My comment that "we're still the violent, brutish thugs we were 200,000 years ago" was in the context of evolution. We are not improving as a species regarding qualities like kindness, generosity, peacefulness, empathy, etc. To whatever degree we as a species possessed those qualities, and their opposites, 200,000 years ago we still possess them to the same degree today. Evolution doesn't work that fast.
That's an assertion, but I'd say it's safe to assume that all those qualities still exist in us. But I think that you can also safely assert that with the influence of the cultural changes in our society over the last 500 years or so those very basal instincts have been highly moderated. Culture also affects behaviour.
Any improvements that we as a species appear to have demonstrated are actually societal and cultural improvements that result from increasing wealth. The more wealthy a society, the more generous it can afford to be. When that wealth dissipates then the positive qualities of the society and culture also drop away. We've seen this in all the hotspots around the world, from Somalia to Sudan to Gaza to the Boko Haram to ISIS to the Taliban.
I think you've thrown a red herring in here called wealth. All the hotspots around the world that were poor cf. Western standards also had functioning institutions which were overcome by various fundamentalist or just plain evil gits. At some point order will return to them.
If we ignore wealth for the moment, I think we can accept that progress in our civilisation has been made through the application of our growing knowledge which we've gained using our intelligence. That's a form of evolution, whether it's biological or not is accademic.
quote:As climate change and diminishing resources rob us of our wealth they will also rob us of the trappings of civilization. We see it already in the rise of right wing influences in the western world that encourages a culture of "I've got mine, I'm keeping it, I'm not sharing it, you're not like me, you keep away." The irony is that many of the people displaying such attitudes don't actually have much. They're much more in need of a culture of sharing and mutual support and working together across our differences toward common goals than those who do support such policies.
Well there's a whole bundle of doomsday assertions there.
I'd say that there's plenty evidence that societies can break down when circumstances change. Riots and looting often break out when the lights go out in cities. Even in 'rich' European countries the rule of law breaks down over historical, cultural and religious grudges, Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland being obvious examples. But eventually order returns.
We now have international institutions that, in very imperfect ways, can step in to help resolve many of these breakdowns.
You may be correct that a sudden, global and monumentally disasterous happening might destroy lots of these institution's effectiveness but it's a hell of a leap to say that any breakdown would be permanent and that all institutional and human learning would be lost. It's also a leap to say that global warming could acheive such a thing. Change is likely be slow and not always bad for everyone.
Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona
"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved." - Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.
Re: There is nothing in Protestantism to compare to the RCC Inquisition
I'm sorry, cultural or religious clashes are not at all the same thing as an official religious agency intended for the punishment, torture and murder of heretics.
In England, Protestant and Catholics have been officially murdering each other for centuries. Ordained by the heads of both religions. This is not disputed Faith, it's history 101 here.
St Thomas More, the Catholic government official executed in 1535 by King Henry VIII
The Act of Supremacy issued by King Henry VIII in 1534 declared the king to be "the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England" in place of the pope. Any act of allegiance to the latter was considered treasonous because the papacy claimed both spiritual and political power over its followers. It was under this act that Thomas More and John Fisher were executed and became martyrs to the Catholic faith.
The Act of Supremacy (which asserted England's independence from papal authority) was repealed in 1554 by Henry's devoutly Catholic daughter Queen Mary I when she reinstituted Catholicism as England's state religion. She executed many Protestants by burning. Her actions were reversed by a new Act of Supremacy passed in 1559 under her successor, Elizabeth I, along with an Act of Uniformity which made worship in Church of England compulsory. Anyone who took office in the English church or government was required to take the Oath of Supremacy; penalties for violating it included hanging and quartering. Attendance at Anglican services became obligatory—those who refused to attend Anglican services, whether Roman Catholics or Protestants (Puritans), were fined and physically punished as recusants.
Foxe's Book of Martyrs helped shape lasting popular notions of Catholicism in Britain. In the time of Elizabeth I, the persecution of the adherents of the Reformed religion, both Anglicans and Protestants alike, which had occurred during the reign of her elder half-sister Queen Mary I was used to fuel strong anti-Catholic propaganda in the hugely influential Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Those who had died in Mary's reign, under the Marian Persecutions, were effectively canonised by this work of hagiography. In 1571, the Convocation of the Church of England ordered that copies of the Book of Martyrs should be kept for public inspection in all cathedrals and in the houses of church dignitaries. The book was also displayed in many Anglican parish churches alongside the Holy Bible. The passionate intensity of its style and its vivid and picturesque dialogues made the book very popular among Puritan and Low Church families, Anglican and Protestant nonconformist, down to the nineteenth century. In a period of extreme partisanship on all sides of the religious debate, the exaggeratedly partisan church history of the earlier portion of the book, with its grotesque stories of popes and monks, contributed to fuel anti-Catholic prejudices in England, as did the story of the sufferings of several hundred Reformers (both Anglican and Protestant) who had been burnt at the stake under Mary and Bishop Bonner.