Sunday, January 26, 2014

Religion and Disease

Looking and listening to the news of the day is getting downright dispiriting. Still only partly awake when the BBC came on the air this morning at 6:00, we were assaulted with the news of the day—Rioting, shooting, blowing things up in Syria, Iraq, the Ukraine, Russia, Egypt, Thailand . People are having so much fun killing other folks who aren’t quite like them, mainly because of religion (or power, but religion seems to be all about power these days).

Then, on the radio, came a guy talking about how evolved we are, relative to the Neanderthals and other early folk-like critters. We are evolved because we are socially conscious. We think, we imagine, we are aware of other things beyond roasting a piece of meat over the fire. We have conjured up a funny concept of a creature we call God, and, as a result of our really smart brainpower, we have created lots of rules of living that we make believe we were given by the God.
And, of course, when other folks ignore our rules of living, we kill them, just because they’re, well different, and we know that different is inherently threatening. Not wishing to have our rules challenged, we generally kill the folks tossing out the challenges.
So, that’s our daily news digest. NEWS FLASH: some folks in some land blew themselves up and brought a few dozen other folks along with them.
So, I began thinking about our “evolution” to this higher order being. And, then I began to wonder about the evolutionary advantage of making up stuff about a GOD thingie, and trying to make everyone think alike. And I was drawn to two possible conclusions: 1) if we all really thought alike, isn’t it likely that we would cease evolving, and become stagnant, and eventually die out as a species, because something else would take our place?; 2) we seem so vaguely crazed about ensuring that our version of the RULES and our version of the GOD becomes the only version left standing that we run an increasingly serious risk of a self-induced apocalypse—you know, nuclear winter and all that, which might also have a deleterious effect on our survival.
So, then my mind began its usual thing of playing. And I began wondering about disease, and epidemiology. And I thought, maybe organized religions are a sort of virulent disease state., spreading slowly throughout the globe.  And, like many disease states (bubonic plague, for example), if allowed to spread unchecked, it could eventually engulf and destroy the globe’s population.  So, perhaps we need  some kind of epidemiologic approach to arrest  the spread . Like many disease states, organized religion has mutated into several different forms and its manifestations differ depending on the receptivity of the hosts.  But still, thinking, say, of colony collapse disorder, now killing off our bee populations, we need to begin seriously examining ways to reduce the incidence and prevalence of these potentially deadly disease organisms.
NIH—calling NIH . . . where are you guys? We need your best epidemiologists on the job now.
Ta ta . . .
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