John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Sat, 2 Aug 1997 21:05:57 -0700 (PDT)


"den Otter" <otter@globalxs.nl> On Sat, 2 Aug 1997 Wrote:

>It can sometimes be observed that a certain meme occurs more
>frequently in (a) certain group(s) of people who clearly (looks,
>geography etc) share the same genetic background. [...] This could
>be called "scientifically based racism".

Racism exists because most animals probably have a gene(s) that makes them
feel that their mate should not look very different from the average. It's
not a totally bad idea because those who look very different are often ill,
so this improves the odds that their mate is healthy and that means more
children are produced who also have the gene. Like any simple rule of thumb
it can sometimes make horrible mistakes and become downright ridicules,
particularly when you put it into a different and much more complex
environment like the modern world. Such caned programmed responses are best
for an animal with a brain the size of a squirrel, but Humans are smarter than
squirrels and can do better, unfortunately they still have that dumb gene.

If you're wondering why so many Extropians have such a low tolerance for
anything that has the slightest hint of a racist smell, it's because racism
has never made one thing of value and in fact, with the exception of religion,
no meme has ever produced more misery in the world.

>Man, having evolved from an upright killer ape, couldn't have lost
>his violent primal urges overnight (on an evolutionary timescale).

The "killer ape" theory, the idea that humans evolved from vicious carnivorous
animals, originated with Raymond Dart, Robert Ardrey distorted and popularized
Dart's ideas in the dreadful best seller "African Genesis" in 1961. Dart
found bones of Australopithecines that had been broken open so the marrow
could be gotten to, and Ardrey's imagination ran wild. The theory has been
completely discredited for over 20 years, it's now known that the bones were
the result of leopards not evil cannibalistic apes.

>Btw, you should see the movie "The Forbidden Planet" (60's I reckon).
>It shows what could happen to a (extropian-esque) society when it
>loses touch with (or: denies) it's more primitive side.

Yes, wonderful movie! My dad took me to see it when I was a kid, the first
movie I ever saw in my life, it scared the hell out of me but I loved it.
Despite corny dialog and a bad last act (Why does the object of wonder always
have to blow up?) it's still terrific because of good special effects for
its time, great music, and one of the most provocative underlining ideas ever
put on film.

>Your black neigbor may very well be your mental equal/superior, but
>the culture linked to his forefathers is inferior to the culture
>linked to *your* forefathers

You're assuming I'm Caucasian, I will not confirm or deny it. I will say
that in very recent history the people I admire most, scientists, engineers
and mathematicians, have mostly been white or Asian. On the other hand, when
I look at tomb paintings of the ancient Egyptians, the civilization that
invented civilization, I see a lot of black faces

The recent DNA Neanderthal finding, which proved that we are not descended
from them, destroyed the only rival to the out of Africa theory, it's pretty
clear now that not only Homo Habilis but Homo Erectus and even fully modern
humans originated in Africa. We're all Africans, every one of us.

>This does not mean you should look down on your neighbor (just for
>this reason) because he isn't responsible for the actions of his

Yes indeed, the number of your direct ancestors doubles with each generation,
even more if you count cousins, so you don't really have to go back very far
to find somebody famous. My grandmother loved to trace the family tree and
brag about illustrious relatives, until one day she went back a little too
far and found an ancestor hung for grave robbery. She sort of lost interest
in the subject after that.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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