Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by wellwisher, Dec 30, 2012.
To you, it doesn't matter what I say. You just do your own thing.
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Since the goal was to preach to all nations, wouldn't extrapolating from long standing tradition make that job easier? If you come up with a novelty act then you become fad. But if you build upon traditions, using the newest version 4.0, then you get wide appeal.
Another angle to consider are the state of natural humans before civilization. What were the male and female roles and does religion attempt to preserve this also, and does secular prefer something less natural? Maybe science can tell us whether the churches not only preserve long standing cultural traditions but also natural traditions.
Ever since our distant ancestors became fully bipedal (going back to Ardipithecus, 7MYA), it was the primary responsibility of the females to nurse, protect and raise the young, while the males gathered food. This came about because a biped can use both arms to carry an enormous load of food back to camp, where the women and children are in relative safety. (Ardi still had one prehensile toe, making them much better climbers than our species, so the females could even scamper up into the trees with the children in one arm if they saw predators approaching.)
When a more recent ancestral species invented weapons and began hunting, we began the transition from being grazing herbivores like gorillas and chimpanzees, to being obligate carnivores. Still, it was the males' job to go out with those spears and knives and bring back a dead mammoth, while the females gathered herbs, nuts and fruits closer to the safety of the base camp, a job they could do while protecting the children, and in fact one in which the children could help.
This division of labor is actually programmed into our physiology. Men's vision is very acute at spotting motion: an important skill for a hunter. But women can distinguish many more shades of color, which allows them to identify the herbs and berries that are ripe and not poisonous. If you don't believe me, watch a man and a women together in a paint store. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
The Agricultural Revolution 12KYA forever changed the way we live. Both men and women participated in the herding of animals and the cultivation of crops. But women were still trapped by biology into the role of caregivers.
The Dawn of Civilization a thousand years later didn't really change this. Neither did the Bronze Age, the Iron Age or the Industrial Revolution. It took modern science AND a growing resistance to traditional religion (which appears to go far back into the Stone Age and wasn't invented by Abraham--just the new wrinkle of monotheism) to finally give women a choice between a second-class life of stay-at-home motherhood and full citizenship.
From the standpoint of women (as I have been told by women), there's no significant difference between Christianity and the Stone Age. As the Germans put it: Kinder, Kirche, Kuchen ("children, church, kitchen").
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There is no significant difference between modern Western culture and the Stone Age: life is a fight for survival. Although the Stone Age was probably a bit easier on women than the modern age. At least they weren't fed platitudes about humanity, while being expected to be like robots.
Let me take a biological POV. Natural instinct took tens of thousands of years to evolve via natural selection, and according to science is engrained in the DNA. The question becomes what happens to million year DNA based natural instinct, when cultures decides to change this into a subjective alternative? Will the DNA change quickly, because of marketing and willpower, or will the DNA remain conserved based on eons of natural selection, leading to divided instinct?
Maybe we can run an experiment using natural animals. Instead of allowing the animal to use its natural instincts from natural selection, which are engrained on its DNA, we will use our imaginations and wish for something else.
The DNA is very conservative and slow to change. Therefore if we assume instinct is based on DNA, instinct will be conserved from the natural past of humans. Humans have free will and therefore we can use willpower to go in a different direction. But since the DNA is conserved for long periods of time, willpower will not quickly change the genetic expression of natural instinct. The result would be divided instinct, with willpower going one way and natural DNA instinct following the direction of nature.
Most religions inferred good science conclusions (instincts) even before there was science. While atheism and modern science appear to have the problem of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. I would like to hear from biologists to make sure I am doing this right and then I would like to ask why science would lie for liberalism?
The question becomes, what would be a cultural symptom of wide scale divided instinct due to propaganda and will power being in conflict with the natural genetic instinct? One way to answer his question is by looking at nature, where natural instinct is the rule approaching 100%. What sticks out to me is there is minimal need for external prosthesis? Nature is self sustaining and is not set up like a zoo, requiring expensive keepers.
Nature is able to sustain itself without any need for artificial additives or prosthesis. If we add unnatural instinct to culture, one would expect more need for zoo keepers to compensate. One would expect the social cost to rise since all these expenses and prosthesis will be needed to compensate for the unnatural. Natural does not need or use these things. The rising cost of social programs, as function of liberal religion, would reflect the rise of unnatural instinct.
I am for choices and willpower. However, I believe that those who choose to divide their instincts should have to cover their own added expenses. While those who stay natural should be exempt from this added social cost, unless they choice to donate. I don't believe that unnatural should allowed to leach off natural like a virus or parasite.
I also think science needs break the tie with the atheist religion, since it blinds them to truth.
My life is nothing like that. And my spouse, who is a woman, feels the same way. Life is a great adventure. Wonderful things happen every day. Today's music alone, professionally composed and performed, available 24/7, is enough to make life worth living.
So sorry about your life.
As Suicidal Tendencies said in their song "Gotta Kill Captain Stupid":
99% of life is what you make of it.
So if your life sucks, you suck.
Mrs. Fraggle has never been expected to be like a robot, and has never acted like one. She routinely chides me for not being adventurous enough.
Hmm. None of the people I know who have died were "fighting for survival" although this was common in the stone age. Survival nowadays is a given; the fight is over how successful you want to be. I guess your experience is different than mine.
Except for the starvation, malnutrition, death during childbirth, rampant disease, lack of laws and violence. Other than that it might have been easier. Stone age women would not have to endure the horror of being offered food to eat that might make them fat, for example, nor would they ever have to live through the crippling misery of not being able to find a parking spot at the mall.
Right, they generally just died young rather than being fed platitudes. Much better off.
Yeah, you prefer zombies over humans.
Actually, examination of Paleolithic bodies has yielded some surprises.
Of course it's no surprise that infant mortality was up in the 70-90% range, since it remained there until the advent of modern scientific medicine (asepsis, vaccines, antibiotics, etc.) and public health measures (covered sewers, street cleaning, abundant fresh water, wrapped food, etc.) in the late 19th century. But for the lucky ones who survived childhood, life expectancy was up in the 50s. There was little long-distance travel so people developed immunities to the bacteria and other pathogens in their own locale--or died in childhood.
And that's when the real surprise hit the anthropologists. Using modern instruments to re-examine skeletons, they discovered that more than 50% of adults were killed by violence. In other words, more adult humans were killed by other humans than by all other causes combined!
The reason for this is implicit in the definition of the Paleolithic Era: the technology of agriculture hadn't been discovered yet. No herds of domesticated animals, no fields of irrigated crops. They were dependent on the bounty of nature, and nature is fickle. In a year with low rainfall, there simply wasn't enough food to go around. So neighboring clans who might have grudgingly tolerated each other in a good year, or even socialized, suddenly became competitors for each other's hunting and gathering range. They had to fight each other to the death for their own survival.
It stands to reason that the older, slower, weaker members of the clan, who in a good year would have been revered as wise elders, would have been the first to die in battle. I'm sure at some point the leaders of both clans looked around and said, "Hey, I think we've reduced both tribes to a size that the land can support. Time for a truce. See you guys at next year's summer festival. I've got my eye on the red-haired chick over there."
People who romanticize previous eras in the development of human culture haven't really done their homework.
I still assume Wynn is a woman because "Wynn" is more likely a feminine name and she hasn't denied it. What woman would yearn for a time machine to take her back to an era in which A) she would have borne ten or fifteen children, B) eight to twelve of them would have died before reaching puberty, and C) during every dry cycle there'd be a war with the guys in the next valley and all the knowledgeable elders would be killed off--until one year it was her turn?
An interesting change would have been civilization. Civilization allowed higher population densities, thereby reducing local mortality as smaller tribes fighting for natural resources, are able to merge into larger communities. Or instead of killing natural competitors, they might merge or go into slavery to create a work force that can help expand culture. Slavery is not good compared to freedom but an upgrade from slaughter.
If you think about it, tens of thousands of years of instinctive traditions needed to be neutralized for civilization to form. The personality firmware had to evolve some new features, to overcome this instinctive inertia; human nature modernizes away from pre-human instinct. In my opinion this change in the firmware is the symbolic Adam, who has the new human temperament which was better geared to begin and sustain civilization. I would guess that child bearing and raising was still at a premium such the females would become conscious of the change later; Eve.
Actually it was the Agricultural Revolution that made that happen. The domestication of grazing animals and the irrigation of cultivated plants created the first food surplus this planet had ever seen. The twin technologies of farming and animal husbandry both permitted and required people to stop being nomads and settle in permanent villages. It didn't take them long to recognize the advantages of division of labor and economies of scale, both of which are enhanced by enlarging a community.
Civilization--literally "the building of cities"--came a bit later. That's when people had to learn to live in harmony and cooperation with total strangers.
Actually once agriculture created a food surplus, there wasn't much competition for resources. As I noted above, villagers were happy to invite other tribes to move in with them, because it raised productivity to an even higher level. This allowed a few people to have "careers" outside of the food production and distribution "industry." Finally there were a few full-time professional musicians, teachers, cobblers, brewers, explorers, tinkerers, etc.
Slavery was a manifestation of the Bronze Age, which didn't begin until around 3000BCE, seven thousand years after the Agricultural Revolution and six thousand years after the first cities were built.
Stone Age technology just doesn't give any leverage to a community in which some of the members are enslaved by others. Although there was a modest surplus in the Neolithic Era (stone age agriculture) and the Age of civilization (cities built from wood and stone using only wooden and stone tools), most people were basically working to feed themselves. Enslaving another person so you could expropriate his tiny surplus productivity to very slightly enrich your own family just wasn't worth the trouble, especially since he would fight back and your stone age weapons made of stone and wood aren't any more powerful than his stone age weapons made of stone and wood. The two of you would spend so much time fighting that your productivity would actually decrease and you wouldn't have enough food!
It was the metal blades and armor of the Bronze Age that made the rulers qualitatively more powerful physically than their subjects. Bronze metallurgy also resulted in an explosion of new technologies, such as writing and the wheel, which made a society's surplus large enough to fight over.
Actually we managed to start down that road a mere one thousand years after the end of the Paleolithic Era.
As I have often noted, our enormous forebrain (twice as large as our most recent ancestral species and three or four times as large as a chimpanzee or gorilla) gives us the power to simply override instinctive behavior with reasoned and learned behavior. This is how our babies overcome the universal animal instinct to run away from a larger animal with both eyes in front of its face, and sit happily under the watchful eye of a domesticated wolf. This is how we overcome the almost-universal instinct not to step off the edge of a cliff and learn to skydive.
And this is how we teach our children to treat people outside our own extended family members, who they've cared for and depended on since birth, as members of our "pack" so that with large-scale cooperation we can accomplish things our Stone Age ancestors couldn't even imagine.
As I've postulated before, I don't believe the few hundred generations we've passed through since the end of the Paleolithic Era have been nearly enough time for any major mutations in our neural programming to evolve.
When I look at humanity I see a bunch of cavemen who use reasoning and learning to overcome their primitive instincts. The proof, to me, is that under severe stress we often shed our civilized veneer and revert to caveman behavior. Most of the time these incidents are so sporadic and isolated, that the rest of us can keep them from destroying civilization. Unfortunately, at periodic intervals entire populations of domesticated cavemen are overcome by their primitive instincts all at once, and this is when wars start.
Most of these wars are catalyzed by religion--especially in the past half millennium. Belief in the supernatural is surely one of our most atavistic instincts, all the more unfortunate because there seems to be no evolutionary advantage to it, even in the Stone Age. It's probably a random mutation that, by sheer chance, was passed down through a genetic bottleneck.
Fortunately (and here I go contradicting myself) this instinct appears to be somewhat tenuous. My whole family lacks it. I'm a third-generation atheist. The first time another little kid told me about God and all that stuff, I laughed my head off. It didn't occur to me that anybody could take that very entertaining story seriously. I couldn't understand why he didn't appreciate my laughter. It was such a great story!
[Another point I've brought up before: During that same time period our dogs have undergone several thousand generations of "unnatural selection." Unlike our species, they have indeed evolved new instincts which are distinctly different from those of their ancestral wolves. I've often said that dogs are actually much better evolved for life under civilization than we are! Sometimes I think they know this and that they are really in charge, just letting us think we are. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!]
Jean Auel, in the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series of novels, insists that the first religions were goddess-oriented. Based upon her copious research, she's convinced that 30KYA humans had not yet figured out the relationship between copulation and pregnancy, so the concept of "fathers" was nowhere in their culture. The Mother created everything. Artifacts from Paleolithic sites seem to support this hypothesis. The Fertility Goddess, with her wide pelvis and generous breasts, is a common trinket.
Fast zombies or slow zombies? It's an important difference when people are trying to eat your brains.
Agreed there. Once past age 10 a paleolithic human could expect to live to 45-50.
Definitely. I often see posts here talking about how idyllic prehistoric life was, how healthy everyone was without additives and junk food, how great it must have been not to have greedy governments taxing you and threatening you with jail etc. On the scale of history we're actually in a pretty good place now. Not because things are perfect now but because things were a lot worse in most other periods of human history.
Humans are the only life form on earth that practices religious behavior. Animals, plants and bugs do not. Apes do not display religious behavior. It has something to do with the human brain.
One selective advantage of religious behavior; supernatural, is connected to the imagination and abstraction, which, in turn, are the foundation for all other forms of creativity and the future of thought. If you think of it logically, supernatural exists apart from physical reality, by definition. This is also true of all invention, art and thought before it becomes manifest to copy. The idea of a cellular phone that is also a computer would have been seen as alien/supernatural 100 years ago. Those who lack imagination won't see it. Those who dream beyond the confines see possibilities.
The wonders of the ancient world had connections to the supernatural. The pyramids were build as rebirthing chambers and vessels into immortality. The supernatural implies many steps beyond the ordinary. The atheist caveman can't see beyond what his senses and instincts showed him. He could memorize and copy. The supernatural, was outside these sensory limits, by the very definition of the supernatural. There is an advantage to imagination.
The pyramids were an engineering feat, even for today. The motivation was the supernatural. The creativity and ingenuity were connected to this belief, with all having to occur before formal science. One needed to visualize the impossible based on the science of the day and then make the future the present. This is not important to atheism.
Another selective advantage of the supernatural is economy and efficiency. If you look at modern times, most of the increases in social cost are not due to religion, but have an atheist connection. Most of the relative animal behavior, which require prosthesis and added social expense does not stem from religions. If you went back into time, much of this state of the art relative behavior would not have the social resources to support it. It would lack natural selection since it needs artificial to work.
The atheist needs to do an energy/resource balance when inferring human natural selection, since natural does not require artificial support. I have never seen this in nature. Natural selection is all about efficiency. Artificial selection, can become a bottleneck if it forced upon people who would prefer the efficiency of natural selection. The religious wars tend to be connected to unnatural changes.
Picture two herds of animals each with a territory that is in harmony due to natural selection. One herd changes to relative behavior and starts to consume resources at double the rate. The others sticks to age tested behavior. The first will use up its resources too fast until there are a need for correction.
Say middlemen decide they can supplement the unnatural behavior by leaching off the territory of the natural herd. With smoke and mirrors in place, they almost look as efficient once again. With smoke and mirrors, the natural group has to live with less than their natural share (taxes) to support the unnatural group who needs too much prosthesis. Only the religious have the natural efficiency to carry the unnatural. We could not do this the other way around. We could test this theory by separating taxes.
1. The process of brainwashing is complete when the person who has been brainwashed becomes an active proponent of the outlook they have been brainwashed into.
2. The struggle for survival is not just about fist fights over scraps of food. The struggle for survival can take on many forms - from people going at eachother's throats physically with their hands, to trying to destroy their opponents in some other ways, such as by mobbing in the workplace.
3. Surely ending your life with a helium bag will be a great adventure too.
No one's entire life can be an uninterrupted series of adventures, and they occur with decreasing frequency as we get older. I'll settle for the end of mine to be quick and painless, and not to dissipate half of the estate I'm planning on leaving to several people who deserve it and a few charities. That will be one hell of a lot better than the way both of our mothers died. One of them retained enough coherence to beg for mercy, but there's no mercy in a nursing home where they get paid for every day they can keep you breathing.
The other one wasn't so lucky, and for the last few months was just lying there, still able to speak but having lost all of her memories so she had nothing to speak about except the crystal-clear understanding that no one should be forced to live like that. She had already lost the ability to swallow, and the motherfuckers IGNORED her "no tube feeding" order, even though the courts have ruled that they are valid and must be honored. She finally died by aspirating food from the tube, before we were able to intervene effectively. But the motherfuckers were able to bill her for another ten days.
Perhaps you see that as an adventure. Well goody for you. I presume you live in one of the many, many countries where that is your default option, so you won't have to put any effort into making it happen.
Neither my mother nor my mother-in-law found it to be much of an adventure. I hope your experience is considerably more pleasant. You may not be my friend, but NOBODY I've ever known deserved that kind of death.
The role of women in Christianity is that of a godsend to her husband and family.
.....with the added bonus of sounding like Donald Duck as you breathe your last wishes....
No thanks. Some dignity needed at that point, I feel.
If you use Xenon instead of Helium, since this noble gas is heavier than air, it will make the voice deeper; somber.
Taking one's life should be understood as being driven by symbolism. There can be an inner push to symbolically die, which means to release the past and prepare for a rebirth. Rebirth would be a change of attitude and change of latitude needed to begin anew.
Many years ago when I was doing unconscious mind research on myself, I met such a threshold, not due to external need, but due to internal inductions from the position in the research. The lack of external parallel, made it easier to differentiate, since nothing in my real world was such that these feelings were justified. This gave me an opportunity to observe with one leg on firm ground.
If you wait it out the unconscious begins to generate symbols of transformation leading to rebirth. The common problem is the ego has will and free choice and can fixate and not allow the healing of transformation. In my case, I was curious for what was next.
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