Is there science denialism in the Humanist expectation that religion will subside?

Here is the thesis about which I am seeking thoughtful comments:

I believe that a fair, broad, deep, and objective reading of the scientific literature of psychology, sociology, and anthropology reveals that religion as a force in individual and social life has remained basically the same throughout the whole history of Homo Sapiens, and that this is because the Natural Selection dynamic of Biological Evolution led every Homo Sapien brain to contain in-built God and religion dynamics.

Carl Jung was one prominent exponent of this view.

In other words, the hominids that developed God and religion were the survivors in the Darwinian “struggle for life,” and we are the descendants of those hominids, and only a tiny few of us can significantly set aside our brain’s in-built God and religion dynamics in favor of purely rational, scientific thinking.

The ancient thinker Plato, when he imagined a society that he thought might survive and flourish, described it as being led by a class of “philosopher kings.”

If Plato were alive and writing today, I believe he’d say that the philosopher kings would need to be educated in and committed to Humanism (secular humanism).

But I think such a Modern Plato would still agree with the original Ancient Plato in the view that the masses cannot be educated in and governed by philosophy (science, reason), but must be educated in and governed by religion.

Ancient Plato said that the philosopher kings must rule the masses by means of a “noble lie,” by which he meant a false mythological, supernatural story that was presented to the masses as true history.

And so, to summarize, I propose that the expectation that there could be a global society in which everyone or nearly everyone operates according to science and reason, is itself (ironically) a form of science denialism.

I realize that to many Humanists this is an obnoxious and offensive idea. But is there some truth in it? Or even a lot of truth in it?

In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton disparaged the “basket of deplorables” who were supporting candidate Trump. But where did that get her? She lost. She never served as president, she never changed history. Far better things might have turned out if she’d spoken in a way that could have wooed and won at least some of the “deplorables,” since the deplorable are always there in significant numbers, and many of them vote.

I don’t mean that Hillary Clinton should have compromised her principles. But she could have shown more respect, care, empathy, and concern for “deplorables,” instead of mainly heaping hate, shame, scorn, and rejection onto them.

In his 2007 book, Donald Trump wrote this: “We think we’re civilized. In truth, it’s a cruel world and people are ruthless.”

Of course, Donald always wants to justify his own narcissism-driven barbarism and cruelty. But, could it be that the great masses of people are in fact permanently and fixedly more atavistic than some Humanists imagine or want to accept?

Remember what Dr. Zaius argues to the human astronaut Taylor in the 1968 film “Planet of the Apes”?

Dr. Zaius says over and over again that human beings are by nature a menace who destroyed civilization with high-tech weapons. Dr. Zaius’ mission in life is to prevent destructive humans from rising again, and to promote fundamentalistic religion in order to prevent apes from gaining the science and technology by which they would destroy their civilization, like the humans did formerly.

I hope readers of this comment will take this comment in the spirit of the 1968 “Planet of the Apes.”

The ironic, twist ending of that movie was shocking and upsetting to me and to many people. But many people found it profoundly beneficial in terms of stimulating thought and insights.

Rod Serling and Michael Wilson were great screenwriters, and they gave us a lot to think about.

I guess this comment could be boiled down to this: Was Dr. Zaius correct? Was his cause just? Was Dr. Zauis the real hero and protagonist of “Planet of the Apes”?

Should today’s Humanists follow the example of Dr. Zaius and become the top leaders of religion (moderate forms thereof), while secretly, privately, and personally remaining secular, scientific, and Humanist? Is that the only way to save civilization?

Is Pope Francis an example of someone following the pattern of Dr. Zaius?

Do you realize that you are offering a clear paradox with that question?
Advocating for religion is not scientific. Anyone trying to practice such duplicity is by definition a charlatan.

Suppose some Germans falsely but persuasively professing to believe in the National Socialist philosophy could have gained control of the German government in 1942 after exposing the German public to the fact that Hitler had given orders to murder civilians (including women, children, and elderly) on a wide scale. Suppose they were on this basis able to execute Hitler and several other top Nazis (Himmler, Goebbels, etc.), and were able to stop the war with the Soviets, U.S., and U.K.

Suppose some Russians falsely but persuasively professing to believe in the Marxist-Leninist Socialist philosophy could have gained control of the Soviet government in 1939 after exposing the widespread illegal orders given by Stalin for political enemies to be arrested, tortured, and murdered, without following the procedures of Soviet law and the Soviet Constitution.

Suppose you were a prisoner in a Nazi death camp, but you were freed by resistance fighters who pretended to be Nazi S.S. officers and who, as part of their ruse, made strong professions of belief in the National Socialist philosophy.

Suppose secular Humanists, pretending to be devoutly religious Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Kabbalists, Scientologists, etc., are able, by use of religious arguments, authority, teachings, and symbolism, to convince the leaders of all the industrial nations of the world to quickly transition to types of energy practices and types of agricultural practices that produce little or no carbon emissions, and so the climate change catastrophe is averted, and the ice quickly refreezes in the arctic and Antarctic regions.

Consider the case of the Andy Dufresne character in “The Shawshank Redemption” movie, who was serving a life sentence in prison for a crime of which he was totally innocent, engaged in deception against the warden and guards and bank officials in order to escape the prison and steal the warden’s ill-gotten gain, and, Andy Dufresne was also able to made it possible for his fragile elderly prison friend Red to join him in a safe and well-supplied life in Mexico after Red was paroled our of the prison.

Consider the case of the famous philosopher Plato, who taught in his book “The Republic” that philosophers who are rulers should not teach science and reason to the masses, but should rule the masses by means of false mythologies (“noble lies”) that the philosophers themselves know to be false but which they represent to the masses as being factually true histories.

Consider the case of the benevolent “World Controller” characters in Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World,” who followed Plato’s example and used false mythologies to control the masses and prevent a repeat of the terrible and devastating war that had (in the novel) had destroyed civilization and killed millions.

[quote=“eupraxsophy100, post:3, topic:9202”]
Suppose some Germans falsely…
Suppose some Russians falsely…
Suppose you were a prisoner in a Nazi death camp…
Suppose secular Humanists…

Consider the case of the Andy Dufresne character in “The Shawshank Redemption” movie,

Consider the case of the famous philosopher Plato, who taught in his book “The Republic” that philosophers who are rulers should not teach science and reason to the masses, but should rule the masses by means of false mythologies (“noble lies”) that the philosophers themselves know to be false but which they represent to the masses as being factually true histories.

Consider the case of the benevolent “World Controller” characters in Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World,” who followed Plato’s example and used false mythologies to control the masses and prevent a repeat of the terrible and devastating war that had (in the novel) had destroyed civilization and killed millions.

I won’t waste my time on that ridiculously fantastical scenario…

Go write another fictional book!

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Yes, fiction. Very interesting.

According to professors such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell, basing themselves on the biological discoveries of Charles Darwin, taught most people live in their whole lives in a sort of dream or mental matrix of fiction provided by a religion or a religion-like political or ethical ideology, and that this is an ineradiable feature of the human brain due to the way the human brain evolved to be religious under evolutionary pressures to compete and survive.

Some philosophers, such as Aristotle and Ayn Rand, seem to teach that human beings can be completely rational and scientific like a computer or like pure-bred Vulcans in the “Star Trek” TV series.

Voltaire, a secular humanist philosopher wrote: “if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent.”

His point was that two-fold.

First, that God is a human invention.

Second, that most people can’t function well without some conception of God, and, no matter what, most human brains will naturally invent and operate acording to a God-like conception even if they receive no religious education or indoctrination from external sources.

Ernest Becker, a professor of anthropology and psychiatry, wrote about how the subconscious fear of death drives human beings to all sorts of “irrational” thoughts and actions.

His work lead to the development of Terror Management Theory, which postulates that God and religion (or some secular ideology, fiction, or mythology that is funcionally identical to these, even if formally nonsupernatural) are necessary for the well being of indivduals and societies, and that this is due to the physiological structure of the human brain, as created by the forces of biological evolution over millions of years.

I didn’t read past here. We tried that. We now call it the Dark Ages. The priestly class supported the monarchy and kept their secrets by not allowing people to read.

John Shelby Spong writes about the 20th century Theology schools, where the ones who taught religious history showed a couple generations how the Bible was assembled. Meanwhile, in their classes about preaching, they were shown not to talk about that stuff. It eventually got out.

You can’t “help” people by lying to them all the time. And who controls the people who are in charge of maintaining the official lies?

Dr. Zauis is fictional. You’re not supposed to take the word of a talking ape from the future as if it’s a plan. You’re supposed to take the warning of what might happen and apply it to today. Like the way the military apes have taken over, and they aren’t listening to the scientist.

Rod Serling and Michael Wilson, the screenwriters of the original 1968 “Planet of the Apes,” were both secular Humanists who constantly expressed their Humanism in their scripts.

When Dr. Zaius is speaking in the movie, that is, I believe, the voice of the Humanism of Rod Serling and Michael Wilson.

That Humanist voice, that point of view, can be see in many other Rod Serling written TV shows and movies. I think it is why “The Twilight Zone” remains so popular.

Michael Wilson was blacklisted from Hollywood for many years due to his involvement with the Communist Party.

I propose that there is a Humanist logic, a coherence, in the actions and arguments of Dr. Zaius in the 1968 film.

Yes, there is always the “who will guard the guardians” problem. That is a serious problem.

But look at how things are going regarding global climate change.

Despite all the scientific information that has been dispersed by scientists and scientifically literate people, the plane of civilization is still flying directly toward a collision course with the side of a mountain, metaphorically speaking.

Adam McKay made a Netflix movie, “Don’t Look Up,” but showed that the religious impulse will defeat rational thinking and human civilization will be destroyed. I know he meant that film as a cautionary tale, but I can’t help but wonder it Adam McKay has really become overwhelmed by a deep pessimism about the irrationallity of human nature.

So, I wonder if rather than trying to turn most people into Carl Sagan, the Humanists can actually save civilizaton by playing (and winning) the game of religion, but with a religion and a God that are essentially liberal, Progressive and pro-Social Justice.

I wish the U.S. Congress could be full of men and women like Carl Sagan. But is that likely to happen? Do we have time to wait for that to happen?

No doubt, but that is because most people are ignorant of the science that suggests a quasi-intelligent mathematical aspect to the spacetime fabric.

Max Tegmark proposes that the universe consists only of dynamical interaction between relational values (numbers) via mathematical functions.

image
Schematic depiction of a function described metaphorically as a “machine” or “black box” that for each input yields a corresponding output

This why we use terms like “Mechanics”.


Physics Mechanics Formulae in Green is a photograph by Nicola Nobile which was uploaded on July 8th, 2019.

Mechanics (Greek: μηχανική) is the area of mathematics and physics concerned with the relationships between force, matter, and motion among physical objects . Forces applied to objects result in displacements, or changes of an object’s position relative to its environment.

Yes, I understand your statement. You’ve stated it quite clearly.

I don’t trust religion to somehow “re-program” humanity, any more than I trust some specific scientific data. We change slowly, like when we look back at our planet from outside it’s atmosphere, but only a few get to do that, then comes the poetry, the stories about being there, the descriptions of the feelings, the children’s books, the heroes.

Well you get a gold ribbon for that. Yes Ms. Clinton was an utter public relations (and political) disaster of her own making - and the fact that everyone else in the DNC tried to ignore the ease with which the Republicans were maliciously and ruthlessly rewriting her story and turning her into a comic book villain didn’t help anyone.

I don’t mean that Hillary Clinton should have compromised her principles. But she could have shown more respect, care, empathy, and concern for “deplorables,” instead of mainly heaping hate, shame, scorn, and rejection onto them.

AMEN - some compassionate tough love talk, would have been interesting to watch.

You’re in luck there, most of us around here still remember 1968, or at least highlights. :wink:

Wow, that’s what I get for not paying attention to movie credits and not being a big sci fi fan to begin with, though I saw the movie while still in high school, I did not know that.

Then we go off the rails and you lost me.

Some philosophers, such as Ayn Rand.

Oh please she was no philosopher - she’s more an Anna Sorokin figure than anything that can seriously be called intellectual. Great thinker she certainly wasn’t - self-obsessed grown up war-damaged child would be closer to the mark.

I need to agree with write4U rejection.
The way you’re framing, what started as an interesting question/challenge, defeats yourself in short order.

It’s a shame too. For a few moments I thought we had something worth pursuing.

Religion is mythology and science is… well, science.

Religion and politics do not go together. They must remain separate or you don’t have politics, you have religion running society.

The idea of a deity was and is created by humans, not the other way around.

That is true.

They can. They are just to afraid to, especially after years of brainwashing and threats of hell and damnation for not believing. Religion is psychologically abusive.

That dream is as unlikely as the world being ran by a Vulcan. It is also illogical because humans are not clones.

Religion has destroyed societies, so why in the world would humanists want to play the game of religion?

One day, that could happen. Evolution and mistreatment of our cousins could cause them to enslave us.

I think we can too, but we need to recognize the power of religion, and recognize the lies and failures. People seem to need it because they need to belong, so change belonging to being about the good stuff, like expanding compassion, self reflection, forgiveness, overturning power structures, stuff that’s in most scripture.

There is the speculative theory of some scientists that we’ve never detected any off-earth intelligent life because by the time that any species gets science and technology at the level that we have it, they shortly destroy their civlization, due to the unavoidable struggle of living beings against each other regarding scarce resources needed to sustain life (a law of biology that was observed Darwin, Malthus, others).

Dogmatic religionists and capitalists seem to have decided that they would rather see human civlization and the human species come to an end rather than instituting the “socialism” and world government necessary to prevent a castrophe from anthropogenic climate change or weapons of mass destruction.

Humanists, many of them at least, seem to have decided that they would rather see human civlization and the human species come to an end rather than seeing the indefinite perpetration of the global dominance of religion.

Both sides of the political/cultural divide seem to be waiting for some magical solution to emerge.

Three years ago 16 year old Greta Thunberg said this of the climate change crisis:

“I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day, and then I want you to act.”

But no one in authority (neither leaders or nor large voting blocs) has acted. Nothing has changed. And so it will be in 3 years hence, and 9 years hence, and so on. No one in authority will act until its too late. Until then, they’ll just keep waiting for some magical solution, unwilling to sacrifice their sacred cows, not even to survive.

And so, alas, I can’t help but conclude that humankind is headed for the fate depicted in prescient stories like Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” Cormac McCarthy’s "The Road, Rod Serling’s “The Midnight Sun” episode of The Twilight Zone, and Rod Serling’s “Planet of the Apes” (1968).

Alas, alas, young and good Greta Thunberg will probably live to see the lights go out.

Here’s were I think a better appreciation for Deep Time and a better appreciation for the story of Earth’s Evolution unfolding one day at a time over billions of years matters. Realizing a more down to Earth appreciation for how we, you, me, actually got to exist in this time and place. Doing some real belly button gazing and learning to understand/appreciate that ‘cord’ (physical & spiritual/mental) that runs through your bellybutton and reaches back into the dawn of evolution.

Being an aware element in the flow of Evolution and Earth’s Story, during this one moment, your moment. {and so on . . .}

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Greater words of wisdom were never spoken. But then I am old and my time to exit is getting closer by the years, not decades.

I understand your curiosity about the power of religion to bring “peace on earth”, but if instead of fiction we read actual history of religions we find that religions have been the cause for some of the bloodiest wars in history, all because God told them it was a good idea.

Heck, read about current events,


“In 2016, many observers were stunned at evangelicals’ apparent betrayal of their own values,” Du Mez wrote. “In reality, evangelicals did not cast their vote despite their beliefs, but because of them.”

The book also described a pattern of abuse and its coverup by several mainstream evangelical leaders, many of whom are still in leadership. Du Mez contended that evangelical leaders’ emphasis on militant masculinity created a culture where abuse was able to flourish and often kept secret, an argument that has both caught fire and created controversy.

‘Trump is a miracle’: Christian nationalists pressure the evangelicals to get more political.

Little do they know that they are worshipping the Anti-Christ, the great “deceiver”.

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