March 6, 2015 · Posted in Alpha  

My thesis: Human beings are a social species innately inclined to recognize and function within dominance hierarchies, however overt or subtle. Combined with a creative imagination, and tendency to infer agency as well as to anthropomorphize, the result is the capability to believe—even an eagerness to believe—in invisible, great beings. Gods. In, An Almighty Alpha, I describe the types and meanings of dominance and submissive displays found in non-human primates and in the human primate. I then explore the correlates of these found in the writings and rituals of the Abrahamic religions. The result: a compelling case that belief in a supernatural great being involves the extension of natural inclinations beyond the real.

    
March 5, 2015 · Posted in Alpha  



    
March 4, 2015 · Posted in Alpha  

AN ALMIGHTY ALPHA
How Our Primate Instincts Contribute to Belief in Gods

Foreword

Introduction

Academic Curiosity or an Ax to Grind?
The Ignorance of Human Instincts
A Hierarchy Enshrined
Domination (and Subordination) Out of the Closet
To Defer is Divine
Status, the Power of the Civilized
Testosterone and the Temperament of Gods

I: Preliminaries

1. Homo Narcissus – Just an Animal?

The Way of All Flesh
Boosting Self-Esteem Via the Supernatural
Misconduct – a Fall from Grace or Human Nature?

2. God: Gran Padre or El Presidente?

The Bible Deity: Your Father’s Father or Your Great Father?
From Family to Tribe, Father to Chief
Hierarchy: A Male Thing?
The Payoff for Dominance
God’s Love for His Own Children

3. Nurture and the Swiss-Army Knife of Human Nature

Gaps in the Brain and a Jack of Many Trades
The Creative Confines of Nature
Echoes of Ancient Needs
A Cerebral Confederacy

4. Bumpkins in the Night

Who Goes There?
The Projection of Intention
The Thunderbolts of the Gods
A Variety of Religious Agents and Experiences

5. Comparing Adams and Orangutans

Sex, Toys, and Neotenic Species
Sexual Pride & Reproductive Jealousy
No Primate is an Island
Strength in Numbers
God’s Violent Children
Status – Always on Our Mind

II: Traits of the Dominant

6. Size/Power

An Alpha Above Alphas
Why Godliness is Upward
A Thundering from the Clouds
By His Mighty Hand
Submissiveness and the Sacred
Bowing Down in Body and Spirit

7. Eye Contact

Vision, Information and Power
Threatening Eyes, Reassuring Eyes
Seeing and Being Seen by a God
Avert Thine Eyes from Your Lord

8. Threat Displays

A Primate’s Advertisement of Power
Friends in High Places
A Chest-Thumping God
Indirect Aggression and Dominance
The Shock and Awe of Mighty Deeds
Mike – Supernatural Master of Chimps
A Litany of Biblical Threats

9. Sexual Primacy

Sexual Primacy, Sexual Jealousy
Dominating Genes
God Wants to Know – Who’s Your Daddy?
Brute Sexuality
Male Seed and Sacred Wombs
The Spirit World’s Zealous Interest in Sex
Why Religions Strive to Clean Up Dirty Sex

10. First Fruits

Hungry Gods
The Best for the Highest
Some Real World Benefits of Religion

11. Soothed by Grooming

The Grooming of the Gods
Pleasing the Mighty
Upon a Throne of Praise
Grooming as a Social Tool
Grooming and Favors Owed
Soothing the Sky Gorilla
Vocal Kisses

III: But . . .

12. Will the Real Proto-Human Please Stand Up

The Chimpanzee – A Highly Social, Yet Non-Religious Primate
The Bonobo – Our Peace and Love Cousins?
More Civil than the Chimpanzee
The Bonobo’s Darker Side
The Human: Similar, But Different

13. The Egalitarian Ape: All for All and None for One

Democracy as Nair™: How Our Nature Appears Hairless
A More Civilized Power Structure
The Gearbox to a Revolutionary Rank and File
Less Visible Forms of Social Power
The Cart and Horse of Egalitarian Societies
The Varieties of Hierarchical Organizations
From Threatening God to Charismatic God

14. The Pacts Within a Pack

A Primate’s Proximity to Power
Status Via Allies
Strength in Numbers
Preventing Threats to the Social Order
Blood Brothers Without Shared Blood
The Rubber Bands of Alliances
Social Ledgers and the Supernatural
Religion and the Serious Matter of Group Membership
The Skyed Piper

IV: Benefits to Subordinates

15. Peace Among Us

The Cost of Chaos
Calming the Social Seas
Impulse Control, Biblical Style
Religion and Social Order
A Devine Referee
Decrees from an Absent Alpha

16. Protection from Them

The Protection of Powerful Agents
Xenophobia Runs Deep
The Five Star General in Heaven
All for One of Us and One for All of Us

17. Provisions

Keeper of the Garden
Manna From Heaven
Bounty and the Birth of Leaders

V: And?

18. Science and the Educated Guess

Science in a Nutshell
Is this Science?
The Importance of Specificity and Skepticism

19. Indirect Evidence and Possible Tests

The Hard Work of Science
Some Testable Links

20. The Roots of Religious Behavior

The Extension of Instinct
Dead But Not Gone
Chimpanzee Behavior, Superstition, and the Supernatural
Religion as a Social Toolkit
The Evolution of Religion

Appendices

The Varieties of Hierarchical Organizations

    
March 3, 2015 · Posted in Alpha  
  1. Argyle, M., “Non-Verbal Communication in Human Social Interaction,” in Hinde, R. A. (ed.), Non-Verbal Communication, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1972.
  2. Armstrong, K. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of our Religious Traditions, Knopf, New York, 2006.
  3. Asimov, I., Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: The Old and New Testaments, Wing Books, New York, 1969.
  4. Anderson, C., John, O., Keltner, D., & Kring, A., “Who Attains Social Status? Effects of Personality and Physical Attractiveness in Social Groups,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 1, 2001, Vol. 81 #1.
  5. Atran, S., In God’s We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002.
  6. Barnett, J. E., Time’s Pendulum: From Sundials to Atomic Clocks, the Fascinating History of Timekeeping and How Our Discoveries Changed the World, Harcourt Brace, New York, 1999.
  7. Benthall, J. & Polhemus, T., (eds.) The Body as a Medium of Expression, Dutton, New York, 1975.
  8. Boehm, C., Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1999.
  9. Bourne, H., The Ape People, Putnam, New York, 1971.
  10. Boyer, P. Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought, Basic Books, New York, 2001.
  11. Brown, S. L. & Lewis, B.P. “Relational Dominance and Mate-Selection Criteria: Evidence that Males Attend to Female Dominance,” Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 25, Issue 6, November 2004, 406-415.
  12. Brown, S. L., and Lewis, B.P., “Relational dominance and mate?selection criteria: Evidence that males attend to female dominance,” in Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 25, Issue 6 , November 2004, Pages 406?415.
  13. Burkert, W., Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996.
  14. Carli, L., LaFleur, S., & Loeber, C., “Nonverbal Behavior, Gender, and Influence,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(6), 1995, p. 1030?1041.
  15. Carlson, M., Marcus?Newhall, A., & Miller, N. “Effects of situational aggression cues: A quantitative review.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1990, 58(4), p.622?633.
  16. Cheney, D. L., & Seyfarth, R. M. Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2007.
  17. Cummins, D. D. “Cheater Detection is Modified by Social Rank: The Impact of Dominance of the Evolution of Cognitive Functions,” Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 20, Issue 4, July 1999, 220-248.
  18. Dennett, D., Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Viking, New York, 2006
  19. Doherty, E., The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Canadian Humanist Publications, Ottawa, Canada, 1999.
  20. Dunbar, R. Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996.
  21. Ehrlich, P. R., Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect, Island Press, Washington, D.C., 2000.
  22. Ekman, P. (1992a). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion, #6, p. 169-200.
  23. Feldman, R. S. & Rimé, B., Fundamentals of Nonverbal Behavior, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991.
  24. Fitness, J. & Fletcher, G. J. O., “Love, hate, anger, and jealousy in close relationships: A prototype and cognitive appraisal analysis,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 65(5), Nov 1993, 942-958.
  25. Friedman, H. S., & Miller?Herringer, T., “Nonverbal display of emotion in public and private: Self?monitoring, personality, and expressive cues.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1991, 61(5), p. 766?775.
  26. Frijda, N., The Emotions, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1986.
  27. Galdikas, B. M. F., Briggs, N. E., Sheeran, L.K., Shapiro, G. L. & Goodall, J. (Eds.),
  28. All Apes Great and Small, Volume I: African Apes, Kluwer Academic / Plenum, New York, 2001.
  29. Gazzaniga, M. S., Mind matters, Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1988
  30. Gould, R. V. Collision of Wills: How Ambiguity About Social Rank Breeds Conflict, University of Chicago, Chicago, 2003.
  31. Harris, S., The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2010.
  32. Hosaka, K., Nishida, T., Hamai, M., Matsumoto-Oda, A., & Uehara, S., “Predation of Mammals by the Chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania,” in Galdikas, B. M. F., Briggs, N. E., Sheeran, L.K., Shapiro, G. L. & Goodall, J. (Eds.), All Apes Great and Small, Volume I: African Apes, Kluwer Academic / Plenum, New York, 2001.
  33. Givens, D. The Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs, and Body Language Cues, http://members.aol.com/nonverbal2/index.htm
  34. Gladwell, M. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Little, Brown, & Co., New York, 2005.
  35. Groth?Marnet, G., Handbook of Psychological Assessment, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1990.
  36. Goodall, J. The Chimpanzees of the Gombe: Patterns of Behavior, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1986.
  37. Goodall, J., My Friends the Wild Chimpanzees, National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., 1967.
  38. Gould, R. V. Collision of Wills: How Ambiguity About Social Rank Breeds Conflict, University of Chicago, Chicago, 2003.
  39. Gregory, S. & Webster, S., “A Nonverbal Signal in Voices of Interview Partners Effectively Predicts Communication Accommodation and Social Status Perceptions,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 1, 1996, Vol. 70 #6
  40. Grehan, J. R, and Schwartz, J., H., “Evolution of the second orangutan: phylogeny and biogeography of hominid origins.” Journal of Biogeography, 2009
  41. Guthrie, S. E. Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993.
  42. Hinde, R. A. (ed.), Non-Verbal Communication, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1972.
  43. Islam, G. & Zyphur, M., “Power, Voice, and Hierarchy: Exploring the Antecedents of Speaking up in Groups,” Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, June 1, 2005, Vol.9 #2
  44. Jaynes, J., The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1976
  45. Jolly, A. Lucy’s Legacy, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1999.
  46. Kagan, J., Galen’s Prophecy: Temperament in Human Nature, Basic Books, New York, 1994
  47. Kagan, J., The Nature of the Child, Basic Books, New York, 1984
  48. Kemper, T. D. Social Structure and Testosterone, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 1990.
  49. King, Barabara. The Dynamic Dance: Nonvocal Communication in African Great Apes, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2004.
  50. Kinzey, W. G. New World Primate: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Aldine De Gryter, New York, 1997.
  51. Krakauer, J., Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 2004.
  52. Leary, M. R., Tambor, E. S., Terdal, S. K., & Downs, D. L., “Self?esteem as an interpersonal monitor: The sociometer hypothesis,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1995 68(3), 518 – 530
  53. MacLean, P.D., The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions, Springer, New York, 1990.
  54. Maestripieri, D., Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2007
  55. Miller, G., The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature, Anchor, New York, 2001.
  56. McCrew, W. C., The Cultured Chimpanzee: Reflections on Cultural Primatology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  57. McFarland, D. Ed., The Oxford Companion to Animal Behavior, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982.
  58. McGrew, W. C. , Marchant, L. F. & Nishida, T., Great Ape Societies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996.
  59. Kano, T., “Male rank order and copulation rate in a unit-group of bonobos at Wamba, Zaïre,” in McGrew, W. C. , Marchant, L. F. & Nishida, T., Great Ape Societies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996.
  60. de Waal, F. B. M., “Conflict as negotiation,” in McGrew, W. C. , Marchant, L. F. & Nishida, T., Great Ape Societies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996.
  61. Zihlman, A., “Reconstructions reconsidered: chimpanzee models and human evolution,” in McGrew, W. C. , Marchant, L. F. & Nishida, T., Great Ape Societies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996.
  62. Nishida, T., and Hosaka, K., “Coalition strategies among adult male chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania” in McGrew, W. C. , Marchant, L. F. & Nishida, T., Great Ape Societies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996.
  63. Minuchin, S., Families and Family Therapy, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1974.
  64. “Monkey ‘Pay-Per-View’ Study Could Aid Understanding of Autism,” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050128213439.htm
  65. “Human And Monkeys Share Machiavellian Intelligence,” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024144314.htm
  66. Morris, D. (ed.) Primate Ethology, Aldine, Chicago, 1967.
  67. Sparks, J., “Allogrooming in Primates: a Review,” in Morris, D. (ed.) Primate Ethology, Aldine, Chicago, 1967.
  68. Wickler, W., “Socio-sexual Signals and their Intra-specific Imitation among Primates,” in Morris, D. (ed.) Primate Ethology, Aldine, Chicago, 1967.
  69. “The Nonverbal Dicitonary of Gestures, Signs, and Body Language Cues,” http://members.aol.com/nonverbal2/index.htm
  70. Okun, B. F. Seeking connections in psychotherapy, Jossey Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1990
  71. Pagels, E., The Origin of Satan, Vintage, New York, 1995.
  72. Pettit, G., Bakshi, A, Dodge, K., & Cole, J., “The Emergence of Social Dominance in Young Boys’ Play Groups: Developmental differences and Behavioral Correlates,” Developmental Psychology, November 1, 1990, Vol. 26#6
  73. Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta, Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Collier Books, NY, 1972.
  74. Power, M. The Egalitarians: Human and Chimpanzee, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991.
  75. Quirke, S. The Cult of Ra: Sun-Worship in Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, New York, 2001.
  76. Roes, F. L., and Raymond, M., “Belief in moralizing gods,” in Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 24, Issue 2 , March 2003, Pages 126?135.
  77. Redford, D. B., The Ancient Gods Speak: A Guide to Egyptian Religion, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002.
  78. Ridley, M. Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human, HarperCollins, New York, 2003.
  79. Roes, F. L. & Raymond, R., “Belief in Moralizing Gods,” Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 24(2), 2003.
  80. Savin-Willians, R.C., “Dominance Hierarchies in Groups of Early Adolescents,” in Child Development, Dec. 1979, p923-35.
  81. Shermer, M. The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule, Times Books, New York, 2004
  82. Shorto, R. Gospel Truth: The New Image of Jesus Emerging from Science and History, and Why it Matters, Riverhead Books, New York, 1997.
  83. Sidanius, J., Pratto, F., & Bobo, L., “Social Dominance Orientation and the Political Psychology of Gender: A Case of Invariance?”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 1, 1994, Vol. 67 #6
  84. Sogon, S., & Masutani, M., “Identification of emotion from body movements: A cross-cultural study of Americans and Japanese,” Psychological Reports, 65, (1989), p. 35-46
  85. Srivastava, S., & Beer, J., “How Self-Evaluations Relate to Being Liked by Others: Integrating Sociometer and Attachment Perspectives,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2005, Vol. 89, No. 6, p. 966-977
  86. Steklis, H. D. & Kling, A. S. (eds.), Hormones, Drugs & Social Behavior in Primates, New York, SP Medical & Scientific Books, 1983.
  87. Keverne, E. B., Eberhart, J. A., & Meller, R. E., “Plasma Testosterone, Sexual and Aggressive Behavior in Social Groups of Talapoin Monkeys,” in Steklis, H. D. & Kling, A. S. (eds.), Hormones, Drugs & Social Behavior in Primates, New York, SP Medical & Scientific Books, 1983.
  88. Harvey, N. C., “Social and Sexual Behavior During the Menstrual Cycle in a Colony of Stumptail Macaques” in Hormones, Drugs & Social Behavior in Primates, New York, SP Medical & Scientific Books, 1983.
  89. Thompson, J. G., The Psychobiology of Emotion, New York: Plenum, 1988
  90. Tiedens, L. & Fragile, A., “Power Moves: Complementarity in Dominant and Submissive Nonverbal Behavior,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 1, 2003, Vol. 84 #3
  91. Tiedens, L., “Anger and Advancement versus Sadness and Subjugation: The Effect of Negative Emotion Expressions On Social Status Conferral,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, January 1, 2001, Vol. 80 #1
  92. Tracey, T. J., “An examination of the complementarity of interpersonal behavior.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1994, 67(5), 864?878.
  93. Trexler, R. C. (ed.) Gender Rhetorics: Postures of Dominance and Submission in History.
  94. Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, Binghamton, NY, 1994.
  95. Vertegaal, R. & Ding, Y., “Explaining Effects of Eye Gaze on Mediated Group Conversations: Amount or Synchronization?” Proceedings of CSCW 2002 Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work, New Orleans: ACM Press, November, 2002.
  96. de Waal, F. Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are, New York, Riverhead Books, 2005.
  97. de Waal, F. B. M., (ed.), Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social Evolution, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2001.
  98. McGrew, W.C., “The Nature of Culture: Prospects and Pitfalls of Cultural Primatologist,” in de Waal, F. B. M., (ed.), Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social Evolution, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2001.
  99. Dunbar, R., “Brains on Two Legs: Group Size and the Evolution of Intelligence,” in de Waal, F. B. M., (ed.), Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social Evolution, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2001.
  100. de Waal, F. “The Chimpanzee’s Service Economy: Food for Grooming,” Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 18, Issue 6, November 1997, 375-386.
  101. de Waal, F. Peacemaking Among Primates, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1989
  102. de Waal, F., “The Chimpanzee’s service economy: Food for grooming” in Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 18, Issue 6 , November 1997, Pages 375-386.
  103. de Waal, F., “The Relation between Power and Sex in the Simians: Soci-Sexual Appeasement Gestures,” in Gender Rhetoric: Postures of Dominance and Submission in History, Trexler, R. C. (ed.), Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, Binghamton, NY, 1994
  104. Wagner, J. D., Flinn, M. V., & England, B. G. “Hormonal Response to Competition Among Male Coalitions,” Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 23, Issue 6, November 2002, 437-442.
  105. Wagner, J. D., Flinn, M. V., & England, B. G., “Hormonal response to competition among male coalitions,” in Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 23, Issue 6, November 2002, Pages 437-442.
  106. Criminal Violence (Ed. by Wolfgang, M. E. & Weiner, N. A.), Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, 1982.
  107. Wilkinson, R.H., The Complete Gods and Godesses of Ancient Egypt; Thames & Hudson, NY, 2003
  108. Wilson, D.S. Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, 2002.
  109. Wrangham, R. & Pilbeam, D., “African Apes As Time Machines,” in Galdikas, B. M. F., Briggs, N. E., Sheeran, L.K., Shapiro, G. L. & Goodall, J. (Eds.), All Apes Great and Small, Volume I: African Apes, Kluwer Academic / Plenum, New York, 2001.
  110. Wrangham, R. & Peterson, D. Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, Houghton Mifflin, NY, 1996.
  111. Wright, R., The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life, Vintage, NY, 1995.
  112. Zink, C., Tong, Y., et al., “Neural Representation of Social Hierarchy in Humans,” from the paper session abstract from the conference, Neural Systems of Social Behavior, Austin, Texas May 11-13, 2007.
  113. Zuckerman, M., Psychobiology of Personality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991.
    
March 3, 2015 · Posted in Announcements  

I am currently busy working on other projects.  I hope to get back to adding new content here soon.

detour-sign

    

Next Page »