Remarks on the Biology, Psychology and Politics of Religion

Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press (2019)
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In my view all behavior is an expression of our evolved psychology and so intimately connected to religion, morals and ethics, if one knows how to look at them. Many will find it strange that I spend little time discussing the topics common to most discussions of religion, but in my view it is essential to first understand the generalities of behavior and this necessitates a good understanding of biology and psychology which are mostly noticeable by their absence in works on religion, politics, history, morals and ethics, etc. In my view most such efforts have no grasp at all of the operation of System 2, the slow cortical functions of the brain which can be equated to linguistic behavior or the mind, and which I call the Descriptive Psychology of Higher Order Thought and which I regard as the province of philosophy in the narrow sense. It is my contention that the table of intentionality (rationality, mind, thought, language, personality etc.) that features prominently here describes more or less accurately, or at least serves as an heuristic for, how we think and behave, and so it encompasses not merely philosophy and psychology, but everything else (religion, history, literature, mathematics, politics etc.). Note especially that intentionality and rationality as I (along with Searle, Wittgenstein and others) view it, includes both conscious deliberative System 2 and unconscious automated System 1 actions or reflexes. This collection of articles was written over the last 10 years and revised to bring them up to date (2019). All the articles are about human behavior (as are all articles by anyone about anything), and so about the limitations of having a recent monkey ancestry (8 million years or much less depending on viewpoint) and manifest words and deeds within the framework of our innate psychology as presented in the table of intentionality. As famous evolutionist Richard Leakey says, it is critical to keep in mind not that we evolved from apes, but that in every important way, we are apes. If everyone was given a real understanding of this (i.e., of human ecology and psychology to actually give them some control over themselves), maybe civilization would have a chance. As things are however the leaders of society have no more grasp of things than their constituents and so collapse into anarchy is inevitable is spite of the near universal views that religion, politics or technology can save us. See my Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 5th ed (2019), for a detailed exposition of this view. It is critical to understand why we behave as we do and so I start with a brief review of the logical structure of rationality, which provides some heuristics for the description of language (mind, rationality, personality) and gives some suggestions as to how this relates to the evolution of social behavior. This centers around the two writers I have found the most important in this regard, Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle, whose ideas I combine and extend within the dual system (two systems of thought) framework that has proven so useful in recent thinking and reasoning research. As I note, there is in my view essentially complete overlap between philosophy, in the strict sense of the enduring questions that concern the academic discipline, and the descriptive psychology of higher order thought (behavior). Once one has grasped Wittgenstein’s insight that there is only the issue of how the language game is to be played, one determines the Conditions of Satisfaction (what makes a statement true or satisfied etc.) and that is the end of the discussion. No neurophysiology, no metaphysics, no postmodernism, no theology. Along with many, I see it as the basic religious or moral issue of our times that America and the world are in the process of collapse from excessive population growth, most of it for the last century, and now all of it, due to 3rd world people. Consumption of resources and the addition of 3 billion more ca. 2100 will collapse industrial civilization and bring about starvation, disease, violence and war on a staggering scale. The earth loses at least 1% of its topsoil every year, so as it nears 2100, most of its food growing capacity will be gone. Billions will die and nuclear war is all but certain. In America, this is being hugely accelerated by massive immigration and immigrant reproduction, combined with abuses made possible by democracy. Depraved human nature inexorably turns the dream of democracy and diversity into a nightmare of crime and poverty. China will continue to overwhelm America and the world, as long as it maintains the dictatorship which limits selfishness and permits long term planning. The root cause of collapse is the inability of our innate psychology to adapt to the modern world, which leads people to treat unrelated persons as though they had common interests (which I suggest may be regarded as an unrecognized -- but the commonest and most serious-- psychological problem -- Inclusive Fitness Disorder). This, plus ignorance of basic biology and psychology, leads to the social engineering delusions of the partially educated who control democratic societies. Few understand that if you help one person you harm someone else—there is no free lunch and every single item anyone consumes destroys the earth beyond repair. Consequently, social policies everywhere are unsustainable and one by one all societies without stringent controls on selfishness will collapse into anarchy or dictatorship. Without dramatic and immediate changes, there is no hope for preventing the collapse of America, or any country that follows a democratic system, especially now that the Neomarxist Third World Supremacists are taking control of the USA and other Western Democracies, and helping the Seven Sociopaths who run China to succeed in their plan to eliminate peace and freedom and religion worldwide. Hence my concluding essays. Of course, it is an easily defensible point of view that Artificial Intelligence (aka Artificial Stupidity or Artificial Sociopathy) researchers are even more evil than the Democrats and the CCP, and I make brief comments on this as well. Several articles touch on The One Big Happy Family Delusion, i.e., that we are genetically selected for cooperation with everyone, and that the euphonious ideals of Democracy, Diversity, Equality and Religion will lead us into utopia, if we just manage things correctly (the possibility of politics). Again, the No Free Lunch Principle ought to warn us it cannot be true, and we see throughout history and all over the contemporary world, that without strict controls, selfishness and stupidity gain the upper hand and soon destroy any nation that embraces these delusions. In addition, the monkey mind steeply discounts the future, and so we cooperate in selling our descendant’s heritage for temporary comforts, greatly exacerbating the problems. I describe versions of this delusion (i.e., that we are basically ‘friendly’ if just given a chance) as it appears in some recent books on sociology/biology/economics. Even Sapolsky’s otherwise excellent “Behave” (2017) embraces leftist politics and group selection and gives space to a discussion of whether humans are innately violent. I end with two essays on the great tragedy playing out in America and the world, which can be seen as a direct result of our evolved psychology manifested as the inexorable machinations of System 1. Our psychology, eminently adaptive and eugenic on the plains of Africa from ca. 6 million years ago, when we split from chimpanzees, to ca. 50,000 years ago, when many of our ancestors left Africa (i.e., in the EEA or Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation), is now maladaptive and dysgenic and the source of our Suicidal Utopian Delusions. So, like all discussions of behavior (theology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology, anthropology, politics, law, literature, history, economics, soccer strategies, business meetings, etc.), this book is about evolutionary strategies, selfish genes and inclusive fitness (kin selection, natural selection), though of course few grasp this, regardless of whether they are academics or peasants, atheists or fundamentalists.

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