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Featured Atheism, Capitalism, Evolution, & Free Speech Go Together Like.....

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Revoltingest, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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    ....Bacon & eggs, with pancakes & maple syrup. (Aka, "the gang of four.)

    Occasionally posters express surprise that an atheist (moi) would be a capitalist.
    They associate capitalism with Christianity. This strikes me as most odd,
    because there's no obvious connection between them, yet the perception persists.
    This raises a question....
    What control relationships are there between various religious, economic & physical systems?

    Systemic differences between capitalism & religions with The Truth delivered from on high,
    eg, Christianity, Islam, are striking. Such faiths are centrally directed to a great degree.
    God alone determines morality, & extensively regulates conduct. Islam regulates economic
    conduct even more that Christianity. Thus the individual system elements (humans) behave
    according to rigid scriptural dictates.
    But capitalism is stochastic, since individuals each pursue their own economic self interest,
    which can greatly vary from person to person. Thus the resulting capitalistic economy is
    an emergent property of a system with random inputs from individuals & conditions.
    (Note that government will set regulatory limits, within which this system evolves.)

    Contrast capitalism with the another popularly advocated economic system, socialism.
    It allows far less random input from the individuals, & far more from central planning.
    The individual cannot act as independently, eg, start a company, hire workers, & engage
    in commerce with others. Socialism resembles Christianity in being more rigidly organized,
    with "top down" system controls.
    (Parenthetical aside: Would this simple highly controlled system would enjoy greater
    system stability than stochastic (chaotic) capitalism? An interesting discussion for later.)

    Biological evolution resembles capitalism in that each player (eg, microbe, insect, dinosaur,
    grizzly bear, human) desires to survive & reproduce. (Random system inputs are genetic
    utation & environment.) Evolution of species is the emergent property of this system.
    But Christian creationism is a polar opposite kind of system because God specifies all
    change down to the smallest detail.

    By now, the thoughtful reader (one patient in the face of a wall of text) sees where this
    will lead regarding free speech, as opposed to speech tightly regulated by authorities.
    So I'll spare you elaboration.



    Atheism, capitalism, evolution, & free speech...they all appeal to me for the sheer beauty
    of how systems unfold from initial conditions to emergent properties both simple & complex.
    However, I do anticipate some disagreement.
     
    #1 Revoltingest, Jun 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
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  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    The OP expresses a very outdated view of capitalism that was last popular among scholars back before some of the Asian Tigers (e.g Singapore) demonstrated for all the world to see that capitalism is not incompatible with the systemic suppression of free speech and many other liberties. China today has adopted many capitalist elements while maintaining a rigorous and expanding tyranny (see their new "people's cards", or whatever they're calling them).

    Beyond that, the OPs view of capitalism is idealistic -- a model out of touch with the actual realities of capitalism as practiced. Such as the fact that capitalism leads to concentrations of wealth which then become dangerous to the freedoms and liberties of the average people.

    I would suggest to anyone reading this who is genuinely open-minded about these issues to study up on what capitalism means today -- not in outdated and idealistic theory -- but in practice.
     
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  4. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    Which includes as @Sunstone points out indirectly using political power for their own self interest. Because, of course, when one is motivated by self interest, anything which furthers that self interest is part of moral approbation of being dedicated to on self.

    Yes. And to underline the point. economic interests hate free speech when it threatens their own self interest. SLAPP suits are one means that capitalists use to suppress free speech.

    And the OP assertion that evolution is a competition for survival of the fittest ignores the real science of evolution. Cooperation even altruism are survival mechanisms. Cooperation, Conflict, and the Evolution of Complex Animal Societies | Learn Science at Scitable

    There is also no necessary relationship between atheism and economic systems. An atheist can be a socialist. Atheistic USSR suppressed free speech. And so forth.
     
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  5. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Excellent point! Recently, I came across an article on an economics website that applied evolutionary psychology to explain why Eddie Lampert's disastrous mismanagement of Sears Holdings followed from his applying Ayn Rand's notions of human nature to running an actual business (turns out running an actual business is rather different than running the fictional businesses in Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged).
     
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  6. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    All economic systems are complex, man-made machines. They ALL need constant tweaking and adjusting and fine-tuning - like any complex machine.

    We do have a HUGE problem with the oligarchs, no doubt. But that's because we've failed to keep the system properly tuned and adjusted.

    I agree with the OP that as a starting point, capitalism is the best approach humans have cooked up so far.
     
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  7. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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    I didn't & don't claim that capitalism prevents oppression in non-economic areas.
    This thread isn't about the relationship between capitalism & liberty (an interesting
    topic nonetheless). Nor is about classical vs behavioral economic thought, the
    latter of which this poster fully embraces.

    Capitalism is a stochastic process which occurs whenever permitted, whether its
    environment is created within a socially oppressive or liberal government.
    Perhaps it would help to think of the OP as analogous to a partial differential
    equation, which examines behavior of some variables, while holding others
    constant.
    While irrelevant to systems analysis for the reasons stated above, this view
    mischaracterizes China's improved overall liberty compared to its more fervent
    communist past. Mobility, standard of living, & entrepreneurialism are up.
    While starvation & vigilantism are down. Family members both there & here
    can travel back & forth with ease...something unheard of back in the 70s.
    "Idealistic" is the wrong term. It's more of a slightly technical look at how
    different systems are structured.
    I suggest that anyone reading this thread eschew partisan preference for one
    economic or religious system over another. Of course we all have our preferences.
    Consider how the systems are structured, rather than leaping to criticism based
    upon perceived undesirable results.
     
  8. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Prosperity gospel is basically what gave
    us trump.
     
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  9. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    "Tuned and adjusted"? Is that an intentional understatement? If so, please refer to Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty. One of the take-aways there is that capitalism inevitably results in huge disparities between rich and poor -- the system intrinsically creates those disparities unless they are fundamentally checked.

    By the way, a lot of critical reviews of Piketty are "misinformed" to say the least, so it's best if you get his book and read it yourself.

    Best approach to what? Creating huge disparities of wealth? I would agree with anyone who says capitalism is the best means we've come up with so far to lift the masses out of poverty -- but only if it is so well checked that it does not end up plunging them right back into poverty while creating an oligarchy that will sooner or later lead to a dictatorship.

    Capitalism is like fire. Checked and constrained, it warms you. Unchecked and unconstrained, it burns your house down.
     
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  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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    You're thinking terms of a morality which you prefer.
    I'm thinking of control structures of several systems.
    Let's take evolution & creationism, ignoring which you believe to be right or wrong.....
    Do you see any difference between these systems regarding the initial conditions,
    the factors influencing system response, & how they differently explain the emergent
    property of speciation exhibited in the fossil record?
    I see creationism as a system operated by a central authority (God).
    Biological evolution isn't operated by anyone.
    These are the most extreme possible polar opposites of system control.
    You're making free speech & capitalism to be at odds with each other.
    I'd challenge this, but it's not relevant to the OP, which is treating them
    separately, ie, as systems which are stochastic.
    Tis most generous of you to offer correction for my lack of science education, but you're
    inferring something which isn't in the OP.
    Certainly, competition & cooperation are both emergent properties of biological evolution.
    But this isn't relevant to the different system controls governing creationism & evolution.
    I don't claim that socialism or capitalism are either atheistic or religious.
    See post #7 for more elaboration.
     
    #10 Revoltingest, Jun 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  11. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Active Member

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    It has to do with experiences with atheists. To me, it's more like fish & eggs with pancakes and strawberry preserves (I don't usually like syrup on pancakes). It's because most of the atheists I've met were very socialist, and very into suppressing people who didn't think like them. I never saw evolution as being at odds with Christianity, on the other hand.
     
  12. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Ah! Thanks for the course correction! I stand by my earlier posts, but can see now how they do not address the OP.

    Fascinating OP, by the way.

    More later...
     
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  13. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    As to the connections you report seeing, I'm an atheist. I can't prove they don't exist. So, I'm glad the burden of proof is yours.
     
  14. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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    Life & many alerts call, so I must be brief...
    See post #7.
     
  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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    I...am....speechless.
    (But not postless.)
     
  16. Bob the Unbeliever

    Bob the Unbeliever Well-Known Member

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    It has often been said (elsewhere) that Capitalism is the absolute worst thing, ever invented by Humans--- except for all the others...

    I have found that unchecked Capitalism is an absolute monster, in that within a very short time-frame, unchecked capitalism quickly becomes Monopoly or Monopolies, with one or at most a few, Players controlling everything to their own benefit, and usually at the exclusion of everyone and everything else.

    History hammers this ugly lesson home over and OVER and over-- and we stupid humans never seem to learn from it, instead going back to the Utopian Fancy of Unregulated Capitalism is the Best Of All.

    Of course, History also teaches that too much regulation leads to stagnation, and innovation is stifled, as is creativity and a host of other unpleasantness. But it's pretty darn stable-- until some outside Thing happens, which destroys the Apple Cart and is outside the boundaries of the artificially created "stability". War. New Tech. That sort of thing.

    So, we need something in-between? Or do we just sit back and wait for the Next Tumbling Apple Cart?

    Notebook: A common fallacy is the assumption of All or Nothing, 0% or 100%.

    This is patently a false assumption, as it's quite possible to have a Mix of Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, and a whole bunch of other --Isms too.


    Heck-- the USA is chock full of Amenities, that are essentially Socialism: free roadways, universal police (you don't need to subscribe or pay directly to enjoy it's fruits), public education, public (national, state and local) parks, fire protection, etc, etc.

    All of these are Socialism. True Capitalism? You'd either pay Protection for both police and fire? Or you'd be presented a bill for Services Rendered. How *much* and how *effective* would be directly dependent on how much you paid...

    And forget about Public Education-- all would have to be directly paid for-- meaning a very large swath of The Public, would have no education of any kind whatsoever..

    And under Pure Capitalism? All roads would be Toll Roads-- likely even your own driveway!
     
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  17. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
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    I'm making no connections between the titular things.
    I'm proving nothing...just airing my observations about
    the basic structure of some paths, ie, discussing systemic
    similarities & differences.

    Of course, each one will affect the other.
    I'm just not addressing that.
    I've enuf trouble trying to keep this thread on track as it is.
    (System design & analysis isn't something most people
    are familiar with.)
     
    #17 Revoltingest, Jun 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  18. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member

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    Although I disagree with the framing of some of this it is an interesting perspective. I don't want to derail this by disputing what capitalism or socialism is or can be so I'll leave that by the wayside (unless you're interested).

    One point that I would make that isn't motivated by the aformentioned disagreement is that there is a real sense in which they go together in the worst possible way. Atheism as a cornerstone of a hyper-individualistic outlook is tailor made for an ideological darwinism that boils down to pathological selfishness and inevitably ends in evil.

    I'm not saying that this is the only way for these ideas to live together in a person's head. I'm a socialist but what you characterise as capitalism in the OP is not something I'm inherently opposed to.
     
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  19. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    It seems that if you read my post carefully we're mostly in agreement, no? E.g., I said "constant tweaking and adjusting", constant, as in all the time ;)

    And I offered that we have a HUGE problem with the oligarchy, correct?
     
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  20. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Sorry I didn't catch your meaning! And thanks for the correction! I should have realized what you meant since we've discussed this before. My bad.
     
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