February 2005 Notebook Entries
Notebook entry, February 26, 2005
Just wanted to let you know I'm here, but I'm focusing on doing my 2004 taxes
before I plunge headlong again into my film making lectures or what ever else
I come up with.
But my education also continues: I'm reading Gender, Sex, and Subordination in England 1500 - 1800, by Anthony Fleticher. In addition, I'm also listening to two lectures from the Teaching Company -- Ancient Greek Civilization by Professor Jeremy Mcinerney and The History of Ancient Rome by Professor Garrett G. Fagan.
It all fits people. There is no doubts in my mind that male domination and control ALONG WITH FEMALE ACCEPTENCE has evolved from our primate ancestors right through the Greeks and Romans.. I strongly believe that my capital emphasis about ALONG WITH FEMALE ACCEPTENCE has been the missing part of sociology and the social norms that have evolved. But it fits perfectly into the social psychology of SDO -- Social Dominance Orientation theories of Jim Sidanius and Felicia Pratto that they have theorized have flowed throughout history (well, actually they don't look into the history record too deep). It is my intention to bring this information to my web site in video form (Hmmm....a video book review?).
Notebook entry, February 17, 2005
Ok, so, In an attempt to find out what the problem as to why the desktop won't recognize the handycam digital recorder, I bring in a tech guy and he tells me that I have not installed any Drivers for the devices I'm using....I tell him yes, I have. Ok, so he re-installs the driver software, and guess what? It still does not work. Now, upon further investigation of the systems devices, it seems that the desktop is not recognizing any devices hooked up to the desktop. He says, that he has never seen any thing like that in his career. Hmmmm....?do you ever get the feeling that GOD is trying to tell you something?
Well, to get to the bottom line without boring some of my regular readers, we (me and the tech guy) have decided that since software on the laptop is installed and works, and the laptop has twice the processor speed as the desktop, and -- here's the great part -- the monster drive that I installed on the desktop is a plug-in --- that I will move the monster drive over to the portable and when I am ready to burn DVDs, then transfer the data onto the monster drive from the laptop and then move the monster drive back to the desktop and burn the DVDs onto the DVD burner that I installed along with the monster drive on the desktop because it is four times faster then the DVD burner on the laptop.
?You gettin' all this?
Evolution is about solving problems at your local environment that pass your genes into the next generation. But the true lesson of solving problems in passing your genes is that you continue to find a "simpler way" to do the same task.....
Geeeeech. Now I understand why Geeks are called Geeks.
I have now begun to work on another family DVD of the kids in California to hone my skills. I have also opened the first lecture series project on the software. Stay tuned.
Notebook entry, February 15, 2005
Ok. So, I get home and put the imagemixer SONY software that I retrieved from my son in-law in California and install it on my desktop. Guess what? It doesn't capture the video from the digital camera. Ok. So, instead of getting depressed over another technological set-back, I just calmly move on to doing my taxes and will get back to the problem later. See, how calm and logical I am now?
Notebook entry, February 16th, 2005
Arrived in California with no hitches. WX is cool, overcast, and rainy, but good for staying indoors and catching up with my web site and to work on my income taxes. The Image-mixer software has been retrieved from my son in-law and everything is right in my universe today. Michala, my granddaughter remembers me now, and is even starting to show affection. However, the stress that my kids are going through is tough. They are still struggling with their business and they are about one to two payrolls away from going belly up. The opportunities are there, but "it takes money to make money" weighs heavily upon their head. Some of the bigger companies like Cincular owe them several hundreds of thousands of dollars but keep from paying them and they can't begin any new work because they need to buy equipment and, even in some cases, pay for work in advance for workers (in Las Vegas). The scenario seems very similar to America's new middle class -- working themselves toward poor health by working long hours, and being only one or two paychecks away from the poor house.
Notebook entry, February 12th, 2005
An interesting article by Nicholas D. Kristof, a conservative-leaning journalist for The New York Times, dated, Feb. 12th, 2005, titled: God and Evolution.
Mr. Kristol leaned heavily toward the absurd when he noted that there may be a biological disposition toward religion, and that:
"...modern science is turning up a possible reason why the religious right is flourishing (in 2005) and secular liberals aren't: instinct. It turns out that our DNA may predispose humans toward religious faith...In recent years evidence has mounted that there may be something to this, and the evidence is explored in "The God Gene," a fascinating book published recently by Dean Hamer, a prominent American geneticist. Dr. Hamer even identifies a particular gene, VMAT2, that he says may be involved. People with one variant of that gene tend to be more spiritual, he found, and those with another variant."
Ok, let me see if I have this straight. Genes in our DNA make us more religious and make us behave in a manner that would be considered highly valued and Godly? So, when the "religious" G.W. Bush sent cruise missiles to Baghdad to kill perhaps, 100,000 civilian "collateral damage" deaths, he was acting in a Godly manner? And those religious Crusades back in the 11th Century, those people were acting in a Godly manner? And all those Southern Evangelical Christians who scream the loudest that the rest of Americans are sinners, and who lynched "niggers" in the American South up till about the 1960s are also considered to be Godly?
Religion Gene, my ass.
How about Genes that recognizes that aggressive males love to kick ass and take away resources from others that make them Alpha Males? And in doing so, makes them more attractive to women who want the best for their future children? And that the more "stuff" a male has, the greater the chance at getting that "trophy wife," or "Sport's Illustrated bathing-suit model" as a mate? How about genes that understand to bond into similar groups is more effective at getting one's goals then going alone?
Mr. Kristol, pay attention to your paragraph which hits closest to the mark that evolutionary perspectives see about religions: That they are public displays of commitment that humans make when they enter into a group and attempt to be acceptable to that group's social norms.
"Evolutionary biologists have also suggested that an inclination to spirituality may have made ancient humans willing to follow witch doctors or other leaders who claimed divine support. The result would have been more cohesive bands of cave men, better able to survive - and to kill off rival cave men."
Notebook entry, February 10th, 2005
Here is another interesting email exchanges from one of my regular readers. I have to thank the reader as being one of the individuals who helped to relieve some of my depressive "funk."
From: Curtis Manges [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 7:59 PM
Subject: EP question
I'm probably not the only regular visitor to your site
who's tired of reading about your "depressive funk"
and about how Sony has betrayed your brand loyalty.
Maybe you need a specific EP dilemma to ponder. Here
Imagine yourself in North America six hundred years
ago. No white men, no horses, no steel. You are a
member of a small party sent to the flint quarry. It
is a two days journey, but close to the edge of your
tribal territory, and you've been there before.
Arriving at the quarry, you look about and find
members of several other tribes there, collecting the
best flint for the tools and weapons vital to your --
and their --survival. You know that some of them have
traveled a very great distance to collect the flint.
Some of these people are members of tribes who are
your life-long enemies, and you can see that, with the
proper strategy, a surprise attack could drive them off
and give your tribe control of the quarry. Your
enemies would be deprived of weapons, and you could
rid the world of them forever. After all, that warrior
over there may at this moment be fashioning "the one
with your name on it."
You are about to suggest this to your partners, but
then you remember: you brought this idea to the tribal
elders upon returning from your previous visit, and
they basically told you, "Don't even think about it."
What did your chiefs and wise men tell you? Why is
this place considered neutral territory by all, even
> Thanks Curt
> Perhaps, I needed that swift kick in the butt about
> my whining. But this is really a big sea change in my life. I do apologize
> for not keeping up to the minute details of what is going on in the
> background (mostly positive) and will ponder your question this weekend. You
> don't mind if I update the question to become nuclear weapons instead of a
> stone flints and the "territory" to become Iran, do you?
> Take care
> Bill @ Evolution's Voyage
From: Curtis Manges [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 7:31 AM
To: William A. Spriggs
Subject: RE: EP question
The nuclear angle is an interesting twist, but I don't
think it's quite the same, since nuclear weapons have
no known life-giving benefits.
The heart of the flint issue is a matter of sharing a
life-sustaining resource, consciously deciding to
allow even your enemies to benefit from it. Somehow,
these people decided and agreed that all of humanity
must be allowed equal access to this resource, even if
it became detrimental to some of them. The reasons for
this decision seem like a question uniquely suited to
the field of EP.
If you draw a parallel between the flint quarry and a
nuclear weapons stockpile, it would seem that the U.S.
is moving to chase everyone else out of the "quarry."
--- "William A. Spriggs" <email@example.com> wrote:
> Question: What did your "wise men" tell you? Why is
> it considered neutral territory?
> Your story is fashioned on the building blocks of oral history. In
> particular, "life-long" enemies indicates that "battles" have taken place in
> the past and very likely that stories of bravery, and sacrifice have been
> passed down. But the fact that a "neutral" territory exists also indicates
> that a terrible loss also occurred in the past and
> that "knowledge" is also past down to the young male warriors in the hopes that
> another "mistake" will not take place again.
> Advice from the elder: We've been there "grasshopper" and to eliminate
> your enemy in the short term may make sense to you today because you see the
> obvious advantage by eliminating your enemy and stealing all of their
> resources, to us elders, who have "been there, done
> that," it only means that hatred and revenge (which means loss of life
> and resources to us) lurks over the horizon when the son, brother, or cousin of
> the defeated enemy seeks the "blood vengeance" for their loss. So the
> wise elders (ON BOTH SIDES) are the ones that have created the "neutral
> territory" by telling the next generation of young male warriors not to start
> a conflict within that territory.
> Hence, we now stand at the doorway of the modern
> phrase: "Those who fail to remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
> Which is basically a long-term, strategic way of thinking instead of "reacting" to emotions and
> doing stupid deeds. ?when did this occur in the human brain? That's speculation, but it most likely occurred after the
> creation of language and the concepts of "loss," "vengeance," "enemy,"
> "bravery," "manhood," and "military advantage" were perceived and passed down
> from generation to generation in an oral tradition.
> And even though Iran with nuclear weapons, or the American invasion of Iraq,
> is not quite the same story, it's very close. We have pissed off many young
> male warriors in the region with our invasion of Iraq and the loss of over
> 100,000 civilians must be remembered as a loss to some son, brother, and
> cousin of those killed. The "neutral" territory is merely a line drawn on a
> map! The oil in the ground can be your flints that are necessary for our
> current survival (it drives your car that takes you to work that gives you a
> paycheck that buys your food at the store that keeps you and your family
> alive) and, today, it all comes down to the "wisdom"
> of the elders back at the Pentagon, White House, and Congress.
> OK, it's been a nice break pondering the EP thing,
> but I have to go to Big Boy Toy Store today and buy a 300 gigabyte
> hard-drive in order to do my film editing.
> Then I have to get depressed again learning how to
> work it.
> Enjoy the Voyage
> Bill Spriggs @ Evolution's Voyage
From: Curtis Manges [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, February 06, 2005 6:34 PM
To: William A. Spriggs
Subject: RE: EP question
Not bad, but your explanation seems to have a hole in
it. The flint quarry being neutral only means that
nobody can dominate the flint quarry, and hostile
tribes are still free to conduct warfare elsewhere, so
all the hatred and vengeance can still continue --
just not at the quarry.
I'd like to think that these people had some intuitive
understanding that the greater good of the species
demanded the preservation of all cultures, even if
they were currently hostile. This may or may not have
been the case, but if so, that would show a direct
understanding of evolution. Maybe not such a stretch,
because these people had an excellent understanding of
I have a suspicion that there may have been a mutual
understanding among all the tribes, that if one group
tried to monopolize the resource, that ALL the others
would gang up on them. Perhaps by assuring access to
all who needed it, they maintained something like a
balance of power. Perhaps, also, they would have
considered it cowardly and/or dishonorable to defeat
an enemy by weakening him in such a way -- maybe
nobody wanted to be known as a bully.
Also, I've heard that warfare among "primitives" is
sometimes more ceremonial than injurious, and
sometimes a "war" was decided by who cast the
cleverest insult, after which everyone had a party
(with the loser picking up the tab and the winner
picking up some new trophy brides).
Whatever the reason, I think that we need to relearn
the wisdom of our ancestors, before we blow ourselves
all to hell and gone.
Your oil/flint analogy is excellent.
This is a shot in the dark, but I'm going to predict
that the new monster hard drive with solve a lot of
your system's misbehavior. Good luck,
Notebook entry, February 6th, 2005
Went to the Big Guys Toy Store yesterday and purchased my monster gigabyte drive and had it installed. The installation went surprisingly well. But, now I've encountered a glitch of not finding the video camera software (called imagemixer) that captures the digital film clips from the camera onto the computer. It seems I may have lost it when we made the move to our house in June of 2004. I want to use the software on the same computer that I have the new hard drive on. (move software from portable to desktop computer). I consider it a minor glitch because I'm not finished looking and I know that my son in-law in California has the software out on the table waiting for my arrival on Friday of this week. So, as far as I am concerned, the whole project is behind schedule, but I'm more flexible in terms of accepting the delays. Hence the technological, depressive funk, is slowly lifting because I am accepting it as normal. I am almost certain that most of my depressive funk is due to the lack of creating new thoughts; I have not written any new work since October of 2004.
Notebook entry, February 2, 2005
An updated sense of the anti-scienctific mood that is currently in place here in America is brought to the fore by The New York Times online edition article titled: Evolution Takes a Back Seat in U.S. Classes, byline: Collrnellia Dean, dated, February 1, 2005. We all know the story: religious zealots want to ban the teaching of evolution in American classrooms and have something called "Intelligent Design" put in its place because erasing the Biblical account would destroy the "institution" of the male dominance story of God (who is a male) passing the laws to Moses (who is a male) and then on to all subjects below these two in a submissive manner. I mean, let's face it: Being a Male King is a good gig, and all that science stuff would mess up the order in the hierarchies; this in turn would mess up the easy access to the female sexuality part. And for the female's on top of their hierarchies, it would mess up their gig too.
The article in the times tells us:
"Dr. John Frandsen, a retired zoologist, was at a dinner for teachers in Birmingham, Ala., recently when he met a young woman who had just begun work as a biology teacher in a small school district in the state. Their conversation turned to evolution.'She confided that she simply ignored evolution because she knew she'd get in trouble with the principal if word out that she was teaching it,' he recalled. 'She told me other teachers were doing the same thing.'
"Though the teaching of evolution makes the news when officials propose, as they did in Georgia, that evolution disclaimers be affixed to science textbooks, or that creationism be taught along with evolution in biology classes, stories like the one Dr. Frandsen tells are more common."
Notebook entry, February 1, 2005
An extremely important news report has come from China in The New York Times, online edition, January 31, 2005 titled "Fearing Future, China Starts to Give Girls Their Due", by Jim Yardley.
In the human past, history has taught us that where living is harsh, there has always been a preference in the human population to favor boys over girls in the struggle for existence. Evolutionary feminist purists (EFPs) insist that it is the female that has chosen this hard path as the best possible way for survival of the species.
The female, so the purists say, sent out males to hunt and bring back as much as possible in supporting, protecting, and perpetuating the genes into the next generation. ?Is it not, after all, "the best way" to raise children because it would increase their chances of survival?
Perhaps, what the females did not calculate, the purists insist, was the social construct of male-bonding and to the degree that this effect would have. Perhaps, they could not see this one coming because men were always fighting amongst themselves for their sexual access, and that perhaps the friendships and bonding that were emerging amongst the males were seen as only temporary because the male became compliant again when he cuddled next to her bosom.
Perhaps, in their over-eagerness and competitive nature to attach females (and without much objection from the females because they benefited from more "stuff" for themselves and their future children), males found that bonding and helping each other in groups was a monumental asset. Unfortunately for the females, because of the historically short supply of resources, this has led to males continuing to bond in even greater numbers and to pass those advantages that were created on to their male sons. This in turn, has led males to structure and control their cultures into social norms that have favored the reproduction of male sons as being more beneficial than having females. And if the females objected, then all the male had to do was to threaten violence, or to do the actual physical "corporate" punishment of physical violence to make sure the female "remained in her place." This, the EFPs insist, is an example of sexual selection gone too far (some call it "run-away" sexual selection). This, of course, was made possible because the male was selected by the female for his competitive advantage in the first place. Now this"advantage" is quickly (in an evolutionary perspective timeline) becoming a "disadvantage" as extreme fundamental religious zealots have taken control of different governments (including America's) and are placing their masculine pride and culture to the fore. This has led these male dominated societies doing their best to destroy each other (see the book, The Clash of Civilizations).
Now, say the EFPs, that female has begun to re-evaluate this imbalance that is taking place on our planet, and are just beginning to assert themselves in requesting reforms and a lessening of the dependence on males (since the 1960s to the present, in America).
In time, the purists say, the scale will return to the day when the female has her proper place as the true engineer of the species through the mechanism of sexual selection. But that is the future, and we must focus on the present. This article, which comes to us from China, is a perfect example that the evolutionary scale will soon tip in the opposite direction. Here are some interesting quotes from the article:
"There is such a glut of boys here -- roughly 134 are born for every 100 girls - that the imbalance has forced an unlikely response from the Chinese government. To persuade more families to have girls, it has decided in some cases to pay families that already have daughters. The Communist Party is often vilified for its so-called one-child policy. The government credits the policy for sharply slowing China's population growth, but critics say it is a major reason many families now use prenatal scans and selective abortions to make certain that their child is a boy."
The article does go on to state that the Chinese government is now attempting to pay families for raising females, and the EFPs state that is another sign that things are beginning to shift the balance back toward the center away from male dominance.
But here is the most startling comment that comes from this article.:
"Demographers predict that in a few decades China could have up to 40 million bachelors unable to find mates."
This is scary stuff. Since bachelor males are the one's most "desperate" to want and desire sexual access, their bodies "need" to displace their aggressiveness. (Some EFPs also state that bachelor males are most aggressive because it is the "will" needed to overcome difficult obstacles (like killing large beasts for protein) in which to gain resources, which in turn attracts the females.
I hope there are regular readers of this web site at the Pentagon -- since the obvious future threat to America's security may not come from Muslimic fundamentalists, but from the Chinese Government deciding that the only way to put a cap on the aggressive "desires" of their 40 million bachelor males may be to "put them to good use" by invading resource rich territories to put China in a position of dominance "that it deserves" because of its long history.
Unless, of course, one can understand the sexual needs of their bachelors and make sexual access more available in a more practical manner: Anyone up for the new reality TV show, "The Chinese Bachelor?" or, perhaps, the movie, "I was a Chinese Email Order Bride." Or how about a television advertising campaign suggesting that male bi-sexuality is not such a bad thing after all because it relieves sexual tensions (just think of all that available cash floating out there not going to children that one's country already has too many of).