Darwinism, the Religion of the New Atheists, is All About Reproduction

One of the more ironic mysteries of the atheist subculture is how it tends to attract an overwhelming number of guys who are way out at the end of the “unlikely to reproduce” end of the bell curve.

If those guys used instead of worshipped their intellects, they might wonder why that is, or whether religion is really all that bad for the species, or whether they are really as superior and evolved as they think they are, or any of a number of other things.

But that would require using rather than worshipping the intellect and the New Atheist subculture isn’t really into that.  It mistakes its shriveled humanity for a bigger brain.

  • Jmac

    Yeesh. At least some of the older athiests could admit that religion might be a net bonus to society even if they found religious claims in general to be improbable. Those epistemic closure bubbles are a bitch.

  • http://rayontremblant.wordpress.com Robert

    I dunno, Mark. Being from Ann Arbor and now living in Chicagoland, I know some pretty sexy atheists, agnostics, and skeptics, even militant ones. I think this only captures a demographic of the aforementioned who turn to such bitter cynicism in the wake of such a state.

    • Nate

      Yeah, I know a couple of reasonably attractive ones too out east where I am here. But it’s a double whammy.
      One one hand, most of the people I know like this are in serious need of some finishing school.
      On the other hand, the ones that are reasonably presentable and affable are, like their less groomed comrades, resolutely against the idea of having children. So even if they manage to get married (unlikely) or even get themselves significant others, they’ll at best engage in a sort of fully pill’ed and sheeth’ed mutual masturbatory arrangement for length of time–which, while calming them down on blog comment boards (certainly a good thing for us all), will still leave us breeders with the future.

      Sigh.

    • Ted Seeber

      Sexy is not equal to right. In fact, it is usually equal to wrong. The truth is meant to hurt.

  • Jmac

    That said, I would like to draw the line between Darwinian evolution as science, and the twisted “philosophy” that some folks drew out of it. The former is almost certainly true.

    Not to be Captain Nitpick, but I’ve had more than enough “debates” with evolution deniers in recent history than I’d care to have, and I’m sure the “Darwin” sign in the title is going to summon them up from Nifelheim again.

    • moreana

      yes anyone who disagrees with you is from “Nifelheim,” that is charitable. The post makes no case for or against “darwinian evolution” but you reflexively bring it up.

      • Jmac

        Now, Moreana, you don’t know me, so I’ll explain. Only if they disagree with me on science or movie choices do I assume people are from Nifelheim. If they disagree with me on politics or sports, then they’re straight-up frost giants (Jotnar). I don’t appreciate the way you casually toss aside my pious belief in Yggdrasil.

        Seriously though, I was going for light-hearted jabs, but I always forget that sarcasm on the internet is broken. Dan Carollo below makes almost exactly the point I was trying to make.

        And I’ve been on too many posts that have nothing to do with evolution where the mere mention of “Darwnism”, whether it’s referring to Darwinian evolution or not, is enough to bring in science-deprived folks. Since I try to assume the best about people, I know that what they’re arguing for can’t possibly be the way things work on Midgard, so they must be from one of the other realms. Yggdrasil has a pretty poor networking structure. For instance, I’m almost always on my birthplace of Svartálfaheim, but I can still access this blog for some reason.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          Sarcasm on the internet is not broken, just use the tag.

          /sarc generally works well.

          • Jmac

            One would think that referencing the primordial realm of ice from Norse mythology would be an indicator that I’m not being entirely serious, though. Seemed obvious enough to me at least.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

              Try talking to people who actually believe in the Norse gods sometime. Yes, they do exist. Like most small groups of believers, you are most likely to run across them on the Internet.

    • The Deuce

      I think folks need to be clearer about what they mean when they say that Darwinism is true “as science” but false “as philosophy.” Are you merely trying to say that the environment exerts survival pressures on the genome, and that some (but not all) features of living things have been caused by this? Are you merely trying to say that all living things share a common ancestor? I’m on board in either of those cases.

      Or are you trying to say that the purposiveness of living things in general (including the purposiveness of our own minds) can be reduced to and accounted for in terms of blind, mechanistic causes? The latter sort of explanation/reduction is what Darwin himself was endeavoring to provide, and the “twisted philosophy” logically follows from it, so the most straightforward interpretation of “Darwinism is true” is that Darwin’s attempt to give a reductive, materialistic, mechanistic account of the appearance of purpose is fundamentally correct. But if that’s correct, the materialistic philosophy follows as a matter of course.

      To me, a lot of people appear to be saying that X is true, but that the logical implications of X are not. You guys need to be a lot clearer about this.

      • Jmac

        I don’t know what “guys” I’m part of, but I’ll take a stab at this anyway :)

        Most biologists I know tend to stay away from teleology at all. Whether this comes from a BELIEF that based on its mechanism, evolution has no purpose in mind, or because they merely think that science in general doesn’t concern itself with such questions, it isn’t something that evolution itself implies. A lot of good scientists but bad philosophers *coughDawkinscough* do like to repeat that meme loudly and often though.

        If you’re saying that the theory of evolution necessarily implies materialism, I really, really disagree with you. While the mechanism of evolution has no idea of “purpose”, I’m a Theistic Evolution proponent, so I believe God was convoluted with the whole process. Couldn’t begin to tell you how, where, or what he did, nor is it important. Regarding minds, philosophy of mind regularly confuses me, but I’m certainly not a Cartesian. Our minds aren’t purely spiritual.

  • Dan Carollo

    And yet, is is interesting how secuarlist generally de-emphasis the importance of family and children. People of faith generally have larger families, and so in fact favoring the propagation of the human race.

    Important also to make a distinction between Darwinism — as simply a biological mechanism, and “Darwinism” as philosophical meta-narrative by which EVERYTHING is explained (and therefore, nothing!) Reductionistic thinking — not evolution itself is the problem.

  • YoRp

    That was barely a complete thought. You people are the most ridiculous bunch of fools, and you’re views and myths are losing. More people wake up and flee your sinking ship everyday. Even more people refuse to get on at all. With fewer and fewer kids to indoctrinate, you’ll fade into stories about the things that USED to be wrong with humanity, but that we managed to do away with for the betterment of all.

    You won’t be missed.

    • Jmac

      “you’re views and myths are losing”

      My views and myths tell me that should be “YOUR views and myths are losing”, unless you are telling us that we are views, and myths in general are losing (those myths are terrible poker players though, don’t get me wrong).

    • Mark Shea

      In the past century, Christianity has experience a 7000% percent growth rate. You should get outside your bubble of atheist rhetoric and find out what’s going on. We living, right now, in the greatest age of evangelization in the history of the Church.

      • Ally

        Most of those people are no longer alive. Your religion survives on indoctrination at this point. How do you explain that “None” is the fastest growing religious affiliation? You are welcome to stick your head in the sand and pretend that the world dominated by religion is not coming to an end, but at some point the sand will blow away and you’ll just have your ass in the air.

        • dpt

          Ally-

          the one’s with their heads in the sand are the one’s who think religion is coming to an end. The “None” crowd is ripe and prime for conversation. Just look at modern behavior with its lust for consumption…they are searching for something and ultimately many will be drawn towards the innate question humans have.

          Travel the world some to see Mark’s point.

        • Ted Seeber

          I explain it as a complete failure of the Baby Boomer generation to keep the morality of the GI Generation.

    • dpt

      “you’re views and myths are losing.”

      Interesting…yes, surveys show that Americans are less likely to associate with a religious group or denomination (that does not mean atheistic), but are we better off for it?

      Over the years this trend has emerged, we have become as a society: more materialistic (as a nation we consume a disproportionate amount of the earth’s resources); the disparity between rich and poor in our nation has widen; more children are living in broken family households; we are in debt (as individuals, municipalities, states, etc.); increasingly overweight; etc.

      This all points that people are searching for something, though modern consumerism and materialism cannot replace man’s spiritual needs.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      Whistle past the graveyard much? Every culture that has a TFR below 2.1 (the % above 2 varies depending on local death rates prior to reproduction) is a dying culture. Every one with a TFR above 2.1 will live to see them buried. Go look up and see what cultural subgroups you support have for TFR. Now go look at the hard core believer subgroups have for TFR.

      Now just go.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      You are too harsh on the Darwinians.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    I don’t understand it, so it must be stupid!

    Do not worry, Moreana and YoRp, we have our share of reflexive kneejerkers too. Ours were ‘brainwashed’ in the nursery. What, oh what, could be your excuse?

  • Thomas

    I’m always amazed at the similarity of atheist trolls’ comments. Do they all cut and paste from the same asinine material? Formula: Call anyone who disagrees with them a derogatory name, came what we believe is false and that there is no evidence, claim that they will bury us, and ironically and cluelessly prove the point that the article was making etc etc repeat ad infinium.

  • Thomas

    “you’ll fade into stories about the things that USED to be wrong with humanity, but that we managed to do away with for the betterment of all.”

    You do realize that people have been saying this for about 2000 years. Of course you don’t, because people like you disdain history and learning from anything older than 5 minutes ago.

    • ivan_the_mad

      IIRC, Marx used to preach the same thing about the inevitability of the triumph of communism. Maybe today’s atheist fundamentalists should consider that they’re simply repeating the same failed proclamations of yesteryear’s atheists with the same unfounded conviction.

  • Jack Rawlinson

    How impressive. A lazy set of insults and no actual arguments. Here’s a couple of hideously unsexy atheists to reinforce your bigotry.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VbMAwN0u7I

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHE0N95kh9s

    • Mark Shea

      And for the socially inept and arrogant male atheist with humor impairment there’s this attempt to bring enlightenment to you from fellow atheist Phil Plait:

      http://vimeo.com/13704095

      Seriously: you guys have a real PR problem. Most of your online manifestations are just another species of fundamentalist with all the social and affective skills appertaining thereto.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      The first link actually posits some sort of discussion about christians so I responded. For laughs and giggle’s here’s what I said.
      ——
      God is love. If you do not believe in love, you do not end up being a good, ethical atheist. You end up being a moral monster.

      Good, ethical, loving people who are atheists are defective in their love and their ethics because they do so under a false label. This defect can be corrected and plenty of christians pray for the dead that they enter into Heaven. It’s better to believe now though. In short, the video assumes things about christians that are not generally true.
      —–
      I’ve no doubt that there are other, better responses but this is what I could do in the space youtube gives you for comments.

  • Rusty Yates

    That is because they recognize the earth is overpopulated and unsustainable. It takes smarts for that instead to override instinct. Seems like the Catholic Church puts it best and brightest in the clergy where they don’t reproduce. This author has a compartmentalization problem.

    • Jmac

      Thanks, Rusty! Now I have a really snappy comeback the next time somebody asks if I’m in a relationship.

    • dpt

      It is the highly contraceptized consumers in the West who are using the earth’s resources in an unsustainable manner.

    • EBS

      And the Clergy make up such a HUGE part of the population that they will cause a massive dent in the population growth. That’s so stupid I don’t know whether to laugh…or laugh. And it is this “population overload” is what’s causing you to starve to death right now….yes, keep using the scare tactics…the same scare tactics David Suzuki used to tell us the world was gonna end 20 years ago because the population was so big it was on the brink.
      I’m relieved mankind is smart enough, on the whole, not to listen to atheistic propaganda and go about living life, having families and being happy ( and ignoring the idiots that tell them they are irresponsible reproductive rabbits). Children are the living legacy that are left behind. Manifestos and “ideas” become pages in history.
      And It’s quite ironic that it is human beings are needed to keep ideas going- you need to therefore keep mankind going to keep ideas going- otherwise you don’t have a “market” for your weirdo ideas…Therefore I would say, it is the Atheist overpopulation doomsdays folk that put it…um….not-so-best and not-so-brightest.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      The Earth is not overpopulated. The situation is not unsustainable. You can tell that this sort of thing is a crock when the agreed upon facts change but the narrative doesn’t change. All of these roads lead to giving up your freedom and autonomy and becoming modern technoserfs to a world government.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “Seems like the Catholic Church puts it best and brightest in the clergy” I’m going to take that as a back-handed admission both of the quality of our clergy and of the effects of grace conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders. Thanks Rusty, you’ve brightened my day :)

    • enness

      I find this to be a cop-out for not really having the smarts, creativity, or cojones to address the actual problems of poverty, which has plenty to do with waste and corruption too. Sure, blame it all on the babies. That’s it.

  • Thomas

    “That is because they recognize the earth is overpopulated and unsustainable.”

    Evidence please. I would point out that birthrates are plummeting throughout the world, especially in the West where we are below replacement levels.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Regarding TFR=2.1.
    Too many people equate this to having 2 children; but when you take into account infertile women, women disinclined to children, women who become sterile after the first child, etc., every woman inclined and able to have children needs to have 3 children to make up the deficit, or else the population will implode. Once population densities fall below various critical values certain behaviors — like free health clinics — become economically unsustainable. Already Europe has a problem, because the 20th century welfare state was predicated on 19th century demographics.

    • EBS

      The last Govt. in Australia used to say, (God Bless them), “one for mum, one for dad, and one for your country”, in order to grow the economy. In other words have children to grow the population naturally. Unfortunately, today, we have this huge debate in the current idiotic Govt. about bringing in refugees to sustain the working economy- cause no one wants to have children, or no one wants to have more than 2.1 children….maximum.
      And we hear from the Greens “bah humbug, you”ll suffocate the trees and drown the whales, don’t have any!” or they say “only have them through IVF and if you are gay, cause children of gay parents don’t suffocate trees and drown whales, cause they are intelligent and evolved”. Makes me giggle thinking about it.

  • Elmwood

    It’s ironic that these atheists care enough about theist beliefs that they form their own churches with hierarchy. Why do they care? They protest too much.

    Phil Plait with his love of science and his criticism of uncharitable skepticism is a great argument for the catholic faith. I wonder if he even realizes it? Somehow the fact that our brains are wired to believe in God according to Phil Plait isn’t seen by him as evidence in God…. whatever. Mark you need to write a book on the new atheists in the same flavor as “By what authority” (seriously one of the best apologetic books on catholicism out there IMO). I can’t think of anyone more qualified for the job.

    • Nate

      Hi Elmwood,
      I agree that they protest too much. Seems a bit odd too me.
      I also agree that Phil Plait says much that the Catholic would approve of. Of course, Plait is wrong about many (many) things; nevertheless, he has a fantastically agreeable personality, and I’d love to sit down and have a beer with the guy.
      As for books on New Atheism, there are lots of good ones out there. If you are looking for one from a Catholic perspective, I suggest Ed Feser’s very readable ‘The Last Superstition’ (along with his short and readable book on Aquinas). D. B. Hart does a nice job in his ‘Atheist Delusions’ giving an historical antidote to the ‘religion has ruined everything’ meme, and Conor Cunningham’s ‘Darwin’s Pious Idea’ talks about how the New Atheists hijacked biology. I don’t agree with any one of these fellows fully, but these are some good places to start. And ‘start’ is the key word. There’s tons out there.
      Sorry to get all didactic, especially if you’ve heard of all of these books already (or if you’ve read them!). Don’t mean to sound like an expert on a blog comment. :)
      Just figured I’d throw out the ‘fyi’.

      • Ted Seeber

        An agreeable personality is not equal to valuing human life above all else. It is in fact rather undignified to be nice at the expense of truth.

  • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

    I have two atheist friends who I’d say are more presentable than most. So far, they have one child between them while I have six. I’ll take those odds. Funny how the atheists in these comments who think they are “winning” limit their data to a dying subculture – Europe and the U.S.

  • NoahLuck

    Anecdotally, a majority of the atheists I know personally are parents. But then, I’ve never been to an atheist convention.


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