History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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New Atheist nonsense

November 11th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Stenger interview: Questions for a New Atheist, Part 1

Stenger’s reply below is complete nonsense. Hitching atheism to Darwinism is the reason, and the source of the failure of this new brand of atheism.

Real atheists need to be wary of this new cult: it will discredit atheism altogether.

2. People the world over continue to believe that the universe was brought into being by an agent and that this agent often communicates with us. Is this human stupidity or plain human fear and insecurity?

This is probably the result of evolution. Animals will react to unusual movements by assuming it is a threat from a predator and take evasive action even when one is not there. Those without that capability would not survive because occasionally the threat is real. Similarly, early humans would have needed that oversensitivity in order to survive. For example, a caveman walking along a path in the woods might hear a rustling of leaves. If his genes predisposed him to ignore such signs, and a tiger was behind the bush, those genes would quickly die out. But if his genes developed the mechanisms needed to react defensively, even when it is only the wind rustling the leaves, those genes would survive. This healthy overreaction would have lead humans to assume animal-like or human-like agency for many phenomena that were purely benign and natural. Since any distinction between supernatural and natural was beyond early human intellectual capabilities, assigning agency to gods would have also occurred, leading to religion.

Tags: atheism · Evolution

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 World Spinner // Nov 11, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Darwiniana » New Atheist nonsense…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  • 2 atheist // Jun 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    This is not nonsense, and it’s not hitching atheism with “darwinism”, it’s a hypothesis about the possibility of a link between psychology and some elements of religious belief.

    If humans have some psychologically hard-wired propensity to come up with some precursors of elements common in many religions, by itself it does not imply that atheism is true, not more than some optical illusion (like unawareness of the “blind spot” in our sight) would prove that everything is some sort of illusion.

    It happens to fit, however, nice with the atheist perspective, but that’s not something that weakens the notion, just like it wouldn’t be if a psychologist/neuroscientist that’ skeptical about a mystical notion of “true love”, and comes up with an hypothesis that this is like “doping” from neurochemistry, with all the evolutionary hypotheses on why pair-bonding could be favored in our species, and how such chemistry would “lure” couples into acting in such way, with no “real magic” involved.

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