Include atheists in that list of weird people. We see through the fog of delusions and fabrications that exploit people and their resources and manipulate minds to make them obedient. The world does not need obedient people, it needs mentally healthy, mature adults to carry us into the next evolutionary phase.
I agree, and here we are in the "information age" because of the instant knowledge from the Internet. That doesn't mean that we have smart or intelligent people. Most young people today are into Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media giant so much so that they have their head up their ass, and they are "totally into this, and totally into that, and totally into the BF or somebody." I'm waiting again for them to all be "gagged with a spoon." The information is there but nobody is mature enough to use it, totally, totally. Everything is "totally."
I've noticed for some time that certain food is not really what it says it is. Chili with soy "meat" has become horrible. Polish sausage is often just a glorified chicken hotdog. Some of this stuff makes you sick. Most can goods are now smaller but cost more, and taste less. I brought this up at the checkout yesterday, telling the young 23 year old who said she had never heard of products that do not have real meat in them. Does she not read the labels? Does she believe everything she is told about something with no questions? It was very plain that she thought I was wierd. (Maybe she thought I was totally, totally wierd. Who knows?)
I know 2 things about going into our next evolutionary phase.
1. Giant industry that makes all the profit would like to make this young lady's knowledge of food products the norm, and throw out mine.
2. Mistakes like this will become crucial as we develope artificial intelligence.
A step in the wrong direction will make our future society divided and seem like something out of a bad science fiction movie. I won't be here then, but that idea scares me.
I have grave concerns that the generation coming up now don't seem to have the skills that it takes to live through tough times. They don't know how and don't want to learn the simple skills for growing their own food and taking care of challenges that they surely will face. I'm glad I won't be around to show them. Some teacher will surely arise when they are ready to learn.
In the meantime, I enjoy my little pleasures, quite out of date for the younger crowd. As my neighbor told me yesterday, I am showing my age. We depression children have an unwritten knowledge that came through the hard work and stories of our elders.
I never though my own generation had much by way of critical thinking skills and good judgment. If they did, the world wouldn't be in such a mess. Baby boomers can be such a strain. I am at the tail end of that category, but sometimes wish I could divorce myself from it entirely.
I'm not sure gen X is any better. I do have some hope for millenials, who seem willing to learn, and often good natured, but lacking experience.
I am guessing that you are thinking more of cultural evolution which is on decade or century scales.
Biological evolution is on time scales so large that transient things like 'maturity' or 'exploitation' are meaningless. Biological evolution only 'cares' about genetic success and the vast majority of successful species have a wide arrange of strategies, many of which do not involve anything like intelligence or ethics. We have no clue what will drive our future evolution but it may well be nothing to do with mental traits that we find desirable.
We may be at an evolutionary dead end anyhow. The combination of large brain size and erect posture has made human reproduction among the riskiest of all mammals (human young are born with an undeveloped by large brain because the birth canal has reached its practical limits). Our development is slow with years of vulnerability. Evolution has dealt with this by a few 'tricks' like, for example, bringing the male much more deeply into the raising of the young (compared to other mammals and primates), but it's not clear where we go from here, or whether our belief structures during this moment of our existence will even be significant in the long run.
Joan I agree with you. At least, atheists are not tied to an authoritarian politico-religious system that requires obedience, seduces and deludes the followers, and does not care if it ruins the world for future generations. There are no guarantees, but throwing off the mental shrouds and letting in the sunshine of critical thinking, reason, information, and openness to new ideas unrestricted by self-assured, narcissistic so-called religious leaders, is at least some hope for better life in the future.