Dog Butt, Evolutionary Adaptations, Christian Immaturity, and Bush16 July, 2008
I enjoy being able check the stats page in my dashboard and find out how people found me (or, more correctly, found my site). I can click back to people who visit me from links on other sites. I have discovered lots of interesting and useful stuff. Then, there’s this:
I found it at anatheist.net, posted by James Tracy. It is one of the most magnificent examples of “pareidolia, or seeing recognizable religious imagery in what amounts to random stimuli.” It is also the best example of the usefulness of said imagery.
Humans are pattern-seeking beings. From an early age, we seek patterns in all that we see. That set of shapes is Mommy. That set of shapes is Daddy. Once we have the basics, we start looking for patterns in inanimate objects as well. As we mature, though, we understand both the randomness of the natural world and the pattern-seeking within ourselves.
Christians (most notably Catholics (and yes, I realize that not all Christians or Catholics see Jesus’ face on every pancake, tree stump, piece of toast or mould stain (though you don’t see too many atheists looking at a set of random shapes and seeing Jesus or Mary, do you?)))), though, seem to have missed out on this particular piece of maturation.
Realizing the evolutionary predilections programmed into our bodies is part of maturity. Recognizing that our evolutionary imperative (as a male) is to impregnate as many women as possible and reigning in that instinct in the interest of family peace is part of maturity. Recognizing that, although we appear to be programmed to enjoy alcohol (the ripest, most sugar-laden, fruits contain trace amounts of alcohol), drinking to excess is (to males, at least) detrimental to impregnating the correct woman.
So how would pattern recognition and forcing random objects into a pattern be of evolutionary advantage to a human? Babies eyes do not focus well. Their brain has not yet learned to put the electrical impulses from the eye into coherent order. Being able to force these random shapes into a coherent form and recognize Mommy (as opposed to a Smilodon) increases the chance of getting food rather than being food.
But some people, it seems, do not outgrow (or, at the very least, channel it into an appropriate adult form (don’t want to piss off the artists, eh?)) the juvenile form of this evolved pattern recognition. They continue to see Mommy (Mary) or Daddy (Jesus or God (who are the same thing, so how do they know who it is?)) in random inanimate objects. Maybe that’s one of the disadvantages of subscribing to a set of beliefs based upon received wisdom coming down from an authority figure (the Bible and God). Not having to think for ones self is not conducive to learning how to think. Plus, if you believe in the ultimate Daddy, why bother with maturity? Just live like George Bush.
Hows that for a bizarre association? Start with a dog’s butt, make a detour through evolutionary survival adaptations, and arrive at the mental immaturity of some Christians and, finally, to George W. Bush.