTW, a failed philosophy.)

    There is a huge difference between science and religion.

    Science works.

  • raven

    …probably stemming from the fact that everything we know of early man indicates some sort of belief in — well, gods, spirits, an afterlife, what have you.

    What choice did ancient humans have?

    You could make a far stronger argument that humans are genetically predisposed to do science.

    In the old days, when humans were trying to figure out the universe, they didn’t have space telescopes, STEM microscopes, or even much in the way of literacy. They hypothesized, in an early form of science, that the world was run by invisible agents much like themselves. And got it wrong. Science is self correcting though.

    If you look at humans, we are naturally curious about everything. We also live in a tough world. Ancient and even medieval average lifespans ran below 40 years. We are very interested in anything that maximizes our survival and comfort. Our brain size and intellect has been increasing for at least 2 million years. From that, science in one form or another, just follows.

  • corwyn

    Nothing more than aging out will get us from 88% to 68%. Feedback mechanisms probably get us more (i.e. once only 68% are religious, people will be more comfortable admitting to not being religious).

    A generation isn’t that long, but in a lifetime, the whole picture could change.

  • https://www.facebook.com/phil.crawford.923 Phil Crawford

    To Raven: what can we replace religion with? What would fill the hole better? I propose Humanism is the best candidate.

    PZ – argue as you will that rationalism necessitates morality and positive interactions with others but it is not explicit in atheism. Skepticism is empty without the Mensch factor, we must question ourselves and be responsible for our beliefs or be hypocrites, how many (white male) atheists are blind to their own privilege? Only Humanism of the secular ‘brands’ stands on two legs; rationalism and ethics. It is not perfect, nor immune to misogyny etc. but it is intentionally moving in the direction of increasing the franchise.

  • raven

    To Raven: what can we replace religion with? What would fill the hole better?

    What hole? The fundie variety is based on hate and fear. I wouldn’t miss them for a second. If religion ever filled a need, it isn’t doing so now for a billion or so people, the number of Nones worldwide. In the US, the chief beneficiary seems to be far rightwing politics.

    Humanism is OK. I believe PZ is on track with atheism + which could just be another name for humanism.

  • doublereed

    What replaces it? Haven’t we already determined there is a massive rift in atheism with the liberals and the conservatives?

    Don’t worry. We have plenty to clash over.

  • macallan

    It’s kinda funny to look at what happened to religion in eastern bloc countries. Some of them are among the world’s least religious countries to this day ( the Czech Republic, the baltic states, eastern Germany to a degree, etc. ), others bounced right back to nearly complete domination ( Poland for example )

    So even there religion didn’t completely disappear even within a few generations. It’s damn near irrelevant in quite a few places though.

  • wscott

    Everyone has their own priorities and that’s okay, but promoting secularist thinking is for me the much higher priority than promoting atheistic thinking.

    Amen. For a number of reasons:

    1. It’s much easier to get people to start thinking rationally/secularly when you aren’t challenging their Scared Cow and threatening their deeply-held tribal identities.

    2. Once you get people to think secularly, atheism becomes a much easier hop. And

    3. Even if many people never make that final hop: I’ll take a world where lots of people quietly believe in god in their hearts, but outwardly they use secular decision making based on reason and argument rather than doctrine and divinely-mandated codes. Yeah, I’d totally live in THAT world.

  • dingojack

    doublereed #14 – Status Quo?!? Apart from advertising a supermarket chain, are they even doing gigs anymore?

    😉 Dingo

    ———–

    (Just to get all rhetorical: Yes, apparently they are!)

  • dingojack

    More seriously* –

    If you take the rate of growth (or decline) in the period 2007 to 2012 of the major religions, Don’t-Knows (DK), Agnostics, Atheists and Nothing-In-Particulars (NIP) in the US and extrapolate them forward in time (adjusting so that they all add up to one hundred percent):

    2024 Christians (as a whole) fall below 50%

    2027 NIPs peak at around 17.5% and then decline

    2041 Other becomes the majority at 50.1%

    2050 the ‘non Faithful’ (Atheist+Agnostic) exceeds the ‘Faithful’ (Christian+Other) at 31.33% & 30.92%, respectively

    2056 the ‘Faithful’ reaches nadir of 30.322%, from here growth in Other pushes numbers upward

    2059 Atheists peak at just under 11%, then decline

    2061 DK’s peak at around 28% and begin to decline.

    2065 the ‘Non-Faithful’ reach the maximum ‘lead’ over ‘Faithful’ of 4.359% (‘NonFaithful’/’Faithful’ 35.44%/31.08%)

    2095 growth in Other pushes the ‘Faithful’ back above the ‘Non-Faithful’ at 37.40% & 37.23%, respectively.

    2069 the ‘Non-faithful’ peak at 37.236%.

    In 2200:

    Other religion (non-Christian): 57.60%

    Agnostic: 29.44%

    Don’t-Know: 9.63%

    Atheist: 3.34%

    Nothing In Particular: 3.70e-3%

    Christian (all denominations): 9.83e-07% (These don’t add up to 100 due to rounding errors).

    Dingo

    ———

    * If you can take such a simplistic model seriously, that is.

    Basic data (2007/2012/growth p.a)

    Christian: 78.666%/72.446%/-1.634%

    Other: 4.03%/5.95%/+8.098%

    DK: 2%/2%/0%

    Atheist: 1.6%/2.4%/+8.447%

    Agnostic: 2.1%/3.3%/+9.461%

    NIP: 11.6%/13.9%/+3.684%

  • dingojack

    Oops that should ‘2096’ not ‘2069’ for ‘Non-Faithful’ peak. (Stupid editing!)

    Dingo

  • lofgren

    I think doublereed has it. Krauss isn’t saying that religion will go away one generation from now. He is saying that when religion goes away, it will happen very rapidly, in the coarse of a single generation.

    I think he’s deluding himself for a different reason. Slavery isn’t dead. It’s just resting. It mostly occurs illegally now, and most people publicly profess to despise it, so it’s less common than it was 200 years ago. But it will be back. The notion that we are progressing ever forward is ludicrous. There have been dark ages before and there will be again. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a stone age again. So maybe we will defeat religion for 100 years, or 200 years, or even 300 years. It doesn’t matter. It’ll be back. (And then enlightenment will be back, probably, a few hundred years after that.) None of these things are ever truly gone. They’re just less visible, temporarily.

  • exi5tentialist

    The future is a landscape of absolute freedom for those who inhabit it.

    Krauss could be right or Krauss could be wrong.

    Who knows?

  • matty1

    I think a lot depends on what we mean, a specific religion could go away very quickly but ‘religion’ as a way of thinking is harder to get rid of. The end of Christianity would be like passing civil rights laws, the end of religion in any form would be like eliminating racial prejudice completely.

  • Nick Gotts

    lofgren@29, exi5tentialist@30,

    You both seem to have extremely simplistic views of human agency and history (which are completely opposed to each other). The evidence does not bear out lofgren’s cyclical view: there has been a very long (hundreds of thousands of years) and almost monotonic increase in human population and technical knowledge. That doesn’t guarantee these trends will continue, but it does make trite statments about future dark ages absurd. If exi5tentialist was right, nothing about the future would be predictable, and thus social life would be impossible.

  • lofgren

    Uh, no, not even close. It is you who have he simplistic view of human history. You want to be able to step back and look at the entire population of the planet and say, “Look, there has always been progress somewhere!” But that progress has varied significantly as a dominant cultural force. We have no evidence for hundreds of thousands of years of progress. In fact the evidence suggests that for hundreds of thousands of years, humans lived roughly the same way with roughly the same level of technology. In fact we have evidence that small gains in technology were outright rejected. For example it appears the people gathered in farming communitis for a few generations and then abruptly abandoned those communities and returned to hunter gatherer living for a thousand years before the experiment was repeated.

    Most of what we call progress has occurred in less than ten thousand years, and even then we must cherry pick our data to a dishonest level in order to claim that progress was “monotonic.” At best it occurred in bursts. More accurately, it rose and fell and, yes, occasionally went backwards, sometimes for several generations.

    Yes, we can always point to some corner of the world where some of the civil and technological gains of the previous cycle were retained. But likewise we can always point to some corner of the world that is reverting to a more primitive mode of living in response to social, economic, or environmental upheaval. As the humans become more reliant on each other we can expect those disasters to be more devastating to more parts of the world, not more isolated.

    Progress is anything but a straight line. Calling it monotonic is just ignorant.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    I think Krauss is being wildly unspecific. Without criteria the statement is meaningless.

    Yes we are seeing the decline of religion in the West. The US is interesting in that the divisions are sharpest there. The US has a ban on religion in schools, most Western countries require religious instruction. The US also has an evangelist movement trying to establish religion while the rest of the West is headed in the opposite direction without much comment.

    There is certainly a crisis in the Christian churches. The CoE is on its knees and not in prayer. They have lost much of their congregation and despite being the established church, they don’t have any particular influence. I remember when the church carried a lot of weight and I’m not that old.

    The rows over ordination of women and gay clergy have divided the church. The conservatives are right in pointing out that the change in doctrine completely undermines the premise of the faith. The reformers are right that the church will die if it does not reform because the population at large considers support for progressive values such as tolerance to be a criteria for judging religion. The church is doomed either way because it is preaching that revealed knowledge has primary authority and the authority is revealed to be an obnoxious bigot.

    Religion isn’t going away though. Today we can raise a statue of Baphomet as a joke to piss off the fundie Christians but wait a few years and there will be people venerating it. Wicca is on the rise, so is new age wu generally.

  • doublereed

    @33 lofgren

    Slavery, as a legal institution, survived for thousands of years. It was part of law, and it was part of everyday life.

    I’m basically espousing the same idea as this highly inspirational Less Wrong article Can the Chain Still Hold You?:

    Slavery was ubiquitous for millennia. Until it was outlawed in every country on Earth.

    Humans had never left the Earth. Until we achieved the first manned orbit and the first manned moon landing in a single decade.

    Smallpox occasionally decimated human populations for thousands of years. Until it was eradicated.

    The human species was always too weak to render itself extinct. Until we discovered the nuclear chain reaction and manufactured thousands of atomic bombs.

    Religion had a grip on 99.5% or more of humanity until 1900, and then the rate of religious adherence plummeted to 85% by the end of the century. Whole nations became mostly atheistic, largely because for the first time the state provided people some basic stability and security. (Some nations became atheistic because of atheistic dictators, others because they provided security and stability to their citizens.)

  • abb3w

    @0, Ed Brayton

    I think we’re quite clearly witnessing a fairly significant diminishing of religious belief today and I think that’s a very good thing.

    More exactly, I think we’re seeing a fairly significant diminishing of belief in the traditional religions, as people recognize how the dominance of those religions exceeds the actual warrant; which still seems a good thing.

    Contrariwise, I suspect there is less diminishing of “religious belief” in the sense of believing things via the habits of thought traditionally associated to religion. In support of this conjecture, I’ll note again that Christopher Silver’s research on varieties within atheism resulted in categories which to me seem closely parallel to the “ways of being religious” suggested by Dale Cannon nearly two decades before.

  • Kevin Kehres

    I think all of you are seeing something different in Krauss’ comments than I do.

    I think he was using the shift in public attitudes about gay marriage as an example of how attitudes can shift rapidly in our internet-fueled world. And that the decline in religion could be one of those things that can be mediated by this rapid change in attitudes.

    I don’t think Krauss ever claimed that religion will decline in a generation; only that we have a model that shows that it can. He wasn’t trying to be a prophet.

    I don’t know that the model fits, though. With gay marriage, the issue at its core is one of fairness — giving equal rights to a persecuted minority. There’s nothing about religion that involves any of that. Religion is, by-and-large, a way to get the universe (aka “god”) to agree with your opinions. And to lie to you about the fact that eventually you’re going to die.

  • Nick Gotts

    lofgren@33,

    We have no evidence for hundreds of thousands of years of progress. In fact the evidence suggests that for hundreds of thousands of years, humans lived roughly the same way with roughly the same level of technology.

    It’s you who are ignorant. you might start redressing that ignorance by consulting McBrearty and Brooks (2000) The revolution that wasn’t: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior, which deals largely with the period before 50,000 BP in Africa. Among the technical advances belonging to that period are great advances in stone tool technology (going back to at least 300,000 BP), introduction of bone tools, hafted implements (hence glues), ochre mining and use, other forms of personal adornment such as shell necklaces, harpoons, structured living spaces, use of a wider range of foods, and expanded exchange networks as evidenced by the appearance of exotic materials. Advances in the period between 50,000 BP and the beginnings of agriculture include boats, spear-throwers, bows, needles (hence fitted clothes), cave painting, stone sculpture, domestication of the dog, saws, probably calendrical artefacts. Improvements in clothing and shelter technology are shown by the expansion of the human range into much colder areas than previously occupied. I’m just scratching the surface here.

    Most of what we call progress has occurred in less than ten thousand years, and even then we must cherry pick our data to a dishonest level in order to claim that progress was “monotonic.” At best it occurred in bursts. More accurately, it rose and fell and, yes, occasionally went backwards, sometimes for several generations.

    What’s dishonest is to quote an adjective without the qualifying adverb. As I’ve shown, there was plenty of technical advance before 10,000 BP but yes, it has greatly speeded up since; I’m not sure why you think this supports your case. Technical progress has speeded up because earlier advances tends to make others easier, for several reasons (increased population, better communications, the opportunity to modify andor combine previous advances). I challenge you to name any period within the past 10,000 years when it can be shown that technical knowledge regressed “for several generations” more than regionally. I doubt whether you can even find such a period where it clearly stood still: during the best-known regional “dark ages”, such as those of Archaic Greece or Early Medieval Europe, technical advance* was certainly continuing elsewhere, to previously unreached levels.

    As the humans become more reliant on each other we can expect those disasters to be more devastating to more parts of the world, not more isolated.

    Certainly there is the potential for anthropogenic global disaster that has not existed before – but that in itself is the fruit of technical advance, and in no way justifies your irresponsible fatalism, since we are in an unprecedented situation, with both unprecedented dangers and unprecedented knowledge and power. This in itself makes your confident predictions of #29 ridiculous.

    *Incidentally it’s you, not me, equating technical advance with “progress”: some technical advances make it easier for the privileged to exploit or oppress others.

  • exi5tentialist

    @Nick Gotts 32

    If exi5tentialist was right, nothing about the future would be predictable, and thus social life would be impossible.

    Just like you, I predict things all the time. Often I’m wrong about my predictions. We all have to make wrong predictions sometimes, even Lawrence Krauss is prone to it. But the truth remains: the future is a landscape of absolute freedom for those who inhabit it. Krauss could be right or Krauss could be wrong. Who knows? Certainly not Nick Gotts. Not Ed Brayton. Not me. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jswilkins johnwilkins

    I think this is very lazy thinking by Krause. It is basically wishful thinking seizing upon one – one – single advance, which has at best been patchy and is being wound back in most of the world like Russia, African nations like Nigeria, and so on, and generalising from that. If he does that in his science, then his science isn’t worth a pinch of shit.

    Religion is an outworking of much broader forces, both biological and social, than the tendency to ascribe agency to non-agents, or some kind of superstition and ignorance, and if Krause doesn’t get that, then he is the idiot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jswilkins johnwilkins

    Oh and the slavery argument: slavery is on the rise everywhere in the world. Most especially in the United States, where it is called convict labor.

  • rorschach

    @39,

    But the truth remains: the future is a landscape of absolute freedom for those who inhabit it.

    I want what he is smoking.

    As to Krauss, doesn’t look like he spent much time thinking this one through. I don’t have to read Boyer or Frazer to realise that religion or superstition is something the human brain is prone to, and whether it presents as Catholicism, Animism or any brand of Spirituality, it’s not going away anytime soon.

    Look at the former “atheist” countries of Poland or Russia, these are pretty much theocracies, with heavy collusion between church and state. They are still people being dismembered and burned for being witches today in Africa or New Guinea. And so on.

    Even as an white-man-first-world centric comment, this is particularly dumb.

  • https://www.facebook.com/george.peterson.73 George Peterson

    Humans are very good at creating gods. Look at the way Libertarian Cultists deify the Market. Hell, look at the Atheist/Skeptical Community where you see the exaggerated hero worship that causes people to overlook the antics of Dawkins and Shermer.

  • Albert Bakker

    Good news and bad news I think. The good news is that history has proven that religions do disappear, either by slowly fading away into oblivion or by being turned over in more revolutionary ways. The bad news is that they tend to be replaced with worse ones, more potent to offer resistance to and greater immunity against reason.

  • Nick Gotts

    But the truth remains: the future is a landscape of absolute freedom for those who inhabit it. exi5tentialist

    What a stupid slogan. Of course it isn’t. We are not free to change the way physical processes operate – so, for example, those who “inhabit” the future will be no more free than we are to pour greenhouse gases into the air without changing the climate and acidifying the seas. Nor can any of us free ourselves from the mental habits and assumptions of our culture – its deep-rooted racism, sexism and so forth – by simply deciding to do so.