One thing I'd quite like is to live in a kind of atheist commune. It would consist of a group of like minded friends, raising their offspring together and living a simpler life. I foresee an immediate problem. Humans do not have a great track record when it comes to living in small groups.
Consider the case of the Pitcairn Islanders. In 1790, nine mutineers from HMS bounty landed on Pitcairn along with six male and thirteen female Polynesians...When the colony was discovered eighteen years later, ten of the women had survived and only one of the men. Of the other men, one had committed suicide, one had died and twelve had been murdered. The survivor was simply the last man standing in an orgy of violence motivated entirely by sexual competition (p.195).
And today, some 216 years later, the UK government is spending £500,000 a year imprisoning the descendants of Fletcher Christian on Pitcairn island for sexual crimes. Oddly, one of the men is called 'Randy Christian'.
More from Matt Ridley:
Despite the best efforts of anthropologists to find a society with no jealousy and so prove it is an emotion introduced by pernicious social pressure or pathology, sexual jealousy seems to be an unavoidable part of being a human being (p.227).
Most males are monogamous. Polygamy is prevented by wives who resent sharing their husbands lest they also share his contributions to child-rearing. Even though they could bring up the children unaided, the husband's pay cheque is invaluable. But the ban on polygamous marriage does not prevent the males seeking polygamous matings. Adultery is common. It is commonest between high-ranking males and females of all ranks. To prevent it males try to guard their wives, are extremely violent towards their wives, are extremely violent towards their wives' lovers and copulate with their wives frequently, not just when they are fertile (p.226).
Baker and Bellis...have tried to measure the extent of cuckoldry in human beings. In a block of flats in Liverpool, they found by genetic tests that less than four in every five people were the sons of their ostensible fathers. The rest were apparently fathered by somebody else. In case this was something to do with Liverpool, they did the same tests in southern England and got the same result (p.218).
What hope then is there for maintaining a stable atheist community? Sooner or later somebody will have sex with somebody they shouldn't. And then it's a countdown to the last 'randy atheist' standing.Go Top