Replacing God with Technology

Replacing God with Technology

Your friends would love this: on Twitter on Facebook on Google+   “The law against murder is the number one thing preventing murder.” – Louis CK   Violent crime is a part of everyday life. It could happen to you or someone you know. Go on, take a second and think of an example. You most certainly have one. And you wonder “How could this happen? What kind of a monster would commit such a crime? Is he not at least scared of getting caught – by the police or the victim’s friends and family?” As normal citizens we seek deterrents against violence. We know there are some bad people out there and they need to behave. To an extent, we know that they need to be scared straight. When a criminal knows he will go unpunished, he is much more likely to commit the crime. The stronger and more certain the punishment, the lower he will act on his evil impulses. No deep psychological finding there. Throughout our history, God has acted as an effective deterrent. He is the top cop. We’ll take as read that God is a creation of humanity. It is an adaptation to strengthen the bonds within groups. Part of that strength comes from a belief that God is watching us and knows our inner most thoughts. People took an initial concept of God as something that was in control of nature and expanded its role into a force for monitoring your actions and even your intentions. God soon became a way to keep people in line. If the tribe elders cannot watch you all...

Larry David comparing lobster to Christianity

Here we see Larry David complaining about how Christians want you to be Christian too. He compare their love of Jesus to his love of lobster, and argues that he does not try to convert his friends to lobster eaters. In reality this is not true. He does want you to like lobster and I argue in Quanology that we all want people on our team, and that means we want them to like the things we like. This is how we “impregnate” people culturally, we get them to align with our cultural fancies and beliefs. In some ways, liking lobster is the same as liking Jesus, and anything you like you want other people to like. Preferably, you want them to like it and accredit you to having gotten them to like it. Jesus, or lobster, is in some way who you are and when other people like it, they take in a part of you. As cultural beings, this is subconsciously what we want. We want to put our genes in other people, and we want our ideas in their heads, running around doing things that ultimately help out our genetic lives. None of this is conscious – we don’t want to pass on our genes, we just want to have sex or raise a family. And we don’t want to make people like what we like, we just want to share something special we’ve found. It is fascinating that Larry David and Christian evangelists don’t see this going on. They see the other team doing it and think they are silly, while they themselves pretend not to want the same...

Dating site data on mate preferences

Dating sites hold a huge wealth of information on human behavior. We may say we are this, or want to be that, but data takes our opinions out of the loop and shows us the facts. Mate preferences are a big piece of the puzzle when understanding people. What do men prefer and what do women prefer when it comes to a mate? The age of big data shows some clear trends. We can all have our own preference for a type of mate – be it blonds, older women, younger women, long hair, short hair, whatever – but large chucks of aggregated data show us that there are more universal preferences. The dating site (which I have never been to) is so kind to share their data with the world. Have a look at see what our subconscious minds are telling us. The data here is not from a survey! Our conscious minds will come up with all kinds of bullshit, but big data IS our subconscious mind and it has some interesting things to say. For one, women tend to look for men around their own age. Men, however, regardless of age, tend to search more for women in their early 20’s. If that wasn’t shallow enough, we see that attractiveness exponentially outweighs other criteria. Good looking people get far more messages on OK Cupid than their average counterparts. There is even data from a job site which shows the same searching trends by men. They look for female candidates the same way they look for female partners. What are we to conclude about this data? We’re shallow? We knew...

Take the Pen – what’s it called when you don’t want them to accept?

“Indian giving” is when you give someone something and then you take it back. But what’s it called when you offer someone something but hope they refuse? People fascinate me. I fascinate me. I’ve done this too. You want to look generous but you don’t really want to give up the thing you are offering. You want the best of both worlds: to look generous, but also keep your stuff. So, yes, I made this picture to kick off a little investigation of this behavior and hopefully give it a name.  In “The Pen” episode of Seinfeld, Jerry’s dad’s friend, Jack, offers Jerry a pen. Jack loves the pen and only offers it because Jerry is talking about how much he needs a pen like that. He offers Jerry the pen, but really he hopes that Jerry will turn him down. Sometimes you give because you want someone to be happy. Sometimes you give because you want to be happy. Or maybe, these two are the same thing. Giving is a very loaded activity. It’s a shift of power. The thing you have is a resource and giving it to someone means you have lost that resource and they have gained it. Evolution made the human psyche such that the recipient should feel a certain amount of obligation. Not only that, despite that you have lost something, you have also taken the position of power. Giving in certain circumstances is, in a sense, a declaration of self-value. “I’m so good and wealthy that I can give this to you”. You can’t give what you don’t have, so givers are...

The Gene-ish Self

Richard Dawkin’s book The Selfish Gene, and the selfish-gene theory it embraces have massive implications on human understanding. Traditional Darwinian evolution would say “survival of the fittest” implying that we’re all a bunch of selfish beings focused on our own survival. The selfish gene theory changes that. My essay The Gene-ish Self takes a look at this new perspective and puts it in the context of our lives. What does it mean to be “a gene replication machine”? How is our modern world a refection of our genetic drives? And most importantly, what can we learn from our natural drives to be able to have a better life? Below is an excerpt from The Gene-ish Self: An Essay on the True Nature of You Natural selection is not evil – in fact, it is the only good thing in the universe. There has been much confusion and abuse of natural selection as a concept and this essay hopes to set the record straight. Yes, natural selection created life on this planet, it made people out of monkeys, but it also is the driving force in our high-tech world today. Most people miss that last part. I’m here to show you that a world created by natural selection does not mean we live by the Law of the Jungle. It is not inherently selfish, but rather gene-ish. Insights into natural selection have given us not only new ways to look at biology but also at our own modern lives. What do they mean for you and how can you use that information to have a more focused life? Chapter 1:             ...