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cushioncrawler
07-19-2012, 11:26 PM
Religious Belief: A Mind Virus That Preys on Fear
July 18, 2012 at 9:42 am Al Stefanelli
“The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational Inquiry” - Richard Dawkins

Memetics is an outgrowth of evolutionary psychology that was introduced as a mental content theory by Dr. Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene.” It is directly connected to Darwinian evolution and, in a nutshell, it has to do with how information, called “units,” are replicated and transferred within a given culture. There is a debate among scientists regarding how the replication of these units of information control human behavior and culture and when Dawkins coined the term, he did so in a speculative spirit. However, memes and their connection to human carriers with respect to the phenomenon of religious belief is also supported by other prominent scientists, as well as the renowned philosopher, Daniel Dennett.

A Virus Of The Mind…
In 1991, Richard Dawkins wrote an essay titled “Viruses of the Mind” which used memetics to explain the various characteristics of organised religions. Susan Blackmore, a physiologist who also studies memetics, agrees with Dawkins and Dennett with the definition of a meme being whatever is transferred from one person to another. Memes are replicators with variations within, they compete in our memories for space and for the opportunity to be recopied, but they are not carbon copies. As is with Darwinian evolution, not all of the variants are able to survive because nobody learns exactly the same way as the next person, so they are actually imitations, not copies. The ideas might be the same or similar, but the expression will change and there will be variants of different memes added. This is akin to mutation in Darwinian evolution.

However, mutations in the evolution of certain memes are very high, and are possible even in first generation imitations. In his book, “A Devil’s Chaplain,” Dawkins identifies and explains the differences between the informative memetic process and the controversial memetic process. The cultural process is based on an idea, action or expression with high variances and the informative is more of a self-correcting memetic process, which is highly resistant to evolutionary mutation.

Scott Bidstrup uses a “joke” as an excellent analogy of a meme. Someone tells a joke, which performs the “infection” stage. The joke is retold, which performs the “reproduction” stage. The joke takes on variations, which performs the “mutation” stage. Some viruses are relatively harmless, while others, as we know, can be deadly. A virus may be the means to its own end because eventually it dies out, but what is left in its wake is disastrous. Religions are not living beings, but they are entities, i.e., their self-replicating nature. These entities have the same properties that a virus has via the attribute to use modes that improve its chances for survival, and one of them relies on the direct link between a person’s beliefs and their behavior. This allows these entities the ability to control the behavior of entire societies. These entities, being ideas that have taken on many of the properties of a living organism, are complex and adaptive. They infect the mind’s ability to comprehend the difference between perceived and actual behavior.

The mind virus of religious belief preys on fear, warps instinctive attributes and skews morality. It contradicts responsible behavior, reason and compassion. It retards free will and causes a lack of ability to differentiate between rational and irrational choices. It allows the religionist to exist in a perfectly rational way in many other aspects of their existence in society while the infected area of the mind is stuck in a cyclical delusion.

A virus will attack the most vulnerable area of its host. In society, that area lies within our youth – particularly very young children. This is why there exist so many youth-driven activities within the church. These activities appeal to the societal desires of children to learn through enjoyable experiences. Sunday school lessons for very young children are modeled after kindergarten and primary school. For the older children there are sports camps and field trips. The entirety of the Contemporary Christian Music genre is designed to mirror modern and post-modern secular music. This is adaptation.

When children are not fully educated, they are unable to comprehend the reason and logic behind what they are told. Through evolution, human children are predisposed to adhere to the authority of an adult. This is why the structure of the ‘one teacher – multiple student’ education system continues to succeed in spite of the higher level of retention of a ‘one-on-one’ educational environment.

Suffer The Children…

All of this makes children very easy to infect. This is propagation and vector. The sheer number of children in our public schools is why there exists a vigorous movement amongst the fundamentalists to return prayer and biblical teaching to that venue, as well as illogical and disproved ideologies such as creationism and Intelligent Design. The longer the infection is allowed to infest the host, the more difficult it is to eradicate.

Dr. Richard Dawkins states:

“A human child is shaped by evolution to soak up the culture of her people. Most obviously, she learns the essentials of their language in a matter of months. A large dictionary of words to speak, an encyclopedia of information to speak about, complicated syntactic and semantic rules to order the speaking, are all transferred from older brains into hers well before she reaches half her adult size. When you are pre-programmed to absorb useful information at a high rate, it is hard to shut out pernicious or damaging information at the same time. With so many mindbytes to be downloaded, so many mental codons to be replicated, it is no wonder that child brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestion, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, Scientologists and nuns. Like immune-deficient patients, children are wide open to mental infections that adults might brush off without effort.”
Dr. Dawkins compares the virus of Christianity (Islam) to a computer virus, stating that,

“Successful mind viruses will tend to be hard for their victims to detect. If you are the victim of one, the chances are that you won’t know it, and may even vigorously deny it.”
He defines faith as a conviction that doesn’t seem to owe anything to evidence or reason, but feels totally compelling and convincing. As well, he points out the fact that the infected believer sees the absence of evidence a virtue, and that this paradoxical idea that lack of evidence is a positive virtue gives the virus it’s ability to replicate itself due to its self-sustaining and self-referential nature. He states that,

“Once the proposition is believed, it automatically undermines opposition to itself. The `lack of evidence is a virtue’ idea could be an admirable sidekick, ganging up with faith itself in a clique of mutually supportive viral programs.”
This also ties into the conviction that “mystery” is a good thing and it’s not virtuous to solve one. Their insolubility should be enjoyed.

The experiences that surround the conversion process are designed to be attractive to the part of the mind that controls fantasies. This is why there are more “conversions” at venues that resemble rock concerts or have smoke and mirror shows like we see on the broadcasts by Televangelists. Millions of dollars are spent on light shows that rival anything seen at a secular event of the same magnitude. The whole process is designed to make “receiving Christ and the Holy Spirit” invoke “warm and fuzzy” feelings. Then these feelings are explained as having a genuine interaction with the divine.

Telling someone who is mentally vulnerable that they have been personally touched by the supernatural is a powerful way to convince them that their religious experience is real, and that it must be reciprocated with a confession of sin and dedication of service to the faith. This serves as the perfect venue to convince the new believer of the validity of doctrine and dogma, in spite of the fact that many of these doctrines have been disproved many years ago. Thus we have self-propagation. Of course, in reality, this experience is a purely physical one that is the result of the stimulation of the temporal lobes of the brain. It can be duplicated in a lab.

cushioncrawler
07-19-2012, 11:27 PM
Dangerous Doctrines…

Two of the more harmful doctrines are “original sin” and “free will.” The viral doctrine known as “original sin” states that human beings are evil at birth and require rescue from themselves. Thus, the requirement for salvation and redemption, which is tied into the conversion experience. In the real world, we are born with an evolutionary inclination toward altruism, thus inherently good, and have no need for a redemptive savior. The viral doctrine known as “free will” states that although mankind is free to choose between good and evil, it cannot make moral decisions without the aid of a redemptive savior. Again, tied into the conversion experience.

In the real world, mankind is completely capable of making good moral decisions, thus has no need for a bible, salvation or redemption. Then the virus of Fundamental Christianity heaps on doctrines that use fear to maintain itself. These are only two examples of how important it is to understand the many ways that the virus of Fundamental Christianity is a carefully designed instrument of mind control. It is contrary to human nature. It has, over the centuries, become an infection that has almost total control over the behavior and thinking of the fundamentalist.

Circular logic and the fear of eternal punishment serve to keep the believer locked in a prison that contains no allowance for investigation of factual science, but replaces it with religious pseudo-sciences to feed the natural desire to learn.

Just as a physical virus does, Fundamental Christianity protects itself by sequestering the infected host against outside attack. Thus, the “world” is discredited. Any evidence that is contrary to doctrine is willfully ignored and taught as persecution. In the real world, this stunting of intelligence causes a decline in mental health due to the allowance of instruction only through approved church doctrine. It also causes a distortion of language to the point at which the infected believer develops entirely new meanings to common use words, which reinforces the virus.

The people who live in the real world and have been educated in the sciences are targeted as the enemy, and in extreme cases, are the victims of violent attacks. The news is rife with examples of this. As well, people who engage in behavior that is contrary to the viral doctrines of Fundamental Christianity are vilified. Abortion doctors, feminists, homosexuals, secular humanists, atheists and even skeptics are taught to be hated because they are a threat to the spread of the Fundamental Christian virus. This is contrary to what is presented as a religion of love and tolerance. Homosexuality presents a perfect example. Family values translates into homophobia and the doctrine of “love the sinner but hate the sin” becomes a license to hate homosexuality, and thus, homosexuals.

cushioncrawler
07-19-2012, 11:28 PM
Walking The Walk…

Over time, maintaining belief becomes more and more difficult, and requires a deeper and more involved effort. One of two things will eventually happen. One; the believer will gravitate more and more toward a level of fundamentalism that will cause them to become increasingly disassociated with the real world around them. The virus that has infected their mind will force them to bend modern logic and reason to fit two-thousand-year-old beliefs. Two; the believer will accept reason and logic, develop a healthy skepticism and the virus is then eradicated in the individual. Consequently, that particular individual now becomes the enemy and is subsequently vilified along with the above mentioned communities.

The person who chooses to maintain their delusion is given reinforcement by the example of the person who has been cured of the virus, via their vilification. They are protected by other infected Fundamental Christians from abandoning their faith by addressing any second thoughts they might have, and reminding them that persecution is part of the deal, and to be expected. They cite scriptures such as Jesus saying that he will divide families, that he has come with a sword and that they need to remain very thankful of the human sacrifice that pillars their faith.

The wavering convert is reminded that if they abandon their faith they will be guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and be consigned to hell forever and ever. This fear is so great that it easily divides families and destroys otherwise strong relationships. Propagation through good old-fashioned “hell-fire and damnation,” along with guilt, shame and peer pressure serve to keep the believer in line. Reinforcement of the virus comes through controlled behavior such as mandatory church attendance, tithing, membership in the chosen political party and control of the human sexual reproductive process.

The viral use of fear is particularly effective on believers who were already ignorant and superstitious prior to their conversion, but the virus of fundamental religion has propagated and adapted well only until very recently. For generations it has been regarded as a positive net to society and while it is still replicated with robust expectation, it is increasingly being challenged. This may not be as apparent in areas of the world that are academically and financially challenged, but it is apparent in many of the more progressive areas of the world and individual nations.

A Scourge…

Mainstream, moderate Christianity is still the dominant religion, and it is making great strides to keep up with a post-modern world. Progressive denominations are recognizing the facts of evolution and are becoming more relevent to a changing world. But this does not make for exciting news. The virus of fundamental Christianity is getting most of the press and although it is often marketed as the true religion of love and tolerance, inwardly it is a destructive force that causes division, promotes willful ignorance and retards intellectual growth. Broken families, ruined lives and destroyed friendships are prevalent because of the infection of fundamental religion.

It is my hope that one day reason and rationality will prevail, and the infection that our society suffers due to the virus of fundamental religion will be eradicated. It is only through the minds that have been freed of superstition, fear and irrational beliefs in non-existent deities and mythological saviors that our society will achieve it’s potential.

The rise of atheism on planet Earth has already caused fundamental religious belief problems maintaining itself in our post-modern world. Religious apologetics have stagnated. Like a virus that is running toward the end of its course, the meme of fundamentalism is losing its ability to replicate. It is weakening because there has been no new discovery or insight since the canonization of scriptural texts. There have only been differing interpretations over the centuries, but the gods, such as they are, have been silent for millennium. Religion is being left behind and while the meme may be dying, those death throes are extremely destructive, which directly ties into the rise of terrorism.
Excerpted from “A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World – The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth“

LWW
07-20-2012, 01:41 AM
Dawkins is a fool.

Soflasnapper
07-20-2012, 09:23 AM
A most compelling argument, sir! Congratulations! Most pithy, as well!

cushioncrawler
07-20-2012, 06:37 PM
Eldubb's response of course falls within the description. Probly here....

.......The people who live in the real world and have been educated in the sciences are targeted as the enemy, and in extreme cases, are the victims of violent attacks. The news is rife with examples of this. As well, people who engage in behavior that is contrary to the viral doctrines of Fundamental Christianity are vilified. Abortion doctors, feminists, homosexuals, secular humanists, atheists and even skeptics are taught to be hated because they are a threat to the spread of the Fundamental Christian virus......

cushioncrawler
07-20-2012, 06:45 PM
Me myself my thinking goze further than that article.
Everything on earth iz a produkt of everything's parasites.
It amazes me how in many instances that parasite iz a virus.
It iz perfiktly possible that the religion virus iz in fakt a real virus, ie that infekts the brain.

Science well knows that viruses kan affekt how all sorts of fauna act, ie by infekting the brain.
This helps the virus, while uzually not being very good for the animal.
A virus can make a caterpillar sit on the end of a spike of grass and say eat me. Strange stuff.
This helps the virus, while uzually not being very good for the animal.

But a spike of grass iz too small for the average homo-erektus. So the religion virus turns homo-erektus into an ignorant superstitious selfish pink-arsed ape, a Christian.
mac.

llotter
07-21-2012, 10:05 AM
It is no surprise that most of those of the Dawkins persuasion are liberal statists, putting their 'faith' in the state as their perpetual mommy, unable to mature into adulthood and shoulder the responsibilities of everyday life. Liberals happily embrace the 'freedom' of childhood and take great joy in feeding off the labor of the adults in society.

DiabloViejo
07-21-2012, 02:19 PM
http://dakiniland.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/dumpster-dive1.png

http://addictinginfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/republican-jesus.gif

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_0YTZJpJ8Jp8/Sswdaor4T3I/AAAAAAAAFzw/2_LSZhn4MX8/s400/Republican_Jesus.jpg


<span style="color: #000099">And the lord said unto the masses, "Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur!"
</span>

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/314019_10150938888880885_1514756970_n.jpg

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llotter
07-21-2012, 06:02 PM
Do you still need your mommy to take care of you like the other liberals on this forum?

DiabloViejo
07-21-2012, 08:05 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: llotter</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Do you still need your mommy to take care of you like the other liberals on this forum? </div></div>

No, I don't need my mommy.

Apparently, your problem is that YOURS never gave you enough attention when you were young. She never properly potty trained you, and that explains all the stains on the walls and floor of the cardboard box you sleep in. Your manners are non-existent, your brain microscopic. Your poor hygiene lends you a body odor so strong it could make a Cape Buffalo faint. Your standard uneducated right wing "ad hominem" attacks and babbling are hardly effective. Perhaps later on in life, after you have learned to read, write, spell, count, and think logically, you will be more successful. Now granted, these are basic skills that many of us "liberals" take for granted. We assume everyone has an easy time of mastering them. But sometimes, even liberals, forget that there are psychologically, intellectually, ideologically, "challenged" persons in this world who find these things much more difficult if not altogether impossible. But alas, you found success as THE living, breathing poster-child for birth-control and abortion.