It seems atheists, agnostics, free-thinkers and other rationalists have been following a set of rules for a long time that, to put it mildly, haven’t succeeded in making the world a saner, more rational place.
• We defer and demur when the religious tell us we’re strident.
• We all have 2 or fewer kids, to help save the environment.
• We respect the rights of others to hold their views, and avoid confrontations when said views are mutually exclusive.
• We isolate ourselves, avoiding “group think” or club membership.
• We are silent about our forebears and the value they have added to society.
This all needs to change, and this is the game plan for the non-theistic to advance in the world, over the long term… hopefully not measured in evolutionary time frames.
TEACH We’ve got to tell the story to the kids. The success of any idea relies in part on its truth value, and in part on how widely the “meme” is propagated. We don’t have enough active proselytizing about critical thought, science, or reason to children. Seriously… compare the amount of material devoted to convincing kids to have faith, believe in God, serve Jesus, etc. Then consider how many informative, truly visible and entertaining advocates we have on our side. The recent release of “Here Comes Science” by “They Might Be Giants” is very positive, and exactly what we need more of. But will TMBG carry the load by putting out a great DVD Advocating reason and science? No way. Who among us is working to get it shown in science classes? Who among us is integrating it into their early grade school curriculum? I’m not talking just about doing this in your home for your kids. What are you doing to get the images and messages out into the general population. There is a fine line between proselytizing and inoculating, and we need to get more inoculation into the general public.
STAND: Stand up and fight for your rights; Defend yourself:. As long as we silently sit by while those who oppose us spout epithets and pejorative language, we will lose. We are demonized as dangerous to society. Each and every time someone equates atheism with communism, or hate, or religion (the “you’re just one of us anyway” argument) we need to stand and correct them. Next, imagine the push back you might get if you actually tried to add “Here Comes Science” to your local curriculum. The opposition is ready and willing to fight to achieve their goal of deception and indoctrination. Are we willing to fight for truth and reason?
JOIN Aside from public pushback, we need to take positive steps to engage with, and impact, society positively. It is against our loner nature to join groups, because we above all others have recognized the negatives associated with tribalism, nepotism, nationalism, arbitrary hierarchies, etc. But I can no longer deny that one of the most powerful things any team, tribe, nation or religion has going for them is the ability to field a group willing to pull together for a common goal. If we cannot identify a common goal for the secular community, and if we cannot work together to support and achieve it, we will lose. United we stand, divided we fall. We are going to have to overcome our petty infighting to recognize our common cause and fight for it.
FU…er MATE: Procreate like rabbits (flood the gene pool.) While, given overpopulation, a call for aggressive pro-creation seems irresponsible, it is the only way that our genetic tendencies toward reason and critical thinking will reach critical mass in the human gene pool. The Religious are out breeding us and out teaching us, and out fighting us. Richard Dawkins was faced with the question in a recent Canadian Television interview. The interviewer asked, “So, our brains are evolving and getting bigger… do you think it is the inevitable trend that the world will be ruled by smart people.” Dawkins’ answer was telling, and absolutely spot on for an evolutionary biologist: “Well, no… the stupid are procreating more than smart people are.” If you can’t afford to pump out a passel o’kin, give freely of your seed to sperm banks. If you care about the future of the world, and if you believe that future will be better with more intelligent humans, then get out and stock the pond.
Conclusion: We can repeat the mistakes of the past, be flushed out in pogroms and witch hunts, or be slaughtered for dissent and “heresy,” and end up a marginalized minority that nevertheless WILL survive because the majority needs us to make vaccines, computers and Wii consoles. Or, we can adopt new tactics to succeed, in the very long run, by making the general human population more rational through our visibility, education and pro-creation. Now, where do I get my vasectomy reversed?