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Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

Tribal Politics

hunter_gatherer_camp_near_Bletchingley__around_5000BC__WSmap_panel_

Imagine for a moment that you are a part of an ancient hunter gathering tribe. For the last while food has been abundant but recently there has been a decline. A fellow tribe member emerges and proclaims that the tribe must start moving if it is to survive. The current leader rejects the idea and says moving is too risky and that what is going on right now is just a phase. This was the start of the first political parties revolving around the question should we stay or should we go?

In the above scenario you could start to imagine what arguments would take place and what people might start to believe. It not unrealistic to imagine that one side might actually consider the other side evil. If they are aware of all the same knowledge as you, then clearly the other side is just trying to kill everybody.

We like to think we are so advanced but when it comes to politics, we are still cave men. We allow choices to be made out of ignorance and we do not properly experiment. Since each side is against failure when either side makes a mistake, instead of admitting it, they come up with excuses. Our media on politics revolves around different types of biases to justify a particular point of view instead of what actually is correct. Much of it revolves around hyperbole, socialism is communism, and capitalism is the robber barons. We don’t care what actually works, we care about what makes us feel right. Further, if we have any enemy that actually does something correct politically, it is very easy for everything they do to be demonized.

It is no surprise that in the USA, or in most countries for that matter, you have a sharp line down the middle. In the USA the two sides are Conservative and Liberal. When you really boil these two sides down you come back to say the same basic question, should we stay or should we go? In the past this was one of the most important questions there was because the answer to it could mean life or death. Aggressive conflict over this question, even if resulting in death, would of been preferential to tribe survival.

Should we stay or should we go is still a valid question and it requires both sides. In order for us to have a superior evolution in human politics we need a couple things to be changed. First, we need to disregard absolutes, there are none. Secondly, we need to build better models and systems of analysis that can deal with the complexities of human behavior and better report on the consequences of applied regulation. Lastly, we need to realize that what is right might be variable based on the situation.

The Modern Problem

modern-society-affects-our-sharing-habits-2In the Bible there is not a single reference to the rejection of slavery. At that time in history slavery was just a normal part of life. As our civilization matured we realized that slavery lead to all kinds of abuses of humanity and that we could rise above it. The modern problem is the fact that religions are increasingly having less answers on not just the universe but also on moral issues. Usually what happens is that the truth becomes so blindingly obvious that the various religions will either adapt or die off.

A good example is cloning, the various issues regarding it are not discussed anywhere in religious texts. Our relationship with how industry should relate to nature is also not discussed in religion. When talking about the modern problem an example I like to use is leprosy. During the time of Jesus leprosy was a pretty big issue, and Jesus could apparently heal it. Today, we can cure leprosy without any type of divine intervention. What we once would of considered a miracle is just business as usual today. Another major issue religion might face in the next 200 years is the end of aging; something else that will have deep philosophical and moral implications.

Standard religious views have changed with time such as the idea that the earth is the center of the universe. The fact that we were not the center of the universe had deep philosophical implications because it would seem to imply that when we were “created” God didn’t give us any preferential treatment, a staple belief of the selfish human. Today of course, the issue is rarely discussed.

One of the last standing vestiges of religious “theory”  is of course creation. Despite the tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence for evolution, the fact that macro evolution cannot be produced in the lab yet is the last string of hope for people who require a creation myth story. If we can produce macro evolution in the lab and or show the creation of some more complex proteins in the primordial soup, smarter and younger generations will not buy into any creation myths. Of course religions will adapt, the creation myth will become a metaphorical story instead of a literal one and people requiring religion will use a combination of tactics including pseudo logic to justify their beliefs.

“You would not get angry at a record player for not being able to play a CD.”

Unlike many critics however, I see religion as a catalyst for scientific progression. This might sound completely absurd, but let me explain. Religion in many ways has forced science to go above and beyond to prove points. Without religion there would be very little value in aggressively trying to show macro evolution in the lab. Further, I believe religion had a very small part in pushing scientists to find other means of acquiring stem cells for research.

For many religious adherents, there is a point of no return. It is a point when there beliefs are so integrated into their personalities that no amount of data will change their minds short of methods we have yet to realize as a society. A good metaphor would be a record player trying to play a CD, at a certain point new data becomes incompatible with previous modes of thought. This isn’t a characteristic restricted only to religion, it happens in science as well. Keep in mind, that we don’t necessarily want a record player to play a CD because the record player acts as a historical reference.

As Architects of order we do not limit ourselves because of change, however, this cannot be reasonably extended to the rest of the human population. Only so much effort should be exerted in an attempt to gain compatibility of thought because ultimately characters with archaic forms of perception will die. There  is a separate issue of perception transference from parents to children, but the modern problem will resolve the majority of that issue. It might be easy to get angry at these people who do not seem to grasp certain modern concepts but anger and hate is not only frivolous, it is irrational. You would not get angry at a record player for not being able to play a CD. In the same way an architect should not get angry at a religious adherent for being incapable of accepting certain lines of modern thought.

Prophets in Other Species

October 20, 2012 1 comment

Humanity has become a species of self evolution. Everything from our technology to our religions have evolved with us. The evolution of Judaism to Christianity could be perceived as a progressive evolutionary step in religion from a belief system that had laws on diets, slavery, and stoning to a more progressive belief system that did not need those rules or laws. One of the underlying concepts of all religions is the idea of a prophet, a person that has a radical or new idea that can change the minds of people. However, prophets don’t necessarily only express religious ideas but ideas on the universe as a whole.

Who was the first person to truly express the idea that the world was round or that electricity could be utilized to our benefit? When all the right variables fall into place a person will emerge that can fundamentally change the world. However, people rarely stop and think about if prophets can emerge in other species and I believe they can.

It is as big a revelation to them as us discovering the earth is not the center of the universe.

Imagine a group of monkeys who have never utilized tools before. If for whatever reason one of those monkeys decided to use a stick to get food, that monkey could be considered to be a prophet among its species. Now when we look at that we might think it is silly or endearing, however, to those monkeys it is a massive revelation. It is as big a revelation to them as us discovering the earth is not the center of the universe.

This line of thinking has some profound and possibly interesting implications. Under what circumstances do prophets emerge? If you’re spiritual, you could choose to believe that from the very first single cell organism to where we are at today, prophets have pushed us to the next level. The real question is, what major revelations will future prophets provide?

The Human Condition

With the recent Bill Nye Video on creationism, I thought I would take the time to write about science and the human condition. The primary friction when it comes to the theory of evolution for the religious is that it would prove that God did not create us in a complete form but also that the religious text of genesis would be wrong. Scientists need to produce not only in lab results for macro evolution (not micro) but also for how amino acids could form proteins in the primordial soup. These are two things scientists will need to do to get the populous at large to believe in evolution, simply providing circumstantial evidence in the form of fossils is not enough. This will ultimately happen even if the timeline is unknown.

If people stop aging and getting sick, religious beliefs will be the least of our problems.

However, this whole debate is a little misplaced because in the grand scheme of things evolution will be the smallest thing that will affect mainstream religions. If we push the evolution debate to one side and then we push the belief in God to the other side below the surface we will see something else brewing. The things that are happening right now are mind boggling. First, we are on are way to curing cancer by modifying a patient’s own white blood cells. We are even regrowing organs and this is without using fetus stem cells. What used to be science fiction is becoming science fact. We are very well on our way to curing aging and even death by sickness.

Curing aging will fundamentally change society and not just for the religious. Death underlies a lot of successful businesses and dictates a lot of government policy. If people stop aging and getting sick, religious beliefs will be the least of our problems. We will have to deal with social programs, over population, and more. The implications of living a thousand years could mean you could literally do everything there is to do on this world, we have never had this issue before. People may become shut-ins minimizing any exterior physical risk to themselves so that there will never be any risk of dying. A lot of our willingness to take physical risks now is the fact that at some point we are going to die but what if that becomes no longer the case?

When these changes come and bubble to the surface a lot of people who were very sure of their beliefs may begin to question them. The things science is discovering right now will fundamentally change the way we think, act, and feel. Whether this is for the better or for the worse is yet to be seen but either way these changes are happening.

Human Accomplishment

In the past 200 years we are flying through the sky using artificial contraptions, speaking to people on the other side of the planet in an instant,  growing organs, driving ground vehicles that travel faster then any other creature on the planet, illuminating the earth at night with artificial light, travelling into space, and splitting atoms. This is the most important time in human history ever; we have only been treading water for the last couple billion years until now.

Some may look at humanity and point out all the flaws or looking for radical economic and political change. While I think the ideas are interesting, it’s a little sour with unrealistic idealism. The reality is that there has never been any political system that has stood the test of time. Capitalism, facism, and socialism have all been tried to their extremes and have failed. The problem is that most humans don’t understand that political and economic failure is a part of evolution. When things fail and collapse what remains is the strongest bits.

The reality is there has never been any political system that has stood the test of time.

There is no such thing as a long-term lasting political/economic system and if there were it means we have reached the apex of our possible evolution. However it is important, despite unavoidable failure, that humans strive for the best possible systems. I don’t think this would be accomplished by starting completely fresh. In the grand scheme of things the largest corporations and the most greedy politicians are a relatively small blip on the human radar.

Human Restraint and Civility

Humans have been in a state of ascension since the first single cell organism emerged on this planet. At first competition was the catalyst for purification and advancement which was soon followed by physical and mental domination of other indigenous lifeforms.

Soon competition internalized and unfortunately found violence as its primary method of evolution. However, another form of purification and advancement emerged which would allow humans to escalate to profound new heights in every aspect of life, restraint.

“Humans became the first creatures to recognize and eventually restrain their instinctual animal desires.”

Restraint lead to monogamy which lead to families which in turn reduced violence and allowed for humans to focus. A new dimension in organic life emerged, civility. Humans became the first creatures to recognize and eventually restrain their instinctual animal desires. We restrained sex, violence, and even began to eat with utensils instead of our hands. While not all humans practiced restraint, most did.

Restraints being recognized as the new mechanism of advancement merged with philosophy and myth to become religion which was an unfortunate turn of events. Religions with proper fundamentals became abused by men wish to be unrestrained.

“Humility became a characteristic of men versus men not God versus men.”

While theism and ascension could be correlated and connected, humans soon became arrogant. Believing themselves to be the ultimate in form and function, they now all desired to live forever, a desire which would lead to the creation of all religious fiction. Humility became a characteristic of men versus men not God versus men a necessary element needed to continue human evolution. To understand ultimate ascension one must understand Elolight.

Elolight is the the question “if there is an entity that is infinite what is it like and how can we best understand it?” More importantly, it is an introspective analysis of what we each think God should be because this is ultimately the goal of the entire human race and all its combined endeavors.

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