We vote with our hearts, not our minds

13 07 2007

It’s not just religion. Voting isn’t rational either, a new book claims.

This groundbreaking investigation by a renowned psychologist and neuroscientist makes the case that we vote with our hearts, not our minds.

The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation


You can’t change the structure of the brain


But you can change the way you appeal to it. . .”

I can’t think of much that’s more important than this is, for my unschooled kids to learn . . . how about you? 🙂

Stanley-Fishing for Evolution of Faith Specimens

13 07 2007

-“Big Love” comment promoted as post, mostly to make it searchable-


Law professor and NYT blogger Stanley Fish wasn’t just writing about Clarence Thomas and BongHits4Jesus at school this summer. He also posted about religion versus science as articulated by atheist critics such as Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, in “Is Religion Man-made?”

His argument didn’t do much for me, but there were hundreds of rather intelligent and provocative comments, among which was:

The society of man is an imperfect, ongoing scientific experiment. Man has “evolved’ systems of religions since the onset of civilization, ‘progressing’ from worshp of animals and the various naturally occurring entities, i.e. the sun, the moon and the stars, through polytheism to monotheism.

Monotheism, in the current stage of evolution (that word again) brings us today a single god in many different forms and versions, i.e. Islam, Christian, Jewish, etc. In the truest sense of the word, religion has evolved as has physical man.

Both are still in an imperfect state; the physical man and the spiritual man. The danger of modern religion is that, through ignorance or dogma, it presupposes tht man at the present is in its final form, i.e. an act of perfection by an allmighty god.

That evil (the claim of perfection) is central to the various religions, each one of which lays claim to be the chosen few, and, as such, is the evolutionary equivalent of a lethal gene. I rest my case on the countless number of bodies that religion in its myriad forms have strewn about the world, past and present.
— Posted by Tom Bleakley

Maybe polygamy is one decadent human imperfection and Catholicism is another? Maybe theism itself will evolve as it has in older cultures than ours (Buddhism, say) toward a more spiritual (as in not physical or literal) collective wisdom.
[note – here I use “decadent” as cultural historian Jacques Barzun does, to mean fully played out, game about to be over.]

“The peoples of the West offered the world a set of ideas and
institutions not found earlier or elsewhere. . . it has been a unity combined
with enormous diversity. Borrowing widely from other lands, thriving on dissent and originality, the West has been the mongrel civilization par excellence. But . . .now these purposes, carried out to their utmost possibility, are bringing about its demise.

This ending is shown by the deadlocks of out times: for and against nationalism, for and against individualism, for and against the high
arts, for and against strict morals and religious beliefs.

The now-full-blown individual wields a panoply of rights, including
the right to do ‘his own thing’ without hindrance from authority. . . and of course it requires more and more limitations in order to prevent my right from infringing yours.”

Maybe human spirituality is evolving [for the next cultural era] as we discover and accept truths not through patriarchal personification and studying “authoritative” writings spelled out for our dutiful performance on demand, but through an “unschooled” direct personal connection to each other, and to the universe as a system? Maybe that’s what the Don Beck-Ken Wilber cultural “meme” dynamics mean to express?

Not trying to sound all lofty and New Agey, but personally I’d rather interpret power of story with blue versus green memes, than try to make sense of religious wars by poring over holy prophecy as written by men to be beaten into women and children.

Read the rest of this entry »

And what’s in the phrase “parent involvement”?

13 07 2007

Here’s an argument I find even more convoluted than the feminist flap last month over young childless bloggers so earnestly trying to help stay-at-homeschool moms by calling us unpaid domestic labor

Blogger mom Judith Warner of “Domestic Disturbances” sees that parent involvement in kids’ schooling and other activities is variable based on work schedules and demographics. It seems kids of all demographics wish their moms and/or dads could be with them more.

See “Visiting Day” and note she tags her post with “parental guilt, showing up, working parents.”

I say great, let’s address it then — it’s worth helping families even if we have to change the whole culture to integrate learning with daily life, rather than isolating learning and working away from families and homes.

So that what she’s arguing for, right?

HA! No, this prominent supposedly-thinking mom says our whole culture needs to change indeed, but in the opposite direction, to further isolate kids away from their parents, to systematically keep even the best, most dedicated and productively present proud parents OUT of their own kids’ daytime learning and activities.


Because kids feel bad when their parents have to work.

So, if you can’t bring enough parent involvement for the whole class, don’t allow any for anyone. Level the playing field by taking all the kids away from all the parents, all day long. Parents can see ’em after homework at night and have weekend visitation, otherwise they are creatures of the State and that’s the only fair thing to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Mother by nature AND nurture still not enough

13 07 2007

“. . .mothers can now do what fathers always could — conceal the truth
about their blood relationship to their children. And as with any new
reproductive technology, it has provoked a torrent of social, legal and
ethical questions about the entitlement to reproduce, what constitutes
parenthood, children’s rights to know their origins and the very nature
of family.”

Coming for Sunday’s NYT Magazine cover story, and maybe some rousing conversation — what’s in the
names “parent” and “mother” to make them accountably real, true, honest, healthy, good for children and society? And who gets the last word on these words?