Nature vs Nurture

I was going to blog about nature vs nurture yesterday – but when I found out about Whitney Houston dying, so soon after Amy Winehouse – my original blog was pushed back.

But nature and nurture was still on my mind – and that made me think about Whitney and Elvis in a different way – because these were both people – who, but their natures – were creative and passionate people – who basically, became famous for being such amazing talents who could dazzle us regular folk with their capacity for vocal abilities and their way with song.

Now – Elvis – said it best when asked by Marion at Sun Studios – who do you sing like?

Elvis said, I’d don’t sing like anybody.

And he didn’t – he sang as Elvis impersonating everyone. Elvis’ range was sincerely sweet ballads that in lesser voices would be cloying and insincere to genre music – country, blues, rockabilly, rock n roll, power ballads, folk, Tin Pan Alley, Bossa Nova, dance, show tunes, stadium rock, funk, swamp, all delivered with the hellfire urgency of gospel fervor – which of course, Elvis could also do – and won his only Grammies for – Gospel music – and at the end, as Bono said – Elvis became an Opera singer – and when inspired – raised the roof of stadiums with How Great Thou Art. American Trilogy or a gale force “Hurt” that even a Diva like Whitney at her best with Mariah Carey as backup incentive would not have been able to keep up with, never mind top or dominate.

and Elvis – very rarely – even did spoken word performances – not just the talky bits of Are You Lonesome Tonight or the That Don’t Move Me False Take of Milkcow Blues Boogie – but – spoken word songs like Softly, As I leave You and What Now My Love:

It is the nature of performers to entertain from deep within their emotional being – and sadly, it is human nature – to not nurture such natural people – but to exploit them for money while the getting is good – and to re-brand them as packaged and constructed images – once the legacy of work can be separated from the human being who made the work a reality – giving it emotional substance and the human connection to the audience – who responds to the emotional vulnerability, that reality writ or performed larger than life – and the cost of living a larger life – is too often, a brutally short life.

Cut short, by the lack of nurture owing to the nature, of the human condition.

So I was going to write yesterday about this drawing that I made.

About how Nature and understanding nature is what science is.

The bottom rectangle block is the human history that lead to natural understanding of the world and the universe – thousands of years and people – collecting data, identifying patterns suggested by mass data collections – and developing ideas to explain the patterns – the bell curve, averages and outliers, regression towards the mean, and heredity – the passing down of traits from one generation to the next several generations – and every now and then, someone would bring the various disciplines of study made possible by the Renaissance and The Enlightenment – and the areas of study would support conclusions, and lead to more and better understandings – and alchemists created the method of study, observation and testing – and over time, gave way to chemistry and mathematics, which connected astronomy and physics, and mathematics changed from accounting and inventory into statistical analysis models and symbolic logic and brought Greek Geometry back into the world and Roman engineering of Public Works – and the study of nature – is what the whole of science is – the collected knowledge of the whole of humanity.

And understanding the how of science, you gain understanding of the importance of science to understand the complexity of the world – and complexity is entirely reducible – because that’s what a scientific theory actually does.

By providing a simple and elegant explanation – that is the reduction of complexity – which complexity is the patterns and masses of data that we have observed through generations and countless hours of painstaking detailed drilled down documented, tested and with predictable outcomes and probabilities.

Evolution is that species change over time. The means of change and the processes that cause change are part of the complexity that is understood from this simple declarative sentence.

Now, religion on the other hand.

Religion is problematic because religious thinking is declarative sentences and nothing else. No understanding of hyperbole, parody/irony/statire, subjective or conditional clauses and no understanding probabiliy or possibility.

Just black and white, either or, zero sum – God did it (and you’re going to hell for rejecting it) and even if you don’t beleive in god, isn’t it better for you if you act as if you do (or suffer heretic, pagan, witch, infidel, and godlessly immoral queers and atheists) and if you really won’t act as if God is real and demand the civil rights as guaranteed in secular democratic society, well, we’ll GodBlock your civil rights until you beleive in hell because we’ll be bringing it to you right here on earth – don’t tell me not to judge lest I be judged, I got judges and politicians all ready to fix your little red sin wagon.

You know, I don’t even know if televangelists can even think that clearly – but I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Religion ss about the Supernatural – and it is a very simple premise. God did it. Because he did. So obey and be rewarded or disobey and suffer.

So it’s no wonder to me that when religious people think that the God Premise is complex because they claim the whole of the universe – which they call “Creation” – as proof of their God did It or else, there wouldn’t be any universe to talk about.

And why Pascal’s Wager – is so compelling – and that Pascal was a mathematician  who was critical to understanding Random Chance – Pascal came up with his wager – at the end of his days – in poverty and more than a little – shall a say – not at his peak mental powers –

I used to argue with Poetry teachers in college – that you can’t separate a poem from the poet – and that while Thomas Wyatt wrote a lot of beautiful poetry – that every now and then, one of the poems, inspired by the woman he loved but who married The King – who beheaded the formerly beloved Anne – was reasonable to beleive that it was in fact, a poet’s revenge and not a lament of lost love.

So – that Pascal was a naturalist mathematician who advanced a mathematical understanding of the universe – and should be admired for that – it’s a little bit like Elvis Presley.

His Sun records were sublime, RCA 1956 was his musical pinacle – and the early movies were Elvis Presley Star Vehicles that still shine and are as entertaining today as when they were released – but Elvis gets judged more on his lesser work output – and the lack of nuture that he received – so the Kissing Cousins and the Flamboyant Jumpsuits – which – at the time – were rather tame compared to the Glam Glitter Rockers from the UK and Elvis’ stage wear was really built on Country and Western stage wear with a multicultural flare – a karate suit – not a jumpsuit like all the 1970s science fiction shows featured – with designs of American symbols, Chinese tigers and dragons, and incorporating designs from cultures all over the world – symbolizing nothing less than America itself – a culmination of the best that the whole world has to offer…..

so, if Elvis – who has not passed from Living Memory is so degraded by the misunderstood image of people who adore those lesser lights that wouldn’t have been, had it not been for Elvis inspiring them – The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and had it not been for Elvis – who got famous on raw talent and who worked the southern country music circuit until a fateful meeting with Tom Parker – who never liked Elvis’ music – but who knew that if Elvis could make Southern Girls and Boys scream and cut loose – he knew what impact Elvis with his sexual pelvis – would have in the staid by comparison North.

And he knew – with Elvis’ southern manners that he could beat the rebel out of Elvis and make him a celluloid celebrity – tamed and sanitized and resellable throughout the ages…….

So – for religious people to point to Pascal and say – hey, he’s a science legend and he beleived in god – well, okay, but Pascal’s science star had faded and he was a crazed religious parody of his former self at the time he came up with his wager – and as a gambler, Pascal should have known better – that when dealing with something as complex as the origins of the universe, that while

Exist or Not – may be representable by a coin toss – a zero sum bet

What possible causes for existence to have occurred – is a lot more complex than so limited options as be can reduce to a coin toss – natural or supernatural.

Because natural – we can discover – given enough time and generations of work to add to the existing body of collected knowledge.

But supernatural? That’s not quantifiable – so any one person’s guess – any one of 7 billion people currently – and about 104 billion people over the course of human history – that’s a one in 104 billion odds at the outside – but only if, the coin, comes up supernatural to start with.

So – you can’t start with “supernatural” as a simple explaination, it’s meaningless simplicity that requires so much complexity to prop it up and try  to explain that the complextity needed is overwhelming and hopeless – and not reducible to simplicity – because it’s simplicy to start with – and not at all compelling or logical or probably and absolutely not quantifiable – and all religions are equally valid to any other religion – and the difference between

a cult and a religion is the number of followers

a religion and a mythology is current followers vs how long since there’s been current followers….

So religion must assert that complexity is irreducible because Religion can not contemplate anything actually complex – religion is – in effect, a rejection of a complex understanding for the simple one – God did it, Because I said so.

And religions are not the work of generations of humans – but all can start and be started by anyone who can tell a story that is convincing to people – people who – for the most part – historically – didn’t know enough to say – talking snake? burning bushes that talk? I mean, really – what’s the show biz differnce between making bread adn fish appear or a Boeing 747 disappear?

Self-enlightenment, hmmm, seems like I am doing all the work and the only lightenment that I see is the monks meditating while I toil to shelter and feed them – they sure have a lighter load, and a strong sense of themselves without any consideration of all the other selves er serfs –

We need serf-enlightment – because all the self centred enlightment is a big part of what’s causing the problem.

But to be fair, there’s fault enough on both sides of the Jocks vs Smocks:

1 thought on “Nature vs Nurture

  1. There’s a belief that fans of The Beatles are smarter than fans of Elvis.

    And while it may have been true, when comparing 1950’s teens to 1960’s teens – and what those groups accomplished as adults

    It’s not at all true that Elvis or Beatles fans are limited to those pools of people or that fans since Elvis died and the The Beatles broke up and starting dying off – are at all different groups of people.

    And the really smart people, know – that without Elvis, there would never have been The Beatles.

    Quarrymen maybe – but not The Beatles.

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