Here's an article from Psychology Today with the headline 'Why atheism will replace religion'.Religion and the concept of God were evolutionary necessities to feed human curiosity and to cope with this mysterious world.Now that we understand our Universe through science and technology,they are no more required thus avoiding many damages done in the name of religion.But how long will it be that atheism will completely overtake Religion?I'm suspicious about it and that certainly is not going to be any time soon.Religion appeals to people's emotions,they serve political purposes as well.Even if people believe that god does not exist,still they will follow their religious practices and the norms.No doubt that Atheism is on rise with the progress in science and technology,the idea of its complete domination is still questionable.But I'm an Optimist.

Here's the article -
Why Atheism Will Replace Religion

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There are 600 - 800 million christian believer. There are more than 7 billion people in the Earth (some in Cosmos). Do the christians beleive, that they have the only TRUTH? 


YES. The christians believe that they have the only truth. Imagine 500 different types of christian believers. Any one of the groups believes that they have the truth, and the other 499 of them do not. Hence the term "full gospel." The believers of this have all the truth. The others do not. I can never be a believer of any type today, but stretch this idea out into Islam and all the other religions and you see how impossible it all is.

This is insanity!

Not impossible, kzoltan.

I heard Catholic school nuns go further, saying Error has no rights.

Clive Bell said that civilization begins with the correction of instinct by reason. That's a good definition. Instinct is very strong and evolution very slow, but as more and more people correct their instinct with reason, atheism will grow. I believe it is a very long way from replacing religion, but at least the possibility, and hence the hope, exists now.

I agree Allan.  It sounds to me like too many people put too much faith in instinct.  Even some atheists.

It's probably necessary when an immediate decision must be made, but at all other times, reason is far superior.

Plus, I think the best instinctive decisions are made by people that use their reason most of the time, and the instinct is mostly based on prior knowledge gained by reason.

...instinct is mostly based on prior knowledge gained by reason.

Idaho, does your use of the word mostly allow for knowledge gained by experience?

Yes Tom.

…instinct is mostly based on prior knowledge gained by reason.

That's an interesting notion, but not one that I am ready to support without evidence. There seem to instinctual fears—heights, falling, large animals, things coming at you fast, etc.—that are not learned.

The part that interests me is the question of whether learned responses become instinctual as a way of shortening response time.

My Kindle's OED three definitions for the noun "instinct" include these modifiers:

innate, typically fixed pattern,

natural or intuitive way, and

natural propensity or skill.

With that much variation, any conclusion is possible.

Dictionaries always record usage across a broad range, but definitions used in science are usually more precise. With instinct that may not be the case.

Darwin devoted a chapter to instinct (Chapter VII of Origin) and as usual his insights are good because they are based on careful observation. His concern was that natural selection might not be sufficient to explain it.

He remarks that "several distinct mental actions are embraced by this term" and refuses to attempt a definition. On one point he differs from others—that instinct does vary within a species, it is not perfectly uniform, and that gradations of instinct may be observed within closely related species. That is enough to make instinct modifiable by natural selection.

But there is another payoff. Darwin found in instinct an argument against benevolent design:

…I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent &omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. (In a letter.) 

At the end of the chapter on instinct Darwin sums up his whole theory of instincts and evolution. He sees instincts

…not as specially endowed or created instincts, but as small consequences of one general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.

I preceded "instinct is mostly based on prior knowledge gained by reason." with "I think the best instinctive decisions are made by people that use their reason most of the time, and the"

I think that people that don't use reason much are often going to make bad instinctual decisions, and those that use reason much more, are going to make much better instinctual decisions.  I hope I'm in the latter group.

That of course, is going to depend on the definition of "instinct".

Rereading my post, it looks like I'm using two definitions of instinct.  The first is negative, the second is positive.  In my quotes above, I was trying to say there may be good instincts.

There do seem to be things we call instinctual fears, however, my first reaction to the word instinct was negative as it has always been.  When I hear the word, my first thought is the opposite of reason.  The definitions of instinct that I found in Wikipedia are mostly negative, which supports my initial reaction.

The definition of psychological intuition is "Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason."  That sounds to me like that "knowledge" is often going to be incorrect.

Rather than rely on reason or it's substitute Google, I'll offer my top o' th' head definition of "instinct":

Instinct is knowledge that is part of the structure of biology, without a priori individual experience.  We hatch and immediately waddle toward the sea, or we emerge from a vagina and seek a nipple.  These are complex behaviors with no precedent in the individual organism.  They are a structural part of our biological history.

Intuition is not necessarily instinct, as it can be the result of individual learning -- just not consciously recognized.  I see intuition as the beginning of processes that may well arise from instinct, or just as well from unattributed memory and, if necessary to the situation, resolve in reason.

We don't always have time for the refinement of thought into what we would call reason -- in fact, we seldom do.  If we take time to learn whether a particular sort of snake is venomous we might learn something useful, but we would also be somewhat less likely to live to pass on our genes.  And so, those predisposed to jerk away from any snake and teach their offspring that snakes are universally dangerous tend to proliferate in the population -- a negative feedback loop.

The launch pad of thought is instinct -- that structural biological foundation with which we were born.  It precedes and supersedes individuals.  At some point on its trajectory we could call the thought process intuition -- that is, a learned response to stimuli that occurs without processes we are able to articulate as they happen.  Obviously, this threshold varies greatly among individuals.  Once we are able to de-brief and rationalize, and perhaps upload those memories, we say that we have reached a state of reason.

Reason never precedes intuition which never precedes instinct.  The speed at which one reaches a state of reason and the weight to which reasoned responses influence an individual's behavior define how "reasonable" that individual is.  Reasonableness is not necessarily the same as fitness.  If you pause to analyze the intention of a tiger, or if you publish a cartoon depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, you become less likely to perpetuate your genes.

And so reason is not some absolute "good" end to a train of thought.  For one thing, "good" implies congruence with some superpersonal template.  We do have some of those, and call them "society".  But that template is far from absolute.  In fact, absolutes (probably) don't exist.

Disclaimer: The author of this post abused psychedelic drugs in his youth, and so these ramblings may not precisely match reality.



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