New idea (sort of), that what Darwin, what evolutionists are up against is not some offense that we are “just animals,” but rather what I’m up against, the mimic meme, the great social myth that humans are different because we’re nicer, that our special development isn’t just a special version of mean.
This is our species’ false origin story now, maybe always, that we rose above the animals through “cooperation,” or “altruism,” and in that sense a “morality handed down by a god or a godly messenger” would fill the same purpose in one of those forms, in any given sentence in one of those arguments -the myth that we dominate this world because we are better and not because we are worse. I think the offense evolutionists face has the same flavour as the offense voiced in opposition to permissiveness, to leniency and the advance of liberalism generally, and that’s the larger context for it, not so much whether humans are partly divine, or whether there is a god or not – but whether our lifestyle, the social order, supported by these rationalizations is right or wrong. I don’t mean capitalism, or the patriarchy, for me, all these serve the human warrior society; capitalism means money may abuse, patriarchy means men may abuse. I mean the abuse itself, not who or what is allowed to do it, but that someone always is. That little factoid gets flipped upside-down in this false backstory of ours, that is what’s supposed to make us better.
(New readers may have some confusion. For me “abuse” includes all abuse, socially sanctioned punishments included, because punishment is a technology that includes the application of abuse. Punishment, in our world, is supposed to make us “better,” while abuse, punishment’s major component, has been shown quite robustly to make us “worse,” at least in the eyes of the law, educators, medicine, etc.)
Perhaps something here explains that while evolution generally had popularity, even its adherents had resistance to Lamarck, to the idea that we create ourselves, and that that resistance is still alive and fighting, apparently. If it’s the great machine, OK, we say, fine, evolution, and we are still created beings, formed by forces larger than ourselves and beyond our control. We are still not self-aware or self-responsible in this state, and there is still the room for and a need for God, despite the apparent conflict. Indeed, this would seem to be the creature we see in the news and any dreams we may have of great human destinies do tend to fade with experience and age. We can be managed in certain ways, but humanity cannot apparently be reasoned with.
That’s the mimic meme too, not just some parent, beating their child to “make them good,” but the larger, social idea that it has worked, and that we are good, again, that we have won the tournament against the rest of the world and bent it to our stupid, stupid will – because we are “good,” altruistic, cooperative, empathetic . . . a lovely list of words, to be sure. Evolution is acceptable if we are horrible but powerless in the process, and evolution may be acceptable if we have had a hand in it, but if that’s going to be the story, we had better look “good” in that story, or first, who wants to hear it, and second and more importantly, what good does saying it do? We’re not supposed to tell a child they’re bad, only that their action was bad, because we don’t want them to take it to heart, so how do you tell apes that their bad actions have the unfortunate effect of making them bad? Talking about abuse still, always.
I tell myself I don’t write for children. I know I’m looking for dangerous places to be – honestly it’s all just talk now, I’ve already ruined my real life by taking this issue on with my child-rearing – looking for dangerous things to think about. I hope I’m not making anyone crazy with this, but I’m operating at a very young age in my cynicism; I’m still clinging to the idea of truth above all. If I didn’t have that delusion to chase, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have anything at all.
I think I understand about crackpots now, about people that get obsessed over a viewpoint. For me, this is the heart of the matter, of all matters, and so any talk at the higher levels in these matters, cultural, political, religion vs atheism, all seem secondary, but I’m sure a lot of people have their own idea of where the heart of the matter is. I’m willing to allow that matters have more than one heart, an unknown number, no doubt, but honestly, this is the one I’ve found, and frankly, whether it’s big enough to explain all that I think it does, I can’t have the certainty I’d like about that – but it’s big enough to keep me busy for awhile yet, I think. Honestly, I am staring into the abyss, I’m not trying to share that part, but you probably see. I need something that I can fool myself is important, to keep me busy, you know what they say about idle hands.
At least until I get some sense somebody else has gotten the idea, that I’ve been able to breathe life into this meme, and see it thriving and reproducing out there in nature.
May 25th., 2019
Here’s a Part #2
Here’s Part #3
I don’t know enough religious history to say for certain but most that I’ve encountered don’t take kindly to any sort of examination. They even took Darwin to court – and lost – and still keep at it despite losing every argument they come up with. Is it possible to reason with the relgious? A rare few will let you speak and may even say – you have a good point, I can’t argue against it but I still think god did it. In Dawkins’ God Delusion he talks about this very thing. I think it was Ken Ham who went through the bible and tore out every page that was scientifically irrational and left with nothing but a spine and a cover. He then states that he had to make a choice between science and god and chose god.
From my first year and even now into my masters I have to do a compulsory unit that deals with expressing myself and any thesis I have so as not to offend people of faith and I can’t tell you how much that pisses me off.
The god I was taught about in my Anglican school was nice to kids and baby lambs, later it was an opt-in subject which practically none of us did. Imagine my shock when I came up against this. I should have had an inkling because our school backs onto a Catholic school and often the girls there would yell – “You’re going to hell”, and “Protestant whores.”
Evolution is meme as well, perhaps a tiny bit of Lamarck too, it’s blind and a flood more than a thread sometimes. The number is important in the pack and the pack says Jesus and coal now and who am I to argue.
Hmmm . . . I wasn’t thinking about it, but if it’s our violent social (and epigenetic) engineering of ourselves they’re really defending, then the whole thing is they’re all defending their parents, their own abuse, and their abuse of their children if they have them. Don’t mind psychology when it agrees. . . . and yes, I don’t think science – outside of some floofy psychology and my unknown self – changes the state of Man in regard to Original Sin. If you tear out all the pages, we’re evil apes now and no remedy! Better evil demigods with a chance at a golden ticket.
I saw an NYT article about group “beliefs, was like your ending there, see if I can find it . . .
not cheerful, but clear.
It’s a discussion I had over and over with both Natalie (withwings) and Joe on thoughts over and over. I think with Eric (12sun) too, and I find that depending one what horrific thing I’d seen in the news that day I was ambivalent about.
Good article, and I have to admit as well that fresh from seeing the damage to the Great Barrier Reef with my biologist mates I’m full of spit and fire at the moment. As you saw in my blog. It’s at times like those that I yearn for a comet or asteroid to reset Earth.
The problem isn’t people per se, its those memes that non-rabbits have about killing the rest of us non-rabbits via neglect or active violence. I think if a person is raised to be good and sane they will be, barring chemical imbalances… I’ve never yearned to rule but I do understand hatred and that of course comes down via violence, which is why no one should give me power.
Power is a good barometer for people who should never be given it though, they tend to make up stories about an imaginary friend who hates the people who question them.
A nice thing about my field is that everything I am taught might be wrong but its my job – or hopefully will be – to find that – one way or another. But ask me to have faith and I’m going to suck at that – but I think I’m right. Just like them. Sigh.
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