Sunday, September 22, 2013

Charles Darwin Respected Religion

In his section on belief in God and religion in his book, The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin esteems belief in the existence of an Omnipotent God as "ennobling". He seems to view religion as a link in a developmental chain which leads toward scientific endeavor.

Throughout The Descent of Man Darwin draws parallels between animals and man in various behaviors and functions in an attempt to show that nascent attributes of man's capacities developed from lower creatures. For evidence that the religious sentiment of awe has an animal prototype, he cites dogs who revere their masters in a way that is distinct from how they admire other dogs. According to Darwin humans view God in a similar way. For Darwin the capacity to express wonder at something is the result of physical mental development along with other traits such as imagination necessary to develop religion. If religion is an attempt to explain the world around us, curiosity is the catalyst to this, and Darwin points to curiosity as a trait of a highly developed mind. He contrasts belief in complex religious systems that attempt to explain the world with the simple views of savages which do not go so far. Most savages do not believe in a God or gods and have little religion, which Darwin attributes to them having a lack of curiosity in the world around them. When high religion is viewed as the product of superior imagination to that of the indifferent savage, that is, when it is viewed from the bottom up, it doesn't look so bad.

Indeed, Darwin is right that primitive societies do not have well-developed religions. African witch doctors do not have a sophisticated theology or extensive code of morality. We would not expect a monastery to to be created by Australian aborigines or pygmies living in the Congo. Religious devotion requires strength in attention span, which is a trait Darwin casts as being indicative of a highly developed mind, as well as ability to conceive of abstract concepts. Darwin characterizes savages as having few words which relate to abstract concepts.

For Darwin not all religion is equal. It consists of a continuum progressing from brutish disinterest in the surrounding world to simple beliefs in animal spirits to polytheism to complex systems of monotheism which ultimately leads to science. The sort of belief in standardizations necessary for to make a code of ethics that is found in higher religions translates more easily to belief in absolute scientific laws than the ever shifting, capricious beliefs of savages. Intellectuals such as Prof Michael Levin have pointed out that belief in concrete rules is one of the founding principles of western civilization.

On an aesthetic level, Darwin admires the sort of devotion and sentiments which lead one to believe in God. He states that "some of the highest intellects that have ever existed" believed in a creator. Granted, Darwin laments superstition and attributes it to minds not well developed, but overall his attitude toward religion is to appreciate it from the bottom up rather than denigrate it from the top down as modern anti-theists do.

Darwin was certainly not an anti-theist. He gives a more holistic, anthropological approach to the phenomena of religion rather than the hysterical anti-theist polemic used by New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins. Darwin's attitude toward religion is more similar to seculars like FA Hayek who doubt it on an intellectual level but admit that it often has positive aspects.

Darwin's perspective is not commonly found today. Please read the passage for yourself and let me know if my analysis is wrong.
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Excerpt from Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man

BELIEF IN GOD—RELIGION.
There is no evidence that man was aboriginally endowed with the ennobling belief in the existence of an Omnipotent God. On the contrary there is ample evidence, derived not from hasty travellers, but from men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed, and still exist, who have no idea of one or more gods, and who have no words in their languages to express such an idea. (74. See an excellent article on this subject by the Rev. F.W. Farrar, in the 'Anthropological Review,' Aug. 1864, p. ccxvii. For further facts see Sir J. Lubbock, 'Prehistoric Times,' 2nd edit., 1869, p. 564; and especially the chapters on Religion in his 'Origin of Civilisation,' 1870.) The question is of course wholly distinct from that higher one, whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the universe; and this has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.

If, however, we include under the term "religion" the belief in unseen or spiritual agencies, the case is wholly different; for this belief seems to be universal with the less civilised races. Nor is it difficult to comprehend how it arose. As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally crave to understand what was passing around him, and would have vaguely speculated on his own existence. As Mr. M'Lennan (75. 'The Worship of Animals and Plants,' in the 'Fortnightly Review,' Oct. 1, 1869, p. 422.) has remarked, "Some explanation of the phenomena of life, a man must feign for himself, and to judge from the universality of it, the simplest hypothesis, and the first to occur to men, seems to have been that natural phenomena are ascribable to the presence in animals, plants, and things, and in the forces of nature, of such spirits prompting to action as men are conscious they themselves possess." It is also probable, as Mr. Tylor has shewn, that dreams may have first given rise to the notion of spirits; for savages do not readily distinguish between subjective and objective impressions. When a savage dreams, the figures which appear before him are believed to have come from a distance, and to stand over him; or "the soul of the dreamer goes out on its travels, and comes home with a remembrance of what it has seen." (76. Tylor, 'Early History of Mankind,' 1865, p. 6. See also the three striking chapters on the 'Development of Religion,' in Lubbock's 'Origin of Civilisation,' 1870. In a like manner Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his ingenious essay in the 'Fortnightly Review' (May 1st, 1870, p. 535), accounts for the earliest forms of religious belief throughout the world, by man being led through dreams, shadows, and other causes, to look at himself as a double essence, corporeal and spiritual. As the spiritual being is supposed to exist after death and to be powerful, it is propitiated by various gifts and ceremonies, and its aid invoked. He then further shews that names or nicknames given from some animal or other object, to the early progenitors or founders of a tribe, are supposed after a long interval to represent the real progenitor of the tribe; and such animal or object is then naturally believed still to exist as a spirit, is held sacred, and worshipped as a god. Nevertheless I cannot but suspect that there is a still earlier and ruder stage, when anything which manifests power or movement is thought to be endowed with some form of life, and with mental faculties analogous to our own.) But until the faculties of imagination, curiosity, reason, etc., had been fairly well developed in the mind of man, his dreams would not have led him to believe in spirits, any more than in the case of a dog.

The tendency in savages to imagine that natural objects and agencies are animated by spiritual or living essences, is perhaps illustrated by a little fact which I once noticed: my dog, a full-grown and very sensible animal, was lying on the lawn during a hot and still day; but at a little distance a slight breeze occasionally moved an open parasol, which would have been wholly disregarded by the dog, had any one stood near it. As it was, every time that the parasol slightly moved, the dog growled fiercely and barked. He must, I think, have reasoned to himself in a rapid and unconscious manner, that movement without any apparent cause indicated the presence of some strange living agent, and that no stranger had a right to be on his territory.

The belief in spiritual agencies would easily pass into the belief in the existence of one or more gods. For savages would naturally attribute to spirits the same passions, the same love of vengeance or simplest form of justice, and the same affections which they themselves feel. The Fuegians appear to be in this respect in an intermediate condition, for when the surgeon on board the "Beagle" shot some young ducklings as specimens, York Minster declared in the most solemn manner, "Oh, Mr. Bynoe, much rain, much snow, blow much"; and this was evidently a retributive punishment for wasting human food. So again he related how, when his brother killed a "wild man," storms long raged, much rain and snow fell. Yet we could never discover that the Fuegians believed in what we should call a God, or practised any religious rites; and Jemmy Button, with justifiable pride, stoutly maintained that there was no devil in his land. This latter assertion is the more remarkable, as with savages the belief in bad spirits is far more common than that in good ones.

The feeling of religious devotion is a highly complex one, consisting of love, complete submission to an exalted and mysterious superior, a strong sense of dependence (77. See an able article on the 'Physical Elements of Religion,' by Mr. L. Owen Pike, in 'Anthropological Review,' April 1870, p. lxiii.), fear, reverence, gratitude, hope for the future, and perhaps other elements. No being could experience so complex an emotion until advanced in his intellectual and moral faculties to at least a moderately high level. Nevertheless, we see some distant approach to this state of mind in the deep love of a dog for his master, associated with complete submission, some fear, and perhaps other feelings. The behaviour of a dog when returning to his master after an absence, and, as I may add, of a monkey to his beloved keeper, is widely different from that towards their fellows. In the latter case the transports of joy appear to be somewhat less, and the sense of equality is shewn in every action. Professor Braubach goes so far as to maintain that a dog looks on his master as on a god. (78. 'Religion, Moral, etc., der Darwin'schen Art-Lehre,' 1869, s. 53. It is said (Dr. W. Lauder Lindsay, 'Journal of Mental Science,' 1871, p. 43), that Bacon long ago, and the poet Burns, held the same notion.)

The same high mental faculties which first led man to believe in unseen spiritual agencies, then in fetishism, polytheism, and ultimately in monotheism, would infallibly lead him, as long as his reasoning powers remained poorly developed, to various strange superstitions and customs. Many of these are terrible to think of—such as the sacrifice of human beings to a blood-loving god; the trial of innocent persons by the ordeal of poison or fire; witchcraft, etc.—yet it is well occasionally to reflect on these superstitions, for they shew us what an infinite debt of gratitude we owe to the improvement of our reason, to science, and to our accumulated knowledge. As Sir J. Lubbock (79. 'Prehistoric Times,' 2nd edit., p. 571. In this work (p. 571) there will be found an excellent account of the many strange and capricious customs of savages.) has well observed, "it is not too much to say that the horrible dread of unknown evil hangs like a thick cloud over savage life, and embitters every pleasure." These miserable and indirect consequences of our highest faculties may be compared with the incidental and occasional mistakes of the instincts of the lower animals.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Paradox of Evolutionary Creationists

Humans are still evolving. In order to become part of the present evolutionary process, one must pass on his genes. This means having children. The more children one has, the more he participates in evolution.

The paradox is that believers in evolution tend to have fewer children whereas religious types who are more likely to believe in creationism tend to have larger families. They are gaining relatively against those who believe in evolution.

Those who intellectually reject evolution seem to be the ones carrying its torch.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Why Coporate Marketers Like Immigration

 Marketers want a target group made up of individuals who are uninitiated into the local business scene in their area.

Corporations these days avidly promote diversity. But this is not just because it is a fad of the day. They actually benefit from it in the short run.

As we pointed out earlier, consumerism can fill the void left when disparate people come together. This is because they have fewer organic things such as religion or ethnic traditions which bind them together.

Immigration is a way of increasing diversity and hence broadening the vacuum to be filled by consumerism. But it also functions as a way to bring in blank slate individuals who have no prejudgements about American corporations. They would be more likely to associate corporations with the goods things which attracted them to America. Moreover, corporations are standardized and sort of more informal. Thus they would seem less risky, less unique, and less unknown. This may provide a more comfortable environment for the average immigrant who may feel out of place in a mom and pop store or eatery where many customers know the employees.

Immigrants would also tend to know fewer mom and pop store owners and thus would on average have less attachment to them as competitors of corporations. This would apply to the movement of intra-national migrants as well but to a lesser extent since they may already have reservations about corporations in general. Another difference is that the immigrant's initial experience of America may involve a naive straining to understand the world around him. Those entities which reach out to him the most would seem more appealing since he may be less likely or able to seek out his own interests. Such immigrants are a corporation's best friend. The social networks and word of mouth which small businesses rely upon may be less likely to reach the average, more enclosed immigrant community.

If immigrants do patronize small businesses, it will likely be their own. One might wonder what the harm is in such a situation if immigrants shop at corporations and their own places just like natives do. The problem is that with such immigration the size of corporations grows but the size of native small businesses remains constant or grows by less. Thus, with immigration corporations gain more influence among the population at large relative to native mom and pop stores. Relative gains mean political gains in Washington.

In any case, if native small businesses are valued, then immigration is a detriment to them.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Stockholm Syndrome and Stockholm Burning

Insane Stockholm city officials will cover up for the invaders who are burning down their city. But why?

Third World invaders have swamped Sweden. Cities like Malmo and Stockholm are overrun with arrogant third world Muslims who despise the native population. They form Islamic coalitions and which stick by Muslims no matter what, even if they have committed crimes. They surreptitiously invade Sweden without an army because of phony claims for political asylum to which the bleeding heart lunatic Swedes acquiesce.

It is no coincidence that Stockholm syndrome originated in Stockholm. There must be something genetically wrong with the Swedes. Only a genetic abnormality could induce an otherwise rational human being to welcome hateful invaders who are radically different from him. Only innate mental impairment could lead Swedes to cover up for third world Islamic sexual predators who prey on young Swedish women. (The Swedish government covers up data which show that nearly all rapes are committed by Muslim immigrants.)

Somalia would never put up with white people invading without a fight. It would certainly not welcome an invasion of them let alone cause it to happen. While it's true that Somalis are poor, it's not just economic largess and political ideology which cause the Swedes to destroy themselves. It's not just the carefree prescriptions set forth by rock music. It's not the atmosphere of indifference caused by belief in egalitarianism. Nor is it the despair roused by modern, dark artistic indulgences. Because all western nations are seeing to their own invasion, there must be something physically wrong with western Europeans which permits them to not care whatsoever that their daughters are raped, their cities burned down, and their race and culture on the road to extinction. 

It is time for non-western Europeans who admire the Swedes to try to convince them not to destroy themselves and instead to preserve themselves ethnically. It's time for Chinese, Russians, Israeli Jews, etc, to develop an altruistic appreciation for people who are different from them such as the Swedes and to promote their survival. Otherwise, the entire Swedish people will be nothing more than ashes because of their genetic weakness. Any extinct people draws compassion after its passing, but before this happens to the Swedes, people who are not genetically impaired as they are must step in.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Slavery Made me do it

R&B singer Lauryn Hill was on trial for not paying taxes, and one blog sums up her defense as "slavery made me do it." See http://grapevine981.blogspot.com/2013/05/lauryn-hill-slavery-made-me-do-it.html

A black man can basically blame slavery for causing him to do any bad deed, and Pharisaical liberals will call anyone who disagrees with him racist. Democrats believe adversity does NOT make blacks stronger but rather causes them and their distant ancestors to do bad stuff. Perhaps they'd excuse one of Thomas Sowell's works against their cultural Marxism if he said "slavery made me write it."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Picture of Lindsay Lohan

The following was originally posted in the summer of 2010. We took it down because we thought it was too harshly critical of feminine physicality. But we've found it necessary to publish it again with the hope that it will serve as a warning against unhealthy lifestyles. We apologize for dramatizing Ms. Lohan's plight by comparing her to Dorian Gray in the the Picture of Dorian Gray. Our then-youthful insensitivities are to blame. Nevertheless, the message is a good one even if told in a boorish way.

While driving home from the factory late one night, I tuned in to the Michael Smerconish talk radio program. Among his characteristically insignificant talking points was Lindsay Lohan's lawsuit against E-trade for naming one of its talking babies 'that milk-aholic Lindsay'. If I were a judge, I would say that E-Trade has the full right to insinuate that Lindsay Lohan is an alcoholic...because she is an alcoholic.

Upon checking the news item on the Internet, I noticed the full extent to which poor Miss Lohan has suffered the ravages of a party-hardy lifestyle.

The Fall
It would have been near impossible not to notice Lohan for either her movie "Freaky Friday" or for "Mean Girls". She indeed was ravishing then.

After 2004, it would also be impossible not to notice her plunge into a less flattering figure, trading wondrous curves for famished skeletal rigidity; youthful rounded cheeks for an every-day angular visage.

The picture above is of Lindsay in 2004, shortly after she turned 18. (Try this link to see the original pic; the one on my blog is a little distorted such that it is too wide.) The feeling which any bachelor feels upon seeing her is one of awe. He would literally fall all over himself before her, having the sentiment that she is to die for. If eyes ever could seduce, they would be Lindsay's in this picture. So also, her small feminine chin, ample cheeks, and fragile lips make her the most delectable of eye candy. (Admittedly, I took the best picture which I could find from the pre-party period of her life, for illustrative purposes.)

I mean not to make an example of poor Lindsay; she probably entered the Hollywood scene as a normal girl looking to fit in. But, her inherited tendencies toward addiction would prove fatal for her career and countenance.

And what we end up with is the picture below from March 2010, of which I will spare you the misery of description.

Now perhaps it wasn't totally the Hollywood lifestyle which stole Lindsay's curves. Some people these days naturally gain weight during puberty and then shed it in their late teens or early 20's.

But nonetheless, Miss Lohan has lost quite a bit of weight--whether intentionally or not, it is difficult to say. Regardless, other actresses like Christina Ricci have suffered aesthetically after shedding pounds. Typically, young actresses enter Hollywood at a healthy weight, but then unnecessarily lose weight along with a little beauty.

Needless to say, drinking, drug use, endless carousing, frequent hair dying, and extensive sun exposure take their toll on the skin. Has Lindsay paid a price for her glamorous bacchanalian lifestyle?

As a side note, the kind of killer music played in the clubs which youth like Lindsay frequent is often so intolerably loud that it still sounds loud even if one presses his hands over his ears. Such loud 'music' has been rumored to boil eggs placed near speakers at rock concerts. If this is true, think what such does to the brain! Moreover, excessive exposure to the kind of discordant tunes found rock, rap, techo, and pop have reportedly caused rodents to become demented and dogs to become vicious and mean. Regardless, brainstem jarring volume has got to take a toll somehow.

In other words, regardless of how one is judged by Jesus Christ after one's life, there is an earthly price to pay for a rapacious, modern-day club-hopping lifestyle--especially for girls. It is a shame that Lindsay could not have been saved from it.

There is still hope for Lindsay. Although she may never again look like she did in the top picture, she may become a moral example to fans by turning away from the destructive Hollywood lifestyle. But given her recent life choices (among which is support of the obamanable executive), this doesn't appear to be on the horizon.

Morals aside, she's aged too much in the past six years. I admit, that even today, in less candid pictures, Lindsay probably looks better than the average 23 year-old woman; but it's too bad she couldn't have had a picture to take punishment like Dorian Gray did.

Why Big Business Promotes Diversity at its own Peril

There was an old word called cosmopolitanism which meant a universal ethic among all peoples. It would allow for people of different beliefs to overlook differences and interact more fluidly. In modern times, cosmopolitanism is required in the business world, where markets seek to expand to nations which are different from the West such as China or Singapore.

Diversity within an organization artificially arranges things so that people of different backgrounds have to constantly work together rather occasionally on business trips. This would seem to make interactions with dissimilar business partners much easier because of already having to relate to different people is already a necessity within the company.

But like cosmopolitanism, diversity tends to make people become worldly, consumerist, and less focused on "dirty" beliefs of religion and aesthetics-- beliefs that function as a selectively permeable membrane to things which are irrelevant to the success of the corporation and that serve only as potential barriers.

This is probably why corporations, who seek loyalty from workers even above religion, race, and ethnicity, don't mind if such allegiances are diminished. The company and other companies can thrive on the void left in their wake, which will presumably be filled with consumerism. And from consumerism comes the real payoff from diversity: profits.

Whether the loss of "dirty" beliefs will hurt people in the long run can only definitively be seen in the future. But forces like gender and racial equality which underpin the going diversity/cosmopolitan ethic would seem to prove dangerous in time.

For example, feminism leads to fewer children being born, and non-feminist cultures would seem to proportionately replace feminist ones. Moreover, an atmosphere of racial equality permits races of lower potential population IQ to mix with those which have higher average IQ, thus lowering the proportion of people suitable to fill highly skilled occupation necessary for the functioning of the modern world. So, a society reduced in number and genius may find itself reverting invariably to "dirty" beliefs of religion and ethnic identity as the potential for functioning of business and science is reduced.

Paradoxically, preservation of the mental material needed to sustain a cosmopolitan society seems to require the very same beliefs of religion and ethnicity which cosmopolitanism seeks to wear away.

But markets, along with cosmopolitanism, are focused on the present. The question is how long the present will last.