Author Topic: A funny thing theists assume about atheists  (Read 5114 times)

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Offline kcrady

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #116 on: April 15, 2012, 08:02:49 AM »
kcrady:  However, I'm not trying to argue for some kind of atrocity equilibrium.

How can your argument hold up without one?  You have been saying that, if there was no religion, people would find other "reasons" to commit atrocities, even when there is no "charismatic leader" involved (e.g., Andrea Yates).  If you have, say, a hundred atrocities being carried out per million people per year, and, say, 60 of those were done in the name of religion--and then religion is eliminated as a cultural force--then one of two things can happen, all other things (economics, etc.) being equal:  1) The atrocity rate can go down to 40 per million (because "charismatic leaders" have just lost an important lever by which they can brainwash people into doing their bidding); or 2) Some determining force causes the atrocity rate to remain at 100 per million, which in turn requires that the 60 atrocities per million be done in the name of something else (nationalism, etc.), so that those other categories increase and/or new categories are invented.

You have been claiming that, if there were no religion, basically nothing would change.  Aztecs who would otherwise have sacrificed tens of thousands of captives to their gods would basically kill those same captives for some other "reason."  Since the Aztec atrocity rate can't drop when their reason for the atrocities is taken away, there would have to be an "Aztec atrocity equilibrium" to require that they change their justification to something else in order to continue committing the same number (and general viciousness) of atrocities.  I don't see how this can hold up, especially in the case of atrocities such as human sacrifice to gods, sawing the clitorises off of little girls, burning witches and heretics at the stake, etc. derive specifically from religious doctrine and belief.  "Whelp.  Now that we don't believe in Allah anymore, it doesn't make any sense to cut off girls' clitorises to make them abide by the Quran's sexual rules.  So let's chop off their little fingers for the Glorious Arab Soviet Socialist Revolution!"

Human nature compels us to do what we feel we must in order to survive and prosper, and we've developed so that charismatic leaders can exert a considerable amount of influence on us.

OK, but what are the mechanisms "charismatic leaders" use to gather and maintain their influence?  Religious modes of thinking, especially concepts like faith, the afterlife, "gods" as uber-"charismatic leaders" who own a right to unquestioning obedience by dint of their metaphysical nature, etc. serve as powerful methods of shutting off critical thinking and creating obedience on a mass scale.  Sure, there are other methods of doing this (e.g., nationalism, ideology), but I think the case has been made that they don't work as well over the long haul because they aren't as well-armored against reality.  To say that we don't "need" religion in order to commit atrocities is true, but then we don't "need" smallpox in order to die painfully from disease.  That doesn't mean that if we cure smallpox, some other disease or diseases will rise up to produce equivalent effects in terms of human misery.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #117 on: April 15, 2012, 09:54:57 AM »
Unrelated to kcrady's post:  bertaberts, stop accusing me of being a Necessitarianist (EDIT: Unless you're willing to back it up yourself).  I am quite tired of your passive-aggressive attitude of making statements about me by complimenting others because they say something which you think supports your belief.  When you stated it directly to me, I disliked it and contested it, but I at least respected the fact that you were willing to say it.  But you were unable or unwilling to press your argument.  So instead of doing the rational thing and reconsidering whether your point was valid, you're instead making comments about me in a compliment to someone else.  Do you realize just how low such an approach is?  Do you even realize just how contemptible you look by doing so?

If you're going to make a statement about me, then direct it at me so that I can respond directly to it, not this business of making statements about me by complimenting someone else's post, because not only are you pissing me off by being passive-aggressive towards me, but you're implying that the real reason you made the compliment was to comment on me.

I'll respond to kcrady's post later.  I don't want to have my anger at bertaberts influence my reply to someone who I have a far greater amount of respect for.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 09:59:54 AM by jaimehlers »

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #118 on: April 15, 2012, 01:16:32 PM »
Please note I did not say to kgrady you were a Necessitarianist I said it was why I called you a Necessitarianist.
Kgrady was covering the same ground, and his replies were and are better than  mine.
I appreciated his input, and writing skill, if he cared to look up what a Necessitarianist is, he would see how it related to you, in this thread. 
You have since told me via several Pm's that you don't regard yourself as a Necessitarianist. I've have excepted that. But I did still say it.
So referring to it isn't picking fault with you again, it is merely letting another poster know that is what I thought.

 

Bert
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline Azdgari

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #119 on: April 15, 2012, 01:19:58 PM »
You're not calling him X, you're just bringing up why you think he's X.  And you know, it really looks like he's X, doesn't it?  And kcrady's reasonable points do lead to the idea that Jaime's an X.  But of course you're not saying that, you're just bringing up the issue.  Why does he look so much like X?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Dude you sound like Glenn Beck.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 01:21:50 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #120 on: April 15, 2012, 02:32:32 PM »
Quote from: Asdgari
Why does he look so much like X?
I refer you to my post #96 though he does claim not to be one, his posts on this thread suggest he was thinking along those lines.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessitarianism
Quote from: Asdgari
Dude you sound like Glenn Beck.
My apologies for my ignorance but who is Glenn Beck.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #121 on: April 15, 2012, 02:46:38 PM »
bertaberts:  I don't care (much) if you think a label fits me or you refer to it, I just expect you to take it up with me yourself, not through a proxy, as it were.  As it happens, I don't share your conviction that kcrady would agree with you if he looked up what a Necessitarianist is, because I think he would have brought it up himself if he thought it was a valid issue.  But don't take my word for it - ask him directly.

Or, for that matter, take it up with me yourself, since you clearly still think it's valid.

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #122 on: April 15, 2012, 02:54:02 PM »
bertaberts

You are calling jaimehlers a "Necessitarianist". Or at least implying that me might be, sort of. Or denying that you are, sort of. That term is is defined by Wikipedia as "a metaphysical principle that denies all mere possibility; there is exactly one way for the world to be."

I've read through his entries and your own, and fail to see where his view human frailties means that he thinks the outcome would be exactly the same. He has doubts about human nature and sees patterns in how we behave towards one another that lead him to think that the outcome would not be all lollipops and roses. But at no point has he said that the world would be exactly as onerous or terrifying without religion. In fact he has stated quite clearly that he knows the world would be different. He just thinks it might be a bit more similar to the ways things actually have been than you do.

(By the way, I've lost count of how many times he has said he misstated about Andrea Yates and the inevitability of what happened, yet you still continue to trounce him on what he originally said. What's up with that?)

Are you a "Wonderfulist" because you think the world would be perfect without religion? Of course not. Both you and jaimehlers are looking at speculative thoughts and coming up with different ideas. Given that we'll never know what a world without religion would be like, nor in our lifetimes know what a world newly without religion would be like, each of us has a right to jump to our own set of conclusions without being completely ostracized. None of us has enough information.

Disagreement in these matters is fine. But I don't see where narrowly labeling someone who is clearly giving the matter a lot of thought benefits anyone.

The example you gave of jaimehlers being cloned and perhaps being very different if raised in a different environment has more than one lesson in it. It means that two people raised in the same environment can be very different too. Don't be so frickin' surprised that you two differ.

That you haven't swayed him with your brilliant mind might mean that jaimehlers is a dummy. Or it might mean that you aren't very good at stating your case. Or that you are wrong. Or something else. But thinking that you will sway him with labels is just plain silly. And his clear distain for your name calling is a sign that you are accomplishing nothing worthwhile.

I would suggest a different tack. One where you state what you believe to be the case, listen to his opinion and others, and then consider yourself better informed and equipped to deal with the real world because you have heard a wider range of ideas than before, even if you reject a most of them. Appreciate his efforts and make sure yours are just as sincere, so that he and others can also appreciate what you have to contribute.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #123 on: April 16, 2012, 01:33:42 PM »
Quote from: Parking place
You are calling jaimehlers a "Necessitarianist". Or at least implying that me might be, sort of. Or denying that you are, sort of. That term is is defined by Wikipedia as "a metaphysical principle that denies all mere possibility; there is exactly one way for the world to be."

I've read through his entries and your own, and fail to see where his view human frailties means that he thinks the outcome would be exactly the same. He has doubts about human nature and sees patterns in how we behave towards one another that lead him to think that the outcome would not be all lollipops and roses. But at no point has he said that the world would be exactly as onerous or terrifying without religion. In fact he has stated quite clearly that he knows the world would be different. He just thinks it might be a bit more similar to the ways things actually have been than you do.

(By the way, I've lost count of how many times he has said he misstated about Andrea Yates and the inevitability of what happened, yet you still continue to trounce him on what he originally said. What's up with that?)
I wouldn't know I haven't done that, perhaps you are mistaking me for someone else. I made one reference in post #103, I have not mentioned her, either before or since. (also I refer you to the bolded part of your post above.) Clearly you haven't.
Quote from: Parking place
Are you a "Wonderfulist" because you think the world would be perfect without religion? Of course not. Both you and jaimehlers are looking at speculative thoughts and coming up with different ideas. Given that we'll never know what a world without religion would be like, nor in our lifetimes know what a world newly without religion would be like, each of us has a right to jump to our own set of conclusions without being completely ostracized. None of us has enough information.
No sorry, if a persons beliefs are crazy, why should they automatically get respect for those beliefs.
simply because those beliefs could encroach on other peoples lives.
Quote from: Parking place
Disagreement in these matters is fine. But I don't see where narrowly labeling someone who is clearly giving the matter a lot of thought benefits anyone.
I don't think he has given it a lot of thought, both Kcrady and Joebbowers replies, show that.
So I fail to see a problem, He has written on this thread things that appear to be Necessitarianism in my opinion, he said he wasn't a Necessitarianist that's good enough.
But his writing here do appear to be very much like Necessitarianism, perhaps I should not have been so blunt.
I reiterate that I'm no longer calling him a Necessitarianist, but I am saying that his post here, do appear to be such.
 
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #124 on: April 16, 2012, 05:35:57 PM »
I wouldn't know I haven't done that, perhaps you are mistaking me for someone else. I made one reference in post #103, I have not mentioned her, either before or since. (also I refer you to the bolded part of your post above.) Clearly you haven't.
Quit with the sophistry, bertaberts.  You used Andrea Yates as a primary example of why you were labeling me a "Necessitarianist", and now you think you can pretend that you aren't referring back to that every time you drag that label out?

Quote from: bertatberts
No sorry, if a persons beliefs are crazy, why should they automatically get respect for those beliefs.
simply because those beliefs could encroach on other peoples lives.
I'm beginning to think you don't even understand what he was talking about.  His point was that neither you nor I actually know what a world without religion would truly be like, and so it's wrong to make foolish assumptions about how "right" or "wrong" speculative ideas about it would be.  Also, I devoutly hope that you were not referring to me with that "beliefs are crazy" comment.  Because I strenuously object to being referred to as crazy because you have an opinion about me that you're clinging to despite a number of people criticizing you about it.

Quote from: bertatberts
I don't think he has given it a lot of thought, both Kcrady and Joebbowers replies, show that.
*facepalm*

Do you even realize just how you sound here?  Did you even read Joe's and kcrady's posts?  I think you're taking your own conclusion, drawn from who-knows-where, and finding whatever evidence you can to support it.  The way you've been arguing in favor of it supports this conclusion; you started by stating that you thought I was a Necessitarianist.  You based this on the idea that I had somehow said that Hitler would have done exactly the same things regardless of religion, which I did not say, and concluding from there that I was denying every possibility but that one.  This was incorrect reasoning - the only thing I said that would have happened was Andrea Yates drowning her children, and I later retracted that.  Your subsequent arguments haven't been any more convincing than that.

Quote from: bertatberts
So I fail to see a problem, He has written on this thread things that appear to be Necessitarianism in my opinion, he said he wasn't a Necessitarianist that's good enough.
If it were good enough, you wouldn't keep bringing it up.  You clearly think that regardless of my categorical statement that I am not a Necessitarianist and that I find the whole philosophy to be ridiculous, that I'm still "appearing" to be a Necessitarianist.  The most generous thing I can think of is that you think I'm wrong about being a Necessitarianist, but you're being "charitable" by granting that I don't think I am.  I don't think you realize just how contemptuous such an attitude is.

Quote from: bertatberts
But his writing here do appear to be very much like Necessitarianism, perhaps I should not have been so blunt.
I reiterate that I'm no longer calling him a Necessitarianist, but I am saying that his post here, do appear to be such.
Thank you so very much for your "kindness" and "generosity" in not calling me a Necessitarianist directly even though you very clearly think that I am and apparently know me better than I know myself despite the fact that we've never really interacted outside this one thread.  Words actually fail me in expressing precisely how I feel about your superior attitude towards me, despite the fact that you really don't know me at all.  I can better express how I feel about you being bound and determined to keep arguing that I sound like a Necessitarianist with other people, even though you won't talk about it with me directly even though I'm clearly here in the thread, but I don't particularly like talking about scatological functions.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #125 on: April 17, 2012, 03:49:16 AM »
Quit with the sophistry, bertaberts.  You used Andrea Yates as a primary example of why you were labeling me a "Necessitarianist", and now you think you can pretend that you aren't referring back to that every time you drag that label out?
Yes I used it once! However I used Hitler twice, You replied directly after that post and said you had misstated in regard to her and that you did not consider yourself as a Necessitarianist, of which I have accepted. All I am saying is your writings in this thread are similar to those of a Necessitarianist, in my opinion.

Everybody in the world gets labelled in some way or another we stereotype all the time I.E. When a person says he has no belief in a god we automatically call him an atheist, he however may call himself an agnostic etc.. And not like the athiest tag, but he is still a atheist isn't he. If a person wishes to sit on the fence in an argument he is give a liberal label, if he leans one way or the other he is labelled right or left wing, whether he likes it or not.

I labelled you a Necessitarianist because of what I thought were the writings of a Necessitarianist. you say your not that's good enough for me.
 
I call myself a humanist because that is what I am, I don't however like the atheist label I also get, because it is a negative label. But I don't whine on and on about it.

Your not a Necessitarianist ok got that, however in my opinion you did write like one in this thread. Am I now not to have an opinion just because you don't like it. I could call you a lot worse names, but you don't seem to fit those yet.

Give the whining a rest it was simply my opinion as Parkplace said we both have those and we are not going to convince each other that the other is right, are we.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #126 on: April 17, 2012, 06:31:47 AM »
You have been claiming that, if there were no religion, basically nothing would change.  Aztecs who would otherwise have sacrificed tens of thousands of captives to their gods would basically kill those same captives for some other "reason." 

I can see what you are saying.  But I think we need to look at the flip side.

Person A, we are saying, did bad stuff because of their religion.  Take away the religion, and they wouldn't do the bad stuff.  Sounds logical.

But.....does that not mean then that every person who has or had NO religion, therefore did/does NO bad stuff?  I doubt anyone would go so far as to make that claim.  So its clear that people will do bad stuff whether or not they had religion in their lives.

And so I'm not sure we can categorically say that without religion, all the bad stuff wouldn't have happened.  While I'm happy to accept that in some cases it would have gone down, in those cases where the believers were indeed "true believers", I don't doubt that there would still have been popular and charismatic leaders who would have appealed to nationalism and patriotism and whatever-other-isms, and got people to do terrible things anyways.

Much as we might like to reference the "Got Mit Uns" belt buckles, I honestly find it hard to believe that every single person inolved in the bad stuff of Hitler's regime was the type who prayed twice a day and honestly believed there was a god watching over and approving of everything they did.  It's sad, but I think that a lot of things would have come about with or without religion.  Perhaps not in the same degree (so I'll agree there is no "atrocity equilibrium"), but certainly it would still have happened.

And who knows?  Maybe the worst excesses wouldn't have happened....but I'm not blinkered enough to suggest that religion has done NOTHING good.  Maybe some bad things that were prevented by religion would have happened without it, or happened worse.

It's been postulated that for many people religion fills some kind of "gap" in their lives - not everyone, sure, but a lot.  I just think its dangerous to assume that without that gep being filled with religion, it would have been filled with sweetness and light and cuddly bunnies.

- - - - -

It was in a Discworld book where Granny Weatherwax and Ridcully realised they had dated when very young.  Ridcully gets all nostalgic for the wonderful long life together they would have lived, had they not opted for magic.
"Except", said Granny Weatherwax, "for the fire that killed us both on our wedding night."


My GUT does indeed tell me that on balance the world would overall be better without religion - logical, I guess, otherwise I'd be a very conflicted little atheist! - but I don't think its as simplistic as we might want.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #127 on: April 17, 2012, 09:29:07 AM »
Yes I used it once! However I used Hitler twice, You replied directly after that post and said you had misstated in regard to her and that you did not consider yourself as a Necessitarianist, of which I have accepted. All I am saying is your writings in this thread are similar to those of a Necessitarianist, in my opinion.
Yes, you used Hitler twice, and I rebutted your argument about him twice.  And no, you clearly have not accepted that I am not actually a Necessitarianist.  You keep saying, "I've accepted that you don't consider yourself a Necessitarianist, but I still think your writings are similar to those of a Necessitarianist", which in effect means that you think that I actually am a Necessitarianist even though I'm saying I'm not.  Is it any surprise that I'd get upset at the implication?

Quote from: bertatberts
Everybody in the world gets labelled in some way or another we stereotype all the time I.E. When a person says he has no belief in a god we automatically call him an atheist, he however may call himself an agnostic etc.. And not like the athiest tag, but he is still a atheist isn't he. If a person wishes to sit on the fence in an argument he is give a liberal label, if he leans one way or the other he is labelled right or left wing, whether he likes it or not.
The fact that people stereotype doesn't make it right.  If you stereotype someone, and they object to it, and you claim to accept that, yet you keep saying that they sure sound like what you stereotyped them as, then you sound like you're talking out of both sides of your mouth.  And that tends to annoy and upset people, especially when you keep doing it, as if they should understand that even though you keep saying they sound like something, you're okay with them thinking they don't sound like it.

Quote from: bertatberts
I labelled you a Necessitarianist because of what I thought were the writings of a Necessitarianist. you say your not that's good enough for me.
Yet you keep saying that I sound like a Necessitarianist, even though you're okay with me thinking I'm not one.  When someone else directs a post at me here, you're right there, chiming in about how I sure do sound like a Necessitarianist, even though I don't consider myself one and that's good enough for you.  In other words, you're basically saying that I am actually one regardless of what I think in the matter, regardless of how I try to rebut it.
 
Quote from: bertatberts
I call myself a humanist because that is what I am, I don't however like the atheist label I also get, because it is a negative label. But I don't whine on and on about it.
So I'm whining because I don't like the label you alone decided I deserved because I keep calling you on your repeated insinuations that I deserve that label?  You said you don't like being called an atheist because you think of it as a negative label, but let me ask you, is it an inaccurate label in your opinion?  An atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of deities.  If you don't believe in deities, the term atheist can be used to describe you, although you may not like some of the negative connotations that go along with the word.

Quote from: bertatberts
Your not a Necessitarianist ok got that, however in my opinion you did write like one in this thread. Am I now not to have an opinion just because you don't like it. I could call you a lot worse names, but you don't seem to fit those yet.
No, you don't get it.  You haven't gotten it since you first started using that term!  My objection, that you don't seem to understand, is because the term does not describe me.  It is wholly inaccurate, it does not describe how I think or how I argue, your opinion notwithstanding.  You claim to accept that, but you clearly still think that it does describe how I think and how I argue, at least somewhat, and I object to that, especially when you aren't willing to go to the effort to defend your opinion.

Quote from: bertatberts
Give the whining a rest it was simply my opinion as Parkplace said we both have those and we are not going to convince each other that the other is right, are we.
Even though I find it contemptible, I'm at least glad that you're being honest about being uninterested in listening to what I say and changing your mind if I can show that it's warranted.  That isn't the case with me.  If you could show to my satisfaction that your statement that my argument here was Necessitarianist was accurate, I would have no trouble acknowledging it.  If you don't want to do that, fine, I can't force you to.  But I do not consider it to be reasonable for you to then keep throwing your opinion (that I am one, or sound like one, or whatever) back in my face every time the opportunity arises.  Because that's just plain rude.  And for you to claim that I'm whining because I call you on it is just insulting.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #128 on: April 17, 2012, 10:00:19 AM »
kcrady:  No, I don't think there's some mythical force that would have somehow kept the number of atrocities stable regardless of how circumstances changed.  I just don't think that the lack of religion would have resulted in rationalism filling the gap.  I don't think of history as being something where we can change something early on, like preventing the rise of religion, and expect that it'll be better overall than the history we know.  Sure, maybe it would have been.  Or maybe it would have been worse.  It's too complex to be able to tell without actually running through it.  So rather than being optimistic and saying it would have been better, or pessimistic and saying it would have been worse, I figure it's better to be cynical and say, "the more things change, the more they stay the same".

Do I know this for sure?  No.  In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that I was wrong, because it's just speculation on my part.  And I guess I was wrong earlier when I said that I was trying to come up with the worst-case scenario.  It's more likely that I just didn't want to consider the real worst-case scenarios that could happen as a result of such a change.

As for the levers that charismatic leaders could have used, almost any ideology can potentially be used as such a lever.  Because I don't think it's accurate to say that other ideologies wouldn't have been able to take the place of religion.  Yes, they aren't as well-armored against reality as religion, but in some respects I think they could then have been worse, because people who adhere to an ideology which reality is busy proving wrong can and have gone to tremendous lengths to try to prove it right anyway.  For example, riding a plan down in flames simply because they don't want to admit to being wrong, and as a result bringing everyone else down with them.  I don't know that this would have been the case, I only suspect it to be so, but I don't think we can arbitrarily exclude it from consideration.