The alpha male or female rules. Since time began there have been those who were “born” to lead. Whether for good or ill these individuals have directed the course of their social groups. Be it wolves or elephants or any social animal, including humans, there have always been those who were in charge, those who took or are given special privilege.
In every field of endeavor there are those whose word is taken as gold, the final pronouncement, carrying more weight than a subordinate regardless of correctness. To challenge that word at best meant humiliation, at worst the end of life or career.
In science, on occasion, a subordinate is credited with a discovery years or decades after the fact. At the time they made the discovery their position conflicted with an alpha and they were shouted down. Usually this occurs when the discovery they made is rediscovered.
Testosterone, the louder one can shout, the more fierce the display, usually wins the day. Though it may win the argument, sometimes the path it forces others to follow is fatally wrong. Such decisions, unable to stand alone, made only on force of personality can lead to a civilization’s ruin.
Over the years in the present atheist movement I have noticed that many non-believers assume submissive blithe acceptance of pronouncements from the prominent leaders of the movement. Sam Harris’s stance on free will is accepted by many without any argument. The recent debacle over the addition of plus to atheist, led to divisiveness. Prominent atheists are flawed human beings after all and should be questioned as roundly as any one.
In Christianity one or more individuals who think they have all the right ideas put themselves in charge. It too, is all about the alpha status. Even though it is obviously apparent that it is their own goals they wish to enact, backed by scripture frequently out of context, their voice being the loudest, their assertiveness the most bold, they usually succeed in placing themselves at the top of a group or movement. The submissive, who think the individuals at the top have their best interests at heart, fall into line.
What we as a people need to realize is that our leaders are just as flawed as all other human beings. They need to be questioned. Rational thought demands they be questioned. If their ideas are found to be sound, accept them. If their ideas are found to be flawed, they must be rejected.