This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Windows of opportunity and destruction - for the human mind

Windows of opportunity and destruction - for the human mind - Comments

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 1 by Premiseless

This 4-14 is what all the real estate wars are over. The shares in tomorrows minds.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 13:49:14 UTC | #918788

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 2 by Schrodinger's Cat

Bush continued, “Secular education does not enlighten, rather it dims one’s grasp of the ‘real reality’ rooted in the truth of scripture"

Is this the same America that's fighting a bunch of Taliban fighters straight out of the Madrassas ?

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:02:00 UTC | #918791

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 3 by potteryshard

I would expect that there exists a common trajectory for the state of mind for people indoctrinated in a particular 'ism' in their pre-teens. Because of the careful inculcation of the appointed 'ism', whether it be done by sunday school or the Hitler youth, that ostensiblly coherent and universal philosophy handily answers all of the questions a person of that age and experience is likely to ask.

As that former child indocrinee matures and unanswerable questions begin to accumulate, and the philosophical stance moderates, the person increasingly becomes more thoughtful, less dogmatic, and more open to re-thinking the pre-disgested intellectual pap fed to him as a child. The individual may continute to re-examine, and be salvageable from that prior indoctrination, may simply stop thinking about it, and proceed through middle age going through the motions, or may turn around and poiunce on the 'ism' as a means to further himself or his tribe.

Obviously, it is the third category of people that keep the whole ugly process going. Unfortunately, however, even through the individuals who later recant or become neutral may be become less of a danger to society, it seems likely that the harm has already been done. I would suggest that this is because regardless of what later-life stance the individual may adopt, he or she will likely pass through a late-teen early-adult stage of radicalization and unrestrained eagerness to force change.

This I suspect has less to do with the inculcated "ism" than it has to do with the natural rage, rebellion, impatience, and selfishness native to people in that stage of life. The eagerness to go out and bust heads for Jesus or Mo may have more to do with support of the "in" group than the "ism" so indoctrinated. The other sad aspect of the timing of process is that this is also the time in which the later-to-be civilized cohort is raising it's own children, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle.

This I find is the most disgusting and repellent part of the whole forced indoctrination scheme; that parents and authorities are willing to overlook their own growing doubts and questions to knowingly inject exploitive religious and or political infections into their offspring. They do this on the pretence of benefiting the child, but nonetheless in full intellectual knowlege that the injection occurs not to benefit the child, but to benefit the virus.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:23:25 UTC | #918798

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 4 by Helga Vieirch

What worries me about this is that there are no candidates of any stripe, going to be running for presidential office in the USA, who are at all likely to oppose this. Ask yourself, who would dare? It will have to be the kids themselves!

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 16:24:04 UTC | #918888

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 5 by aroundtown

I find it amazing that religion describes themselves and then attempts to put the label of intolerance on us. Amazing how deviant these people are. I actually appreciate this coming up on the RDFRS site because I have been pondering it lately. I was once affected by and believed in this fairytale so I have spent time analyzing the cause of my downfall in allowing religion to live in my mind. This post by Helga falls squarely on the afflictions first roots for me personally. My Parent pushed religion and to hear the tale you would have thought my grandmother could not only walk on water like jesus but could probably do a record breaking 100 yard dash on the H2O. Our parents are generally the most trusted in our formative years so it is no surprise that we are affected by what is disseminated to us as truthful accounts. I would agree that our minds are most easily infected with this tripe when we are young and it's essentially where the initial indoctrination takes place.

I also discovered or should I say assumed another condition as well lately in my pondering. When you leave religion you don't start by saying I am working towards becoming an atheist, this was the last thing in my mind. It was a very long and distressing road and when I finally reached my destination the prize turned out to be atheism.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 17:21:36 UTC | #918917

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 6 by Premiseless

Comment 5 by aroundtown :

I find it amazing that religion describes themselves and then attempts to put the label of intolerance on us. Amazing how deviant these people are. ............. It was a very long and distressing road and when I finally reached my destination the prize turned out to be atheism.

Very true. It's staggering the contempt religion has for the overwhelming altruism of education that atheism can provide.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 19:06:26 UTC | #918968

raytoman's Avatar Comment 7 by raytoman

Religion is the most effective power and control mechanism ever invented. Infected people infect their children and will kill and die to remain slaves to their particular superstition.

The mystery of religion is why any people believe.

Look for who benefits.

Religious Leaders and their staff - they need to know only a few slogans and the contents of a relatively small book and they can live better than their brainwashed followers who treat them as better beings, closer to the gods.

Political Leaders, Despots and their Military Leaders - they can manipulate and control the masses, provided they effectively utilise the Religious Leaders. In the past, they could easily change their Religious Leaders if they become difficult. Nowadays some Religious Leaders hold even more power than Political Leaders.

Big Business and their investors - the religious mind, used to being controlled and manipulated, ensures the type of stability that they require. They can always influence change in concert with the Political and Religious leaders given their wealth and control of the necessities of life.

The Hoi Pilloi - they can actually enjoy their impoverished and manipulated lives since they KNOW that they will be rewarded by their (actually non existent) Gods in their (actually non existent) afterlife, which they KNOW is all that really matters. If they are impatient for their paradise, they can always kill themselves and others in prescribed ways, as defined by their Religious Leaders.

As for the rest of us? There are too few to have any significant effect on the evolving meme that is Religion.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 00:36:58 UTC | #919074

ColdThinker's Avatar Comment 8 by ColdThinker

Comment 7 by raytoman :

Religion is the most effective power and control mechanism ever invented.

This is very true. I find it appalling how little this sinister fact is talked about.

Most of the earlier forms of government were based on the idea that the leaders were ordained by gods. The very idea of monarchy was that gods, one or many, have chosen the king by having one born to the right blood line. Democratic ideals were an abomination, through centuries they were fiercely opposed as being against the will of god. 

But this warped way of thinking still persists, distorting the democratic progress of modern societies.

The idea of divine law and eternal truth sits very well with the conservative mind. If this psychology weren't exploited by the political right, the right wing would swiftly become very moderate or face marginalization. Without the socially conservative voters, all it would have left would be the fiscally conservatives, which would never be enough to keep the rich and already priviledged minority in power.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 08:21:18 UTC | #919122

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 9 by Premiseless

Comment 8 by ColdThinker :

Comment 7 by raytoman :

Absolutely! Secularism is pincered betwixt the sidestepping crabs of polarised crime! The CRIME bully for your pocket money at one end of the playground and the protection money monger, RELIGION, at the other.

Crank up the sophistication and you get the same done to your: psychology, sexuality, lifestyle, dress code et al AND

PASSING THIS ALL ON TO THE CHILDREN!

The opiates are in house and the tits are filled with its tincture. "Suck ye little children unto me."

The next generation of addicts is underway. Start cashing the cheques! This is Big Business. This is the entrepreneurs MAJORITY SHAREHOLDERS motivation! A de facto repeat prescription!

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 12:43:35 UTC | #919176

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 10 by potteryshard

But what to do about it...

How can the forces of rationality ever begin to effect any antidote to this cyclic enslavement? Can we sponsor free video games with preachers / priests / imams / witchdoctors as the protagonists supported by hordes of mindwiped zombies? Can we put up billboards outside playgrounds showing clerical collars as prime examples of stranger / danger predators? Can we issue comic books that demonstrate how the different churches obscene wealth is achieved by empoverishing their mommies and daddies? Can we create cartoon series which show sunday school as just another mind control machine?

Any of these actions would result mass hysteria and public oppobrium...

Because religion wants to reserve these propagandistic mechanisms for itself.

Nonetheless, ending the vicious cycle of childhood brainwashing will require intervention of some sort. What options are available?

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 15:30:58 UTC | #919240

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 11 by Alan4discussion

Comment 4 by Helga Vierich

What worries me about this is that there are no candidates of any stripe, going to be running for presidential office in the USA, who are at all likely to oppose this. Ask yourself, who would dare? It will have to be the kids themselves!

There is no shortage of 13 year old rebels! Anyone in teaching knows this!

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643071-you-call-this-thing-adaptive-yep-behold-the-teen-brain

http://discovermagazine.com/2011/mar/24-the-brain-the-trouble-with-teens

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 16:21:53 UTC | #919261

cynicaloptimistrealist's Avatar Comment 12 by cynicaloptimistrealist

There is no shortage of 13 year old rebels! Anyone in teaching knows this!

My thought exactly. I must have been the exception to the rule. I was brought up with religion and religion was part of my formal education, but I never really believed a word of it. I didn't out myself because it seemed to be universally believed until I reached my early teens and religion teachers began to realise that my questions were not the result of curiosity, but rather the result of hostility.

For me a huge factor in the defeat of religion was Santa Claus. I could go visit him at a certain time of year, sit on his lap, I had pictures of him and letters from him. If I was good he left wonderful presents at the end of my bed and he was courteous enough to drink the glass of whisky with the slice of Christmas cake I left for him. On the other hand, I couldn't go see Jesus, he didn't leave any presents, all the adults were exceptionally nice to and about him, but when it really mattered (eg. a seriously ill person or terrible war that the priest encouraged people to pray for) the results were usually negative. Even on Xmas day when I was dragged away from my toys to go to "Gods house" he was nowhere to be seen, even during the consecration (the point at which I was told that God arrived) as all the adults bowed their heads and closed their eyes I would look up and scan every corner. As you are no doubt aware he didn't appear anywhere, so I asked questions comparing the fact that I could go see one, but the other was supposed to be much more powerful but never gave so much as a hint of his existence.

The final nails in the coffin of religion for me were my loss of belief in Santa Claus and the death of a family friend. I came to the conclusion that if I and so many other children could have believed in something that was essentially a conspiracy to enhance our enjoyment of childhood, perhaps the adults had fallen for something much bigger. The family friend was a priest diagnosed with cancer, he was convinced because of his sense of purpose and the considerable amount of people praying for his recovery that he would survive, he didn't. Needless to say I was disappointed to see a good man die so young and also disappointed that he had wasted the final months of his life imploring an imaginary friend to spare him while he could have been having a blast in Vegas, scrotum deep in prostitutes and sampling every liquor known to humanity.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 20:08:16 UTC | #919341

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 13 by xmaseveeve

Religion is how the sins of the fathers are visited.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 20:35:20 UTC | #919348

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 14 by Helga Vieirch

Comment 11 by Alan4discussion

Yes, I agree that teenagers are a vital source of innovative thinking and behaviour, but I suspect that that is why the religious right in the USA is targeting the 4- 14 age group for brainwashing.

By the way, there was a documentary about teenaged brains on the Nature of Things (a Canadian television show) that might be of interest to you.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 18:34:25 UTC | #919706

john buff's Avatar Comment 15 by john buff

I find it deeply disturbing that the most powerful (because it consumes the most energy per capita) nation on earth, bases it's foriegn policies on such blatantly obvious gobbledy-gook! Remember your wars on Communism? Now it's TERRORISM! (whatever that means!) What's next, Atheism? The UK is not much better and still continues to 'teach' it's kids religious nonsense in schools, along with Father Christmas,(hmm) Easter, (which seems to to be nothing more than an excuse for kiddies to gorge themselves on chocalate!) Pancake Tuesday (don't even go there!) Then there's November 5th, merely an excuse to let off thousands of tons of fireworks for entertainment. A childs mind at birth is empty. As it grows, the 'hard drive' of it's brain gets filled with as much 'data' as it's mind can handle. Not until the onset of puberty does it acquire the facility to reason. If the data it's recieved is fiction, it will have a hard time dealing with reality in later years and affects it's ability to reason. A case of GIGO, I think.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 17:16:57 UTC | #921135

CdnMacAtheist's Avatar Comment 16 by CdnMacAtheist

As the much brighter minds above me have clearly stated:

The religion memeplex, after 2000 years of control, breeding & fine-tuning, has evolved to realize:

Give me a child for it's first 12 years - and we'll give you a sheep, drugged and eager to be sheared.

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 02:51:34 UTC | #922317

raytoman's Avatar Comment 17 by raytoman

Actually more like 300,000 years, don't forget teh ancient Shamen who first invented it.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 01:22:07 UTC | #922986