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Re: [evol-psych] essay on religion and security

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  • Francis Clark
    Greetings all: I must take some issue with Don s reaction to the argument on religion and security. I, too, am a consumer, and I think that the religious
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 28, 2001
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      Greetings all:

      I must take some issue with Don's reaction to the argument on
      religion and security. I, too, am a "consumer," and I think that the
      religious impulse and a strong mythic background are the greatest aid
      that we can have to the solution of many mental problems, except for
      those that are due to chemical imbalance. As Rollo May points out:
      "As a practicing psychoanalyst I find that contemporary therapy is
      almost entirely concerned, when all is surveyed, with the problem of
      the individual's search for myths. The fact that Western society has
      all but lost its myths was the main reason for the birth and
      development of psychoanalysis in the first place. Freud and the
      divergent therapists made it clear that myths are the essential
      language in psychoanalysis." (from The Cry for Myth).

      However, his discussion on consciousness is highly valid in that we
      should not assign consciousness to the realm of the mysterious and
      leave it there. We should attempt to pierce the veil and understand
      the mechanism of consciousness, even though we may find that there is
      not one and that it is, indeed, a "mystery." Our weak understanding
      of brain chemistry is the greatest barrier to treating a host of
      mental illnesses.

      Yet this topic also inevitably leads to a discussion of the alarming
      dualistic trend that I see developing in public thought regarding
      these and other issues that tend to bridge into the religious realm.
      The thread began with the topic of religion and security. I do think
      that there is reason to believe that religion is needed for a sense
      of personal security, as evidenced by the comments of May and other
      therapists. But the thread has led us to religion and consciousness.

      But the strongest case of dualistic opposition occurs in the realm of
      evolution and creationism. IDT is the latest iteration of
      creationism, and that is unfortunate, since there are some few
      (myself among them) who believe in the divine and also believe in
      evolution. I consider it a strong possibility that evolution was the
      mechanism that the divine might have chosen. But, even barring that
      thought, the proof of evolution undermines my religious faith no more
      than a proof of the laws of thermodynamics.

      These realms of inquiry should coexist, as Gould pointed out in his
      recent book.

      Francis Clark
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