One of THOSE Discussions / God, Free Will and Absurdities

This post has gained momentum from having one of those “late night” discussions with a friend – the type that is popular when one is in college, a bit drunk (or otherwise deranged) and which, as one gets older and wiser, one vows to never again participate in. The gist of the argument was:

Determinism (God) is totally compatible with Free Will (The Declaration of Independence), so we have both.

I could stop right here, because this “set up” is thoroughly American “wacky” thinking. It demonstrates the absolute belief that “America” is a special case = exemption from reality, that was/is made possible by American Democracy (in case you weren’t aware, democracy is not a political creation of human origin) which came about by an Act of God. “Freedom” is a basic American goal: Free Will is therefore a mandatory human endowment (by virtue of the word Free appearing in both “concepts”). God created everything, so he must have created Free Will. Jesus is a kind of “sponge” that suffices to “soak up” all those bad choices Free Will allows, that is, if you turn over all your choices, decisions and Free Will to Jesus.

The irony is that this absurd, pointless discussion “cleared the air” over previously unspoken conflict with a dear friend, like blowing up the Berlin Wall; getting it out of the way, and establishing that friendship is not “rational” at all, but an agreement about what really matters; good intentions carried into actions, loyalty and a simple “rightness” – agreement on what constitutes “good behavior” on the part of human beings and a pledge of one’s best effort to stick to that behavior.

This entire HUGE neurotypical debate is nonsense.

God has nothing to do with Free Will, the Laws of physics, or any scientific pursuit of explanations for “the universe”. The whole reason for God’s existence is that He, or She, or They are totally outside the restrictions of “physical reality”. That’s what SUPERNATURAL means. So all the “word concept” machinations over “God” and “science” – from both ends of the false dichotomy – are absurd. Free Will is also a non-starter “concept” in science: reality proceeds from a complex system of “facts” and mathematical relationshipsthat cannot be “free-willed” away.

Total nonsense.

If one believes in the “supernatural” origin of the universe as a creation of supernatural “beings, forces and miraculous acts” then one does not believe in physical reality at all: “Physics” is a nonexistent explanation for existence. One can only try to coerce, manipulate, plead with, and influence the “beings” that DETERMINE human fate. Free Will is de facto an absurdity, conceived of as something like the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, (inspired by God, after all – not really by the intelligence of the people who wrote it). In American thought, (political) rights grant permission to “do whatever I want”. The concept of responsibility connected to rights has been conveniently forgotten. Free Will in this context, is nothing more than intellectual, moral and ethical “cheating”.

So, the immense, complicated, false dichotomy of Determinism vs. Free Will, and the absurd 2,000+ year old philosophical waste of time that has followed, and continues, is very simple (at least) in the U.S. 

Whatever I do, is God’s Will: Whatever you do, isn’t. 

 

 

 

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The most important “developmental” fact of life

is death.

It just happens: We grow old. It’s a natural progression, without doubt. But not in the U.S., of course, where openly denying death is a frenzied passion. Getting old is a crime in a society terrified of “growing up” and becoming adult.

Old people are proof of the most basic facts of life, so much so, that being old has become taboo. And if one lives to the “new” expectation of 80 or so, that means 30 years of life beyond the new “old age” of 50. That’s a long time to “fake” being “young, beautiful, athletic and sexy”. 

Growing old is tough enough without a “new” set of instructions; don’t look old, act old, get sick, become feeble or need help (unless that help is covered by insurance.) Don’t remind younger people, by your very presence, that there is an end; it is believed now that one can “look good” until the end – which will entail a short, or long, period of degeneration. This period of “old age” is rarely seen as a “good” time of life as valid as one’s childhood, young adulthood, or middle age, unless one has the funds to at least pretend to be “youngish”.

Contrary to popular American belief, it remains a fruitful time of personal development. As long as our bodies continue to function, learning and thinking continue to be what humans do.

If life has been one long illusion that only “social” rewards count, and life has been a display of materials owned, status achieved, people “bested”, then one will likely keep up the illusion, with whatever “solutions” the anti-aging industry has to offer.

I live in a town in which most people are “getting old” – not much opportunity for the young to work, to develop a career, to join the circus of material wealth and ambition. Traditionally, young people have returned to the area after college, and a stint in corporate America, time in the military, or success in finding a spouse. Having “grown up” in this unique place, it was where they chose to establish families and to be close to loved ones. The Wyoming landscape and lifestyle have always been a fundamental fact in this choice to return, and it pulls relentlessly on those who leave.

Disastrous policies, and frankly criminal wars, prosecuted from Washington D.C. in league with corporate-Wall Street crooks, and funded by abused taxpayers, demonstrate the general belief on both coasts that the people who inhabit the “rest of the U.S.” just don’t matter. We are indeed worthless and disposable inferiors willing to enrich a ruling class that despises them, and to literally die for “blood” profits in their service.

Our town needs new people to survive as a community; we need children and young families, but opportunity is lacking. Small businesses are closing and not reopening: the owners have retired and are dying off. Competition from online retailers has siphoned off local spending and old people have very little to spend anyway. Every dime goes to necessities and the obscene cost of healthcare.

The American dream left our town long ago. Wyoming’s existence has been plagued by Federal and corporate control from the beginning, when the railroad opened the West to outright looting of it’s resources by far away “global” entities. Pillage of the land and it’s resources funded the American coastal empires; exploitation of immigrants provided cheap labor. “Colonialization” by U.S. and European nations was not limited to the invasion of “foreign lands” but happened here also – and continues to this day.

Native Americans (not being suited to corporate life and labor) were killed off with conscious purpose – a policy of mass murder; the remnants confined to “reservations” where their descendants are expected to remain “invisible” – to whither away and to eventually die off, by a slow suicide of formerly unique human beings. Diversity? A smoke screen.

These thoughts occupy my meditations as I pass through a human being’s last opportunity for personal development. It’s a time of recognizing that the universe goes on without us; that our deepest questions will not be answered. It’s a time to understand that the individual cannot correct or improve much that goes on in an increasing cluttered and entangled social world, which doesn’t mean that we ought not try to improve our ourselves and our small areas of influence.  Our lives are eventually “finished” for us by nature, in disregard for our insistence that our life is essential to the universe and therefore, ought to go on forever.

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It is shocking to confront the fact that so much human effort, inventiveness, hard labor, suffering, and resource depletion was, and still is, devoted to the imaginary “immortality” of a few (not so admirable) individuals; Pharaohs, emperors, kings, dictators, war lords, ideologues, criminals, Popes and priests; not the best of humanity, but often the worst.

The big lie is an old lie: Immortality can be purchased. 

Yes, there is a pyramid for immortality-mortality also: The Pharaohs of our time will not be mummified. (A crude process of desiccation, which however has been wildly socially successful! They continue to be A -List celebrities that attract fans of the “rich and famous”.)

Today’s 1% equivalents will not be made immortal by being dried out like fish, cheese or jerky – no, they will be made “immortal” by means of “sophisticated” technology. What an advancement in human civilization! 

These immortality technologies, and lesser life extension, of replacements of organs and skeletal architecture, part by failing part, are being promoted as “mankind’s future” – What a lie! As if the today’s Pharaohs really intend to share their immortality with 15 billion humans!

timecover

2045: The year Man becomes Immortal. Right: All estimate 15 billion of us.

A few elite at the top may manage to purchase immortality of a limited sort: machines designed in their own image.

The mortal King Tut, a product of incest who died at age 19. How much human talent and potential has been wasted on fulfilling the fantasy of immortality for a predatory class of individuals?

It’s not King Tut, the Insignificant, who is immortal, but the lure of his “real estate” holdings, elite addresses, golden household furniture and knickknacks, layers of stone coffins, granite “countertops”, Jacuzzi bath tubs, fabulous jewelry, and rooms with a view of eternity, that keeps the envious modern social tourist coming back. 


This is not King Tut. This is a fabulous work of propaganda made by artisans, (Pharaohs had to impress the Gods in order to become a god – you wouldn’t show up for “judgement day” in anything less than the most impressive selections from your wardrobe) who rarely get credit (nameless) for their “creation of brands and products” that supply the magical connections necessary for supernatural belief in the pyramid of social hierarchy as the “definitive and absolute model” of the cosmos.  

Magic consists of the “transfer of power” between the “immortal mask” and the unimpressive person; the “mask” has become King Tut in the belief system of the socially-obsessed viewer.  

 

 

Mystified Asperger Female / Sexual Assault and the Media

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will: Any assault on another person is an assault. The “measure of severity” and consequence-punishment is a socio-cultural determination. Sexual assault has traditionally been considered a separate and “special” case, with various cultures having very different attitudes, customs and laws surrounding “who owns” a person’s body. It is a subject basic also to slavery; slavery is “ownership” of body, soul and mind” of another human being. Traditionally, females have been subject to “ownership”, from outright slavery, to marriage customs to “simply being inferior” by virtue of being biologically female – and by supposedly being little more than a child in “intelligence” and self-actuation. This has been the social condition of females for all of recorded history.

Much of how modern social humans “view” sex – and the myriad complications heaped on what is a biologic necessity – by hundreds of thousands of discussions, negotiations, codes, laws, practices, controls, moral-ethical stances, criminal statutes, marriage contracts and the consequent “control” of children, is rooted in this concept of “ownership”.

The qualitative and functional hierarchy goes like this:

Men own women.

Men own children, because men own women.

Men choose when and where to have sex with women and children.

UH-OH! That’s a recipe for male-on-male conflict, which is of immense threat to society.

The hierarchy forms:

Top Males choose for lesser males. (The history of male access to females is clear about this being extremely important). There’s a distinct “Top Predator” hierarchy of “sexual privilege”. That hierarchy of restricted access to sex is one very big reason why males want to be “Top Males”. (See Ghenghis Khan and Y haplogroup)

This “set up” hasn’t changed, just because a bunch of American women have decided, in the last century or so, that this is a fundamentally “bad system” for females. (Me included). The campaign for equality with men; in fact, opportunity and aspiration, has largely been the purview of women who have had the opportunities for education, work and personal expression due to family circumstance and expectations. Class distinctions.

The current “eruption” of female anger toward an inarguably predatory “sexual” culture, are women who have managed to “gain some measure of power” – in media, politics, entertainment – essentially $$$$. It’s politics, pure and simple. Why wouldn’t women who have gained a foothold in the status, power, and wealth hierarchy not “turn on” males, who are now their “equals” in politics, business and media-entertainment; that is, “competitors”? And, the traditional male hierarchy “permits” and even requires that younger males “knock off” Top Males who are “declining in potency”.

Meanwhile. What about the other 99% of men and women?

Most cannot afford to do anything but “slog on” trying to find the ways and means to have a decent life. A revolution is well underway that affects all of us. Men benefit from having strong female partners; they must learn not to abuse women who are adding much “good” to their lives. At the risk of being “optimistic”, which goes against my practical Asperger instincts, I would say that most men understand this, but they are up against the male “way of being” as dictated by thousands of years of cultural tradition, in a way that is fundamentally different than the experience of females. Males are “somebody” by virtue of being male. No matter how low on the pyramid they fall, there is always 50% of the population they “outrank”. Embracing equality requires a profound individual rejection of male tyranny.

 

 

American Pop Chart Toppers / 1940-2016 WEIRD!

What a strange trip! Pretty damn “kitschy” 

I think Americans are the weirdest people on the planet, but in our own estimation, we set the standard for NORMAL. Aye, yai, yai!

 

J.E. Robison / Where has all the Autism funding gone?

I don’t follow John Elder: I do understand that he’s tried to work within the “official Autism community” to produce change. It seems he’s finally waking up to the exploitation-for-profit program that is the Autism Industry.

Sex, Lies, and Autism Research—Getting Value for Our Money

How can we get tangible benefit from the millions we spend on autism science? (No, it’s not science; it’s a business.)

The U.S. government is the world’s biggest funder of autism research.  For the past decade I have had the honor of advising various agencies and committees on how that money should be spent. As an adult with autism, sometimes I’ve been pleased at our government’s choices. Other times I’ve been disappointed. Every now and then I turn to reflect: What have we gotten for our investment?

Autistic people and their parents agree on this: The hundreds of millions we’ve spent on autism research every year has provided precious little benefit to families and individuals living with autism today. Over the past decade the expenditures have run into the billions, yet our quality of life has hardly changed at all.

It would be one thing if massive help was just around the corner, but it’s not. There are no breakthrough medicines or treatments in the pipeline. Autistic people still suffer from GI pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and a host of other issues at the same rates we did before any of this research was funded.

I don’t mean to suggest that nothing has been accomplished.  Scientists have learned a lot. They know more about the biological underpinnings of autism. Researchers have found hundreds of genetic variations that are implicated in autism. We’ve quantified how autistic people are different with thousands of studies of eye gaze, body movement, and more. Scientists are rightly proud of many of their discoveries, which do advance medical and scientific knowledge. What they don’t do is make our lives better today. (Sorry John, that you feel you still need to “support” a corrupt system by buying into false claims of scientific progress or the value of bogus research.)

Why is that?

In the past I’ve written about the idea that taxpayer-funded research should be refocused on delivering benefit to autistic people. What I have not written about, is why that hasn’t happened, at the most fundamental level.

The answer is simple: Until quite recently, autistic people were not asked what we needed.

There are many reasons for that. Autism was first observed in children and no one expects children to have adult insight and self-reflection. When autism was recognized in adults, they were assumed to be too cognitively impaired to participate in conversations about their condition. Finally, in the spirit of the times, doctors often assumed that they knew best. They were the trained professionals, and we were the patients (or the inmates.) (Are we confusing “medical” doctors with non-medical psychologists? )

So doctors studied every question they could imagine, and then some, seldom seeking our opinions except in answer to their research questions. They assumed they knew what “normal” was, and we weren’t it. Countless million$ went down the rabbit hole of causation studies, whether in genetics, vaccines, or other environmental factors. Don’t get me wrong—the knowledge we’ve gotten is valuable for science. (Not really! It’s been valuable for the funding of universities, academics and research institutions) It just did not help me, or any autistic person I know. (It wasn’t INTENDED to help “autistic” people or their families).

Millions more have been spent observing us and detailing exactly the ways in which we are abnormal. Only recently have some scientists began to consider a different idea: Perhaps “normal” is different for autistic people, and we are it. Again the studies enhanced the scientists’ knowledge (of how to profit from human suffering) but didn’t do much to help us autistics.

Then there are the educators and psychologists. They observed our “deviations” and then considered therapy to normalize us. That led to ABA and a host of other therapies. Some of those have indeed been beneficial, but the money spent on beneficial therapy is just a drop in the bucket when considering what we taxpayers have funded overall.

Want a different and better outcome? Ask actual autistic people.

We can tell you what our problems are, in many cases very eloquently. I’m not going to re-state all our needs here. I’ll tell you this: Whenever this topic comes up at IACC (the Federal committee that produces the strategic plan for autism for the U.S. government), the priorities of autistic people seem rather different from those of the researchers our government has been funding for so long. (It’s a corrupt system; part of the general policy to redistribute wealth “up to” the 1%).

Autistic people have many disparate needs, but they all boil down to one thing: We have major challenges living in American society. Medical problems, communication challenges, learning difficulties, relationship issues, and chronic unemployment are all big deals for us. The issues are well laid out and many.

Before autistic people began speaking out in great numbers, all we had was parent advocacy. We should not dismiss that, and parents still have a role today, particularly in advocacy for small children and children who are older but unable to effectively advocate for themselves.

Even as we thank parents for their service, it’s time to recognize autistic voices (some of which belong to parents too) should be taking the lead.

As much as parents did for us, they also unwittingly contributed to harm. Parents misinterpreted harmless stimming, and encouraged therapists to suppress it, leaving us scarred in adulthood. Many autistics of my generation remember being placed into programs for troubled children with parental encouragement in hopes we’d become “more normal.” We didn’t. Parents have given us bleach enemas, and some of us have died from misguided chelation and other treatments to “cure” our autism.

I don’t blame parents for any of that. They did their best, given the knowledge of the day. But it’s a different day now. The children who grew up being “normalized” can talk about how it affected them, and parents and clinicians of today would be wise to listen.

Autistic voices are finally speaking in large numbers and it’s time to pay attention. No one else knows life with autism. Parents and no-autistic researchers are sometimes listening. Hard as this may be for them to hear, they are always guessing. With autistics speaking out all over the world, that’s no longer good enough.

For the first time, IACC has recognized this in the 2017 Strategic Plan Update. They say it’s time for a paradigm shift in how we do research. We need to focus on the needs of people living with autism today. That’s a realization that I appreciate, and it’s long overdue. (OMG! Please don’t fall for this universal neurotypical ploy: We wrote it down: SEE? End of story.)

So what’s the answer to why we’ve gotten so little return on our autism research investment: No one asked the autistic people what we wanted. It’s that simple. Had we been able to articulate our challenges, with the framework of knowledge we have today, and had we been listened to, we’d be in a very different place today.

Today is gone, but tomorrow isn’t here yet, and it can be different.

(c) John Elder Robison (Thank-you John for “stepping up” to the truth.)

John Elder Robison is an autistic adult and advocate for people with neurological differences. He’s the author of Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, Raising Cubby, and Switched On. He serves on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and many other autism-related boards. He’s co-founder of the TCS Auto Program (a school for teens with developmental challenges), and he’s the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and a visiting professor of practice at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
The opinions expressed here are his own.

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What more does the Autism Industry need?

Director of the Institute of Mental Health declares that Autism is a “real” epidemic and not due to changes in labels, diagnostic criteria and fear-mongering. No objective evidence needed when you have the Federal Government working FOR YOU. 

TACA is an “interesting NON-PROFIT – check out their website and the financial statements they provide. Hard to find out how much $$$ actually filters down to real people outside the “charity”. Here’s their “agenda”. Note the cliché about someday finding a “cure” which is not going to happen: creates a classic “American Non-Profit” demand for “donations” and funding in perpetuity. Think of all those “charities” that have collected billions for “research” etc, without a “cure” in sight.

I need to clarify my “view” of Asperger’s “the thing” in 2017

This is not going to be easy: I’ve been in a foul mood for days. Sick from reading, reading, reading the awful literature “about” Autism; the myriad denials, excuses, pompous exclamations and explanations of what?

Damaged Children.

  1. In my considered opinion, Aspergers “as I know it”, both by experience and investigation, is a PERSONALITY TYPE in modern Homo sapiens.
  2. “Disturbances” in behavior result from the extreme rarity of this personality in the modern social context.
  3. Asperger’s is closely associated with the MBTI “introverted thinking” types.
  4. Asperger’s as the “pathology” (which is identified-defined by modern social demands for conformity to “approved human behavior” – dictated by Western psychological theory) is “real” in that Asperger children  experience social trauma from a very early age, resulting in anxiety, withdrawal from social interaction, focus on private mental experiences, and resistance to “dog-training” methods of socialization; reward – punishment schemes that let’s face it – are the limit of American imagination and effort when it comes to raising children. “Dog-training” is suitable for domestic animals. 
  5. Positive characteristics such as advanced maturity (independence, self-motivation and learning), curiosity, visual thinking, and reliance on a specific egalitarian set of values that determine, for us, “proper” human interaction, are denigrated, attacked, and falsely represented as “defective” “subhuman” “inferior” and symptoms of developmental disability. These values are basic principles of democracy; fair play, justice, equality and honest human communication were, until recently, principles at least promoted to children as goals to establish “good character” and necessary to a stable and free society.  Now? It’s social warfare that it is demanded; any and all ugly behavior is sanctioned in the battle for power over other human beings.
  6. Asperger’s was ‘eliminated’ from the DSM – 5. Why? The “reasons” are rather mysterious. “It’s simpler to have socially problematic people under one big diagnostic umbrella,” seems to be the official explanation. The “Autism Spectrum” is imaginary; an inflated pool of behavior “problems” with myriad presentations, sources and causes. It’s a “sanitizing” word-concept that covers up the damage done to fetuses, infants, toddlers and children by careless and selfish adults, and by random “mistakes” inherent in natural processes. Many of these “causes” are preventable, but the “cult” of denial of personal responsibility for reproductive choices is in control in the U.S. today. It’s so much easier to “blame God” for a mind-boggling supernatural system of “baby-making disasters”, which have  preventable “real” causes. God must be fed up by now with being blamed for human social behavior. 
  7. Irrational, painful, disastrous – but Autism is a highly profitable imaginary realm for psychologists who function as ‘middle men’ in a vast industry built on fear. ASD is the latest version of a socially-motivated growth industry: Convincing human beings that they are inherently “defective” – and must obey the priests who can supply “salvation” (for a price; a sacrifice, a donation – cash or insurance). Psychology is def facto, a religion. And – so thinly disguised that it is embraced without question by highly religious Americans. 
  8. Asperger’s “the thing” has become a joke. A fad, a novelty, a tool for discrimination; a shabby “socially-approved” label for “disobedient”  children upon which people can safely express prejudice, hate, bigotry, ignorance. Asperger’s, the pejorative label, has been co-opted by the great American pop-culture machine, which trivializes anything and everything “culturally distinct” out of existence. (Assembly-line “Mexican” food anyone? Gang signs and tattoos for suburban moms? Camo clothes and toy AK-47s for soldier-toddlers?) Asperger’s isn’t a diagnosis; its an extreme minority designated as traditional outcasts; the list of “designated targets” – those scapegoats who can be blamed for society’s failures, is very long in human social history.

Who will be next?

The mentally ill, disabled and “social defectives” are once again front and center in the Eugenic Dream to perfect humanity – a distinctly American Dream. A resurgence of traditional Eugenic focus  is rapidly expanding to include “genetic” mistakes – at the most deterministic level – “cleansing of the human genome”. “Autistic” children are being used to identify defective genes which will be “removed”. 

British Academics / For the Love of Logic…Please Shut Up

Science News

Why do we believe in gods? Religious belief ‘not linked to intuition or rational thinking’

The study challenges a growing trend that has attempted to show that believing in the supernatural is something that comes to us ‘naturally’ or intuitively
November 8, 2017, Coventry University

Religious beliefs are not linked to intuition or rational thinking, according to new research by the universities of Coventry and Oxford.

Previous studies have suggested people who hold strong religious beliefs are more intuitive and less analytical, and when they think more analytically their religious beliefs decrease. But new research, by academics from Coventry University’s Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science and neuroscientists and philosophers at Oxford University, suggests that is not the case, and that people are not ‘born believers’.

The study — which included tests on pilgrims taking part in the famous Camino de Santiago and a brain stimulation experiment — found no link between intuitive/analytical thinking, or cognitive inhibition (an ability to suppress unwanted thoughts and actions), and supernatural beliefs. (This is news???)

Instead, the academics conclude that other factors, such as upbringing and socio-cultural processes, are more likely to play a greater role in religious beliefs. (DUH!)

The study — published in Scientific Reports — was the first to challenge a growing trend among cognitive psychologists over the past 20 years that has attempted to show that believing in the supernatural is something that comes to us ‘naturally’ or intuitively. (Magical thinking is a feature of Neoteny in modern social humans)

The team started by carrying out an investigation on one of the largest pilgrimage routes in the world — the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, in northern Spain. (!!!)

They asked pilgrims about the strength of their beliefs and the length of time spent on the pilgrimage and assessed their levels of intuitive thinking with a probability task, where participants had to decide between a logical and a ‘gut feeling’ choice. (Here we have the classic assumption that “intuition” is somehow “located” in the digestive system, and not the brain. How sophisticated!)

Without a definition of “intuition” other than a “guess” based on stomach rumblings, we can have no confidence of what the article is talking about!

The results suggested no link between strength of supernatural belief and intuition. In a second study, where they used mathematical puzzles to increase intuition, (????) they also found no link between levels of intuitive thinking and supernatural belief.

In the last part of their research they used brain stimulation to increase levels of cognitive inhibition, which is thought to regulate analytical thinking.

This involved running a painless electrical current between two electrodes placed on the participant’s scalp, to activate the right inferior frontal gyrus, a part of the brain that controls inhibitory control.

A previous brain-imaging study had shown that atheists used this area of the brain more when they wanted to suppress supernatural ideas.

(Do atheists have supernatural ideas? I’m an atheist BECAUSE I don’t have supernatural explanations for ordinary, or extraordinary phenomenon, and never have had.)

OMG! We are totally off the rails at this point! Mumbo Jumbo…

The results showed that while this brain stimulation increased levels of cognitive inhibition, it did not change levels of supernatural belief, suggesting there is no direct link between cognitive inhibition and supernatural belief.

The academics say that it is “premature” to explain belief in gods as intuitive or natural.

Instead, they say their research supports a theory that religion is a nurture-based process and develops because of socio-cultural processes, including upbringing and education.

Leading author Miguel Farias said:

“What drives our belief in gods — intuition or reason; heart or head?

(False dichotomies, AGAIN! They’re everywhere!!!!)

There has been a long debate on this matter but our studies have challenged the theory that being a religious believer is determined by how much individuals rely on intuitive or analytical thinking.

“We don’t think people are ‘born believers’ in the same way we inevitably learn a language at an early age. The available sociological and historical data show that what we believe in is mainly based on social and educational factors, and not on cognitive styles, such as intuitive/analytical thinking.

“Religious belief is most likely rooted in culture rather than in some primitive gut intuition.” (So not only is intuition located in your digestive system, it’s PRIMITIVE!) 

Story Source:

Materials provided by Coventry University.

Human Adaptation to Cold Environments / Population Growth

I’ve been wondering lately whether or not our assumptions as to Neanderthal, Denisovan and early AMH – Homo sapiens adaptation to Eurasian climates is “logical” in that we assume that adaptation was “highly successful”. What if it wasn’t? 
Looking again at this guesstimate of human population growth, we see that between 100,000 ya (at which time HS pop. is set at “0”) and the “mythic” date 1492, (when supposedly HS pop. was 500 million), the rate of increase was actually pretty dismal. Although HS had migrated to much of the planet, most human population was concentrated in low, hot, coastal environments (and still is). It was only with the fabulous amount of energy supplied by fossil fuels that we succeeded in “invading” both extremely hot and cold environments in any significant and permanent way. “Artificial thermoregulation” has actually resulted in a runaway rate of increase in population growth AND the unforeseen consequence of heating the entire planet. Human artificially cooled and heated environments are not “closed systems” – they are wide open to the surrounding environment. 
 
An analogy might be: Hauling alligators to Siberia, and expecting them to adapt to the cold; a ridiculous expectation: You’d have to change Siberia into Florida. Isn’t that what we’ve begun…? 
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Temperature (Austin)Published online 2016 Feb 22. doi:  10.1080/23328940.2015.1135688

Human whole body cold adaptation

Introduction

The most widely accepted view of geographic origin and early migration of humans is that they originate from tropical Africa and started to disperse over the world only about 40,000 y ago.1

Since high temperatures dominate in that area, one can assume that at that time humans possessed optimal behavioral and physiological mechanisms to cope with heat and less developed physiological and behavioral mechanisms to cope with cold as encountered in temperate and arctic regions. Even though it is well documented that climatic changes occurred in tropical regions, seasonal variation in ambient temperature is blunted compared to temperate climates and heat stress dominates.2 40,000 y is a relatively short time span in evolutionary terms and it is therefore interesting to investigate if current modern humans are still tropical animals. What mechanisms do we have to cope with cold and do they differ from mechanisms that we supposed to have had 40,000 y ago?

Both tropical and (Ant)Arctic climates are challenging climates for humans due to extreme heat and cold respectively. It is assumed that moderate climates with ambient temperatures of around 21°C need minimal human energy investment in comparison to heat and cold exposure.3 However, it is good to realize that human protection from adverse performance and health outcomes is required already in temperate climates due to daily and seasonal variations in temperature, and not only for temperature extremes.

Since we are not able to compare the population living 40,000 y ago with the current population, we have to make some assumptions in an attempt to make comparisons. One assumption is that humans of the current population of central Africa possess comparable thermoregulatory mechanisms as humans 40,000 y ago. This assumption is defendable since at least part of the African population continued to live under similar climatological circumstances. Therefore we can compare the heat and cold coping mechanisms of the current population of tropical Africa with people living in cold areas for millennia, in order to learn about the adaptivea mechanisms that have occurred. Another way to investigate adaptations is to compare Caucasians to the population originating from Africa that is currently living in colder areas, such as the black Americans.

Finally, experimental studies on repeated exposure to cold may elucidate the mechanisms to acclimatize. It is the purpose of this review to contribute to the discussion if and how humans adapt to cold, including population studies ánd dedicated cold acclimation studies. In this review exposure to cold is categorized as severe, moderate and mild according to the thermal stressor that includes both the medium (at a given temperature cold water exposure is more severe that cold air exposure) and the temperature of the medium. Thermal strain is the reaction of the body to the cold exposure often quantified by core body temperature.

The human thermoregulatory system relies on behavior and on physiological responses for thermal homeostasis.10 Our physiological mechanisms are limited: basically, thermal balance in humans is maintained by vasodilation/vasoconstriction of the skin and peripheral tissues within the so-called thermo-neutral zone.11 We have one extra physiological mechanism in the heat (sweat evaporation) and 2 extra mechanisms in the cold (shivering- [ST] and nonshivering-thermogenesis [NST]). Humans are good sweaters with maximal values observed exceeding 3.5 l/hour.12 Since the heat of vaporization of water is high, this leads to a cooling power of over 2500 W! Moreover, the sweating capacity adapts very well to the demand: 10 weeks of heat acclimation can double sweat production.13 This acquired additional cooling power is maintained for several weeks, even when not exposed to heat anymore.14 In conclusion, our thermal response to heat and our adaptation capabilities to heat are well developed. This review will focus on our capabilities to counteract cold exposure, which are less effective, at least on the long term.

Human adaptation to thermal extremes is not only an academic question, but important to assess the impact of climate change on mortality and morbidity.4 It is predicted that we will face more thermal extremes in the future, and the role of adaptation is essential to understand its impact. Some studies even predict the extinction of human populations that live in extremely hot climates in a few decades,5 but they hardly take human adaptation into account. On the other side, it is not unlikely that Northern Europe may experience cooling due to the thermohaline circulation6 and then it is good to know if and to what extent we can adapt to cold. Another important question is if workers are better protected against cold after repeated cold exposure. Occupational work is expected to increase in cold areas due to the exploration of natural gas (over 30% of world gas reserve is located in the Arctic area) and the opening of the waterway north of Russia. Similar questions arise in the area of sports, where running, skiing or skating in extreme cold is increasingly popular: does it have any benefits to expose oneself to cold prior to the sports event in order to be optimally prepared? Therefore, this review focuses on the capability of humans to adapt to cold.

First the basic mechanisms to cope with cold will be discussed, followed by differences between populations living in hot and in cold areas. In most reviews on cold adaptation7-10 studies regarding population differences are intertwined with acclimation studies (in line with the definition in the Glossary of terms11). This may lead to confusion and therefore this review starts with discussing the results of population studies followed by studies on acclimation to cold. When required, small excursions will be made to the effect of heat exposure on humans. A recent review on heat adaptation provides extended information on adaptation to heat.12

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Of course, this “physics” problem is very complicated….