[extropy-chat] Islamic morons win yet again (resend 2)

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Sun Oct 1 15:41:20 UTC 2006

"Keith Henson" <hkhenson at rogers.com>

> It is useless to denounce religion

I do not believe it is useless to denounce evil, in fact I believe it is
rather despicable not to.

> and it is *not* the root cause of human  misery.

I would never be so foolish as to say religion is the cause of all human
misery, but I would say that with the exception of death itself religion has
caused more misery than any other single thing.

> Human reproduction in excess of what the ecosystem/economy can support
> *is* the cause of misery.

Human reproduction has never been in a higher gear than it is right now, so
if you were right we would expect the average standard of living to be lower
than its ever been. However the exact opposite is true, human beings have
never had it so good. Despite what the tree huggers say the
ecosystem/economy is doing quite well thank you very much.

>Easter Island was a case where war a few generations earlier would have
>been much better.

You don't need anything as drastic as war. If the Easter Islander's religion
hadn't caused them to use all their time energy recourses and imagination
making  all those incredibly stupid statues they would have been one hell
of a lot better off.

> It is truly bizarre, but I make the case that there are times when the
> interest of a person and the interest of  their genes diverge.

I don't think it's bizarre to say that the genes interests and the
individual's are not identical, I think it's a keen grasp of the obvious.
After all, if it were not true the condom would never have been invented.

>what situations in the stone age made those who could be infested with
>religion more likely to survive (in the gene centered inclusive fitness
>sense) than those who were not?

I'm not at all sure that the religious meme got started because it conveyed
some survival advantage, rather it may just be the result of being mortal
and being intelligent. Contemplating death, especially your own death, is
unpleasant. So people try to think of ways to fool themselves to reduce that
unpleasantness (maybe death isn't really the end). Given that the religious
meme is likely to be present, at least to some degree, in any population, an
individual who knows how to exploit that meme (God speaks through me!)
would have a huge reproductive advantage. And it's still true, the religious
cult leader Warren Jeffs who was just arrested had 80 wives and 250

  John K Clark

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