It seems as though "religious right" is a compound, indivisible there such a thing as the "religious left" or the "atheist right"? Are all atheists Democrats (the ones who aren't socialists, anarchists or nihilists, that is)? Is there an atheist Republican in the house? (I know there are no atheists in the House, but that's a different question).
Just wondering.

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To start out, you are misinformed, modern republicans are NOT conservatives, rather they seem to neocons. If by conservative you mean Small Government, limited intrusion into personal affairs and Limited Spending the folks in the capital are failures.
Yes there are CONSERVATIVE atheists, they are no longer republicans.......
The left-right dichotomy becomes more time worn and useless with every passing day. But it is very interesting to think about where it originated, and what kinds of things went together under the names of conservative and liberal in those days.

It is also interesting to consider what conservative and liberal mean in non-political speech today. When we look at evolution for instance, we are struck that here is a process that is deeply and essentially conservative, it preserves whatever is good. It adapts existing things to new purposes rather than creating wholly novel structures, it has a tight grasp on what is old, but tentatively and uneasily lives with recent developments, it takes the past as its guide.

It is interesting that our newest technologies teach us to respect this approach as well. Everyone who has written a program and many people who have used them for serious work know that you pay the price of instability and bugs when you adopt the newest version. Every change you make in a complex system opens the possibility for something to go wrong elsewhere that you couldn't anticipate. We all know what beta testing means, that finding errors that you have unintentionally introduced by making changes necessarily takes time.

It baffles me how people who are used to thinking this way about genomes, habitats and computers can be oblivious to the possibility that it might apply to politics as well.
I just Read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Facism. The most amazing rhetoric and fact twisting I've seen since Mein Kampf.
Greg B. makes a very interesting point. One thing I would add is that extinction happens and not all that is conserved is best fit for the present / future. This applies to biological, technological and political systems. Thanks Greg!
Thanks, and there is some truth in this. However, neither cultures, nor the individuals that belong to them need to die off in order to change and adapt. In fact, fads spread and history is re-evaluated all the time in cultures. They also tend to make borrowings from other cultures at times, and at times refine their values by explicitly rejecting aspects they share with other cultures. We see borrowings in the tendencies for the Japanese and Americans to mimic some of each-other's business practices, we see separation and refinement in US tendencies towards nationalism and rejection of some aspects of English culture that were less likely to be shared with the inhabitants of North America following the Revolutionary War.

The basic point though, is that cultures are adaptive, and there is no way to tell in advance whether a new idea will be adaptive or maladaptive. Distributed trial and error has a way of outstripping analysis.
Moreover, the terms Conservative and Liberal are only valid when put in a context of a subject.

For instance, I'm Conservative when it comes to punishment of haneous crimes, however, minor offences I am Liberal on.
I believe that the death penalty is necessary in some cases... but I also believe in letting people go who have been caught with a small amount of illegal drugs.

I'm conservative when it comes to restricting the permissible size of a corporation, however, I'm Liberal when it comes to the rules that should apply to smaller companies.

It all has to do with the subject at hand.

If everyone could fit neatly onto two categories... there would be no point in even talking to each other.

This American bipartisan concept that there are two types of people in the world, and only two ways to vote seriously needs to stop!
Actually in my group "The Other Free Thinkers" we run the gambit from Libertarian and Moderate to probably what you'd call conservative.
I joined you group today - was surprised at first that it's a small one. But after some thought - hey, there is an evolutionary explanation for that.
To understand this we might ask why people are socialists and why people are religious.
Desmond Morris, in his explanation of the source of religion, he notes that groups of people, and sometimes the groups are quite large, congregate regularly and display submissive responses (closing the eyes, lowering the head, clasping the hands together in a begging gesture, kneeling, kissing the ground, or even extreme prostration) that are often accompanied by wailing or chanting vocalizations. The dominant individual is usually referred to as a god. Morris traces these strange behaviors to dominant males of our far past that evolved into an all-powerful individual that could span generations. "At first sight, it is surprising that religion has been so successful, but its extreme potency is simply a measure of the strength of our fundamental biological tendency, inherited directly from our monkey and ape ancestors, to submit ourselves to an all-powerful, dominant member of the group."
People have a tendency to submit to an "alpha male" that would take care of them and provide some sort of protection. Women have this tendency more then men simply because of the biological need to rely on someone while they are taking care of the offspring since they invest in it more then men.
Now, atheists, who don’t rely on a mystical force to take care of them and provide protection, rely on government to do it. Hence, they are socialists. Religious libertarians or conservatives, who don’t find government to be effective in that role, find that a god will take care of their problems. It really takes a lot of courage to accept the fact that one is responsible for him or herself.
To add some more salt to this point, here is some statistics.
Majority of democrats are women.…..s-age.aspx
Women are more religious them men are.…..women.html
If you go to facebook and check libertarian atheists members you’ll see that the list has about 10% of women.
Women have a tendency to submit to an "alpha male" that would take care of them and provide protection more then men simply because of the biological need to rely on someone while they are taking care of the offspring since they invest in it more then men.
And how ironic that the creationists who deny our common ancestors are most like them in their abject submission to an alpha male god.
Wow, I never realized how much of a minority I am. I am a woman who is an atheist libertarian. It is so difficult to find many others who have the same combination of beliefs as I have.
There is a religious left, they are the ones who won't stone you to do death if you say you are an atheist. I've met a handful of liberal Christians before, and they are...okay. They aren't as deluded as those bigots from westboro baptist church, or the people featured in Jesus Camp. These types accept other religions without trying to convert anyone. These are people who may or may not go to church, usually keep their beliefs to themselves, and aren't a threat to society. They probably have accepted that science is a value to our society -- they don't believe in the earth is 6000 years old. In actuality these people are more or less Deists rather than Theists. Their religion is more of a cultural aspect, a place where morals are taught. These are the type of christians who fight beside the secular community when creationism is edging its way into the public school system.

I'm sure there are conservative atheists, probably not your typical conservatives. I doubt many atheists would agree with any socially conservative motive, but I can see how the secular community may have different opinions on financial & economic issues, international relations, taxes, powers of local, state and federal government. There are many good theories behind all of these concerns we face with a nation-state.

We did find out in the 'politics' forum that most atheists are libertarians, which is basically socially liberal, fiscally conservative -- take responsibility for yourself, and don't infringe another human's rights.
I was one for a number of years. They are compatible. It wasn't that rare for me to meet others that wore both hats. The nature of our current administration and the mopes that support their antics make it easy to think that "republican" and "atheist" are mutually exclusive.

I've always found it amusing that there are all these issues that have somehow become owned by one party or the other. The republicans want to kill criminals but want you to choose life. The republicans want smaller government, yet want to tell you what you can do in your bedroom.

When I was a republican, it was because I thought that the fiscally conservative approach was superior to the liberal one. I have swayed the other way in more recent years.
Republicans think "pull yourself up by your boot-straps" and Democrats think that "a rising tide floats all boats". Both views could be backed by intelligent argument.

I just can't hang with all the other crap that is part of the republican party. Obama in 08!


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