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TomJrzk April 27th, 2008 11:45 AM

You make my point about eugenics...
As I see it, only under 2 conditions: either I'm intentionally trying to eradicate a gene for religiousity or I'm attacking FH because he's on the side of religion in schools.

First, I don't believe there is a gene for religiousity (by 'gene for' I'm simplifying the terms, not implying that this trait could not instead be the interaction between thousands of individual genes). There's a gene for herding and curiosity, with its 'need to know'. Even if there were, I'm not saying these people should not breed.

Second, I do not attack even the most fundamentally religious people if they argue fairly, and I've proven that.

I guess, since you closed the previous thread after taking your last pot shot without so much as a warning about my posts, I can expect to be banned now... Really.

If there's some other means by which I've 'made your point' I'd like to know what I'm missing.

James Brody April 28th, 2008 10:43 AM

Re: You make my point about eugenics...

A couple of thoughts.

1) I enjoy your comments and want you a part of things here.

2) Talk radio hosts have a rule: callers don't make remarks about other callers. I lapsed when I failed to announce and enforce this and when I broke the rule myself.

3) I think the material is otherwise worthwhile and want to keep it but insist on deleting personal references and will do so now.

4) If you wish, I will delete the entire series except for my opening piece.


TomJrzk April 28th, 2008 05:32 PM

Re: You make my point about eugenics...
Cool. Please do remove the personal comments, it was cathartic enough just to press the send button.

I still think my points about Jefferson and facts were valid, please leave them in.

I haven't mastered the finer skill of insulting obtusely enough that it doesn't get flagged; I'll work a bit harder on it. It would be nice if misrepresenting others arguments was flagged as well, though.

James Brody April 29th, 2008 11:42 AM

posted 4/29/08
Failing to believe in something - e.g., "religiosity," - can suggest a difference in imposed (socially organized) and chosen environments (you came across an idea and it immediately nested with all else that you are). If I'm now talking mainly to a gene, then you may not be convinced of what I say. You may also be comfortable including it as an aspect of herding or of madness - the one option leaves out too much while suggesting that cows have religion, the second merely relabels the phenomenon while leaving it beyond explanation.

Please consider:

1) Genetic contributions to many essential traits increase as you get older. Thus, instead of smarter, we accumulate worlds that match our particular beliefs and instead of smarter with time, we get blinder.

2) Sagan (Sagan, C., 1995, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. NY: Random House) suggests, I believe, that about 40% of people believe in spirits and ghosts ... a gene or a culture? Given that our greatest environments are those we choose, then a gene may pull the strings on those who see ghosts or listen to the most popular show on radio, Coast to Coast.

3) Here are some studies: religiosity appears in some of them as a dependent variable, something to be measured, and in others studies as an independent variable, something that affects over things that you measure.

Bouchard TJ, McGue M, Lykken D, & Tellegen A (1999) Intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness: genetic and environmental influences and personality correlates. Twin Research. 2: 88–98.

Eaves L, Martin N, & Heath A. (1990) Religious affiliation in twins and their parents: Testing a model of cultural inheritance. Behavior Genetics, 20, 1-22.

Eaves LJ, Heath A, Martin N, Maesi H, Neale M, Kendler K, Kirk K, & Corey L (1999) Comparing the biological and cultural inheritance of personality and social attitudes in the Virginia 30,000 study of twins and their relatives. Twin Research. 2: 62–80.

Kendler KS, Gardner CO, & Prescott CA (1997) Religion, psychopathology, and substance use and abuse; a multimeasure epidemiologic study. Am J Psychiatry. 154:322–329.

Kendler KS, Liu XQ, Gardner CO, McCullough ME, Larson D, & Prescott CA (2003) Dimensions of religiosity and their relationship to lifetime psychiatric and substance use disorders. Am J. Psychiatry. 160:496-503.

Kirk KM, Eaves LJ, & Martin N (1999) Self-transcendence as a measure of spirituality in a sample of older Australian twins. Twin Research. 2:81-87.

Koenig Laura B, McGue M, Krueger RF, Bouchard TB (2007) Religiousness, Antisocial Behavior, and Altruism: Genetic and Environmental Mediation. Journal of Personality. 75 (2) , 265–290.

Martin NG, Eaves LJ, Heath AC, Jardine R, Feingold LM, & Eysenck HJ (1986) Transmission of social attitudes. Proceedings National Academy of Science, 83: 4364-4368.

Timberlake DS, Rhee S, Haberstick BC, Hopfer C, Eringer M, Lessem JM, Smolen A, & Hewitt JK (2006) The moderating effects of religiosity on the genetic and environmental determinants of smoking initiation. Nicotine Tobacco Research. 8(1): 123–133.

4) Give another look at Mackay C (1841/1980) Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. NY: Three Rivers Press, and, of course, Sagan's Candle in the Dark.

5) See the posting on Jeremiah Wright: it's fascinating!


TomJrzk April 29th, 2008 01:16 PM

Re: You make my point about eugenics...
I believe religiousity contains aspects of many things, herding included. You needn't argue away my point as only herding or complete madness.

If you want to add spirits/ghosts as another aspect of religion, I would suggest that, as members of a social species, we crave closeness to significant others and feel pain when they're lost; having them still floating about reduces that pain and allows us to go about our daily business. It makes sense that there would be a genetic disposition to something that healthy (psychologically and therefore physically).

Religion lumps those two, plus others, into one. That we are genetically inclined to the parts does not mean that we're genetically incline to the whole.

Are there other parts you want to lump in that I can assign to some other disposition? I still don't think there's a god gene, more like many genes which a god has been invented to accommodate.

BTW, it might be more fair for you to remove your insult after editing out mine; can you unlock the other thread and move these posts to it?

James Brody May 3rd, 2008 02:15 PM

Re: You make my point about eugenics...

More later...


PS: you're right about the "send button!" It can be a lot of fun!

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