Christianity – Genetic Blowback?

Just a thought.

Just watched the excellent “Sex and the Church

Learned a lot. Highly recommended.

But although it explained – very well – what we know about the history of the Christian church’s embarrassing obsession with sex, it didn’t explain how or why the ideas which formed the core of the meme managed to survive past the “raised eyebrow” stage. And they are so psychotic that an explanation is required.

Clearly by the time Augustine had “clarified” the doctrine of sexual sin, the only logical conclusion that can be drawn is that a truly sinless human race – which is, ostensibly, what the Christian church would have liked to achieve – would, by virtue of complete sexual abstinence, have made themselves extinct within about a century.

Is it conceivable that no one understood that at the time? Not for me it ain’t. For me, it’s bleedin obvious that it would have been bleedin’ obvious to any sentient human hearing that proposal at any time. So how did it get past the snorts of ridicule? What on earth made so many meekly accept – at least in public – such a message as meaningful ethical guidance?

Not, of course, that they paid anything but lip service to the resultant edicts; or else there wouldn’t be so many of the buggers around today. So the first tactical error (in this context) made by the authoritarian church had the effect of making private disobedience an essential tool of survival. That’s not a good trait to encourage in a “subject.”

More significantly, if the tendencies to either disobedience or submission (to the demand for sexual abstinence) had any basis in genetic predisposition, their strategy also ensured the evolution of increasingly sceptical and disobedient Christians, whom – inevitably – learned to value autonomy over authority and, eventually, to reject authority altogether. Delicious irony?

I know. It’s a fairy story. Nice one though.

Ad Blocking Software – Strongly Recommended

Check out this pleading inanity from one of my (otherwise) favourite sites

Dearie me, am I to understand that it’s a problem for Physorg that I choose not to conform?

Idiots like this just don’t get it. Some of us are not just immune to advertising, we actively and passionately object to it as a manipulative abuse of bandwidth.

This antipathy is more prevalent, perhaps, in UK citizens than most because we have the Beeb, producing consistently high standards of broadcasting without commercial breaks. Before we had our hard-drive backed digital TV services we often had to wait two hours before getting to pee.

Nowadays, we can just pause the program, which neatly eliminates the one advantage that commercial breaks could boast. And boy does it make for a massive culture shock when we are exposed to American TV. That culture must be behind the sentiments expressed by this drivel.

They clearly believe it is their god given right to advertise to me. As my regular reader will know, I obviously don’t believe in god given rights. And, as it happens, I don’t believe in human rights either. I believe in Liberty – which is merely the absence of constraint – and Reciprocity – treat others as you would wish to be treated in return. That combination covers every conceivable ethical question you’ll ever confront; including whether or not to tolerate intrusive commercials on a web page.

And I see absolutely nothing which justifies any constraint whatsoever on my ability to install Adblock and not just ignore your adverts but remain blissfully unaware of their existence. Adblock is a free Firefox add-on – strongly recommended if you’re as allergic to ads as I am. And those who might be inclined to follow my recommendation will not confuse the previous sentence with “advertising” because they will know I have absolutely nothing to gain by that recommendation other than the knowledge I am spreading a little more contentment. My motives, are, therefore, entirely honorable. As I’m sure is true even of some commercials. But not many…

What Physorg and those who think like that obviously don’t understand is that if I was forced to suffer their sites with ads, I would simply exercise my liberty to avoid visiting those sites. How would that improve the human condition?

Dorks.

Dawkins on good form at Al Jazeera

Can’t embed the video but that link will take you there. Mehdi Hasan puts up a good fight trying to expose weakness or prejudice in Dawkins argument. He fails of course, because what weakness exists in Dawkins argument is not one a religious believer is inclined to perceive or accept.

Hasan’s arguments, by contrast, were excellent illustrations of the weakness of religious argument, though far more coherently delivered than is usual. For instance, he challenges Dawkins objection to teaching children that their recently deceased friends, being of the wrong religion, will inevitably go to hell, where they will suffer in agony for the rest of time – a terrifying image which Dawkins argues is a serious form of Child abuse; arguably more serious even than ad hoc priestly sexual molestation.

Hasan’s attempt to undermine this “radical” position is to ask: “To teach children that there is one god, or that god created the world in 6 days That IS Child Abuse?”

If you want to understand the religious mindset, you need to understand why even intelligent believers – like Hasan obviously is – do not understand why his question is so badly off target.

But Dawkins, perhaps being uncharacteristically restrained, didn’t take the opportunity to expose the stupidity of the question. So let me try.

Dawkins actual argument is based on the anecdotal evidence of a 40+year-old woman who was both sexually and religiously abused as a 7-year-old, probably by the same catholic priest. He sexually molested her and, on learning that her 7-year-old (protestant) friend had died, he told her that the friend was condemned, by her protestant status, to roast in hell for the rest of time. She obviously didn’t consent to or enjoy the sexual attack but she got over it fairly soon after the event. But it took years for her to recover from the psychological damage caused by nightmarish visions of her friend burning in hell, planted in her vulnerable psyche by an evil priest.

Hasan’s first challenge to that tale was on the basis that, as an empiricist, Dawkins shouldn’t be relying on one-off anecdotes; which suggests that Hasan believes that the example IS a one-off, which would itself be an extraordinary belief. But then Hasan does profess a literal belief in the story that Mohammed flew to heaven on a winged horse and challenged Dawkins to prove that it didn’t happen, so his grasp of empiricism isn’t quite complete.

In any case Dawkins’ real objection, shared, I would hope, by ANY humane human, religious or not, is that putting nightmarish images into the minds of children who are not able to defend themselves against such literal psychological Terrorism, is a clear, unambiguous grossly indefensible attack and abuse of a young child. In contrast, telling them that Father Christmas is going to leave presents for them under the Christmas tree, though it might be as equally factually implausible as the visions of eternal hellfire and damnation, doesn’t do any HARM.

It could, of course. If the Santa Claus doctrine was applied with the same fanatical rigour as the hellfire and damnation meme, and, for example, children were made to learn the names of the reindeer by rote, punished for getting them wrong, and warned that anything less than total compliance with parental or religious instructions would result in Santa not just leaving them out of the annual distribution jamboree but possibly even sending nasty goblins in the night to take away some of their existing toys, then the Santa Claus fairy story could start to become as damaging as some of the classic religious fables.

Dawkins is making the charitable assumption that Hasan’s teaching of stories from the Quran is closer in spirit and effect to the Father Christmas end of the meme market than to the eternal hellfire end. I’m not sure I’d have been that charitable but it was an entertaining debate. I was particularly encouraged by the audience reaction. Two thirds agreed that just being taught catholic doctrine, as a child, was as bad or worse than being sexually abused by a priest. That’s a step in the right direction…

The Global Problem Summarised


We Have More Than Enough And Not Enough
News Truth
Conviction Humility
Reaction Analysis
Morality Reciprocity
Gullibility Scepticism
Ignorance Curiosity
Hate Recognition
Corruption Accountability
Groupthink Rationality
Hierarchy Equality
Militarism Security
Punishment Justice
Climate Change Time
Population Planet
Government Democracy
Authority Agreement

Atheist parents inconsistent principles re “Brownies” Oath

intriguing that these atheist parents are prepared to draw a line in the sand about forcing their daughter to promise love to a superfairy but they’re apparently quite happy to tolerate the swearing of subservience to a medieval monarchy.

I sense they may not have fully thought things through…

Jewish Anti-Zionists “thank” Hitler for the Holocaust

This Anti Zionist Graffiti reads: “Zionists Wanted The Holocaust”


The graffiti is stretching things a bit too far (I don’t believe the Zionists WANTED the holocaust. They merely had the intelligence to exploit it), but these anti-zionists are making no more than the point I argued in Chapter 5 in 2003 while discussing the possible purposes of the mythical divine entity invoked by religious believers who consider their god or gods to be a valid hypothesis to explain the existence of the Universe.

And any theists inclined to argue that their god/s couldn’t possibly have an inhumane purpose might care to answer the questions as to why, in that case, he takes so little interest in our affairs to the extent of allowing such huge and widespread pain and suffering. Indifference to our fate either individually or collectively is no better, subjectively, than active hostility – particularly if he genuinely was capable of preventing it. And its not that we can’t see the long term perspective that a deity might take. We can even perceive the benefits of the holocaust, for example. The death of 6 million Jews has almost certainly ensured their survival! (This, incidentally, from one whose family lost 46 members in the death camps and ghettoes) Organised anti-semitism on any widespread scale is now virtually extinct. You may continue to have neo nazis for a while, but they are unlikely to have any serious impact. The long term result, therefore, of that insane butchery is more genuine security than the Jews have known in a thousand years and the rebirth of their geographical nation. Of course, they may be about to throw that all away if they cannot break the cycle of abuse and step back from being the grotesque abusers they have become, but thats for the future to determine.
(emphasis added)

No doubt if I’d sprayed the relevant paragraph over a war memorial myself, it would have received more attention…

The Angel

Culture–gene coevolution of individualism–collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene

It’s rare I leap to defend Christianity, but such a defence is at the heart of my critique of this novel research, or rather its conclusions.

Whilst it is no great surprise to find a genetic marker that predisposes populations towards either collectivism or individualism, I don’t buy the pathogen based explanation. At least not yet. Seems to me equally likely that non conformists might simply have been killed off at a higher rate that conformists and that would have led to a similar excess of the relevant genetic marker. The pathogen excess might have played its part by “justifying” coerced conformity on the grounds of disease protection but the lethal abilities of the authoritarian deserve full examination too.

In the past century we’ve seen just how effective and lethal the authoritarians can be. And we know that the Asian societies have had such authoritarianism embedded in them for just as long as all the western societies. Take society back a couple of thousand years and we were all living in extremely hierarchical authoritarian societies. Any keen student of political history will be aware that the notion of individual liberty is, historically, a very recent phenomenon which emerged in the enlightened thoughts of western philosophers and produced the wave of 18th century revolutions in Europe and America. ONLY.

The major obvious difference is religion. One major advantage (from the point of view of an Anarchist like me) of Christianity is that, initially at least, (and still today in its purest forms), it sanctified individualism and subverted the ruling/owning class. And secular or not, western society is built on mainly Christian inspired tenets.

I would argue, therefore, that it’s possible that, up to, say 1500 years ago, we wouldn’t have found the differences in the Serotonin Transporter gene. But that the spread of individualism nurtured by Christianity permitted the individuals to survive and breed, thus increasing the prevalence of the individualist version of the gene.

And like all good hypotheses, mine is testable. If my conjecture is sound, then my prediction is that we’ll find the same prevalence of the relevant genes in the Islamic community as in the Asian community, because their religion has pointedly not nurtured individualism like Christianity.

Culture–gene coevolution of individualism–collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene.

Jon Stewart Explains Ultrasound Law To GOP: ‘A TSA Pat-Down In Your Vagina’ | Mediaite

Damn! I mentioned the “Handmaids Tale” (read the comments on that review, written a few years ago) only a couple of days ago and this political crime is right in its crosshairs…

As the medics have pointed out there is no medical requirement or justification for this proposed vaginal penetration and it is clearly not going to involve the informed consent of most women, such an invasion very clearly qualifies as State Rape.

I think you could easily make a sound ethical argument for assassinating any politician who mandates any one of a number of extreme sociopathic policies. Cannibalism and genocide are obvious examples, Then there are a bunch of lesser but still significant evils that the Totalitarian mind can dream up, like, for example, a proposal to recriminalise homosexuality; or to make religion (or atheism) compulsory. State Rape is about on a par with those for ethical value.

My proposal is for a constitutional amendment which would impose a lifetime prohibition on participation in the political process for anyone making a serious attempt to enact such a policy as law.

Discuss!

Jon Stewart Explains Ultrasound Law To GOP: ‘A TSA Pat-Down In Your Vagina’ | Mediaite.

Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control — And Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now | Visions | AlterNet

I have heard others arguing in favour of the historical importance of Contraception, not least Germaine Greer. But all the examples that spring to mind focussed on the importance of Contraception to Women. What I like about Sara Robinson’s argument is her focus on it’s importance to Men, particularly those patriarchal men who, of course, I normally refer to as the Authoritarians. (Yes there are Authoritarian Women too, but the vast majority of them are conditioned by their religious beliefs as we’ll discuss)

It is obvious to all observers that Authoritarianism is primarily testosterone driven. But I hadn’t made what, after reading this essay, now looks like the obvious connection between Contraception and Authoritarianism, viz Religion.

Religion has provided the pseudo ethical justification for the authoritarian control of society for at least two and a half thousand years. Almost every religion throughout human history has been patriarchal and tightly focussed on preserving the subservient status of Women for a variety of reasons, many of which were plausible right up until cheap effective mass FEMALE contraception became available. Suddenly, in one massive swipe, Male Authority was completely undermined, and, I would add, so too was Authority in general.

I disagree with Sara on one thing. Her pessimism (which echoes Margaret Atwoods “Handmaids Tale”) is unjustified. I certainly agree that the battle is not over. They will continue, until their kind has ceased to exist, to try to force many of our new liberties out of existence. I believe this will be the basis for the “Final War”. But I don’t believe they’ll succeed. The “only” risk is that they might render our species extinct in their attempt to regain control…

Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control — And Why We'll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now | Visions | AlterNet.

Technological signs for the end of times

always worth reminding yourself from time to time that the Muslims have an “end times” myth just as psychotic as the Xtian one and here is the technological evidence to prove it…

Technological signs for the end of times.

The faithful must learn to respect those who question their beliefs | Lawrence Krauss | Science | guardian.co.uk

wishful thinking Lawrence. Bit like arguing “our cats have got to learn to respect the rights of our garden birds to life and liberty”. They’re not equipped for it…

The faithful must learn to respect those who question their beliefs | Lawrence Krauss | Science | guardian.co.uk.

Penn Gillette observes Cognitive Dissonance…

Penn Gillette tackles Cognitive Dissonance among religious believers.

good luck with that…

Jesus: The Cosmic Jewish Zombie – Born Again Pagan

 

 

 

 

this has been floating around the web for a decade or more but I do like this presentation…

Jesus: The Cosmic Jewish Zombie – Born Again Pagan.