I have vetted the following Dr. Seuss cartoon on Snopes. It is TRUE and a very chilling affirmation that history does, indeed, repeat itself (in varying ways).

adolf-the-wolf-with-explanation

— Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a philosophical novel exploring the nature justice and religious belief.

Was Descartes wrong and God was a deceiver, after all?

Consider that if the Christian Bible were true (sans contradictions), then what would that say of objective science, such as astronomy, biological evolution and medical research? Indeed, what would it say about logic and the Creator, Itself?

What would the world be like had it been created by a truly benevolent god and our primary motivating force was empathy, not self interest? How, indeed, with the human condition as it is, could we achieve such a world either via a god or by humanism?

Join Professor M. Jefferson Hale as, in part II, he puts God on the witness stand in an ethereal court to answer for Its malfeasance and terrorism.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hariod Brawn
    Feb 07, 2017 @ 12:01:58

    We higher primates are given to an innate faculty of empathy, yet it seems most unevolved, or only in its incipient stages. I’m not sure we can “achieve such a world . . . by humanism”, as such thinking is driven by the intellect primarily, it appears to me. Am I wrong, Max?

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    • Max T. Furr
      Feb 08, 2017 @ 10:17:25

      Actually, our sense of genetically motivated empathy is an inherited survival tool for our closest family members and then extends out inversely proportional to the genetic distance of others, though there are exceptions, such as war companions in battle and very good friends–but this is circumstantial empathy that one would find in tribalism. And, by the way, this applies to other species as well, and not just primates.

      Currently, I think it is true that such a world of universal empathy cannot be achieved anytime soon, at least not until objective education becomes a priority value universally–a thing that exclusive religion and political conservatism fights fang and claw.

      Humanism, however, is the only path to such a world because exclusive religion is not likely to go away until and unless that high level of education is attained. It’s quite a struggle, but I think humanity is very slowly gaining ground for humanism. So I don’t think it is a complete stalemate.

      I edited a typo in my introduction. I vetted on “Snopes,” not “Scopes.” Duh!

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    • Max T. Furr
      Feb 08, 2017 @ 13:51:36

      Thanks Hariod,

      you’re saying that empathy can be inculcated through education?

      I think one cannot inculcate empathy, but give a child the tools with which universal empathy may be developed–plant the seeds, in other words.

      This can be done by example and by teaching objectively about other cultures with a serious eye on how the clash of cultures and religion can, and do, damage children for life, mentally and physically.

      Show that one’s religious beliefs are a function of what they are taught to believe and that no child is responsible for what he is taught. Thus, teach children who’ve been taught to believe Christianity that had they happened to have been born to Muslim families, they would have been taught to be Muslims. Same for all religions.

      Understanding religious belief, I think, is a major key to opening a child’s mind to accepting others and having empathy for those less fortunate.

      Instead of spoon feeding niceness, showing them pictures of happy children in other lands and telling kids that they should love and be nice to everyone, show them via video the world as it truly is, warts and all. And always show the consequences of empathetic acts as well as the results of indifference.

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      • Hariod Brawn
        Feb 08, 2017 @ 17:27:29

        Yes, all agreed; thankyou Max. So, there you’re talking about Cognitive Empathy, which is developing a theory of mind — others’ minds; putting oneself in others’ shoes. So-called Affective Empathy I don’t think can be trained; that’s an emotional contagion that may well have something to do with mirror neurons and the Periaqueductal Gray region of the brain. As usual with these matters of the mind, definitions often clarify apparent differences.

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    • Max T. Furr
      Feb 09, 2017 @ 10:03:58

      And I certainly thank you, Hariod. I especially appreciate your pointing to Cognitive Empathy, specifically research in mirror neurons and the Periaqueductal Gray.

      My approach wasn’t derived from the study of neurology, but from philosophy, observation, the biological aspects of nature and nurture, and by logical deduction.

      It was through personal research that I came to an understanding that certain behaviors are genetic in origin (i.e., a natural function of the brain) and that the interplay between natural and learned behaviors is/was the direct result of some complex interaction between the (apparently antiquated term) R-Complex–seat of the emotions–and the equally outdated term, Limbic System–the controller over the R-Complex allowing for the rational function of the cerebral cortex..

      You have updated and narrowed my focus in this area, so please let me know if I am too far afield on the following:

      At first blush, it seems reasonable that mirror neurons may have a lot to do with empathy toward others and bonding in particular.

      Could it be that the Periaqueductal Gray has something to do with inhibiting empathy for strangers, thereby providing a pathway to xenophobia as an instinctive evolutionary tool for survival? Certainly xenophobia is no longer an instinct, but since the evolution of reason, an impulse stronger in some than in others?

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      • Hariod Brawn
        Feb 09, 2017 @ 10:51:58

        I’m not at all qualified to answer those questions Max, and as I understand it there’s no definitive conclusion on the whole neuron-mirroring business. I think it’s now established that the Periaqueductal Gray is involved in bonding, and some say also in Affective Empathy, which would make sense if only by virtue of reason given the former. If my speculation about our empathic capacity being unevolved is broadly correct, then it would be possible that those on the cusp of this incipient development may find it insufficient to override self-centricity, aversion to others, be it the xenophobia you mention, or other in kind. Xenophobia as a survival tool, you say? Could be, only one wonders what would have distinguished the otherness of those one was averse to, 200,000 years ago on the Savannah, or wherever?

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  2. BroadBlogs
    Feb 07, 2017 @ 19:49:00

    Well, not everyone understands deity as perfect: ancient Greeks, Norse, Celts, Hindus…

    Chilling Seuss message.

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    • Max T. Furr
      Feb 08, 2017 @ 10:55:51

      That is a fun topic for me. I contend that no one can define omniperfection. Such a condition would, I think, lead directly to an amoral being since the opposing “perfect” attributes (such as love and hate; good and evil) would cancel each other out.

      In fact, even omniscience would not possible for a god, especially the biblical god of the OT. First, why would such a god ever become angry? How could an omniscient god ever change its mind?

      From these arguments, it is clear to me that if any religion has its finger on the nature of its god-construct, it would be the ones you mentioned as understanding their god(s) to be imperfect.

      But this, too, opens up more questions. It is here I often point to the late, great Joseph Campbell who suggested that religion is a mask that we construct to place against the unknowable–a thing on which to focus and having, of course, the attributes reflective of our own minds, cultures and attitudes.

      The non-Abrahamic religions, understanding that omniperfection is not possible, seem to have a molecule of understanding on this point and it is possibly why so many ancient religion had huge pantheons. Yet any number of gods could not be perfect in their particular aspects either. A perfectly loving and benevolent god would constantly be at war with a perfectly evil god.

      Best conclusion: gods do not exist.

      Incidentally, I edited my typo in the introduction of the post. I vetted the cartoon on “Snopes,” not “Scopes.” Duh on me! 😀

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