Science

Science Is a Good Substitute for God

Believers in sci-tech progress tend to be happier than the religiously faithful, says new study

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Religious believers tend to be happier than non-religious folk, according to a long line of psychological research. Scientists have suggested several possible explanations for this phenomenon, including the ideas that religion offers a greater sense of control, provides a purpose for life, and reduces uncertainty.

So if religious belief makes people more satisfied with their lives, why is secularism growing in many countries? A new study offers one possible answer: A belief in scientific and technological progress can also serve as a source of life satisfaction. Indeed, it may even offer more lifetime happiness than religion does.

The study appeared in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, and the research team that conducted it was led by Olga Stavrova, a psychologist at the University of Cologne. The researchers first did a deep analysis of how the belief in scientific and technological progress affects the life satisfaction of a representative sample of nearly 1,500 Dutch citizens. They then compared life satisfaction measures with belief in sci-tech progress across 72 countries. In both cases, they found "a strong belief in scientific–technological progress was associated with an enhanced sense of personal control, which in turn contributed to higher life satisfaction."

The Dutch survey asked people a battery of questions about their values, religiosity, personality traits, beliefs about progress, sense of personal control, and life satisfaction. The researchers measured the respondents' beliefs in scientific-technological progress, for example, by asking them to rate how much they agreed with such statements as "Science and technology are making our lives healthier, easier, and more comfortable" and "Because of science and technology, there will be more opportunities for the next generation."

Participants were asked how often they attended religious services and whether they believe in God. They were also asked, "How much freedom of choice and control you feel you have over the way your life turns out?" A rating of 1 indicated "no choice at all" and 10 signified "a great deal of choice." They subsequently answered a 5-item Satisfaction With Life Scale, assigning each item 1 to 7 points. Finally, participants answered standard gender, education, income, employment, and marriage queries.

The researchers concluded that "both belief in scientific–technological progress and religiosity were positively associated with life satisfaction, yet the association with belief in scientific–technological progress was significantly larger." In fact, life satisfaction was three times more likely to correlate with a belief in sci-tech progress than belief in religious doctrine. Progress enthusiasts also tended that have a much stronger sense of personal control over their lives, while religiosity was negatively associated with personal control.

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Belief in progress and religion were largely independent of one another rather than mutually exclusive. In addition, "men and educated individuals showed a stronger belief in scientific–technological progress than women and individuals with lower formal education."

For the cross-cultural section of their study, Stavrova and her colleagues used data from the World Values Survey (WVS), which probes the religious and sci-tech progress beliefs of representative numbers of citizens in 72 countries. They measured sci-tech progress, religious beliefs, and a sense of personal control on essentially the same scales as in the first study. On life satisfaction, the WVS asks respondents to rate on 10-point scale the statement: "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"

Stavrova and company concluded that the "correlation between a belief in scientific–technological progress and life satisfaction was positive and significant in 69 of the 72 countries." On the other hand, the relationship between religiosity and life satisfaction was positive in only 28 countries and actually negative in 5 countries. Similarly, belief in sci-tech progress correlated with a sense of personal control in 67 countries, whereas religiosity was positively associated with personal control in only 23 countries—and was negative in 10 countries.

Stavrova and her colleagues speculate that this negative association between a belief in God and a sense of personal control might arise from dispositional differences. Primary control strategies aim to change the external world so that it fits with one's personal needs and desires; secondary control strategies seek to change personal needs and desires so that they fit with the external world. Earlier research has found that religious believers tend to score higher on secondary than primary control strategies. Stavrova and her fellow researchers suggest that future studies might "examine whether a belief in scientific–technological progress, in contrast to a religious belief, entails individuals to rely more on primary rather than secondary control strategies."

So why do people who believe in sci-tech progress tend to be happier than the religious faithful? Stavrova and her colleagues propose that "achieving control over the world and mastering the environment has always been one of the major goals of science. Believing that science is or will prospectively grant such mastery of nature imbues individuals with the belief that they are in control of their lives." This sense of personal control in turn contributes to a higher life satisfaction.

It turns out that people who rely upon the efficacy of the human intellect to solve problems have a greater chance of living satisfying lives than those who cling to the supernatural hope that an unseen sky-God will somehow save them from their troubles.

Disclosure: I have been an out-atheist since my early teens. I hover around 30 points on the Life Satisfaction Scale.

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351 responses to “Science Is a Good Substitute for God

    1. We must never forget that it was the under appreciated Dr. Peter Venkman’s invention , the multiphastic-ecstatometer , which allows today’s fake scientists to proceed with their irreproducible junk science, like that mentioned in this article , with such absolute and complete accuracy .

      1. Not to mention that all data that disagree with your belief shall be considered “anecdotal”, right?
        🙂

  1. Can these results be reproduced?

    1. I have faith that they can

      1. I lol !

    2. 🙂 would it matter to Believers? 🙂

      1. by definition no. belief means accepting something as true independent of facts. Facts may help, but are not required. So “believers” in science will just accept this because the word science appears. A scientist would seek validation of the data and citations…which are sorely lacking in this ‘article’

  2. Praise Heinlein!

  3. I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!one!

    1. What does a belief in Science even mean? Do these followers of Scientism think that Science exists?

      Also for the IFLS crowd, for science to be Science it has to be falsifiable. The best reason to not mix the teachings of science with religion because on the issue of falsifiability they are polar opposites.

  4. I believe Ron Bailey is God, so I am constantly ecstatic.

  5. Is there a combination move that combines both powers for extra damage happiness.

    1. That was my question. The article notes they were independent variables, so the cross term should have been considered.

      A+B+AB

      1. +3 Holy Bible of Science.

        Grants +3 Endurance and +2 Luck and -3 Charisma.

        1. Consult the Book of Armaments!

        2. thats how I feel half the time….we are greater slaves to the NSF/NIH or at least thos ridiculous reviewers who occassionally read the proposals they score than the Jews were to Pharaoh.

    2. It has long been known in social science research that more choices lead to more anxiety. Decisions take energy and use up glucose in the brain. If things are decided for you and you know your place, you tend to be happier. People are more like dogs than we realize. Humans evolved living in packs. A dog is happier if it knows its place and there is a clear pack leader. For religious people, this is God and his prophets. For science people, it is not so clear. That is why they are less happy. Libertarians, anarchists, existentialists, rebels, and such are a sort of a genetic anomaly that moves away from this biological phenotype. Or it could be purely cultural, though I would guess there is at least some genetic predisposition to be a contrarian.

      1. Damn. I was just asking for the controller sequence that unlocks the Holy Science happiness. I am getting my ass kicked at work and on my commute. Maybe I should restart with a new character. I think I will try a woman this time. I understand that is allowed now.

        1. How about a woman with a man’s mind? That sounds like fun.

          1. Does the engine allow that? If so, I’m in. Now to get to work on the other attributes … auburn hair, green eyes …

            1. ….long whiskers, sharp fangs, retractable claws….

      2. Last I heard, though, the study that is the basis of the long-known belief that more choices lead to more anxiety has resisted many attempts to duplicate those results…

    3. Yes, see Union, Soviet or Mao, Chairman.

  6. What about people who claim to love sci-tech but bemoan the existence of Monsanto?

    1. They make everybody else unhappy.

    2. Yeah, I saw they were Dutch and thought to myself “Those clog wearing fuckers wouldn’t know a beneficial technology if it hit them in their bicycle shorts”

      1. Yeah, those Dutch are famous for their aversion to using technology and engineering to improve life and keep from sinking into the North Sea.

        1. Yeah! Damn cheeseheads!

    3. They actually fall into the religious group.

    4. Or people who believe that internal combustion engines are going to turn the planet into a barely habitable waterworld?

      1. Mike M. and I are on the same page. Welcome me into your stable!

        1. Crusty hath followed the star to the manger.

          1. These masturbation euphemisms are getting downright blasphemous.

    5. science never really got the nag of the sin category. Ethics are…uh…whatever. so the science mantra really centers on we can do it – go for it. we’ll deal with the consequences of lanthanide mining when we cant use any earthly water source or breathe…

  7. Have you taken Science as your Lord and Savior?

    1. ^ This.

      “It turns out that people who rely upon the efficacy of the human intellect to solve problems have a greater chance of living satisfying lives than those who cling to the supernatural hope that an unseen sky-God will somehow save them from their troubles.”

      I don’t think this is necessarily the takeaway here. At least I think you could just as plausibly come to the conclusion that this survey shows that people who have faith in the magical powers of people in white lab coats register essentially the same as people who have faith in the magical powers of people who wear funny outfits and chant in dead languages.

      1. Not everyone has faith in either of those things, though. Note that the questions aren’t just about whether science and technology are changing our lives, but about whether the subject believes those changes will be good. Given the track record of science and technology it doesn’t take faith to believe that they will make your life better in the future. The same cannot be said of religion.

        1. because the atom bomb has benefitted so many more people than the ten commandments ?

          1. The few million who didn’t die invading the Japanese home islands certainly benefitted.

          2. What about the polio vaccine? Electricity? The Internet? The ability to travel across a continent in a few hours through the air?

          3. The airplanes that delivered the bombs are also pretty nifty.

          4. “because the atom bomb has benefitted so many more people than the ten commandments ”

            I’ll bite.

            Yes – yes it has.

        2. “Given the track record of science and technology it doesn’t take faith to believe that they will make your life better in the future. The same cannot be said of religion.”

          It depends on how you define your terms. Keep in mind that many, if not most, of the most significant scientific thinkers have been highly religious people. Theology and science used to literally be the same thing.

          Some people have faith that science will make the world better. Some have faith that religion will make the world better. In both cases there are objectively observable examples to justify both beliefs. There are also objectively observable examples of both leading to great evils.

          Marx, for example, considered his worldview to be supremely scientific. Is that *really* science, or is there an element of faith?

          Is faith in “science” *really* science, or is faith something in itself that can or can not be related to “science?” Is “science” a set of beliefs that you subscribe to or is it a set of practices used to falsify certain statements? If the former, it is no different from religion; if the latter, it is perfectly possible to have a scientific attitude toward religion and theology.

          People who have faith that a higher power will make the world better, whether you call that higher power “science” or “God,” are fundamentally similar in their outlook.

          1. Is faith in “science” *really* science, or is faith something in itself that can or can not be related to “science?

            I agree with your comment, but want to add this:

            Faith is trust. The very survey is about faith, that is, how happy people are who put their faith in science rather than a god. Religion is just living according to one’s beliefs. So it’s not really a comparison of science and religion, but a comparison between religions.

            1. I think that’s a fair point – it really does come down to “faith” and what inspires faith in different people.

              1. It’s also a matter of what constitutes “better” in “a better life”. When you die and meet your Creator and he tells you the whole purpose of human life was to torment other people, who has lived the better life?

                1. your example is peculiar, but if you are calling attention to reasons for distrusting science, as being ambiguity when the goal is clarity – I would agree.

          2. ^This

            Very well written and a valid argument-the argument shouldn’t necessarily be about science/atheism vs religion/organized–both have killed and brought suffering to millions in human history–it is when a set of beliefs embraced and promoted by the state to benefit the state and the states agenda/objectives, it doesn’t matter if the beliefs propagated and enforced by the state are scientific or religious-more so that it leads to the state using that particular set of beliefs to commit crimes against individuals and ethnic groups and other nations, the state also uses these beliefs to solidify its populace to a unified set of beliefs so that the people are easier to control.

  8. Is that the Professor from Power Puff Girls?

    1. +1 Chemical X

  9. Makes sense. Science and technology never told anyone they were going to Hell for any reason whatsoever, much less for stupid reasons like not believing in science and technology.

    1. A belief in scientific and technological progress can also serve as a source of life satisfaction.

      Which has absolutely nothing to do with an understanding of scientific and technological progress.

      ‘TOP MEN will save us from global warming’ is no different that ‘Jesus will save me from hell’.

      1. Depends if “save us from global warming” means

        1) Find a way to see that all humans have the opportunity to live, full healthy lives with the benefit of technology.

        or

        2) Take us all back to a pre-industrial standard of living and social order.

        1. Which depends on first establishing that ‘global warming’ is an anthropogenic event that we can do something about.

          And that depends on actually establishing that ‘global warming’ is actually occuring and is not some natural cycle.

          Wearing magic underwear or trimming the tip of your penis does a lot less harm in my sphere of influence.

          1. interesting thought…but we should assume the previous commentor is speaking ideally. Because we have had the ability for some time – we choose not to use it. I have no idea how to measure of quantify that as a scientist. Its because reality doesnt follow very closely to science. Reality is messy and ugly and doesnt follow the physical laws of nature. Religion for what a person thinks it is worth tracks the ugliness of human emotions and disposition and attempts to address is. Science is external to that.

    2. Uhhh, plenty of guys who call themselves “scientists” like Michael Mann and James Hansen constantly tell us that if we don’t do what they say and turn over control of everything to them and their ilk, the planet will become a barely habitable waterworld.

      There’s not a whole lot of difference between that type of charlatan and the Jerry Falwell type creeps, if you think about it.

      1. Hm, Jerry Falwell and you say that the entire scientific community is faking science in order to perpetuate a conspiracy to enslave us. I think you’re like Jerry Falwell.

        1. As has been pointed out to you before, a slight majority of climate scientists =!= “the entire scientific community.”

          1. Citation needed for “slight majority of climate scientists.”

            1. IPCC website – you should check it out (and actually read what’s one there).

              1. Yeah, bye Felicia!

              2. Is what you’re referring to successfully debunked here? Almost everything has its own page.

                1. No. They are sidestepping the main issue and burning straw men instead, with callous disregard for the carbon emissions.

                  The 97% number gets thrown around and around is if that’s the number that represents the number of people that agree with the whole OMG-the-world-is-ending- there-will-be-no-ice-in-the-world-in-five-years mythology that has emerged.

                  It is not.

                  My understanding from the research I’ve done is that it is the percentage of *climate science studies* reviewed by the IPCC that can be deemed to support the idea that humanity is contributing *in some way* to the rising temperature and that it is not *entirely* a natural process.

                  The percentage of studies that support the notion that this is anything to worry whatsoever about is actually 54%, a significantly less reported number.

                  Go through your link again and note how carefully they avoid talking about specific numbers related to *specific* issues in the supposed “consensus.”

                  And just to show my card, I was going door to door for Greenpeace and CalPIRG when you were in diapers, before there was any such thing as global warming. I’ve watched this go from a suggestion of environmentalists to a discredited idea to a hyperventilating wave of political hysteria tied to government handouts, hence my growing skepticism.

            2. Level 1 = 64
              Level 2 = 922
              Level 3 = 2910
              Level 4 = 7970
              Level 5 = 54
              Level 6 = 15
              Level 7 = 9

              Level 4 through 7 means no position or explicitly/implicitly reject AGW. I’d love to see how you figure that level’s 1 through 3 equals 97%. (By the way, those numbers are from Cook’s own paper.)

              http://daviddfriedman.blogspot…..k-for.html

              http://iopscience.iop.org/1748…..tafile.txt

              1. Cook’s paper has been debunked many times. It and its conclusions are a pile of shit.

  10. Belief in science and technological progress and religion are not mutually exclusive.

    1. Belief in progress and religion were largely independent of one another rather than mutually exclusive.

      1. Isaac Newton’s belief that the Bible was absolute truth and that alchemy was the key to unlocking the secrets of God’s Creation don’t detract from his contributions to physics and mathematics.

        1. And his alchemical studies are a rad setup for alt-history and urban fantasy novels.

          1. +7 ears

          2. I like the full metal alchemist. Am I suppose to thank Newton for that?

            1. Look at you all excited about Japanese-inflected animation…

              1. A story of two young boys coming of age, what’s not to like?

                1. I said Japanese inflected to include the multiple references to the Power Puff Girls (which I hear are coming back, and am excited).

                  1. I’m not a smart man Jesse, I’ve told you this many times. Also, sweet Mojo Jojo!

            2. + Water, 35 liters; carbon, 20 kilograms; ammonia, 4 liters; lime, 1.5 kilograms; phosphorus, 800 grams; salt, 250 grams; saltpeter, 100 grams; sulfur, 80 grams; fluorine, 7.5; iron, 5; silicon, 3 grams; and trace amounts of 15 other elements

        2. Just from whatever useful things he could have been doing with the time he spent on religion and alchemy.

          1. Considering that those beliefs drove his scientific curiosity, and that he saw no real distinction among them, i’m not sure what your point is.

            1. ^ This.

            2. Eh, interesting academic debate I guess. I’m not saying Isaac Newton was a slouch.

              1. The point is that many, if not most, of the greatest scientific achievements have come from people who thought of what they were doing as “spending time on religion.”

                1. I think that is highly false. What is true is that many early scientific advancements came from people living in monasteries, which were the only places people had the leisure time to work on such things. In the modern world religion has been totally irrelevant to advancements in science.

                  1. You need to read some more Heisenberg and Einstein. Newton was no monk, either.

                    And if you were to go back and read the writings of, say, William of Ockham, you would find that his religious devotion was primary and his scientific observations were absolutely an expression of his faith – he did not joint the Franciscans simply to find a place to stay while he indulged his intellectual pursuits.

                    You won’t find an atheist thinker before David Hume, and you’ll find precious few after him.

                    OTOH, the god that theologians and scientists tend to believe in seems like no god at all to the average church goer. Hence, Thomas Aquinas was condemned as a borderline atheist when his writings were first published because his idea of God was not some guy who hears you when you pray, but an inconceivable and utterly indifferent force that creates and governs the world.

                    So when people debate these things, they are often ships passing in the night due to their different understandings of the terminology being used.

                    1. As it happens, I studied the major Christian philosophers as I was attaining my philosophy degree, something I might have preferred without wasting that time. Aquinas (and Augustine and Lewis) are trying to confirm a preconception. They fail at the outset. It’s all horseshit, and everyone with a brain knows it. If religion helped science, it was incidentally.

                    2. “Aquinas (and Augustine and Lewis) are trying to confirm a preconception. They fail at the outset. It’s all horseshit, and everyone with a brain knows it.”

                      You make it painfully clear that you know these authors from summaries and excerpts.

                      Have you ever read Thomas Buckingham? Siger of Brabant? Thomas Bradwardine? All priests. Bradwardine a bishop, even, who attacked William of Ockham for being insufficiently scientific and too much of a faith-based revelationist, which, if you knew anything about this, you would know. But he did invent analytic geometry, so there’s that.

                    3. You make it painfully clear that you know these authors from summaries and excerpts.

                      Bwhahahahahahahaha…

                      Burn.

                      You aren’t Patrick Moore are you?

                    4. You make it painfully clear that you know these authors from summaries and excerpts.

                      I find that you really can’t expect much from philosophy majors – mostly just sophist talk disguised as arguments.

      2. Which renders the study meaningless for comparing the two.

    2. Exactly. The survey merely says that belief in sci-tech progress has a greater effect than religiosity. As a religious person who also believes in sci-tech progress (whatever that means!) I suppose that means I’m super-happy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      “…The researchers concluded that “both belief in scientific?technological progress and religiosity were positively associated with life satisfaction, yet the association with belief in scientific?technological progress was significantly larger.”…”

  11. Well, any human being will cast about in a moment of stress.

    1. There are no non-scientists in foxholes?

    2. *A cotton house floats past with a cow atop it*

    3. Well, ain’t it a small world, spiritually speaking. Pete and Delmar just been baptized and saved. I guess I’m the only one that remains unaffiliated.

      1. Sounds like a future Episcopalian…

  12. Science is not a substitute for religion, which teaches the importance of living by principles and being responsible. ‘Science’ can justify all manner of mischief, such as for example ‘addiction’ and ‘mental illness’, which are really the most destructive kinds of religious beliefs. For example – ‘Science’ says “Schizophrenia is real – we have the brain scans to prove it.” Yet careful analysis shows that shrunken brain regions are caused by the drugs used to ‘treat’ it. Thus, science as currently practiced is imperfect (as are many interpretations of religious principles). Religion is what requires us to question the ‘experts’ who tell us that religion is nonsense and will just make you unhappy.

    1. Dude, it’s Friday. Take a break already.

        1. Money don’t grow on trees…

    2. GUYS, LOOK AT ADDICTIONMYTH. HE’S MAKING RANDOM POSTS ALL ABOUT HIS PET OBSESSION AGAIN!

      PAY ATTENTION TO HIM

      1. You’re just saying that because he’s black.

      2. And of course, Hitler used Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the fittest” to justify the aryan race’s duty to destroy all the others. Of course it was invalid, but that’s what happens when you worship the cult of ‘Science’. It’s all fun and games until millions of people are massacred.

        1. Dammit that is NOT the correct formulation.

          “You know who else used Darwin’s theory of Survival of the Fittest to” etc. It’s not difficult. Try to pay attention.

          1. You know who else failed to pay attention to the correct formulations?

            1. The professor from Power Puff Girls?

            2. 1986 NASA?

              1. Too soon.

            3. Meth cookers who final moments were a fiery inferno?

            4. The guys who worked on New Coke?

                1. Shut up, Tulpa!

        2. I brief, dear princes and lords, those of you who have Jews under your rule?? if my counsel does not please your, find better advice, so that you and we all can be rid of the unbearable, devilish burden of the Jews, lest we become guilty sharers before God in the lies, blasphemy, the defamation, and the curses which the mad Jews indulge in so freely and wantonly against the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, this dear mother, all Christians, all authority, and ourselves. Do not grant them protection, safe?conduct, or communion with us…. .With this faithful counsel and warning I wish to cleanse and exonerate my conscience.

          Anti-semitism totally wasn’t a thing in Lutheran Germany. Scientism summoned it out of thin air.

          First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians.

          Luther goes on to suggest that good Christians raze their homes, burn all of their religious literature, maim Rabbis that continue to teach, force them into slave labor, confiscate all of their wealth, and remove any protection of violence while traveling.

          1. St Augustine:

            “the Church admits and avows the Jewish people to be cursed, because after killing Christ they continue to till the ground of an earthly circumcision, an earthly Sabbath, an earthly passover, while the hidden strength or virtue of making known Christ, which this tilling contains, is not yielded to the Jews while they continue in impiety and unbelief, for it is revealed in the New Testament. While they will not turn to God, the veil which is on their minds in reading the Old Testament is not taken away… the Jewish people, like Cain, continue tilling the ground, in the carnal observance of the law, which does not yield to them its strength, because they do not perceive in it the grace of Christ”

            1. Posting this on Good Friday…I need penance.

    3. Uhhhh religion and its principles have been pretty well used by religous people and those pretending to be religous to kill and make life miserable for others.

      1. “religous people and those pretending to be religous ”

        I would argue that the latter group are a far greater threat to humanity than the former.

        1. Of course, they are the power hungry sociopaths

          1. “sociopath” – This is the proper ‘Science’ way to explain away evil. Now repeat after me: “If someone does a bad thing, it is because their brain suffers from a disease caused by addiction or mental illness or radicalization by and extremist cleric.”

            1. That’s what all the Scientologists say.

        2. No. The opportunitists can be bought.

          You cannot argue with the True Believers.

          1. You can’t argue with True Believers, but those who are *legitimately* concerned with “otherworldly things” tend to mind their own business, but there may well be a tautology in my observation.

            1. Tell that to the Inquisition.

              1. I would put them rather solidly in the camp of “those pretending to be religious,” as did most people at the time.

                1. “No true Scotsman Dominican.”

                  1. Indeed.

      2. Sure but they got nothing on the secularists – Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Who kill in quantities undreampt of in the religionists’ philosophies.

        1. Did you know Hitler invented atheism, AddictionMyth?

          1. Did you know that Hitler thought he was the God of the Aryan race, Irish?

        2. Playing tit for tat doesn’t make me feel better about the ways that religion has been used to hurt and manipulate.
          I wouldn’t underestimate the death toll for “religious wars” fought across the world and the course of human history

          1. I agree – not all religions are created equal. But sometimes you can’t justify a religious belief based on how ‘happy’ it makes you. In fact, there is one religion that warns against such fallacies.

            1. The correct answer was mormonism…

              Everyone else is going to hell.

          2. I think the point is that in this case, religion and science are irrelevant.

            People suck, and if you give them the power to do so, they will murder indiscriminately in the name of their own power.

            1. This! 100x This!

              In looking over the various wars over the centuries, I’ve reached one simple conclusion on what causes them: One group of people decides that they want political control over another group, and the other group disagrees. Where religion was a significant factor in this, it was because one group wanted to force another group to believe their way; usually, however, there are also other significant factors that contribute to the conflict in question.

              Case in point: Charles I of England started a Civil War in part because he was trying to re-establish Catholicism (or was it Anglicanism? I can’t remember) and was unhappy with the Scots, who wanted their Episcopalism. But *only* in part. You would be a fool to ignore Charles’s adventures in taxation policy, or his tendency to imprison dissidents without trial, or his political maneuvering and wrangling with other European powers, as factors that contributed to the English Civil War.

              Even this claim probably simplifies things! I haven’t had time to investigate this, but Heinlein, in his book “Starship Troopers”, claims that all wars are caused by population pressure. I don’t believe that 100%, but that claim also seems like a reasonable explanation as well.

    4. Science is not a substitute for religion, which teaches the importance of living by principles and being responsible.

      Huh. Religion does that? Religion, in general, inherently, teaches that?

      1. No, didn’t you follow… Only the right one.

      2. Most religions generally try to do that, to some extent or the other, although I would have to confess that I’ve always disbelieved the Born Again claim that once you accept Jesus as your Savior, you’ll automatically become a good person, and everything you do from then on out will automatically be in accordance with God’s Will.

        In any case, while religions generally try to teach people to be responsible, there are a lot of people who profess to believe something, and then don’t act according to that belief. Part of that is that it can be difficult to fully live up to the standards of behavior you profess to believe (and it’s a lifetime process of perfection); part of that, though, is that there’s a lot of people who claim to believe, but don’t do anything about it…or worse, throw it out the window when it contradicts personal desires for pleasure or power.

        But just because people disregard religious attempts to teach responsibility, doesn’t mean that religion doesn’t teach it!

  13. I believe in God and I am religious. I has a sad now 🙁

    1. You already had the sad, friend. You already had the sad.

  14. Also- what is an “out atheist.”

    1. An atheist who won’t shut up about being an atheist?

      1. unseen sky-God

        See people who mock the religious. I don’t know any religious people that believe God actually lives in the sky.

        1. I grew up religious and have met some very young children who believed that, but nobody else.

          1. Well… Tengriists, maybe, but you don’t see too many of those around.

            1. No, Munkh Khukh Tengri IS the Eternal Blue Sky, he is not IN the Sky!!

              Also, there’s PLENTY of Tengriists around!! My favorite rapper is even a Tengriist!! But that might just be because I’m into the Mongolian Hip Hop scene…

          2. Kids don’t know better and I suspect the art work showing heaven in the clouds was more artistic license than sincere belief.

            1. “heaven in the clouds was more artistic license than sincere belief.”

              Yeah. They were drawing from the way Europeans traditionally portrayed their main God, as their main God was usually some permutation of Dy?us Phter, the Proto-Indo-European Sky God, who became Jupiter, Zeus, Tyr, Dievas, Dyaus Pitar, and a host of other divinities.

              It was just sort of culturally ingrained in their heads to draw the Supreme God in the Sky, because for many centuries the Supreme God WAS in the Sky. This transferred over to depictions of the Christian God, even though that God was NOT a Sky God, merely because he was the Supreme God, and that was the way people were used to drawing the Supreme God.

              Artistic laziness really. Guy get’s used to drawing pictures of Zeus. Get’s told he is supposed to draw pictures of Yahweh now. Keeps drawing Zeus but labels the picture “Yahweh”.

              1. I would put forth that Yahweh, too, is just another sky god who got held up first as the most powerful, and then as the only, god.

                There’s good evidence that Yahweh formed on the old Enlil-Marduk model of “our sky-god is better than your sky god, which is why the World belongs to us!”

                Witness the references to taming Leviathan (i.e. Tiamat) and other allusions to Babylonian creation myths.

                Hence the habit you outline of “One True God” = “promoted sky god”

                1. Never seen any Jewish connections with Yahweh to the sky. *shrug*

                  Linguistically Yahweh, through his other name “El Elyon” is likely connected not to the Akkadian Enlil-Marduk, to which he shares no similarity, but to the Ancient Canaanite deity of the same name, El or the deity Elyon. El is not the Canaanite deity of the sky, that is Shamayim. Thunder god position belonged to Baal Hadad, who is the Canaanite equivalent of Enlil-Marduk.

                  El is the son of the Earth and the Sky. Elyon is father of Earth and Sky. Baal Hadad and the Sky both team up in Canaanite mythology and war against El.

                  So Yahweh’s likeliest origins are either that of the father of the sky god and the earth god, or as the son of the sky god, who’s enemy was the sky-related gods.

                  He’s… either not a sky god, or he’s the enemy of sky gods. He has no linguistic connection to the Akkadian Enlil-Marduk.

                  1. A valid distinction, but I think the phenomenon that you point to is largely a result of the phenomenon that I am talking about.

                    There is almost always a distinction, for example, between the sun god and the sky god. Shams the sun god is clearly an old figure, analogous perhaps to the Greek Hyperion, who gets supplanted by a “later generation” of sky-dwelling gods who overthrow the old order.

                    These sky-god heroes, like Marduk and Ashur, are tribal figures who are the gods *of the particular people* who worshipped them – Marduk for the Babylonians and Ashur for the Assyrians. The heroic claims tied to the god and the stories of the god’s rise to dominance are directly tied to the tribe’s claim to be the rightful rulers of the World.

                    So very little is actually known about these figures and so much is pure speculation that we always have to up our salt content with any explanation regarding ancient religions.

                    My sense, though, is that Yahweh, a primordial dragon-slaying god who tends to live in high-up places, is specifically tied to a certain tribe and their claims of supremacy, and who is declared to be above all other gods, is essentially similar in basic form and function to Marduk and Ashur, and is thus not unfairly represented as a sky-god similar to Zeus.

                    It’s been a long time since I was neck-deep in this stuff, but isn’t El-Elyon” just Aramaic for “the Gods?”

                  2. Great point. Yahweh also changed over time from a thunder/war god to an overarching god above all gods, to the only god. I always chuckle at folks who make fun of some aspect of religion without this knowledge because they miss the big history. Believers and non-believers alike, make this mistake.

                    1. “Yahweh also changed over time from a thunder/war god to an overarching god above all gods, to the only god”

                      ^ This.

                      The God of Solomon and the God of Jesus are two very, very different figures.

                    2. Yeah, except that the first understanding of God in the OT was of Creator, not of “thunder” or “war”.

                      Please give sources if you wish to defend your point.

                    3. Hey there, Ace!

                      If you’re talking Genesis 1:1, that was almost certainly written at least 400-500 years after Genesis 2:1.

                      The oldest representation of God in the OT is almost certainly the Book of Job (the versified part – the “bet with the Devil” narrative is probably circa 4th century bc).

                      The God of the older books – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, is *very* much a war God.

                      Another way of saying what I said in a way that is more sympathetic for a member of the community of faith such as yourself is that Solomon and Jesus tried each in their own way to understand the same incomprehensible divinity, and came to very different conclusions about the nature of that divinity – I prefer Jesus’ myself.

                    4. While very flawed (I dislike Harold Bloom on many levels), this book makes some interesting points:

                      http://www.amazon.com/The-Book…..0802141919

                    5. The reference to the supposed differences in timing of writing Genesis 1 and 2 is odd, as in Genesis 2 God was resting from his creating. Also, “verifying” how old a book that old is is not an exact “science”, now is it (Dead Sea scrolls come to mind).

                      The God of the older books – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, is *very* much a war God.

                      Yes, but that implies that he can’t be both. After all, he called for the destruction of those peoples in the Torah. Also, he was God of the sometime warrior Abraham and Moses. So the traditional narrative still works.

                      Solomon and Jesus tried each in their own way to understand the same incomprehensible divinity

                      Nicer, yes, but not quite accurate. If Divine revelation is to be believed in any of the 3 main monotheistic religions, then God did it slowly, and didn’t always emphasize the same parts, The Almighty Creator first, the Righteous One, the Warrior, the Savior later (at various times).

                    6. “If Divine revelation is to be believed in any of the 3 main monotheistic religions, then God did it slowly, and didn’t always emphasize the same parts, The Almighty Creator first, the Righteous One, the Warrior, the Savior later (at various times).”

                      Once again, you say tomayto, I say tomahto.

                      “but that implies that he can’t be both”

                      Fair enough. You might say I posit that over the course of the evolution of the idea of a single, inconceivable Supreme Being a sky god/war god was elevated and given more and more functions as people reasoned their way toward a single agency as Creator rather than the miasma of the pagan concept.

                      The earliest writings in the Bible very often refer to God as “the Gods” (Elohim), and Babylonian writings often refer to “the Gods” as a singular agency.

                      You see the same sort of thing in pre-Islamic Arab writings – Allah (which one might translate as “The God”) is orders of magnitude more powerful than “the Gods,” but is not asserted to be the *only* God until the Quran.

                      Once you have a concept of “the Only God,” you then start the process of stripping away the images and concepts that adhered to the old pagan God, until Solomon’s concept of God transforms into Jesus’.

                    7. And to be more specific (you’ve already noted my tendency to shoot from the hip at times), I meant Genesis 2:4, not Genesis 2:1.

                2. “The trouble with Yahweh is that he thinks he is God” — Joseph Campbell

        2. He capitalized god. What more do you want? (Although that might have been a hedge against getting fatwa’d.)

          1. Personally I think religion is silly, but I don’t see the need to be disrespectful about it.

            1. But atheism is a competing faith. (But don’t tell anyone I said that. I don’t like rocking the ark.)

        3. “I don’t know any…” is no substitute for a quick Google search..

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_deity

          1. And exactly how many Americans practice a polytheistic mythology? Could be why I don’t know any.

          2. Neopagans, Tengriists, Chinese Faiths. Not statistically large enough to use as a criticism of all religion, at least in my opinion.

            You COULD stretch and say that since the Romans and Greeks introduced elements of their own Sky God artistic styling into their depictions of the Christian God, that it justifies calling the god of EUROPEAN Christians a “Sky God”, though I would disagree onto the validity of that statement. But you still don’t have a majority that way.

        4. Lots of cultures had a Sky God, of some sort (hell, I named by handle after one). The Abrahamic Yahweh is not really a sky god, though. European images of the Abrahamic God typically pictured him in the sky, because the early Christian Romans and Greeks were using the god-symbolism they were used to, their own sky-god Jupiter/Zeus.

          Worship in the many permutations of Dy?us Phter have declined, though. There aren’t many people around still who actually DO have a Sky God. And, to me as a religion nerd, a Sky God makes /sense/ to have. The Sky is a good metaphor for a God. It is infinite and encompasses the entire world. It is a good way to convey the ideas of infinity and sovereignty.

          But, sky god metaphor being a good one aside, no one really uses the notion of a Sky God anymore, so the emphasis on “sky-god” by people who want to take the piss out of religions is pretty disingenuous, unless you are actually referring to a Neopagan, Tengriist, or member of a Chinese religion.

          1. The Abrahamic god is clearly a mountain god, as evidenced by its epithet El Shaddai, based on an ancient Semetic pun; the words “mighty” and “mountain” are quasi-homonyms. Let’s not forget in several places in the Jewish Scriptures, prophets had to climb mountains (like Sinai) to converse with God. As well as his temple being centered on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains called “Jerusalem”.

            1. Personally I don’t think sky and mountain are mutually exclusive – Marduk, after all, lived on Mount Lebanon.

              1. An, of course, Zeus on Olympus.

            2. And if you’re willing to make a connection with the Canaanite gods who use the same names as Yahweh’s other names, you either have a god who is the father of the gods who govern earth and sky, or a god who is the ENEMY of the sky gods.

              And when the Hebrews led by Aaron try building an idol, they build a calf. Of course, their are winged bulls in the near east that could be associated with the sky, but the wingless golden calf they build doesn’t seem like they were thinking of their God as a sky-related deity.

              1. “you either have a god who is the father of the gods who govern earth and sky, or a god who is the ENEMY of the sky gods”

                Or both, in the case of regime change a la Chronos-Zeus.

                “And when the Hebrews led by Aaron try building an idol, they build a calf”

                And then get ripped a new one for doing so. They had just left Egypt after many generations – refresh my memory – isn’t there an old Egyptian cow goddess that gives birth to they sky every day or some such?

              2. Wasn’t the golden calf an Egyptian god?

        5. The habit of referring the Abrahamic god as a “sky-God” is actually a reference to Yaweh’s original status as a generic storm god in the Canaanite pantheon that gradually developed into the national god of the Israelites and then into a monotheistic God.

  15. So why do people who believe in sci-tech progress tend to be happier than the religious faithful? Stavrova and her colleagues propose that “achieving control over the world and mastering the environment has always been one of the major goals of science. Believing that science is or will prospectively grant such mastery of nature imbues individuals with the belief that they are in control of their lives.” This sense of personal control in turn contributes to a higher life satisfaction.

    Probably also because Whig history is a nicer story than most religions tell.

    1. achieving control over the world and mastering the environment has always been one of the major goals of science

      Easy fix: KJV Onlyism.

      Genesis 1:26-28King James Version (KJV)

      And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

      So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

      And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

      Changing “dominion” to “stewardship” is killing everyone’s buzz.

    2. Yeah, I hate to admit how much of my life I unknowingly ascribed to Whig history without thinking about it or even knowing what it was.

  16. You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time ? and that should be sufficient for most purposes

  17. Because scientists have more white privilege? /sjw or stormfront?

    1. I was over at a friends house and she was playing Spanish kid shows so baby can be bilingual. In the middle of one of the shows was a sign language bit about race and privilege. They had some white guy in a suit with a caption that read “I have the privilege of not knowing my privilege”. We live in strange times.

      1. Whenever white people talk about race they are nearly always talking to each other. The entire point of talking about race for liberal white people is to establish their moral superiority over other white people. The actual minorities are irrelevant. When a white person admits his privilege or talks about the history and problem of racism, all he is doing is establishing his moral superiority over other white people. By saying it the implication is that it has to be said because other white people deny it. The speaker is therefore morally superior to those other white people. Establishing that superiority is the whole point for the speaker. The quote for the guy in the grey suit perfectly encapsulates this. He doesn’t recognize his privilege and is thus morally inferior to those who do.

        1. I wonder if there is an economic class view of this phenomenon.

          Those who fail to recognize their white privilege are usually working class folk who don’t have much privilege and know it. The upper and upper-middle class progressives show their superiority over the mass of working-class by exposing their lack of privilege consciousness.

      2. I wouldn’t be happy, to say the least, if I found out that my kid’s tv shows were trying to sneak in political messages like that. I don’t care what your views are, can’t children have a few years of just learning about fun, innocuous things like animals and numbers…rather than who to hate and judge. I have ideas and people I don’t like, but I wouldn’t burden my kid’s with that. You shouldn’t be a bitter grouch at the age of 5

        1. It was really out of place. We were watching the pio pio chicken song and then some random ASL thing on whitey be outta control.

  18. It’s like asking the same question twice. If you believe science and technology are progressing to make your life better then you will be more satisfied than someone who believes the opposite.

    1. That really doesn’t follow.

      1. It really does

        1. Believing in positive scientific progress says nothing at all about your starting point happiness level.

          1. Exactly Nikki.

          2. Of course it does, someone who thinks their life is going to be better tomorrow is going to be happier today than someone who thinks they’re life is going to shit tomorrow.

            1. True. Believing your life is going to be better tomorrow is, however, every bit as much an act of faith as believing that you are going to go to a better life after you die.

              1. Except that one has past experience to inform it and the other just has feelz and fairy tales…

                1. Curt,

                  Past experience says nothing one way or another. What about the past says things will necessarily get better much less get better for me? I could find out I have an incurable disease tomorrow or have any number of tragedies strike my life. I don’t have any idea if my life is going to get better. And I certainly have no idea that life in general is going to get better. It certainly hasn’t always.

                  1. I think people in general think things will continue tomorrow the way they did today unless something happens to change their minds. Momentum.

            2. Why would you assume it’s going to happen “tomorrow” in these people’s minds? You could easily believe that technology will make life worse much, much later, long after you’re dead.

              Additionally, the “opposite” of believing technology improves your life could simply be not believing technology improves your life. There’s no need to believe it will make your life worse. You could simply be a skeptic of Whig history.

              1. Sorry, I fell asleep. Who are these people you’re hypocritically collectivizing today?

  19. “When we have control again…”

    “You never had control–THAT’S the illusion!”

    1. You slapped it on a lunch box and now you’re selling it!

  20. Science and technology never told anyone they were going to Hell for any reason whatsoever, much less for stupid reasons like not believing in science and technology.

    You might want to take a closer look at climatology.

  21. What are you talking about, religious people are always cheerful.

    1. more

      “Bitterly she wept,
      Thine all-blameless Mother, when she saw Thee
      lying dead, 0 Word, lying in the tomb,
      the eternal God no language can express.”

      1. more

        “Light more dear than seeing, O my most sweet Child, how does a tomb now hide You.”

    2. Dei Jesu domine

      [WHACK]

      Dona aes requiem

      [WHACK]

      1. +1 Self-flagellation

        1. I’m just interested in why we need a post on Good Friday to remind us that religious people aren’t always shiny and happy.

          1. I think it has more to due with this being the last day of the Hindu festival of Holi.

              1. India could use a little more of that message.

      2. “Dona *eis* requiem”

        Could resist the simultaneous Latin/Monty Python pedantry.

        1. NOT resist, that is.

  22. Disclosure: I have been an out-atheist since my early teens.

    I DON’T PAY MY $2 AT WEBATHON TIME TO BE PROSELYTIZED TO.

  23. Whatever works for you I guess. I honestly don’t see how believing that science is necessarily going to make a better world is any more or less rational than believing in religion and a world after this one. I am not a Luddite but there is a difference between happiness and comfort. Technology absolutely makes us more comfortable but that doesn’t mean it makes us in any way happier or more fulfilled. The thing about comfort is that it is relative. If one of us were put back into our great grandparents’ time we would be miserable without our technology. Our grandparents, however, were perfectly happy because that is all they had ever known. No matter how comfortable technology makes you, you will always eventually get used to it and want more. Meanwhile, all of that comfort stands independently of the things that actually drive your happiness; your sense of belonging, your sense of meaning, your sense of fulfillment.

    Ultimately, I don’t see how technology will ever give us the things that make us happy. It will just give us more comfortable. It hopefully wont’ make us less happy, though that is hardly a guarantee. It is unlikely, however, to make us more happy.

    1. there is a difference between happiness and comfort

      The Greeks expressed it as Ataraxia vs. Eudaimonia.

      1. The Greeks pretty much had life figured out. It is amazing how insightful they were.

        1. So how did they fall so far? Cradle of philosophy to welfare collapse.

          1. Come on, really? Teh geyz, of course.

          2. It was a long time ago mostly. Whoever the Greeks were that lived in Athens in the 4th Century BC have long since been subsumed by the various groups who came in later. The most immediate cause of their decline was the Pelopenisian War devastated their population and confidence in their civilization. Then Alexander came along and the entire Med Hellenized and I think many of the best Greeks who were left scattered to the four winds.

            1. Doyers answer was shorter and confirmed my bias. He wins. Just kidding. I like your history lessons.

              1. Pederasty is a civilization killer. Didn’t you know that?

                1. I’m going to need to run a few more test before I can confirm this. OMWC to the front please.

            2. I’m actually of the opinion that it was their arrogance that ultimately brought them down. Still is.

              1. They should have listened to Socrates instead of killing him.

                1. ^ This.

          3. Global warming?

          4. Some historians have speculated that the late-Macedonian Hellenic world was on the edge of an industrial revolution, which got shut down by the Roman conquerors (along with the Pythagorean religion) out of fear that it might destabilize their own rule.

            1. The Pythagorean religion (which was very similar to Buddhism) got shut down by the Romans too, i mean.

              1. Interesting. I need to read more history.

                1. Toynbee touched on it; Terry Jones’ Barbarians gave a good pop summary.

            2. While an interesting suggestion, I don’t think it’s a viable theory. It was the collapse of the Greek powers largely due to their infighting that led to the rise of the Romans – it was not the rise of the Romans that led to the collapse of the Greeks.

              The Romans arguably were on the verge of an industrial revolution, as well, but both cultures crystallized into self-satisfied dogmatism before they got there, which is what I think their real problems were.

        2. They had a lot of slaves, and thus a fair distribution of leisure time in certain classes.

          What’s amazing is how very-low-paid or slave labor seems to be universally necessary for any society to have nice things like philosophy or cheap shit to buy.

          1. Before the industrial revolution, that was true. Now we have all these things without chattel slavery.

            1. Now we have wage slaves John.

            2. Having to work for a living is slavery, John. God, it’s like you’re not even feeling the Bern!

            3. But not without extremely cheap overseas labor.

              1. But not without extremely cheap overseas labor.

                Tony’s a troompaloompa! You all saw it!

              2. Those fuckers should be dying in rice patties of malaria instead of making iPhones!

                1. Yeah man, it is shitty that people are able to get $13/day jobs in countries where the median income is $2/day!

              3. But not without extremely cheap overseas labor.

                Those people choose to work in those factories because it offers a better standard of living than subsistence farming. It seems pretty sick to me that you would have those people go back to abject poverty because you have an emotional reaction to capitalists getting rich.

                1. It remains the case that modern civilization wouldn’t be able to have its toys without labor that is compensated with significantly lower wages than the people enjoying that civilization would tolerate for themselves.

                  1. Everything is relative. What you call “significantly lower wages” are a step up in the standard of living for the people who are earning them.

                    1. What happens when they want the standard of living of the people for whom they are building toys?

                    2. What happens when they want the standard of living of the people for whom they are building toys?

                      They relocate.

                    3. People who work in the Rolls Royce factory can’t afford to buy one. People who work for Boeing can’t afford to buy a plane. People who work for Caterpillar can’t afford to buy an excavator.

                      Everything is relative.

                    4. What happens? Nuclear holocaust?

                    5. Lemme guess: your solution to your brilliant insight is that all of us should be subject to the whims of an all powerful state run by people that think like Tony.

                      Would you assholes have any thoughts if you were cured of your projection?

                  2. Fucking different standards of living in different countries, how do they work?

                  3. The fact that you THINK you know what the price point for every product and every person’s labor is where you are wrong from square A-1. Everyone wants to get more and do less. Technology has made people at EVERY level able to work less and have more. The only argument that is necessary to have is how much Force is used to make people do as they otherwise would, and how much Force is used within a crony system to sustain it.

                    Life is a long, slow losing proposition. We steer a life we didn’t ask for along a course that hopefully will produce positive memories, necessitating the staving off of pain and death. All the while, we know we will suffer pain and die. We can do this in a brutal waste land of ignorance, or a society with rational people. Force makes for wastelands, peace makes for prosperity. Interactions with each other laced with Force produce greater misery and pain than those without Force. You ascribe to tenets, due to your square A-1 misunderstanding, that unleash broadcast Force in all directions, Forcing people to act irrationally. Your tenets create more pain and suffering than would otherwise exist.

                    1. The fact that you THINK…

                      Let me stop you right there. Tony doesn’t think. He feels. He is immune to logic and reason. I only engage him because I hope my arguments may persuade others who read them. I know that they are lost on him.

                  4. Good point, Tony. Let’s raise the wage of Asian iPhone makers to $15/hour. Of course, there will be no advantage to making iPhones in Asia, so Apple will close the iPhone factories and send those former employees back to the rice paddies to work for $2/day. And the factories it opens in the U.S., paying workers $15/hour, will only be able to afford to hire a small fraction of the number of people that it used to employ in Asia; output of iPhones will be much lower; the price of iPhones will be much higher. So Americans will lose their cheap iPhones, and Asians will lose their factory jobs. What’s not to love about this scenario?

              4. “But not without extremely cheap overseas labor”

                It is important to understand that overseas labor is often cheap because of differences in currency valuations, not because of “exploitation.”

                1. I’m merely noting the curious historical fact that nobody has ever devised a way of achieving a leisure class without supporting it by cheap and/or slave labor.

                  1. I’m merely noting the curious historical fact that nobody has ever devised a way of achieving a leisure class without supporting it by cheap and/or slave labor.

                    This just goes to show your fundamental ignorance of economics. The leisure class are people who employ capital to create wealth. Show me someone in the leisure class and I’ll show you hundreds if not thousands of people who are better off than they would otherwise be if that wealthy person didn’t employ them, and many thousands more who are better off for having access to the goods and services they provide.

                  2. Cheap labor doesn’t equal slave labor, Tony. Why can’t you just let us have our free-wheeling libertarian paradise?

                    1. Paying a pittance sure is more seemly than paying nothing.

                    2. Paying a pittance sure is more seemly than paying nothing.

                      What you fail to comprehend is that slavery is compulsory, while those people earning a “pittance” are doing it by choice because it is better than the alternative.

                      Everything is relative.

                      But alas you feel that not giving is taking, and not taking is giving.

                      So it doesn’t surprise me then that you feel that choosing to work for what you consider to be a pittance is the same as being forced to work for nothing.

                      In short: you’re a moron.

                    3. Really? I have a decent American job, but I sure wouldn’t do it if I felt I had a choice in the matter. When you’re talking about kids making Nike shoes, the concept of “choice” must take on some measure of variability. Most people work because they have to. Including you and me. If we’re lucky, we are afforded enough choice to switch jobs from time to time. Let’s not be dogmatic about these things.
                      Oh wait, it’s you.

                    4. Tony, you really are simple-minded about many things. I don’t suppose you’ve ever heard of something called efficiency.

                      Workers coming out of the fields and into manufacturing for the first time are extremely inefficient. They just cannot be paid as much as more efficient workers or the company will go bust. However, once they begin to gain experience and skills, they also demand more pay. That’s as it should be. No enterprise can continue to exist by paying out more than it takes in. It’s a matter of physics.

                    5. Tony, that last comment was a vile and disgusting insult to anyone who has actually been a slave and been forced to work with a whip or worse at their back. You are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

                  3. True – Marx makes much of this, and decries the “bourgeois socialist” who imagines a leisure class without a proletariat to support it.

                    I think the beset shot we have, though, is modern free market capitalism – look at how much it has done to reduce poverty in China in the last 15 years.

                    1. I love it when the world’s most successful command-economy authoritarian communist state is held up as a model of the virtues of free-market capitalism.

                    2. I love it when the world’s most successful command-economy authoritarian communist state is held up as a model of the virtues of free-market capitalism.

                      You do know that all of their economic gains are a result of their relaxing control over the economy and allowing private ownership, right? As in their experimenting with free-market capitalism. No. I didn’t think so.

                    3. To paraphrase something your president just said, efficient economies result from people choosing “what works.” I was pleasantly flabbergasted by the sophistication of these remarks: labels are worthless. Every economy is a mixed economy. Some part government, some part private market. The ones that fail most spectacularly are the ones that put dogma over outcome, be they communist or laissez-faire. If we can only just agree on this point, we’ll all find ourselves on common ground.

                    4. Tony:

                      To paraphrase something your president just said, efficient economies result from people choosing “what works.” I was pleasantly flabbergasted by the sophistication of these remarks: labels are worthless.

                      Wow.

                      Being “flabbergasted” by a president suggesting we do “what works.”

                      Just…wow.

                      Deep.

                      Sophisticated.

                    5. The ones that fail most spectacularly are the ones that put dogma over outcome, be they communist or laissez-faire.

                      Really. Show me a single economy that puts freedom first that has failed.

                    6. The success of this command-based economy rests absolutely on its behaving exactly like a ruthless and greedy capitalist corporation, aka China, Inc.

                  4. Oh ok I see. I guess you’re onto something. Without actual hard working and innovative people paying taxes how would leftist blowhards have all that time adding no value to anything whatsoever?

          2. What’s amazing is how very-low-paid or slave labor seems to be universally necessary for any society to have nice things like philosophy or cheap shit to buy.

            From this, do you derive that we need a slave class in order to have civilization?

            After all, social stratification is one of the universal qualities of all civilizations, through all of history. One could say it’s the overall point of civilization.

            There, this implies that we need slave labor, and can’t have equality, or the alternative is CAVEMEN!!!!

            1. It’s an important question. Once the global civilization is done saving the biosphere from certain destruction (thanks mostly to a basic, inherent myopia of capitalism), the next problem to address will be just what you refer to. How do we all have a decent standard of living? You and I owe ours in large part to cheap horrific labor practices (as the people of the West always have). I suspect it won’t be possible without a major near-infinite clean energy innovation.

              1. thanks mostly to a basic, inherent myopia of capitalism

                Are you really this ignorant, or do you just pretend to be for the sake of your Internet persona.

                It is technological development that has made clean air and water possible. Without these advancements, we would still be burning entire forests and spreading animal dung everywhere.

                1. According to his arguments, we desperately need to invent near-infinite clean energy innovation. Probably through a moon-shot public works program.

                  And, that will require slaves.

                  Therefore, saving the planet requires slavery, as well as civilization.

                  Therefore, slavery is part of “what works best.”

                  Funny, that.

              2. I get it.

                You’re free to imagine anything beyond civilization, including it’s overall point. You never really have to be afraid of CAVEMEN!!!!, because anything can be overcome.

                It’s just that one else is allowed to think like that.

    2. Ultimately, I don’t see how technology will ever give us the things that make us happy.

      Wait til they roll out VR later this year.

  24. You know how you can tell that religious people are happier?

    They don’t waste all this time and effort perverting the scientific method to create ‘studies’ to show how much happier they are than atheists.

    Know how we originally found out that religious folks are happier? Atheists did one of these studies and were aghast that the people clinging to superstition and sky-god worship were happier than them.

    Know why?: Because you can believe in a god AND in sci-tech progress AT THE SAME TIME. Shocking, I know, but true.

    Much more true than the results of this study, that’s for damned sure.

    1. Well, that was one of the results of this study.

    2. Thousands of years of theological discourse on the nature of suffering never happened.

      1. No one has ever claimed life was suffering before I did, jesse, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

        1. No one has ever claimed life was suffering before I did

          That’s our Nicole: anarchist, grammar maniac, foreskin enthusiast, Bodhisattva.

          1. Battin’ .250 eh? Not bad

    3. What makes you think these are atheists doing all of these studies?

      1. You just don’t get the nature of faith, bro.

      2. I wouldn’t be sure they are. This survey builds a happiness stack that looks like:

        #1: Science Optimistic Theists
        #2: Science Optimistic Atheists
        #3: Science Pessimistic Theists
        #4: Science Pessimistic Atheists

        Based on the reported results above, it looks to me like Theists won.

    4. “They don’t waste all this time and effort perverting the scientific method to create ‘studies’ to show how much happier they are than atheists.”

      😀

      This study found theists are happier than atheists.

      😀

      What are you going on about??

      It found that people who are optimists when it comes to science are happier than people who are pessimists when it comes to science, and that this difference in happiness is greater than the theological happiness difference.

      So… this study finds that optimistic theists are the happiest people around.

      I know the article is framing it as using scienceoptimism as a substitute for religion, but the survey is saying that being both is how to optimize happiness.

  25. Study behind a Paywall.

    How wonderfully transparent. .

    1. Study behind a Paywall.

      How wonderfully transparent. .

      I’m sure if you would front the fee, they would happily publish in an open-access journal.

      1. The internet is an open access journal.

  26. Interesting study. I can’t help but wonder what the cross correlation between belief in scientific progress and religiosity is. My personal experience is that it tends to be modestly positively correlated. People confident in science’s ability to make produce progress tend to be more likely to have religious inclinations.

    1. interesting study. I can’t help but wonder what the cross correlation

      What u did ther, jeebus seez

  27. Some of the statements I’m reading seem to be contradictory.

    Statement One:

    “Belief in progress and religion were largely independent of one another rather than mutually exclusive.”

    Statement Two:

    “Stavrova and her colleagues speculate that this negative association between a belief in God and a sense of personal control might arise from dispositional differences.”

    The first statement suggests that the belief in scientific progress (and personal control) aren’t mutually exclusive. The second statement suggests that they are mutually exclusive.

    I don’t know what they mean by dispositional differences in the second statement, but that was cross cultural. Muslims believe in predestination. Might their religiosity being tied to predestination have something to do with whether their religiosity engenders a sense of personal control? What about protestants who believe that Jesus gave us radical freedom and that God leaves us to do as we will–up to and including murdering Jesus or starting a business? In the case of protestants, isn’t it likely that their religiosity being tied to that radical freedom engenders more of a sense of personal control?

    In other words, maybe it isn’t the disposition of the believer but the nature of the faith that engenders a sense of personal control.

  28. Meanwhile, you can color me skeptical of these findings on two fronts. For one, I’m skeptical that a sense of personal control necessarily engenders happiness of and by itself. We’ve had a term for that sense of personal control for a long time, “existential panic”. It’s more associated with Munch’s Scream than happiness. I’d go crazy without personal control, but I’m not sure that makes me happier.

    Solomon wrote “With much wisdom comes much grief”. Cobain wrote, “I wish I was like you–easily amused”.

    The second reason you can color me skeptical is that I’m always skeptical of ranking qualitative criteria through quantitative methods. It’s like rating jazz records by how loud they are. Meanwhile billions of people have stuck to their religious beliefs over the course of thousands of years. How can we quantify something so subjective as the happiness or utility of religious belief by quantitative methods when it’s been scrutinized by the qualitative preferences of billions of people for thousands of years? There’s something called the market of ideas. If religion were Charlie Sheen, it would type: #winning!

  29. If you believe in sci-tech, you are kind of confused.

  30. Seems to me that these days the distinction between science and religion is a bit blurred.

    Look at environmentalism for example. Its supporters wear the mantle of science, but what they practice resembles religion more than science.

    They attempt to persecute non-believers and dismiss anything that contradicts their beliefs. That is the hallmark of religion, not science.

    1. Well Transhumanism isn’t a religion. I know that because a transhumanist told me so.

      He also said that one day, one day soon, the singularity will happen, and it will change all our lives forever.

      He was as sure of it as my grandfather was that Jesus is coming back.

      And it’s all us heathen who aren’t getting our heads frozen that are going to be lost forever.

    2. “Science” is modern magic. People just assume scientists can do anything. It’s like back when everyone was illiterate, how people believed in magic words and thought wizards could use their amazing literacy to work magic.

      Now instead of words it’s technobabble that is the magic.

      1. People still believe that magical incantations can accomplish miracles. They call it “legislation.”

        1. Written in the mystical language called “lawyerese”.

  31. I ascribe to the tenet that anyone who is happy is missing a major concept.

    Most, if not all, the people I know who are “happy” people do so at the expense of others. Those others, due to love or some other fealty bond, enable and subsidize that happiness.

  32. I find that unhappy people tend to worry about things that they cannot control or change, which is foolish if you ask me.

  33. Rather interested in seeing the response rates and stuff like that that would tell you if the survey is even a valid representation… but alack, paywalls abound.

    “Participants were asked how often they attended religious services and whether they believe in God…They subsequently answered a 5-item Satisfaction With Life Scale, assigning each item 1 to 7 points.”

    I’d be interested in seeing what order these questions were asked (paywall…) because this could alter the answers if given in the wrong order. If asked the belief question before the satisfaction questions, I don’t trust the results at ALL. Both the religious people and the atheists with an agenda answering this poll would likely surmise the nature of the survey from these questions. Both sides want to make their own look good, and thus have an incentive to exaggerate how good they feel about their life.

    “Finally, participants answered standard gender, education, income, employment, and marriage queries.”

    Were these taken into account in the results?? Grumble grumble paywalls…

    “Science Is a Good Substitute for God”

    Odd choice in title. The results of the study would suggest that religious scientific optimists have the best life satisfaction. Not that I trust the results are accurate, considering the details that would tell me that the results are accurate cost $35.

    1. So…what do you feel about paywalls? Don’t hold back.

  34. Let’s see how happy they are when their AI robots are marching them to the work camps on roadz of human skulls.

    1. Are those government roads? Because, as we all know, without government there would be no roads at all.

      1. Paid for by prevailing wage paying Human Skull Pavers Local 1618

  35. So if religious belief makes people more satisfied with their lives, why is secularism growing in many countries?

    Better drugs?

  36. I’ll take ALL the wars that have ever occured solely because of religion (hint: there are fee to none) over the orchestrated evil of 20th-century Progressive science.

    100 Years War + Crusades + Reconquista < Nazi racial eugenics

    1. “there are few to none”

      ^ This.

      Crusades were about trade routes, not religion. Most of the people living in Syria-Palestine in the late MA were Christian.

      Reconquista was just about territory – when Spain was divided into multiple kingdoms, some were Christian some were Muslim. Often Christian kingdoms would ally with Muslim kingdoms against other Christian/Muslim alliances. The winner, Castile-Leon, happened to be one of the Christian ones. Chaucer’s Knight, however, served a couple of Muslims in his time.

      100 years war was about divesting France from England – lots of aristocrats of the 13th c. held titles on both sides of the channel. That was unviable, and the 100 years war was largely about people choosing one side or the other and then fighting over the land and other considerations.

      I know of no wars that were *truly* religious in motivation – not even the original Jihad.

      1. I want to steal this entire post for future use.

        1. Feel free – I don’t believe in intellectual property.

        2. All wars are fought in the name of religion, because that’s just a fancy word for “beliefs”. As in, “I believe this land is mine”, or “I believe the south cannot secede” or “I believe getting filthy rich off young men dying is A-ok!”

      2. The Thirty Years War may have been about other things in addition to religion, but religion had a lot to do with it–surely in the beginning. Certainly, the Peace of Westphalia concerned itself with separating religious questions from questions of sovereignty.

        1. That’s a really sticky one, and the so-called “Wars of Religion” generally speaking almost beg to be brought up in any discussion regarding whether or not war is ever inspired by religion.

          I would argue that in the context of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation you had what were fundamentally political issues playing out in a religious paradigm.

          Henry VIII’s split from the Catholic Church, for example, was in no way theological, having more directly to do with Charles V’s power over the papacy and, thus, power over Henry’s marriages. It was left to the next generation to determine what the theological differences between the Catholic and Anglican Churches were going to be.

          A lot countries lined up their religious convictions along political lines and then fought “wars of religion.” I personally think, for example, that the dogged Irish clinging to Roman Catholicism is not unrelated to England going Protestant. I can’t help but suspect that if England had stayed Catholic and started demonizing Protestants, Ireland would have had a passionate Reformation.

          The Thirty Years War starting in a failed attempt to establish “religious uniformity” does make it a pretty good example of religion at least playing a major role in why a conflict starts, but I suspect that fundamental motivations on both sides are still not what *I* would call religious (but that’s where I admittedly skirt the shoals of tautology).

          1. Perhaps it would be more accurate to frame my points as “people don’t start wars over *theological* concerns.”

            When you’re talking religion, you’re really talking about a set of practices that define a community, and that is already moving solidly into the political realm by its very nature, so that you might go the other way and say that *all* wars are religious in nature, if you distinguish “religion” from “theology” and “mysticism.”

  37. Believers in science and technology get to live in a world that is being made better by what they believe in all the time.

    Remember when those can openers that peeled of the lid came out? I *love* those! Science wins again!

  38. Sci-Tech Progressives confirming the prejudices of sci-tech progressives.
    There’s nothing quite like closed-loop confirmation – sort of like the vote percentage garnered by leaders in places like the Soviet Union

  39. A majority of scientists claimed that water can’t prevent dehydration. http://m.slashdot.org/story/160812
    I suspect these might be some of the same scientists that we trust to tell us to believe in climate change. The majority of scientists argument feels like religion to me. I still believe humans play a role in climate change, but not becuase of the standard weak sauce argument.

  40. someone probably said this already but Im not reading all 300+ comments just to avoid repeating someone. anyhow, dont forget the global warming eschatology. not like religion at all! (this time they’re serious). also “belief” in science leads to people thinking we can create heaven on earth, which never ends well (even if it starts with the best intentions). people even a hundred years ago would probably consider present day living conditions pretty heavenly, but it wasn’t religion in any form (I would include communism under the heading) which got us there, it was freedom.

  41. So belief in science and technology progress is the new opiate of the masses. So what?

    Doesn’t this study equally feed into the notion of culture wars in which the religious are becoming second-class citizens?

    I see two basic types of non-believers: the Penn Jillettes who are mostly able to shine it on in the face of believers or anyone with whom they disagree and the Bill Mahers who bridle if someone says “G0d bless you” when they sneeze. Be like Penn.

  42. Just wanted to check in and confirm that it was a shitshow.

    Oh, and He arose! Happy Easter you lovable commentaries.

    1. Commentariat *

      Fuck you autocorrect

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  45. What about religious scientists? Do they need to calm the fck down with all the grinning and inner peace?

  46. Really Bailey? On Easter? You may truly know no shame.

  47. Maybe the study shouldn’t combine 72 countries – as this will undoubtedly include countries where people are persecuted and murdered for their religion.

    I think the 30 years of studies in the US that show conservatives (significantly more of whom are religious) consistently happier than liberals (significantly fewer of whom are religious).

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  55. I have zero issues with Mr Bailey’s atheist views, nor the views of any non-believer for that matter.

    I do think that I have a slight issue with evolutionists who say that the theory proves creationism wrong. Even though I’m a Christian, I have never said that evolution is completely untrue. While I don’t believe that we evolved from an ape out of chance, it’s foolish to think that cells don’t change and adapt over time. Without getting into the technical aspects of it, it just seems to me (from the outside looking in) that some scientists are unwilling to consider other lines of thought, even with plausible evidence, to their own personal (almost religious, to a degree) views on evolution.

    Evolution, the Big Bang theory…. the list goes on. I just don’t personally believe that it all happened by chance.

  56. RE: Science Is a Good Substitute for God

    Right.
    Let’s all pray to Einstein, Issac Newton and Da Vinci.
    I’m sure they can create nothing from a vacuum.

  57. RE: Science Is a Good Substitute for God

    Right.
    Let’s all pray to Einstein, Issac Newton and Da Vinci.
    I’m sure they can create nothing from a vacuum.

  58. It turns out that people who rely upon the efficacy of the human intellect to solve problems have a greater chance of living satisfying lives than those who cling to the supernatural hope that an unseen sky-God will somehow save them from their troubles.

    Disclosure: I have been an out-atheist since my early teens.

    You don’t say…

  59. Where on earth did Bailey get the idea that believers in God expect God to save them from all their problems…? It sounds like something Salon would print.

    Don’t be doing an Alternet, now, Ron. You can always *ask* people who believe in God whether they believe this, y’know…

  60. Those of us that believe in scientific progress and God are happier still.

  61. It’s interesting to think that a belief in “technological progress” could bring more happiness than a belief in never dying and in fact having an eternity of happiness.

    1. I think we’re likely to be happy when we trust what we rely on.

      We’re perfectly pleased that gravity prevents us from floating into space, until we drop an anvil on our foot. Then we use all kinds of colorful language to express our regard for gravity, whose apparent benevolence now is understood as indifference, at best.

      This is why I think gratitude is so important — it’s a posture of being self-aware of this symmetry between the truster and the trustee. In theism, that relation is considered an interpersonal one. In science without regard for deity, of course, the gratitude is an attitude in search of an object upon which to fasten it; it’s a bit of an alien sentiment in a universe deemed void of receptacles — a virus wondering why there are no host receptors to complement its own. It’s no wonder Gaia is hypothesized to fill the vacuum (of course, atheists would say that my Christianity does the same).

      It’s perfectly possible to be methodologically scientific yet remain theistically thankful for what one discovers, understands, and applies in this world.

      Best of both worlds. Atheists are welcome to regard me as a smiling idiot. 😉

  62. So does this mean, since I’m a Christian who loves science and is insanely thankful that technology has VASTLY improved human living standards across the globe — does this mean that I am frabjously ecstatic with happiness on both counts? 😉

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  64. Science doesnt function of belief it functions on facts. But because most people don’t understand but merely consume science I have no problem equating science with belief and technology with their god. I think the article appropriately depicts our science consumers. Clearly it does not represent us science doers. We dont need to compete with religion and recreate a belief in science or technology. Its ridiculous. Science makes for a crappy ideology anyways, its reductionist and deductive. Using the inductive just causes problems…science has rewritten itself too many times to be believed. Use it as it is. Thats plenty.

  65. As Father Zosima states:

    “You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same

    rights as the most rich and powerful. Don’t be afraid of satisfying

    them and even multiply your desires.” That is the modern doctrine of

    the world. In that they see freedom. And what follows from this

    right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation and

    spiritual suicide; in the poor, envy and murder; for they have been

    given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their

    wants. They maintain that the world is getting more and more united,

    more and more bound together in brotherly community, as it overcomes

    distance and sets thoughts flying through the air.

    Alas, put no faith in such a bond of union. Interpreting freedom

    as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort

    their own nature, for many senseless and foolish desires and habits

    and ridiculous fancies are fostered in them. They live only for mutual

    envy, for luxury and ostentation. To have dinners visits, carriages,

    rank, and slaves to wait on one is looked upon as a necessity, for

    which life, honour and human feeling are sacrificed, and men even

    commit suicide if they are unable to satisfy it. We see the same thing

    among those who are not rich, while the poor drown their unsatisfied

    need and their envy in drunkenness. But soon they will drink blood

    instead of wine, they are being led on to it. I ask you is such a

    man free?

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