Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 03:05am PT
This is why I prefaced my last post with the term "national culture ".
The reigning mythologies of small groups are only a liability when considered alongside a major dominant culture which presents a massive threat to the cohesion of the small group.
The Amish are having genetic problems not necessarily because of their social and religious myths , but rather their reluctance to adapt to the requirements of the dominant culture .
The Jews in Europe since Roman times were in a similar state but adapted rather well , becoming highly mobile, and willing to tweak their culture to fit the demands of the period and whatever pogrom was afoot. Their collective mythologies and customs remained largely intact.

The Amish would have no incest problem if they inhabited the landscape on their own. Or, like the Jews in old Europe , willing to travel, as it were.
They would understand the need to bring new blood within their group and would do so under their own terms. This is not possible in modern America.

We demand of these small groups to get with the program and start worshipping the Kardashians instead of Jehovah, or else their survival is in jeopardy.

At the opposite end of that spectrum are the Hutterites with the highest rate of reproduction ever known - an average of over 12 living children per couple,

The " demographic transition" might take care of the Hutterites very high birth rate. Hopefully , for their sake , and the Amazon's, before a catastrophic limiting factor intercedes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition



Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jun 9, 2013 - 03:17am PT
not necessarily because of their social and religious myths , but rather their reluctance to adapt to the requirements of the dominant culture .

But is this because their myths are sacred and inviolate, regardless of how "threatening" the dominant culture (or changing climate or what have you). So in that case it is very much due to the myths. Then the easiest defense mechanism (to keep your head from exploding) is to deny that the external threat even exists, despite the fact that it is staring you in the face.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 03:44am PT
But is this because their myths are sacred and inviolate, regardless of how "threatening" the dominant culture (or changing climate or what have you). So in that case it is very much due to the myths. Then the easiest defense mechanism (to keep your head from exploding) is to deny that the external threat even exists, despite the fact that it is staring you in the face.

Now, now. Lets not confuse apples and oranges here. The climate change controversy has very little if nothing to do with the subject we are discussing.

The fact that the dominant culture, or any certifiable external threat to small human groups that may jeopardizes the survival of that group ,is no small dismissive matter.
The long history of our species has been spawned in an environment full of menacing threats to our survival. Scientists can now identify several genetic bottlenecks Homo sapiens transitioned through in our history. It is thought that we may have been reduced to just a few hundred individuals at one time in northeastern Africa ,due to severe climate change. The new world was originally inhabited by perhaps only 3 main prehistorical migrations over the frozen land bridge. All of the native people in the Western Hemisphere derived from perhaps just a few thousand , or even just a few hundred individuals.
The myths these earlier humans employed to explain the physical universe were of high utility in their struggle for survival. These beliefs cemented the group and gave meaning to the clan and its relationships ,and were living references to the external threats that raged all around.

Suddenly, seemingly overnight, these sustaining myths are " too strong". They have become archaic and therefore useless and are even "denials" of something. The " truth" presumably.
We have to go a little further in understanding what's going on here.

This is not to say that it is not significant to point out the extant groups that are currently in trouble ,and are at the rather more inflexible end of the spectrum of adaption , as Jan identified.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 9, 2013 - 04:38am PT
Obviously the Shakers preferred extinction to violating their sexual taboos. They were also done in by technology as better hygiene and medical practices meant there were fewer orphans to adopt as time went on.

In the case of the Amish, Hutterites, and Hindus, I would say their demographic problems are so recent, they haven't realized their extent or figured out yet how to adapt. The Amish also suffer from a small founder population and bad luck with genetics, being descended from just a few hundred immigrants a couple of centuries ago. The Hutterites should be having similar problems based on a small founder population but their founders seem to have had better genetics.

The Hindus had a food surplus and enough land only three generations ago. Exponential population growth means that the population can double for many generations and not be noticeable until the final doubling which fills all available land. Sub Saharan Africa is currently about the only place where population growth rates are not yet falling so people do catch on.

If religious groups have a tradition of ongoing revelation, then they are in a much better position than those who believe it happened already once and for all. Mormons are a good example of that, as is the form of Buddhism that the Sherpas of Nepal follow.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 04:58am PT
If religious groups have a tradition of ongoing revelation, then they are in a much better position than those who believe it happened already once and for all. Mormons are a good example of that, as is the form of Buddhism that the Sherpas of Nepal follow.

Excellent point. What do you think is the correlation between revelatory religious customs versus relatively static.ones and adaptive success?
Is it because these revelatory groups are conditioned to embrace their relationship to change as an on- going dynamic that usually leads to a better outcome?


In the case of the Amish, Hutterites, and Hindus, I would say their demographic problems are so recent, they haven't realized their extent or figured out yet how to adapt. The Amish also suffer from a small founder population and bad luck with genetics, being descended from just a few hundred immigrants a couple of centuries ago. The Hutterites should be having similar problems based on a small founder population but their founders seem to have had better genetics.

I think the Hutterites, and I am guessing, have had more opportunity to intermix with various other isolated groups in their area. They are an indigenous population with long established contact with similar tribes of generally more congruent customs.
The colonial Amish are isolated due to a relative scarcity of congruent groups in their neighborhood. The Amish lifestyle is not attractive to potential non- congruent incoming outsiders.
By contrast the Hutterites might be more attractive to the contiguous groups in their neighborhood, and to non-congruent outsiders.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 9, 2013 - 09:00am PT
The Hutterites are a German speaking group who are very similar to the Amish in many ways except they are a little more colorful, live a communal lifestyle and use more modern machinery.

Here are some interesting stats from Wiki on the two groups.
The Amish came to America 225 years ago with 200 founders, have an average of 7 children per family and currently number about 249,000.

The Hutterites came 125 years ago with 400 founders and number 45-50,000. Their birthrate in 1954 was over 10 and in 2010 it was only 5.

So the question is whether half the time in country and twice as many founders is the reason for the lesser rate of mutations among the Hutterites or the superior genetics of the founder population or most likely both?

I was very surprised to see the demographic transition in an agricultural society. However, they are having a hard time founding new colonies to accomodate their population growth in Canada where most of them live as the gas and oil exploration in the prairie states has driven the prices of real estate so high, thus some have started migrating to the Amazon.
MH2

climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 12:38pm PT

US Ship: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS CORAL SEA, WE ARE A LARGE WARSHIP OF THE US NAVY. DIVERT YOUR COURSE NOW!!

CND reply: This is a lighthouse. Your call.



Have you seen my boat?







So far it just bounces off lighthouses.

Maybe you are thinking of Coral Princess, here.

cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jun 9, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
I have made it perfectly clear, as has Mike, and to some extent, Jan, that content, including some mysterious, independent "mind," is not the golden fleece here, but nothing at all, emptiness, the ungrapsable geyser of experience, which all amount to the same thing.

Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 02:14pm PT
The Hutterites are a German speaking group who are very similar to the Amish in many ways except they are a little more colorful, live a communal lifestyle and use more modern machinery.

I don't know what made me think of the Hutterites as an indigenous Amazonian tribe. LOL
I'll blame it on the 2 am hour.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 9, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
which didn't happen, it's a common problem that "facts" are stated as so, and then one goes on to develop a story, not only a story, but apparently a whole philosophy, from it, here it is used as a parable of the "arrogance" of the discursive mind...


The reason this appeared as "true" was that I didn't cut and past the joke correctly. If you want the "true" status of the ship/lighthouse, look at this: http://www.snopes.com/military/lighthouse.asp

The screwy thing, Ed, is that to my way of thinking, scientism +is the ultimate arrogance, because at it's base it is totaly distrusting of all but those who think the very same way as you do. It ends up being a kind of cult of mind, where the only authority comes from within. It's a new kind of fundamentalist religion of a sort, believing that it has no blind spots and no quantatative limits - and this is plainly absurd.

But what is most obvious of all is your painstaking effort to undermind whatever I say with a fulsalage of belittling, disparaging, myth-busting comments inteneding to portray me as fashioning a word view from imgination, from stuff I simply make up out of whole cloth, noit from the exper4inces I have from practice, which you liken to white magic or relaxatikon exercises.

The reason I have not taken you seriously is that you have done absolutely none of the work required to do anything but speculate about subjective adventurs, while either insisting that you have arrived at the same thing by way of discursive thinking - which is hilarious - or that only physical investigations are real, or whatever. I have rarely seen anyone who bogarts there ground so zealously while making no effort to learn or even understand what anyone is saying but your own peers, as though Mike, Jan and I are simply deluded idealists just making sh#t up.

And while you might laugh at the idea that the discursive mind is jealous and beligerent, if we were to look at your unwillingnes to consider any other perspective but your own, my claim has about all the empiracle evidence it requires to be accepted as a plain and simple fact. You're stuck in a perspective. You have virtue heapd on being stuck, you have no "evidence" to convince your rational mind to back off, you do not accept that the rational mind is a deterrent to certain investigations, and you're not going to budge, but rather insist on telling me and others what our experience "really is."

That much you have made evident, and that, by any definition seems beligerent, but strangely, "rational" to your POV.

But as I have said all along, what I really believe is at play here is scientism, and any heretic who would question the all-knowing, all-reaching bredth of the discursive mind must be ridiculed and boondoggled with the unconscious promise that the discursive will never, under any circumstances, be abandoned for one second. That, I know for a proven fact, is your unconscious terror driving all of this.

This is what meditation is all about: dying to all that you believe and cherish, every time you sit down. Ed insists that what we find is all made up, is "revealed wisdom," is blarney on par with wampum and horesfeathers. And as I have asked all along: On what direct experience with these practices are these evaluations based? Or if the truth be told, Ed is simply guessing, while insisting that we really don't know one damn thing.

As he said: What isn't physical? Well, how fare are you wiling to go to find out the answer to that question? Do yu really WANT to know, or are you simply giving lip service to the question?

JL
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 9, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
I looked to my ancestors here. The natural people- before modern Euro ways .

They had, and felt what i do inside. It isnt something to convince others of , it isnt something to convince myself of. It simply is. I cant question it directly, but it gives me answers if my eyes are open. I cant touch it physically yet its brushed me a times. It is much like ancient Oriental philosophy in many ways.

I could show you but its outside, somewhere, in some form right now.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 03:02pm PT
Her are some excerpts , contained in the below link, from the book Ed cited above :

http://www.amazon.com/Paleofantasy-Evolution-Really-Tells-ebook/dp/B007Q6XM1A
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Personally I have been very careful in distinguishing between descriptions of human genetic endowments and their contemporary effects or manifestations and that of actual faddish affectations like the author references.

A good example of some of this faddish thinking is the recent popularity of the " paleo diet"
which is a diet loosely based upon what is thought to be the natural diet of our Paleolithic ancestors: refined carbs, such as grain and grain-derived foods are avoided. The diet basically consists of animal protein, veggies, and fruits.
In point of fact the paleo diet is probably superior- but not because it is closer to a prehistoric diet but because it avoids overly processed foods, and empty carbs. The paleo diet is a generally more nutritious and lower in the production of systemic inflammation.

It is interesting that the author cites the mutation that allowed the adult digestion of milk as being a sort of genetically- driven advance over our paleo ancestors, in that it allowed modern humans to exploit an additional food source.
I have not read the book but I wonder if the author mentions the genetic status of gluten digestion.
Gluten is the protein in grains that causes digestive problems for many people. Celiac disease is an affliction in which the lining of the intestines are damaged by gluten- containing foods.
The sensitivity to gluten amongst humans are on a continuum with Celiac at the far end of the spectrum of reactions. Many people walking around today have a sensitivity to gluten and don't even know it. It has been linked to weight gain and diabetes for starters.
This gluten problem did not exist before settled agriculture and the widespread cultivation of grains and grasses.

Psilocyborg

climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 03:39pm PT
I just saw this video and it made me think of this thread.

This is about how science can be very much faith based just like religion.

BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jun 9, 2013 - 04:32pm PT

And while you might laugh at the idea that the discursive mind is jealous and beligerent, if we were to look at your unwillingnes to consider any other perspective but your own, my claim has about all the empiracle evidence it requires to be accepted as a plain and simple fact. You're stuck in a perspective.

I can pretty much say this about you to, unless ofcourse you would be willing to accompany
me to Sunday school sometime?
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
I can't speak for anyone else but I already put my Sunday school time in.
My aunt ( bless her heart) would drag us off to church every Sunday. A grave injustice for a 10 yr old who felt as if a week of drudgery at school entitled him to his weekends. I felt I had earned the weekend and it was being stolen from me outright -- by a well-meaning aunt and a strange bug- eyed preacher.

After two interminable hours of preaching we would sing the hymns. At the time I was embarrassed. What boy isn't embarrassed when he is being forced to sing? But looking back I now know that the simple act of following the hymn book gave me a good sense of melody and harmony and how the two interfaced. And looking into the faces of the devout, how music could touch the heart, and the soul, in a way nothing else could.

After the service the kids would go to their Sunday school class. A grave injustice if ever there was.. Once in the class we would sit in a circle and take turns reading scripture. I hated it. The scenes and personages being depicted in verse had no relationship to my small life. I rebelled in a way that would not make my aunt proud. So I bit my lip and endured the agony, like a visit to the dentist.
Now looking back I know that seminal experience helped to give me a firm sense of language beyond the hitherto ordinary. How the King James would sometimes flow like Shakespeare would one day. Sunday school class also gave me a sense of history, of grand mythic symbols, of struggle and defeat, and final victory.

I put in my Sunday School time.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 9, 2013 - 06:21pm PT
...now I'm sure Largo will come back with some sort of statement like "well, maybe the actual story isn't true, but you get my point."

Yes, this bothers me too. This uneasy mix of truth and fiction that occurs now and then when the poster strays from their expertise. It can be entertaining, but . . .

On the other hand this is an Internet forum. A little like Wikipedia in that mistakes can be corrected. When the writing is humorous or informative it's fun to read. Grain of salt.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 9, 2013 - 06:30pm PT






I would note that it only takes a very little chain pulling to start a full avalanche of "aren't you stupid Largo dumber than a box of rocks" et al. This is scientism showing its fangs. Stupid = challenging measuring as all-powerful.

What Ed and others are being dishonest about is that they have any interest in learning or expanding their POV, when in fact their actual motivation is in trying to discredit the credibility of anyone but fellow quantifiers. Case in point: I actually took the time to draft up a pretty formalized review of awareness, awareness fusion, discursive narrow and open focusing, how to detach from sub-personalities, and so forth, the role of focus in “free will,” etc., and these subjects get glossed over as Ed concentrates on the verity of a silly joke about a lighthouse. Can any sober individual call this a serious investigation with any modicum of integrity attached, or is this just an ill-spirited diversion away from the substantive issues which, in the case of discursive focus and so forth, are apparently totally lost on people. Like I asked, and which never gets answered: How far are you willing to go to learn something and expand your understanding? How much time are you willing to invest? A half an hour? An hour? Nothing at all? If you have no interest in these topics, at least have the integrity to admit it.

And so far as anyone paying actual attention to what’s been said, how about the fact that I can say 1,000 times that subjective experience is particular to a given subject, and yet Ed can say I believe that "Consciousness is a non-local phenomena.” You and I both know Ed is trying to smuggle God into the equation here and attribute it to me. But at a subtler lever, can you see somebodies mind desperately trying to frame consciousness as a thing (a “phenomenon” or a function) , as a discernable force, or some damn thing they can get hold of? But as I have said, consciousness is no-thing, is unborn, is uncreated and was never made by a brain or any other thing. Is “meditation a process of becoming aware of the connecting of our person with the universe?” I suppose that can be one of the early boons of meditation, overcoming the illusion of duality, of separateness, but meditation has always been a method of boring directly into the truth, and the bedrock truth of Zen is that everything you see and feel and think and believe and conjure and add, subtract, and multiply is entirely empty, without any independent existence whatsoever. All things are impermanent.

That question is: What is otherwise? And how is Mind the wormhole to it? And what are you willing to do to find out for yourself, other than that you are already doing and have always done? Go back to what John G. wrote about the moment the merry-go-round and the music stops we all are left clinging to our favorite wooden horses. What would it take to get you off of it, even for a second?


Consider this: When Mike said, "I wonder how the future gets created? The answer is that it doesn't. The future, like the past and the present, happens all by itself."

What do you think he meant by this? Before defaulting back into chain-link causal thinking, consider a deeper take on this. Just for a moment.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jun 9, 2013 - 06:35pm PT
You folks have covered a lot of ground since I was last here. Whew. I've been at a Dzogchen retreat this week.

The fact that people believe I have a secret God agenda tells me that believe not what I am actually writing, but what they believe.

If I've learned anything at all from participating in this thread, it's been the importance and power of beliefs. Irrespective of data or direct experience, beliefs seem to run our worlds and ourselves.

In Dzogchen, we're simply trying to notice what's right in front of us, and we've been spending not much time sitting (not as much as I like). Instead, we're trying to move the furniture of the mind out the way so that our awareness is unobstructed. Some participants are having a difficult time of it, wondering why "the big thing" doesn't show up for them, only to hear from our teacher that there is no big thing. Not only is there no thing at all anywhere, but the thing being referenced is right in front of them and has always been so.

You can see people in the room fight that notion, asking analytical questions, trying to figure out what IT is mentally, rationally, linguistically, psychologically. (We even had a psychiatrist this time, which was fascinating to me. Talk about trying to work through mazes within mazes! Holy Cow!) In so many retreats I've been in, one's mind gets light, an ethereal atmosphere gets built, and one "retreats" to another world than the one they normally inhabit. In other words, the effects of a little peace, quiet, and solitude leads to nothing abiding.

But in the retreats with this teacher, everything remains rather regular and normal (nothing sacred about this teacher, never), straightforward, neither light nor heavy. People find often find it difficult to simply see or experience their own experience. (Sounds ridiculous just to say it.) They don't get it (yet they are it).

Anytime you see anything as a thing, more importantly that you Believe that the thing is a THING, you've moved away from your experience, Reality, As It Is, the here and now, what Dzogchen people call pristine awareness, that which forms the ground of consciousness, that place of total ease and peace.

I know it might seem that you need beliefs to do or be anything, but it's just not the case when you're in that place without beliefs. You simply do what needs doing, only without the you and without the object of doing'ness. It's when there is seeing without a seer and without anything being seen, when there is hearing without a hearer or things being heard, etc. Everything then is absolutely natural, spontaneous, open, and one (non-dual). The funniest thing is that IT is available and operating at all times; it's just that there are all these self-made obstacles / obscurations in the way of being.

Although Largo might have seemed harsh, I think his criticisms are fair. On the other hand, Ed is usually observant, careful, maybe plodding. I'd like to see him use those same skills on his own consciousness. But it's a lot to ask; it's a big investment; I've been at it for 25-30 years, and look at the little I have to show for it.



Had surgery last week, and I'm still eating percocets like mints. Just don't yet have the energy back. Surgery went ok (they found nothing), so I'm liable to think that I got over-diagnosed. Now I'm sore as heck.

Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2013 - 08:10pm PT
Had surgery last week, and I'm still eating percocets like mints. Just don't yet have the energy back. Surgery went ok (they found nothing), so I'm liable to think that I got over-diagnosed. Now I'm sore as heck.

Get well soon. May your horizons be pain free.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 9, 2013 - 08:31pm PT
Glad they found nothing, Mike. Another meaning for "no-thing"!
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