Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sky-Father Vs. Earth-Mother

Catching the tone of genuine warmth in the radio voice saying the words "Mother Earth" this afternoon, I have to wonder if half of our environmentalism is nothing more than a cultural preference for having a goddess instead of a god.


Anonymous said...

There's been plenty of publications about Gaia and the entire "Love your Mother Earth" sentiment - popular to many green movement adherents and New Age types. The psychology of it fits with the left-brain ideas of nurture, love and art - attributes mostly associated with the female gender. Of course the reality is that the CroMagnon caves wouldn't have had such creature comforts, and there wouldn't have been the leisure to draw such intricate wall drawings, if it hadn't been for the grunt's going out every morning to risk killing a wild beast to then drag back home for the feasting (so methinks the Father Sky has its appropriate place in the worshipping scheme of things).

About the Instructor: said...

Hi, "Assistant,"
I’m spreading the word that what has been learned about how our brain functions provides evidence that supports Conservative positions. Liberals generally believe that Man is basically rational and good, while Conservatives notice that Man is frequently irrational and evil, and their positions on social issues reflect their underlying bias.

The growing evidence that we really are tribal territorial animals, more influenced by instinct than we are aware, validates the Conservative viewpoint: while we may be good and self-sacrificing within tribes, we are nonetheless predisposed (but not predestined!) to contend and war with other tribes. Thus our entire history has been a history of war, and the only peace possible is while one tribe dominates all others … a Pax Romana or a Pax Americana. This is not welcome knowledge, but it is necessary knowledge: if we are to ever overcome our tendency to war, we must first acknowledge its reality.

Naturally, those bent liberal will fiercely and irrationally attack the new knowledge as fiercely and irrationally as the Behaviorists attacked any suggestion that nature as well as nurture was at work in human behavior. … Fiercely and irrationally attacking ideas conflicting with our beliefs is a function of our brain’s programming, as is being confirmed by fMRI studies. (And, yes, we Conservatives are equally afflicted by it. It’s only because Liberals are dominant that liberal bias is more pronounced and visible than conservative bias.)

If you wonder, as do I, why the scientists making the discoveries haven’t publicized their significance, I can only suppose that they consciously or unconsciously fear the firestorm that would descend upon them. Mobs with torches and pitchforks often wear academic gowns and hoods, as E. O. Wilson (Sociobiology) and L. H. Summers (ex-Harvard) discovered.

In an effort to spread awareness of the new knowledge I wrote the book, “Man by Nature: The Hidden Programming Controlling Human Behavior,” established a website,, and begun the blog, ManByNature…

Although the book and blog make the case that the new knowledge will require reevaluating and reinterpreting much of classical Psychiatry and Psychology, it does so positively, and invites practitioners to become involved. I see the “Tribal Programming Theory of Human Behavior” it introduces as providing a framework within which classical theories and therapies can be positioned and understood based upon actual brain knowledge rather than suppositions. I hope you will check out the book to see if my claims are true.

Regards, Adam Leonard

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Adam, I am glad you stumbled across my site, then. This year's Edge question at e-Skeptic is "what have you changed your mind about?" and Michael Schermer has written on exactly this subject - the cooperativeness intragroup versus the hostility to outsiders.

I have written elsewhere about the subject on this site, and I draw your attention to my sidebar link about Cultural Tribes. Also, in my old post "Back Online"

I discuss the duality of the Indo-European word *ghosti, from which we get the words host, ghost, hospital, guest, hostile, etc. The whole ambiguous nature of the stranger, of gift-exchange, and of who we extend trust to is contained in the word and the way the concept fell out in succeeding cultures.

I will definitely check out the book and hope my guests will as well.

About the Instructor: said...

Interesting you should mention Michael Shermer ... In my Jan 25 post (at I reference his July 2006 Scientific American “Skeptic” column as validating the theory that our brain processes ideas subconsciously by comparing them with existing beliefs and biasing our conscious reaction accordingly.