Genes as Behaviour: Conservatism

            Genes as Behaviour: Conservatism

 

I’ve said some of this before.

In a certain sense, along a certain vector, there are two ways of thinking, two ways of looking at the world, change and stasis.

It’s another way in which we can see the world as a dichotomy or as a vast collection of them, and it’s easy to categorize, easy to pick a trait and make an association that aligns it with the dichotomic view, easy to imagine that the same line that divides religion from secular science also divides capitalist from socialist and progressive from conservative, and so on. I personally opine that change aligns with science, progress, and considering that the world is generally competitive and capitalist, that socialism would also align with change, at least in the here and now. The other sides of these coins align with stasis, sort of a scientific word for conservatism. Evolution very much marries science to change, to a moving, changing, coming into existence and fading out of existence dynamic tapestry of living things and systems, and it lends to organic flights of thought, where change is nearly the only constant.

Conservatives see things, not processes, and their path to understanding is OCD – cataloguing, counting things. (The rest I’ve written before, and more than once; the new idea here is the OCD.) The emphasis in things over actions, things over behaviours, things over and above processes, this is what I’m noticing. For people with this inclination – it’s too common to be a disorder, but I’m open to that – for people who see life this way, the world is explained as an endless number of things, and their answers are always in the form of nouns. Everything is a thing, laws, “good guys,” “bad guys,” gays and brown people. Ask them why something, and your answer will be a noun: “criminals,” or some shit. God made “criminals” when he made everyone else, don’t you know. Folks of this mindset love the story about the scorpion who begs a ride across the river from the frog or the duck or whatever it is: he did because he is. That’s all these folks need to know (which I offer in Bruce Dern’s voice, his line in the Hateful Eight about Sam Jackson’s character). This story is offered as deeper-than-you wisdom; it’s something that requires pictures and allegory, as ostensibly the truth therein predates words or any silly modern liberal thought.

The longer I carry this idea around with me, the clearer I see it, the more statements from that POV start to stand out against the dynamic, fluid background of life. Case in point: genes are some of these things, of course. We do because we are – I guess this sort of a mind can catalogue free will along with everything else, if it’s just a label on a box rather than a Schrodinger’s sort of a box that may or may not actively affect many of the other things in their boxes in an endlessly interactive sort of way. Now I know you know, I think I am of the dynamic mindset and that I’m expressing my frustration with the static sort of mind, but the thing that has made me start to consider Obsessive Compulsive Order as a part of the puzzle is not a criticism, I don’t oppose it because it’s dumb and powerless. I’m actually impressed by the catalogue; it really is massive, and each of these folks would seem to hold as many distinct concepts in their minds, and all at once, seemingly, as there are words in their vocabularies. Of course, this is not literal, and I can’t force you to follow me. These sorts of talks are completely voluntary, so give me your good will and let’s take these fuzzy things out and play with them, maybe we’ll come back to a more nuanced reality when we’re done.

What we think of as the fractal or higher functions – grouping concepts together, organizing concepts by form and function, repeating functions limitlessly, these are work saving measures, and these sorts of minds might be accused of laziness, of constant generalization and of discounting details, while the raw processing power to manage thirty thousand ideas individually can’t really help but impress. Again, we are conversing somewhere between metaphor and intuition here, but a prodigious memory for details and specifics has always been associated with OCD, hasn’t it?

Dr. Robert Sapolsky on the subject:

https://youtu.be/7gKJLadgzfY

Here’s that entire lecture:

https://youtu.be/4WwAQqWUkpI

If you’re like me and video is a total turn-off (well, for me, Sapolsky videos are the exception), the idea is something like the Rain Man’s counting of the toothpicks was a one off, useless sort of amazing skill, but that human society has created niches for just such weirdly specific propensities. This is sort of where I’m trying to take us, to a less severe version of OCD as Luther’s or Raymond’s, one more generalized perhaps, but vastly more pervasive, even obtaining a degree of ubiquity.

Another reason I’m starting to look at is as disordered is maybe just grammar, or maybe it really is logic. If I ask “why” about something, I’m looking for an event or a process. There are always things involved, of course, but for the form of a “why” question’s answer to be valid, I think it needs more than nouns, more than things. A list of actors, a list of things, this doesn’t answer “why.” OK, these things, I think, and then I must repeat, as when I was three, “why?” Meaning what did these things do?

Bloody Hell, it’s like ice sculpture, what I do. For all the ink, it’s practically transparent, you can hardly see the work even when I’m finished. Plus, publishing to the interwebs is like washing it down the sink, it’s a drop of water in the ocean. I live forever with the sense that I am describing the indescribable, and quixotic as it is, it really is what I’m going after, sort of, I really am trying to talk about things I think we may have evolved not to talk about. It is my intuitive sense that it is things we cannot think that cause us many of our problems, so, second metaphor in a single paragraph, I’m dancing all around something, trying to make at least the outline of it appear in the spaces I can’t get us to no matter how many times I attempt this blog. This is like, take five, I think, one or two per year. Throw the older versions out, of course. Don’t listen to what I said; listen to what I’m saying – I’m sorry, how dull. That’s not up to anybody’s standards, I know, to say that, what can I say?

I’m trying, even God describes me that way, I suspect.

These things I’m after though, I think even if I manage to catch one for us every now and then, I’m afraid they’re still invisible, and they’re supposed to be. “Supposed to be,” though – I think the context for these taboos are changing. Everything else isn’t what it’s “supposed to be” anymore. These things will have to change also, visible or not, I think.

 

Jeff

Sept. 22nd., 2017

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The Man in the Moon

. . . so, I don’t know why, I thought I’d give a mental health professional a try. Thank Christ the lunatic was as heavy-handed and blatant as he was, and I remain free and with a chance of being happy and healthy again. It wasn’t close, like by inches, but when you and a predator see one another and you live to tell the tale, that is as close as you ever want. Funny story, though.

His manipulation was immediate.

He showed me into his office and I paused, admiring his Scandinavian teak furniture and his chair, just looking around, right, checking out my surroundings, and before fifteen seconds had passed, this asshole had ordered me to sit on the couch twice, I guess he thought I wanted his chair or something.

It never changed, his attitude only got more imperious after everything I said. He didn’t let me finish a sentence and then told me everything about me based on what he never let me say in the first place. I got up to leave after ten minutes of this shit and he ordered me back to my chair, lectured me for fifteen more minutes and then he told me I should leave – his idea, right? Control freak, apparently a psychopath. The guy was so burnt out, it’s clear that he didn’t want any patients, or at least any that didn’t pass his litmus test of total dominance and abuse.

I am so regretting keeping it civil and shaking his fucking hand at the end, I wanted so bad to write him or something and retract it, but of course, fuck that and fuck him. I’ll just spend the rest of my life telling people about him and people like him. This really was a fork in the road sort of moment. I really did know that the world of normals had no chance of helping me, and now I’ve seen it firsthand, the abusive hand of therapy. I’m with the crazies now, call us what you will. That is what becomes of a good, but mutated idea like psychiatry in the warrior society, crazy-making specialists.

I think the point for folks in this group, is losing one’s mind is a problem, going crazy is a problem, but becoming a mental patient is a much worse problem. I keep looking for help and then backing away terrified, and this last year there have been close calls a few times, I’m lucky I haven’t managed to get myself an official diagnosis and a mittful of prescriptions. I haven’t gotten any help – but I’m not in the control of a bunch of folks crazier and more externalizing than I am, either. Net good, I think. I’m not feeling that much better, still nothing to look forward to, still the crying jags, and what about that? I kind of thought if I just let myself bawl for a year or two that would help, but the relief doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. I’ve intellectualized all my life, and now I’m feeling, a lot.

Please don’t tell me I have to do it all together.

Wait, that’s not funny!

The thing is, I started trying to find some help among the normals a year and a half ago. It took some doing, with help from a GP and a counsellor to make it happen, but all they wanted to do was have me stop smoking dope and take an antidepressant instead – the GPs didn’t want to think about interactions between their pill and marijuana. I could have told them I didn’t toke, but I had just had an adverse drug reaction, that for all I know was an interaction with marijuana, and I didn’t want to risk another either. That was why I was in trouble to a large degree in the first place. So, my weed, my honesty, my own gun-shyness about new drugs, blocked me being medicated, and also from being referred to a psychiatrist during the year and a half that I lost my family and I finally managed to negotiate this introduction to this therapist.

If you’re an addict, they don’t want to waste their time with you – so the offer was: tell us you’re clean, and then we’ll start the process – the year-long wait list for a therapist. I managed, with the help of a drug counsellor to convince my GP that if they could arrange for an evaluation, give me a date, I could plan to show up clean for the date – you know, when something else was going to happen, when I was going to have someone to talk to, then I’d pony up and live sober for a while, since it was a reasonable condition for therapy – just not for the frigging wait period, was my attitude. I was getting high when I couldn’t avoid suicidal thoughts, and I have been amazed myself that weed works for that in the very short term, but it has been working, even during times when I was sure nothing would. I think I am a rat in an electrified cage with a lever to push when the shocks come and I see the entire world of addiction therapy and rehab as offering only to take away the lever. So, my counsellor, the GP and I set it up, and I got a referral to a therapist (I don’t know his creds).

I thought they’d want me to clean up for some period, a month, but they called and set up an appointment a week away, and frankly – I just realized this in telling it – I forgot to clean up! I mean, they didn’t respond like I wanted, like I thought they wanted, call, tell me how long, negotiate a date, but when they didn’t, I admit now, I forgot the plan too. LOL.

Doesn’t matter, not to me. If it had been within the first few weeks of smoking withdrawal (weed’s the same as tobacco, two cranky weeks), as that date would have, I might have picked a fight with the bastard, it was probably a good thing I went in mellow, kept me outta jail. But that was the joke – cock-blocked for weed for a year and a half, lose everything – and then some authoritarian manipulative mandarin I would never spend a full hour with if he paid me, and I’m walking out ten minutes in! I was pissed for a day or two, then I thought of Man in the Moon, Andy Kaufman taking that trip to the psychic surgeon and realizing what a practical joke that was, and laughing at it, despite what it meant for his prognosis. This was very much like that, in his attitude, in mine – and in the chances of success.

And I’m almost at Andy’s level of perspective too, I can take the long view. I’m gonna try to enjoy the joke.

 

 

Jeff

September 15th., 2017

No Room in the Warrior Society

. . . for a boy who won’t fight. I thought I read it in The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris, but I can’t find it. It may have been in one of some shorter papers I’ve read by her, or one of Steven Pinker’s books, I’ll keep looking, but it was in one of those very popular science books, so the idea is out there. If it was in anything I’ve read, then it wasn’t one of those author’s own papers originally . . . I’ll have to find it to cite it, won’t I? Anyhow, I think the story was in support of the Nurture Assumption’s main idea, that parents do not create child culture, and she describes how in some straight-up forest warrior society, that warrior training occurs in boyhood and timid, won’t fight sorts of boys are abused and goaded into fighting. Those that never do, in this group, according to these anthropologists – Mead? The Yanomamo? – those that never return the blows, are killed as the logical end of the process of fighting them to make them fight. I believe it was the author’s punch line I’m paraphrasing in my opening. No room for weak links, we might need you some day.

Not that I think it would have helped, but I wish I’d had a man around to tell me that fifty-some years ago. Between that and a little info on inherent family conflicts, maybe I would have had a chance not to believe everything Momma tol’ me.

I’ve been a good boy, tried hard and mostly succeeded, but by women’s standards, abused women’s standards. In the boys’ culture of game theory, in the warrior society where I’m supposed to be a man, I am useless. I mean, I passed the tests, the boys’ tests, when I was little, I was a fearless little Irish terror for a while there, but that ended at the beginning of puberty, apparently. The fights I got into after I was twelve or so, I never had any interest in, and I talked the fellow down when I could and avoided him if it seemed like the encounter was destined to imprint the warrior life on my pretty young face. I absolutely let fear rule my life, I switched high schools once and wound up giving up school entirely after that. There were other reasons, but that was absolutely one of them. I just realized something.

I never fantasized winning the fights I avoided.

I mean, I fantasize fight situations, I’m a man, I run little simulations, I tell myself that if some badass walked in my door to do me in, that I would have a chance, a plan – but I don’t think I have ever had a daydream where I won a fight against these bullies from my life. Realism may be a factor, I really had zero chance, size, experience, and everything else would have been a hundred to one sort of a thing. My only chance would have been to surprise them with a knife or something, and even then, size and experience. Plus, these dudes guaranteed had switchblades of their own – and experience. But to never fantasize a thing like that? My gonads aren’t working, right? I lived in terror, changed my life – but I wouldn’t want the fight even if I knew I could win it. It’s not like I’ve been going around getting into fights I think I can win either! Are we there yet?

No room for me in this world, is what I’m saying. No room for a man who won’t be a man. Maybe I was nine or ten when I stopped fighting, it was one my childhood experiments, I guess I thought I’d try to unload on someone.

There was this Zeta (I better look that up too) juvenile male, the one everybody seemed to unload on, it seemed that everyone beat this kid, I don’t know why, but he was my age, nine, ten, and he looked like The Battler already, anything that was going to flatten out or break on Rodney’s face already was, you know? This is certainly an unfair characterization; it’s a childhood memory and I know I’m using Rodney now for my own ends. I’m sorry, Rod, if you’re still out there. All I really remember is his wide forehead and hard, sharp nose – he kept his chin tucked, I guess. I’m not happy with my impulse in this story, all I can say is, I’m happy it only happened once.

I decided I would unload on this kid, that I would give beating someone up a try, see if I liked it or something. I don’t think I thought “unload” at the time, that’s how I see it now, having taken from schooling from the Master of Stress, Dr. Robert Sapolsky. I found him after school or something, cornered him and started throwing punches at him, hurting my hands on him and then I just had this WTF am I doing moment right in the middle of it and I stopped, apologized, told him I had no idea why I was doing it and I think I promised him he’d have no more to worry about from me. I think I also realized at that moment that he was five times tougher than me, and to this day I count myself very lucky he didn’t turn the fight around and give me the stomping I deserved.

It looks like deep wisdom to me now, Rodney, you schooled me, let he who is without sin, kind of thing. You were a huge influence on my mind and my life – is it Brown, Rodney Brown? White guy, Mount Pleasant Elementary, around 1970? I was a fledgling bully for a second there, and my first victim was an experienced one, a goddam expert. Maybe I’m giving too much credit, but the last guy in the world who had any obligation to be modelling peace for anybody accepted my apology and that was the end of it, which, in hindsight was Mandela-esque. I don’t know how life’s been or if you’re still out there, but you sure did right by me, even if I’m romanticizing your agency in the matter. You probably had fighting back thoroughly beaten out of you, no doubt what made you so attractive as a victim, right?

You hear that? Me, thanking Rodney and the Academy for my pacifism?

Truth to tell, I lost track a little there, memories intruding; I was supposed to be complaining about my low-T, not bragging, but that’s it, isn’t it? I’m talking about the downsides of my own attitudes. I have a low testosterone attitude, and proud as I may be of it, society doesn’t reward that sort of thing – just abused terrified women like to encourage that sort of thing, for obvious, understandable sorts of reasons, that don’t help me in my situation at all. So here I am today, with a fuzzy, half-formed consciousness of the origin of my passivity, and I know it exists for someone else’s survival strategy and is almost certainly detrimental to my own, meaning my morality is the morality provided for me by abused and fearful women, it’s all based on the idea that men are beasts or something and all their desires should be denied, me and mine expressly included – what are my options?

I’ve said it before: I looked at something I oughtn’t to have. Having questioned punishing, and so force and dominance, all of that, I don’t really think I have the option of just changing my mind, I mean it’s not a change of mind, it’s a learning thing. I am not going to just start trying to dominate anyone (sorry – it’s coming up soon, I mean I can’t start exercising any traditional male power in my family now, having never done so before. I found myself with no place in my female household, and standing up and demanding one wasn’t going to get me one the same way just complaining and asking didn’t), bring the people around me around to my way of thinking, like some young man who simply believes in himself, simply believes he deserves to and should dominate anyone. Even if I need some control to mitigate my own stress, even so, my having some share of dominance may be a biological need for me, I have seen the downside of that sort of attitude in the world, and it is no longer available to me. It always comes back to Bluebeard for me, you’ll never get any killin’ done if you go around thinking all the time – this is a piece of social sort of advice that I simply cannot take. I assume Sapolsky has come to the same conclusion, he seems to be a genuine fellow, despite of, or because of his revelation that he and all his famous professor author peers are alpha types.

In practical terms, it means the MRAs and the howl at the moon sorts of men’s retreats are exactly the opposite of what I’m looking for, save your invitations to the brotherhood. More importantly in my personal life, because those guys are not going to be part of it, it means I didn’t and can’t sit my girls down and tell them how it is going to be, I cannot make anything happen, despite that it seems to mean that the right thing isn’t happening, despite that all our lives are destroyed because an adult has supported a child’s decision rather than making an adult one themselves. I know I’m talking about both of my kids’ parents, I know it was an immature sort of decision of mine to abstain from my male power, a shirking of the responsibility for that power . . . should I have been normal? Should I have dominated my girls, which is normal, to make sure something like this could never happen to me, that I would get voted off the island and my kids would somehow have been used to do it? You know what it means, right?

Maybe my kid would have been domesticated, maybe when her teen conflict came up, she’d have toed the line and submitted, stayed home and in school – and maybe not. How much of the choice I didn’t make is right and proper and works for our goals, and how many of those folks’ kids simply move out into poverty? In those terms, I can’t and couldn’t make a different decision either. I had given up the option to act like a man and put my foot down about anything at the start of the child-rearing experience. That wasn’t going to be a solution at this late juncture, in fact, the girls all seemed to think that’s what I was doing already, or that I was getting ready to, and so any manly thing I might attempt would only prove their case; I did raise my voice a few times and it was over, they feared things were going to get worse and they had me leave, “to get better and then come back.” They’ve made it clear that they feel my attempts to communicate with them as manipulative and aggressive, so for me to prove I’m not trying to hurt them, I am left only the option of never speaking to them again – and I am very committed to proving it to them, so there we are. I love you girls, and to prove it, I’m going to do what you say and take half our money and leave forever.

(To my mind, that is sort of the fatal, mountain to climb to forgive sort of a sin, that they cut off communication with me. It was clear to me immediately that both there was nothing to “get better and go back” to, I’d given away my spot and my voice was forbidden, and that “getting better” from this, being abandoned by the family during a breakdown, wasn’t the most likely outcome. I begged them on this basis, to deaf ears. I know, they were scared, and if I have to tell you that knowing it was their fear, my wife’s fear that was the matter helped me not a fucking bit, then welcome to the second level of the conversation. You may defer to her fears if you wish, they have nearly killed me, and the outcome is not yet assured.)

I’m not looking for sympathy and I’m not trying to recruit anyone to my side of my divorce fight, I’m only laying it out to demonstrate what happens to a man who won’t play the dominance game, a man who recuses himself of authority, a boy who doesn’t fight. OK, there is something under my skin. We’re invisible too, boys who don’t fight. Life sucks for us because we are like Pit Bulls, it’s not what we do, it’s what we can do – I recused myself from the rewards that a strong man receives, but recusing one’s self from the liabilities, that doesn’t seem to be in my power. My soon to be ex-wife never seems to have understood or believed me that that is what I am, despite that I am the only man she ever heard of who wouldn’t so much as “pat a kid on the bum,” as they say.

All men must be treated as armed and dangerous, we must all be muzzled, apparently, and a life of good behaviour doesn’t change that. I gave it up for nothing, a liberal principle, and my daughters are as fearful of men as they were evolved to be, as though I had beaten them spare. There is a whole lot more to it, mostly just more reasons why they couldn’t have felt otherwise and maybe more of me saying I couldn’t have thought otherwise, a lot of reasons why I need to find a new way forward. Men are indeed dangerous and I worry that by responding to my ouster with passivity and obedience, I am teaching my girls a lesson that will get them hurt the next time they attempt it with some more regular fellow. It was an experiment, my life. It was looking like a spectacular success until suddenly it was over.

I hope the results can help someone someday, because the cost of this experiment was the quality of life for all of us.

 

 

 

Jeff

September 15th., 2017

2017 – “abusewithareason” – not an Improvement in Optics, but Truth Above All, Right?

abusewithanexcuse.com, 2017 – “Antisocialization Theory,” – a Guide, Part #2

  1. 2017 – “abusewithareason” – not an Improvement in Optics, but Truth Above All, Right?

 

 

Things started coming together in February of 2017. I mean, not for me personally, but for abusewithanexcuse.com, for my long search, the train of thought I’d been on consciously for twenty years and really struggling with all my life. This here is my personal favourite, probably of all time, and that thought comes with the idea that I’ll be surprised if anyone agrees with me about it, if it’s anyone else’s favourite. For me, this is the philosophical crux of the matter of child discipline, the pivot point for humankind generally. Long and short, I reject the biology-based idea of the Deep Roots of War Theory if it means it’s something we are, something outside of our control – but I’m all with it because it’s not what we are and only what we do. The Deep Roots of War is a behaviour, not a gene.

For me, there is deep beauty in this, our assessment of ourselves, if not maybe in our response to that assessment:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/02/23/human-nature-or-let-me-tell-you-what-we-think-of-us/

“Let Me Tell You” – LOL. I haven’t changed that much. Still. In March, seven more, that make this one a series, where I start to unravel the “Consequences Meme.” The links are in this first one. Two largish revelations in February, though, this one too, which I imagine to be dangerous and provocative:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/02/23/ast-and-child-sexual-abuse/

One in the “personal” department from that time:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/22/youre-an-asocial-arent-you/

Here’s me responding to that fellow who put the barb in me at the start of my meltdown:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/06/15/critique-of-do-parents-really-matter/

 

 

I guess from there until now, it’s all new, it’s all what I think is some form of science, and I would have you, surprise, surprise, read it all! LOL. It is where I’m at right now, I look at it all as human society is warrior society, and for the moment at least, I’ve sort of lost interest in the details. I’ve sort of completed this train of thought, answered the questions I’ve had since the first time I saw my cousin getting the shit kicked out of him by his parents.

I have a half baked plan to write a book – would be my third now, hopefully the first good one – that sort of lays out how it operates, how the warrior society and our need for “security” drives all things human, and how most of what we think of as intelligence is simply aggression, but for now, having wrestled this problem to the ground in a mere fifty-seven years, I plan to take a break now, until the next thing comes along that gets under my skin.

 

Thanks for coming, Folks. I hope you found the grain of joy in it somewhere, I know it’s mostly one long accusation against us all, and I’m sorry for that. I think I’m a mutation, maybe. I hope I’m not the lethal sort so that the human organism has to select me out or anything, but it does sort of feel like that.

 

 

Jeff

September 11th., 2017

 

Whups, that was an ending, but this is probably Number Two for me, the second most eloquent argument I’ve made:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/07/03/biology-buries-the-lead/

Jeff

 2013 – 2015, abusewithanexcuse.com, “the parenting years,” – a Guide

            2013 – 2015, abusewithanexcuse.com, “the parenting years,” I guess

 

I’ve stepped through my blog chronologically and tried to organize the links into categories . . .

Favourites – mine, I mean:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/01/17/our-end-of-the-deal/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/06/09/state-funded-abuse-punishments-and-rewards-in-prison/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/30/it-all-starts-when-we-punish-our-kids-6/ – a series I love

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/12/20/the-cruel-irony-of-deterrents/ – another series I still love

Here’s one for the vets, perhaps, it’s what Veterans’ (or Remembrance day here in Canada) day looks like when you start to see “legitimate” violence and criminal violence as all the same – sorry, when I started to see things this way –

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/11/a-conflicted-society-when-its-your-job-to-die/

and that’s a segue to war from the same sort of long view –

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/06/the-islamic-state-just-doesnt-get-it/

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/08/08/what-do-dolls-teach/ – an example of me posing questions three years ago that I now feel I can answer

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/09/01/punishment-a-self-fulfilling-prophecy-and-the-roots-of-institutionalized-racism/ – I think this is the sort of stuff Cortland enjoyed, police and public policy stuff, very much in line with the above link (and its linked links) . . . here’s more on that –

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/12/11/shows-of-strength-and-presenting-a-united-front/

Man, I got a bunch on this, all inspired by American cops shooting unarmed black men and women. They’re all my favourites, I can’t stop. More:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/12/06/trading-up-moral-equivalence-bigger-crimes-for-smaller-ones/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/05/23/rebuilding-trust-a-rant-if-youre-going-to-lie-lie-big/  – really, one very close to my heart still.

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/03/ – I liked this whole month, a little of everything in there, some parenting stuff.

Hmm . . . I like everything in January and February of 2015 . . . and most of the stuff from April through November of 2015 – and that was when I started my Otezla prescription and lost my mind. My blog fades out with my groping with Nature VS Nurture stuff, with me beginning to read biology types like Pinker and Rich Harris, having been directed there by some biology types online. One of these folks posted an article, basically stating that it is biology’s and therefore science’s position that “Parenting Might Not Matter.” This challenge hooked me badly, and I felt I must answer or perish, I mean, get a new hobby – basically the same thing, in my mind. I was and am very invested that parenting matters. I found the answer, I think.

But I had to dive into that biology to do it. I think making that switch, from social science to biology breaks your brain and you pretty much rebuild from scratch. Ask Robert Trivers, the guy’s had several world-changing theories and the first famously came with a breakdown – I don’t know about the rest. I feel bad for making the jump, like I’ve crossed the floor of the senate or something, but truth at all cost, I guess. I kid myself I’m Bob Dylan, not Trivers, that I’m plugging in and saying goodbye to the ladies of psychology and folk music and moving on to the rock’n’roll world of hard science, LOL.

I’m no joiner, though. From what I’ve seen, the bio folks are as blind to the problems I see as anyone else. I see a need for a new discipline, one that bridges and connects the two, as you’d think EP might. Hard science on the microscope side doesn’t translate to social understanding or policy any better than blank slate social science ever did. Mostly, at least online what I see from the biologists are the deep roots of war and to be frank, the bloody Alt-Right. “Genetic differences,” being the connective tissue, apparently. I plan to go to war against all of them, soft and hard science alike. Of course, just like Nature VS Nurture, the truth is it’s both. In December 2015 and again in April, 2016, there’s one little blog each, of me trying to think my way around these biologists, starting to find my position against this seemingly new attack on Nurture from the Nature side of the old dialogue. The April one remains a fave:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2016/04/05/the-new-naturists/

LOL – “My Position.” Shout out to HST (and hubris).

Basically, nothing until where I’m going to start calling it the New Thing, for me, maybe abusewithareason.com or something, where I feel I’ve answered my own questions and that challenge from the internet as well. That will start after the “Religion” section, a few pages down.

 

 

 

 

            Addiction-adjacent:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/02/28/selling-harm/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/02/10/from-an-offline-conversation-part-2-regarding-addiction/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/02/23/punishment-and-teaching/ – I’m afraid I don’t have much on addiction, so I’m going to stretch this section. This is adjacent, it’s about rebellion.

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/02/19/whats-up-with-the-lethal-injection-drug-shortage/ – again, a stretch. More like Capital Punishment.

 

 

Parenting:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2013/11/26/punishment-of-children-as-domestic-abuse/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/01/27/most-parenting-books/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/02/06/the-punishment-trap-1-rules/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/01/27/antiparenting/

I’d forgotten these two, and I love them, but the “favourites” section is getting too big. It’s sick, how I seem to love my own voice.

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/06/10/dont-we-think-our-parents-did-their-best/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/06/05/our-parents-did-their-best-didnt-they/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2016/01/16/moms-such-a-martyr-parental-sacrifice-and-the-six-year-challenge/

 

 

 

            Philosophy:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2013/12/27/abuse-punishment-and-intentions/ – an example of what I was writing in 2013/2014, technical sounding stuff, I was trying to pick things apart from my chair, felt I was following “reason,” making some sort of a case . . . it doesn’t sound wrong to me as such, but it’s very dry, and it probably falls into the category of just making stuff up, Freud style. I do have a bit of an 18th., century tone sometimes, which, some folks still like to read that stuff, I guess.

 

 

 

Personal:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/10/03/more-than-not-punishing/ – I’ve got a bunch of this bragging sort of stuff in the blog, but I won’t be adding to it, we’ve all had a massive falling out, starting with a medication-fuelled breakdown on my part. I ain’t nearly as confident anymore as I was when I was writing that stuff, or happy either. Here’s my biography, written then, while I was still bragging:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/24/a-conflicted-society-the-dreamer-part-1/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/25/a-conflicted-society-the-dreamer-part-2/

I do have big plans to update my bio with all the embarrassing details, if I ever get to the end of this present, very bad phase of my life. I still insist it must be interesting, I mean, scientifically, sort of.

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/04/21/dont-turn-your-back-on-your-childhood-self/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/05/15/my-kids-eminems-mom-and-who-to-trust-2/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/05/01/shes-leaving-home-not-entirely-unrelated-title/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/06/02/stressed-out-all-my-life/

 

 

            Miscellaneous:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2013/11/28/good-violence-bad-violence/  – the first thing I ever wrote on the subject, probably twenty years ago, and it shows. “Hear me, People!,” LOL

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/02/07/first-do-no-harm/ – me trying to get poetic about it

 

 

 

 

            Religion:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2013/11/16/christianity-the-revolution-that-never-happened/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2013/11/16/he-who-is-without-sin-may-punish/

Us and Them, Vegan version. Vegetarians and Intelligence

OK I can’t lie for long, that’s clickbait manipulation. It’s about both of those things, but not the way it sounds – “they” ain’t smarter or dumber. Vegetarianism is only offered as an example, it’s my stepping off point. I’m no doctor anyhow, I can’t speak to that.

I want to talk about something, something I see in myself and so struggle not to despise. I mean, give us a rest, I know school’s out, but you can’t know everything. Remember, evolution hasn’t required that we do. Critical thinking, formerly known as “thinking,” is applied where it is useful, unavailable where it is not, and declaring one’s self to be critical doesn’t make one omniscient. I’m just talking about how we think, or don’t, as the case may be.

This must be the same sort of insight comics have, and maybe that’s all it is, is a joke, but it has occurred to me that plants probably don’t enjoy being killed and eaten either. I’m not going to cite it, but it’s out there, the science that plants communicate and display some sort of active interactivity with their environments that is at least analogous to intelligence – and barring that, how intelligent do you need to be to not enjoy being killed and eaten? Never mind that for plants it’s possibly even more common than for animals that when this event ends your life, it’s actually the other way around: you’re eaten first and then digested to death!

Of course, this is an argument to the apparently emotional vegetarian and vegan arguments about animal cruelty, as well as the not so emotional ones. I mean, truly, it would be possible for meat eating to continue without a whole lot of the unnecessary cruelty, wait, that sounds like I think it should or must, and I’m not really decided about it. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, full on disregard for animals or equal status – wait again.

I’m afraid that with us, it does seem that way, doesn’t it? It shouldn’t be, is what I’m saying. All or nothing positions are what is required for the battle, but the battle is supposed to be a form of détente. These all or nothing ideologies aren’t supposed to win, because without their opposites, they are just madness. (It’s 2017, talking to all of you with that bit, America, not just Wendy’s and the vegans.)

Back to food, that all on one side madness is evident in the cruelty we see in the meat industry. If it exists among the vegans etc., it’s a lot less visible and a lot less harmful, I mean except if you’re a soybean plant, I guess. Someone tell me, am I missing something? Do vegans differentiate between a plant you have to kill and one you trim or pick? Oops, my “critical thinking” lobe just kicked in again and said being trimmed probably sucks too, tea trees probably aren’t happy either. Wait – I’m outta tea, BRB.

I’m wandering badly today, apologies. The point is, that science about plant intelligence is out there, even popularized in the “The Happening,” the M. Night Shyamalan movie a few years back, but this sort of thing either takes time, or there are things we cannot look at, I mean, you gotta eat, right? But this is what I mean by intelligence, that we as a society put two and two together here and there, pretty haphazardly, but we don’t synthesize our data if it’s not in our interest to do so.

(Data that is not in our interest, unfortunately, seems to be my calling.)

We have this data coming in, we can say we know that plants hurt, but what can we do with it? First, you gotta eat, and second, what does saying this do except hurt the ‘stop cruelty to animals’ movement, in the present circumstances, by just making it impossible to do the right thing? I’m sorry, underneath all of this, it’s 2017 and Nazi America is on the rise, the parallels won’t end, plus of course it’s not just parallels, is it?

Of course, Plants’ Rights is a ridiculous position.

If there is such a thing as moral progress, it’s coming though, is what I’m saying. Animal rights are beginning, and it means our moral circle is expanding, at least for some of us, and this is in one sense that battle, the expansion of our moral circles versus our basic us and them moral configuration. The ‘stop cruelty to animals’ movement would have animals, at least mammals, brought into our circle, make our animals part of us, and not of them, the “them” that get the dark side of our morality. All I’m saying here, is that plants remain firmly on the “them” side, and that is pragmatic of us, because again, you gotta eat something. The line between us and them has always been no more than pragmatic.

            It’s not “do plants hurt?” of course. It’s “do we worry about that?”

That isn’t different, it’s just us and them, as always, and of course that’s how it has been all the way along, in the expansion of our moral circles. Jesus, I just had the new to me and possibly racist thought that that’s what the blues are all about, clear, emotional, difficult to deny expressions of pain, an attempt to reach across the us and them barrier of race in such a way that whites have the best possible chance of seeing the pain that they do not wish to see. If the pain is out there and on record, then we can hope white folks can see the first question has been answered and answer the second question like a human being would, and say, yes, we worry about that.

Some day, God willing, we can ask the question does there have to be a “them?” We are running this planet, we could in theory be managing things as though it were all us, and doing what we can to lessen cruelty generally, for us, for all of us, and for all of them, who are going to be us someday.

Abusewithanexcuse.com. Your best online source for knowledge that hurts your feelings and you really can’t use.

Sorry.

 

Jeff

Sept. 5th., 2017

Intelligence, Dominance, and the Human Warrior Society

            Intelligence, Dominance,

            and

            the Human Warrior Society

 

Intelligence is a good thing, we figure, so what’s good usually seems like the smart thing too. I mean, there are evolutionary theories about the outsized human brain, and I guess we’ll never lose the “survival of the fittest” idea, so it’s sort of natural and understandable if we start to think that every evolved trait is directly about survival, that we need this giant brain to survive, as though everything else that lives or ever did didn’t survive because they all lacked it. (Turns out, once some animal gets one, now maybe everybody could use one, because most other things aren’t thriving like they did before we happened along. But that’s not the topic today.)

What I’m after is something I often am, turning a popular idea upside down: we generally think it’s our smarts that gets us through, helps us survive, so . . . upside down, anything that we think helps ensure our continuance in this life we figure must be “smart.” I know I mentioned the irony before that our sixteenth through twenty-first century European “religious societies” out-warred every “warrior society” on Earth – well, that is a good case in point for this idea: we won a centuries long war in the Americas and killed the great majority of the Americas’ peoples – that’s a human form of “surviving” – and we credit our smarts or our civilization for it, when maybe it was less the best and loftiest parts of our white selves that did that. Maybe we “won” that conflict because of the worst and least laudable parts of ourselves, but again, the point is this: we conflate brains and violence all day long, the blatant bully talk (“Now who’s more intelligentsia?” – Andrew Dice Clay, on his short-lived TV series with Cathy Moriarty that maybe went one step too far in it’s anti-intellectualism. They should try it again today) is only the extreme end of it; it’s a strong trend.

I’m having a hard time getting us there, so I’m going to just say it and then try to defend it afterwards: in your basic warrior society (and advanced ones too), macho is smart, tough is smart, violent is smart. Of course, the other side is also true, feminine is “stupid,” weak is “stupid,” and peace is “stupid.” Can we sense the common thread here, that runs both through the locker room and the manipulative speech of politicos? Maleness, machismo, and citing the other as a threat and a reason we need to be that threat to him, hence, game theory, human conflict theory, where neighbors cannot be tolerated for security reasons. You must fight to survive, so fighting is “smart” and thinking about the problems that cause the fights, working to end the fighting is “stupid.” Game theory, this competitive, violent world, this places a cap on the ambitions of the smart, reasoning parts of ourselves. Genius is irrelevant if you can’t build us a better bomb and downright harmful if genius works towards peace, which we intuit as counter to our security.

It’s about abuse and violence, not smarts. Easy to mix the two up, and we all do, because survival would seem to be what your brain is for, but no, it’s probably not that part of the brain, the smart, reasoning part that does that. When we’re talking about survival, it’s not always that the surviving critter thought its way out of trouble, often it simply fights or flees. Reasoning – like digesting, sleeping, reproducing, and rebuilding tissues – this is probably suspended while we fight for our lives. I mean, all else being equal, a smarter fighter does better, but first, all things are rarely equal, and second, all else being equal, aggression, striking first probably means more than smarts, plus of course size, strength and experience probably still make the most difference in a fight.

We’re talking about the sort of “smart” that gangsters talk about, where if Einstein had gotten into gambling debts, some hammerhead would have owned him and bragged to his colleagues about these “stupid professors,” right? Violence is demonstrably more effective, more important. Therefore, everyone who is willing to hurt or kill to get what they want are smart, and physicists are stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m describing the real world, this is the way it is. I’m just saying we have at least two complete concepts listed under this one word, intelligence, in our internal dictionaries. One is the general term, intelligence, maybe the “g” factor – and the other is violence, as a proxy for security, and it’s all mixed up with maleness. Yes, in this model, “girls are stupid.” It is a child’s culture, a boy’s culture of game theory.

(There was a time I thought I was a genius for figuring any of this stuff out, at least for figuring it out myself, alone at home, but I must say: recent, uh, events and uh, trends – OK, elections – are making these conclusions available to anyone. You know what sort of intelligence has carried the recent presidential election over the line and is the only kind one could possibly ascribe to the new president. These smarts – violence as a proxy for security – this is the only kind of “smart” populism ever leverages, and it’s the way fascism looks “smart.” Who’s more intelligentsia now?

I must ask: have you heard a better explanation for the extreme maleness and prejudice we’re seeing in the comment sections, from the Russian trolls, bots, and their dupes? Do you see a better common denominator?)

All the misogyny is a part of the same. “Faggot” is “stupid” (read “bad”) because it means “girlish” – guys don’t really hate guys or girls for giving sexual favours to guys. “Girlish,” “faggot,” is “bad” because it means “stupid” on the violence axis, or “bad fighter,” not because it means “puts out” or any other sexual thing. Freud had it mixed up. The order of priorities for humans is violence first, and sex second. I’m sorry, ladies, but misogyny is not the endgame, it’s not really you we’re thinking about, you are simply grist for the mill of war, same as children, same as other dudes in this conversation. We think our violence is our security, so if you’re against it, you’re against us and we’re insecure all over again and doubling down . . . no end in sight, of course. It’s not like this all started yesterday and today is a new day, not until we get conscious about it all anyway.

Is this going too far – if I say that we all assume that the dominant group must be the “smart” one? Maybe – I’ll admit all of this is in the arena of things that are hard to prove, things that must be true to some degree, but that the degree to which they matter is in great dispute, the degree to which these true things edge out their possibly true opposites is in dispute.

It may be time for a blurb regarding IQ.

Here’s one for “intelligence” proper, cognition.

White people took over basically the whole world from their little corner of it in Europe at the outset of the Enlightenment and some few hundred years later, they had a look around at their dominant selves, found themselves to be rather admirable and set about finding a way to quantify what makes the best and brightest among this great and bright society – the IQ test. Are we to be surprised that we score the best on a test designed to identify the traits that impressed us about ourselves in the first place, traits we already consider to be desirable?

But how much of the IQ question isn’t about intelligence at all? How much of the objectionable positioning of the African bell curve in relation to ours just feels right because we see which race is dominant and which subjected? We treat intelligence and dominance as interchangeable, especially in the political realm, and it’s a self-fulfilling fiction, nothing can ever change. We need to break it down, separate the elements.

OK, I’m bored, gonna wrap it up, need one of my pithy finishes, let’s see . . . back to Jurassic Park, I guess, so well . . . there it is.

Now we’re all a little more intelligentsia.

 

Jeff

Aug. 5th., 2017

Knowledge of Good and Evil

            A Question for Bible Scholars

            and

            An Answer for Everyone

 

Someone who knows the ancient Hebrew, the ancient Greek, someone help me. Is this a possible matter of interpretation or translation? I refer you to the very second Book, Genesis Two, and

“. . . the tree of knowledge of good and evil . . .” and “. . . the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

My train of thought has brought me to a mindset where a very small tweak to that bit of scripture might have tremendous explanatory power. What if – and yes, only a “just so” story without some support from ancient language experts – but what if the original idea was more like “. . . the technology of good and evil . . .” – like the knowledge of how to work with good and evil?

I’ve said it elsewhere recently, I know.

I also said this was the original sin, gaining this knowledge – or perhaps rather, developing this technology – and if it’s a technology, is it a sin to turn evil to good? It makes more sense to me that our first sin was the other technology, that we learned to turn good to evil, to turn sweet little babies into soldiers, creating warrior sorts of human groups like the ones who wrote those early Hebrew scriptures. Hmmm. Perfect segue, rare for me.

The technology in question is child abuse, and the data is in: rough treatment in childhood makes for rough adults. This is available knowledge today, out there, poised for the hundredth monkey to pick it up, and all before I made a penny off it of course, but here it is again, for free: childhood is rough in the warrior societies, that is an equation: rough childhood = warrior society. “Warrior society,” though, just what is that, really?

Google the term, you’ll see references to American aboriginal tribes, maybe the Samurai culture, maybe you’ll wind up in Klingon space.

What you won’t perhaps see is any reference to white people, to our own WEIRD selves. Apparently, the peaceful societies of England, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Genoa, Venice, etc., mowed down every “warrior culture” on the planet without being warriors themselves. Amazing, isn’t it? Those warriors didn’t know how to fight! It’s a good thing our Christian “religious society” came along to teach them, huh? I guess if I can scream it with sarcasm, I can also just say it.

“Warrior society” is a racist term.

It’s one of those things “they” (people outside of our group or in another group) have and “we” (people in our own social group) don’t. “They” are a warrior society, “we” just desire security. They are a warrior society – one dimensional, all they do if fight – while we “stand to defend” all that is right and proper, all that other stuff that is what we like to say we’re really all about.

If the world has “warrior societies,” then we all are, or those of us who are not are feeding the crops of those who are, game theory one-oh-one, right? They all are, they all must be. Otherwise what’s the narrative – “we used to have all these warrior societies, but we killed them all and now we’re all peaceful?” If you eat predators, you’re a super-predator; if you kill warriors, you are a super-warrior.

You got a border, you got an army? Then “you’re a gangster now, and there are no late starters” – Carlito’s Way. Particularly if you win the wars, you are a warrior society, again – this is real life, not some evolutionary amateur hour. I’m sorry – “you,” I said? I’m sorry, it’s “we, we, us – white people, Europeans.” We are a warrior society, in fact, human societies are warrior societies. And this is why we know in our bones that children must “be taught right from wrong” – because of that lowlife warrior society next door, that we have to keep kicking their asses forever, because the fools never learn. Damnit. I wish I could say “irony” without ruining it, but, well . . . there it is. (“Ian Malcolm,” Jurassic Park.)

It’s not about smarts so much either, aggression is not intelligence and violence is not intelligence. It’s not about smarts, because if you can slaughter an entire continent of warrior societies and still tell yourself you’re a peacemaker, or an “information society,” or some crap, then you’re a great bunch of warriors, but let’s face it.

You’re not too fucking bright.

 

Jeff

Aug. 1st., 2017

The Civilizing Meme

I need to apologize right now. This is not likely to stand on its own, and I am sure to publish it before I complete the thought, that seems to be how I work these days. This is for those who are familiar with me, for people who have been following me on this train of thought already. For the rest, I promise to create a longer version eventually, one that places this in some context. I’ll set the scene in a form of shorthand here, but the setup needs to be longer than a blog, so that’s what I’m sorry for, the format, that it means to get me, you’ve got to read more than one, that I’m stuck trying to force you to read regularly. You have my empathy; I don’t love being subject to that sort of marketing bullshit either.

Having said that, I’ve had another tiny insight regarding what I’m terming the “consequences meme,” the story we tell ourselves about why we owe our children the consequences of their mistakes and transgressions. My proposition has been that the consequences (punishments, aversives – often beatings) create our antisocialization, not any “positive” socialization, that our consequences make us crazy and violent, the “deep roots of war” creature, as opposed to the idea that the consequences civilize us by a form of aversion therapy. Sorry again: that was the background section. Pinker’s right, once you know something, it’s nearly impossible to understand what it would take to learn it from scratch. It’s in my blog, though, in long form, me figuring it out.

Today’s idea is just the other side of one I’ve been going on about. I’ve said many times that evidence for the civilizing effects of our consequences is lacking while evidence for the effects of abuse are myriad – but that was always a one generation conversation. It has occurred to me that second generation evidence is also lacking and that is suggestive of no epigenetic response to match with this civilizing idea.

I’ve said so often I’m starting to lose trust in it, is the idea of the unevolved beast within, that evolution bears Christian original sin out, the idea that we are animals and need to be civilized, hands on, one at a time – this shows up as support for the consequences meme. To be clear, I do not find these ideas to be causative of our child-rearing behaviours, I find them to be effects also, and the common cause of them all to be our need, or our perceived need to raise our children with a bad attitude, as soldiers for our group, always ready to offend or defend.

Now, during all those years that we were laughing at Lamarck, this appeared to skewer him, that we have beaten our children for millennia and still, they never started showing up pre-civilized. Clearly, nothing we did cradle to grave, other than choosing our mates, changed the genome in that scenario. (This idea has been slated for decommissioning, but these things take time.) Of course,  Lamarck is getting his comeuppance now, turns out he was right – not regarding everything, I mean every trait, but he was right about some stuff, so he was right, at least in terms of a few generations. I don’t think he declared it worked with everything, did he? The language has changed, of course, and today’s answers aren’t necessarily matched to yesterday’s questions. I also don’t suppose Lamarck ever said beating children civilized them, probably not explicitly anyhow, but that seems to be what people think, so that’s the environment he was wrong in.

Of course, epigenetic effects, environmental control of gene expressions, these are the environment he’s correct in, but there’s another thing: he couldn’t ever have been right in an environment where beatings civilize their recipients, because we have been testing that for a long time, maybe for as long as we’ve been human by most definitions. That isn’t really working out. Oh, I know, Angels of our Better Natures and all, we have made some improvements – but it probably wasn’t hundreds of generations of beatings that did it, considering what a single generation of beatings seems to do. This is my present proposition:

That if beatings civilized us, that would be an epigenetic effect, and we would expect some long-term evidence like the second-generation effects of things like the Dutch Hunger Winter babies and their offspring, some lingering “civilization” across a generation or three that without intervention would fade out to some primal brutality, but that wouldn’t require an initiation with every child in every generation, forever. Of course, that is the socialization researchers’ long, unproductive search, isn’t it? All the evidence is for the other side, abuse, rough treatment, and the rather dependable results those things bring. As to full blown Lamarckian evolution, the creation of permanent heritable traits, for that, I’ll defer to better minds. Have we gotten from epigenetics to permanence yet? Not that I’ve heard so far. So maybe the discipline we bring to our kids isn’t the full initiation. It’s probably more like maintenance, keeps us forever in the second generation, epigenetically biased for the consequences. (Forever in the second generation. See https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/04/28/its-a-childs-world/ )

Anecdotally, I’ve observed a sort of pendulum effect in parenting, some children of cruel parents swing to using a very light hand and some of us who were left on our own to a degree may wish to exercise more control as a response, with their own children, adding up to a possible generational see-saw along a spectrum of strictness or control, perhaps of violence. It may be possible to view first-generation gentle parents as having indeed been civilized by their rough parents if we can view the second or multi-generational rough or more controlling parents as having been antisocialized by their rough parents, and then the question is, what are the proportions? How many respond with tradition and how many rebel? This may tell us which is the more powerful operant, the civilizing one or the antisocializing force of the consequences. For a clue, something upwards of eighty-seven percent of American parents self-report the use of corporal punishment, specifically, spanking. Self-report.

The second proposition, already stated, is that there will then be some multi-generational effects to see from the true effect, that beatings enhance violence rather than attenuate it. I believe these Dutch Hunger Winter baby second and beyond generation sort of effects have indeed been documented with abuse. If there are epigenetic changes being made along these lines, and there are, then this also is an environment where Lamarck is correct, and the news isn’t only good for him. The man’s laughable at the time optimism, his pie in the sky suggestion, that we are self-actualized creatures, capable of directing our own evolution in ways, this is romantic crap when all children require to be beaten civilized, clearly. But in the real world?

Self-actualized is not just what we can be, but what we perhaps have always been. I mean, we could be better, but the good news is we really could; it’s in our power. In the real world where fathers beat their sons to toughen them up and the sons volunteer for the army, the actual world where abuse is causatively correlated with violent crime in the most robust way – this is proof that our natures are in our own power to change. In that world he’s right, intergenerationally, if not permanently.

Romantic optimism and all!

I know, I’m surprised too. I never dreamed I could talk myself into believing anything so potentially positive, but, well . . . there it is.

(I bring scientists and you bring a rock star. – “John Hammond,” Jurassic Park.)

 

 

 

Jeff

July 25th., 2017

Science Trolling

If your Twitter feed is anything like mine, you see it all day long: “educational” corporate accounts fighting negative public opinion regarding GMOs, biologists spreading the word about heritability and fighting their psychology professors about where behaviour comes from . . . PhDs chiming in about the Berkeley riots and disinvitations and voicing their free speech concerns. Ever notice how if you’re against anything big and powerful, that on top of everything else there’s someone out there telling folks you’re “anti-science?”

The pro-GMO stuff paints the anti-GMO movement as superstitious and paranoid, mindlessly set “against science” and progress – as though there aren’t corporate ownership and legal issues with the giant corporations that are running this science: anti-Monsanto is not anti-science, and it is not science the anti-GMO people don’t trust, it’s the huge, soulless multinationals who will own it. It’s no trouble finding boatloads of geneticists to explain the detail of why these new proteins etc., aren’t bad for you, and that’s the public discussion they want to have, the science one. They don’t want to have a legal one, or a financial one – especially not a historical one. That’s a form of trolling, if it it’s not a form of lying: we only talk about science and we only talk about the present and the future.

How could we possibly know a giant corporation would do something bad with this science? It’s brand new! It’s a trait of online communication, to be sure, but it’s not a positive one, so it’s part of the trolling phenomenon: history, people, the world, everything else we know is left out of this specific conversation. To include the world at large in an online argument is some sort of logical fallacy, apparently. Especially so if you keep it hidden for several comments and then try to pull it out in a “gotcha” sort of move. Ha.

OK, that’s not the big one by me. Now for Berkeley and the Dawkins radio interview disinvitation.

The New Right, the New Atheists, the New Naturists, call them what you will. I can’t stand to think of all those names as a monolith myself, but if there are overlaps, then what’s the difference? I don’t want to address the Alt-Right, but in America there are only two ways to vote, so we all line up on one side or the other, I’m afraid.

I abhor that North American atheists can be criticizing Islam while our countries are bombing and exploiting Muslims the world over. When the enemy were godless communists, our hawks were Christians, but now that our enemies are God fearing Muslims, then atheists can be hawks too, I guess. That’s the point that needs to be made because it’s the point no-one wants to hear. I’m not having any luck online with this idea, but the difference between criticizing Christian fundamentalists and Muslim ones, is that our anti-Muslim sentiment kills Muslims, while our anti-Christian sentiment not so much. There’s a lot of anti-Muslim feeling around already, you see, enough for us to bomb Muslims to Hell on a regular basis, so when we add our voices to that river of emotion, the net effect is that more bombs fly.

Complain about treatment of women, FGM, and they get more drones again, not schools, not hospitals, from our countries. War co-opts everything, there are no innocent voices. Muslims see this, as do I: we criticize and kill Muslims and we criticize and elect Christians.

Any of you young logicians see how that’s not cool?

Perhaps we can postulate a new creature, a hybrid, the Christian  Atheist, maybe that can explain it, with Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins as prime examples.

I get it, atheists, I mean, I’m an atheist, although I’m not really committed to it. I don’t think learning that God existed would make me unhappy for long, it would almost certainly be good news. But I get it, religion causes all these problems, wars, I get the lack of reason in the stories. Don’t you know though, that persecuting people is guaranteed to strengthen their religion? Why do you think people believe, because life is too good, too easy?

Not only that, but are you really happy to add your voices to the Christians’ voices in the Islam slamming? Like you agree with the Christians, you approve of them? Are you truly Christian atheists, maybe a little?* Somebody’s either forgetting there’s a war on, or there’s hating religion and then there’s hating religion, right? Wait – I don’t even know if that’s why Dawkins is being deplatformed, it’s just that I follow him, and that’s my complaint about him. Again, he complains about Islam along with other religions, but it won’t impact the other ones the same way. Maybe that’s not it? Maybe the Christians blocked him, for the Selfish Gene?

Joke, at least I think so. It’s almost too bad they didn’t let it happen, have the riots if it got that far, though. It would be another level of weird to see the Trump enabled fascist Islamophobe pseudo-Christians who rioted for Yiannopoulos and Coulter lining up to fight for the atheist scientist geek professor against local Berkeleyites and students. (Barry Crimmins snort.) On second thought, just imagining it was enough, I’ve had my weirdgasm, no-one needs to see that. No wonder things are as bad as they are, seeing things like that fractures your mind in terrible ways.

I like Dawkins, I’m an atheist, as I said, and I’m into biology, evolution, genetics. I’m not happy to shut him up because I think he’s on an evil mission, I just assess the net good or bad from his stance differently than he does. If Christian maniacs take his anti-Muslim speech and hurt people, he can blame those Christians and their religion, and he’s right and he’s consistent, all that is fine. I just see the misuse of him as more powerful than the proper use of him in the present environment, is all. I have more, some detail, but again, pragmatism. I don’t want to spend my time today railing against someone who I basically think is one of the good guys.

This is all grey area stuff, folks, don’t pigeonhole me, ask me. Being on the “dominant Left,” I’ll tell you what I think, without fear of exposure or reprisal, because apparently folks like me are running this business and whaddayougonnadoaboutit?

 

 

 

 

Jeff

July 24th., 2017

 

* Of course, most North American atheists are culturally Christian, and there are sure to be a whole lot of Muslim atheists out there, and every other kind too.