Why does God need a starship?

12 08 2008

Humans have a series of deeply-ingrained reflexes as a result of our evolution. Most of the standard ethical beliefs (those held by every existing culture) are the result of this physical and cultural evolutionary process. If human mentation was not such a conscious process, these reflexes could convincingly be described as instincts. Most of the time, our conscious control of reflexive behavior is a good thing- it allows us to make (slightly) better decisions when the fight-or-flight reflex kicks in, for example. We can also (most of the time) control our natural primate curiosity under certain conditions.

A good example of nearly-universal human reflex behavior could be called the “Awwwwwwwww” reflex. At some point in our evolutionary background, it became a survival mechanism for humans to enjoy cute and cuddly creatures- even those of different species. Most humans like seeing puppies at play, for example. Note that there are a variety of theories about why this might have been a survival benefit which I won’t get into at the moment. Note also that this is not entirely universal among humans- just nearly so.

One reflexive human behavior which needs no great feat of logic to understand is the almost-atavistic urge to protect children. All successful human societies are based (at their core) on the premise, “Women and children first“. This is because individual humans have been physiologically and culturally indoctrinated to sacrifice themselves to preserve the species. This primal reflex is the basis for all morality. Women and children are any society’s only hope for survival. Morals derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is survival behavior beyond the individual level.

All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can—and must—be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a “perfect society” on any foundation other than “Women and children first!” is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly—and no doubt will keep on trying.- RAH

This is why those who prey upon children are so (justifiably) loathed- they have broken one of the basic compacts upon which society is based: Women and children first! Any creature so damaged as to violate this basic premise cannot be trusted to adhere to any of society’s fundamental principles. They are acting in a way that damages the survival potential of the group.

That brings me to the point of this particular rant. It seems that yet another group of religious wombats have crossed the line into counter-survival activities in the name of their imaginary friend. A christian fringe group called “1 Mind Ministries”, based in Baltimore, apparently starved a 19-month-old boy to death because he refused to say “amen” after dinner one night. According to the group’s imaginary friend, that made the child a demon, who had to be punished by withholding food and water. When the child died, the group’s leader claimed that “God would resurrect him” and kept the body around until it started to stink. At that point, the Leader burned the child’s clothing and the mattress on which the body had been placed, and the carcass was unceremoniously placed in a green suitcase- which was apparently sprayed with deodorant from time to time. Where was the boy’s mother during all of this? She meekly accepted the Word of God and held her son as he died. Nice of her.

A cynic might imagine that the decision to avoid medical care and hide the remains might have been motivated by more than religious fervor- such as the fact that the boy’s grandparents were filing suit to get custody of the child at around the time he died.

These people- all of the supposed “adults” in this religious group- have crossed the line. They have irrevocably broken one of humanity’s most fundamental survival rules in the Name of their Invisible Angry Skyman and his Jewish Zombie Offspring.  Their continued existence is a threat to the safety and well-being of all humans, everywhere. Yes, this sweeping statement specifically includes the boy’s so-called “mother”, despite the grandparents claim that she had been led astray by the “cult”.

Hey, grandma and grandpa! I have a clue for you: anyone who allows their 19-month-old child to be starved to death has not been “led astray”. She had to have been a willing participant in the death of her child. As such, she deserves death.

I doubt anyone with religious beliefs reads anything I write. If you are reading this and happen to be religious, ask yourself why your God or Gods allow this sort of thing to happen. Ask yourself why your priest/pastor/rabbi says or does what he/she does- is it because their imaginary friend told them to do so?
If your God or Gods are supposed to be so much better than mere humans, why does his/their actions so closely resemble the worst in humanity? Why is so much unadulterated Evil committed in the name of your imaginary-friend-of-choice?

For everyone else, ask yourself, “Why do we permit these lunatics to continue with their patently contra-survival behavior?” Every religious text I have ever read is filled with the most despicable acts committed by, for, in the name of, or at the request of some deity or another. When will we- as a species- throw off the yoke of superstitions which demand we act in ways that undermine our civilization? To paraphrase a certain rug-wearing actor in a horrible movie, “Why does God need a starship?

Current status: Disgusted

Current music: Squirrel Songs II by Foamy



3 responses

17 08 2008

I think this is an interesting post, and I too have been horrified everytime one of these events occurs. i would also throw into the mix those “parents” who refuse medical treatment for their kids because of their deluded beliefs. However i would take issue with one point, if women and children first is the basis for morality how come it is so often honored in the breach? Specifically male on female violence? I’d be interested in your thoughts on this because I cannot think of a society that has not had a major problem with this behaviour.

18 08 2008

yoyo: I would not classify male on female violence as moral behavior. If you’re asking why there seems to be so much of it, all I could offer would be some uneducated guesses.

I mentioned earlier that humans are not necessarily controlled by their cultural and physiological reflexes. We are, however, influenced by those reflexes. During human evolution, specific gender roles appeared: males were the ones who undertook the hazardous tasks of hunting and defending the home, family, tribe, etc. Females were to valuable to the species to risk losing in such activities, so tribes/families/clans of humans which permitted this activity were more likely to lose their all-important females and thus were less likely to have children. This meant that human groups which did not permit females to risk themselves unnecessarily would probably be more successful (from an evolutionary standpoint) by having more children. This gradually morphed into the so-called traditional male dominance aspects of human behavior.

This cultural and physiological remnant from our evolutionary past can still be found in the subconscious attitudes of many people (of both genders), as well as influencing most religions. Our current technological civilization has largely removed the evolutionary pressures which created these attitudes, permitting females larger roles in supposedly male activities. The visceral, evolution-influenced reflex among many humans is to reject the idea, sometimes violently. Males with better control over their reflexes are more likely to use conscious thinking to accept this larger female role in society. Males with less control, or those whose thinking is more strongly influenced by cultural or religious traditions, are less likely to accept this idea.

I’ve stated this rather crudely, but the point is that male on female violence is not moral behavior. It is more likely (IMO) to be evolution-driven male aggressive response to a threat juxtaposed with reflexive rejection of female independence.

18 08 2008

archvillian, thanks for responding, obviously male on female violence is not moral. However, I think one of the problems we hit when we look for purely evolutionary advantages to human behaviours is that we find counterintuitive results. One example being male on female violence. I agree that alturism and protection of females have direct benefits in terms of bonding the group and allowing your genes to survive, whereas male violence to women would appear to have the opposite effect, a male who is violent to women is likely to loose those women or damage them too much for childbearing. however male dominance towards other males amongst most species does tend to have an evolutionary benefit in that the dominant male gets the most women. Perhaps it is more a blending of two factors, females need to ensure the male will not only support them during times of pregnancy but also in youth and old age hence the emphasis on “pleasing” behaviour wich could be a form of acquisence and secondly male to male dominance becoming male to everyone dominance, particularly to smaller weaker humans.

Just thoughts really, I suppose my point is that when you try and get down to first causes with complex things like moral codes it is seldom as straightforward as we would like. at least we can be sure that our human moral code did not come from a jewish zombie or a pantheon of individual godlets.

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