Posts Tagged ‘chris mooney’

Evolution is Intuitive

Posted in Evolution on December 13th, 2013 by Jim Newman – Comments Off

venus_statueA few years ago Rick Warren wrote a piece emphasizing that it was more credulous that a sky daddy created humans than they evolved from primordial slime. I was gobsmacked that some of my mellowly religious friends agreed. This argument has been called the credulity fallacy and a few other names that what is believable on the face of it is true. Posh, I don’t even see that it applies in the case of evolution.

Chris Mooney supports this insane argument in “7 Reasons Why It’s Easier to Believe in God than Evolution.” I suppose it’s really an excuse to justify the ridiculous mess we are in today. Maybe to make atheists seem less harsh when some of us ridicule religious fundamentals as dirt-stupid clods. Trust that a sky daddy is less intuitive than evolution is patently obvious to me and I think is to most people if they clear their head of Abrahamic nonsense.

The oldest image of a human made by a human is a mix of real and what some say are unreal qualities. Yet, she looks more real than the media images we portray as normative. The hegemony of modernism and westernism still plays. We act now as if being heavy were a biostructural collateral response to constant starvation, a so-called new problem brought on.  Other societies have both desired heaviness and found it. Not every society starved. Not all heaviness has been a negative or compensatory response.

It takes an oppressive religion to convince others that evolution is not intuitive. What we’re seeing is mimetic tripe from the stranglehold of Abrahamic theology over most of the worlds developed philosophy, from sheer conquest, and not some Hegelian sense of Progress that we naturally, logically got ourselves in this mental quagmire inevitably and somehow honorably. So much so that even those who aren’t very religious still can pattern match “Oh, they think a sky daddy did it. That kinda makes sense to me as I can see how someone could think that is, so it must be true.”

Hogwash. What’s incredible to me is that anyone can look around this world and think it was created by a sky daddy and that humans were in any way always the same, in the image of God. It is utterly astounding to me that anyone can hold this belief without being in some sort of deep, deep denial. If anything it long ago caused me to overemphasize the nurture or cultural aspects of the human mind. It lead me to support postmodernism where every interpretation is a misinterpretation because there is just so much evidence that people will believe any old absurdity with abandon in spite of their heritage.

However, since then I have calmed down and do see there is such a thing as natural morality and natural immorality both of which can be rather easily manipulated and neither are particularly absolute because of evolution. If it became necessary to eat our children for lunch to survive it would happen and we would call it good, for good reason. That it confounds the idea of reproduction to survival would be a post hoc intellectual question. This is not to my point though.

How can one not see changes everywhere? How can anyone not see that all life changes, all things change, even dead wood burns, rocks flame in water, or attract other rocks? The seasons of the year? From  day to night, from brown to green, from dirt to expanding plants wrought from seeds we can’t even see?

I look at my family and I see similarities and differences. I look at people and I see every manner of difference from tall to short, broad to thin, smart to stupid, fast to slow, a near infinite variety of difference. Bobby looks like Grandma and Suzy looks like her dad. Over and over again I see examples of inheritance and change.

In the animal world I see so much alikeness between  animals, so much shared intelligence, shared ingeniousness, and even superiority that we humans can only be another stop on long multiple continuums of existence. A moving stop at that. Only a blinded person, stupefied by religion would look at a chimpanzee and not recognize a brother. Hell, look at a coyote, a horse, a pig, a dolphin and see relations. As did most Native Americans and Aboriginals. We talk to house mice because they are like us and we talk to machines because they are like us and not because we have problems with personification.

The idea of humans as a static entity is a relic of imposed religions. They won by conquest and not because they best fit a natural psychological makeup.

When Alfred Kroeber compended the lives of California Indians the diversity was utterly astounding. 1,000 different cultures in one state. Then it was popular to show how “savage” cultures were really on the same trajectory as Westerners but the result was the opposite. Rather than something like Campbell’s hero of a thousand faces you see 1,000 faces and not a hero among them, only developments in response to environment. Structuralism ultimately failed in its search for singular unity. Diversity is the rule and saying everyone eats food is a vast commonality that trivializes the differences.

Propp’s morphology of narrative may have resolved to close to thirty variants but that is a far cry from the singular admonition Abrahamic religions put forth. This misapplication of narratives to religions and structural culture bleeds out as a kind of biostructuralism that isn’t possible without adding a date and geography stamp to it, showing it as sliding designations on continuums.

This is still too  much philosophy. Only a complicated, abstracted, transcendental view of nature encourages the ability to not see that humans are just another animal and a changing animal at that. If there is a natural view that is it.

There is no biological basis for the content of city-state level religions, above totemism, above tribalism, above local lore. It’s all collateral to developmental issues of population and production in changing environments.

We often say science is not intuitive as an excuse for why people don’t get it but magical thinking has been prevalent for as long as it can be traced. Watching a plant pop from the dirt is about as magical as it gets. Watching lightning race across the sky or spark a tree into fire is magical. Hell, humans can be raised so they don’t get the connection between sex and having a baby, just more magic.

It’s all magical, and thinking that somehow quantum mechanics, bigger numbers, and vaster distances are categorically different in their awesomeness is ridiculous. Humans and animals have dealt with this magical thinking for some time.

Evolution is actually more intuitive than a sky daddy and modern knowledge is not more magical than what was pondered tens of thousands of years ago. “Savages” practiced science when they asked a sister for confirmation on an observation. Further when they stood up to go take a look. With  verification of bias when they said they had misobserved at first look.

Too often scientists conflate animism with dualism or consciousness as if we just learned about these differences. That modern science-based research-writers allow this silliness credibility shows just how rooted they still are in their Abrahamic inheritance.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.frontiersofreason.com

Conversion, Pastors To Atheists

Posted in atheists on April 9th, 2012 by Jim Newman – 6 Comments

Post by Jim Neweman

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Christian News sites are having a field day with Patrick Greene’s conversion to Christianity.

Patrick Greene was an outspoken atheist until recently, when the generosity of a few Christians caused him to reconsider his beliefs. He now says he is a Christian.

Why don’t we ever get mass publication of Christians converting to Atheists? Perhaps, the media, including the so called liberal media is so religiously accepting of religion as to make these stories excluded.

Where’s the big news on Jerry DeWitt, the man with a voice that could call to Mars, who left his church?

Better still his coming out talk at the AA convention.

What about Richard Haynes, who once led a 12,000 member megachurch and quit to start Atheist Nexus International?

What about Teresa McBain and Michael Aus who both came out last month.

MSNBC had a blip on Aus:

Why don’t we hear how 1 in 6 Dutch clergy are atheists or agnostics?

Why are there no big news stories about the Clergy Project which supports pastors, ministers, and priests trying to leave their faith? My apologist brother-in-law seems fascinated, as a psychologist, with conversion stories to religion but never sends me stories of pastors leaving their fantasy-land mythologies. I find it  more interesting how people seek the truth. That’s what is cool. That is what will allow humanity to go forward.

What about news from Recovering From Religion? Are we to believe the news is liberal. It’s just more crap reframing from the right.

What about Nate Phelps who had to basically disown his crazy father and leave at 18?

The following from the Reason Rally.

Francis Collins converts to religion because he sees a waterfall and he doesn’t know what to tell a dieing woman. How is that a life motivating force? Maybe he did want to join a group, but it’s a group where one can succeed materially. What about the courageous ones who leave success because the truth burns through the lies revealing greater ability to meaning?

Cheap and easy conversion stories are no match for the drama of those who leave with bravery.

Losing one’s religion can often mean losing one’s family, friends, community, and social network. This risk can be especially great for those still active in their religious communities: one often can’t open up to those who are closest to them for fear of misunderstanding, overreaction, and outright rejection.

We hear about some nut guy, Greene, in Henderson, Texas who had been raised religious, who then after an act of kindness and becoming blind discovers faith again. But, he claims, there is no connection between the charity and his new disability to his faith and he totally respects his atheist wife.

But, we don’t hear about these professional preachers who after long and successful careers, and sometimes years of difficulty, agony, and tenacious loyalty come to reason and see how their faith caused great harm.

Now riddled with guilt even, sadly, at having lied to their members, lied to the world, and lied to themselves they struggle to find peace and success in a secular future. No, we want some cheesy story about some prodigal religious nitwit returning to the fold because strangers gave him $400 and that proved humans are different than animals in some super special way.

Jonathon Haidt and Chris Mooney were patting themselves on the back on a recent, March 19, Point of Inquiry episode, where they gloat how the new theists are so wrong to spend any time disproving religious idiocy. That truth is just irrelevant in group activities. Haidt makes sociology as sacred, groups as churches, and ideology as religious. It’s all about being in the group or not. He’s backed off that conservatives have any than a bit elevated disgust ability but is full on that social people are more spiritual than material (bright boy individualists probably have Asperger’s)—that, in politics, people are driven more by group think than individual expression–isn’t that the point of politics, to reduce a plethora of views to an agreed consensus or at least majority to a law?

Hmmm, why bother then with truth? Oh yeah, I forgot, if I don’t check the oil in my car it seizes when it runs too low. Or, if I don’t get the evidence I might put the wrong person in prison. Or if I make meat for my vegetarian daughter she won’t eat it period. Regardless of biases and prejudices and the leveling and cascade effects of politics, Haidt is feeding into conservative frenzy by convincing moderates to not rock the boat too much because it might upset others and entrench rather than coalesce.

I understand peacekeeping and political alliance and even rhetoric towards agreement rather than position but at some point, and for liberals, it is already difficult position to activate. We must come together in a social group as strong as one put forth by conservatives or lose politically and absolutely. Whether for religious, spiritual, sociological, or material reasons, religious fundamentalist along with accommodationists, apologists, and moderates will take the rights of others away. They are willing to revoke long held bill of rights’ freedoms for their ideology, philosophy, religion, world view, or memmissue (collection of memes into ideological or functional group).

Groups are stronger. That is all that has been proven, The bigger the group, the  more clout. The sad instantiation of power in numbers is the bottom line. Even a bill of rights, a long held constitution can be raped and pillaged by the power of  people willing to assert their cause.

Attacking freedom through issues of body searches, sexual rights, and bodily rights is a terrifying, debilitating torture stripping people of the will to resist because they know they no longer even own themselves. The Supreme Court 5 should be fired. If that is extreme so be it.

Every time FOX news bullshits it should called. Every time Rick Warren pukes his brains out he should be called on it. Every time a gay politician denies gay rights they should be called on it Accepting lies and damned lies because we want to get along is a neopostmodern nightmare. Using ants, as EO Wilson does, to encourage mass communion to singularity is perspicacious in its effectiveness and dehumanizing in its rights to the individual body and independence of thought.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.brightpride.com and www.frontiersofreason.com