Model predicts 'religiosity gene' will dominate society

Jan 28, 2011 By Lisa Zyga feature
A variety of religious symbols. A new study has investigated how the differing fertility rates between religious and secular individuals might affect the genetic evolution of society overall. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(PhysOrg.com) -- In the past 20 years, the Amish population in the US has doubled, increasing from 123,000 in 1991 to 249,000 in 2010. The huge growth stems almost entirely from the religious culture’s high fertility rate, which is about 6 children per woman, on average. At this rate, the Amish population will reach 7 million by 2100 and 44 million by 2150. On the other hand, the growth may not continue if future generations of Amish choose to defect from the religion and if secular influences reduce the birth rate. In a new study, Robert Rowthorn, emeritus professor of economics at Cambridge University, has looked at the broader picture underlying this particular example: how will the high fertility rates of religious people throughout the world affect the future of human genetic evolution, and therefore the biological makeup of society?

Rowthorn has developed a model that shows that the genetic components that predispose a person toward religion are currently “hitchhiking” on the back of the religious cultural practice of high fertility rates. Even if some of the people who are born to religious parents defect from religion and become secular, the religious genes they carry (which encompass other personality traits, such as obedience and conservativism) will still spread throughout society, according to the model’s numerical simulations.

“Provided the fertility of religious people remains on average higher than that of secular people, the genes that predispose people towards religion will spread,” Rowthorn told PhysOrg.com. “The bigger the fertility differential between religious and secular people, the faster this genetic transformation will occur. This does not mean that everyone will become religious. Genes are not destiny. Many people who are genetically predisposed towards religion may in fact lead secular lives because of the cultural influences they have been exposed to.”

The model’s assumptions are based on data from previous research. Studies have shown that, even controlling for income and education, people who are more religious have more children, on average, than people who are secular (defined here as having a religious indifference). According to the World Values Survey for 82 countries, adults attending religious services more than once per week averaged 2.5 children, those attending once per month averaged 2.01 children, and those never attending averaged 1.67 children. The more orthodox the religious sect, the higher the fertility rate, with sects such as the Amish, the Hutterites, and Haredi having up to four times as many children as the secular average. Studies have found that the high fertility rates stem from cultural and social influences by religious organizations rather than biological factors.

But while fertility is determined by culture, an individual’s predisposition toward religion is likely to be influenced by genetics, in addition to their upbringing. In the model, Rowthorn uses a “religiosity gene” to represent the various genetic factors that combine to genetically predispose a person toward religion, whether remaining religious from youth or converting to religion from a secular upbringing. On the flip side, the nonreligiosity allele of this “gene” makes a person more likely to remain or become secular. If both parents have the religiosity allele, their children are also more likely to have the religiosity allele than if one or both parents did not have it. However, children born to religious parents may have the nonreligiosity allele, while children born to secular parents may have the religiosity allele. Having the religiosity allele does not make a person religious, but it makes a person more likely to have characteristics that make them religiously inclined; the converse is also true.

All individuals, whether they have religious or secular upbringings, have a chance of defecting. Rowthorn explained that the rates of defection from religious to secular and from secular to religious preferences depend on time and place.

“Amongst Christian Churches in Europe and North America, defection rates are higher than conversion rates,” he said. “In some cases, such as the Amish, these losses are greatly outweighed by their very high fertility. However, for mainstream Churches, such as the Catholics or Anglicans, the birth rate is not high enough on its own to offset defections and they rely on immigration to maintain their numbers. In certain other parts of the world, such as East Asia, mainstream Christian Churches are growing through conversion.”

Rowthorn’s model shows that, even when the religious defection rate is high, the overall high fertility rate of religious people will cause the religiosity allele to eventually predominate the global society. The model shows that the wide gap in fertility rates could have a significant genetic effect in just a few generations. The model predicts that the religious fraction of the population will eventually stabilize at less than 100%, and there will remain a possibly large percentage of secular individuals. But nearly all of the secular population will still carry the religious allele, since high defection rates will spread the religious allele to secular when defectors have children with a secular partner. Overall, nearly all of the population will have a genetic predisposition toward religion, although some or many of these individuals will lead secular lives, Rowthorn concluded.

“The rate at which religious people abandon their faith affects the eventual share of the population who are religious,” Rowthorn said. “However, it does not alter the conclusion of the article that the religiosity allele will eventually take over. If the defection rate is high, there will be lots of children who are brought up as religious and carry the religiosity allele, but who give up their faith. Such people will carry the religiosity allele into the secular population with them. Many of their descendents will also carry this allele and be secular. In this case, the high fertility group is constantly sending migrants into the low-fertility secular population. Such migrations will simultaneously boost the size of the secular population and transform its genetic composition.”

Rowthorn acknowledges that he can only speculate on how a genetic predisposition toward religion may manifest itself in a secular context. Previous research has suggested that a genetic predisposition toward religion is tied to a variety of characteristics such as conservatism, obedience to authority, and the inclination to follow rituals. In this instance of evolution, it’s possible that these characteristics may become widespread not for their own fitness but by hitching a ride with a high-fitness cultural practice.

Explore further: Everglades trail surveyed for cultural artifacts

More information: Robert Rowthorn. “Religion, fertility and genes: a dual inheritance model.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2010.2504

2.9 /5 (95 votes)

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Davery
4.7 / 5 (45) Jan 28, 2011
Athiests!! Get breeding now, so we can take the world back to reason and science!! :)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (62) Jan 28, 2011
Model predicts 'religiosity gene' will dominate society
No, because long ago Leaders reached this very same conclusion and began designing religions as ways of pitting these people against one another in orderly and constructive ways.

Religionists will continue to fight and kill each other off by Design. Those few individuals who are pragmatic and resourceful enough to escape the quagmire, will survive and propagate more reasonably and within their means.

This has been the Formula for the last few millenia, and the world has gradually gotten saner as a result. Stability and Progress have flourished. Railroads were built and the interstate was constructed.

Does this mean that the amish will battle the hasidic, the hispanic catholic, and the islamists in the vast and fertile plains of central pennsylvania? Perhaps. Anabaptist armageddon.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.4 / 5 (50) Jan 28, 2011
The evangelicals will bring the tents, and jesus himself will cater with fishes and loaves. Thanks phissorg for a nice weekend topic.
Moebius
4.1 / 5 (36) Jan 28, 2011
The more intelligent a person is the more likely they are to have fewer children. An intelligent person is more likely to understand the facts that we are destroying the ecology and we are overpopulated. The smartest people are probably not reproducing even at a replacement rate. I don't know how much of intelligence is actually passed on to offspring, it may not be genetic either in whole or part. It certainly is somewhat by association at the least, smart parents DO have smarter kids.

The point of this diatribe is that our current society may be breeding out intelligence, the less intelligent are definitely having a lot more kids than the replacement rate. If there's a god that said 'go forth and prosper', he didn't mean what we are doing or the devout's interpretation of having as many children as possible.
Palli
4.8 / 5 (13) Jan 28, 2011
Symbols are for suckers!
skajam66
4 / 5 (24) Jan 28, 2011
>> Even if some of the people who are born to religious parents defect from religion and become secular, the religious genes they carry

?? what is that supposed to mean? There are such things as religious genes? What utter nonense.
dogbert
3.3 / 5 (30) Jan 28, 2011
B.S., of course. It should be noted that there is no religiosity gene and neither is there a gene for secularism.

It is instructive to note how frequently highly educated people promote total B.S.

The need/desire to publish apparently overwhelmes any common sense which might otherwise direct behavior into something productive.
Birthmark
3.8 / 5 (10) Jan 28, 2011
Model predicts 'religiosity gene' will dominate society

I highly doubt it, because for one I do not believe it is fully genetic, but highly dependable on the environment you grow up in. Perhaps America is headed toward a more religious state if we don't fix our educational system, food, and government (which they all work in a spiral effect; making Americans more ignorant which deters them from seeing the mess our government and other companies are making).

I have hope however that with the technology age, people will become more educated, and artificial intelligent machines will help us along with personalized genes and brain enhancing technologies. We act as if society is frozen and consistent and by 2100 birth rates and religion will be constant -- they won't be, especially in this up and coming singularity.
SteveL
4.6 / 5 (16) Jan 28, 2011
I for one believe the birth rate for highly religious people has more to do with indoctrination of the predominant religious culture where the expecatation from childhood is to grow up to have a large family. Simply put; if that is what you were raised to know, and what everyone else is in your segment of society is doing - people tend to follow the crowd.

If you reject your religion, you reject many of the other expectations that come with it, including the number of "little miracles" you bring into this world.

I'm not anti-religion, nor am I pro-religion. I don't think anyone's personal choices (like number of children, size of mortgate or charitable contributions - religious or secular) should be my responsibility through tax incentives. I've seen religions do a lot of good, and I've seen them destroy lives. I prefer judging each tree by its own fruit rather than to color all of them with the same brush.
Kingsix
4.8 / 5 (11) Jan 28, 2011
Its not religion that drives the growth of these population, it is culture.
If India was full of Atheists instead of Hindus etc, it would still have its terribly high population growth because it is due to poor farmers having a lot of children to help work the land.
Its a deeper topic due to what happens to those children, but its not because they are religious.
I would hypothesize that the same is true for the Amish, as what do the Amish do? Farm.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (56) Jan 28, 2011
The more intelligent a person is the more likely they are to have fewer children. An intelligent person is more likely to understand the facts that we are destroying the ecology and we are overpopulated.
There are a lot of intelligent people locked into cultures which taught them from birth to serve god and to give him many babies.
If India was full of Atheists instead of Hindus etc, it would still have its terribly high population growth because it is due to poor farmers having a lot of children to help work the land
Those farmers believe in gods which promise to provide for however many babies they can produce, if they remain devoted. Those same types of farmers end up slaughtering each other, as in Burundi and the Sudan. Religion is an integral part of obsolete cultures. Western secular culture can supplant these, but usually not without violence and bloodshed.
Gammakozy
1 / 5 (15) Jan 28, 2011
And the underlying purpose of this is what? Even more importantly, if this trend is viewed as disastrous for the world, then what remedies might the Godless liberals be proposing next. Family planning of course. I can just see the charlatan Al Gore wannabe's imposing the following necessary measures to try to save the world from another phony looming disaster. They might:
Declare the "God gene" as a disease and those carrying it as defective or non-human.
Sterilize all humans carrying the supposed gene. Make in-utero genetic testing mandatory to ensure that only those fetuses with the "God gene" are aborted.
Impose crippling taxes on "God gene" carriers who dare to procreate in defiance of the law and the new world order teachings.

I am sure there are many more "solutions" because liberals are far more creative in such matters than I am.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (56) Jan 28, 2011
And the underlying purpose of this is what? Even more importantly, if this trend is viewed as disastrous for the world, then what remedies might the Godless liberals be proposing next. Family planning of course. ...I am sure there are many more "solutions" because liberals are far more creative in such matters than I am.
And your solution would be to have even more babies to try to outreproduce the other religions, and also to pray harder? Thats what the others are all doing. Which side will god be on the next time you start killing each other because your children are starving?

There is only one solution: give up your god and learn to live within your means. Its the only way you can expect the others to do the same.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
Symbols are for suckers!
Then Adolf Hitler must have been a really big sucker!
verycuriousindeed
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 28, 2011
Pardon my lack of sophistication. I always thought that a fertility rate had to do with a person's ability to conceive. I belive the author is referring to a social (or religious) group's tendency to not prevent conception, when the "seculars," I'll call them, are more likely to try to do so more often. That doesn't mean that their fertility rate is lower. Where is the research that supports the theory of a relogisity gene? Am I reading PhysOrg.com here, or the National Enquirer? This enquiring mind wants to know.
TabulaMentis
1.9 / 5 (12) Jan 28, 2011
B.S., of course. It should be noted that there is no religiosity gene and neither is there a gene for secularism.

It is instructive to note how frequently highly educated people promote total B.S.

The need/desire to publish apparently overwhelmes any common sense which might otherwise direct behavior into something productive.
There is also no gay gene.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (11) Jan 28, 2011
True enough. People are capable of choice.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.4 / 5 (50) Jan 28, 2011
Pardon my lack of sophistication. I always thought that a fertility rate had to do with a person's ability to conceive.
Its a statistic, actual births per capita:

"Births per 1000 women, categorized according to a specific composition of mothers in the population: (1) Crude birth rate: number of live births per 1000 of population. (2) General fertility rate: number of live births per 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 years." -etc.
Pyle
4.4 / 5 (17) Jan 28, 2011
Whoa.
Is there a gay gene? Probably not. Is homosexuality a matter of choice? Generally no.

Is there a complex combination of genetic traits, the cultural environment, and other factors that influence a person's sexual preference? Absolutely.

Don't be ignorant.

Is it likely that genetic traits influence a person's receptiveness to religious ideas, in addition to the person's culture and upbringing? Yes, it is likely, but by no means has it been proven.

Can religions have an influence on the reproduction rate of a population? Yes. Are there other factors that also contribute? Yes.

Again, let's be reasonable and avoid silly arguments with unnecessary hyperbole and semantic quibbling.
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (9) Jan 28, 2011
Athiests!! Get breeding now, so we can take the world back to reason and science!! :)


I've been "practicing" since high school.
VeryEvilDudeofDarkness
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2011
If they are assuming that there is a religiosity gene then that is there mistake. Science doesn't assume anything, This is almost certainly cultural but isn't certain. Let's take a look at one of the most religious places on earth. Europe, well look how it's become over the last 200 years. It's almost entirely secular. Even in the US data suggests that each generation is more secular than the previous. This study probably shouldn't even be on physorg because it's so flawed.
cyberCMDR
2 / 5 (2) Jan 28, 2011
This sounds to me a lot like the plot to "The Marching Morons." Maybe when there are too many of them we can convince them to board rockets to Venus for the free real estate, blanket trees, ham bushes, and soap roots.
SteveL
3.3 / 5 (7) Jan 28, 2011
I think the first option should be for the government to not encourage reproduction with tax deductions or incentives - meanwhile moving our entitlement system away from the present Ponzi scheme retirement "security" programs.

Why should some citizens pay for another's choice to have children? Why should we be further burdening our dependants with our financial security - shouldn't we be responsibile for ourselves? We are already set on leaving them a world with less and less resources. The great society is a criminal farce and we need to reconsider self reliance and self accountability. Presently we cannot "afford" to reduce our population without sending our elders to the chairty line. The social agenda of the last 50 years is bankrupting us.
TheTim
4.1 / 5 (7) Jan 28, 2011
Sounds like nature rebalancing itself...Stronger spreading of "religiousity", at a genetic level, will likely mean an increase in fundamentalism and increased militance.
Over-populated world + fundamentalism + militance = reduced population through religious wars.

Go, Mother Earth, go! Cull this herd!
Vastin
4.5 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
While this makes for an interesting headline, I think there's a more fundamental trait than 'religiosity' at work here. We can relate it back to social structures we see throughout the animal kingdom - namely the tendency in all social animals for a large proportion of the species to be followers rather than leaders or independents.

Organizationally speaking, you need a lot more Indians than Chiefs, so it makes sense that the follower behavior would be the dominant one in a given population. Combine that follower's instinct with the capacity for abstract thought and symbolism and you have a fairly simple formula for the emergent behavior we describe as Religion.

Will genetic selection push us towards a higher proportion of followers to independents? Probably, if our population density continues to grow.

However, if bands with a high proportion of independent thinkers prove much more adept at technology they may forcibly displace those who rely too heavily on followers... Or not.
Vastin
5 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
For those of us with an interest in enabling humanity to live and advance without relying on some form of mythical leadership, the goal is take advantage of this follower behavior - by providing those who need it with a simple, abstract, symbolic philosophy that is easy to follow, but that allows for a bit more social flexibility and that does not undercut rational thought with meaningless dogma and contradictory belief sets.

So, basically religion is an emergent behavior that is NOT going away, because it serves a real need despite its ridiculous mythical underpinnings. All you need to do is create a religion that serves that need - but without the negative baggage. Not a simple order.

On the plus side, L.Ron Hubbard did show us that its pretty damn easy to start a new religion out of nothing - he just saddled us with a fairly terrible one as some kind of bad joke. :P
Vastin
5 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2011
I think the first option should be for the government to not encourage reproduction with tax deductions or incentives - meanwhile moving our entitlement system away from the present Ponzi scheme retirement "security" programs...

...The social agenda of the last 50 years is bankrupting us.


Be careful what you wish for. While I agree with your first statement (don't subsidize children), the latter is a mistake. It is quite well understood that in countries where the government does not help arrange for the care of the sick and elderly, religious organizations will, and in so doing they gain an enormous number of direct converts.

Religion won't just 'go away' if you ignore it and force people to fend for themselves, society needs to structure itself in an intentional way to minimize its importance or IT becomes the overriding social support mechanism, displacing government and private industry alike (see: most of the Middle and Far East)
Skultch
5 / 5 (1) Jan 28, 2011
Will genetic selection push us towards a higher proportion of followers to independents? Probably, if our population density continues to grow.

However, if bands with a high proportion of independent thinkers prove much more adept at technology they may forcibly displace those who rely too heavily on followers... Or not.


You're getting somewhere, but evolution acts way too slowly. I'm not that patient, but I hope I don't have to be. Hopefully the interwebnets will assist enough in getting the atheist word out before it's too late; before the religonuts end the world; before we secularists can finally find the true way to be with each other.
thales
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2011
Why do I get the feeling this research was inspired by the movie "Idiocracy".
Paljor
3.5 / 5 (2) Jan 28, 2011
First there is a gene that has been linked to gayness in humans. second we are overpopulated and no matter how clever we become eventually we will run out of room. third at the last graph i checked the USA was more religious than scientific. and religious people Do have a high birthrate that they need to curb or we will run out of resources like fresh water.
Question
4 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
I think the first option should be for the government to not encourage reproduction with tax deductions or incentives - meanwhile moving our entitlement system away from the present Ponzi scheme retirement "security" programs.

Why should some citizens pay for another's choice to have children? Why should we be further burdening our dependants with our financial security - shouldn't we be responsibile for ourselves? We are already set on leaving them a world with less and less resources. The great society is a criminal farce and we need to reconsider self reliance and self accountability. Presently we cannot "afford" to reduce our population without sending our elders to the chairty line. The social agenda of the last 50 years is bankrupting us.

While most of what you said make sense. But when you allude to Social Security leading us into bankruptcy you couldn't be further from the truth. SS has been running surpluses for decades.
eachus
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 28, 2011
I belong to a Protestant church, where the two strongest characteristics of the members are 1) that we like everyone, including children, and 2) we enjoy singing. I could argue theology with you, but that is not what our church is mostly about. However, if you came to visit on a Sunday, you would find after the service, young children, polite--but not necessarily quiet--enjoying themselves, and talking to the older church members.

Need a babysitter, especially during the day when teenagers are in school? Almost any retired church member would be glad to entertain your children for a few hours. (And entertain themselves during the process. ;-)

Would I raise children without a good church to help? No. Did I raise two wonderful children with the help of the church? Yes. It really made the process of raising (nice) children pleasant, instead of impossible.

Do other religions have other attitudes about raising children? Sure. But this works for me.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2011
SS has been running surpluses for decades

"The SS program paid out more than it took in last year. Their new projection says that it will run a $45 billion deficit this year. "
http:/www.theburningplatform.com/?tag=bankrupt
allenallen
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2011
@skajam66

You are making a claim. That claim is that this study is nonsense. But you also say, you don't understand. Why not read up on genetics a bit before dashing off your claim on how genetics works? You may find some twin studies informative.

Also you refer to "religious genes." No one is saying that genes have a Religion. If they do have one that you know of (you seem to know everything) please let the world know.
Question
3 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2011
SS has been running surpluses for decades

"The SS program paid out more than it took in last year. Their new projection says that it will run a $45 billion deficit this year. "
http:/www.theburningplatform.com/?tag=bankrupt

Half of what you say is true, it paid out more than it took in, but it still ran a surplus because of interest income from its 2.5 trillion accumulated surpluses. Futhermore it was the recession that caused tax revenue deficit last year and for this year it is the 2% payroll tax reduction that will cause the $45 billion tax revenue deficit.
SS will still run a surplus this year when you figure in the interest income on its huge bond holdings!

SS in not responsible for any of the deficit this country has been running for at least the last 25 years!
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 28, 2011
The 'surplus' is owed by the US govt, YOU, the taxpayer, are on the hook to pay that surplus over and above the FICA tax you now pay.
The only wealth any govt has is what it confiscates from its citizens.
TabulaMentis
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2011
First there is a gene that has been linked to gayness in humans. second we are overpopulated and no matter how clever we become eventually we will run out of room. third at the last graph i checked the USA was more religious than scientific. and religious people Do have a high birthrate that they need to curb or we will run out of resources like fresh water.
Please provide a reliable source for the gay gene you claim to exist.
Caliban
5 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2011
Since religions have been around for at least all of recorded history, pretty much globally, and have been in virtually every culture a dominant force for a greater or lesser extent temporally, it seems far more likely that -if there actually were a "religiosity" gene- then we would virtually all be religious.

IMO, this gene simply does not exist. While there may very well be, and probably are, a host of heritable characteristics that predispose one towards a devotional-type personality, there are many things that can displace religion.

IMO, adherence to a religion is far more likely linked to an individual's level of affluence and education, in an inverse relation, although this obviously isn't a hard and fast rule.

Regarding the Amish -it is well-established that the numbers of adherents have waxed and waned over time, mainly in relation to overall opportunity for upward mobility, with numbers increasing in hard times, and decreasing in better.

Caliban
3 / 5 (2) Jan 28, 2011
SS has been running surpluses for decades

"The SS program paid out more than it took in last year. Their new projection says that it will run a $45 billion deficit this year. "
http:/www.theburningplatform.com/?tag=bankrupt

Half of what you say is true, it paid out more than it took in, but it still ran a surplus because of interest income from its 2.5 trillion accumulated surpluses. Futhermore it was the recession that caused tax revenue deficit last year and for this year it is the 2% payroll tax reduction that will cause the $45 billion tax revenue deficit.
SS will still run a surplus this year when you figure in the interest income on its huge bond holdings!

SS in not responsible for any of the deficit this country has been running for at least the last 25 years!


Apologies, Question -meant to rate you 5!
TabulaMentis
2.3 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
The term religiosity gene is misleading.

The most important of all is how a person's brain is wired at birth. As a child grows the wiring of the brain can and does change due to conditioning.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2011
First there is a gene that has been linked to gayness in humans. second we are overpopulated and no matter how clever we become eventually we will run out of room. third at the last graph i checked the USA was more religious than scientific. and religious people Do have a high birthrate that they need to curb or we will run out of resources like fresh water.
Please provide a reliable source for the gay gene you claim to exist.

Homosexuals claim they are born that way.
TabulaMentis
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 28, 2011
Homosexuals claim they are born that way.
Some are and some are not. Homosexuals are Gods' children too just like everyone else and not second class citizens. Got a problem with that or are you just trolling around?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
Some are and some are not.

How do you know?
TabulaMentis
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 28, 2011
How do you know?
That is for you to figure out and to come to terms with, not me!
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
How do you know?
That is for you to figure out and to come to terms with, not me!

You made the claim homosexuality is not genetic. Homosexuals claim their sexuality is not a choice.
Why would they make that claim?
soulman
4.1 / 5 (9) Jan 28, 2011
How do you know?
That is for you to figure out and to come to terms with, not me!

You made the claim homosexuality is not genetic. Homosexuals claim their sexuality is not a choice.
Why would they make that claim?

It certainly isn't a 'choice'. Human sexuality spans a spectrum from straight to gay to asexual. This does not mean a gene is involved (none have been found). There are other possibilities, like hormonal chemistry in the womb which may have developmental epigenetic effects. Bottom line, no one knows for sure, but to assume that sexuality is a simple binary 'choice' is ridiculous.
MathieuHamaekers
2.8 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
'religiosity gene ???? This the greatest unscientific nonsence I have ever heard in my life. Religion is given to the new generations by transferring psychological values and behaviour trough contact between the parents and there children. The concept of a religiosity gene' is absolutely unscientific. Maybee hardcore materialists who see humans as biological robots with no own mind and no will of there own eat this kind of soulless discription of the inner life and behaviour of his own species. This fanatic genetic worldview of some scientists looks more like a religion with no prove and a lot of hollow theory's, once succesfull in the last century. And we all know how that ended
MartinCJ
3 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2011
Its hard to believe that any serious journal would publish this paper. I reads like a simple minded Victorian early statistician, carried away with half understood Darwinism, whose never heard of sociology or anthropology. Get real!
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2011
Moebius:"It certainly is somewhat by association at the least, smart parents DO have smarter kids.
The point of this diatribe is that our current society may be breeding out intelligence, the less intelligent are definitely having a lot more kids than the replacement rate."
You're a eugenicist and sound like Josef Goebbels. I can't believe that you think that YOU'RE intelligent. You're a stupid racist, pure and simple.
And the rest of you, proselytizing atheism, you're as obnoxious as the Vatican. You should believe in God, you shouldn't believe in God, who the fuck are any of you to dictate what people should believe?
Mira_Musiclab
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2011
Yeah, I've seen enough..

homophobia, political trolling, stereotyping, religious and secular agendas...

Just like this article, there's no real science here. No worthwhile discussion, just a bunch of armchair quarterbacks looking for self glorification.

And as such, I'll be deleting my account, and my bookmarks. There were some kind people out here and I'm gratefull for that. But I've seen quite enough.

Goodbye, Physorg.
Egleton
1 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2011
I get my conformational bias reinforced by this article.
"I hold it to be a self evident truth that no two humans are equal by any measure at all."

Humans are a work in progress. Some are more fit for survival than others.

I would wager that bigger brains will win out, because we have no other strong suite. (Even if the big brains are only used to rationalise their stupidity.)
However, evolution is a random walk, so nothing is given.
PS3
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2011
don't hate on the amish they build good sheds and grow good veggies.
thingumbobesquire
1 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2011
"Be fruitful and multiply (especially at those tent revivals!)"
thingumbobesquire
1 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2011
My model predicts increasing amounts of imbecilic "research" in order to inveigle grants from the suckers.
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2011
I'd love to see more study done into the "spreadsheet genes," "golf genes," and "pizza genes." And whatever else people think there are genes for. Geesh, please. It's as bad as the Guinness Book of Any Record You Can Make Up, or the Olympic Games where ANYTHING is an athletic event that you can win medals for.
Blakut
1 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2011
There was a time when 100% of the world's population was made up of religious people. Only in the last decades has the non-religious middle class appeared. So i doubt this has something to do with a religious gene.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2011
There was a time when 100% of the world's population was made up of religious people.
That's inaccurate.

I think the model is flawed. As our societies become more complex and our technological needs become more and more paramount, the religous will be left behind unless their religion changes or becomes of less import in their lives.

We can see now that the more religious someone is in America, the less applicable skills they have in modern industrialized societies on average.
The Amish are a prime example. With some of the more fundamental sects utilizing equipment from 200 years ago to farm their productive output puts an upper limit on the population they can support.

This will make groups like the "quiver full" movement more and more economically destitute. Once they can't afford large families, they'll have fewer children as their innate survival mechanisms will kick in.

Natural selection works on ideology as well as biological systems.
MorituriMax
3 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2011
Wasn't there a quote somewhere, basically, "The more we know the less need we have for a God to explain an event or phenomena."
dogbert
1 / 5 (9) Jan 29, 2011
Wasn't there a quote somewhere, basically, "The more we know the less need we have for a God to explain an event or phenomena."


That or a paraphrase of it is a common expression of the atheist community. Since human beings have never depended on any god to explain phenomena, the phrase is as meaningless as it is condescending.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2011
That or a paraphrase of it is a common expression of the atheist community. Since human beings have never depended on any god to explain phenomena, the phrase is as meaningless as it is condescending.
Actually, that was LaPlace, and he was a religious skeptic but not an atheist.

The statement "I had no need of (a creator) hypothesis." was said to Napoleon when the two were reviewing LaPlace's book on the mechanics of the solar system.

As for condescention, the majority of people depend on religion to explain reality, otherwise it wouldn't be such a large portion of each mythos.
dogbert
1 / 5 (8) Jan 29, 2011
The comment was on the order of "When we have more understanding [of technology, science, etc.], we won't need a god to explain things".

Since no god spends his/her time explaining science or technology, my comment on the meaningless and condescending nature of the expression was correct.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2011
Since no god spends his/her time explaining science or technology, my comment on the meaningless and condescending nature of the expression was correct.
The religious use their god to explain reality. Science is the use of observation and reason to explain reality. The two are in contrast.

Beyond that you discount Udayism, which is the perversion of science through stating a holy scripture already pre-explained a scientific discovery.

The only condescention here is yours.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2011
Robert Rowthorn is a professor of economics. That there alone should tell us he may not know what he is talking about when it comes to genetics, biology, physics, medicine, etc., etc., etc..
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2011
Since no god spends his/her time explaining science or technology, my comment on the meaningless and condescending nature of the expression was correct.
There are a few interesting nuggets of information pertaining to science in religious texts that someone has been trying to tell us.

But before anyone asks, I do not wish to share what those big juicy nuggets are.
dogbert
1 / 5 (8) Jan 29, 2011
TabulaMentis,
There are a few interesting nuggets of information pertaining to science in religious texts ...


Absolutely. Such as Job's knowledge that the world was hung "upon nothing" and that there was no land at the north pole. But people do not normally expect scientific data from their gods.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2011
Such as Job's knowledge that the world was hung "upon nothing."
Looks like Job made a mistake there because from nothing comes nothing, but his point has been well received in the science community.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2011
But before anyone asks, I do not wish to share what those big juicy nuggets are.
They don't exist.
Absolutely. Such as Job's knowledge that the world was hung "upon nothing" and that there was no land at the north pole.
Bullshit.
Looks like Job made a mistake there because from nothing comes nothing.
Then where did your god come from?

Apologists and misologists need not apply.

damn it physorg, you've done it again. Get ready for a several hundred comment article.
VeryEvilDudeofDarkness
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2011
But before anyone asks, I do not wish to share what those big juicy nuggets are.
They don't exist.
Absolutely. Such as Job's knowledge that the world was hung "upon nothing" and that there was no land at the north pole.
Bullshit.
Looks like Job made a mistake there because from nothing comes nothing.
Then where did your god come from?

Apologists and misologists need not apply.

damn it physorg, you've done it again. Get ready for a several hundred comment article.

In science we have something called falsifiability, I don't need to explain to you were god comes from.
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2011
The comment was on the order of "When we have more understanding [of technology, science, etc.], we won't need a god to explain things".

Since no god spends his/her time explaining science or technology, my comment on the meaningless and condescending nature of the expression was correct.


No, your comprehension of the expression was simply very poor.

What it was referring to is also pretty well known as the "god of the gaps". It goes like this: There is a gap in our knowledge, something we do not understand. The things in this gap are best explained as acts of God.

Note that it is not saying "God will talk to us and explain the gap" - but that the gap is itself explained by the existence of god.

The natural follow-on is that as our knowledge grows, the gaps shrink, as does our need to explain the gap away by saying "god did it".

Simples.
dogbert
1 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2011
PaulieMac,
You are certainly welcome to worship the gap god.

I don't.
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2011
No - I'm more of an Invisible Pink Unicorn kinda guy, personally ;-)
Sean_W
2.6 / 5 (7) Jan 29, 2011
These folk seem to know a lot about this religious gene or genes. Might they enlighten us as to which chromosome they discovered it on? Please? Maybe just a hint?

If this "previous research" suggested that it leads people to be prone to rituals and obedience, it might very well have given the carriers a survival benefit in tribal societies but if that benefit no longer exists in complex societies full of con-artists and cults, then the only advantage the supposed gene confers is to make the carrier more likely to be part of a culture which promotes large families.
Sean_W
2.6 / 5 (7) Jan 29, 2011
But the evidence shows that when cultures become prosperous, the more religious and conservative populations actually fall behind in fertility. Southern Europe with its Catholics have lower total fertility rates than more liberal (socially) Northern Europeans. Theirs are actually rising. Other states with very low fertility rates? Conservative, and ritualistic new Asian economies and patriarchal Russia. Even Islamic states see fertility drops when female literacy grows, especially if their education is not coupled with opportunities outside the home since it then takes longer to get the woman to marry but they don't contribute to the mortgage and getting the family to the point where they can afford to want more kids.

Social conservativism and religiosity increases fertility for the Amish and Islamic herds (but then leaves their kids unvaccinated) but it loses its advantage after one or two generations in an advanced economy.
Au-Pu
3 / 5 (10) Jan 29, 2011
Religiosity gene, What a load of crap.
All religion is a process of indoctrination and it starts from birth before the child has developed any reasoning ability.
A quote attributed to Saint Francis Xavier says it all
"Give me the child till 7 and I will give you the man"
Or as Saint Ignatius is alleged to have said.
"Give me the child and I will mould you the man"
That says it all.
maxcypher
1 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2011
The difference between 'consciousness work' and 'religiosity' helps one realize the futility of this study.
bob456789
4 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2011
Amish pay no taxes and fight no wars.
They contribute little to the general welfare of the the state.
I personally like the Amish lifestyle and self reliance, however
without some form of protection from others they would not exist.
jrsm
not rated yet Jan 29, 2011
Maybe its a gene for following blindly behind those persons who postulate they have the truth. You don't need genetics to explain this. You will probably find that the birth rate in the Amish society has not changed; it is the society around where the birth rate has decreased. So what genetics are in place then. Maybe there is a sophistication and complex lifestyle gene that is responsible for a reduced birth rate; a lethal gene by all counts that will result in the Amish taking over the world........ It is amazing what drivel passes for science these days.
Mandan
5 / 5 (2) Jan 30, 2011
It is highly likely that the large numbers of religious fanatics killed during the Crusades and the various wars between the Protestants and Catholics in the 16th/17th centuries culminating in the bloody Thirty Years War created an imbalance in favor of that polygenic-based phenotype able to question the belief systems which brought so much blood down upon the world, paving the way for the Age of Enlightenment in northwestern Europe, the Scientific Revolution, and the emergence of political systems capable of recognizing that diversity and varieties of beliefs held by the citizenry were not impediments to the functioning of society, but benefits.

Ironically, now that it has been several centuries since wars have been fought over religious doctrine, the genotypes which tend towards fanaticism and blind obedience to authority have regained their numbers-- through the very process described in this study-- and now it appears we are entering a period in which history begins repeating.
LAG
5 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2011
Hmm, so a belief in something, including a future presumably, is a trait found in reproducers. And non-belief (including in any attractive sort of future) corresponds more frequently to those who do not produce off-spring. What a shock!

Two things about this 'study.' First this is a model that purports to explain something in terms that may or may not have any reality in fact. As Dr. Jerry McGuire once said, 'show me the data.'

Second, this is not even new. Korean War POW studies and other similar material has shown that belief in a deity or higher power among groups undergoing significant stress provides a benefit to survival.

Who's surprised that self-absorption and disbelief in some form of immortality, accurate or not, leads to elimination from the gene pool.

It should be noted, too, for those who see this as a trait favoring the unintelligent that there's not guarantee nature cares about intelligence--just reproduction.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2011
@PauliMac:
What it was referring to is also pretty well known as the "god of the gaps". It goes like this: There is a gap in our knowledge, something we do not understand. The things in this gap are best explained as acts of God.

Note that it is not saying "God will talk to us and explain the gap" - but that the gap is itself explained by the existence of god.

The natural follow-on is that as our knowledge grows, the gaps shrink, as does our need to explain the gap away by saying "god did it".

Simples.
Then have your Gap God explain how everything came from nothing?

If and when you are able to figure out that everything did not come from nothing then you will have several choices.

Of those choices you will then need to choose one that fits your model.

That is where the math to your Gap God will not add-up.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2011
No, YOU have a gap god. Science is content to say "I don't know yet" and continue to do research. The scientific method works because it can be assembled piecemeal, and it doesn't make any impossible claims; it doesn't have to account for everything immediately.

There is evidence that we will be able to brew up life from the lab in the near future, which indicates we'll solve this mystery and push your god further into the gaps.
dogbert
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 30, 2011
There is evidence that we will be able to brew up life from the lab in the near future ...


Actually, there is no evidence that we will be able to "brew up" life. We know nothing about the beginning of life on this planet. Nothing does not constitute evidence of anything.
MorituriMax
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 30, 2011
Then have your Gap God explain how everything came from nothing?

If and when you are able to figure out that everything did not come from nothing then you will have several choices.

So where did God come from? If I recall correctly, the Bible does not say where God came from, just that he suddenly created everything from nothing. Oh wait, people keep saying that is impossible.

So to sum up:
1) where did god come from?
2) where did the universe he/it/she made come from?

PS seems to me that the religious types do the whole "it came from nothing" too, they just label it with "god" whereas science labels it with "big bang," and so far the only evidence for any of it comes from science.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2011
MorituriMax,

1) where did god come from?
2) where did the universe he/it/she made come from?


I believe the standard scientific answer to #1 is that anything which happened prior to the creation of this universe cannot be known.

As to #2:
1) If your view that there was no God involved, then you have no answer.
2) If your view is that God created the universe, then you have no answer.

Either way, you do not know where the substance of the universe "came from".
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2011
Then have your Gap God explain how everything came from nothing?

If and when you are able to figure out that everything did not come from nothing then you will have several choices.

Of those choices you will then need to choose one that fits your model.

That is where the math to your Gap God will not add-up.


Au contraire... Your response demonstrates precisely what the God Of the Gaps conjecture is talking about. There is a gap in our knowledge - in your example, the origin of the universe, to paraphrase. Therefore, _insert_god_of_choice_here_
must be responsible.

On an aside: it is not 'my' god. I seem to have misplaced mine ;)
SteveL
not rated yet Jan 30, 2011
- meanwhile moving our entitlement system away from the present Ponzi scheme retirement "security" programs.


While most of what you said make sense. But when you allude to Social Security leading us into bankruptcy you couldn't be further from the truth. SS has been running surpluses for decades.


My point is that such programs depend on many people contributing to support those in the retirement program. While on the face this seems a goodly thing - in reality it depends on and requires an every increasing population of tax paying workers. Most people in my generation know that they cannot depend on Social Security being there for them when they retire. The solution? We invest in our own retirement. If SS is still solvent, then great. Otherwise, I'm still good. Self reliance and sufficient planning is the solution. The only reason the SS system has been solvent so far is because of the success of the "Baby Boomers". What happens when they start retiring?
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2011
Where do you get the ass to tell anybody anything about class or who the hell's got it or what she typifies? You shouldn't even be in the same room with her, you pompous celibate . . . You're totally full of shit! You're all full of shit."
- Jack Nicholson/"Five Easy Pieces"
MorituriMax
2.2 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2011
dogbert opined, "I believe the standard scientific answer to #1 is that anything which happened prior to the creation of this universe cannot be known."


No, that should more correctly be stated:
'I believe the standard scientific answer to #1 is that anything which happened prior to the creation of this universe cannot be known [YET].'
Mastoras
5 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2011
This is nonsense. There is no religious gene.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2011
Mandan: "Ironically, now that it has been several centuries since wars have been fought over religious doctrine"
Are you forgetting Ireland, or was that just a skirmish?
TabulaMentis
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 30, 2011
@PauliMac:
On an aside: it is not 'my' god. I seem to have misplaced mine ;)
And so you have filled in the blanks with nothing!

I already know the answer, but like I have said before, I do not work for free.

For the time being I will enjoy all of the ranting for entertainment.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2011
Mandan: "Ironically, now that it has been several centuries since wars have been fought over religious doctrine"
Are you forgetting Ireland, or was that just a skirmish?
Humans' are a greedy bunch, it does not matter what the hell they believe.
VeryEvilDudeofDarkness
not rated yet Jan 30, 2011
Mandan: "Ironically, now that it has been several centuries since wars have been fought over religious doctrine"
Are you forgetting Ireland, or was that just a skirmish?
Humans' are a greedy bunch, it does not matter what the hell they believe.

Greedy wouldn't be the word I would use, more like self preserving and resource based.
Question
3.6 / 5 (8) Jan 30, 2011
SteveL: Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, it is an insurance program.
Yes SS is solvent it has a surplus of about 2.5 trillion dollars.
And the very reason this surplus was built up was to pay for the Baby Boomers retirement.
To cut the benefits of these Baby Boomer would be nothing short of a fraud. After all they have been paying an extra SS tax for years to build up this surplus.
Finally all this talk about cutting SS to help balance the budget is just a big LIE.
SS has not been responsible for any of the present deficit or any of the accumulated debt of the Federal government.


Question
2.8 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2011
Continued: Social Security does not require an ever increasing younger population to support it, that is just nonsense.
Have you ever heard of increased productivity? Productivity has increased by about 75% since 1980. That is what raises everyone's standard of living, or at least it should. Everyone should share in this including retirees!
You can have a decrease in the supporting population that has a 75% increase in productivity and support an increasing retired population.
With a 75% increase in productivity we should be talking about LOWERING the retirement age and increasing the SS benefits!

Telekinetic
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2011
Mandan: "Ironically, now that it has been several centuries since wars have been fought over religious doctrine"
Telekinetic: Are you forgetting Ireland, or was that just a skirmish? TabulaMentis:"Humans' are a greedy bunch, it does not matter what the hell they believe."
I was referring to the Irish Protestant/Catholic conflict that lasted for over a decade. It was war. Remember kneecapping? A lot more painful than Ireland's recent economic collapse, which you must've thought I meant.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2011
Actually, there is no evidence that we will be able to "brew up" life. We know nothing about the beginning of life on this planet. Nothing does not constitute evidence of anything.

"Nothing" sure works for you in regards to your belief in a god.

Look up research being done on synthetic proteins recently. It's evidence that we will be able to create life; it's at very least more evidence than what's provided by "'cause the bible says". You once again make the assumption that if we can't do something now, it remains forever the realm of deities. Yet we all keep seeing that realm recede into the background.

dogbert
1 / 5 (8) Jan 30, 2011
Terrible_Bohr,

I point out that your claim that there is evidence that we will soon be able to "brew up life" is false because there is no evidence and we have no idea how life began.

Rather than admit your error, you accuse me of making an assumption that we cannot do something we have not yet done and that I somehow claim that this is "forever in the realm of deities". Of course, I never said any such thing.

But you did claim that there was evidence that we will soon "brew up life".

When you are just spouting nonsense and someone points out that you are spouting nonsense, rather than spout more nonsense, why not either admit you are spouting nonsense or at least stop spouting?

To restate, we do not know how life started and therefore have no expectation that we can duplicate that unknown process. To say otherwise is to be disingenuous.
hippieland_net
5 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2011
Your telling me there's a gene religiosity. Naw. Thats just stupid.
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (1) Jan 31, 2011
And so you have filled in the blanks with nothing!


Exactly. As time passes the gaps we know of shrink, via the acquisition of knowledge, and intruiging new gaps are revealed. Well, as long as a few curious souls reject the temptation to say "magical sky man did it", that is!

I already know the answer, but like I have said before, I do not work for free.


Ahh yes, that's right, I had forgotten you... You're the one with all the answers, as revealed to you by "The Ancients", isn't that how it goes? -And you are simply awaiting the appropriate commercial circumstances to free we poor deluded ones of our ignorance?

Yeahhhh... Umm... Good luck with that, mate :)
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jan 31, 2011
Rather than admit your error, you accuse me of making an assumption that we cannot do something we have not yet done and that I somehow claim that this is "forever in the realm of deities". Of course, I never said any such thing.

But you did claim that there was evidence that we will soon "brew up life".

When you are just spouting nonsense and someone points out that you are spouting nonsense, rather than spout more nonsense, why not either admit you are spouting nonsense or at least stop spouting?

So you've never heard of Shostak, Miller, Urey, Venter, Menor, Salvan, Bahadur, or Sen?

I'd suggest you read their work before you state that we don't understand how life came to be. We're quite close to understanding many of the fundamental processes.
soulman
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 31, 2011
I point out that your claim that there is evidence that we will soon be able to "brew up life" is false because there is no evidence and we have no idea how life began.

That is one avenue of research - abiogenisis. However we don't need to know how life started in order produce synthetic life, another words, to 'brew up life'.
clypeus
5 / 5 (1) Jan 31, 2011
thales:
Why do I get the feeling this research was inspired by the movie "Idiocracy".


The good one! Cheers
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2011
@VeryEvilDudeofDarkness:
Greedy wouldn't be the word I would use, more like self preserving and resource based.
From your user name alone, I can see the trinity of evil is alive and well.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2011
@Terrible_Bohr:
Look up research being done on synthetic proteins recently. It's evidence that we will be able to create life.
And someday when we are able to create our own universe, if God willing, the people inside will be saying there is no god.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2011
@PaulieMac:
Ahh yes, that's right, I had forgotten you... You're the one with all the answers, as revealed to you by The Ancients, isn't that how it goes? And you are simply awaiting the appropriate commercial circumstances to free we poor deluded ones of our ignorance?
No. I plan to use the funds and technology to rule the world, and to free myself from blood suckers like you.

@Soulman:
That is one avenue of research - abiogenisis.
Do you remember Andrew Crosse and how he inspired Mary Shelly to write the book Frankenstein.
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2011
@PaulieMac:
Ahh yes, that's right, I had forgotten you... You're the one with all the answers, as revealed to you by The Ancients, isn't that how it goes? And you are simply awaiting the appropriate commercial circumstances to free we poor deluded ones of our ignorance?
No. I plan to use the funds and technology to rule the world, and to free myself from blood suckers like you.



Ahh - 'bloodsucker'? Well argued, that man... Your rapier-like wit has pierced me, to the quick I say!

I shall watch your climb to riches and power with a certain degree of interest.. Umm - when did you say you would begin this giddy ascent?

Must be quite difficult, sitting on the answer to life, the universe, and everything, and needing to keep mum, the better - apparently - to maximise your profit. To think that it has been revealed only to you! How very... "Special" you must be.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2011
@ dogbert:
Nonsense? I referred to valid scientific work. Do you need links to research papers? I only didn't provide one because I assumed you wouldn't read it. Dude, I can get you a link.

I'm not being nonsensical. You're being ignorant of current scientific work.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (4) Jan 31, 2011
@Terrible_Bohr:
Look up research being done on synthetic proteins recently. It's evidence that we will be able to create life.
And someday when we are able to create our own universe, if God willing, the people inside will be saying there is no god.

We're just building proteins right now. Who knows if we'll ever be able to create whole universes. It would be far in the future, at a point which -- I hope -- people will have gotten rid of the crutch that is religion. But whether or not religion will still be practiced at that time, it still won't be supported be evidence.

Good for those hypothetical doubters!
Markr1957
not rated yet Jan 31, 2011
In one respect science supports one of the basic tenets of what has become Christianity - that breeding at the insane rates Christians do will inevitably lead to over-population, and that over-population will lead to some kind of Armageddon. The pity of it is that Yeshua (Jesus to the ignorant) spent 3 years trying to destroy religion and make people see where breeding like religions told them to would get them - that's why chastity and abstinence was so popular back then.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2011
@PaulieMac:

Where did you say the universe came from? Again, you atheists seem to have all the answers, except for the answers.

Any money I make, it will be from hard work. Do you work for free?
Zanatose
1 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
One question: How do determine which beliefs are religious and which are secular? Last time I checked, life has no secular purpose so it could be argued that all beliefs are religious. (Human Rights:Liberals::God:Conservatives)

Over-population is largely a myth because economic theory states that increased population leads to increased technology which allows resources to be used more efficiently, resulting in increased standard of living. I site all of human history to support this. (more pop = higher living standard).

The problem isn't the number of people but that the wrong ones are having children.

One of the greatest ironies here is that Christians, with no understanding of evolution, properly regulated sex/marriage to stop the least fit from out-breeding us while modern secularists basically pay the least fit to breed like bunnies (social welfare state), while at the same time decreasing the need for children amongst the elite (Social Security, Medicare).
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
@PaulieMac:

Where did you say the universe came from?

I didn't. That would be a gap in human knowledge. I for one am comfortable with there being such gaps. Are you operating under the impression that 'we atheists' think that humanity has sufficient knowledge at its current disposal to answer every question about the universe? I've never heard anyone imply such a thing - and if I did, I'd think them a fool.

Again, you atheists seem to have all the answers, except for the answers.


OK, so, you are saying that since there is something we have not (yet) the knowledge to explain, that _insert_god_name_here_ must have done it? So, now you are arguing *for* the god of the gaps? :)

PaulieMac
5 / 5 (5) Feb 01, 2011

Any money I make, it will be from hard work. Do you work for free?

So, you have at your disposal the 'secrets of existence' as revealed *only* to you, by 'The Ancients'... But can't figure out how to monetize it?? In repayment for the entertainment value that concept gives me, I'll give you some advice. Write a book. Go on the talkshow circuit. Grant exclusive interviews to the highest bidder.

Should be easy, given the extraordinary nature of the secret knowledge you have been granted, to pile up a few million just by doing those few things! Royalties will keep it rolling in for years. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! Prizes - the Nobel perhaps? Consultancy fees. Motivational speaking (quite an earner I hear). Directorships! Honorary chairs!

The world is your oyster, mate. What are you waiting for??
SecularAbortionFanatic
1.9 / 5 (9) Feb 01, 2011
How do you guys look yourselves in the mirror when you go around acting so smart yet are so naive, ignorant and stupid?

Christians built the universities that led to your god 'science' (which you now do sloppily but still call science because you guys all come together for your religious services where you agree that it's ok to murder your children in the womb but "DON'T HAVE DANGEROUS CHRISTIAN BELIEFS CAUSE US "SMART GUYS" WILL CALL YOU STUPID AND TELL YOU YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT EVOLUTION EVEN IF WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT".

The guy who coined the term "big bang theory" was a Catholic priest, the leading geneticist in the world is an Evangelical Christian. Galileo, Newton, Pascal, Davinci, Michaelangelo, all devout Christians (and that's just the list of names you smart guys will actually know).
All the other atheist scientists were reared in thoroughly Christian societies (whatever they say when they put on their dresses and curse Christians).

:)
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (9) Feb 01, 2011
How do you guys look yourselves in the mirror when you go around acting so smart yet are so naive, ignorant and stupid?


Well, I wouldn't normally bother responding to out and out nutjob rants - but hey, this guy looks like fun :)


Christians built the universities that led to your god 'science'


The history of science is a long one, reaching far back into antiquity. The mesopotamians, for instance, may have pipped Pythagoras to the post by thousands of years. The babylonians were excellent astronomers. The ancient egyptians developed scientific empiricism - some 1500 years BC. Then there were the Greeks, of course. The prolific and brilliant Indian mathematicians.

And that's not even touching on the incredibly rich intellectual history of China, nor the significant and important role of the Muslim world - particularly though the European Dark Ages.

So claiming science, as a whole, as a 'Christian' invention? That's a bit rich, wouldn't you admit?
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (8) Feb 01, 2011
Christians built the universities that led to your god 'science' [snip pointless rantings]
The guy who coined the term "big bang theory" was a Catholic priest, the leading geneticist in the world is an Evangelical Christian. Galileo, Newton, Pascal, Davinci, Michaelangelo, all devout Christians (and that's just the list of names you smart guys will actually know).


And? I could enumerate the names of many great thinkers through the ages, each of which subscribed to a different belief system. The fact that Pythagoras may have believed that Zeus rules the universe says what, exactly?

All the other atheist scientists were reared in thoroughly Christian societies

What - all of them? Every single one in the history of science? To that I would respond - rubbish.

You spout nonsense. What's more, were every word verified as the truth, it would make exactly zero contribution to the conversation.
lengould100
5 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
I'm optimistic. Very shortly pretty much everyone worldwide will have figured out that religion is simply a scam in support of (commonly) corrupt priesthoods.
allenallen
5 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
"Be fruitful and multiply "


We could have hung a big "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" sign on that one about a thousand years ago.
Paljor
5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
Actully only a couple hundred. And we do need to keep our population down. because no matter how advanced we get there is only so much space and eventually we WILL RUN OUT OF SPACE. (eventually is not in the next five minuets for you doubters)
Skeptic i agree this will be a couple hundred post article. This also seems to be bordering on the one article about how "intelligent people have behaviors that are a novel in evolution", anyone remember that?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
@PaulieMac:

I was thinking more of in the billions! God is good!
stevie68a
5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
Freud called religion "a mental illness". I call it a delusion. For all the symbols you
show, every one thinks that theirs is the "truth". Most people are religious because
they were brainwashed into believing it with their whole being as children.
Religion is trickery, superstition and shame. You can be a good person without it.
Teach ethics. There are websites that discuss how god is imaginary. Research it.
Telekinetic
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 01, 2011
Jewish Nobelists: Chemistry (31 prize winners, 20% of world total, 27% of US total)
Economics (28 prize winners, 42% of world total, 55% of US total)
Literature (13 prize winners, 12% of world total, 27% of US total)
Peace (9 prize winners, 9% of world total, 10% of US total)4
Physics (47 prize winners, 25% of world total, 36% of US total)
Physiology or Medicine (53 prize winners, 27% of world total, 40% of US total)
Well, whaddya know?
Telekinetic
1.8 / 5 (12) Feb 01, 2011
Many of you posters are so vituperative toward religion, it's as if you were molested by a priest.
If that's the case, I can understand the furiousness of your hatred. But if that's not the case, and you were to enter someone's home, would you ask them to remove a religious icon from the wall because it offends you? Or if a neighbor, distraught from some personal tragedy and was asking you for solace, and began praying, would you insist that they stop their babbling? There is an inherent respect one must show to the belief systems of others. Atheism is also a belief system.


Pyle
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 01, 2011
There is an inherent respect one must show to the belief systems of others.

Why? Not that I go around insulting people's belief system. I see no reason why superstitious nonsense shouldn't be called out for what it is. Ignorance can be cured.

Atheism is also a belief system.

Not so. I don't believe there isn't a God. I am thoroughly convinced by a preponderance of evidence that a supernatural creator isn't necessary. I can be convinced otherwise if I were provided with evidence that one existed. Belief has nothing to do with it. Semantics, but an important distinction.
Faith is believing in something despite a lack of evidence for it. I don't suffer from it.

The root of my animosity towards western religions is their attitude towards people who don't share their delusions and their desire to force their beliefs on others or to exterminate them.
soulman
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 01, 2011
...enter someone's home, would you ask them to remove a religious icon from the wall because it offends you?

Of course not, it's not my home, it's theirs. Asking them to do so would be ridiculous, not to mention rude.
Or if a neighbor, distraught from some personal tragedy and was asking you for solace, and began praying, would you insist that they stop their babbling?

Again, that would be rude and insensitive, so no.
There is an inherent respect one must show to the belief systems of others.

Bullshit. If it's crap it's crap. The only thing that's relevant is context, as in the above two cases. It makes moral sense to be sympathetic to others when the situation calls for it.
Atheism is also a belief system.

More bullshit.
Telekinetic
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 01, 2011
@pyle:
I understand your resentment of the imposition of Western religious values on others, but I think the real enemy is capitalism, that uses religion and militarism to reinforce its legitimacy. Just follow the money, and the people who are the most amused by the "believing" masses have Swiss bank accounts. However, that doesn't prove that those who "believe" are fools, they just don't necessarily worship gold.
In fact, many believers distrust the "churches" of their respective religions, and speak of the spirituality they seek. And I think that's a big part of the human experience, because life is not a set of variables that must fit formulaically.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2011
Atheism is also a belief system.
No, it's a lack of a belief system based on theism.

Religion is submission. I'd do less of that in my life if I were you.
Telekinetic
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 01, 2011
So all religions, including the non-aggressive, non-proselytizing ones have gotta go? In a place like the Soviet Union, where religious freedom was aggressively discouraged, were the people more enlightened without the dreaded "opiate of the masses?" I think there's a rigidity in your stance, that may have blinded you to the concept of acceptance.

soulman
4 / 5 (8) Feb 01, 2011
So all religions, including the non-aggressive, non-proselytizing ones have gotta go?

That would be preferable.
Soviet Union, where religious freedom was aggressively discouraged, were the people more enlightened without the dreaded "opiate of the masses?"

No, but they went around it the wrong way. The solution isn't to ban religion by decree, but to educate the masses in critical thinking and evidence based mechanisms. That, however, is a much, much harder task.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (3) Feb 01, 2011
Actually, the Soviets did a much better job at educating their citizenry than the U.S.- An amazing number of engineers, researchers, doctors- highly
empirical by nature, but still not emotionally free.
The end of religion will not end human suffering, violence or self-destructive behavior.
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
@PaulieMac:

I was thinking more of in the billions! God is good!


Don't you mean- "MAMMON is good"? last I heard, you had a camel's chance of passing through the eye of a needle of getting your final reward in the sweet by m by -possibly as a consequence of pursuing that reward in the here and now.

Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
But if that's not the case, and you were to enter someone's home, would you ask them to remove a religious icon from the wall because it offends you? Or if a neighbor, distraught from some personal tragedy and was asking you for solace, and began praying, would you insist that they stop their babbling?

I just want them to stop posting religious explainations here. This is a SCIENCE website.

As for the Soviets, they sure pushed dogma pretty hard upon their citizens. It wasn't the glorification of a god, but rather of the Party. This sort of blind devotion has to go to eliminate suffering and violence. (provided it can be done) Religion isn't the only place it exists, but all will have to be completely abandoned in the process.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2011
Don't you mean- "MAMMON is good"? last I heard, you had a camel's chance of passing through the eye of a needle of getting your final reward in the sweet by m by -possibly as a consequence of pursuing that reward in the here and now.
There is nothing dishonest going on here, only hard work!
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (7) Feb 02, 2011
@PaulieMac:

By the way, what I would like the funds for the most is to purchase eavesdropping detection equipment that can cost upwards to $100,000.00 in total to find those nasty bugs that the perverts in the news media, government officials, the rich, famous and insiders have using to get the goods on me for when I make my big debut. The Internet will prove to be a wonderful invention for them. Oh yeah, even the Christians got involved years ago thinking they had the Antichrist by the tail. It should be a lot of fun. I cannot wait to finish something after all the losses and setups. And I just cannot wait to see what happens in 2060, or sooner, when all of this future technology stuff becomes possible. Funny what a person has to go through these days to become immortal here on earth. Actually, the agnostics and atheists have not been all that bad, only the very twisted ones! Now the U.S.A. is almost bankrupt. I wonder why?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2011
What the fuck are you talking about?
hush1
3 / 5 (4) Feb 02, 2011
You are not 'ready' for yourselves, are you?
Your 'works'. Your languages.

"for exact understanding exact language is necessary."

(Gurdjieff to Ouspensky)

Of course, that understanding and that language is not human. Hardly 'useful' at this moment.

The only assumption or conjecture, (or 'hope') is you will evolve. Ready or not.
TechnoPagan
not rated yet Feb 03, 2011
I predict the religiosity gene will be found on the same chromosome as the loyalty gene and the race gene.
kevinrtrs
1.3 / 5 (12) Feb 04, 2011
Those same types of farmers end up slaughtering each other, as in Burundi and the Sudan.

Religionists will continue to fight and kill each other off by Design. Those few individuals who are pragmatic and resourceful enough to escape the quagmire, will survive and propagate more reasonably and within their means.

Let's get our views straight here: Though there might be wars/disputes between religious factions, secular atheism is responsible for millions of murders every year. There are millions of abortions every year - and it's continuing. Atheists are killing millions a year. If you want to argue that "it's not a human" or "it's not alive", then one has to ask "Why do you have to kill it then"?

The word "fertile" is used in the wrong context here. Almost as silly as the use of "religiosity gene" which gets mysteriously suppressed when people leave their cultures. Please.
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (6) Feb 04, 2011
Atheists are killing millions a year.


From the "Center for BioEthical Reform":

Who's having abortions (religion)?
Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".

lol.

I'm not arguing pro or con, note. But, from these figures, doesn't quite look like this is anything strictly related to belief or not on the sky fairy, now, does it?

Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2011
Let's get our views straight here: Though there might be wars/disputes between religious factions, secular atheism is responsible for millions of murders every year. There are millions of abortions every year - and it's continuing. Atheists are killing millions a year.
Subsaharan Africa is on the phone. They're wondering if it's ok for the people with AIDS to use condoms or medicine yet.
If you want to argue that "it's not a human" or "it's not alive", then one has to ask "Why do you have to kill it then"?
Actually, one would argue why do you think it is killing? I don't think abortion is murder, unless done after week 22 or so depending on neurological development.
Paljor
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 04, 2011
How about the fact of periods? Isn't that the same egg that can be fertilized and so isn't that the begginnings of a child. and every woman on earth "destroys" one almost monthly.
SoulmanOtto
4.3 / 5 (18) Feb 04, 2011
Hello Kevin
What does your book say about conversing with the devil? I'll answer you, but it will be at your own peril.
secular atheism is responsible for millions of murders every year. There are millions of abortions every year - and it's continuing
As I've explained before, it's you religionists who make abortion necessary.

You all propagate like the Amish above, with no regard for how you will be providing for these children, because your books all tell you that god will provide as long as you all remain faithful. This inevitably makes large regions of the world horrendously overcrowded and will result in miserable deprivation, famine, insurrection, war, ecological ruin, etc.

The world has had to do something that you selfish religionists cannot, and reduce overpop by enacting prenatal infanticide. This is YOUR fault. Stop overpropagating and abortion will end, along with war, famine, plague, pestilence, etc.
SoulmanOtto
4.4 / 5 (18) Feb 04, 2011
ONE BILLION abortions worldwide since the beginning of the 1900s and it is BECAUSE of religion. You will note on the following website that in those countries that were able to throw off the yoke of religion and adopt western culture, which enabled family planning programs to proceed, the people now live in peace and harmony where before there was endemic war and hardship.
http
://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/index.html

You will also note that in those countries where religions still control culture, there is still widespread unrest, hunger, misery, and atrocity. We see it on tv every day. Why do you think this is Kevin? Are the people better off with or without religion? And before you answer let me ask you what makes you think your religion is any better than theirs? Yours requires the faithful to fill up the earth at the expense of theirs, and vice versa.

Religions perpetuate misery and pointless death. All must end.
SoulmanOtto
4.2 / 5 (18) Feb 04, 2011
How about the fact of periods? Isn't that the same egg that can be fertilized and so isn't that the begginnings of a child. and every woman on earth "destroys" one almost monthly.
People like Kevin would tell you that a womans monthly shame, along with the agony of childbirth, are the result of Eves original sin and fall from grace in Eden, and that all women need to bear the burden of guilt for this. And to try to atone for it by being pregnant as often as possible.
vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2011
A deliberate degradation-How do you permit ???
ProfAnn
not rated yet Feb 05, 2011
the Godless liberals

Obviously we are all going to hell in a hand basket!
ProfAnn
3 / 5 (4) Feb 05, 2011
Whoa.
Is there a gay gene? Probably not. Is homosexuality a matter of choice? Generally no.
Again, let's be reasonable and avoid silly arguments with unnecessary hyperbole and semantic quibbling.

Sorry to blow your bubble but yes, "homosexuality" IS a matter of choice. You have no idea the number of former husbands and wives whom I now count among my gay and lesbian friends.
dogbert
1.4 / 5 (9) Feb 05, 2011
ProfAnn,

Actions (behaviors) are always choices.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.4 / 5 (5) Feb 05, 2011
How about the fact of periods? Isn't that the same egg that can be fertilized and so isn't that the begginnings of a child. and every woman on earth "destroys" one almost monthly.

That just shows you how out of date the fundamentalist view is. It's still based off of the ancient notion that a man ejaculates an immature fully formed human being into the woman where her womb protects them until maturity. They also used to think that if the child was born female that the woman did something to it while it was in there. Rather hilarious actually.
TabulaMentis
1.4 / 5 (5) Feb 06, 2011
Sorry to blow your bubble but yes, "homosexuality" IS a matter of choice. You have no idea the number of former husbands and wives whom I now count among my gay and lesbian friends.
Peoples brains are wired at birth or through conditioning to be either heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual. Choice will not change that, only conditioning or rewiring.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (45) Feb 06, 2011
ProfAnn,

Actions (behaviors) are always choices.
Smells like that 'free will' philo bullshit.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Sorry to blow your bubble but yes, "homosexuality" IS a matter of choice. You have no idea the number of former husbands and wives whom I now count among my gay and lesbian friends.
Peoples brains are wired at birth or through conditioning to be either heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual. Choice will not change that, only conditioning or rewiring.
No, that's not accurate either. Sexual attraction isn't wired in purely through genetic or environmental means. How you act socially will be based on your genetic tendency and how that tendency has been rewarded or punished in society as a whole. Sexual attraction may be genetic, but the expression of such attraction will be shaped by societal values and most notably via group acceptance.