Marginalized persons and Group Selection

Our readers and authors have once again sent me in the direction of unifying two seemingly disparate thoughts: many thanks to Timothy Travis for the link to a Steven Pinker essay on Group Selection and to Afzal Moolla for his recent poetry submission.

You should read Mr. Pinker’s essay and Mr. Moolla’s poem. Both will help you to be a better world citizen and probably also cause you to reconsider a position or two. I will not belabor either the essay or the poem herein; they speak for themselves. Instead, I will concentrate at the point where the curved lines of the poem and the essay cross.

Mr. Moolla concentrates on the human misery that is not being ameliorated by god or religion, but is instead being exacerbated by a combination of politics and religion. Every day more human beings are marginalized at the expense of those on the upper side of the money and power curve, as served by business, politicians, and religions. The Occupy people say they are the 90%; Mr. Moolla says the marginalized are the 99%. Whichever it is, it is still far too many people stuck under the heel of the 10% or 1%.

Mr. Pinker, for his part, does a wonderful job of eviscerating the theory of Group Selection, one of those soft and fuzzy proposals that makes it easier for the perpetrators of this marginalization to hide behind their smug veil of spin, while carefully ignoring the shortfalls of their position. Mr. Pinker explains, in no uncertain terms, why Group Selection is bad science and genetic selection is good science.

What can we learn from this crossing of two sets of well-considered words? We can learn to think critically and cut to the heart of theories like Group Selection, learning their weaknesses and making it more difficult for the 1% or 10% to hide behind pseudo-science in order to continue to marginalize the 90% or 99%.

We can also remember, as Mr. Moolla reminded me, that (in the words of oppressed Spaniards) “We will ALWAYS be many more”.


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