Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Sperm Count and Cultural Evolution

January 29, 2018

Sperm Count and Cultural Evolution

One of my recent blogs discussed the fact that the loss of influence of a culture’s religion is commonly associated with the decline of that culture. This observation was presented as part of a larger blog on the seemingly unrelated, though actually not , topic of “Why Leftists Hate Religion”.

Here I noted that historically there are many causes of cultural decline, even total collapse, and recommended an excellent book on that topic for those who may wish to learn more about it.

I hope you will visit this blog and that you will find it thought-provoking.

https://culturalsurvivalskills.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=11839&action=edit

Now a new potential cause of cultural change, and I judge possible decline, has been confirmed by scientists. Modernizing cultures tend to experience a significant and continuing decline in their male citizen’s sperm count.

This powerful mechanism of cultural change is now occurring throughout Western Civilization. Of course the United States is a leading Western Civilization Culture and we also are suffering a declining male citizen sperm count.

It is logical to conclude that declining sperm counts in a male population are likely to lead to a decline in indigenous birth rates.  Scientific studies have also documented declining  birthrates in developing countries.

Although the causes for the decline among this cluster of events are yet uncertain, as I have reported, they are correlated with modernization. 

The specific causes of these correlations are unclear. A simple chain of linear causes leading to cultural decline is unlikely, given that the plethora of potential interacting variables are in constant flux within cultures over time. Causal interactions within such complex systems of variables, if they are linear at any level, are apt to be so only for a short time before many outcomes began to causally interact with other individuals, groups, businesses, agencies and levels of government within a culture. The outcomes  and exact magnitudes of such causal interactions may be near impossible to parse-out and trace as they interact, catalytically and perhaps, in some cases, exponentially with a myriad of other cultural features.

As if this complexity is not daunting enough, as any single culture changes, its interactions among other cultures will also likely change . Such changes can set the stage for reciprocal cycles of mutual influence among interacting groups of different cultures. The outcomes of these causal cycles will be fiendishly difficult to control and predict.

Perhaps you will agree with me that contemplating the intelligent control that humans might be able to purposefully exert upon the evolution of the cultures of this world is mind-boggling. 

Whatever is the case with the data on declining religiosity, declining fertility and declining birth rates in modernizing cultures ; all correlating with general declining conditions within these cultures, none of this seems to bode well for happy outcomes. 

Below, see the recent scientific findings on modernization and decreasing male fertility.

We are living in interesting times.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks-weekahead/state-of-the-union-more-likely-to-raise-eyebrows-than-stocks-idUSKBN1FF1WV

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 1/29/18

The Psychology of Morality: Religion vs Atheism

January 20, 2012

The Psychology of Morality: Religion vs Atheism

There are clear reasons why secular-based moral behavior is likely to be weaker than religiously based moral behavior.

Psychologists know, and generally teach their students that immediate consequences (reinforcement and punishment) most powerfully influence behavior. However, Dr. Richard Malott (A professor of psychology at Western Michigan University) has made a special exception to that rule for humans who have mastered the use of language and who can well experience, read about and hear about the past, present. Humans can also imagine, or be informed of future probable events, and they can estimate the size and impact of those consequences for themselves and others.

Professor Malott observes (and so can you), that immediate consequences that are small and not certain are not so likely to influence our behavior. Familiar examples of this weak control would be wearing a seat belt to avoid injury in case of an automobile collision, exercising regularly to avoid a host of possible health difficulties, or brushing our teeth three times a day to avoid cavities, etc..

The control of our behavior is much more powerful when consequences that are delayed, are also very large and very certain. We would be unlikely to attempt to fly to airplane to a destination if we did not know, for certain, that we had enough fuel to arrive safely. A mariner would most likely avoid voyaging in the direction of a developing hurricane.

Of course immediate, large, and very certain consequences control our behavior best. Humans normally avoid stepping in front of a speeding automobile, walking of cliffs, and petting rattle snakes.

But more to the point, for those who believe in God, both immediate cognitive-emotional (guilty thoughts and feelings), social (social disapproval) consequences;  and delayed spiritual consequences (Heaven or Hell) related to moral and immoral behavior can be very big, and very certain .

For non believers, there are no spiritual consequences. Furthermore secular social consequences are often small, delayed, and improbable for religiously based moral prescriptions (tell the truth, treat others kindly, don’t steal, etc.).

On the other hand immoral behavior earns relatively immediate, large, and certain physiological reinforcement (pornography and sex = novel stimulation and orgasm, ingestion of drugs and alcohol = reduced anxiety and rewarding changes in states of consciousness, Gambling and violence = physiological excitement and dominance). Furthermore, individuals  will easily find social contexts in which to behave in immoral ways and gain positive reinforcement from others.

To the believer, “the wages of sin is death”. To the secularist humanist, all too often, the wages of sin are more immediate, larger and more certain reinforcement.

 

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.,  1/20/12

A Universal Code of Moral Behavior (UCMB)

January 31, 2011

A Universal Code of Moral Behavior (UCMB)

I will soon present a Universal Code of Moral Behavior (UCMB) as  my humble attempt to identify useful old and new prescriptions for evolving sociocultures that wish to avoid the chaos of rising levels of bad behavior within their populations and therefore their collective decline.

I have partitioned this code in several ways. The first section is entitled, Love, Honor, and Do. This section is one in which prescriptions are stated in terms of behaviors to do. People of faith may wish to read many of these prescriptions (taken from religious materials) as Commandments to be obeyed for the love and/or fear of God.

 Those with  more secular belief systems may prefer to see the prescriptions as logical rule statements for seeking happiness and avoiding pain during life on this planet. In this case, they may wish to read each one of these prescriptions as though it stated, “You will be wise to”— in front of it.

Those with a scientific perspective should look upon the following prescriptions as rule statements to be validated through further investigation and analysis.

There is actually no reason why any one individual could not view various prescriptions within the UCMB from a singular or combined perspective of any of the three listed above: God’s Rules, wise rules, and/or rules to be tested.

The three remaining classes of prescriptions are designed to cover most human interactions within their social and physical environments. They are:  Do Not Harm Others; Do Not Harm Yourself; and Never Harm Children. Some may not like that these sections are stated in the form of negative prescriptions ( i.e., Do Not) . However, in the UCMB, as in teaching children and adolescents what to do to achieve rewarding outcomes and avoid painful ones, positive prescriptions by themselves can sometimes lack important specificity.

For example, parents in Florida picnicking at an inland lake may tell their children to “only play on the beach”. But this prescription would be inadequate if they did not also add: “Don’t go in the water or an alligator might eat you”.

The parent of an adolescent might enjoin their adolescent to drive the speed limit, stop at stop streets and stop lights, to watch for pedestrians, etc. But they would best be admonished; “Do not ride with someone who has been drinking. There may be death or serious injury to yourselves or others”. In most cases similar admonishments the parent’s  own teen about his or her drinking and driving would also be in order.

As an adult on my sail boat with a gasoline engine, the rule “turn on the blower before you start your engine” was made much stronger by a negative statement: “Don’t start your engine before your blower or you’ll blow yourself to smiterines”.

As a Navy diver, using an Aqualung, I was trained to “breath normally as you swim to the surface”. This rule was very importantly augmented by another: “Don’t hold your breath when you swim to the surface or you will blow your lungs up and die”.  

I am certain that you can provide other examples of positive rule statements that are best augmented by negative statements. There are other times when a negative rule statement implying a very unpleasant natural consequence for breaking the rule  will provide the shortest, most specific, most memorable, and most effective rule: I.e., “Don’t play with fire”.

The following UCMB prescriptions each imply their own positive and negative consequences. . Complex environments appear to  require greater complexity to their moral codes. The UCMB  is lengthy and including the all of the anticipated consequences for following or breaking a rule would make very long indeed. The teaching of this, or another moral code, would seem best to be approached in modules, with the various implied consequences depending upon the age and maturity of the learner fully discussed, illustrated, and  referenced.   Whenever possible moral prescriptions should be referenced to scientific support.

To increase the probability of moral behavior within a population, a code similar to the following UCMB should be taught and encouraged in all sociocultural venues possible.

The outcome would promise great goods. Great likely harms (concerns for unintended consequences noted) are seem doubtful.

Stay tuned for the UCMB.

Wake-Up America!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Destructive Moral Relativism

August 24, 2009

Destructive Moral Relativism

The following quote is taken from The Great Disruption: Human Nature and The Reconstruction of Social Order, by Francis Fukuyama.

“I said earlier that there were two main sources of the enlarged radius of trust: religion and politics. In the West, Christianity first established the principle of universality of human dignity, one that was brought down from the heavens and turned into a secular doctrine of  universal human equality by the enlightenment” (p. 279).

“liberal democracies today enshrine this principle of universal recognition.” (p.280)

“The chief question for the future is whether these universalistic forms of cultural identity will survive the onslaught from a principled belief in multiculturalism that goes beyond the toleration of cultural diversity to its active celebration and promotion. The moral miniaturization that was described in the earlier discussion of American civil society has come about only partly because the underlying society has become more diverse. The important driver of this process is the spread of a principled belief in moral relativism—the idea that no particular set of values or norms can or aught to be authoritative. When this relativism extends to the political values on which the regime itself is based, then liberalism begins to undermine itself” (pps. 281-282).

VTM, 8/24/09


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