YouTube: Dawkins on Cargo Cults

I first read about the Cargo Cults from Hitchens, then found another such discussion from Dawkins. I was glad to see that the Dawkins chapter has been captured on YouTube with some, albeit not terribly extensive, footage of the believers themselves. Here I will venture only three brief observations:

1. Modern, Western people possess no genetic superiority to these villagers. We are running the same mental “hardware”, so to speak. The only difference is that we are educated and indoctrinated differently.

2. Christianity was started among an initial crop of believers with generally low levels of education and literacy, in a poor and oppressed region. And it was rejected as nonsensical by the educated class of the same region.

3. Arguments made by NT Wright and others that fully-orbed religions such as Christianity require long periods of time to develop are simply mistaken. And like the Cargo Cults, Christianity can be demonstrated as having acquired nearly all of its material from prior myths and cults.

Part 1:

Part 2:


  1. How fantastic! As part of a brand new “old” religion myself, it is absolutely wonderful to see how new religions can evolve in such a very short time. One of the things that Margot Adler discovered in her researches for Drawing Down the Moon was the only unifying characteristic that linked everyone in the new movement: they were all avid readers who would greedily read anything and everything from fantasy to hard science. Other than that they ranged from housewives (horror of horrors!) to computer programmers (ditto) to hard scientists (oh my!)

    Oh, I truly hope no one tries to canonize Gerald…


  2. Wicca really wants to believe that it’s an Old Religion. (Careful with those Traditions, the ink is still wet). True, it does use some very old bits, nice to see some of them back in circulation. What the Witch/Wicca beginning is growing into seems to be a more generic Paganism, i.e. non-Abrahamic religion growing right under our noses.

    As a real, honest to goodness Third Degree Dianic High Priestess, I guess I qualify, that and $10 will get me a $5 cup of coffee to steal an old line. I need to watch the tongue in cheek aspect of my personality, I bite myself too often.

    Seriously, yes, I am religious, deeply devoted to my Gods, and I’m part of a very serious bunch who when they can stop laughing at themselves long enough, are looking around to see what to avoid. How else but by understanding how people leave a powerful old established religion, and why do they, can we avoid the mistakes of that old way? One of the first was the ink is wet line. Only when we keep that firmly in mind can we keep from taking ourselves too seriously. Another is the gods’ job descriptions. Omniscient? Shucks, this Avatar of the Goddess had to spell check that, I guess that won’t work, let’s try another. On and on. Hell? too many l’s and She’s an interesting Lady, look her up someday. Those Scandinavians had some pretty neat ideas. A Chariot drawn by goats? Cool!

    So, hang in there, there are a lot of us out here who need you. We need your insight, your wisdom, and yes, we need to share your pain. This religion stuff is powerful. It needs to be handled with care if we’re going to play with it at all. No Bibles, been there, done that. No Saviors, never needed them anyway, the Serpent was right. Clergy? Everybody is clergy, if you can’t do it your self, it must not need to be done. Maybe we’re another face of atheism, a religious one? Virgin births? I have a nice red bridge in Northern California and it just happens to be for sale….


    • Mariah,

      You make me chuckle/grin. Its fun having your commentary – so vibrant. 🙂

      I don’t pretend to know much about Wicca. All I really know is what Christians are raised to think about them. (A) Its bad. (B) Because its not the Bible.

      I’m sure you can tell by this point that my trajectory is toward the skeptical, and away from the supernatural. But so what? I probably should read something about Wicca one of these days.

      Glad you’re here to punch things up a bit. 🙂


      • what Christians are raised to think about them. (A) Its bad. (B) Because it’s not considered witchcraft (sorcery, etc.) which are condemned in the Bible.



        • Redoing it for formatting:

          what Christians are raised to think about them. (A) Its bad. (B) Because it’s not [considered witchcraft (sorcery, etc.) which are condemned in] the Bible.


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