[ExI] Religions are not the ultimate cause of war

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Mon Oct 1 15:27:56 UTC 2012

On Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM,  Tomasz Rola <rtomek at ceti.pl> wrote:

> On Sun, 30 Sep 2012, Mirco Romanato wrote:
>> Il 30/09/2012 05:47, Tomasz Rola ha scritto:
>> > In other words, they are doing against their own ideals (like, their
>> > religion) which is about being right and doing just things - or so
>> > it says. The only religion I heard of that would ok acts of
>> > terrorism is satanism (but I'm not sure if this is religion proper).


"Satanists do not believe in the supernatural, in neither God nor the
Devil. To the Satanist, he is his own God. Satan is a symbol of Man
living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates. The reality behind
Satan is simply the dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates
all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation
inherent in all living things. Satan is not a conscious entity to be
worshipped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped
at will. Thus any concept of sacrifice is rejected as a Christian
aberration—in Satanism there’s no deity to which one can sacrifice."

Also, much here
maps nicely to the Extropian view of the world.

>> > Anyway, killing random people is cowardish and unjust in my opinion.

Regardless of how you or I feel about it, it accomplishes the goal of
getting the population back in line with the resources.  Or at least
it did back in the stone age.  Today wars can destroy the
infrastructure that allows large populations to exist.

>> Try to Google "I was made victorious with terror" (it will help you
>> auto-completing the phrase ) and you will find some interesting things
>> about Mormonism.


> For what I know, we have our own community of Mormons here in Poland, and
> so far I have no reason to doubt their good will, law abiding or
> patriotism.

Put a population under stress and you will get similar behavior, often
using religious memes to justify the behavior.  Rwanda is a great
example, but if you want one involving Mormons, try

"Today historians attribute the massacre to a combination of factors
including both war hysteria and strident Mormon teachings. Scholars
still debate whether senior Mormon leadership, including Brigham
Young, directly instigated the massacre or if responsibility lies with
the local leaders of southern Utah."

> Also, since they are humans, I expect majority of them to be like other
> humans I know, trying to raise their families, have children and live long
> enough to see them having their own families and children.

Of course.  However, until very recently, raising families
successfully resulted in population growth.  On a relatively constant
resource base this eventually resulted in the population exceeding the
capacity of the resource base to provide for them.  So eventually,
this kind of behavior sowed the seeds of a resource crisis and humans
are (I claim) wired up to respond to a resource crisis by going to
war.  In the stone age, war was always effective in getting the
population back in line with the resources, so people could go back to
the business of raising children and set up the conditions for war
again.  (Where have all the flowers gone?)

> This requires
> that they support idea of peace lasting at least umpteen years (to raise
> children) at a very minimum. I expect them to be the majority of Mormons,
> simply because those who disregard needs of their families in favour of
> battling the world are worsening prospects of their children and in this
> way eradicate themselves. Or rather, their genes.

If you run through the math, there are conditions where war is the
better choice for genes.  If it was not, our traits for war would
never have evolved.  (Obviously.)

Simple model, drought situation where half of two bands will die of
starvation, or they can fight.  All the loser adults are killed.  For
similar sized bands, consider the winner to be random.  For the
adults, there is no advantage to going to war.  But the human
propensity to take the young women of the losers as wives or extra
wives limits the downside from the gene's viewpoint.  So war is
better, _substantially_ better than the alternative in some
circumstances.  This leads to several depressing consequences due to
individuals and their genes being in conflict.

Fighting, when there is no need to fight, is (from the gene's
viewpoint) highly punishing, i.e., human genes have been both selected
to fight under some conditions and selected not to fight under other
conditions.  And because the consequences are so dire, the mechanism
to detect when it is to the gene's advantage to fight has also been
under intense selection.

It is not a pretty picture connecting peacefully raising children with
wars.  Unfortunately, that's the way of nature.

This model does let us predict that China will not start wars as long
as their income per capita prospects are looking good.  That doesn't
mean they will not fight a war because they can be attacked.

There are lots of other obvious consequences for this model and we
could calibrate it from historical events.


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