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by Ezra Niesen
Monday, Jul. 24, 2006 at 7:51 PM
Religious fundamentalists' use of religious dogma as political ideology is quickly escalating from evolution vs. inelligent design to World War III and Armageddon. FREE audio book on how evolutionary science can be used to turn the tide against religious fundamentalism.
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On Sunday, July 16th, Newt Gingrich announced on national television that he intends to urge our government officials to ‘face the fact’ that America is facing world-wide armed opposition and declare World War III. [blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/davidpostman/archives/2006/07/gingrich_says_its_world_war_iii.html]
He might as well have declared the war himself.
Our federal government is controlled by the Republicans, politicians have used war to sway elections for decades, this is an election year, the Republican party is in serious trouble, and it would take something very dramatic to sway the elections back in their favor. That’s not to mention that the Republicans’ strongest supporters are eagerly awaiting the final battle for the fate of the world, and so are most of America’s worst enemies. One does not need to be a genius to see where this is leading.
Now that Mr. Gingrich announced his intentions and his intentions obviously would be so easy to carry out, all the people that the United States would declare World War III against can be expected to react accordingly even before the declaration is made official. As a result of those people reacting to the unofficial declaration of World War III, the official declaration will be that much easier to make. Mr. Gingrich has written a self-fulfilling prophecy, and now the official declaration of World War III will probably be a mere formality.
Luckily, I saw this coming years ago, and I’ve been hard at work preparing for it ever since. Suffice it to say that I possess certain abilities that allow me to do things with science and logic that most people assume are impossible. Mr. Gingrich seems to think that declaring World War III was the most dramatic thing anyone could ever do. Unfortunately for him, there’s just one little thing he overlooked. Which is why he has no idea how big of a trap he’s walking into…
I work in theatre and write fiction, which are two of the oldest studies of human behavior in the world. For 2,500 years, actors, directors, and writers have been making their livings by figuring out how to replicate human behavior accurately enough to make it believable to human audiences. They’ve done this by figuring out how to talk among themselves about aspects of human behavior that most other people are only subconsciously aware of. Now, thanks to Hollywood, everyone in the industrialized world is familiar with a working understanding of human behavior, even though they don’t realize it yet.
Two and a half years ago, I started writing a book combining fundamental principles of theatre with fundamental principles of evolutionary science to show how principles of human behavior can be recognized in real life. Theatre artists use their understanding of human behavior to tell exciting stories by creating personal and interpersonal conflict among characters in the stories. However, people can also use the same understanding of human behavior to recognize the origins of their conflicts in real life and resolve them peacefully.
Then I found out about a new movement in evolutionary science, in which scientists had begun combining all their discoveries in human sciences to create as complete an understanding of human evolution and behavior as possible. (You can find out more at The Club of Budapest at www.cobusa.org, The Darwin Project at www.thedarwinproject.com, or in The Blank Slate, by Dr. Steven Pinker.) They have made monumental discoveries into the origins of cultures, the course of world civilization, origins and effects of emotions, interpersonal interaction, gender differences, child development, and even universal constants of religion, because every characteristic of humanity is a product of human evolution in one way or another. Basically, the science exists to begin solving every major social problem in the world—but only if more people could learn how.
The biggest problem the scientists were facing at the time was in figuring out how to make their discoveries understandable to the non-scientifically-minded public. I don’t work as a scientist, but I come from a large family of artists and engineers, and am equitably talented in both art and science. Unfortunately there are very few careers in which I can pursue all of my interests. But now I suddenly found one, because the scientists’ discoveries didn’t conflict with anything I was writing in any meaningful way. Since I was already writing about human behavior in terms non-scientifically-minded people could relate to easily, with a slight revision, I could solve all the scientists’ problems by incorporating their main discoveries into my book.
The scientists are not discovering any characteristics of human behavior that poets and philosophers haven’t known about for millennia. What they are discovering is how all the characteristics fit together and how to recognize those characteristics in terms that are universal to the Homo sapiens species. For a person who possesses sufficient backgrounds in science, art, and philosophy, it is not difficult at all to recognize connections among the three and relate the new scientific discoveries to older artistic or philosophical insights that people are already familiar with. There are groups that are trying to do this already in order to explain the science in terms the general public can understand; I just have a broad range of exceptional talents in all of their collective areas of expertise. Since I am equally fluent in the languages of art, science, and philosophy I can translate among the three more easily than an artist, scientist, and philosopher could each explain his own point of view to the others.
Once I figured out how to make evolutionary science understandable to non-scientifically minded people, making it seem useful to people was not hard at all. The fact that we are all evolutionarily equal members of the same species proves that evolution has affected all of us equally. The fact that evolution has affected all of us equally proves that we all have equally valid reasons for being who we are. Since human evolutionary science studies what everyone in the world has in common and where their differences originated, and does it in a way that’s unbiased to any religion or culture, that makes it the ultimate weapon for civil rights activists and international peace activists.
Humans evolved as one species because the same set of biological laws affected all of our ancestors equally for all of our evolution. By now, that set of laws is written in our DNA, because anyone who didn’t feel like following that set of laws died out as a result. For example, by simple virtue of their membership in the Homo sapiens species, everyone on Earth is guaranteed (or at least, can be expected) to want to survive, be safe, feel safe, have relationships, have sex, have families, make friends, be respected, feel good, use their abilities to make lives for themselves, and use their abilities as much as possible to make lives for themselves.
That sounds like basic common sense to many people. The difference between being able to predict these things scientifically based on human evolution and being able to observe them in any other way is that by being able to predict them scientifically a person can see that they apply to every single person on Earth without exception. (Or technically, there could be a few people some of these instincts don’t apply to as a result of rare genetic mutations, and other people who are affected by these instincts but don’t act upon some of them, but for all intents and purposes, these instincts are characteristics that define the species Homo sapiens.)
From a humanitarian standpoint, the scientists have discovered a universal language of humanity that allows anyone, from any part of the world, to talk to anyone else, from any other part of the world, about things that both people are guaranteed to feel are important.
From an organizational standpoint, the scientists have discovered a set of rules that everyone agreed to follow at the moment they joined the Homo sapiens species. People make their lives feel complete by following this set of rules. If people are prevented from following this set of rules they will feel like they’re missing something from their lives and conflict will be inevitable (as in the case of banning gay marriage and denying people equal opportunities to education). To anyone who understands that set of rules, it’s clear to see that any social structure, from a romantic partnership up to the global community, whose rules don’t coincide with this evolutionary set of rules obviously doesn’t serve the interests of its people, and can’t possibly remain a cooperative group indefinitely.
From a personal empowerment standpoint, this is a working understanding of the science that allows people to use statistical predictions to control other people’s behavior. People are naturally attracted to things that make them feel good and avoid things that make them feel bad. Currently, this science is a resource that’s controlled by a small group of people (such as advertisers and politicians), who can use it to control other people’s behavior by creating conditions that make people feel either good or bad. If that same understanding of human behavior was spread to everyone, then everyone could understand the origins of their own good and bad feelings, and find ways to satisfy them on their own.
From a legal standpoint, these universal evolutionary laws are a Universal Bill of Human Rights, which wasn’t written by any person, which doesn’t depend on anyone to enforce, which applies equally to everyone, and which no one can change or corrupt. This Evolutionary Bill of Human Rights consists of all the basic things Homo sapiens are guaranteed to need to feel like their lives are complete. Any social structure that denies some of its members basic opportunities to make their lives feel complete oppresses its people by definintion, and either forces those people to fight back against the social structure, inflicts serious emotional damage on those people, or both. This Evolutionary Bill of Human Rights is enforced by the simple fact that any time people’s Evolutionary Human Rights are violated, those people will resist in some way or another (even if only indirectly) with the ultimate result that the society will be destabilized.
From a political standpoint, that set of evolutionary laws is the Constitution of the Human Race, because it is the set of laws that all human behavior revolves around. Virtually every functional community in the modern world has some form of constitution that spells out what each of its members can expect from the others. These universal evolutionary laws are the Consitution of the global community of the 21st century. As with the Evolutionary Bill of Human Rights, the Constitution of the Human Race was not written by anyone, does not depend on anyone to enforce, applies equally to everyone, and is impossible for anyone to change, escape, or corrupt.
With an understanding of these universal evolutionary laws, citizens can prevent government officials from denying they exist. Under a secular government, citizens equipped with an understanding of evolutionary laws can prevent anyone from pretending they shouldn’t be recognized in court or public schools, and can hold political leaders accountable for knowing them.
I titled my reference book to life 42, because that’s what you get when the people of two 21st century civilizations stop fighting amongst themselves and try adding their best qualities together for a change. That, and anyone who can truly grasp my sense of humor is already a Douglass Adams fan anyway. Evolutionary psychology is easily the most controversial topic in the history of the world, so nobody will ever be able to make it palatable to the public without a keeping a good sense of humor about it. Considering how many people there are in the world already who are driving themselves insane trying to force other people to accept their explanations for the origins of human behavior, the trying-to-force-other-people-to-take-your-seriously approach obviously doesn’t work.
Unfortunately, as I was writing my book, I could already see World War III looming on the horizon, simply because the current political and economic systems of America and the rest of the world are so far removed from recognizing everyone’s evolutionary equality. The world is full of people who assume they’re inherently better than everyone else and that everyone else just isn’t smart enough to see that. These people have founded political and economic systems based on that faulty assumption, all over the world, and the goals of these political and economic systems—and the people who operate them—conflict with each other.
For instance, want is one of our most primal evolutionary instincts, because it is the instinct to accumulate resources to protect one’s survival. Capitalism has been successful as an economic system because it is built on the primal pursuit of want. However, turning the pursuit of want into an economic system has also led to our grossly unsustainable consumption of resources. As the Buddha taught his followers 2,500 years ago, the only way people can truly satisfy their wants is by choosing to stop wanting. That teaching becomes ever more relevant to us by the day. People could stop hoarding resources for themselves and redistrubute them to ensure that everyone had enough to maintain their basic survival without having fight for them, but that isn’t happening. As long as the members of an ever-increasing world population keep competing over an ever-decreasing supply of resources, people who can’t find any other way to get ahead are going to resort to violent aggression. On our present course, global conflict—meaning World War III—is a mathematical inevitability.
Thanks to the scientists who have been studying human evolution, the origins of human want are now understood in terms that are universal to the Homo sapiens species. While it is true that on our current course World War III is inescapable, it is also true that the only thing left preventing our escaping it is sheer collective laziness on the part of political leaders and citizens to solve the problem. Or in some cases, political leaders who equate global mass suicide with eternal salvation are intentionally preventing citizens from learning how to solve the problem…
While I was writing my book, the evolution debate began heating up. Scientists all over America began scrambling to defend evolution, while Christian fundamentalists renewed their efforts to prevent the public from learning even basic things they needed to know to prevent World War III. The scientists are limited in the extremes they are able to go to in support of evolution, however, because maintaining their carreers depends on their maintaining professional reputations. I don’t depend on a professional reputation to do what I do, so I had nothing to risk.
The Bible has been successful as a foundation for a civilization because it’s a reference book to life and a story of the world. Every civilization on Earth has a reference source to life and a story of the world, because those are things that people everywhere feel are important to have. There I found myself, in the midst of writing a new reference book to life and story of the world. Not only that, I was doing it by combining the efforts of scientists, artists, philosophers, religious leaders, and social activists from all over the world who have been trying to help write a new story of the world for decades. This new version of the story of the world is written in modern terms, is scientifically valid, is universally inclusive of the entire human race, doesn’t attempt to prove or disprove anyone’s religion or non-religion, and is admissible in court, public schools, and political races. So I made another slight revision…
Then, in protest of intelligent design, religious fundamentalism, the Bush administration, and the prospects of Armageddon, I applied for a copyright on the alternate title The Third Testament. I never thought they’d let me get away with this, but the copyright was awarded to me by the federal government under George W. Bush’s own administration.
Then I recorded the entire book as an audio book and posted it on my website for FREE download. I’ve also posted text versions of the first 13 chapters on my website. Anyone who cares to read them can find out how and why evolutionary psychology offers so many solutions to so many social problems, how evolutionary psychology can be related to things non-academic people already understand about the world, and some good reference sources to learn more. Printed copies of the book can also be ordered through my website. I’ve set up my own publishing company, so my copyrights are my own to enforce—or NOT enforce—as I see fit (provided that other people don’t try to make a profit on my work without paying me for it). Now that the scientists have done all they’ve done to discover a universal understanding of humanity, I’m seeing to it that it gets distributed universally to humanity.
Since religious fundamentalists want an ultimate duel for the fate of the world, that’s exactly what I’m giving them—only I’m giving it to them on my terms, not theirs. If I show everyone how to recognize what they have in common with everyone else in the world and how they can overcome their differences, then everyone else can bring about Peace on Earth in spite of the religious fundamentalists. Then the only way for the religious fundamentalists to get the battle of Armageddon they so desperately want would be by starting it themselves. And I think the Bible is pretty specific about whose side the people who start the battle of Armageddon are on…
I’ve met a lot of moderate Christians and other progressively-minded religious people who are trying to integrate their religions with modern science, who don’t even realize—yet—just how much science exists to support their beliefs that people can and should get along with each other and work toward Peace on Earth. Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Lao Tzu, the Buddha, and every other great leader in history has done the exact same job: Teach Homo sapiens how to build functional civilizations by using intellect and force of will to consider the long-term effects of their actions before acting upon their immediate feelings. Every other civilization in the world that has survived instead of destroying itself but didn’t have a single great leader, survived because numerous leaders figured out how to do the job collectively. Regardless of who any of these leaders were or where they came from, their followers were all Homo sapiens whose feelings and intelligence were equal to those of the members of any other group that followed any other leader. If scientists are finally figuring out how to do on a global scale what all those great leaders taught their followers to do, then it would seem that the final phase of an important process has been reached. That would seem to imply that we should pay attention and figure out how to complete it.
Simultaneously, I can make a mockery of Chrisitan fundamentalists, and hopefully eliminate them as an effective political force, by proving it IS possible for a single book to serve as the foundation for a peaceful, sustainable global civilization, just like they’ve said all along—but it’s not the book they’re using. Or at least, not the way they’re using it. The Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran, the Tao te Ching, and every other document that has served as a successful foundation for a religion are all just different versions of the same book: a book that built upon what a certain group of Homo sapiens already understood about the world to teach them how to build functional communities. So many great leaders have figured out the exact same trick over history that all there was left for me to do was to imitate it.
The progress of science depends on people knowing the right questions to ask and daring to ask them. If I dare to challenge religious fundamentalism in a way no one imagined possible, then if, for instance, concerned parents listen to the book and then ask their children’s biology teachers to listen to it and tell them whether or not I know what I’m talking about, people will be daring to ask the right questions. Some of those parents might even start asking why their children aren’t being taught this stuff in school. Problem solved.
If a lot of college students listen to the book over the summer and hear how much use evolutionary science can be in civil rights and preventing the draft from being reinstated, and then go back to school in the fall and start asking their human sciences professors whether or not I know what I’m talking about, they’re bound to attract a lot of support for evolution. And of course, this will start happening about 2 months before the elections.
Even if the only people I can reach are rebellious teenagers who are too young to vote but are old enough to see they’re inheriting a world full of problems they never voted for, and they come listen to the book just because it infuriates so many adults who are causing the problems in the first place, and they start asking their biology teachers whether or not I know what I’m talking about, I still give them everything they need to counter-hijack their futures back from the Christian fundamentalists all by themselves.
In short, any problem that religious fundamentalists choose to create in order to win a political advantage by promising to solve, evolutionary science offers an easier, more practical, and more humane solution for, up to and including their attempting to start the battle of Armageddon. How desperate the world’s situation becomes by November is up to them to decide, but the more desperate they make it, the more desperate they will make people to stop them. If they think they can summon the Second Coming of Christ by starting the final battle for the fate of the world, they’ll have no one but themselves to blame if a lot of their opponents start reading a book called The Third Testament© to learn how to STOP them. (I never asked for this job, but just in case religious fundamentalists insisted on trying to invoke someone to come solve all the world’s problems, I figured someone better figure out a way to do it, even though that way wouldn’t be what anyone was anticipating. Personally, I hoped that the course America has been following could be diverted before it came to that, but if they push the situation to the point where there is only one solution left, someone better think of some kind of contingency plan to deal with it.)
I am able to out maneuver the religious fundamentalists at every step because I speak the univeral language of human evolution, while they confine their perspectives on the world to ancient religious dogmas. Now I’m teaching that universal language to anyone who wants to learn it. Regardless of whether the religious fundamentalists choose to stick to the evolution versus intelligent design debate, or declare World War III, or anything in between, anyone who learns the universal language of humanity will be equipped to solve the problems the religious fundamentalists are creating better than the religious fundamentalists themselves can solve them. Anyone who speaks the universal language of humanity will be able to find solutions that everyone in the world can potentially agree with and feel like cooperating with, rather than confining their potential supporters to a specific group of people who follow an ancient religious tradition.
Within three days of my posting my audio book on my website, about a hundred other people were posting it on their websites. That was in April, and there’s really no way to keep track anymore of how many hundreds or thousands of people have downloaded it by now. My non-suicidal version of the story of the world is spreading through the internet like a virus, and there’s nothing the Christian fundamentalists can do to stop it anymore. In June I got word that a college professor down in South Carolina had gotten hold of a copy of my book, and was considering designing a course around it.
The inherent problem with arms races is that no matter how powerful of a weapon you build, your opponents will never stop looking for a weapon that can defeat it. I never put a gun to any Christian fundamentalists’ heads and told them to weaponize the Bible and to try to win elections by starting World War III. They’re making that decision of their own free will. It’s not my fault if they choose to start a fight they don’t know how to win.
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by Ezra Niesen
Monday, Jul. 24, 2006 at 7:51 PM
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...After a show, still wearing my stage makeup.
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