November 09, 2003
No book has changed my perspective about being human more profoundly than Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors by Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan. In it, they examine human social behavior as a primatologist would. They take many of our social problems, such as violence, racism, adultery, and xenophobia, and explain them as the legacy of survival strategies that helped our primate and humanoid ancestors survive but plague our "civilization" as unconscious behavioral tendencies.
Their premise that our human behavior is not unique and largely instinctual or unconscious was particularly profound for me because at the time I was struggling with shedding my Christian upbringing as a worldview. I realized that much of our life is spent doing things for which we have no explanation, like falling in love or saying bitter things to the people we love, and nobody ever bothers to question it. If we'd start with the idea that we're monkeys with cars, we'd have a much easier time fixing our social ills.
Imagine young people educated in science to the extent that they could at least understand the overwhelming desire to procreate as a natural, expected urge rather than some diabolic machination. Think of the guilt and self-hatred we could save ourselves if we worked to curb natural male aggression rather than profiting off its diffusion in every aspect of our society. Our common wish for a better society can be realized with a scientific understanding of Why We Do What We Do.
The key is understanding evolution as the foundation for Who We Are and not placing ourselves in a unique category apart from our kindred animals because of some primitive Alpha Male worship disguised as religion. With monkeys like the Texas Textbook Committee shooting down textbooks that teach this sort of thing, I'm not sure if we'll ever get there. But here's to hoping.
Posted by tat at November 9, 2003 07:24 PM
I think it's sad that we humans somehow see ourselves as 'higher' than other animals, that we think we have 'rights' that other animals on this earth do not have. I'm not a PETA member by any definition, but I don't think that man is any better than any other creature on this earth. I personally wouldn't want to worship a god who taught me to believe that. I loved your comment, "Alpha Male worship disguised as religion." Bingo, baby. :)
I've always had this theory that people who don't like animals have serious issues. As a matter of fact, I've yet to meet anyone who dislikes animals who came across as anything even resembling normal... they always have several screws loose and I can't tolerate them. That has NOTHING to do with being a vet, either.
Oh man. I'm starting to understand. You guys think we came from monkeys!
The professor in biology 301 told you we "evolved" and you regurgitated this on the test. White moths became gray moths and birds beaks changed sizes (of course they were still moths and birds) adaptation would become evolution if we could live long enough to see it... Evolution! Evolution! All hail mighty Evolution! Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Darwin is Lord!
The kid that questioned this theory (taught as fact) was belittled by the professor and your mushy mind realized that if you wanted to be accepted by academia, heck if you wanted to pass the class, you better not ask too many questions.
Can't get into med school with a lousy GPA and can't get a good GPA if you don't toe the college of natuaral science's party line on the facts of evolution.
Academic freedom and free speach don't exist in the biology dept.
So, what college did you go to Trickhorn?
Perhaps I got into vet med school because I'm INTELLIGENT - and that making good grades came to me as easily as making stupid comments comes to you. I didn't "fall" into the belief of evolution; I studied it hard and decided it made a LOT more sense to me than what you believe. Believing in evolution does not mean one does not believe in a higher being, yet you christian fundamentalists like to preach it that way. You have no idea what I believe in, you only choose to persecute me because I believe in evolution. It doesn't matter HOW you believe in God, as long as you believe.... yet you seem to want to persecute ANYone who doesn't think exactly like your "mushy mind". Where's the freedom in that? Oh - I bet you're one of those "Americans" who wants to link religion with the state and every other thing in this country. Well guess what, that "ain't" what this country was founded upon!
Once again, Mr. Trickhorn shows off his ignorance. I'm sorry Bryan, I tried to keep from saying anything to this guy, but this post was ridiculous. I don't want you to pull the plug! But I had to say something in response to this lame-ass post. I'm sick to death of being persecuted for believing in Science and evolution, even though I've devoted my life to helping those who cannot help themselves and I am extremely spiritual despite my personal rejection of modern-day christianity. God isn't in a fucking church; she's in nature and love but people like Trickhorn need their little control over society and they simply cannot handle those who have "evolved" to a higher state of mind!
Oh man, what a rant.
It proves my point. This is the holy grail of the biology dept. No questions, no dissent allowed.
Profanity, the "persecution" allegation, name calling, religion bashing. It's exactly what the professor does to intimidate the underclassman.
"Ha Ha Ha look at the ignorant punk. I'll bet he's a Christian" "Do you want to pass this class boy?" (Now that's persecution.)
I don't want to persecute anyone. I don't want a theocracy. I don't want theories taught as fact.
I did most of my undergraduate electives in chemistry and biology. I've looked at the theory of evolution-hard. It's full of holes. Those who believe it as fact take it on faith not science. It's a belief system not science.
Am I allowed to have a different opinion? If not "pull the plug" BD.
Differing opinions are what helps make this country great. Now, having said that, let me state a few things.
The "propaganda" preached by bio depts. within academia pales in comparison to the mind-numbing drumbeat of the conservative right with regards to the creationism v. evolution debate. The christian conservative approach to anti-evolution borders on the militant, even.
All science is full of holes; there is no absolutes in life, nor when dealing with human thinking. However, I beg you to show me the slightest shred of evidence that creationism truely exists... and please don't disappoint me by simply writing about the gaps within evolutionary theory... I would love to see a logical, empirically based piece of evidence that supports creationism.
Lastly, the basis of science is that anyone with a simple knowledge of the subject can duplicate the results. If scientific theories have proven so incorrect over the years, then how, exactly, have we "evolved" as a society? Do you trust the medicine you are prescibed by your doctor? Do you trust the bridge won't collaspe when you drive over it? Does light travel at a certain speed?
Fallibility is in our human nature, an therefore all of our theories and beliefs will always exist "with holes" in them. Just because humans have a hard time understanding nature doesn't mean the natural world doesn't conduct its' business in and orderly, set , fashion. The universe runs itself on established rules and guiding principals. It just means our little monkey-based brains can't fucking quite get it, yet.
Trickhorn, you still have not revealed yourself. In what field do you work? In what area is your undergraduate degree? Do you even have an expertise? Tell us who you are, since you are so proud of your opinions. Once again, those of us who read this site don't mind opposing opinions, but you lack the basic fundamental skills of debate. I think you are a very bitter person. Maybe you need to get laid more often. Or, go someplace where you'll actually get sympathy for being so "persecuted". Jesus fucking christ. OH GOD more profanity! I bet I'm going to hell. Wait... the god I worship doesn't judge me that way - does yours? Did I say "gee-zus" or "hay-soos"? To think, all of those poor little mexicans going to hell for blasphemy.....
(BD, I absolutely could not resist....I just have to laugh at this guy!) :)
I just had a horrible thought: what if Trickhorn is a teacher??? Would I want my kid in his/her classroom? HELL NO. That's a scary thought.
GREAT response, Hydronik. I'm not showing bias, either. :) Maybe trickhorn could take some lessons on how to present his "opposing" views.
Response to Deb:
Yes I have an expertise. So what?
I am not "proud" of my opinions. They are mine and I feel they are sound. When did I say I was proud of them? I guess I share them like everyone one else that has posted here so I am not ashamed of them.
You state: "you lack the basic fundamental skills of debate" Really? What are they? Do they include personal attacks rife with profanity, mocking an opponent's religion, questioning how often they have sex?
If so, then I guess you are correct. I will not stoop to that level.
You are the one who brought up persecution. I don't ask for sympathy. I ask for acnowledgment that it is doled out by those on both sides of the debate.
Thank you for your mostly reasoned response. I am glad you will "admit" there are holes in the theory of evolution.
That's my point. If there are holes then what is being taught as fact should be taught as a theory. The holes should be acknowledged and discussed. Reasonably and rationaly.
I never advocated the teaching of creationism.
However, I do believe we were created and the common genius of our creator is seen throughout the species. The skeleton, bilateral organs, heterosexual reproduction... You get my point.
It's like seeing a painting of a famous artist. You recognize the brush stroke, the use of color. Or to put it in engineering terms you will find the same V8 in a Camero that you
find in a Suburban. Common engineering and design so to speak.
Since you challenged me,. let me challenge you. Can you name one species that was once another? I'm not talking about adaptation. I'm talking about truly evolving from one creature to another. Also, what is the "advantage" of heterosexual reproduction? Presumably, we once all reproduced asexually. That certianly seems more effecient than sexual reproduction. Also, which sex evolved first. When it did, how did it reproduce without the other?
Hard questions that should be discussed IMO.
All I'm saying is acknoledge that evolution is (at least at this point) just as much a belief system as any religion.
BTW Deb, I get laid a lot. It's heterosexual and mutually satisying. Those are the only details I'm giving you.
Trickhorn, you are not worthy of a decent response anymore. If you have something to say to me or anyone else, then write it in the forum where it needs to be. I won't waste my time or Bryan's comment space on someone like you anymore. You can't own up to who you are, you can't divulge what your background is, yet you expect everyone to lend an ear to your fundamentalist views. You come across as a condescending, racist, conservative bigot. So if that's how you feel, then fine.. you have that right in this country. But be a real man and post it to forum and open yourself up to real discussion.
And I dare you to debate with Hydronik. You better have your ducks in a row.
Why, Trickhorn, do you feel the need to tell us you are heterosexual? Just curious.
My response will be posted in the Forums.
Trickhorn, you realize that your "Common engineering and design so to speak." comment is more evidence that we all evolved from a common ancestor than being designed by a higher being. Is every painting by an artist done is the same way? Is every song done by a group done the same way? Is every movie by a certain director done the same way? I think that you'll find that with the truly amazing directors, musicians, artists, etc... Each piece they create is it's own unique masterpiece, not having to have bits and pieces borrowed from other "works." So, if you are talking about the ultimate genius, as you would have us believe your "creator" is, then I would think that every work of "art" that this creator produces would be unique. What the heck is genius about making this dog exactly like that dog, except changing the color of the fur? Sounds more like a Boston song or a Baywatch episode to me...
Trickhorn, you realize that your "Common engineering and design so to speak." comment is more evidence that we all evolved from a common ancestor than being designed by a higher being. Is every painting by an artist done is the same way? Is every song done by a group done the same way? Is every movie by a certain director done the same way? I think that you'll find that with the truly amazing directors, musicians, artists, etc... Each piece they create is it's own unique masterpiece, not having to have bits and pieces borrowed from other "works." So, if you are talking about the ultimate genius, as you would have us believe your "creator" is, then I would think that every work of "art" that this creator produces would be unique. What the heck is genius about making this dog exactly like that dog, except changing the color of the fur? Sounds more like a Boston song or a Baywatch episode to me. Here's the part where you run on the beach in slow motion....
Look at my genius... I've commonly engineered and designed my responses. But which one is male and which one is female???