Essay: Atheism, food science and bland food

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atheism
Portrait of the Frenchman Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723 - 1789). He was an early advocate of atheism in Europe.

Despite France developing some of the finest cuisine over hundreds of years of theistic culture, you will see below that French atheists did transfer this knowledge to their fellow atheists in other countries.

Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1] Paul Edwards, who was a prominent atheist and editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, defined an atheist as "a person who maintains that there is no God." [2]

The Institute of Food Technologists defines food science as "the discipline in which the engineering, biological, and physical sciences are used to study the nature of foods, the causes of deterioration, the principles underlying food processing, and the improvement of foods for the consuming public".[3]

Question 1: Within the field of food science, how much experimentation is occurring within atheistic countries in order to improve the quality of their food in terms of making it less bland?

Question 2: Are there spices that have health benefits? Is putting spices on food in an intelligent manner a healthier lifestyle?

Atheistic cultures with bland food

Soviet Union and bland food

Claude Lewis wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer about the food is the former Soviet Union which had militant state atheism:

Many people in the Soviet Union have grown tired of institutionalized food in state-run cafeterias found at state-run cafeterias such as Stolovaya No. 22 and Stolovaya No. 23 where the menus seldom change and often lack variety. Most food in the Soviet Union is unimaginative, tasteless and bland.[4]

Atheistic Nordic countries and bland food

Sweden is one of the most atheistic countries in the world.[5]

Nordic food is often depicted as being bland.[6]

Nordic countries have high atheist/agnostic populations within them (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).

Sweden is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and in secular Europe. The website adherents.com reported that in 2005 46 - 85% of Swedes were agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[7] Sweden also has the 3rd highest rate of belief in evolution as far as Western World nations.[8]

Denmark has the highest rate of belief in evolution in the Western World.[9] In addition, in 2005 Denmark was ranked the third most atheistic country in the world and the website adherents.com reported that in 2005 43 - 80% of Danes are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[10]

Finland was ranked the 7th most atheistic country in the world in 2005.[11] Finland has the 17th highest rate of belief in evolution in the Western World.[12]

Iceland is one of the most irreligious countries in the world according to Gallup International.[13] A Gallup International poll conducted in 2012 reported that 57% of Icelanders considered themselves "a religious person", 31% considered themselves "a non religious person", while 10% defined themselves as "a convinced atheist", which places Iceland in the top 10 atheist populations in the world.[14]

Nordic food is often depicted as being bland.[15]

Godless Britain and bland food

The British new atheists Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. The late Christopher Hitchens was known for his heavy drinking.[16] Please notice the utter lack of plates filled with tasty food on the table. See also: Godless Britain and alcoholism

A Eurobarometer poll in 2010 reported that 37% of UK citizens "believed there is a God", 33% believe there is "some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".[17] See also: British atheism

International food authority Andrew Zimmern said of Britain's food: “Twenty years ago the food of the British Isles was universally considered to be among the world’s worst—boring, bland and boiled.”[18]

(In the last 20 years, Britain has seen a large influx of immigrants many of whom eat spicier food. No doubt that is why Zimmern said "twenty years ago".)

Godless Germany and bland food

Germany is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and the website adherents.com reports that 41-49% of Germans are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[19]

Germany is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and the website adherents.com reported that 41-49% of Germans are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[20]

Parlour Magazine reported about German food:

From a young age the German palate is adapted to enjoy the simple flavors of salt, wurst (sausage) and breadcrumbs, shunning anything too sweet, too spicy or too complex.

...I do occasionally enjoy a bit of spice and this is the dilemma. I grew up in a West Indian household led by my grandfather who was a chef, to say I was spoiled in terms of flavorful food would be an understatement. The pepper, the curry, the jerk – all flavors that fueled my youth and make me feel at home. How I survive in Germany, the land of bland, is a mystery to most who know me.[21]

Irreligion, Eastern Europe and flavorless food

Eastern Europe was under about 70 years of atheistic, Soviet communist rule (see also: Atheism and communism). For example, Albania was an atheist state from 1967 to 1991.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, and East Germany have some of the lowest levels of religious belief in secular Europe.

In 2005, the Czech Republic placed second in the world in alcohol consumption.[22] See also: Atheism and alcoholism

From a historical perspective, the Czechs have been characterised as "tolerant and even indifferent towards religion".[23] According to the 2011 census, 34.2% of the Czech population declared they had no religion, 10.3% was Roman Catholic and 10.2% followed other forms of religion both denominational and nondenominational. Furthermore, 45.2% of the population did not answer the question about religion.[24] From 1991 to 2001 and further to 2011 the adherence to Roman Catholicism decreased from 39.0% to 26.8% and then subsequently to 10.3%.[25]

Estonia is one of the least religious areas in the world. Merely 14% of the population declared religion an important part of their daily lives.[26]

The Guardian reported in 2012 about Eastern Germany:

A recent study called Beliefs About God Across Time and Countries found that 52.1% of people asked whether they believed in God identified themselves as atheists. This compared with only 10.3% in western Germany. Indeed, the survey was unable to find a single person under the age of 28 in eastern Germany who believed in God.[27]

The Maverick Traveler reports:

Eastern Europe isn’t known for its variety of exquisite dishes. Most of the dishes are a combination of three ingredients: bread, potatoes and meat. While it’s very hearty, it’s also very flavorless. If you’re there on a short trip or in the beginning of a more extended sojourn, you might find the food interesting and even exotic, but I can guarantee that you’ll quickly get tired of it.

Once you get tired of going out and eating bland local food, you’ll have two options: go to restaurants that serve international cuisine or cook your own food. The problem with the first option is that the international restaurant scene is rather limited in Eastern Europe.[28]

Spices, health benefits and potential health benefits

Atheism is bland and boring

See also: Atheism and inspiration

Atheist Francois Tremblay wrote: "One last problem that undermines any propagation of atheism is inspiration. Let's be honest here, "there is no god!" is not a very motivating call for most people."[29]

The ex-atheist Alister McGrath has repeatedly pointed out the uninspiring nature of atheism.[30][31] According to McGrath, atheism is "stale", "dull" and difficult to believe.[32]

John Updike wrote:

Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic un-interestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity...of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead?".[33]

The British columnist Giles Coren wrote in The Times:

But it’s not the nihilism, the soullessness, the lack of poetry, the moral and physical ugliness, the shallow iconoclasm or the vainglory of atheists that bother me most. It’s the boringness.

Is there anything more boring in the world than an atheist?[34]

Atheist Jerry Coyne said about atheist meetings: "But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks."[35] Coyne also said about the atheist meetings which he attended that quite a few of the talks were lame.[36]

Andrew Brown wrote in The Guardian in an article entitled You can't dance to atheism:

...a religion is a philosophy that makes you dance. It pleased me because the book itself can be read as a history of how philosophy grew from dance...

There aren't any overwhelming and inspiring collective atheist rituals...

If I'm right, then liberal, individualistic atheism is impossible as an organising principle of society because any doctrine that actually works to hold society together is indistinguishable from a religion. It needs its rituals.[37]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[38][39] National Public Radio's article Chinese Turn To Religion To Fill A Spiritual Vacuum declares:

One young evangelical Christian missionary travels from rural village to village in the Protestant heartland in eastern China to proselytize. She attributed her own conversion to the overwhelming pressures of China's education system.

"In high school, I felt very depressed," said the bright-eyed young woman, who gave her name as Nicole. "I felt people had no direction, and I felt life was dry and boring. I felt the pressure of school was very high. God helped me and liberated me." [40]

Atheist Jerry Coyne said about the atheist meetings which he attended:

But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks.

...a few things bothered me, most notably the air of self-congratulation (which I excused on the grounds of enthusiastic people finding like-minded folks for the first time), the “fanboyness” directed at some of the famous atheists (they hardly let poor Richard alone, and I’m not sure he liked that!), and the lameness of quite a few of the talks. Again, how much new can you say about atheism?[41]

21st century global desecularization and a worldwide flavorful food revolution

See also: Atheism and science

Atheistic ideology is detrimental to science (see: Atheism and science and Atheism and the suppression of science and Christianity and science).

Food science, like all science, is a social enterprise. And bland and boring cultures stifle innovation within science.

So how boring is atheism? Does bland and boring atheistic ideology foster the creation of atheistic food scientists who wear bland white lab coats and suppress the use of spices and other flavor enhancers in food production? On the other hand, are atheistic food scientists endeavoring to make food even more bland in atheistic societies because they know that atheists and boring and bland? In short, a classic case of giving the customer what he wants.

Are atheists in atheistic countries with bland food trapped in a bland food bubble or will religious immigrants, the religious having a higher fertility rate and the religious engaging in evangelism burst their bland food bubble?

Will global desecularization ignite a global flavorful food revolution the likes of which the world has never seen?

See also

Comedy and satires concerning atheism and evolution

Notes

  1. Multiple references:
  2. Putting the Atheist on the Defensive by Kenneth R. Samples, Christian Research Institute Journal, Fall 1991, and Winter 1992, page 7.
  3. Heldman, Dennis R. "IFT and the Food Science Profession." Food Technology. October 2006. p. 11.
  4. Making A Beef About Soviet Food
  5. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  6. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/13/244600582/new-nordics-cool-but-old-scandinavian-food-holds-its-own
  7. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  8. Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds
  9. Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds
  10. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  11. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  12. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  13. "Iceland Ranks High on World Atheist List". Iceland Review. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  14. "GLOBAL INDEX OF RELIGION AND ATHEISM" (PDF).
  15. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/13/244600582/new-nordics-cool-but-old-scandinavian-food-holds-its-own
  16. Christopher Hitchens: Despite Cancer, I'd Drink & Smoke Again
  17. Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
  18. Five myths about British food
  19. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  20. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  21. Black in Berlin: Surviving Germany’s Food Culture, Parlour Magazine
  22. Czech alcohol consumption figures highlight rising number of problem drinkers, 23-02-2011 16:29 | Chris Johnstone
  23. Richard Felix Staar, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Issue 269, p. 90
  24. Richard Felix Staar, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Issue 269, p. 90
  25. Population by denomination and sex: as measured by 1921, 1930, 1950, 1991 and 2001 censuses (Czech and English). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved on 2010-03-09.
  26. Estonians least religious in the world. EU Observer (11 February 2009). Retrieved on 9 January 2014.
  27. Eastern Germany: the most godless place on Earth
  28. 13 Things They Don’t Tell You About Eastern Europe by James Maverick, Maverick Treveler
  29. Herding Cats: Why Atheism Will Lose by Francois Tremblay
  30. Clear Voices 2014 - Alister McGrath - C. S. Lewis’s Vision of the Christianity
  31. In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments By David Bentley Hart, page 136
  32. Updike, John (1989). Self-Consciousness: Memoirs (New York, NY: Knopf), ch. 4.
  33. I don’t believe it – they’re doing atheism at GCSE by Niles Coren
  34. Are there too many atheist meetings? by Jerry Coyne
  35. Are there too many atheist meetings? by Jerry Coyne
  36. You can't dance to atheism by Andrew Brown
  37. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  38. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  39. Chinese Turn To Religion To Fill A Spiritual Vacuum, National Public Radio, July 18, 2010
  40. Are there too many atheist meetings? by Jerry Coyne