[ExI] Religions are not the ultimate cause of war

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Tue Oct 2 17:13:28 UTC 2012

On Mon, 1 Oct 2012, Keith Henson wrote:

> Also, much here
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaVeyan_Satanism#The_Nine_Satanic_Statements
> maps nicely to the Extropian view of the world.

Yes, very interesting. I would expect someone to write here something like 
"Ja, I have two horned masks in a closet and I wear them one on top of 
another on various meetings" anytime now :-P .

> >> > 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.

Right, good reason to keep an eye on internet worms.

> >> 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.
> snip
> > 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
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_massacre

Actually, if I am right in reading Aesopian language of this thread, we 
say Mormons but we think Surrealists, or maybe Pre-Raphaelites. Or 
Dadaists. Yeah, Dadaists is the word.

> "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."

Still, Young was good enough to name University after him. What a great 
lesson to someone like me. Uh-hum did I suggest I could become a massacre 
instigator? Craps. Well, ok, I could. Why not, especially if they were not 
going to judge me.

> > 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?)

You are not the only one claiming we are wired so. I wish we behaved 
better or at least wiser. And nowadays, when we start throwing stones, the 
clouds will go quite high. On the other hand, seems like we are quickly 
developing in the area where stones are equally lethal without nasty side 
effects. So, soon there will be little or no barriers to start using them.

> > 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.

Ok, let's say that whenever environment/situation forces us into living 
conditions of some era, our behaviours revert to behaviours typical of 
that era.

> 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.

Right. However, for some time at least, their technological advances are 
not allowing them for attacking anybody. Like, they have a prototype 5 gen 
fighter but fit it with 30-years old Soviet engine (Russians deny them 
modernised designs of that engine, afraid Chinese will clone and sell it 
like they already did). Perhaps they will try to find a deal in Europe 
(Europe needs money, BTW is it possible to blame banksters for rise of 
Chinese military power?). If not, they will have to develop it on their 
own, but I wonder how long will it take. Before they are done, they are 
limited to various forms of "pressure" on their neighbours.

I might have simplified description but not very much, I think.

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

Well, somebody very sure may be doing this. "We" could too, but we may 
have a problem with getting real numbers for a model and we might be 
preconditioned to give attention to some factors but not to others (just 
like Axis military planners seemed to forget about plain numbers not 
working in their favour, and worse, they have fixated themselves on 
building grandiose designs like the Mouse tank or Yamato class 

An interesting starting point could be Rome Club's models from "Limits to 
growth" and "Beyound the limits", even though they have been criticised 
by some.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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