Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

15991Re: [gaiapc] Genesis 3:16 and evolution

Expand Messages
  • Steve Kurtz
    Jan 3 1:44 PM
      but it is humans who are in the driver's seat.

      Oh, I thought your diety was all powerful…;-)

      On Jan 3, 2018, at 2:39 PM, Luis Gutierrez ltg4263@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:

      See my response to Jada.  The social and biophysical dimensions do intersect, but it is humans who are in the driver's seat.


      On Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 2:22 PM, Steve Kurtz kurtzs@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:

      I agree with Jada on this.


      Sent from my iPhone

      On Jan 3, 2018, at 1:36 PM, Jada Thacker jadathacker@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:



      To speak as you do about our current civilizational/ecological crisis as a "cultural disorder" and a "cultural aberration" that was "relatively latent until the 1800's" suggests everything was pretty much hunky-dory with the concept of civilization until just recently. I would rather point out, once again, that every known civilization prior to our present industrialized civilization collapsed and either went extinct or were assimilated into yet another doomed civilization. 

      Although I have commented critically here at some length on the extreme cultural and ecological differences between pre-civilized and civilized human societies, I cannot share your conclusion that "the ecological crisis is, fundamentally, a cultural issue." The current "ecological crisis" is an energy issue, just as all the previous "ecological crises" and civilizational collapses have also been energy issues. 

      Millions of species of organisms totally devoid of "culture" went extinct long before human culture arrived on the scene. Humans share a common trait with these extinct species: we too have the capacity to produce more offspring than environmental food-energy can support. Carrying capacity thus is not a character fault of humans, nor is it a "cultural aberration or disorder." It's just a fact of life on a finite world.


      On Tuesday, January 2, 2018 6:27 PM, "Luis Gutierrez ltg4263@... [gaiapc]" <gaiapc@...> wrote:


      There is general agreement among biblical scholars that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 were written separately, and Genesis 2 was written before Genesis 1.

      Keep in mind that both were written ca. 1000 BCE, when patriarchy was already the prevalent culture, and both project back to "the beginning" the culture they took for granted..

      See Genesis 2:15...  That Genesis 1:28 has been used for 3000 years to justify a culture of domination, rather than a culture of care, does not make Genesis 2:15 irrelevant.

      On the contrary, as Pope Francis explains at length in Laudato Si', it is time to recognize that Genesis 2:15 is the best guidance at this point in human history.

      The basic connection here is that male domination over women extends to human domination over nature, with most women internalizing patriarchy as much as men, even though it is manifested differently in men and women.

      So the ecological crisis is, fundamentally, a cultural issue.

      My hypothesis is that this cultural aberration, which was relatively latent until the 1800s, was exacerbated worldwide by the fossil energy surplus, leading to the current situation.

      I may be wrong, but this is my working hypothesis at the moment.


      On Tue, Jan 2, 2018 at 5:15 PM, Jada Thacker jadathacker@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:

      On further reflection, the Biblical doctrine of patriarchy in Genesis 3:16 was prefigured by the more general doctrine of anthropogenic dominance of nature in Genesis 1:26-28. In like manner, today's patriarchal dominance was prefigured by the existence of civilization, itself.  

      All civilizations have come into existence by means of military force. Force was necessary because the pre-civilized societies from which civilizations were amalgamated typically violently resisted surrendering their autarky. And these pre-civilized societies were notably sexually and politically egalitarian prior to their subjugation by the necessarily patriarchal dominance of conquest. ("Necessarily patriarchal" because military conquest requires infantry warfare, always the exclusive domain of males.) 

      But why and how are these facts relevant to sexual egalitarianism or ecological sustainability?

      We may theorize that testosterone, evolutionary biology, or sexual selection may have caused the male social and ecological dominance we observe today. But these theories alone do not explain why pre-civilized peoples were generally sexually egalitarian and at ecologically sustainable and civilizations are not. Cherokee men, for example, were no more immune to the presumed effects of hormones, biology, or evolution than the civilized men who destroyed their society.

      So, as long as we are hypothesizing about male dominance, we may as well speculate closer to home. Imagine for a moment that a writer published an article excoriating male dominance. Enraged by the article, an irate male chauvinist redneck shows up at the writer's office and bashes the writer's face to pulp. Would we expect the writer to shrug the incident off as merely a bad day at the office? Of course not. In all likelihood, the outraged writer would call the police and likely prefer charges against the redneck. This understandable response would be motivated by the writer's desire to seek punishment for the violence suffered and to prevent its recurrence.

      But anytime anybody in a similar situation picks up the phone and calls the police, they are explicitly invoking the dominant, essentially patriarchal, coercive power of the State to act on their own behalf against another person. This is precisely what happens when an aggrieved woman files charges against a man she accuses of sexual misconduct.  

      Of course, invoking the same patriarchal dominance one otherwise criticizes as morally reprehensible is blatantly hypocritical. But that this not the point I am attempting to make. The point is that, hypocritical or not, it is what all civilized States require.

      When military-backed civilization dominates society, it not only assumes a legal monopoly on violence but formally requires its subjects to accept that monopoly. (Far from being an exception to the rule, the US Constitution stands as a perfect example.) A quote attributed to George Orwell puts it succinctly:"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us." Left unsaid is that only certain rough men are legally authorized to visit violence on others.

      Whether the State is a liberal democracy or a totalitarian autocracy makes no difference with regard to its enforced monopoly on patriarchal violence against its own citizens. And this is especially true regarding the State's monopoly on violence against external societies. (At the same time that American tabloids are swooning over the sexual malfeasance of powerful men at home, the US Special Operations Command reports it currently has operations in 143 nations. Should we consider this merely coincidental, or rather an example of the adage "what goes around, comes around?")

      Moreover, civilizations are not only founded by patriarchal violence, but subsequently require the obedience of the vanquished as a condition for their future protection. The term "outlaw", for example, did not originate in the "uncivilized" American Wild West, but in civilized medieval England: to be declared "outlaw" did not mean your were necessarily considered an enemy of the State, but that the State would no longer protect you from any violence or transgression committed against you by others. 

      As a practical matter, the primordial origins of patriarchal dominance appear to me somewhat beside the point. The point is that the socioeconomic customs of pre-civilized societies generally did not tolerate domestic patriarchal dominance or ecologically unsustainable behavior, whereas in every known case civilizations require both as a precondition for their very existence. 

      The ironic result today is that even those who complain the most bitterly about patriarchal dominance implicitly expect it to work on their behalf when they find themselves personally threatened by it. An even greater irony is that, prior to the advent of civilization, few members of society had reason to complain about domestic patriarchal dominance because no such thing existed -- while any foreign threat of patriarchal dominance was universally resisted equally by both sexes, instead of by State-designated "rough men standing ready to do violence" on their behalf.

      Just as the God of Genesis ordained humans with anthropocentric dominion over nature and patriarchal domination of females, civilizations -- far from banishing either -- preserve both as monopolistic prerogatives. It appears the first step in the eradication of patriarchal domination would be the eradication civilization itself. Good luck with that.  


      On Monday, January 1, 2018 4:35 PM, "Richard Balfour balfourarch@... [gaiapc]" <gaiapc@...> wrote:

      further to the sexes issues, likely you have seen this one but worth a read if not;

      Sex, Time and Power by Leonard Shlain.  How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution.  isbn 978 0 14 200467-8

      On 2018-01-01, at 2:03 PM, Richard Balfour balfourarch@... [gaiapc] wrote:

      have you read 1491 and or Indian Givers yet, or books on the Iroquois Confederacy?  I will have to look up the latter, not the precise title..
      Also mary renault on Bull from the Sea, about Theseus and the period of mediterranean matriarchy, the role of women in Sparta and ancient Egypt and of course the heretical to the church Gospel of Mary?

      On 2017-12-31, at 8:33 PM, Luis Gutierrez ltg4263@... [gaiapc] wrote:


      Jada, good analysis.  I posted the link to Horgan's article because I think it is an important cultural issue related to the ecological crisis.  Your mother was a great example, but it is hard to imagine women like her surviving in many regions of the world.  Your considered response is very much appreciated, as I am actively researching this issue in both the secular and religious dimensions.  As usual, you have given me some food for thought, thanks!


      On Sun, Dec 31, 2017 at 6:53 PM, Jada Thacker jadathacker@sbcglobal...net [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:


      Wow, there certainly are a lot of terms getting thrown around here as if they are synonymous, but are not: as applied to male humans "demonizing," "domineering," "dominating," "oppressive," and "patriarchal," all have subtle but important nuances. These terms (all subjectively judgmental) range from witchcraft to governmental. Similarly, Horgan tries to paint a subtle picture with a tar brush.

      Standing silent behind the scattershot "synonyms" above are several unexamined assumptions: that women generally feel belittled by men, that men are more competitive than women, that men somehow ought not be more aggressive than women, and furthermore that it is patently wrong for them to be so. Most hilarious to me was the claim made that men, as a group, are more verbally inclined than women. Not only do I think all these assumptions are unwarranted, I think most women I have ever met would think so, too.

      But the biggest wrong conception in my view was the blather about warfare, which only existed after the advent of agriculture, being somehow antithetical to sexual egalitarianism. This is wrong on both counts. Warfare between governments happened only after agriculture because no government predated agriculture; but to blithely assume no organized lethal encounters between males of competing groups is a "recent" phenomenon is nonsense. My native state Texas has a long (and quite recent) history of egalitarian, non-agricultural, hunter-gatherers called Comanche and Apache whose warlike ferocity is the stuff of legend and White nightmare. 

      Indeed, North American Indians in general (all Stone Age peoples) were highly warlike and extraordinarily cruel to their adversaries, but also in general were extraordinarily egalitarian and highly respectful of the women (and children) they protected within their own groups. In fact, these tribal warriors exemplified perfectly how a male can be not only "domineering and oppressive" of outsiders, while being praised proudly as being anything but by there own women and children. If the stats on sexual misconduct among our own warriors are correct, American soldiers conspicuously have not followed this respectful cultural tradition. 

      It seems obvious cultural bias and a large share of ignorance are being perpetuated by cohort of effete, urban, feel-your-painers, who were educated in Ivy League Houses of Political Correction. While they can talk the talk of evolutionary theory all day long, they seem ignorant of ever having walked the walk of rudimentary history or anthropology -- and surely are devoid of relevant personal experience in "manly" environments involving combat or other highly arduous and dangerous work, much less are conversant with the women of men who do so. 

      I hail from the bleak oil fields of West Texas, the son of a drilling rig roughneck and a self-educated woman, who was a well-published short story writer who picked cotton as a girl during the Depression, rode a horse to grade school, and taught me rifle marksmanship and ballroom dancing simultaneously. Her dictum to me as a boy: "You don't ever start fights. You finish them." Amateur Biblical historian that she was, Mother didn't put much stock in Genesis 3:16. When she was a just teenager, for example, her boss goosed her on the backside. She didn't wait 10 years to join the #metoo crowd and tearfully confess her feminist angst to the tabloid press: she hit him right between the eyes on the spot with a cast-iron based staple base, breaking his glasses in two. And then she quit before he had a chance to fire her. Later she recounted the story because she thought it was funny, not because his male oppression scarred her for life.

      This woman taught me never to raise a hand against a woman, and I have never done so -- although I did (non-violently) take a butcher knife away from a girl intent on stabbing a guy in a bar one night. My mother, who worked her entire life as a secretary, positively disdained "feminism" and, like Bette Davis, believed she was "born liberated." I had to chuckle at Stan's John Wayne/Woody Allen anecdote. Without a doubt, my mother would have answered 'Sean Connery.' 

      Dear Mother wouldn't have given John Horgan (or his critics) the time of day. Maybe we don't need more men like Woody Allen (or Horgan), but more women like Bette Davis.


      On Saturday, December 30, 2017 8:57 AM, "Luis Gutierrez ltg4263@... [gaiapc]" <gaiapc@...> wrote:

      Did you read the article to the end?  Toward the end of the article, his conclusion is that patriarchy is cultural, not natural, i.e., not primarily biological.  This seems consistent with the biblical statement (Genesis 3:16) that patriarchy emerged *after* Adam and Eve ate the forbidden apple.  So patriarchy was not the natural order of things *before* this "original sin."  I think there is some truth in this biblical insight, which was written in ca. 1000 BCE, when patriarchy was already the prevailing culture.  Genesis 3:16 projects back the patriarchal curse as the most immediate and universal consequence of the "fall."  Well, then, if patriarchy is artificial, then it can be undone, or at least mitigated; and this is what GAIA needs!


      On Sat, Dec 30, 2017 at 9:42 AM, Stanley N Salthe ssalthe@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:
      Luis -- Regarding:

      Evolutionary theorists propose that female desire for domineering males helped create a patriarchal world.........
      John Horgan, Scientific American, 29 December 2017

      Back in the 1980's I challenged a leader of our Feminist Movement with this same fact.  I asked her who she would rather mate with -- Woody Allen or John Wayne..  Knowing she was caught, she replied: "Why can't I have Robert Redford"?


      On Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 9:14 PM, Luis Gutierrez ltg4263@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:
      Fascinating, see Genesis 3:16.  I think that this cultural disorder, which was latent but became exacerbated by the energy surplus of fossil fuels, is the primary root of the ecological crisis:

    • Show all 17 messages in this topic