I can't think of anything more fossilized than the brain of a living fundamentalist Christian or, in fact, the brain of any fundamentalistic religious sort whose holy book (which they still worship) originated more than two-thousand years ago. Their own fossilized brains, awash in synapses which can't recognize natural selection and which believe the earth is flat and that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west ought to be proof positive that evolution occurs. They just have to study their own idea systems to see physiological change (i.e. evolutionary change) in the nature of altered and adaptive synaptical patterns. I do not discredit certain society-regulating systems of mores (morals) which they wrote down at the time those ideas (i.e. synapses, memes) were arising in the cultures of the world, only the ancient science through which they still try to understand the world. Whether their brains' inability to adapt to new realities will have a positive or negative impact on their survival only time will tell, but a close look at history shows many many discarded or vastly altered religions (which they fear) and many discarded scientific ideas (which scientists do not fear). Science marches ever toward a greater understanding of the world, though not complete, while religion just dawdles along from thought to thought, unenlightened and backward.
Hey, I just got a thought. . . !
Some people don't like to think of changing ideas (cultural change) as being the same as changing morphology (evolution), but changing patterns of synapses by which the brain interfaces with and alters the world outside its cranium is physiological change, a chemical and connection-oriented alteration in the brain. This brain of ours actually does link (through memes?) physiological change and cultural change. I don't know whether we could develop a hard science out of meme theory, but I guess some psychologists are trying to do just that. It's been awhile since I've read anything about meme theory, but someone must be working in the field and making the connections I just made between cultural change and evolution.
So—I guess I began this entry as a sort of serendipitous metaphorical adventure, but now I see that I can really say that fundamentalists' brains are living fossils.
ATHEISTS JUST GOTTA KEEP SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
The following is a letter to the editor of NEWSWEEK about a quote that their writer, Dickey, drew from a Catholic magazine.
Subject: I know you didn't say, but. . .
Date: Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:27 PM
From: George Thomas
Dickey’s article on the new Pope troubled me in one area. He quoted Concilium, journal of theology: “Even though full-blown Nazism was an atheistic and anti-Christian ideology. . . .”
Hitler was a Christian. So was Mussolini.
Look, I know that Dickey was only quoting a propaganda tool of the Vatican, but as an atheist I must protest that Fascism, born in nations jamb-packed with Catholics and Lutherans, was fully an outgrowth of the tyrannous spirit which resides in that Christian book, the Bible, in which not one democracy raises it’s lovely head. Fascism was and is the product of deeply religious people who still pray daily to live in a tyrannous kingdom for all of eternity after they die. They worship a tyrannous king who killed their hypothetical forebearer for the sin of exercising free will and thus show their contempt for free will by worshiping that very being who supposedly makes amends for his unjust killing by killing his own son. Now what sense does such a fairy tale make in a democracy?
Show me in the world at this time any war or trouble which is not caused by people who believe in god. The increasingly atheistic, peaceful European peoples ought to be praised to high mountains for their strong atheistic and democratic spirit which does honor free will by the very act of supporting democracies over books about hypothetical spiritual kings and princes.
"Jimmy Stewart was one of the very best pilots and leaders in the Air Force and the kind of American that Americans like to think of as typical even though he was better than that." —Andy Rooney from MY WAR, p. 75 [I love the sly dig at American self delusion Andy gets in here.]