Just hear me out. I am familiar with the incredible amount of brainwashing many of us had to overcome to arrive at this networking site, okay? I've read Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris and Dennett and genuinely appreciate both the difficulty and complexity of the task and their efforts to "break the Spell" and wake these people up. I am not without hope that the internet, facebook, twitter, etc. will reach more and more people and begin to open more and more minds, especially young minds, to the utter silliness of religious dogma and the supernatural. BUT is anybody endeavoring to develop and implement a multi-disciplinary approach to this specific issue? If not, shouldn't someone start as soon as possible? Two hundred years ago many freethinkers, our predecessors, were convinced that religion would not last in any meaningful way in one hundred years. Admittedly, they were overly-optimistic but look how far science and technology have come since then. We have decoded the human genome. We have much more information about what makes people tick and why all of us do irrational things and make irrational and even self-destructive decisions. Is anybody attempting to put all of these scientific disciplines together and assemble a deprogramming program to allow people to see the stupidity, the abject silliness, of an imaginary all-everything person who created, "owns" and controls everything? We put a man on the moon forty goddamn years ago ("goddamn" can't be a cuss word on an atheist website, right?)!! This project HAS to be doable and none of you, I am confident, will argue that it is not worth the effort. I'm talking twenty-first century Salk polio vaccine for god dummies! One tiny pin prick in the arm and within hours, you look down at your crucifix or scapular or whatever and say to yourself, "What the FUCK was I thinking all those years?!?!" Help me out here people. We can do this!

BUT WAIT!!! THERE"S MORE!! Anyone nice enough to leave a substantive reply--"I agree!" does not count. "You are brilliant!" may have a shot but only because I'm a little narcissistic--will receive, but only if they want one and are willing to pay actual postage, an autographed copy of my HILARIOUS (just ask me) book, The Bible (According to Jack) Part I The Old Testament, all 400 plus pages of it. You won't be disappointed, unless, of course, you are, but by then it will be too late. I'll even give you a money back guarantee, less postage and HANDLING, which means, if you want to return it, you have to pay me. Come on my fellow Atheists! We can do this!!! We MUST do this! We WILL do this! "Yes we can!" Where the hell did I recently hear that?

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Good luck with that. I know two women, who I am sadly related to, who will look at you, laugh, and say, "I don't know where scientists get their ideas. It's not in the Bible." I know this because they said it to me.
Thanks Mriana. Yes, that's what they'll tell you NOW because they haven't had the "cure" we're all going to devise for them. I know it won't be easy and we may never reach everybody, but we have to keep trying. We have to do more.
OK then go visit my relatives and have a go at them. Good luck, because I think you will be severely challenged. I haven't gotten past their "I don't know where scientist get their ideas. It's not in the Bible" in response to me trying to explain evolution to them. *rolling eyes* I've tried, but you may have better luck.
You may not like the answer!

You need early inoculation with an incompatable system of knowledge (investigative science) access to a vast array of competing idea and a prolonged education which emphasizes idea evaluation and testing.

What appears to work (in other parts of the world) is a strong set-curriculum secular education system which is free for all and compulsary until the person turns 18 plus a relatively incorruptable government (and associated voting system) which is sufficiently socialized to provide safety-nets for health issues and employment difficulties. The result is a well-educated society which exists without striking differences between rich and poor, those who are well and those who are ill, intelligent and intellectually challenged, artist and business orientated, gay and straight, men and women.

The result is a population with a low incidence of "god" viruses, a mistrust of supernatural explanations for things and a resistance to many kinds of advertising material.

This is Sweden. Of course, it helps to have a supply of your own oil. And it would be nice to have a venue which is not so cold and dark most of the year.

You would have a hard time selling this package in the USA as it goes against deep-seated cultural beliefs about what is "excellent" and "free" about the country. Yet it is exactly the lack of such things which makes the US the international outlier among industrialized nations in so many areas, including its propensity for unexamined/unexaminable religious, cultural, educational, systemic and ideological beliefs.

My recommendation is to take a small chunk of this picture, one which has at least some support among a significant and influential section of the populace, and begin work there.

Begin as early in the life-cycle as possible and be prepared to spend a long, long time reinforcing it. This is an educational venture. It will not be a quick prick which takes only hours to be effective. Sorry. It takes time to be effective, robust and permanent. As much as possible, make the information funny, enjoyable and addictive.

I would start with three things:

1. Provide well-marketed but freely available material in the methodology of science. Science facts may be easy to exam in the over-tested US population, but they do not educate people in the crucial decision making process. TV programs like Myth Busters are a good beginning. They make learning this kind of thing enjoyable and addictive.

2. Provide well-marketed but freely available material for students in techniques for freedom of thought. It is what Australia's school curriculum calls "consumer education" and "clear thinking": a two-pronged approach in how not to be manipulated by ideas. (If this is very overt it will be strongly opposed by those who currently fund US schools because they stand to lose if their marketing strategies are less effective then previously.) This should provide students with repetitive examples and opportunites to identify marketing ploys and errors of logic and thinking. It should also provide strategies, and a great deal of practice in learning how to block, impede or defang these assaults on the brain. It requires some understanding of the proper use of statistics, and how not to be fooled by those who misuse them.

All these things are the tools which are essential to good research in any area: investigative journalism, science (both "hard" and "soft") and thinking outside the box towards novel solutions for the increasingly glum global outlook.

3. Start providing a realistic opposition to the Gideon Society. Beat them at their own game by providing freely available material which is, in contradistinction to the Gideon material, easy to read, short, entertaining, challenging and thought provoking.

Note that the Gideon's use the turgid KJV of the Bible as a vehicle to proselize. Every Gideon's Bible includes an easy-to-read tract in the front which outlines the evangelic belief system and how to go about being "saved" in these terms. It is probably the only thing the people are likely to read in the package. The rest is not exactly light bed-time reading material. I wonder if hotels would be quite so ready to accept these "free offerings" if they were aware of this underhand marketing ploy.

A prong of this tactic would be to "detract" from the extant Gideon offering by plastering the book with WARNING stickers. You can purchase these on line or download copies from other sites and print your own on sticky label paper. It should be the duty of every newly declared atheist to de-fang the Gideon Bibles with this material. I propose we start a group on A/N which allows members to advertise their tally of good deeds of this type. Can't promise an eternity in Nirvana as a result, but it can provide the death bed satisfaction of having played a small part to make the world a saner place to live.

We could also start a group with the task of writing, collecting, printing and distributing "logic tracts": the next evolving step up the Dick Chick the Prick stuff. This could include thought cartoons and thought bites like the Atheist Eve collection. (With her permission, of course.)
WOW! Where to begin? Oh. THANK YOU! That's where. Three or four more posts like that and we'll have this damn thing licked in no time! Do we have any gene specialists in the group? I know I sound a "little" silly, but I have no doubt that in fifty years we'll have cured many diseases and helped to correct/alleviate many personality disorders with gene therapy and NONE deserves attention more than religiophobia. Has anybody come up with that word before? I just made it up but I like it! If it ever goes mainstream make sure I get the credit. I want to be remembered for something. "Religiolax. Permanent relief from the pain and eternal damnation of religiophobia. 270 million satisfied and relieved customers so far who all proudly proclaim: 'What the FUCK was I thinking!' Religiolax. Available in easy to swallow caplets or tiny suppositories, because you've had enough stuff shoved up your ass over the years." Maybe if all else fails, I can get a gig writing for SNL.
Anyway, keep the ideas and suggestions coming people! Someone who is smart enough to correlate and coalesce and do all the other neat things really smart people do is going to read these suggestions and hear something to cause a light to go off in her/his brain that says: "Damn! That might actually work!" This project cannot possibly be any more difficult than coming up with the theories of special and general relativity and Einstein came up with those in 1905 and 1915 repectively.
My sole disappointment with your response, which I freely admit is completely caddy of me, is that you didn't want a copy of my Bible. I've got LOTS of great "Dick Chick the Prick" type stuff in my bible, at least I'm pretty sure I do, based on the phrasing and not having seen what you are referring to (I am a guy after all).
I also want to thank you for the length of your post and NO, I am not accusing you of being wordy. I write long emails to all my friends and conservative enemies and they never respond in more than two brief sentences. I try not to be judgmental. The conservatives, after all, really have nothing to say if they haven't listened to Rush Limbaugh recently. I look forward to working on this project with you. Don't even TRY to back out after that wonderful post. You're in this up to your eyeballs (which are so complex they just MUST have been intelligently designed!). Thanks again.
Thanks for the kudos, Jack.

I have "too much" education, which helps me realize that I, like every other human, have poorly designed eyeballs. Unlike the lowly squid, they are inside out.

I hate to disappoint you, but gene therapy will not "cure" religion. Only some hyper-religosity is due to seizure activity, the rest is a "software" and not a "hardware" problem.
You will have to "deprogram" me to dissuade me, Rosemary! I'm a fanatic about helping to cure fanatics. Time to go see the grandkids. More (I always have more. Better? I'm still working on that.) later.
Religion is very much ingrained in our culture. What makes humans unique is that we do have the capability to have rational thought. But human brains still have a primitive side that evolved before more rational parts developed and this is what reinforces and fosters religious ideology.

We usually taught to be critical thinkers, and often taught not to be. What would be important is to plant different little seeds in peoples minds logic that could give people a path to questioning religion.
Thanks and you are so right! There are several recent books addressing how we think and decide and why we frequently make apparently irrational and even self-destructive decisions, like believing in god. I am convinced that these new insights, coupled with additional gene research which is only in its infancy; coupled with the inability of parents too close off their children from the outside world (except apparently polygamous Mormons, and why they continue to be allowed to abuse children and get away with it is extremely disturbing!), i.e., T.V. radio, the internet, facebook, twitter, etc.; will lead, inexorably to a multi-disciplinary approach to deprogram religious brain-washing and allow individuals to decide for themselves whether an imaginary god is where they want to focus their energies. These next eight years will be a crucial time, not to be wasted, because we have someone who values intelligence, education and science more than superstition in the White House. Let's get started.
I really don't think gene therapy has anything positive to offer here.

As far as I can determine, religion is a by-product of other useful characteristics which it would be ill-advised, nay dangerous, to remove. It's rather like aiming to produce a species without aggressive war-like tendencies. The result would be a species which died out for lack of necessary assertive behaviour.

The problem (in fact, both problems) should be fixed by improving the child's environment and social experience and by ensuring that it has a thorough education in the sciences and critical thinking.
You may well be right, Rosemary, but isn't it too early to tell? I really just want to open their minds, not "dereligify" them. I am convinced they will do that on their own once impediments to thinking rationally have been removed. Nor do I want to remove any emotions. Emotions are as much a part of what makes us human as reason. Science has taught me that saying "that can't possibly work" without trying it doesn't get us very far. I've seen I Am Legend and Alien and understand we must proceed carefully so as not to create monsters or five-assed monkeys (a Southpark reference) but I refuse to accept that trying to improve our genetic make-up should be off limits (I understand you didn't say it was). I also question whether any particular behavior is "necessary" for survival, especially "war-like" or even "assertive" behavior. Sounds like circular reasoning to me. The only way to determine what is necessary is to decide the actual behavior of non-extinct species which keeps them from going extinct and even that behavior is subject to change without notice. Presumably dinosaurs needed to get bigger to survive at some point and did. After their extinction, for whatever reasons, possibly a meteor resulting in some sort of nuclear winter, tiny mammals had the better survival skills by being smaller, until it became advantageous for them to get bigger, grow fangs, learn to fly (I understand birds probably evolved from dinasaurs, not mammals, but you catch my drift), and enlarge their brains to think better. In short, aren't there as many "necessary" behaviors as there are millions of species and subspecies? I'm not giving up on gene research. As our grandparents recall, it took quite a while after the invention of the automobile for people to stop shouting "Get a horse!"
I, of course, agree that education, environment and social experience are of the utmost importance, but traditionally that has been a very slow-moving boat. If those factors were the only way to eliminate slavery, for example, I'm not sure we wouldn't still be allowed to own people in this country. Much of the Muslim world is still living in the twelfth century. I want to pursue all avenues, short of physical coercion. I'll leave the rack, waterboarding and other forms of torture/enhanced interrogation techniques to my conservative brethren and sistren.
As I said, it's almost entirely an environment (upbringing and socio-economics) and software (education) problem. Gene therapy, even if possible, would be useless.


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