7th June 2012

“Fanaticism and extremism are monsters that slumber in the belly of faith. When they awake it has no means of stopping them.”

Simon Morris

13 Responses to “7th June 2012”

  1. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    This speaks to the masses of irresponsible enablers who casually accept faith at the tip of a sword of social stigma.

    Quietly they don’t believe in god or have any faith at all, but they are so fearful of being publically ostracized, or of being rejected by family and friends, that they allow themselves to further the insanity of religion consoling themselves with notions of the good faith does.

    It matters not to these mindless automatons that “a few bad eggs” or in other words “extremists” do dispicable things motivated by their faith.

    As long as these ingnorant dopes can get along within their groups, communities, families, and friends they will tow the religious line.

  2. Jeff Says:

    For those who haven’t read Frank Herbert’s original “Dune” trilogy. He posits that Jihad is a natural outgrowth of the need to de-homogenize human gene pools by rape, pillage and plunder. Think it over – it worked all across the Russian steppes, Ukraine, Poland, etc., several times over. Worked in Scotland and Ireland for the Vikings, too. Not saying that it’s right, but it is a good animal behavior…

  3. Dan Says:

    Jeff,
    Yeah, I loved the Dune series. Beyond the first three, four through seven extend the idea you mention. But I think that conflict (and its twin, competition) drive selection, not variation. It is periods of relative tranquility where variation can develop I would think. However it works out though, yeah, of course selection can only occur where there is a struggle for resources (e.g., territory).

    That said, who wants to make their lives harder? Heck, I might become the one that bites the dust! 🙂

  4. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Competition: If you don’t have enemies it is hard to control your masses? Am I on the right track Jeff?

    I mean fighting is an instinctual response isn’t it? We will gladly fight the good fight right? Package it all up in wrappers we have been conditioned to respond to and we will do anything right? I’m thinking of the Stanley Milgram experiements. Jihad is is a natural outgrowth, competitions/conflict and conditioned responses? Conflicts propped up through the de-homogenization you speak of?

    Artificial or natural selection Dan? I mean we aren’t exactly breeding cows, or taking a weed to broccoli are we? Is it natural selection that depends upon competition/conflict? Don’t we still have artificial selection/evolution if we cure disease, integrate machine with man, improve our environment, and address peacefully the challenges to our genes? If resources are abundant, or even only sufficient, can we not have selection through allocation of the available resources: be they limited, sufficient, or abundant?

    I’m just thinking of an active role for reason in advancing the future for all people. Or are we destined to the passive wandering of humanity in a direction long lost from evolution?

  5. Jeff Says:

    I was thinking of it from Herbert’s viewpoint, where the variations developed during the tranquility, and then were spread via good old fashioned rape pillage and plunder, thus the de-homogenization. This Irishman knows exactly where his red hair came from! Whether it’s competition for resources (aka women) or spreading of variation via the invasion of semi-stagnant gene pools all I’m saying is that it is possible that part of the religious impulse in human beings is to provide for this way of spreading genes to wider decedent populations.

    Once again, I’m not saying this is a good thing, just positing a possible evolutionary basis.

  6. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    I like it! Thanx Jeff!

  7. Jeff Says:

    The problem, of course, is that for the meme I just posited to have a beneficial effect, we need to introduce it to a sufficient number of humans for it to overcome the biological meme which produces Jihad. And given that the science meme has had a whole lot longer to work, and hasn’t made the amount of progress needed to overcome the faith meme, this one’s a long and dangerous way away.

  8. Dan Says:

    Sinjin,
    With reduced mortality, you have reduced selection, natural or artificial. It’s pretty obvious really. Modern medicine is relaxing selective pressures, but I think that this has been stigmatized as a bad thing unnecessarily. Relaxed pressures, for a time at least make room for unexpected patterns of variation, which in turn makes space for unexpected solutions to new problems that a species might face in the future.

  9. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Ok Dan, as of this moment I don’t see the relationship between mortality and selection as an absolute. I wouldn’t have thought it possible that anything, modern medicine included, could slow or stop the evolutionary process: even though I agree with what you are saying about medicine altering the process. I want to understand what you are saying about “relaxed pressures” because at this moment it strikes me as you contradicting yourself. I’m sure that isn’t the case, you are the biologist, you would know. I’m just some guy that is probably so diluted of expertise in any one area for trying to know or understand more than I can. Still, I’m fascinated.

  10. Dan Says:

    Sinjin,
    I didn’t say that evolution was slowed, only natural selection, and even then only for treatable medical conditions (that is, only for specific traits). Take Sickle Cell Disease, for instance, now because of therapies children homozygote for this disease can not only survive to adulthood, they could have children.

    So two points in response to your reply:

    1. For a number of traits, natural selection is alive and well for humanity. If you want examples, it may take me some time to find them as I’m a bit preoccupied with other matters right now.

    2. Selection is not the only force of evolution. Don’t forget Drift.

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