While helping young libertarians gathered together at Cambridge University to appreciate the tradition of liberty and to engage cognitive tools to understand and improve the world, I learned that Cambridge scientists have published evidence in Science that meerkats actively teach their young. According to the BBC,
Writing in the journal Science, the scientists suggest meerkats are only the second non-human animal species found to teach its young actively.
That raises a question. If meerkats were to fail to train succeeding generations in how to hunt and eat, they might die out. What happens when humans fail to teach succeeding generations the principles of social cooperation, such as toleration, several property, freedom of trade, and the rule of law? I think we already know the answer….the last century was choked with the bodies of the dead.
5 Responses to “At Least We Don’t Have to Handle Scorpions”
We don’t have to handle scorpions, but we do have to handle politics and weapons technology — and mishandled, these are far deadlier than scorpions.
Seems like it would be a good idea to hand down the principles of freedom to our children like Mr. Palmer mentioned but I have a question on toleration. To each his own, by all means. However, I just read a book by Sam Harris called the End of Faith. His thesis, more or less, is that religious faith can no longer be tolerated in the age of nuclear proliferation.
While seeing all irrational faith as dangerous, his doomsday scenario sees intolerant, extremely religous Muslims continuing to try and take down Israel and the West as long as Islam as a religion is tolerated because of the inherent violence called for in the Koran. He likens the current religion-crazed Muslims of the Middle East to the Christian inquisitors of the Middle Ages. Only instead of sticks and stones, the inquisitors today have bombs and with nuclear proliferation, will soon have very destructive bombs capable of delivering blows that will shake civilization as a whole.
While there may be some hyperbole in the details, the message as a whole seems to warrant some serious attention in my opinion. I agree it’s time to call a spade a spade and no longer tolerate the unreasoned religious faiths of the world. By no longer tolerate, I mean to no longer stand for the cultural taboos against being outspoken against religion. Also, remove religious toleration from the many core principles we hand down to the next generation.
Freedom is something we’ve been struggling to achieve for centuries and luckily we seem to have actually achieved so much in this respect, yet there still so much to struggle for. Religious toleration and freedom were among the first achievements in people’s battle for a better world, for the right to a free religion means the right to think freely and this is the greatest gift a human being posses: freedom of mind.
If you impose your religious beliefs on others you will thus say that they are not able of thinking for themselves, not able to make the difference between right and wrong and if they are not able to make this distinction then why should they have the right to decide on any other matter, not only religion, why should they have the right to decide what to eat, what to wear, where to study or why should they have the right to post messages on web sitesÃ?Â?Ã?Â¢Ã?Â¢?Ã?Â¬Ã?Â?Ã?Â¦after all, they are not able to decide for themselvesÃ?Â?Ã?Â¢Ã?Â¢?Ã?Â¬Ã?Â?Ã?Â¦..perhaps some higher authority, like the state or some sort of benevolent dictator should make the callsÃ?Â?Ã?Â¢Ã?Â¢?Ã?Â¬Ã?Â?Ã?Â¦right!?
Well, noÃ?Â?Ã?Â¢Ã?Â¢?Ã?Â¬Ã?Â?Ã?Â¦.it’s wrong, for human beings have the gift of reason and are able to decide for themselves and they also have the right to choose what they believe in, they have the right to pick their favorite god/religion/faith the same way they pick their favorite football team: by deciding freely.
If we start by removing religious toleration, who gets to decide what’s the right religion? The Christians, the Jews, the Buddhists or do I get to form a new religion, proclaim myself god and decide? And if religious toleration is the first form of freedom that we give up, what’s the next one, sexual toleration, the equal treatment for womenÃ?Â?Ã?Â¢Ã?Â¢?Ã?Â¬Ã?Â?Ã?Â¦.are we going back to the Dark Ages?
What we can no longer tolerate in the age of nuclear proliferation is the lack of freedom and tolerance, what we can no longer tolerate are the almighty leaders who think they know best and they think for us, what we can no longer tolerate is the lack of education and understanding because these are the things that put us in the greatest danger.
P.S. Someone how would had actually read the Koran before criticizing it’s teachings would have known that it is one of the books most centered on peace, love and cooperation between human beings ever written.
Someone how would had actually read the Koran before criticizing it’s teachings would have known that The Djihad is first of all the believer’s fight against weaknesses of all sort, secondly it’s the way of building a collective identity for all the believers (some sort of believers network) and thirdly it’s the fight to resist the temptation and the influence of the non-believers — no physical fight involved there.
Someone how would had actually read the Koran before criticizing it’s teachings would have known that the actions of a handful of fanatics have very little in common with the actual teachings of the book, that the Koran as well as the Bible or the Torah can be read and understood in many different ways and to designate these few fanatics (with a great marketing approach, I’ll give you that) as the symbol of Muslim world would be the same as designating Marilyn Mason the symbol of Christianity — I bet quite a few Christians would have a problem with that.
P.P.S. No religious faith is 100% reasonable.
To address the P.S. section first. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/ That is a link to the school’s database on Muslim writings. I’d be happy to point out the sections of the Koran and the hadith that support and demand the use of violence just in case. Perhaps if you’re a Muslim or familiar with Islam you might be able to help me interpret what I mistakenly thought were violent passages. Let me know…
Religious toleration is a touchy subject. Let’s suppose you have someone who hears a voice from God telling him to kill certain people (for whatever ridiculous religious reason) and to worship a certain person. The prize for pursuing both of these holy decrees is eternal life and the punishment is eternal torture. Let’s suppose he puts down on paper the message from God and hands it out to all of the gullible people in his neighborhood. Now the worshipping of a certain person might not be much of a problem but to call for the murder of a certain people is surely something NOT to be tolerated. Wouldn’t you agree?
The intrinsic problem with religion is that it can be made out to be whatever any one individual wishes (like in the above case). The above claim can NOT be proven true or false (pending advances in neuro science but the religious of the world will surely try and sidestep this problem once it arrises). Since the validity of the claim is not falsifiable, does that entitle the man who claims he has heard the voice of God to toleration?
I know of no society that has been the worse off for their preference to reason rather than unreasonable faith. History is littered with societies that have perished at the hands of people of faith.
I agree that no religion is 100% responsible. I agree that people should eat, wear, study and post whatever they’d like on the web so long as it does not advocate the killings of others.
Who do you think brought us the Dark Ages and the unequal treatment of women?!?! Do you really think religion is the defender of understanding, toleration and f*&#ing education?!?! You think dogmatic religion that claims to know the answers to all aspects of knowledge epitomizes “freedom of the mind”?!?! Don’t be ridiculous. Or a person of faith for that matter.
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