[ LETTERS ]

Tue, Dec 04, 2012 - Page 8

Intelligence and answers

I would like to offer some answers as to why people behave the way they do. The recent case from Ireland of a woman who was refused an abortion and left to die seems human intelligence is not what we think. The contradiction between being pro-life and leaving the woman to die really grates on the intellect.

Then we have all the endless conflicts around the world which show that the smartest solution is the same as it was 5,000 years ago — the most intelligent solution one can think of is to start killing people. How can this be? Are we a ship of fools? In short the answer is “yes.”

The “Hydrogen to Human” project exposed human behavior in a stark and shocking new light. You are a living fossil of all the evolutionary successes which allow you to exist, including all your behavior. If you want to see what that behavior is, you need to look at the common behaviors present in every culture; that is who we are, that is why the project was done in Taiwan, whose modern culture is very different from the UK’s, yet with some common traits.

What shows up are four important drivers in DNA: copy, conform, compete and be curious. That is it. So simple, but then complexity never takes complex steps, just lots of simple ones. What also showed up is how the universe always self-assembles into states of greater complexity using pairs of complementary partners. The mind and the body are two such partners, they must be interdependent to exist.

Your mind is not merely brain cells, but a complex entity that creates its own reality and tricks all of us into believing that reality as truth. The real truth must be something that is true for every human being on the Earth.

However, remember “copy and conform.” If we did not do this, we would not work as a group.

Fifty thousand years ago, our only weapons were working together and toolmaking.

The trouble with this is that we are programmed to conform to any nonsense you can imagine, from bad driving to a God favoring one group above all others. This seems obvious when you think that at the same time humans were walking on the moon, that nation that made it happen was killing thousands in Vietnam. Do not think that killing with modern tools is any more sophisticated; it is just more efficient.

The mind controls the body to exist. It needs sugar and water. It drives the body using chemicals which are more powerful than intelligence. Test this next time you are driving — there is always a chemical reaction first. Overcoming the chemicals needs true intelligence and we admire the people who can do it. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ, former Pakistani prime minister Benazhir Bhutto and former South African president Nelson Mandela are all examples. However, there is also a pattern of such people being killed and persecuted by the rest of us.

We admire them, but soon go back to our chemical ways and nonsense prevails. Is there an answer?

Yes, always work from basic principles. No excuses. If somebody will suffer as a result of your behavior, it is cruelty.

You are programmed to favor yourself and not see it (the selfish gene). We are driven by chemical imbalances which create reactions. Single-cell organisms move, feed and reproduce using imbalance and rebalance as a mechanism to do all the same things as a more complex animal. Now we have no more excuses.

Understanding brings responsibility, but most people will never overcome their chemical triggers, so it is up to the people who choose to understand to lead by example. It is up to them to teach the next generations as the evolution of intelligence stopped at the same time as learning complex language.

Yes, we went to the moon with a caveman’s brain, but a caveman could easily learn how to use a computer or a machine gun.

Peter Cook

Greater Taichung

The sanctity of life

In her letter to the Taipei Times, Flora Faun claims “Pro-life attitudes are the leftover expression of male dominance over women” (Letter, Nov. 19, page 8). She also tells us to “stay out of my womb.” However, Faun has forgotten what a womb is. I am proud to be a pro-life mother.

I feel deeply touched every time I read the passages: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you” and “Behold, children are a heritage from woman, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

Whether you credit the source of the womb as God or evolution, the purpose of the womb is beyond dispute: to allow a woman to carry within herself and nurture a new human life; to become a mother.

Being a mother does not begin when the child is born. When a woman is pregnant she can feel the life that is inside of her womb. All mothers talk to this little person often, enjoying feeling this precious new life in their bellies. The mother carries her child for nine months with all the love and tenderness she can give.

So it is false and dehumanizing to say that abortion is just like having a tooth removed. Abortion erases human lives; lives that can never be rebuilt later like teeth through dental restoration.

I agree with the opinions stated by Edmund Ryden in a recent letter (Letter, Nov. 14, page 8): “Human rights cannot be established without morality because our lives are interconnected from our inception in the womb of our mothers. The life-giving mystery of a mother’s womb should not be reduced to a political slogan.”

I want to end by quoting Dr & Mrs Willke: “The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child ... and if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

Clare Yeh

Taipei