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Is religion a memetic disease?


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Modest, you are missing my points again and I don't think it's worth it to keep arguing. Craig puts it quite well.

 

Who is "they" in "what are they gonna do to us next?"
You're asking me? You just posted Hitchens telling us that it's Hezbollah that has bullied the Lebanese. :rolleyes:

 

You can take his word for all those things if you like. Notice how he is also an example of promoting a fight without being religious. Oh but of course it's all their fault and no blame on our own politicians. :doh:

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Well and succinctly put as is your usual, Turtle, and in a nice font, to boot.   The back-and-forth about Muslims, Christians, criminals, murder, governments, and so on – which seems at first glance o

Here is another angle for addressing this topic. If we use the virus analogy, in a normal virus there is the infection and then the immune response, with a faster immune response meannig better health

the common insidious meme at play is that people can receive information from supernatural sources; everything else is window dressing.

:angel2:

 

Sir! It seems to me you were preaching... :read:

 

However, im not saying you are wrong...

 

Wops! I am preaching? :blink:

 

No matter... I do suspect the judge is a lost soul :alienhead:

 

Religious disease infects both persons (psychology) :lightsaber1:

and groups (social psychology) :lightsaber2:

 

Religion is certainly memetic, but it could hardly be considered a disease.

 

Would you kindly tell us who you are calling Wops?

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Is Religion a memetic disease?

 

If for the sake of argument, we worked under the assumption that religion was a memetic disease, to ascertain its nature we need to compare it to other memetic disease. For example, You-tube videos often go viral. This particular type of memetic disease is short lasting and may only last hours or days for an individual, with the entire herd immune to the infection within days.

 

When the media creates a sensationalist news virus, this memetic viral induction has about a 1-2 week life cycle, until people get bored. Then they need to create another one for the pundants.

 

The difference between these common social viri and that of religion has to do with longevity. With religion, the impact often lasts a lifetime. It has even been known to last generations and even centuries.

 

What that difference tells me is religious memetic inductions hit much deeper aspects of the human psyche. Often the psyche not reject it (boredom/immune response). As such, it appears to be less of a viral meme infection, and more like a horizontal gene meme transfer, analogous to the way bacteria can share genes with each other, and help the entire group evolve change.

Edited by HydrogenBond
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Since atheism has been ruled a religion we could likely more appropriately describe atheism as a disease.

I'm unaware of any such legal or other kind of ruling.

 

Please provide a link or reference supporting your claim, and in future, when you make any claim that is not common knowledge, support it with links or references without being asked.

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Seriously folks, its a matter of choice. You can believe and therefore act upon those beliefs. You can get tied up in groupthink and run a muck as a mob. Anyone can use any justification to kill- doesnt have to be religion. The bottom line out is,the choice of the individual.The indoctrinated children of today are the killers of tomorrow. You can bemoan religion until you are wormfood, but the masses seem to gravitate towards it. Whether that be as a result of fear, or needing a hope or simply an unstable mind. Point is, religion has been here for a long time now and its not going to go away any time soon

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Seriously folks, its a matter of choice. You can believe and therefore act upon those beliefs. You can get tied up in groupthink and run a muck as a mob. Anyone can use any justification to kill- doesnt have to be religion. The bottom line out is,the choice of the individual.The indoctrinated children of today are the killers of tomorrow. You can bemoan religion until you are wormfood, but the masses seem to gravitate towards it. Whether that be as a result of fear, or needing a hope or simply an unstable mind. Point is, religion has been here for a long time now and its not going to go away any time soon

 

i can't say i agree with much if any of that insofar as it's apologetics for religion. while we non-believers bemoan the unscientific nature of belief here -this being a science site afterall- we aren't threatening to kill the believers. this is true of either "we" individually or "we" as an organization. don't expect me to stop decrying the believers or their religions here or apologise anytime soon for it.

 

just because people can be evil without religion does not discount that people are evil because of it. i don't dismiss that the religious/belief meme has served beneficial purposes in the past, but in my view this is largely due to a lack of knowledge -say scienfic understanding-. in this day & age of considerable scientific knowledge and the means to transmit it, religion and belief are an increasing stumbling block to bettering the condition of humans. :soapbox:

Edited by Turtle
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i can't say i agree with much if any of that insofar as it's apologetics for religion. while we non-believers bemoan the unscientific nature of belief here -this being a science site afterall- we aren't threatening to kill the believers. this is true of either "we" individually or "we" as an organization. don't expect me to be an apologist anytime soon for decrying the believers or their religions here.

apologist? I wouldnt dare expect you to be so. If anyone on this planet at this very moment has an issue with religion its myself. Maybe you dont know where i am coming from. I dont like or ascribe to religion infact, due to both of my sons current delusional mental states, I wish they had never heard of religion ever.

just because people can be evil without religion does not discount that people are evil because of it. i don't dismiss that the religious/belief meme has served beneficial purposes in the past, but in my view this is largely due to a lack of knowledge -say scienfic understanding-. in this day & age of considerable scientific knowledge and the means to transmit it, religion and believe are an increasing stumbling block to bettering the condition of humans.

You see here I am different. I am not about good or evil- I am about choice. I could kill that SOB that tried to kill my son and sent him into catatonia/ delusions for 3 months now, but does that make me evil? NO I am simply avenging my pack and that makes me a killer not evil. As far as the science comment goes,I agree with you.

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apologist? I wouldnt dare expect you to be so. If anyone on this planet at this very moment has an issue with religion its myself. Maybe you dont know where i am coming from. I dont like or ascribe to religion infact, due to both of my sons current delusional mental states, I wish they had never heard of religion ever.

 

You see here I am different. I am not about good or evil- I am about choice. I could kill that SOB that tried to kill my son and sent him into catatonia/ delusions for 3 months now, but does that make me evil? NO I am simply avenging my pack and that makes me a killer not evil. As far as the science comment goes,I agree with you.

 

when you say "Seriously folks, its a matter of choice." it comes across as a admonition against those of us arguing that religion is a memetic disease. as if you mean we have no grounds to make that argument or in fact even debate the subject. evil is as evil does, and in using that word i am in mind of this particular definition:

2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful:
in that sense, those affronting you & yours can be accurately described as evil. i am sincerely sorry for your troubles.

 

ps you quoted a section of my post that i misworded and edited. i hope my new wording is more clear.

Edited by Turtle
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Oh I see. Naw i wasnt trying to come across like that. I am funny about words tho as you can see. Whether that be disease or evil. I take things literally as they are typed. Too often words become a wash and the meaning is obscured. I am tolerant towards individuals beliefs as it is their choice for whatever reason they pursue it. I however, get angered by the sales pitch that seems to take precedence in their lives and then they toss off that ideology on the next generation further perpetuating ignorance

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I'm unaware of any such legal or other kind of ruling.

 

Please provide a link or reference supporting your claim, and in future, when you make any claim that is not common knowledge, support it with links or references without being asked.

 

http://www.wnd.com/2005/08/31895/

 

Ask and ye shall receive :D

 

As for the higlighted comment: If I'm performing research on my own, that may not always be possible. In fact it's absurd to expect corroboration on something that is innovative or likely proprietary. If ever I write some code and compile it into an Open Application, I would hope I'd not be required to more than provide a working version. If I perform research that is breaking new ground and am of a mind to share it, I'd hope no more than a pic or video would be expected. Personally I'm more interested in creation than duplication.

Edited by 7DSUSYstrings
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Oh I see. Naw i wasnt trying to come across like that. I am funny about words tho as you can see. Whether that be disease or evil. I take things literally as they are typed. Too often words become a wash and the meaning is obscured. I am tolerant towards individuals beliefs as it is their choice for whatever reason they pursue it. I however, get angered by the sales pitch that seems to take precedence in their lives and then they toss off that ideology on the next generation further perpetuating ignorance

 

:lol: well, all we have is words here. we think, therefore we write. moreover, while on the "outside" we have actions as well -good & bad- devoid of words, it is words there too that perpetuate the religious meme whether written or spoken. (shouted?)

 

i was thinking too, speaking of choice, that it seems perfectly acceptable to be against, and declare a war, on drug use, neverminding that many if not most recreational drug users do not commit crimes (save of course the victimless "crime" of choosing to use recreational drugs), but somehow religion gets special treatment. i dare say such declarations against drug use are made on moral grounds promulgated by religions. certainly that was the case with alcohol prohibition in the US.

 

can't wait to see the next ridiculous defense of religion here. wait... yes i can. oh that no more were forthcoming.

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...

As for the higlighted comment: If I'm performing research on my own, that may not always be possible. In fact it's absurd to expect corroboration on something that is innovative or likely proprietary. If ever I write some code and compile it into an Open Application, I would hope I'd not be required to more than provide a working version. If I perform research that is breaking new ground and am of a mind to share it, I'd hope no more than a pic or video would be expected. Personally I'm more interested in creation than duplication.

 

that something you say is original would likely be known by the context. if not, then it is de rigueur to declare so. i think the case you cite is not representative, or binding, on the vast majority of atheists at large. (but i can't prove it. ;))

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Since atheism has been ruled a religion we could likely more appropriately describe atheism as a disease.

 

I would not argue with the assertion that atheism, too, is a meme, but I think you fundamentally misunderstood the court's ruling in this case. The court filing can be found here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1467028.html

 

From pages 3 through 5:

We address his claim under the Free Exercise Clause first. An inmate retains the right to exercise his religious beliefs in prison. Tarpley v. Allen County, 312 F.3d 895, 898 (7th Cir. 2002). The problem here was that the prison officials did not treat atheism as a “religion,” perhaps in keeping with Kaufman’s own insistence that it is the antithesis of religion. But whether atheism is a “religion” for First Amendment purposes is a somewhat different question than whether its adherents believe in a supreme being, or attend regular devotional services, or have a sacred Scripture. The Supreme Court has said that a religion, for purposes of the First Amendment, is distinct from a “way of life,” even if that way of life is inspired by philosophical beliefs or other secular concerns. See Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 215-16 (1972). A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being (or beings, for polytheistic faiths), see Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495 & n.11 (1961); Malnak v. Yogi, 592 F.2d 197, 200-15 (3d Cir. 1979) (Adams, J., concurring); Theriault v. Silber, 547 F.2d 1279, 1281 (5th Cir. 1977) (per curiam), nor must it be a mainstream faith, see Thomas v. Review Bd., 450 U.S. 707, 714 (1981); Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1110 (7th Cir. 2003).

 

Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of “ultimate concern” that for her occupy a “place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons,” those beliefs represent her religion. Fleischfresser v. Dirs. of Sch. Dist. 200, 15 F.3d 680, 688 n.5 (7th Cir. 1994) (internal citation and quotation omitted); see also Welsh v. United States, 398 U.S. 333, 340 (1970); United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, 184-88 (1965). We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion. See Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir. 2003) (“If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion.”). Kaufman claims that his atheist beliefs play a central role in his life, and the defendants do not dispute that his beliefs are deeply and sincerely held.

 

The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a “religion” for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions, most recently in McCreary County, Ky. v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky., 125 S.Ct. 2722 (2005). The Establishment Clause itself says only that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” but the Court understands the reference to religion to include what it often calls “nonreligion.” In McCreary County, it described the touchstone of Establishment Clause analysis as “the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” Id. at *10 (internal quotations omitted). As the Court put it in Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985):

 

At one time it was thought that this right [referring to the right to choose one’s own creed] merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.

 

Id. at 52-53. In keeping with this idea, the Court has adopted a broad definition of “religion” that includes nontheistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as theistic ones.

 

For a more appropriate, in my opinion, examination of the ruling, please see this article: http://www.atheist-community.org/library/articles/read.php?id=742

 

The Court, in this case, properly recognized that Mr. Kaufman's right to form a group with people who shared similar beliefs was a protected right. Unless the prison system had excluded all gatherings with regard to religion, prohibiting a group of atheists to gather is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

 

As we've seen, and despite the "shock" headlines to the contrary, they didn't declare that atheism was a religion, they declared that atheism was afforded equal protection with religions under the Establishment Clause.

 

In the end, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law and ensured that Religious Freedom is a concept that applies to everyone equally. Apart from the reference to an atheist "code of ethics", I don't think anyone could reasonably ask for a better decision.

 

Atheism, by definition, is not a religion. That atheism is protected by the courts in the same manner as theism does not change this fact.

Edited by CraigD
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:lol: well, all we have is words here. we think, therefore we write. moreover, while on the "outside" we have actions as well -good & bad- devoid of words, it is words there too that perpetuate the religious meme whether written or spoken. (shouted?)

 

i was thinking too, speaking of choice, that it seems perfectly acceptable to be against, and declare a war, on drug use, neverminding that many if not most recreational drug users do not commit crimes (save of course the victimless "crime" of choosing to use recreational drugs), but somehow religion gets special treatment. i dare say such declarations against drug use are made on moral grounds promulgated by religions. certainly that was the case with alcohol prohibition in the US.

 

can't wait to see the next ridiculous defense of religion here. wait... yes i can. oh that no more were forthcoming.

I am not so sure i get the recreational aspect really. I mean, what does that mean? when i was a punk, i did drugs. Not because it was fun, althought at times it was, but because i was seeking an escape. When i matured, I stopped that nonsense. You know, that situation with my kid was drug related. And his being subjected to religious nutters getting him high and the subsequent attack on his life, has bred such a religious delusion that "god" has told him not to eat, drink or listen to his mom. So i dunno if i have a war on drugs, would have preferred that my adult child had chosen otherwise. But the real "evil" here as you put it, is an insidious brainwashing that is destroying the bond between a mother and son. :(

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Why does religion have to be explained, in terms of memes or whatever? Does anybody attempt to "explain" science? What if science is a memetic "disease"? Who cares?

 

Who cares? Perhaps the people adversely affected by the meme care?

 

I find it amusing that religion is such a constant topic in forums like this. I don't understand why people who aren't religious worry about it so much. I don't like vegetarianism, rap music, marijuana, I think those things are detrimental to a person's mental or physical health, but I don't stretch my mind trying to figure out why people enjoy those things. Whatever floats their boat. Why does it matter?

 

Again, who cares? Evidently the religious care, this is a science forum why do people of religious bent consistently come here and do their best to defend religion? It's not like we go to religious sites and try to assert science. In fact I would say that we as a science forum, most certainly treat the religious far better than they do us. I have a couple of time, by invitation I might add, visited religious forums only to be banned immediately once I reveled I did not share their delusion.

 

Now of course someone will say that religion is harmful to society, look at the Twin Towers, the Inquisition, the Crusades, Galileo, yada-yada. As if humans would suddenly become perfectly moral if it weren't for their irrational beliefs. Ironically, since most religions provide an explanation why humans are so morally corrupt, the problem must have existed before those religions were developed.

 

I have never heard anyone assert that atheists are morally superior but it is interesting that atheists makes up a far smaller proportion of the prison population than theists do...

 

I say, let people believe what they want, do not try to rationalize away their thoughts since you are not inside their minds. Do not assume you're an atheist because you are so smart, because that is absolutely not true. The world is full of smart believers and stupid atheists.

 

Again, no one as far I know has asserted that here.

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that something you say is original would likely be known by the context. if not, then it is de rigueur to declare so. i think the case you cite is not rpresentative, or binding, on the vast majority of atheists at large. (but i can't prove it. ;))

 

A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being (or beings, for polytheistic faiths), see Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495 & n.11 (1961); Malnak v. Yogi, 592 F.2d 197, 200-15 (3d Cir. 1979) (Adams, J., concurring); Theriault v. Silber, 547 F.2d 1279, 1281 (5th Cir. 1977) (per curiam), nor must it be a mainstream faith, see Thomas v. Review Bd., 450 U.S. 707, 714 (1981); Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1110 (7th Cir. 2003).

 

 

It may be as simple as the belief in the right to believe or disbelieve. It may be the belief that all evolved through abiogenesis, thus without intelligence in the design. It may be the belief that black is white. A religion is a belief or set of beliefs, thus the phrase "doing something religiously." a meme, on the other hand, is a tradition or a teaching or practice, that, of itself, is not a disease. It could be memetic to infect others with a disease, for example a tribe of herpes sufferers might require all its members to incur the disease. Religion could hardly be a diseas.

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