[ExI] Function of religions

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at canonizer.com
Mon Sep 27 16:29:43 UTC 2010

Keith and Spike,

I was attending Mormon Sunday School yesterday.  It's pure hell 
listening to all the irrational faithless fear mongering, the irrational 
worshiping and wallowing in misery they go on and on about there, but it 
is very educational to watch them, and to learn what motivates them, and 
to find out the real purposes of religion and how hierarchical religions 
have evolved to be so successful at taking advantage of people's 
sheepish tendencies.

The older lady lay teacher, was leading the discussion.  She started 
bringing up how all the 'worldly people' accuse them of being 'closed 
minded' and so on.  Our church is in the small town of Sandy, just 
outside of SLC.  And she said they always accuse her of being in this 
"little sandy bubble" ignorant of the rest of the world.  But she, and 
obviously everyone else there, was very proud of that, and she literally 
said: "I'm proud of this little Sandy bubble we're in" that she believes 
protects them from "the world".

All these people are clearly people that don't enjoy thinking about 
moral issues much.  They are far less intelligent than experts that are 
intelligent and interested in moral issues.  These types of people have 
no hope of standing up to any real argument, against  intelligent moral 
experts, so they must have something they can trust and lean on, to do 
it for them.  Within humanity, not everyone can be moral experts on 
everything, so others must have something they can trust in.   And 
obviously these people desperately want some 'prophet' they can trust so 
they don't have to think.  Religions have obviosly evolved to take 
advantage of the tendency of the normal human to act in such sheepish ways.

But there is clear evidence, that people in general do trust scientists 
and proven experts, on certain things.  Especially if they could be the 
ones to lay down the criteria of selecting who is and isn't an expert.  
So I believe, the only problem is, having a good way to measure for 
moral expert and scientific consensus, so that everyone can learn to 
know and trust such.  Obviosly, most of us can see there are lots of 
moral experts that believe much of what the prophets say is wrong.  But, 
since there is not yet some way to measure for this moral expert 
consensus, anyone claiming what the prophets are saying is wrong, can 
easily be doubted by the religious leaders.

But, if we could measure, and rigorously show that the moral and 
scientific expertise is definitively refuting the the hate, war and fear 
mongering the popes and prophets are touting is wrong, such that nobody 
could refute such, I think there is great hope for humanity to finally 
take the power  away from the hierarchical selfish primitive leaders.

I think it's all about knowing, concisely and quantitatively, what the 
moral and scientific experts are saying.  And that is precisely our goal 
at canonizer.com.  I can't be a moral expert at everything, so would 
sure like the help of all you moral experts to help me out, so I no 
longer needed to trust in these primitive, selfish, hierarchical 
religious leaders, for my moral direction.

What, concisely, are all of you experts saying, and what do you agree 
on?  And how much consensus, is there really, for such?  If we can come 
up with that, rigorously and definitively, then I think there is hope 
for the world.

Brent Allsop

On 9/27/2010 9:53 AM, Keith Henson wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 8:00 AM, spike<spike66 at att.net>  wrote:
> snip
>> We have seen a religion become considered almost as a race, so that
>> criticism of it has become the practical equivalent to racism.  How did that
>> happen?
>> So the temptation is to get one's philosophy redefined as a religion, even
>> if it really isn't one.  I recognize the temptation, but my ethical
>> intuition tells me this is wrong.
> Spike, we need to consider why humans have religions at all.  But
> first it is a feature of top predators that their numbers are
> ultimately limited by self predation.  Lions are a good example, they
> evolved the pride social organization as a response to lions killing
> lions.  Chimps are largely immune to predation and their numbers are
> limited by group on group war.
> The line that led to humans escaped predation by the big cats a long
> time ago so there has been plenty of time for evolution to act.  Human
> populations grow till they stress the ability of the ecosystem to
> support them.  Then a behavioral switch flips, they organize and and
> kill "the others."
> Religion, even if it isn't always easy to see, is based on xenophobic
> memes that are part of the organizational process leading to wars.
> Since a lot of populations around the world are under
> ecosystem/economic/ecological stress, mostly from accumulated
> population growth, it's no wonder that religious memes have become
> more of an influential factor.
> Now the logical thing would be to strongly restrain the birth rate and
> make ever effort to grow the economy in a way that did not depend on
> rapid depletion of resources.  But for reasons involving the
> conflicting interest of genes and the persons they are in, "war mode"
> makes people irrational.
> I think it is possible to get economic growth ahead of population
> growth and shut off the drift of so many populations into "war mode."
> As you know, I work on ways to solve the energy/carbon problems,
> trying to keep my own ego out of the analysis.  Unfortunately there
> are very few people trying to solve the problems.
> I don't hold out a lot of hope for the intermediate future (before the
> singularity).  Chances are the world will see a really drastic
> population reduction in a lot of places over the next few decades.
> Keith
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