Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Evolution of a World of Peace

In the past, natural selection favored the evolution of neural structures conducive to unquestioning belief. With the advent of free societies and flourishing education, such structures were no longer needed and began to vanish. However, in some pockets in the world, artificial selection of these same structures is resulting in a steady degeneration of thinking capacities and regression towards violence and restriction of the human rights of women and children.

As we evolved into conscious beings, we gained a predilection to simply believe what we were told. The shouted imperative, “…the storm is approaching!” served as well as “…the God of thunder is approaching!” in herding the children towards shelters. Those that did not believe became the victims of the calamities. The truth of the content of the warning did not matter as much as simply heeding the warning.

As the opposing armies of ancient tribes steeled themselves for impending battles, they were each abetted by a belief in a powerful god who was on their side, who would protect them during the conflict. The greater the force of this mindless belief, the more courageous the man in battle. Natural selection stepped in to weed out the skeptics.

Every battle has a victor and the winners were naturally inclined to give thanks to their mythical gods. Theories of the personalities of the gods were formed. These were passed down in stories and finally in written form. These early writings were precious indeed, not because of their content, but because they were so difficult to reproduce. They were the only writings around. The psychology of man was severely impacted by this dichotomy of value assessment over scriptures. The documents were scarce and thus sacred and this resulted in an equivalent valuation of the content. The scriptures began to be proclaimed as very words of the gods of wars. The contents of the warnings began to matter more than the reason for the warnings.

Today these same scriptures are handed to children all over the world accompanied by corporal threats that they must be never questioned. In some cultures, those children that grow to question the writings are cut off with violence. Artificial selection is at work here, culling the superior skeptical brain structures from the gene pool in favor of those structures conducive to mindless belief. The degenerative effect is plain to see in the violence of the persisting tribal wars and gross corporal punishments against the women and children. The belief that there exists a god that must be honored with violence against those who disbelieve is ensconced in the brains of the men, sewed up in a palpable fear response against any doubt.

Being hard-wired for mindless belief does not doom a man. The cure is patently simple: Read books of science. Study the accumulated knowledge of man. In short, become educated. It does not matter how long it takes, just keep reading. Mindless belief no longer serves to enhance our survival. As our children become educated they will test our beliefs and improve them. It is our job to make sure their minds are free from the prejudice with which we were inflicted by our religious parents. Natural selection will take over and their brains will improve.

The natural evolution of a human life is to learn. We are happiest when our minds are active, when we are learning new ideas and combining old ideas into novelties. In the free world, we have libraries, bookstores and the internet by which we can continue our lifelong educations. As we build a world of peace we will be making all of this knowledge available for everyone. We will document and enact human rights for all men, women, and children to access to the accumulated knowledge of man. To what greater or nobler effort can a free man attend than to bring these instruments of knowledge to the people of the world who today are denied?