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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    Just seen someone quote this post above. I'm intrigued as to whether other atheists might be as pessimistic as I am. But when I look at the world, I see the countries where atheism and secularism are present undergoing demographic declines.
    That's very interesting considering Atheism/Agnosticism is the highest growing demographics in the last century. I tried searching that on Google that, but mostly found many religious apologetics websites "claiming" that atheism is in decline. However, I did find this pew research article (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...ds-population/), which is respectable. Their argument seemed to be centered around the fact that the countries with high proportion of atheists have low birth rates. This is a fair analysis but it ignores why people turn atheists in the first place, its not a race where you can only be born an atheist, so future demographic estimation may not be accurate.
    Furthermore, another reason they argue is the estimated population growth of mainstream religions like Catholicism and Islam. Now for Islam, it is true that Muslim-maj countries had very high birthrate in the past few decades, as a result you have a huge young Muslim population (in Iran and Pakistan for e.g.) which is one of basis for population estimation. However, fertility rates in Islamic countries have declined (and trending towards western countries), and there nothing to say that these young people will stay Muslims (or at least fundamental Sharia-loving Muslims) later on. Look at the rising reform movement in Iran, in which the youth population have large factor.
    For Catholicism, I don't know whether the surveys are accurate. It depends on how people count a Catholic. Richard Dawkins addressed this vaguely in his speech against Pope Ratzinger (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_0kFU7IfPM), a lot of the time the Church uses Baptismal figures (people who are Baptised), not necessarily who are still Catholics. Now one can assume that a respected polling organisation like PewResearch would take that into account but even if it did, birth rates says very little about future Demographics estimations of Catholism and hence atheism/unaffiliated. The higher birthrates in Catholic also seem to be from Sub-Saharan African and Latin-American countries (which are also trending towards "western" countries).

    If the secularist/reformist "movements" in countries like Iran, Bangladesh, Ireland, Turkey (before Erdogen) show anything, it's that having high birth rates, a majority religion and a younger population of a religious sect (compared to non-religion) is not necessarily a justification for saying atheism (or secularism) is in decline.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    Whereas there seems to be a demographic explosion occurring in the more religious nations. Plus with the spread of more extreme interpretations of Christianity and Islam on the rise, I can only seeing things regressing and is something that is currently taking place right now.
    Surely that could mean "moderate" Christians and Muslims denounce it as result?

    Now, a lot of demographics changes seem to be about population growth, not population de-conversion/conversion rates. It is also possible to an atheist/secularist and still be "affiliated" to a religion. It is also possible to be an atheist/secularist and still be religious (although that happens in relatively rare occasions, so that's negligible).
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    (Original post by Racoon)
    Why the interest in faith and spirituality?
    I think that a secular society is really the way forward
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    (Original post by Scrappy-coco)
    As I said, I don't think you are really addressing any of the points that I have made, bar theories on cause and effect, which you have repeatedly argued for the general direction of causality. Although I will point out that you seem to be wrong when you said the possibility of other directions of causation don't 'belong anywhere in science strictly speaking'. Physics was actually one argument in the 20th century for backward causation. Wheeler-Feynman theory of radiation, Feynman's tachyon theory and his theory of positrons as electrons moving backwards in time, and de Beauregard's “quantum handshake” explanation of the violation of the Bell inequalities. There's where all used as examples of what could be backward causation. Today, they have little credence in supporting backward causation. But I'm not arguing they are true, but to let you know that philosophical discussions on causation certainly have been involved in science.

    As a side note, I think everything you described would still perfectly fit within the parameters of Hume's argument. Though I'm certainly not going to tell you what you philosophical views are. I know little of Wittgenstein I'm afraid! Anyway, I have enjoyed the discussion.


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    Yes I enjoyed it very much! And I think there is a place in physics for philosophy and it's the discussion of the use of language. Are you studying philosophy at degree level? At A Level I had a exercise book and I stuck a picture of Wittgenstein on it and encircled it with a bright pink heart. Mostly because I was a bit of a clown at school but I also, from what I remember, absolutely agreed with his theories on language. I read a tiny bit of his Tractatus Logica Philisophicus (something like that!) and it was incredibly challenging. I bought it for my dad so I may ask to borrow it from him. He's quite aesthetic for a philosopher I'd say (important). Check him out!
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    (Original post by chemting)
    That's very interesting considering Atheism/Agnosticism is the highest growing demographics in the last century. I tried searching that on Google that, but mostly found many religious apologetics websites "claiming" that atheism is in decline. However, I did find this pew research article (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...ds-population/), which is respectable. Their argument seemed to be centered around the fact that the countries with high proportion of atheists have low birth rates. This is a fair analysis but it ignores why people turn atheists in the first place, its not a race where you can only be born an atheist, so future demographic estimation may not be accurate.
    Furthermore, another reason they argue is the estimated population growth of mainstream religions like Catholicism and Islam. Now for Islam, it is true that Muslim-maj countries had very high birthrate in the past few decades, as a result you have a huge young Muslim population (in Iran and Pakistan for e.g.) which is one of basis for population estimation. However, fertility rates in Islamic countries have declined (and trending towards western countries), and there nothing to say that these young people will stay Muslims (or at least fundamental Sharia-loving Muslims) later on. Look at the rising reform movement in Iran, in which the youth population have large factor.
    For Catholicism, I don't know whether the surveys are accurate. It depends on how people count a Catholic. Richard Dawkins addressed this vaguely in his speech against Pope Ratzinger (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_0kFU7IfPM), a lot of the time the Church uses Baptismal figures (people who are Baptised), not necessarily who are still Catholics. Now one can assume that a respected polling organisation like PewResearch would take that into account but even if it did, birth rates says very little about future Demographics estimations of Catholism and hence atheism/unaffiliated. The higher birthrates in Catholic also seem to be from Sub-Saharan African and Latin-American countries (which are also trending towards "western" countries).

    If the secularist/reformist "movements" in countries like Iran, Bangladesh, Ireland, Turkey (before Erdogen) show that having high birth rates, a majority religion and a younger population of a religious sect (compared to non-religion) is not necessarily a justification for saying atheism (or secularism) is in decline.



    Surely that could mean "moderate" Christians and Muslims denounce it as result?

    Now, a lot of demographics changes seem to be about population growth, not population de-conversion/conversion rates. It is also possible to an atheist/secularist and still be "affiliated" to a religion. It is also possible to be an atheist/secularist and still be religious (although that happens in relatively rare occasions, so that's negligible).
    So you'd say we're moving in the direction of becoming more moderate? Will this continue?
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    (Original post by leavingthecity)
    So you'd say we're moving in the direction of becoming more moderate? Will this continue?
    Well it has been shifting back and forth, but If you look at the last century/half a century (bar religious revolutions), then yes Atheism/Agnosticism/No Religion have been the "fastest growing religion" (btw a lot religion claims they are the fastest growing - not just Islam). I cannot make any prediction of the future, atheism may decline... but I think religion will definitely be less orthodox in the future.
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    (Original post by chemting)
    Well it has been shifting back and forth, but If you look at the last century/half a century (bar religious revolutions), then yes Atheism/Agnosticism/No Religion have been the "fastest growing religion" (btw a lot religion claims they are the fastest growing - not just Islam). I cannot make any prediction of the future, atheism may decline... but I think religion will definitely be less orthodox in the future.
    I love your posts chemting.

    I guess we can only say that the world will become a more secular place if young people are able to access a secular education.

    Also, I see Christian etc literature being handed out on every other street corner, but the last time I saw the wordAtheism in print I think was on those bus ads; 'God probably doesn't exist...' way back.

    Is it my observation skills or are people not getting enough exposure to the idea that God probably doesn't exist?
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    (Original post by chemting)
    That's very interesting considering Atheism/Agnosticism is the highest growing demographics in the last century. I tried searching that on Google that, but mostly found many religious apologetics websites "claiming" that atheism is in decline. However, I did find this pew research article (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...ds-population/), which is respectable.
    Indeed, I don't think it too much of a stretch to assume that even if total numbers are increasing, as a percentage of world population, non-religious people are probably a decreasing population. The bulk of the worlds non-religious population exists in East Asia. Japan has a decreasing population, China has a population that is growing more slowly and in counties like Korea, religion is growing fast.

    (Original post by chemting)
    Their argument seemed to be centered around the fact that the countries with high proportion of atheists have low birth rates. This is a fair analysis but it ignores why people turn atheists in the first place, its not a race where you can only be born an atheist, so future demographic estimation may not be accurate.
    The fact is that religion still has a strong hold in many societies. For example, in Ireland, some 80 to 90% of schools are religious schools. When the religious have a monopoly over education, they do to some extent have a control. Also with the religious being more prominent within politics in many countries, the freedom to be atheist is starting to disappear. For example, Indonesia has traditionally been viewed as an example of a country with a liberal Muslim population. However, Wahabi influenced Islam is making huge gains and they have even started a huge campaign to get being LGBT to be illegal (with many politicians jumping onto the bandwagon as they know they have a huge power over the electorate.)


    Furthermore, another reason they argue is the estimated population growth of mainstream religions like Catholicism and Islam. Now for Islam, it is true that Muslim-maj countries had very high birthrate in the past few decades, as a result you have a huge young Muslim population (in Iran and Pakistan for e.g.) which is one of basis for population estimation. However, fertility rates in Islamic countries have declined (and trending towards western countries), and there nothing to say that these young people will stay Muslims (or at least fundamental Sharia-loving Muslims) later on. Look at the rising reform movement in Iran, in which the youth population have large factor.
    There is no doubt that figures will be over estimated. But in many cases, it is because people cannot speak out and admit they are atheist.

    For Catholicism, I don't know whether the surveys are accurate. It depends on how people count a Catholic. Richard Dawkins addressed this vaguely in his speech against Pope Ratzinger (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_0kFU7IfPM), a lot of the time the Church uses Baptismal figures (people who are Baptised), not necessarily who are still Catholics. Now one can assume that a respected polling organisation like PewResearch would take that into account but even if it did, birth rates says very little about future Demographics estimations of Catholism and hence atheism/unaffiliated. The higher birthrates in Catholic also seem to be from Sub-Saharan African and Latin-American countries (which are also trending towards "western" countries).
    Admittedly I would also agree that the population for Catholicism is definitely over estimated. For example, I am an atheist, but I am still Catholic on the census.

    Surely that could mean "moderate" Christians and Muslims denounce it as result?
    Sadly this often isn't the case. I find that those religious extremists tend to be rather fond of violence and silencing others. Even on TSR the religious extremists have taken it upon themselves to deny people their freedom of speech and are mass reporting posts made by anybody who makes a post they don't like, resulting in many posts being deleted.

    Overall would you say you are optimistic about the future of secularism then?
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    Just a thought -

    Possible that certain religious types don't use contraception? Or on average use less contraception? Or less effective contraception methods?

    Hence, exponential increase in demographic compared to aetheists?
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    (Original post by frankieboy)
    Just a thought -

    Possible that certain religious types don't use contraception? Or on average use less contraception? Or less effective contraception methods?

    Hence, exponential increase in demographic compared to aetheists?
    Yes. You know what this means us atheists need to do...!
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    (Original post by frankieboy)
    Just a thought -

    Possible that certain religious types don't use contraception? Or on average use less contraception? Or less effective contraception methods?

    Hence, exponential increase in demographic compared to aetheists?
    I would say there are multiple factors. Some teachings are part of the problem. The Abrahamic religions state that God will provide and also say that God wants people to "be fruitful and multiply." The teachings against contraception are definitely also a factor too. However, I believe the greatest factor of them all is female education (in my opinion). Many religions have a rather old fashioned approach towards women, and as a result women tend to have less access to education. I think the most important thing we can do is to promote female education in the most religious nations.
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    (Original post by leavingthecity)
    I love your posts chemting.

    I guess we can only say that the world will become a more secular place if young people are able to access a secular education.

    Also, I see Christian etc literature being handed out on every other street corner, but the last time I saw the wordAtheism in print I think was on those bus ads; 'God probably doesn't exist...' way back.

    Is it my observation skills or are people not getting enough exposure to the idea that God probably doesn't exist?
    Ha! Thank you . Your posts are very intelligent so that means a lot.

    You're right, it really is all about education, and starting at a very young age. One of the biggest evidence of this is one of the Church's (relatively) new movement for "expanding Christ" (http://www.4to14window.com/#414-eng). Apparently, this movement is based around targeting children from age 4-14, the age range where adolescents can start to think about "larger concepts" but haven't developed their sense of skepticism yet so deep-rooted rituals and traditions get stuck. Not to be disrespectful to the group (I'm sure they're doing good deeds) but It really tells you a lot of the spread of religion.

    Yup I see many religion (Christian, Islam, Hinduism) spreading their religion in my town-centre. Which is great but unfortunately irl people don't get the chance to "window-shop" all the religion and choose one. However, any strong atheism ads is deemed "offensive", but spreading religion isn't offensive to atheists...

    The internet is doing its part ... but there is censorship there too. But other than that, you are right there is a lack of an atheism "movement", there are many factors to why that is (TF mentions one reason why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKKQdJR7F_I, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emrD6hTKkIY).

    Overall, its a very slow process - which may be a good thing.
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    I would say there are multiple factors. Some teachings are part of the problem. The Abrahamic religions state that God will provide and also say that God wants people to "be fruitful and multiply." The teachings against contraception are definitely also a factor too. However, I believe the greatest factor of them all is female education (in my opinion). Many religions have a rather old fashioned approach towards women, and as a result women tend to have less access to education. I think the most important thing we can do is to promote female education in the most religious nations.
    Well said, sir!
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    Indeed, I don't think it too much of a stretch to assume that even if total numbers are increasing, as a percentage of world population, non-religious people are probably a decreasing population. The bulk of the worlds non-religious population exists in East Asia. Japan has a decreasing population, China has a population that is growing more slowly and in counties like Korea, religion is growing fast.
    And Scandinavia/Germany too.. but neo-progresivism. I agree with you about the percentage thing. In fact, that was the biggest point of the PewResearch article (religious people is out-growing non-religious people), but I meant you can't project population of a sect by examining data of which vagina one pops out from. Well you can, but there are massive uncertainties.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    The fact is that religion still has a strong hold in many societies. For example, in Ireland, some 80 to 90% of schools are religious schools. When the religious have a monopoly over education, they do to some extent have a control. Also with the religious being more prominent within politics in many countries, the freedom to be atheist is starting to disappear. For example, Indonesia has traditionally been viewed as an example of a country with a liberal Muslim population. However, Wahabi influenced Islam is making huge gains and they have even started a huge campaign to get being LGBT to be illegal (with many politicians jumping onto the bandwagon as they know they have a huge power over the electorate.)
    About Ireland, it is true to say religion is institutionalised (e.g. schools) in Ireland. However, institutions are all about power and money. If that is taken away from them, they struggle. However, even with the institutionalisation, there has been a steady decline of Catholicism in Ireland (may be linked with how Ireland invested heavily in education after its economic downturn). However, there would still be institulisation to an extent. The majority (if not all) of Oxbridge colleges are named in Christian themes, but I don't think they are Christian university now (although I wouldn't be surprised if the CofE have some sort of influence on them)..

    Salafis finding oil is absolutely the worst thing that has happened the Islam and the Middle East. You are right, they have spread like wildfire from Nigeria to Pakistan (creeping into south east). However, again a lot of Salafi scholars and media outlets are funded by the Gulf states and, as I said before about institutionalisation, if (when) oil runs out Salafis may struggle to spread compared to less orthodox ideologies.


    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    There is no doubt that figures will be over estimated. But in many cases, it is because people cannot speak out and admit they are atheist.
    Yup, that is very true. It is almost impossible to find reliable data on atheism/irreligion in Muslim-majority countries. So, any Islam apologetics website claiming high conversion rate should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    Admittedly I would also agree that the population for Catholicism is definitely over estimated. For example, I am an atheist, but I am still Catholic on the census.
    Ditto. I may not be sure on this, but Catholics have a better treatment for apostates than more orthodox ideologies like Islam, JW, Mormons etc so it may not be as bad? Although I am not certain.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    Sadly this often isn't the case. I find that those religious extremists tend to be rather fond of violence and silencing others. Even on TSR the religious extremists have taken it upon themselves to deny people their freedom of speech and are mass reporting posts made by anybody who makes a post they don't like, resulting in many posts being deleted.
    The left's PC attitude have fair bit to contribute to that. That is increasingly become the reality day-by-day. Happens on Youtube and other social media sites too. Maybe TSR has an excuse, with it being a website for students, but free speech is free speech. I'm kind of a free-speech extremist.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    Overall would you say you are optimistic about the future of secularism then?
    Yes. But not as fast as people think though. Minimum a few generations, unless something drastic happens.
    Considering a large proportion of the Jewish population went from orthodox to atheism/agnosticism very quickly after the Holocaust, I prefer very slow and gradual change instead of drastic ones (which often results from drastic and unfortunate events).
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    (Original post by chemting)
    Ha! Thank you . Your posts are very intelligent so that means a lot.

    You're right, it really is all about education, and starting at a very young age. One of the biggest evidence of this is one of the Church's (relatively) new movement for "expanding Christ" (http://www.4to14window.com/#414-eng). Apparently, this movement is based around targeting children from age 4-14, the age range where adolescents can start to think about "larger concepts" but haven't developed their sense of skepticism yet so deep-rooted rituals and traditions get stuck. Not to be disrespectful to the group (I'm sure they're doing good deeds) but It really tells you a lot of the spread of religion.

    Yup I see many religion (Christian, Islam, Hinduism) spreading their religion in my town-centre. Which is great but unfortunately irl people don't get the chance to "window-shop" all the religion and choose one. However, any strong atheism ads is deemed "offensive", but spreading religion isn't offensive to atheists...

    The internet is doing its part ... but there is censorship there too. But other than that, you are right there is a lack of an atheism "movement", there are many factors to why that is (TF mentions one reason why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKKQdJR7F_I, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emrD6hTKkIY).

    Overall, its a very slow process - which may be a good thing.
    Oh I think it's very worrying how children are targeted. I posted recently on how a 4 year old told me "I'm saving myself for my husband!"

    I kinda agree with Dawkins on that one, it's abusive, smothering a woman's sexual freedom before she even knows what any if it is about.
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    (Original post by leavingthecity)
    Oh I think it's very worrying how children are targeted. I posted recently on how a 4 year old told me "I'm saving myself for my husband!"

    I kinda agree with Dawkins on that one, it's abusive, smothering a woman's sexual freedom before she even knows what any if it is about.
    If Tumblr knew of this it would be the patriarchy doing that

    But completely true, the fact that parents try to force a child to believe anything is completely unfair and unjust
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    (Original post by TheOpinion)
    If Tumblr knew of this it would be the patriarchy doing that

    But completely true, the fact that parents try to force a child to believe anything is completely unfair and unjust
    Oh religion is just another effective way of controlling women, and the work begins at a very young age.

    I hear so many stories of women who struggle with intimacy and disassociate during sex or who cannot have sex because it is too painful because the muscles involved go into involuntary spasm all as a result of the particular pressure that thier religious communities have put on them to be repulsed/fearful of sex and men until marriage. These are two very common medical/psychological problems and it is well documented that religious upbringing is often a factor.

    Now can you imagine the problems women face when they experience that AND FGM in some cultures?
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    (Original post by leavingthecity)
    Oh religion is just another effective way of controlling women, and the work begins at a very young age.

    I hear so many stories of women who struggle with intimacy and disassociate during sex or who cannot have sex because it is too painful because the muscles involved go into involuntary spasm all as a result of the particular pressure that thier religious communities have put on them to be repulsed/fearful of sex and men until marriage. These are two very common medical/psychological problems and it is well documented that religious upbringing is often a factor.

    Now can you imagine the problems women face when they experience that AND FGM in some cultures?
    It's just saddening in a way. The main religion that sexism has occurred in the past is simply because of religion and the ideas that it perpetrates.
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    (Original post by TheOpinion)
    It's just saddening in a way. The main religion that sexism has occurred in the past is simply because of religion and the ideas that it perpetrates.
    True, which is why getting women to realise that they are not second class citizens should lead to them questioning their religious texts which should lead to them questioning their entire belief system. That will really be something, when 50% of the religious population say "hang on, I no longer agree with this text based on the false things it says about me...why should I therefore believe in any of it!!"
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    (Original post by leavingthecity)
    Oh I think it's very worrying how children are targeted. I posted recently on how a 4 year old told me "I'm saving myself for my husband!"

    I kinda agree with Dawkins on that one, it's abusive, smothering a woman's sexual freedom before she even knows what any if it is about.
    He is right. Its a lazy excuse for not having "the talk".

    I fully support sexual modesty, but that level of orthodoxy can get ridiculous for an individual - not to mention counter-productive if you look at STI rates in states like Texas.

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