disarray Posted August 21, 2016 Share Posted August 21, 2016 (edited) No no no.....The argument was that without religion we still have the apeish instincts that account for the conflict and atrocity. My argument is NO. We've evolved secular, modern, liberal democracy, which is a sapient middle finger in the face of our primate, instinctive, tribal nature. Secular, liberal, democracy in its modern form was a product of the Enlightenment, a movement done ENTIRELY by humans which was predicated ENTIRELY on reason and not a single other thing. Get rid of religion, sure, we'll still have the apeish urges, but we'll also have the capacity to override it via reason, which we will most certainly do by this point. Our primate instincts are like a wild dog we are slowly domesticating. At this point, we've basically turned it into a house dog. By and large, if religion dies now, I think our species will carry on the trend of modernity instead of falling back into tribalism and war because we're apes. Even with religion we still keep making substantial progress. We've overcame our barbaric primate past by reasoning ourselves against if (for the most part), religion is the only think left that needs to die. Whoever is telling it that the party ended for it long ago just doesn't seem to have a loud enough voice. Well, you do paint a coherent picture of things. But: My main observation would be to note that Reason and humankind's ability to repress/modify primal/basic/aggressive urges did not just suddenly rear its beautiful head in the period of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a bit of a watershed period, but repression is as old as human civilization. Moreover, as I noted before, religion and its attempts at reason often served to repress basic urges every bit as much as any secular movements did. But I do not share your rosy picture of the present state of affairs. People still have the capacity to quickly regress to the state of being barbarians underneath polite social appearances. Indeed, one thing that shocked the world was to see how (after the great optimism provided by the Enlightenment + Victorian refinement of manners + Industrial revolution + Edwardian era of peace and progress) easily a relatively modern state such as Germany could so easily fall back into good old-fashioned barbarianism (in WWI and particularly in WWII). Someone once said that any society is three meals away from anarchy. Even in the U.S. we have a Presidential candidate who is saying that it would be no holds barred on the use of torture were he to be elected, and, in terms of media response, no one seems to be batting an eyelash about such a prospect. Prejudice and racial violence is still rampant, domestic violence is full swing, bombings continue worldwide, nuclear proliferation has not abated significantly, etc. So no. Don't agree: Religion is just the icing on the cake of aggression. I do agree that many of its beliefs are archaic and many continue (as religion is so conservative) to be espoused today, the most egregious example to my mind being the notion that one has the right to stone a young gal to death for extramarital sex, even if it was a matter of being raped. But again, as Stephen Pinker will tell you, such patriarchal notions did not come from religion; rather, patriarchal religions are the outcome of patriarchal attitudes and beliefs that arose from such things as the male sense of honor that is typically found in herding tribes/societies, an extension of male territoriality common to hominids, concern for family honor in keeping with the market value of brides, etc., etc. Yes, Stephen Pinker also wrote a book in which he claims that civilization is progressing and that human aggression is gradually attenuating, but I don't see that the facts regarding intergroup warfare really support this. People are perhaps more aware of how they should behave, but, as always, biology has the last word: Dr Jekyll may have a new suit of clothes and his manner may be more refined, but Mr. Hyde still runs the show behind the scenes. Edited August 21, 2016 by disarray Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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