Also, god deliberately messed up creation just to mess with our minds

God totally designed flawed systems and body parts to make people think no god would be so stupid as to design things in such a fucked up way. God’s gonna get the last laugh…

That does appear to be the “argument” I’ve discovered from David Klinghoffer explaining how, once again, Dawkins and his ilk have it all wrong.

The human knee appears to be ill-suited to its task, hence the prevalence of knee pain, similar to that of back pain, and so on. I’ve had trouble from this recurrent minor soreness, brought on by running. So here’s a website devoted to cataloguing instances of apparently faulty designs like my knee that, so goes the argument, a creator would not allow in his creatures.

That is a theological argument, not a scientific one, based on the premise that Dawkins & Co. know what a God would or wouldn’t do if that God existed which he does not.

I’m including the website link to save you clicking on the original article if you don’t want to. So basically the “argument” comes down to thinking Dawkins is trying to tell the world what a real god wouldn’t do and quotes a part of Dawkins’ latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth to “prove” it:

“Any intelligent designer would have hived off the laryngeal nerve on its way down, replacing a journey of many meters by one of a few centimeters.” Atheists think they’ve discovered a devastating “Ah hah! Gotcha!” sort of a response to religious believers who, it’s assumed, never realized that nature has a certain painful lack of perfection built into it.

Yet writing in the 16th century, the Maharal finds evidence that the deficiency was not only intended and foreseen by God but is a necessary feature of creation, alluded to in the opening verses of Genesis. … One particular “deficiency” that was tinkered with and corrected is the initial solitude of Adam, the first man, depicted as lonely and single

Fuck, that’s totally not the same thing. Dawkins is asking why convoluted bodily functions exist when there could have been “better” simple designs that would achieve similar results. It’s got nothing to do with people who thought that God thought Adam needed a girlfriend. What does that have to do with evolution?

God’s creative activity produced something that was “not good.” That it was fixed later through the creation of Eve doesn’t take away from the startling admission by the Bible itself. Dawkins again: “This pattern of major design flaws, compensated for by subsequent tinkering, is exactly what we should not expect if there really were a designer at work.” The Hebrew Bible’s reply would be, “Oh really?”

Dawkins means flaws within a body, not relationship issues, dorkus.

In the context of Chanukah, with its theme of the wicked Greek kingdom’s oppression of the Jews in their land and the subsequent civil war pitting religiously loyal Jews against secularist Greek-loving Jews, the theme emerges a little differently.

In the Biblical scheme of history, four kingdoms arose and sequentially divested God’s presence in the world of some of its splendor. Each did so by depriving the Jews of sovereignty in their land, where Israel was intended to carry out her mission to the fullest extent possible. One kingdom was Greece. Another was Rome, in whose exilic shadow we still live. The Maharal finds all four alluded to in the second verse in Genesis. It was foreseen, no matter of chance, a part of the pattern that God knew full well would unfold.

Again, what does this have to do with the rather bizarre evolution of eyeballs? Dawkins is a biologist, not a biblical “scholar” who interprets the “first” book by extrapolating “historical” shit out of later ones. This is one of the stupidest arguments for design that I’ve ever seen. Good grief. It’s laughable, really. It’s not an argument at all, is it?

Woven into creation from the start was a very painful thread of “deficiency,” playing out on the historical stage. Why not, too, in nature?

It could hardly be otherwise. If a trivial example like a sore knee is “bad design” and a point scored for atheism, then any trivial lack of perfection in created reality is enough to trigger the atheist response. Any evil in nature, any suffering.

Nature isn’t evil. Nature just does what it needs to do in order to survive. So did the cougar who ate the dentist’s patient as mentioned in the article. She was hiking in cougar territory, and a cougar took exception to that. Such is the nature of things.

What people do to other people, though – that can be cruel and disgusting in ways that no human should want to contemplate, yet many humans justify cruel and disgusting behaviour by saying it’s sanctioned by a god and therefore A-OK. What the Greeks (who had a pantheon) did, what the Romans (who had a pantheon) did. What God-loving Jewish/Hebrew/Israelite tribes did to their other God-loving tribes (see Judges).

My apologies if this upsets any delicate sensibilities, but consider the alternative. A world without evil. What would that be like? It would be the perfect hamster cage or turtle terrarium, where all our needs are provided, there are no predators, no contagious disease, no confusion, no loneliness, no sin, no particular purpose, no growth, just spinning aimlessly on our exercise wheel or swimming idly in our calm, algaed paddling pool.

For Dawkins & Co., it’s either the turtle terrarium or a Godless universe. What an absurd false dilemma. For the God he doesn’t believe in, however, it’s easy to see why the turtle alternative would hold little charm, hardly enough to justify creating a world in the first place.

But isn’t that what Eden would have been had God not gotten his panties in a bunch over Adam and Eve and the fruit? No sin, no clothes, vegetarian dinners with the Tyrannosaurus family across the way? Nothing to do but lay around in the ferns all day thinking about nothing in particular because they wouldn’t know there was anything they didn’t know? Paradise.

Creatures that could never grow or change spiritually because they were unchallenged and therefore totally uninteresting? What’s the point? Once we admit that some lack, or anyway so we perceive it, in creation was inevitable if there was to be a creation, what extent of deficiency was going to be enough? Maybe a little, maybe a lot. You will have to ask God when you meet him.

I’m taking it for granted that part of His purpose in creating us was to relate to us, once humanity has matured to a point where that’s really possible. Who would want to have a relationship with a hamster?

Taking it for granted indeed. Why didn’t god make a mature humanity in the first place to save all the trouble? Oh, I suppose that’s one of god’s purposeful design plans; leaving us mentally stunted for generations. He mocks Dawkins for claiming to know what a god would do and here he is claiming to know god’s purpose? Please. Plus, I had a very nice relationship with my hamster. Fritz was awesome. I’d rather hang out with a hamster all day than chat with the writer of this piece for five minutes. Most definitely.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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28 Responses to Also, god deliberately messed up creation just to mess with our minds

  1. donald says:

    we’ve all got a lot to learn.

    the Creator created, in six days, a very good universe. no one knows what that universe was like but now, because of our sin, it’s not the way the Creator created it before sin. on the other hand, He created it so that it would be able to take the test of sin and we’re seeing evidence of how “well” His creation is fairing.

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    I’m an atheist and I say no god was involved in any of it. Earth erupted with living things billions of years ago and we evolved into the clever apes we are today. Sin is a completely human construct made to control and dominate and rule populations by fear of after-death reprisals for wrongs done to people today. Sin and hell were the best threats for a while. Capital punishment isn’t enough of a deterrent anywhere, let alone the unlikely possibility of sulfur and flames at a later date.

  3. donald says:

    perhaps you didn’t read my first sentence.

    oh well, it was meant for you too.

    how many billions of years ago? or does it matter?

    speaking of matter, how did that come into existence and where did the space come from into which matter formed?

    when did time start?

    i asked because you seemed so positive about your “no god” theory and you’re probably the one to come up with a real good story about them too.


  4. 1minionsopinion says:

    I did read the first sentence. What were you hoping I was learning?

    The years matter in terms of setting the stage for evolutionary development. Millions or billions, whatever. Does it matter? Kind of. Does it matter to me personally? Not really. I’m not a paleontologist. I work for a library sticking labels on books.

    I don’t know how matter came into existence. I doubt some god plucked it out of his ethereal navel, though, like cosmic belly button lint. I’m not a physicist or biologist. I didn’t have the chops in science class to seriously study chemistry either. It’s not up to me to sort out those questions, thankfully.

    I’m of the opinion that time started when people started noting the passing of it and what it meant. Time is completely a human construct designed by our own brains to sort our lives out into measurable parts. Day and night, seasons, herd migration, seeding and harvesting. I don’t know if animals have a similar concept of time passing like people do or if it’s all part of the instincts and evolutionary processes that help them read the weather and figure out when it’s best to get moving. Whatever they’ve got as a sense of moments passing, it works for them.

    How old do you think the world is, and if the answer is 6000 years, how do you explain away all the evidence to the contrary?

    What’s your idea for why time exists?

  5. donald says:

    My first sentence was all-inclusive; I wasn’t “hoping” anything.

    Why do “(t)he years matter for setting the stage for evolutionary development(?)” Or is this a question best left for those with the “science chops?” Does it matter that you…everything…is composed of matter? Or is that just a matter of fact? Who determines the facts?

    Would you say that “evolution” is the reason that you’re here? If so, does that make “evolution” (a) god?

    The world, since sin, is a little more than 13000 years; since the flood around 6000 (6021 to be exact) years. Time exists to provide humans with an awareness of the temporal nature of the universe and, specifically, to point out that there is a beginning and ending to all things. Time did not always exist and it will not continue to exist; such is the case also for matter…which also had a beginning and will end…contrary to the first law of thermodynamics. General relativity is correct insofar as space (matter) and time are concerned.

    There is ample evidence that the 6000 years that you refer to is a valid time marker…since the flood. The world that we walk on shows vast amounts of evidence for a world-wide, cataclysmic flood. All of the earliest civilizations on every continent trace their own histories from a flood or story about a flood. You could research it in your library.

  6. 1minionsopinion says:

    Evolution is a process. God is supposedly a deity, although gods in general seem like pointless, fanciful ideas to still be hanging onto in this day and age. Do humans really still need to believe in magic and mysticism to get through life?

    Flooding happens but I doubt the entire world has ever been under water all at the same time. I suspect there is nothing in a real geology book anywhere that would suggest that bible story is based on any verfiable, factual information. I’m sure my geology prof in university would have mentioned it were that the case.

    I think it’s ridiculous to limit the age of the earth to such a silly number, just because it fits some book some men put together hundreds of years ago.

  7. donald says:

    Who decided that there is evolution and gave it the character: Process? Some men…hundreds of years ago?

  8. 1minionsopinion says:

    You’re like Socrates, aren’t you? Answering questions with more questions. Darwin postulated a lot of interesting things about how a species might adapt and research and experiments done since that time have sufficiently demonstrated how correct his theories were.

    Evolution wasn’t decided like people decide to vote for a president or something. It’s not invented to make “facts” fit some pre-conceived ideas, either, like seems to be the way a lot of people think science works – start with the conclusion and work backwards finding all the bits that fit that conclusion and then claim the theory is sound. That’s not the way the scientific method was supposed to work.

    That species evolve is a conclusion based on observation and discovery and if you’re going to suggest evolution can’t be seen happening today, I’ll have to suggest you take it up with the fellows at A Different Kind of Blog who do know more about evolution and can adequately state the evidence that proves it’s ongoing.

    It’s nice to have a guest come by to comment so often, by the way. Thanks for stopping in. =)

  9. donald says:

    Hmmm. According to evolution, people have been around for what, 2-4 million years? But written history goes back what 6000? During that time who’s observed evolution? Nobody. So, science has to work backwards (isn’t that why they’re always dating fossils…and using circular logic to do it?) because, well, even you say that evolution’s always been here. Don’t you have to assume that what’s here got here somehow and evolution, some say, is the method? You did you get here by evolution, didn’t you?

    I went to A Different Kind of Blog and it’s got lots of data; none of it supports evolution happening; lots of hugely intelligent and sensitive contributors too. I agree, though, with one tenet: Life comes from life. How did life start, though?

    Thanks for putting up with my questions.

  10. 1minionsopinion says:

    So what if writing is a late hominid development? That doesn’t negate the previous existence of Australopithecus. They didn’t write down any sonnets, but they did live and hunt and die like everyone else. We have their skulls and we have footprints immortalized in the earth; it’s evidence enough to gauge where and when they lived.

    Evolution goes on all the time. It just goes really really really really really slow.

    Guppy experiments have shown how that species adapts to changes to its environment within months of a drastic change. Within generations. Granted, that’s just girls picking boys with the best or brightest spot patterns based on whether or not predators are a problem. They’re all still guppies, no matter how many spots they have, though. So I suppose that’s part of why it seems like evolution doesn’t happen.

    It’s unlikely they’ll ever evolve into some predatory guppiranha thing that can attack their enemies and bathe in their blood. Their evolutionary process has made them very good at camouflage instead. They are probably not going to grow bigger teeth, but come back in 100,000 years or so…

    I think it’s pointless for ordinary human beings to debate where life came from, big bang, god’s belly button, big deal. I really think that’s something for dedicated scientists to sort out. And if they never sort it out, or don’t sort it out for hundreds of more years, it’s still okay with me. It doesn’t matter. People try to make it matter, but why should it? Here we are now, ordinary silly humans wasting time with silly arguments about origins and history, never will we change the mind of the other. We’d probably be better off taking this time to feed the hungry or tutor a kid or visit the elderly. At least we’d be doing something productive rather than talking in circles about something neither one of us has an answer for.

  11. donald says:

    Skulls and footprints are evidence of skulls and footprints. If there is no observer who saw/lived concurrently with the original wearers of the skulls, makers of the footprints, that’s where science steps in to make its pronouncements. I’m not convinced that the worldview of science is anywhere near clear; in fact, as much of science as I know (which is infinitesimally small compared to you, probably…even though you allege that you didn’t have the chops) tells me that science doesn’t “know” anything. After all, it’s always testing and re-testing, writing and re-writing, publishing and re-publishing. Seems like science would have a pretty good handle on things by now but it doesn’t.

    No one knows when Australopithecus lived; scientists guessed. By the way, how long is one “really”?

    Evolution doesn’t “go on all the time” just because you or someone says so. Didn’t Darwin say that the world should be filled with intermediates or his theory fails? I got the impression that we’d be stumbling all over the intermediates in the fossil record; however, they’re not there. What’s up with that?

    “Pointless for ordinary human beings to debate where life comes from,” are you asserting that there are extraordinary human beings? How would they be described? As scientists?

    I like your idea of performing altruistic deeds. I wonder if there’s an altruistic gene.

    Here’s to feeding the hungry, tutoring kids, and visiting the elderly!!! Let’s do more of that this year, OK?

    Things adapt. No problem with that; your guppy example is a nice introduction into the issue of how something might change into something else…given enough reallys.

  12. 1minionsopinion says:

    I meant ordinary as in you and me on a blog when neither of us made a career out of looking for answers to these questions. I think there are people with extraordinary minds, and they aren’t all scientists. Musicians, humanitarians, some politicians, some religious leaders. Those with vision and the ambition to do something with that vision must also have extraordinary minds.

    You need to take these evolution-type questions people who make careers out of this stuff. They can explain how bones get dated, and how they measure age of fossils and the like. They can explain the differences between micro- and macroevolution.

    Evolution doesn’t have to be believed in. It happens whether we’re able to comprehend the how or length of time required or not. We can look at an early form of equine, for example, and see how it’s related to a horse today, even though it’s long since extinct. As to transitional fossils, I think the tiktaalik is considered to be one:

    And why would we be tripping all over intermediate fossils? Considering how large the world is and how populated and plowed into and built on most places are, or how inhospitable they are (ie, ocean floors), it’s pretty amazing we have what we’ve got.

    I have no idea what kind of geological and biological and environmental conditions would have been involved to preserve the delicate shape of a shell, or egg, or shard of bone, let alone whole heads and footprints. I think it’s fascinating, though, bog people (, the mammoth in the ice (, and Otzi, complete with tattoos and shoes on ( I think the fact that we have any of it to look at and test is a testament to those extraordinary people who had the wherewithall to want to study and preserve it rather than toss it all like junk.

  13. donald says:

    Is the mind a consequence of what someone does with it? Is the mind merely a tool used by the person in a set of circumstances (not addressing the issue of the unconsciousness or societal consciousness/unconsciousness here)? Or is the mind what someone else says it is?

    Everyone comes into existence with a mind, don’t we? Are you saying that the consequences of the mind’s actions make it ordinary/extraordinary? One of my friends has a grandson who was born “without a brain” and the little toddler brings joy unspeakable everytime he walks into the room. The little guy probably won’t live to be two years old. He’s a little past 16 months and hasn’t really had any thoughts per se; yet is so obviously loving and lovable. Would you say that he has an ordinary or extraordinary mind?

  14. 1minionsopinion says:

    “Is the mind a consequence of what someone does with it?”

    I don’t know where you want to go with that. Descartes said “I think, therefore I am” so maybe what we think of as the self is all in the mind, anyway. We can create a self because we are capable of making one. Maybe that grandson also has a concept of “self” and “not self” that he just can’t express like other people. We really don’t know enough about how brains work to say much for certain, I don’t think.

    I also don’t think I’d ever say people need high I.Q.s to be extraordinary people. There are so many different kinds of ability and so many qualities that can also play a role in what kind of people we can be, and can become. We shouldn’t let useful skills and qualities go to waste.

    Maybe more people could be considered extraordinary if they rethought how they go through life. I don’t mean getting a religion – I mean more charity, philanthropy, more support of schools and libraries, more care about social issues, more interest in politics where ideas can make a difference. Of course, if everyone did all that, it wouldn’t be extraordinary anymore; it’d be run-of-the-mill and expected. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing…

  15. donald says:

    I sense that we’re back into looking for an altruism gene.

    What constitutes altruism anyway and who decides?

    Feeding starving people seems like a “good” thing; however, seems to me that teaching/training about-to-be-starving people how to prevent local famines might be an even more productive approach for all concerned.

    I like your idea of “extraordinary becoming run-of-the mill” (since you work in a library, I assume that you know how that expression came into existence) because that’s how I see how humanity is designed: to love one another, enemies first. This is what I call the “easy way.” Mankind doesn’t do things the easy way, choosing instead to do things along what I call the “hard way.” As I see it, that path is the one we’re on and it hasn’t changed – won’t change. Even the evolutionists can’t see a “bettering” since it’s all about survival and everyone’s in this high competition mode, not really loving anyone but themselves (hence: Descartes’ self-absorbed enlightenment).

    If everything was material and there wasn’t anything else, perhaps evolution might work; but that’s not the way it is. Seems to me that you may be on a path that you don’t recognize and it’s leading you to a more perfect understanding of purpose…something that evolution can’t give you.

    After all, one wise man said, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

    “And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

    “The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

    “The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

    “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

    “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

    For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

  16. 1minionsopinion says:

    Actually I didn’t know the background to that, but interesting all the same.

    I think altruism has to be taught. After all, kids totally understand selfishness from a very early age (No! MINE!) and need to learn how to share. Maybe for some people it seems to come naturally. I know people who go out of their way to help and be useful.

    —Feeding starving people seems like a “good” thing; however, seems to me that teaching/training about-to-be-starving people how to prevent local famines might be an even more productive approach for all concerned.—

    I agree with you, but how much of the famine problem has to do with the locals and what they do (or don’t do) and how much of it has to do with politicians and trade agreements and outside interests running contrary to the needs of the locals?

    —This is what I call the “easy way.” Mankind doesn’t do things the easy way, choosing instead to do things along what I call the “hard way.”—

    You can call it any way you want to call it, I suppose. I don’t have to agree with your impression. I think humans always take the easy way out. People who react without thinking things through. People who do or say without considering consequences. Easier to beg forgiveness than stop yourself in the first place…

    I don’t believe in god, and I wouldn’t want a god I have to fear yet also have to label as kind and merciful. That’s more contradiction than I care to deal with in a day.

  17. donald says:

    -I agree with you, but how much of the famine problem has to do with the locals and what they do (or don’t do) and how much of it has to do with politicians and trade agreements and outside interests running contrary to the needs of the locals?

    My idea of “teaching/training about…” includes the whole political, outside interests, etc., shtick. I purposely didn’t speak the fable, “Feed a man a fish…teach a man to fish…” I didn’t because learning how to fish is worthless in the middle of the desert and, as you’ve so insightfully pointed out, there are many other factors associated with extant conditions.

    I’ve access to the internet and I’ve chatted with you on this blog and you impress me as someone who is above average, extraordinary, in fact. I believe your earlier characterization of yourself as an atheist and assume that includes non-belief in god. I’m not exactly sure how atheism works. Maybe you could help me understand.

  18. 1minionsopinion says:

    That’s it in a nutshell – living without belief in a deity. Mostly what I try to do with this blog is present a person who thinks and dreams of better things, a person who’s just like anyone else, really.

    Funny enough, I considered using the feed/teach fish line, myself, but stopped because I thought it was trite. There’s also a version I can paraphrase from a fave author of mine – show a person how to make fire and he’s warm for a day. Set him on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life. I think that was in a Terry Pratchett book somewhere.

  19. donald says:

    I’m still a bit confused.

    Are you saying there is no god? Or are you saying you don’t believe in a deity?

    Seems like a big difference for if the former, you’d be forced to “prove” it; if the latter, it’s merely what you feel/believe and that’s a personal assessment of what’s going on in you that can’t be argued with.

  20. 1minionsopinion says:

    I think human beings created gods to explain things they didn’t understand, and to control people they wanted to control. It’s easier to justify treating people like chattel if they think there’s somewhere better they’ll go when they die of mistreatment.

    Why would I have to prove there’s no god? I ask why does there have to be one in order to give life meaning. I don’t think gods are necessary things and I find it interesting how so many people can still live as if some uber invisible creature gives one iota of a damn about anything a little human being does or says or thinks. Is that a comfort during trying times? The feeling that someone out there, up there, somewhere, still loves us anyway? Why is that necessary?

  21. donald says:

    After I read your last entry, I had this very deep sense of sadness about you. I shared it with my wife and she said that she thought you might be harboring anger from some early hurt. Of course, I’m sad if this is so.

    I was reading, today, and stumbled upon a site that seems to question the consequences of evolutionistic thought. What do you think:

  22. 1minionsopinion says:

    That’s a laugh and a half. No early hurt anger of any sort over here. What gave you that idea? I don’t know how you read that into anything.

    I read Bing’s site every day, fellow atheist and all. It’s not questioning evolutionistic thought. He’s quoting Bodie Hodges and the false logic Answers in Genesis uses to make its points about some messed up kid who shot people at a school in Finland.

    The original clearly demonstrates what’s getting quoted, unlike in Mike’s verbatim copy off Digg.

    From Bing: “Evolution puts man in his place in no uncertain terms. He is a tiny, brief, highly improbable speck in a Vast universe. Christians think that the purpose of the world is to give them an opportunity to show God that they are worthy to stand in His Presence, like he was Elvis or something.”

    I agree with Bing. We are small, tiny little bits of flotsam and jetsam in this big ole universe and this big ole universe was not built by some superbeing just so we could see the stars in the dark. That we are here is, admittedly pretty impressive, but to fulfill some grand master plan? How egotistical of humans to think so. We’re highly evolved mammals, that’s all. And cougars will still try and eat us for breakfast.

    And, as Bing also points out – more Mormons get incarcerated than atheists and “and their principle form of worship is modest sobriety!”

    To be atheist is not to deny the sense of right and wrong, to drop ethics and morals into a toilet and flush. Laws exist for a society, not because some god wills it, but because people need laws. People need rules, people need order. People need cultural consensus that their behaviours fit the group so they can tell with more certainty when behaviours don’t fit the group – like the behaviour of that Finnish boy.

  23. 1minionsopinion says:

    I miss Donald. What happened to Donald?

  24. donald says:

    Busy, busy, busy, and glad to read that I was mistaken.

    Who decides what’s “right” and/or “wrong” and where did that “sense” come from? Where do “morals” come from? Who says people “need” laws assuming you mean interpersonal behavior laws? If evolutionism is correct, what would be the survival value of “right” or “good” if it’s all about “fitness?” If there is any “survival value” why hasn’t it overwhelmed “wrong” or “evil” by now?

    Speaking of which, How did cultures come about and what’s the value? Seems like there’s all kinds of “racism” in the world now. Does racism have survival value?

    I’m really confused by evolutionism, as you can see.

    Seems like serial killers would have tremendous advantages; after all, they take so many out of the gene pool and those “weak” ones can’t replicate any longer.

  25. 1minionsopinion says:

    Where does right and wrong come from? Group consensus. “Right” and “wrong” are very arbitrary measures anyway. Slavery is wrong now, but wasn’t always, as evidenced by the bible (and recent history). Incest is wrong now, but wasn’t always, as evidenced by the bible (and maybe some cultures now). Pick your “wrong” and there’s probably somewhere, some time in the past when it was A-OK.

    Does racism have survival value? I’d say yes. Because the almighty Europeans enslaved “lesser” races rather than try to wipe them all out like animals, the United States of America now has a black president. Hooray for racism…

    I’m being facetious, in case you’re wondering. But a case probably could be made to justify it that way. If I could think of it, someone else probably has as well.

    How did cultures come about? Survival and need. Cultural/societal strength comes from the ability to organize and cooperate for mutual benefit.

    For example: a lot of animals hunt as a pack. Predators tend to, if their prey is somewhat larger than they are. Human beings are considered predators, too. Know why? Because we see in stereo vision, like cats, dogs, and owls. Other animals can see (nearly) all around them because they need to know which direction is the source of the threat, not how far away it is.

    Cultures grew out of societies and groupings that were utilized for the benefit of the group. Rules and laws and order came about through that – what people approved of, what people didn’t approve of. What people claimed to approve of to stay in good standings with the clan leader, etc.

    That a bunch of separate groups all came up with similar behavioural codes doesn’t mean a god had something to do with it – it can also mean humans evolved to be rule adopters. Those who didn’t follow the rules (whatever they might have been) could have been cast out of the group, ostracized, or killed and therefore unable to skew the gene pool in another direction. Hooray for the desire to fit in, no matter what the situation.

    Serial killers are flawed mutations. They’re either sociopaths or psychopaths or mentally maladjusted some other way. They are not at an advantage. We still outnumber them, for one thing. We still have laws and the ability to catch them and punish them. They may not follow the rules, but the rest of society has to and will, because we’ve evolved to be rule abiding, no matter how stupid and pointless the laws and rules might be (like many religious observances).

  26. Not to be pedantic, but I don’t agree with the “serial killers are flawed mutations” hypothesis. It’s not like people are either well-adjusted or else sociopathic. It’s a spectrum of behavior, and their existence is a predictable outcome of hawk vs. dove game theory.

    The extreme sociopaths do indeed get caught inevitably, but the less extreme ones do very well in society, since they are not inhibited by rigidly following societal rules. Many CEOs for instance are borderline sociopaths, and as long as there are borderline sociopaths markedly sociopathic individuals will always turn up.

    And Donald, We observe moral behavior in other social mammalian species, and nowhere is that more obvious than with chimps and bonobos. Morals came about to help smooth relations between “in-group” individuals.

    I would add that racism is a consequence of “in-group” and “out-group” dynamics. “Out-group” individuals (i.e., those not a member of the identifyable group to which the individual belonged) were fair game. The original meaning of the commandment not to kill was only a prohibition against killing fellow Jews, not someone from another culture.

    It is unfortunately natural that there is friction when we can identify that someone is not in our group. This does NOT mean that it is excused. We have the ability to identify what parts of our behavior we need to keep an eye on and use our intellect to overcome such issues.

  27. 1minionsopinion says:

    I had to look up the game theory to be sure, but I see what you mean. I also read a book some time ago suggesting up to 1 in 25 people could be labeled as “sociopath” so that’s not so much a flaw as something to consider when interviewing…

    I was going to bring up the us vs them idea, as well. We do a lot of training of our children to spot differences, not just for games (“Three of these things belong together, three of these things are kind of the same, one of these things does not belong here…”) but for their safety, too. It’s not unexpected to see similar thought patterns being transferred to other areas of life. The key is to recognize it’s happening and actively resist the urge to compartmentalize people into stereotypical groups.

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