Memo to Sam Harris: you are going extinct, as are your views.
Sam Harris thinks that religion is the cause of all the troubles in the world. That if we just got rid of religion, we would all live happily every after.
Sam’s views are turning out to be naive bordering on silly. Religion has been around a long time because it has proved to have evolutionary value, beyond Sam’s comprehension. What survives has evolutionary advantage, whether we like it or not. Sam doesn’t like it. Too bad for Sam. Nature seems to like it. Wishing it away is not working. It’s not going away….quite the opposite is happening:
Perhaps the best argument against Sam’s idea on the futility of religion, is a Sam Harris podcast. In it, Sam Harris and Douglas Murray explain how the religion of Islam appears to be taking over a secularized Europe. It may be that atheism itself has no evolutionary value, whereas religion seems to. It certainly has been part of every human society, to date. In secular Europe, the religious vacuum is being filled by Islam:
Sam may be right, religions may be fairy tales. But as a famous scientist once said:
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein
The Christian religion itself, full of many wonderful fairy tales that excite the imagination, may be particularly useful, even from an atheistic point of view. As Nobel Prize Winner in Physics and atheist Steven Weinberg put it: “I would say that although as shown by this statement, there is opposition to specific scientific ideas within Western Christianity, there’s not really opposition to the idea of science itself. Only to some of it’s conclusions. I think this is different in the world of Islam. And it’s really quite tragic, because as we know, Islam led the world, in science in the 9th Century…. There was a reaction against science in the Islamic world, in the 12th Century, and it was not a reaction against any one particular conclusion of science, as against the very idea of laws of nature…..Islamic science really ended by the end of the 12th Century. And today we have the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that calls for an end in education in science.” Source:
Sam is quite ignorant of history, of where science itself comes from. Rodney Stark lays out the case that science itself, comes from religion:
By contrast to Islam, Christianity may be the very religion that was central to the creation of science. In The Victory of Reason, Professor Rodney Stark lays out his case:
“Many books have been written about the success of the West, analyzing why Europe was able to pull ahead of the rest of the world by the end of the Middle Ages. The most common explanations cite the West’s superior geography, commerce, and technology. Completely overlooked is the fact that faith in reason, rooted in Christianity’s commitment to rational theology, made all these developments possible. Simply put, the conventional wisdom that Western success depended upon overcoming religious barriers to progress is utter nonsense.In The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark advances a revolutionary, controversial, and long overdue idea: that Christianity and its related institutions are, in fact, directly responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium. In Stark’s view, what has propelled the West is not the tension between secular and nonsecular society, nor the pitting of science and the humanities against religious belief. Christian theology, Stark asserts, is the very font of reason: While the world’s other great belief systems emphasized mystery, obedience, or introspection, Christianity alone embraced logic and reason as the path toward enlightenment, freedom, and progress. That is what made all the difference”…from Amazon review of Stark’s book.
The two things causing the decline of Western Civilization right now, likely will turn out to be giving women the vote and feminism itself, two thing Sam is in favor of:
But the evidence that religion itself is a useful evolutionary adaptation, just keeps piling up. In “The Return of Christendom, Demographics, Politics and the Coming Christian Majority, by Stephen R. Turley, PhD. lays out the case that religious Christians are breeding at a far higher rate than secular liberals like Sam…..so the future belongs to religious people…..Sam Harris and liberals and atheists slowly are going extinct.
Elon Musk provides the best and simplest evidence of why secularism fails:
“The birth rate is inversely correlated to wealth, inversely correlated to education, and correlated to religion. So the more religious you are, the less educated, the poorer you are, the more kids you will have. And this is true across countries and within countries”
A few highlights from The Return of Christendom. Italics indicates quotes:
I want to argue that we are actually seeing nothing less than a conservative Christian resurgence in our demographics and politics that promises not suicide but rather the salvation of the West.
In Central Europe, Poland’s Catholic bishops recently held a formal ceremony before their president declaring Jesus Christ as King and Lord over their nation; and the Hungarian Prime Minister,Viktor Orban,has proclaimed Hungary a ‘Christian Democracy’ dedicated to defending Christian civilization over and against the secular globalization represented by the European Union. Eastern European nations such as Georgia have reintroduced Orthodox Christianity back into their public-school curriculum, and Igor Dodon, president of Moldova, has recommitted his nation to the supremacy of Christian values. In post-Soviet Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church has risen to a political prominence not seen since the days of the tsars.
Europe is headed for a population disaster. And yet, a major baby boom is precisely what we are seeing, but not across the board, as it were; fertility is flourishing,particularly among conservative Christian women. As we’ll discover below, conservative Christians are having upwards of four children for every one child born to secular non-religious couples. In France, for example, 30 percent of French women, predominantly conservative Catholic, are responsible for over 50 percent of all births in France. Such a fertility discrepancy not only promises to avert the population disaster widely prognosticated for the continent but is already radically altering its demographic makeup in favor of conservative Christian sentiments and values.
Will the Modernists Inherit the Earth? The Dismal Demographics of Secular Liberalism:
The future, as it turns out, is actually rather dire for secular liberalism.
According to University of London scholar Eric Kaufmann’s detailed study on global demographic trends, we are in the early stages of nothing less than a demographic revolution. In Kaufmann’s words, “religious fundamentalists are on course to take over the world.”
There is a significant demographic deficit between secularists and conservative religionists. For example, in the U.S., while self-identified non-religionist women averaged only 1.5 children per couple in 2002, conservative evangelical women averaged 2.5 children, representing a 28 percent fertility edge. Kaufmann notes that this demographic deficit will have dramatic effects over time. In a population evenly divided, these numbers indicate that conservative evangelicals would increase from 50to 62.5 percent of the population in a single generation. In two generations, their number would increase to 73.5 percent, and over the course of 200 years, they would represent 99.4 percent!
The Amish and Mormons provide contemporary illustrations of the compound effect of endogamous growth. The Amish double in population every twenty years, and projections have the Amish numbering over a million in the U.S. and Canada in just a few decades. Since 1830, Mormon growth has averaged 40 percent per decade, which means that by 2080, there may be as many as 267 million Mormons in the world, making them by 2100 anywhere from 1 to 6 percent of the world’s population.
In contrast to the flourishing fertility among conservative Christian families, Kaufmann’s data projects that secularists, who consistently exemplify a low fertility rate of around 1.5 (significantly below the replacement level of 2.1), will begin a steady decline after 2030 to a mere 14 to 15 percent of the American population. Kaufmann thus appears to have identified what he calls “the soft underbelly of secularism,” namely demography. This is because secular liberalism entails its own “demographic contradiction,” the affirmation of the sovereign individual devoid of the restraints of classical moral structures necessitates the freedom not to reproduce. The link between sex and procreation having been broken, modernist reproduction translates into mere personal preference. It thus turns out that radical individualism, so celebrated and revered by contemporary secular propagandists, is, in fact, the agent by which their ideology implodes.
In Europe, immigration is ironically making the continent more religiously conservative, not less; in fact, London and Paris are some of the most religiously dense areas within their respective populations. In Britain, for example, Ultra-Orthodox or Haredi Jews constitute only 17 percent of the Jewish population but account for 75 percent of Jewish births. And in Israel, Haredi schoolchildren have gone from comprising a few percent to nearly a third of all Jewish pupils in a matter of five decades and are poised to represent the majority of the Jewish population by 2050.
Since 1970, charismatic Christians in Europe have expanded steadily at a rate of 4 percent per year, in step with Muslim growth. Currently, Laestadian Lutherans in Finland and Holland’s Orthodox Calvinists have a fertility advantage over their wider secular populations of 4:1 and 2:1 respectively.
Now, some may think that mass conversions can compensate for this demographic deficit, enticing the children of religious conservatives to break away and join the ranks of the secular. However, this is highly unlikely. The more conservative and vibrant the religious commitment, the more incentives there are for the next generations to remain faithful and concomitantly strong disincentives to leave. Indeed, we have statistics that demonstrate that children growing up in conservative religionist households are highly likely to maintain such conservative religious sentiments into their adult years. We also have studies that show that liberal religionists are more likely to become conservative than the other way around.
In a recently published article on the rising birthrates among conservatives in Europe and the United States, Longman notes that liberal critics of the traditional family are actually plagued by a rather inconvenient fact that the feminist and counter-cultural movements of the 1960s and 70s have not and are not leaving any genetic legacy. While only 11 percent of baby boomer women had four or more children, they made up over 25 percent of the total children born to baby boomers. Conversely, the 20 percent of women who had only one child accounted for a mere 7 percent of the total children born to baby boomers. Specifically, he cites statistics from France, where only about 30 percent of women have three or more children, but they’re responsible for over 50 percent of all French births.Thus, Longman concludes that this fertility discrepancy is “leading to the emergence of a new society whose members will disproportionately be descended from parents who rejected the social tendencies that once made childlessness and small families the norm. These values include adherence to traditional, patriarchal religion, and a strong identification with one’s own folk or nation.”
And so, the rhetoric of the secular modernist predicting the inexorable global triumph of the sovereign individual seems little more than a chimera, a pipe dream that is itself the product of self-centered aspirations and ambitions. The reality is that demographic. It does appear that religious conservatives,not secular liberals, will inherit the world after all….end of quotes
Sam Harris thinks we can get rid of religion. Good luck with that. Religion appears to have very strong evolutionary value.
But you might ask why? Why is religiousness good, from an evolutionary point of view? One answer is that first of all, it’s true that evolution has selected for religion in the past, whatever it’s advantages. Edward Dutton talks about this, between 26 and 27 minutes, in video below.
He claims that religious people have more “normal genes”, more often have “normal desires” and a “low mutation load” in their genetics. Whereas “Atheism correlates with left handedness, which is a sign often of mutation and mutational load. It correlates with physical and mental illness, physical asymmetry and other mutations”.
If Dr. Dutton is right, if the science is verified, a simple explanation for atheism is that it may be a mutation of some kind, that is influential in it’s coming into the world, whereas we are evolutionarily selected for religiosity. There may be nothing anyone can do about it.
Humans likely evolved religion because for organisms as complex and intelligent as humans, having a world view that life is essentially pointless, it is from an evolutionary point of view, a dead end. Sam Harris is a big proponent of evolution, as am I. Ironically it is evolution that will remove atheism and secular liberals like Sam Harris from the population. Their current social dominance is very temporary. Time is on the side of conservatives. Liberals and secularists are hitting the genetic Wall, as nature removes them slowly from the population. The future is religious. Darwin will do the work for conservative religious people, removing liberals, feminists, secularists and atheists, from the population. The future is conservative and religious. That’s what evolution wants.
For most of the twentieth-century, sociologists have advocated a concept known as the ‘secularization thesis’. The secularization thesis was popularized by sociologists such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, who argued that religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations would inevitably wane in terms of their social importance as societies became more technological and industrial. Sociologists believed they were observing a correlation between the level of education and technology characterizing a society and its religious commitment; of course, it was a contrary correlation: the more educated and technological our societies get, the less religious they’ll be. Western sociologists related the secularization thesis primarily to Christianity; proponents of secularization postulated that a combination of younger generations and higher education would basically wipe out historic Christianity.
This current view may turn out to be a very big fairy tale…..
As Mark Twain famously quipped: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”