[extropy-chat] Islamic morons win yet again (resend 2)

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Mon Oct 2 03:08:56 UTC 2006

At 11:41 AM 10/1/2006 -0400, you wrote:
>"Keith Henson" <hkhenson at rogers.com>
> > It is useless to denounce religion
>I do not believe it is useless to denounce evil, in fact I believe it is
>rather despicable not to.

It is like denouncing a fever.

Xenophobic memes simple arise when they are called for by the 
situation.  Think Pol Pot's version of communism, Nazi memes, Rwanda.

> > and it is *not* the root cause of human  misery.
>I would never be so foolish as to say religion is the cause of all human
>misery, but I would say that with the exception of death itself religion has
>caused more misery than any other single thing.

It is just distracting to denounce something which is caused by something 
else.  You are never going to understand what is the correct action to take 
that way.

> > Human reproduction in excess of what the ecosystem/economy can support
> > *is* the cause of misery.
>Human reproduction has never been in a higher gear than it is right now, so
>if you were right we would expect the average standard of living to be lower
>than its ever been. However the exact opposite is true, human beings have
>never had it so good.

You are dead wrong about human reproduction.  Over the entire developed 
populations it is at near replacement rates.  But read what I said, "in 
excess of what the ecosystem/economy can support."

>Despite what the tree huggers say the
>ecosystem/economy is doing quite well thank you very much.

I have no problem with a solar system population of trillions of people, in 
fact, I think it would be a good idea.  The earth could support the current 
and even the projected population with considerable advances in technology.

But if you look at the places where the problems come from they are parts 
of the world with high birth rates and stagnant economies.

> >Easter Island was a case where war a few generations earlier would have
> >been much better.
>You don't need anything as drastic as war. If the Easter Islander's religion
>hadn't caused them to use all their time energy recourses and imagination
>making  all those incredibly stupid statues they would have been one hell
>of a lot better off.

Well, please tell me what they could have done with the "time energy 
resources and imagination"?  I have played this game a number of times and 
even with full scale modern knowledge I don't see how Easter Island would 
have played out any better.

> > It is truly bizarre, but I make the case that there are times when the
> > interest of a person and the interest of  their genes diverge.
>I don't think it's bizarre to say that the genes interests and the
>individual's are not identical, I think it's a keen grasp of the obvious.
>After all, if it were not true the condom would never have been invented.

A more spectacular example was that stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae.

> >what situations in the stone age made those who could be infested with
> >religion more likely to survive (in the gene centered inclusive fitness
> >sense) than those who were not?
>I'm not at all sure that the religious meme got started because it conveyed
>some survival advantage, rather it may just be the result of being mortal
>and being intelligent.

The psychological trait of being able to be "captured" by a religious class 
meme has to be either something that was directly selected or a side effect 
of something what was directly selected.  That's your choice in EP theory.

>Contemplating death, especially your own death, is
>unpleasant. So people try to think of ways to fool themselves to reduce that
>unpleasantness (maybe death isn't really the end). Given that the religious
>meme is likely to be present, at least to some degree, in any population, an
>individual who knows how to exploit that meme (God speaks through me!)
>would have a huge reproductive advantage. And it's still true, the religious
>cult leader Warren Jeffs who was just arrested had 80 wives and 250

Interesting speculation backed up by some data is that descendents of the 
early Mormons are more susceptible than the rest of the population to cult 
class memes.  What you would expect with a big genetic contribution.

Keith Henson

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