[ExI] Reason for religions, was riots

Mirco Romanato painlord2k at libero.it
Mon Oct 1 21:48:55 UTC 2012

Il 29/09/2012 06:03, Keith Henson ha scritto:
> On Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM,  Mirco Romanato <painlord2k at libero.it> wrote:

>> My take is religions are useful to bind people together and allow much
>> more cooperation.

> Yes.  particularly getting the warrior of a hunter gatherer tribe to
> kill the neighbors because trying that is better for genes in a
> situation where half the tribe would otherwise stave.

This is a mind experiment and I agree to the conclusions, but it have 
some implicit conditions in it making it worthy. For example, the 
implicit condition is "there is no way for the weakest group to leave 
for greener pastures". Another condition is "one group is totally 
genetically unrelated with the other". Another condition is "there are 
no other threat to them able to overcome them after they weaken 
themselves with a war".

The last is more interesting. Hunter-gaters (mainly in Africa) have 
lived in caves used also by hyena. At a time or another, hyenas were 
able to take over the cave from humans or humans from the hyenas. 
Finding show that many humans ended as hyenas snacks in these take-overs.

So, the hunter-gaters switch you talk about is problematic, because if 
it switched at the wrong time it would have caused the extinction of 
both parties. The winning side could be too weak to be able to defend 
itself from hyenas, lions or other humans.

The preferred solutions for hunter-gaters groups in conflict for 
resources was emigration to another place.
Another solution was, like in Viking Times, setting war parties to raid 
and sack some place far away, so a retaliation was improbable. Or hire 
themselves to another stronger group  in exchange of resources (like 
Harald Hardrada did with the Bizantine before becoming King).

>> It is like standardization of behaviors. If I belong
>> to a community with a definite set of officially shared memes I'm able
>> to plan my activities with a larger degree of safety.

> Indeed.  Attacking in a group has a much better chance of working.

This is true.

But war are useful only if you can take someone wealth and it must be 
produced before the war. So, cooperation is developed before the war, 
not during or because of war.
Gambetta wrote extensively about trust and cooperation and a main 
concept is trust arise from many small interactions and grow allowing 
bigger interactions where more is at stake.
People cooperate in war as they cooperate before the war, war will not 
make people more able to cooperate.
Or, like military trainers put it: "You will fight like you train"

  >> Different standards/religions could coexist, if they share some subset
>> of fundamental memes allowing them to coexist.

> Happens all the time.  Zones of mixed religions such as Jews and
> Christians have peacefully existed for a long time.  Then you get into
> bad economic conditions such as happened when Hitler came to power.

The problem is Nazis was not Christians. They were atheists and 
socialists. They simply scapegoated "Jews" to seize their wealth and 
redistribute it to their supporters. They were/are anti-capitalists and 
attacked the group more practically capitalist of all and easier to 
separate from the others.

>> Cooperation is a tremendous asset when there is an external threat, not
>> only because people go together against their shared threat, but because
>> they will help each other to endure the threat. But the threat need not
>> to be some human, just an harsh ecosystem, a dangerous job, etc.

> Read what Azar Gat has to say about the Australian evidence.

Maybe I'm not exposing my ideas well.
I'm not against the idea religion is not useful in war, just that 
religion initially was useful to intra-group cooperation and only after 
was used for extra-group conflicts.

Also I think Australia, Africa, Amazon, and other tropical setting are 
not well suited to explain how war, cooperation and trust started and 
How do war happened in temperate and cold ecosystems in the Paleolithic 
and Neolithic? What happened when humans were rare and were adapting to 
a new hostile environment? Do the same strategies worked then as they 
work now in Australia or Africa?
Why these populations stopped their evolution/progress and never 
progressed up to the bow technology (and Tasmanians had not the 
boomerang technology). Black Africans never get to Madagascar before the 
Melanesians get there by chance.

What is the limiting factor, the show stopper, preventing them from 
advancing? Genetic, ecologic, geographical?

>> Because the Catholics (Irish) see no reason to fight, as demography is
>> on their side. Protestants (Scot-English) see no reason to fight because
>> demography is not on their side and fighting would make thing worse
>> faster.
> Can you find data to support this?  It's been a long time since I dug
> out the data.  As I recall, the fighting stopped close to a generation
> after the birth rate of the Catholics dropped to about the same as the
> Protestants.


The birthrate fell made catholics more quiet, but the trend is more 
Catholics and less Protestants. And many young protestants go to live 
away in greater number than Catholics.

>> Both Churches hierarchies are against fighting for ideological
>> reasons. The main thing to worry about is, for both, the economy and the
>> lack of jobs. Fighting would make things worse.

> Please read what Pope Urban  II  is reported to have said
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Urban_II#Crusades

I correct myself:
Both Churches hierarchies are against this fighting for ideological

This don't imply the Church can not be supportive of fighting for 
practical (justified) reasons. There is a doctrine of "Just War" in the 
Catholics Catechism and it is not bad.

The fighting in North Ireland is not justified by the "Just War" 
doctrine for both sides.

> They were certainly the tail of the distribution.  But take a look at
> the economic outlook and the derivative of that output over the time
> you had such problems.

> If you have a better predictive model that is based on biology and
> evolution of the psychological traits by natural selection, please
> state it clearly.  I am not welded to any of these theories if a
> better model can be articulated.

> I am not a big fan of the model I have created because, while I think
> does a good job of explaining things, it isn't worth a hoot at
> defining simple solutions to fix the origins of the problems.

This will need a bit, to write it down, but I will try to articulate it 
in a later post.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list