Dark567 wrote: Izawwlgood wrote:
The Fool wrote:So sum it up, you can tell a legitimate faith vs a wacky Cult in that a legitimate faith will produce good things.
Good things... Over time? Over all? To some small population of priestly elites living in a golden palace on a golden throne?
I'm under the persuasion that no major religion save possibly Buddhism has done 'over all good'. Even Buddhism I think is questionable.
So, as Anti-theist as I am, I doubt this somewhat. Religion has at least historically probably produced a net positive, evidenced simply by its widespread adoption even while its independently developed. The fact that pretty much every society and culture has had a religion shows that it is likely that religion has been memetically selected to produce a more 'fit' culture/society.
That said, I am not sure it has much worth in the modern world.
Which is how we know that the flu is so beneficial to humans too, otherwise, why would it keep being so widespread?
Something being widespread doesn't mean that it's beneficial. I mean, you even used the word meme here, without apparently realizing what that word means or it's connotations:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme
Malcolm Gladwell wrote, "A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus--that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects." Memes can replicate vertically or horizontally within a single biological generation. They may also lie dormant for long periods of time. Memes spread by the behaviors that they generate in their hosts.
I mean, the word meme was literally made to treat an idea as something that can spread and replicate itself through a population. The flu doesn't spread because it benefits people, it spreads because it causes them to engage in behaviors that cause it's spread (sneezing, coughing, etc.). A disease doesn't evolve to benefit it's hosts, it evolves to benefit itself. A meme can work the same way, it doesn't have to benefit anyone to become widespread, it just has to be successful at spreading itself, by any means. An idea that, say, we should throw rocks at anyone who doesn't hold the idea that we should throw rocks at anyone who don't hold this idea, could potentially spread rapidly through a population, if it's able to reach a critical mass of people infected with it, and doesn't have an effective counter. And if it's able to reach that critical mass, it becomes largely self-sustaining, and very hard to get rid of. Even if it's detrimental to everyone, it makes it more detrimental to not hold it, rather than providing a benefit to people who do.
I mean, take for example a meme that greatly benefits someone, and everyone around them, but contains the idea that it should be kept to themselves. And then take for example a meme that greatly harms someone, that causes them to do harm to themselves and others, or even kill themselves, but which is very good at getting past human mental defenses, and can spread itself to a couple of people before it finishes off it's host. The first won't get spread much at all, and will probably die off with the person who holds it, while the second could quickly become widespread.
Something being a good idea could cause it to be widespread, by making it more likely to be adopted by people, but there are other ways for an idea to become widespread that don't involve it being a good idea. For example:
Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or "thought contagion":
1. Quantity of parenthood: an idea that influences the number of children one has. Children respond particularly receptively to the ideas of their parents, and thus ideas that directly or indirectly encourage a higher birthrate will replicate themselves at a higher rate than those that discourage higher birthrates.
2. Efficiency of parenthood: an idea that increases the proportion of children who will adopt ideas of their parents. Cultural separatism exemplifies one practice in which one can expect a higher rate of meme-replication — because the meme for separation creates a barrier from exposure to competing ideas.
3. Proselytic: ideas generally passed to others beyond one's own children. Ideas that encourage the proselytism of a meme, as seen in many religious or political movements, can replicate memes horizontally through a given generation, spreading more rapidly than parent-to-child meme-transmissions do.
4. Preservational: ideas that influence those that hold them to continue to hold them for a long time. Ideas that encourage longevity in their hosts, or leave their hosts particularly resistant to abandoning or replacing these ideas, enhance the preservability of memes and afford protection from the competition or proselytism of other memes.
5. Adversative: ideas that influence those that hold them to attack or sabotage competing ideas and/or those that hold them. Adversative replication can give an advantage in meme transmission when the meme itself encourages aggression against other memes.
6. Cognitive: ideas perceived as cogent by most in the population who encounter them. Cognitively transmitted memes depend heavily on a cluster of other ideas and cognitive traits already widely held in the population, and thus usually spread more passively than other forms of meme transmission. Memes spread in cognitive transmission do not count as self-replicating.
7. Motivational: ideas that people adopt because they perceive some self-interest in adopting them. Strictly speaking, motivationally transmitted memes do not self-propagate, but this mode of transmission often occurs in association with memes self-replicated in the efficiency parental, proselytic and preservational modes.