Let's consider cognitive and confirmation bias, argumentative theory, tribal instinct and the warrior ethos from the evolutionary perspective. Cognitive bias may have been esablished over mammalian evolution and becoming prominent in Australopithecus 4 million years ago. Homo habilis may have evolved one step further in then using confirmation bias and starting to function as a tribe. Homo erectus upon leaving Africa 2 million years ago and settling all of Eurasia may have done so with the tribe and band as the basic unit of survival. 70,000 years ago, perhaps with a newly developed warrior ethos on top of the tribal instinct, Homo sapiens left Africa and conquered the world.
As mentioned in the mission statement, at this point in time we are a very polarized Nation, which is the result of the advent of the 24/7 news cycle and social media and the internet - we have information at our fingertips. Such massive amounts of information make it very easy and almost necessary to apply a confirmation bias to selected sources that confirm that bias. The confirmation bias is an evolutionary genetic human trait, which began with the hard-wired cognitive bias neurologically developed in the brains of our ancient ancestors. We now have a neuroreality based on our hard-wired cognitive biases, which we now project with confirmation bias, that resulted in the argumentative state of mind, which is stoked by our tribal instinct and warrior ethos, which is now present in our society as evidenced by the polarization of our Nation.
Are we using confirmation bias when choosing what sources we get our political information from? Are we using confirmation bias when choosing a political candidate? Are we using argumentative theory when talking politics? Is that why political arguments can get so intense, so tribal, and sometimes lead to violence? Is this why we have a politically polarized society? The answer to all these questions could very well be yes.
Thesis 1: Maybe if we become aware of our evolutionarily selected cognitive biases that resulted in our confirmation biases, which led to the argumentative state of mind and is fired up by our tribal and warrior ethos, all of which have caused our political polarization, we can reign in these genetically selected and neurologically expressed human traits that have evolved over millions of years. Perhaps we could take a step back, try and detach ourselves from this genetic predisposition, and try and be a bit more rational rather than emotional in our political positions and discussions, seek truth rather than argument, listen, and reduce the amount of polarization and vitriol present in our society. Can we as citizens overcome this predisposition and lead our Democratic Republic as the founders intended? Recall what Ben Franklin said after exiting the Constitutional Convention when asked what sort of government the delegates had created? His answer was, “We’ve given you a Republic, can you keep it?” With synthisophy, the answer is yes we can.
Recall the natural experiments of history that took place in Easter Island, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and North Korea? As citizens in a Democratic Republic deciding the future of the USA, we should keep these natural experiments in mind when voting for our representatives in office to make sure they are leading the country in the right direction. If we are not knowledgeable citizens ourselves when exercising our right to vote in our Democratic Republic, we risk losing the role as the most powerful country in the world and, theoretically, in the long term (50, 100, 500, 5000 years) risk going in the directions of Easter Island, Haiti or North Korea.
I’m sure you heard the phrase, never talk about politics or religion. Well, we talked about politics, now it’s time to talk about religion. Recall the discussion on Science and Realigion:
Realigion - an understanding of the real world based on scientific fact and truth, but believing in the existence of God to explain the unknowable with aspects of existing religion, or faith of one's own choice, or accepting the unknowable as such.
Science is the study of the real world based on fact and truth. Religion is a particular system of faith and worship. Perhaps we could live our lives based on fact and truth. Religions provide a powerful structure by which we can live our lives, whether it be Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many others. There are many questions that science can’t answer, such as when did time start? Fourteen billon years ago when our universe was born in the big bang? But what was there before that? When and how did time start, or is there a start? Will time end, or is there an end? What created all the matter in the universe? Matter is made of molecules, molecules of are made atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, what are protons, neutrons and electron made of? What about energy in the universe, how did that happen, when did energy start? What will happen when all available energy is spent? What created space as in the space taken up by matter and all the vacuous space of the universe? These are questions that science cannot answer, and perhaps a place for a religion to answer with faith. What is good? What is evil? What is right? What is wrong? What are morals? What makes a good society? These are questions that that science may provide direction but may not be able to fully answer. To go one step further, for those questions that science can answer, perhaps science could be part of a religion. And for those questions that science can’t fully answer, faith and morality could be part of that religion. Let's call that Realigion.
Restated, science is the study and understanding of the real world based on fact and truth. But there are many questions that science cannot answer, and that is a place for religion to answer with faith. Perhaps for those questions that science can answer, science and scientific fact and truth could be part of a religion, keeping intact those critical aspects of religion as a social institution that provides group cohesion, moral behavior and raison d’etre. To go one step further, perhaps science and the understanding of the world based on fact and truth could be part of your raison d’etre, with those questions that cannot be answered by science answered within a particular faith or your own faith - your Realigion.
Here is a review of Religion in the present world:
A particular Religion, as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and various denominations, and many other religions, with science incorporated to differing degrees.
Realigion - an understanding of the real world based on scientific fact and truth, but believing in the existence of God to explain the unknowable with aspects of existing religion, faith of one's own choice, or accepting the unknowable as God.
An Agnostic - a person who claims neither faith in God nor disbelief in God.
An Atheist – a person who does not believe in the existence of god, a person who believes there is no god.
Only we the people can synthisophize: create and integrate the wisdoms of history into present culture.
Recall Chapter 8 on Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Note that computers can process and correlate billions of bits of information per second, whereas the human brain at the consciousness level is very limited in that capacity. Also note that the human brain can integrate many pieces of related information and create new and original ideas, not just correlates. Looking at Bloom’s taxonomy, computers can remember, understand, apply, analyze (correlate) and even evaluate information. But at the top of Bloom’s taxonomy, only the human brain can create new and original ideas integrating many pieces information from a wide variety of historic sources and come up with something completely new and of possible value to society. Restated, computers cannot and will not be able to synthisophize, integrate the wisdoms of history into present culture. Only we the people can do that.
Continue reading to consider what synthisophy could do for today's society.
Theses 1, 2 and 3 were first published here in full on August 16, 2017.