Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Beyond Evolution

Interesting and well-written article here:
"Confirmed: God is Slightly Gay"


It expresses what seems to be a very common view of spirituality today, the nature-centric "we are the universe made manifest" principle that many people have. It finds religious/moral value in the grandeur of nature and the rhythms of the natural world.

What the article doesn't seem to recognize is that some of us have spiritual/religious sensibilities that are based on the idea that humanity's sentience and self-reflective nature are a mandate to break with the rhythms of the brutal process of evolution. We're supposed to think and exercise altruism and self-restraint, not just give in to whatever urges and instincts lead to the tautological survival of the fittest.

12 Comments:

Blogger Lipman said...

Culture is the opposite of Nature, after all.

Also, it's natural to have a life expectancy of 30 or 35 years.

(Of course, not everything that is culture is simply good either.)

7/02/2009 3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH, there is so much wrong with this article that I don't even know where to BEGIN!!
Then entire PREMISE of the article is based on faulty logic - that man equals animal. Man DOES NOT equal animal. One of the things that defines us as "man" is our ability to control our baser urges. According to this guy, we should all be roaming around stealing food from others and eating our young as well........ all in the name of Hashem!

7/02/2009 11:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel Saunders said...

The key phrase in the article was "if you understand that nature is merely another word for God". The writer seems to miss that this only really applies to pantheists and pagans. To monotheists God transcends everything, including nature, and is capable of commanding us to try to transcend nature for a moral purpose. Otherwise medicine would be a sinful interference with the natural order of things.

7/02/2009 2:01 PM  
Anonymous sister miryam said...

Religious Authority: Gay is sinful and a crime against nature.

Scientist: Actually, there is gay behavior everywhere in nature.

Religious Authority: Okay then, gay is sinful because it's animalistic and a crime against humanity.

Convenient.

7/09/2009 3:32 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

sister:

i think there are different schemas at work here — have you actually encountered people who actively make that shift in response to that critique of their position?

7/09/2009 3:38 PM  
Anonymous sister miryam said...

Hm not sure. I try not to get into arguments with people who go out of their way to attack queers.

I can tell you that a lot of the anti-gay rhetoric of 15 years ago was of Type A, and that as new data comes out the rhetoric present in the media switches to Type B.

I assume it's the same population coming up with new arguments for what they already believe, since their old ones were obviously shoddy.

7/09/2009 4:01 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

interesting... i thought the "nature is the perfect image of what human life should reflect" meme went out of fashion after the music-of-the-spheres period of the middle ages... all that more modern "nature, red in tooth and claw" imagery replaced it.

although like i said it seems to be coming back in the "we are starstuff" form, which is less "laws of nature ~ laws of society" oriented, and more about relationships.

7/09/2009 4:06 PM  
Anonymous sister miryam said...

The "we are starstuff" trend is pretty interesting stuff.

And it goes back to the Torah where God makes the First Person out of dirt, and puts them in the Garden to work it and guard it.

7/09/2009 4:29 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

This way of arguing two opposing sides without realising is not uncommon among chareidim and some other O. An example:

A. Frum women dress modestly, not like those slutty goytes who want to sell themselves and where everything is about sex.

B. Skirts are hotter than dressing like a man, and everybody knows that disguising feminine attributes is much more erotic.

A bit more rarely, but similarly about mikve, A. It's to deemphasise sex, and B. it's to enhance sex by making Jews think about nothing else for two weeks and than do nothing else for two weeks.

7/10/2009 12:28 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Lipman:

huh. i have never heard skirts #B or miqve #A.

7/12/2009 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have a good point about restraint

It's like with gossip, we are told to be careful to not hurt others. Where as society in general cares more about what they want to say rather than others feelings

8/11/2009 2:21 AM  
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