The world is in pain and there’s widespread conflict. Not only military conflict mind you, but conflict over simple things like the right to love (https://plus.google.com/+TheYoungTurks/posts/9yZrwe7EnE8), the right to education (http://www.unicefusa.org/news/news-from-the-field/feeding-girls-hunger-to.html) and the right to fucking use ones mind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_atheists , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment#Islam). To many, it seems religion is always there somewhere in the stories. See Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey; all under some sort of crazy religious governments and the people are on streets to have a say about this. “Down with Mursi”, “Resign Recep”,… Doesn’t it seem religion is killing all that is good? Anti-abortionists, war mongers, anti-homosexuals, anti-science idiots, anti-women-education, etc. Try your hand at almost any important conflict between human progress and reactionary agents, you will invariably identify religious crazies.
So is that it? Is our age the age of struggle of science vs. religion? The age of atheists vs. Muslims/Christians/Jews/Buddhists/whatever?
The new atheists certainly seem to think so. One recent and popular interpretation is “religion as parasites”, where the religion is likened to the kind of parasites that controls their hosts to their destruction ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpniCBZYEU8 ). In our case, we have “memes” (social analogues of genes) that control certain regressive behaviour patterns that blocks progress. So the fight is to change the culture, so that the progress becomes faster. And everyone is happy thereafter..?
Is this really it? Social science done solely in terms of analogies to biology and physics? As if we do not have sociology, nor economy-politics! As if we do not have a rich history of debates about every state of human societies and their transitions. As if we have never analysed the industrial societies. We never inquired on the nature of economy in the age of industry. Never did we ask how our society is shaped w.r.t. the current relations of production. It never occured to us to separate the concepts of “means of production” and “relations of production”. No as if none of those ever happened and all we have is “memes”…
How do we explain such detached generation of atheists: those that claim to uphold reason and rational thinking but forgot all their heritage?!
Remember Afghanistan; it was not in this state always, it had a majority supported communist government once! Those people DID want a future where people were equal and affairs of mankind were rationally organised, NOT religiously!
Remember Indonesia: They had the biggest non-ruling communist party in the world! No, they were not only slaves of capitalism dressed with Islam, they DID want something else!
Remember Iran: They had an immensely popular socialist (and secular) movement TUDEH! No, certainly not all of them were Islamic ignorants.
Consider Turkey: Before the bloody coup d’etat (just like those events in Iran, Indonesia and many other places..), we had very popular (albeit fragmented) socialist/communist movement, all of them being secular in nature! Actually, the Islamic movement only flourished after the left was surpressed in a bloody manner; because they could NOT do it when we were strong!
Who tried to uproot the 4 olds in the Culture Revolution? Who placed secular rule instead? Who successfully improved the women’s position in a backward society? Who changed the country of Mujiks to one that contributed to modern science in immense and innumerable ways?
Yet, the new atheists, in their quest to replace religious ignorance with rationality; decide to attack all this history as well. To what end you ask? popularity.. Because, we are in a dark age and currently communism does not sound too well. So instead of rationally criticizing, they simply oppose it. But that can not be it, they should also be replacing this rich body of history, theory and experience with something better right?
What do we have? “Memes”…
You are going to change the world with “memes”. The world is in pain and you offer “memes”…
The complexity of our minds depends on the complexity of the tools we use. We certainly need something strong and firm that get things changing again. This tool is not a set of ad-hoc analogies from biology. This tool is Marxism and rational analysis of human cultural and economical evolution.
Eppur, Si Muove..
We are in a dark age, but it is still the age of transition from capitalism to socialism.