Atheists at risk of dying out due to belief in contraception, study claims

Mar 14, 2017

By Rachel Hosie

A new study has suggested that atheism is doomed because religious people have higher rates of reproduction.

Due to their lack of belief in contraception, religious believers are having more children than atheists, which could ultimately result in the end of atheism, the study suggests.

The findings fly in the face of popular discourse – and scientists’ predictions – which implies fewer and fewer people are religious nowadays.

But the new research claims religion is actually at no risk of dying out and the reverse is in fact the case.

Scientists from the US and Malaysia studied over 4,000 students, asking them about their religious beliefs and how many siblings they had.

They found that Malaysian atheists had 1.5 fewer siblings than the average.

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44 comments on “Atheists at risk of dying out due to belief in contraception, study claims

  • Nonsense . Atheism will spread in to children of Atheists AND of religious parents . As long as the spread is faster than the excess of children of religious parents.



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  • When antiquated ideas, e.g.. keep reproducing like hell to make sure the offspring survive to reproduce, come into conflict with reality, then usually reality wins. The Pope doesn’t have to clothe, house and feed all those wee offspring with Catholic parents, but the parents do ! Certainly in the more advanced countries most Catholics just ignore Mother Church’s teaching on contraception. Every sperm is sacred, – NOT ! Looking back, I see J.S. Bach had some 20 offspring of whom about 7 died, (I could be wrong, but a sizeable number). And he was a Lutheran !



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  • @OP – But the new research claims religion is actually at no risk of dying out and the reverse is in fact the case.

    Scientists from the US and Malaysia studied over 4,000 students, asking them about their religious beliefs and how many siblings they had.

    They found that Malaysian atheists had 1.5 fewer siblings than the average.

    Perhaps they should have studied mortality rates in areas of Africa where militant religious strife, corruption, attempts at regime change, and unbridled capitalism dominate the lands!

    These countries have low percentages of atheist population, but VERY HIGH mortality rates much of it attributes to religion based conflicts!

    The religions may not be dying out, but many of the people afflicted by them are!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-39238808

    “We stand at a critical point in history,” Mr O’Brien told the Security Council on Friday. “Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations.”

    “Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.

    It is thought a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from a preventable disease, while half-a-million children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

    The UN estimates some 19 million people – or two thirds of Yemen’s population – is in need of some sort of humanitarian help following two years of war between Houthi insurgents and the government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

    What’s hampering aid?

    Continuing fighting, lack of rule of law, poor governance, under-development.

    A naval embargo imposed by the Saudi-led coalition, fighting around the government-controlled port of Aden and air strikes on the rebel-held port of Hudaydah, have severely reduced imports since 2015.

    A lack of fuel, coupled with insecurity and damage to markets and roads, have also prevented supplies from being distributed.

    UN agencies say 100,000 people are facing starvation in South Sudan, while a further million are classified as being on the brink of famine.

    It is the most acute of the present food emergencies, and the most widespread nationally.

    Overall, says the UN, 4.9 million people – or 40% of South Sudan’s population – are “in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance”.

    What’s hampering aid?

    Continuing fighting in the country that now has been at war since 2013, lack of rule of law, under-development.

    The UN has described the unfolding disaster in north-eastern Nigeria as the “greatest crisis on the continent” – the full extent of which has only been revealed as extremist militant group Boko Haram is pushed back.

    It was already known the Islamist group had killed 15,000 and pushed more than two million from their homes. But as they retreated, it became clear there were thousands more people living in famine-like conditions in urgent need of help.

    The UN estimated in December there were 75,000 children at risk of starving to death. Another 7.1 million people in Nigeria and the neighbouring Lake Chad area are considered “severely food insecure”.

    What’s hampering aid?

    Boko Haram attacks, lack of rule of law, under-development.

    There are still areas under the control of Boko Haram, which aid agencies cannot reach.

    The last time a famine was declared in Somalia – just six years ago – nearly 260,000 people died.

    At the beginning of March, there were reports of 110 people dying in just one region in a 48-hour period.

    What’s hampering aid?

    Continuing attacks by Islamist militant group al-Shabab, lack of rule of law, under-development.



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  • Yep, nonsense.

    Religion is necessarily cultural, and dependent critically on childhood indoctrination for its deeply entrenched nature and robust survival. This is, though, still only mimetic and not genetic.

    The true battle is not between religion and Atheism, but between fundamentalism and secularism. Provided the secularists (religious and atheist) win the battle for decent education to dilute childhood indoctrination then the good guys will win.



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  • This was going to be the DVD everyone got for Xmas. I just thought it too depressing in the end. No-one can defeat the serried ranks of the stupid. Half below a hundred joining forces with, the Foxed, the Rethuglicans and the religiously lobotomised….



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  • Phil

    Uh-oh, did I push you off the cliff? Don’t take it too seriously. Just a little regression to the mean. Nothing that can’t be remedied and they will inch their way back up to one or two standard deviations…after an eon or two…maybe

    Oh crap! Rachael Maddow has a copy of a leaked Trump tax return! Phil, I’m dumping you for Rachael now.



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  • after an eon or two…maybe

    No don’t kid yourself. The great kleptocrat social experiment was a success. Reduced welfare actively reduces IQ without people noticing the theft!. Domesticated Animals can lose up to 20% of their brain function and all without affecting Stockholm Syndrome. We’re doomed breeders of the stupid unless…

    I’m dumping you for Rachael now.

    unless…. those clever people at Disney really can turn us gay.!



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  • I believe statistics on religion are often suspect. They reflect certain associations but not necessarily deeply held ideologies. Many people identify culturally and socially with religions that they really consider part of their nationality, without taking specific doctrines to heart. This is certainly true in Europe and especially of Scandinavia. I think it will be found that, within any particular society, living standards and education correlate negatively with both birth rate and religious belief.



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  • Phil

    Reduced welfare actively reduces IQ

    Yes, I don’t doubt that at all.

    unless…. those clever people at Disney really can turn us gay.!

    haha. Now that’s an interesting strategy indeed! Actually, watching the extremely attractive and successful Rachael Maddow every night might be turning me gay. The effect is magnified by my having met her at a book signing and had a pleasant smiling quick conversation. Hmmm. 😉

    I saw a segment on the news yesterday discussing the goal of making the Pill much more easily obtainable by reclassifying it as “over the counter” medication. No need for a Dr. appointment and official prescription. This would be fantastic improvement over the current situation. For teens and young women, the expense and logistics of getting to the Dr. appointment may be prohibitive and they worry that if insurance pays for the appointment and meds then their parents will be informed – teens and young women are on their parents’ policy. (this did happen to me when I was 18).

    It’s not just for teens. Any woman who has no insurance or lives in an isolated location or any woman who has the intention of controlling her own fertility despite objection from people around her will have a great advantage if she can walk into a pharmacy and purchase a month of birth control pills. I’d be happy if those pills are given away for free but can’t imagine that would happen in the US. Please let them be extremely cheap. This is even more important now for poor women who stand to lose their ACA health insurance if the Republicans get their way.

    Over the counter cheap birth control materials with no questions asked is how people can be sexually active without fear of pregnancy – the very thing that control freak fundamentalists rail against!!!

    If teens and young people can thwart their fundy parents and postpone pregnancy long enough to get themselves educated and financially stable independently then the secular bunch will win the battle.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWEjCa6GghA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oP04wxi92g



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  • phil rimmer #4
    Mar 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Religion is necessarily cultural, and dependent critically on childhood indoctrination for its deeply entrenched nature and robust survival.
    This is, though, still only mimetic and not genetic.

    Very much so! If indoctrination dies out due to improved education and widespread rational evidence based thinking, religious delusions will die out or greatly diminish, regardless of the numbers of children particular individuals have!

    Provided the secularists (religious and atheist) win the battle for decent education to dilute childhood indoctrination then the good guys will win.

    As you say, the assertion that “atheists are dying out due to lower birth rates in atheist families”, wrongly assumes that religion is genetically inherited, rather than culturally acquired or theocratically imposed”!



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  • Being religious doesn’t guarantee your children will follow your creed. Many religious families use contraceptives in order to be able to feed their family, taking no notice of what their religious teachings say. Also the advancements of the sciences have an enourmous influence on people from religious backgrounds. A strengthening of religion would take place in countries with high birth rates among the religious population, together with a ban of free spreading of ideas and the teaching of science. A drop in the living standards and the rise of poverty, exposing people to economic strain and uncertainties, might contribute to a return to a miracle-seeking culture.



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  • Odalrich #14
    Mar 15, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    A strengthening of religion would take place in countries with high birth rates among the religious population, together with a ban of free spreading of ideas and the teaching of science. A drop in the living standards and the rise of poverty, exposing people to economic strain and uncertainties, might contribute to a return to a miracle-seeking culture.

    . . . . . and a desperate need for miracles – or at least some food-aid (see Alan #3), from countries which CAN manage their population and its needs, using science and secular laws!



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  • Laurie

    watching the extremely attractive and successful Rachael Maddow every night might be turning me gay

    Clever women really are a big turn-on. Bicuriously, as someone who is, er, ambidextrous, that never worked for me with men. Sweet and winsome every time.

    Disney, I realise, are really clever. Though LeFou is nothing compared to the out and proud character at the end of Paranorman, he is at least a servant. Making the poor and the disadvantaged (those most likely to cleave to fundamentalism) utterly comfortable with being gay, properly solves our problem of their over reproduction. The superior classes can continue to keep it as a thrilling perversion, needing offspring to scupper the rumours.

    Of course, the pill should be available over the counter now, with all the warnings. For young folk who will possibly not be in a stable relationship, the additional use of the less secure condom as a guard against STIs should be encouraged also. The problem is, informing your healthcare professional so that she can suitably advise later. Long term use is the issue.

    I’m all for adolescents being able to have confidentiality in these matters from a fairly early age….But this is another problem when it is not the state being the immediate bill payer.

    What about the morning after pill?

    The Netherlands and Scandiwegia have brilliant sex education running all throughout the educative cycle. THIS nets the lowest rate of all problems and happy, confident kids, less likely to be pressured into things, more likely to do the right thing when they are ready. More than anything, lets work for THIS.



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  • As others said . Good ideas such as having an economically small family can override the theoretical veto from religions . For example Bangaladesh ( a majority muslim country) now has an average family size of about 2.4 children.



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  • 18
    fadeordraw says:

    This article and the comments raise several issues with me.

    1stly, the study: “The Future of Secularism: a Biologically Informed Theory Supplemented with Cross-Cultural Evidence, published in Evolutionary Psychological Science (DOI 10.1007/s40806-017-0090-z): https://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1007/s40806-017-0090-z?shared_access_token=kruMcWVCJuswot8kNNaADfe4RwlQNchNByi7wbcMAY5q4kC8hpVeXRKv1pNVlK2kDfUeBYc0hMUajKtsuHBVNho1xGTq8mdvrHSe7LtFcmOAaVedVhjWpXb1SUV-ZKg2OT5wwGs4Ts1kAMaH2nxx1Oxe5diC7D7xJRA9Fkx_PME

    It took me awhile to find it and awhile to read it.

    Basically it’s concluding that secularists/atheists have comparatively high IQs (of course) and that those with religiosity have lower ones. And that it’s genetic; that there’s a religiosity gene (propensity to believe associated with being generous) and, I presume, with the lack of this gene, an ingrained skepticism or, perhaps, a stinginess gene. At any rate, the high IQers produce less off spring then the lower ones, who are particularly Muslims, though US Christians aren’t apparently too bright as well. All of which is in line the fun video provided by LaurieB (#6). The hypothesis is that: “the genes promoting religiosity will spread and the genes for intelligence will diminish”.

    Also of note, the study includes consideration of western countries with high IQ and sub-replacement fertility bringing in lower IQ immigrants, high proportion Muslims, from non-western countries, to maintain population growth; a considered requirement for economic growth.

    And of note, the well documented study does not take into account declining fertility in all countries and religions, even Islam. This is due to increased education and particularly increased education for girls and women.

    The study nevertheless forecasts over the century the bent between secularism and religiosity, primarily Islam, and sees the later dominating due to genetic/reproductive performance.
    So either we more intelligent ones either reproduce more, which is fun but expensive, or we educate more, continue and always.

    It would seem in our tolerant approach, this study challenges us to focus our secular and education efforts on Muslims, and here our US RD efforts have been directed at US fanatical Christians. Aiming them at Muslims, there might be some meaning in the madness in that.



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  • Fade

    The strongest correlate with total fertility rate is poverty. Female education does indeed play a significant role, but it may be argued that this itself is more driven by poverty than religion. Children are wealth for the very poor. Indeed these days religion, that free insurance policy and consolation of the anxious, can be said to be caused by poverty. Dirt poor Somalia (mostly Muslim) and Mozambique (56% Christian 19% Atheist, 18% Muslim) have very similar TFRs of over 5. On education 60% of undergraduates in Iran are women. In the US average Iranian Americans outperform average Americans in income and education by an impressive amount.

    Poverty is the strongest indicator of our problem in my view.

    I haven’t though read the paper you have tracked down. Just scanned it. Many thanks for finding it. I worry it hasn’t been controlled for poverty, and religiosity remains its proxy. I must read thoroughly….



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  • Sorry. Bit too cryptic. (Must explain more.)

    If you put the income v religiosity data on the religion v TFR graph you see the former is a straight line with plenty of religiosity change still to happen at $25k. This strongly suggests (but doesn’t absolutely prove) religiosity is not the actual, direct, main driver of TFR.



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  • fadeordraw #18
    Mar 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Also of note, the study includes consideration of western countries with high IQ and sub-replacement fertility bringing in lower IQ immigrants, high proportion Muslims, from non-western countries, to maintain population growth; a considered requirement for economic growth.

    Actually, if you look at immigration into the UK and US there two strands!

    There are the highly skilled university trained immigrants (eg. medical staff, engineers, scientists) and business people, who are from families who have the money to enable them travel and establish themselves in high- earnings – high-cost developed countries, and then there are those who are just imported uneducated cheap labour, escaping poverty-ridden mismanaged, corrupt, regimes.

    A significant proportion of immigrants into developed countries, are selectively chosen, high IQ, educated students, who have competitively gained employment on the basis of skills or qualifications.



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  • 24
    fadeordraw says:

    Alan #23

    23

    Alan, the study indeed makes several, questionable generalizations. For examples, it relies on its student survey to extrapolate fertility and religiosity rates and though the survey is a snap shot, it uses the findings to forecast the diminishing of atheism/secularism over the century and the expansion of religiosity. It does not explore issues Phil has raised; noting that my attempted was to highlight the study report. Now there might be religiosity and secularism genes, not sure of the genome investigation here, but one would think that such subject matter would be more in the realm of memes and that there would be much more at play to determine outcomes than evolution theory based upon natural selection.



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  • fadeordraw #24
    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Now there might be religiosity and secularism genes, not sure of the genome investigation here, but one would think that such subject matter would be more in the realm of memes and that there would be much more at play to determine outcomes than evolution theory based upon natural selection.

    That could be so, if the matter was purely genetic, but memes are also subject to natural selection – with many earlier religions evolved into new branches, and some older ones now extinct.



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  • 26
    fadeordraw says:

    but memes are also subject to natural selection – with many earlier religions evolved into new branches, and some older ones now extinct.

    Alan,

    1stly, Darwin in coming to the theory of evolution based upon natural selection did extensive research on artificial selection; i.e., sapiens breeding domestic animals and plants.

    When we talk about memes, sapient ideas and intellectual constructs, and their growth and evolution, for which I am not aware of a capturing theory, notions of natural (outside of sapient realms of influence) and artificial (within sapient realms of influence) selection are rather convoluted. However, given that memes are totally within the sapient intellectual sphere, it is highly likely that far more artificial than national selection is going on with their growth and evolution.



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  • fadeordraw #26
    Mar 17, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    it is highly likely that far more artificial than national selection is going on with their growth and evolution.

    While is is convenient to separate human experiments for independently wild trends, humans are just as much a part of nature as any other organism, and so subject to natural selection. Natural selection takes place in both genetic and memetic trends, regardless of if any human selection is consciously chosen or not.

    In many instances (such colonisation of empires), religious memes have been very much linked to physical and cultural selection pressures on populations.



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  • 28
    fadeordraw says:

    Still it’s not as in the non-sapient influenced wild, as in pure natural section. So for memes, Alan, what’s you percentage guess for artificial vs natural selection?



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  • phil rimmer #19

    The strongest correlate with total fertility rate is
    poverty. Female education does indeed play a significant role, but it
    may be argued that this itself is more driven by poverty than
    religion.

    Why female education? They can not get pregnant by itself. If poverty is a constant and a reality for both sexes I do not see why female education plays “significant” role when males are the ones who can make them pregnant!.



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  • LaurieB #11

    Any woman who has no insurance … I’d be happy if those
    pills are given away for free but can’t imagine that would happen in
    the US. Please let them be extremely cheap. This is even more
    important now for poor women who stand to lose their ACA health
    insurance if the Republicans get their way. Over the counter cheap birth control materials with no questions asked is how people can be sexually active without fear of pregnancy – the very thing that control freak fundamentalists rail against!!!

    Totally agree! And if women can not financially afford contraceptives, wouldn’t be bad idea to charge it somehow to men (through taxes haha). That way they will take (whether they like it or not) responsibilities for their sexual behavior. If they have freedom to avoid contraceptives, than women should have same kind of freedom to have contraceptives free of charge. 😉 Because men and their irresponsible behavior are cost for them they didn’t ask for.



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  • fade

    So for memes, Alan, what’s you percentage guess for artificial vs natural selection

    For a strict meme theory as you might get from Dan Dennett or Susan Blackmore it is all natural selection. This is an explanation of human behaviours from the selfish memes perspective. The assumption is of a determinist universe where freewill in the religious understanding of it is incoherent. Dennett would say what freedom we have is of a free choice of alternatives, of a free choice of memes.

    Further this idea of memes as naturally selected replicators has led to the proposal that this evolutionary sculpting of memes resulting from their “stickiness” and a sufficient level of mutation to allow a response to selection pressures is exactly the process of their existence inside our heads. It is the possible explanation for the formation of all our thoughts.

    Thoughts evolve as subconscious entities made of memes, meme-complexes and meme fragments, mutating until they are judged by aesthetics and fuzzy logic heuristics to be fit for conscious apprehension. After that they can be subjected to the more formal testing that cultural tools like language and maths and formal logic bring. We consciously see ideas tested by these cultural processes and reject of keep thoughts accordingly. Rejected thoughts are tossed back into the subconscious mutating melting pot.

    The meme evolutionary processes are not as per DNA gene-world but rather more like those in RNA world, where reproduction of long-lived tiny fragments and much shorter lived huge gangly, fuzzy edged fragments seem to populate the ecosystem. Often, simulations have shown little “helper” fragments symbiotically tied to the larger. Mutation rates are much higher than in gene-world allowing much faster adaptions but confering much lower robustness. These are tantalising parallels.



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  • fadeordraw #28
    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Still it’s not as in the non-sapient influenced wild, as in pure natural section. So for memes, Alan, what’s you percentage guess for artificial vs natural selection?

    That depends entirely on the culture or the isolation of the culture involved.
    In history aggressive theocratic enforcement, has achieved near 100% compliance with particular religions in the limited areas of particular empires in particular periods of history. – As with species, some have branched and evolved into new denominations and cults, or hybridised with related religions or cultures, while others have gone extinct.

    artificial vs natural selection?

    As with plant an animal breeders, artificial vs natural selection, is a laboratory concept of semantic convenience, to identify human input into experiments.
    There is no clear cut boundary. In fact there is no boundary at all! It is only the source of the selection pressure which is specifically experimenter applied.
    In wild ecosystems there is often considerable unconsidered unintentional human input (such as deforestation for timber or farming), which has a massive influence on the ecology and evolution of species in that area, but such effects can just as well be caused by diseases, insect infestations, beavers, changes in climate, wild fires, etc.

    Globally, the effects of human organisms are just as “natural” as the effects of any other organisms and the mathematical laws of population balance, apply to humans the same as for any other organism.



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  • Modesti

    Why female education.

    In the poorest societies and therefore the most religious societies girls are very often not educated. They are seen as mothers of children only.

    For the poorest societies children become both health insurance and pension plan. They are put to work early (they are biddable slaves!) and ensure that work can be done to feed you when you are sick or old. The first child is a heavy investment, but you are a young teenager and healthy yourself. Subsequent children can be minded by their elder siblings and when you are old you get to earn your keep by looking after your children’s children. Big families are stable supportive economic units, but women must play there single role of supplying children.

    Cultures of Poverty (inevitably religious) do not want educated women upsetting this tried and tested model.

    Educated women in poor countries often become the economic centre for the household. They are the ones most likely to start a business. They are the one’s most caring of their offspring. No woman wants the repeated agony of childbirth with its high attendant rates of mortality and if they can create economic stability without going through it, i.e. using the education and efforts to earn as an alternative to just being a brood mare (kept for breeding), then they usually take it. Education also gives them access to contraception. (Many IUDs are used covertly.)

    Guardians of the Cultures of Poverty (men) lose much of their status by this and hate it. They shoot schoolgirls.



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  • 34
    fadeordraw says:

    32

    Alan, here’s a little video for you

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhkYc7fHcR0

    The distinction between people-made (intentional) trait selection and wilderness (random mutation) trait selection is a clear puzzle piece. A very long perspective might blur this distinction and, of course, there are lots of examples of people being the source of wilderness trait selection. But just as Chuck appreciated, one needs that distinction firmly in ones back pocket.



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  • fadeordraw #34
    Mar 18, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks for the video.

    It starts with the definition of an artificial construct that human actions are not part of nature. (Humans are evolved organisms, and are dependent on food-chains and interactions with other organisms, – just like all the rest).

    As I point out @#32, this is a semantic label of convenience which separates the human experimental input to a human managed breeding programme, from the general background ecology of evolution.

    However in the real world of evolutionary biology, the human domestication of say, cattle, or cultivating mushrooms in sheds, is no different from some species of ants domesticating aphids and milking them for honeydew, or Leaf-cutter ants producing fungus gardens in their nests. The domesticated species evolve over time in response to the selection pressure of the managing species. Some species of fungus ONLY exist in Termite or Ants’ nests as cultivated crops which have been evolved for that purpose in that niche.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091120000437.htm
    Food production of modern human societies is mostly based on large-scale monoculture crops, but it now appears that advanced insect societies have the same practice. Our societies took just ten thousand years of (mainly cultural) evolution to adopt this habit and we are far from convinced that it is sustainable. Farming ants and termites had tens of millions of years to evolve their fungus farming systems and here monocultures are apparently evolutionary stable.

    The fungus-growing termites of the old-world tropics build impressive mounds consisting of thousands of workers and soldiers. These societies domesticated African Termitomyces mushrooms more than 30 million years ago and became obligatorily dependent on farming their own fungal food in their often gigantic nest mounds. The termite fungus-farming symbiosis had a single African rain-forest origin and now comprises ca 330 species. It is of major ecological importance for decomposition and mineral cycling.

    In the repeated evolutionary process of a plant being selected from a group of seedlings in a succession of generations for say, drought resistance or frost resistance, it makes no difference to the biology, if I do the selecting as a plant breeder managing temperature and water supply, or if the climate does it by changes in weather.
    The effect is the same. It is only the human-centric label we put on the actuator of the selection process which is different!
    Humans are as much a part of nature and the global or local ecosystem as any other organism.
    The natural / artificial labels of convenience are purely arbitrary and based on semantic definition of the misconception that human existence is something separate from nature.
    No process of reproduction is ever wholly human directed, and very few “natural” processes are uninfluenced by human activities.

    The definitions are always approximate and rough and ready labels of the actual biological processes.

    That a cultivated plant which has been selected to grow in a well tended sheltered garden dies in the wild, is no less natural than that a crab selected as an evolved Land Crab drowns if it is swept out to sea!



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  • 36
    fadeordraw says:

    31

    Phil, thanks for this. It was perhaps a mistake of mine to use the term “meme”, though I like it as a general concept. What we’re taking about is the sapient intellectual/ideas realm(s), which no other plant or animal on the planet live in, that of Shakespeare, Darwin, Queen Elizabeth, the US Constitution, Catholicism… and how this realm might work. As this sapient realm(s) is living on the planet, we’re pretty sure it’s living the same as the pants and animals on the planet; that is, growing and evolving. How that’s going on, since just realized some 40 years ago, might require some consideration; maybe like biological genes, as the analogy suggested. With natural selection, and genetic fit with environmental conditions for survival, one gets your duckbilled platypuses and peacocks, which so puzzled Darwin, but evolution was about fitting with given environmental conditions. And such might be helpful to delineate a meme evolution that gives us a Queen institution, or USAers’ strange affinity with British royalty. Like given natural selection, a lot of dumb ideas live on just fine.

    We on the RD site are dealing with the sapient intellectual/ideas realm of religion, which is fake, and seeking to somehow persuade USAers that we’re living on the planet the same as plants and animals. Let’s start by the distinction for evolution between natural (wilderness) and human (artificial) selection is what’s going on and that ideas, that entire realm, will likely work the same way as pants and animals living on the planet.

    Our awareness of this, to the extent we are aware, gives us choice; different from other plants and animals living in the panet.



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  • @Crookedshoes,

    Along similar lines to the Blondes comment.

    I’ve also heard that pubic lice are endangered of extinction due to deforestation so to speak (AKA the Brazilian and manscaping). Environmentalists should start campaigning to bring back merkins for species preservation, or perhaps they should start protesting outside of beauty salons, at the very least preserve the pubes as a source or natural habitat, in much the same way we put up bird, bat and possum boxes perhaps those with genuine environmental consciences could host a number of woven patches around our bodies to preserve the species.

    It also makes me think of Noah’s ark, who had to carry the pairs of each species of pubic lice? Were they evenly distributed or did one of Noah’s children or his wife have to bear that burden alone, would have been an itchy time. Given they had to be spread throughout the human population after landing they would have had to have kept them till at least the next generation reached puberty. “So pleased you’re a man now – here are your very own collection of pubic lice be sure to share them with your sisters or first cousins”

    Just thought I’d leave you with those thoughts on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

    regards



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  • fade #36

    You raise some very important points for our political/cultural development. I want to respond when I have a clear moment. I am uncertain, using the idea of memes with reactionary forces disinclined to accept the idea of genetics and evolution is the tool we need.

    As you might imagine I will find it difficult, wanting mimetics to achieve a solid scientific definition so it can propagate (!), to go along with this small conspiracy to keep it from being an explanation from the lowest of causal levels of human actions in groups. Dawkins wanted to establish the replicator’s “eye view” (the Selfish perspective). Determinism all the way down.

    On the other hand the idea that the very essence of unnatural in the world, taking a top down view, is Human Society seems as good a use of the term as any. This super organism of human society (for this is what memes enable) clearly has processes that appear distinct from DNA genetics (because they are).

    fade, I haven’t begun to address the issues you are concerned with yet. I need to think about them much more.



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  • To LaurieB #11:

    Over the counter cheap birth control materials with no questions asked
    is how people can be sexually active without fear of pregnancy – the
    very thing that control freak fundamentalists rail against!!!

    *I am another that ***totally*** agrees with you. When my daughter was in her mid teens, I helped her to obtain contraceptives. I had a vasectomy in 1965 and that was one of the best things I ever did. Not only were these actions a good thing for both my daughter and I, we both had fulfilling but separate lives and did not contribute to the human population explosion ( I had 2 offspring and she has had no children). She is now happily married to a man who has a degree from MIT in computer software engineering.

    Those Christian fundamentalists that voice extreme objection to anyone having sex only for pleasure have as a mindset a belief system based on the philosophy of an old bearded charismatic man Augustine of Hippo (circa 1690 BP) who thought sex was the “original sin.” It was just the kind of philosophy that the Roman Catholic Church needed to control people’s lives so they made him a “saint.” Augustine started a meme that has lasted for all those centuries and now permeates our civilization like a poison that now destroys people’s lives.

    It appears that now President Trump and fellow Republicans are preparing to cram those poisonous beliefs down our throats by means of legislation, the Supreme Court, and school vouchers.



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  • To fadeordraw #18:

    Basically it’s concluding that secularists/atheists have comparatively
    high IQs (of course) and that those with religiosity have lower ones.
    And that it’s genetic; that there’s a religiosity gene (propensity to
    believe associated with being generous) and, I presume, with the lack
    of this gene, an ingrained skepticism or, perhaps, a stinginess gene.

    I would like to offer an opinion on your use of the word “gene.” It seems to me that many if not most human behavior is not a result of the action of a single gene, but instead is the phenotypic expression of a gene complex.
    That is to say that human behavior, or any aspect of human behavior, is a result of the interaction of a number of genes in a very complex pattern of expressions. I think it is misleading to those not trained in genetics to refer to the “gene” as the basic determinate of some aspect of human behavior.



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  • I hadn’t read the article until now. Just because religious people have too many kids doesn’t mean that non-religious people have too few. (By the way, there was a video on the page showing Palestinian rights activists marching with the heading: is “religion dividing London?” Palestinian rights have nothing to do with religion, per se; those are people protesting human rights abuses, a cruel and illegal occupation!)

    As for the topic: I suppose anyone can die out. If every atheist and all their children became celibate they might – but atheists want children just like everyone else. Maybe not 17. (Catholic priests are more likely to die out.) Asimov encouraged families, and this was back in the 70s, to have one or two kids. These Irish Catholics with 17 kids. That’s just nuts. (No offense; I love James Joyce.)

    Many religious people (or people who claim to be; I often suspect that many just pretend) practice birth control; and many atheists like having a lot of kids, etc.

    Atheists dying out. An absurd notion. I thought The Independent was a good online news source. Well it’s only one article, and people have to make a living.



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  • Dan #42
    Mar 26, 2017 at 5:41 am

    (By the way, there was a video on the page showing Palestinian rights activists marching with the heading: is “religion dividing London?” Palestinian rights have nothing to do with religion, per se; those are people protesting human rights abuses, a cruel and illegal occupation!)

    I would have thought that a march for any rights of oppressed minorities, shows that (these days), peaceful marches are treated with respect in London, and that that those marching expect to have a significantly large sympathetic audience!



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  • I watched the video, Alan, and the people interviewed said exactly what I would expect them to say: it’s not about religion. And it seemed like it was a peaceful event. So why that ridiculous and stupid heading: “Is religion dividing London”? It’s a loaded, provocative question and that headline shows extremely bad judgment on the part of the editor/writer or whoever. They couldn’t just say: Protest in London for Palestinian Rights” or whatever; they have to have an angle.



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