Religion is a figment of our imagination

Professor Maurice Bloch

Maurice Bloch

I just love the Internet. It tells me all sorts of things I don’t want to know, that I should know and that I already know.

Now I have found the New Scientist magazine (online) which lets me know about all kinds of useful (USELESS) things like “The Secret Language of Cuttlefish,” “How an Email Address Can Reveal Your Character,” “Fruit Flies Trade Lifespan for Brain Power,” and so much MORE!

I’ve just learned that humans alone practice religion because they’re the only creatures to have evolved imagination.

And I thought vivid imagination was just for sex routines.

Anthropologist Maurice Bloch of the London School of Economics said the popular notion that religion evolved and spread because it promoted social bonding is not correct.

Instead, he argues that first, we had to evolve the necessary brain architecture (isn’t architecture what is used to design buildings??) to imagine things and beings that don’t physically exist and the possibility that people somehow live on after they’ve died.

What is this man talking about? But wait, it gets weirder.

Once we’ve developed this so called brain architecture we have access to a form of social interaction unavailable to any other creatures on the planet, according to Bloch.

Bloch says we form imaginary groups which are called the “transcendental social” to culturally unify.

“What the transcendental social requires is the ability to live very largely in the imagination,” Bloch writes. “One can be a member of a transcendental group, or a nation, even though one never comes in contact with the other members of it.” 

Moreover, the composition of such groups, “whether they are clans or nations, may equally include the living and the dead.”

Modern-day religions still embrace this idea of communities bound with the living and the dead, such as the Christian notion of followers being “one body with Christ”, or the Islamic “Ummah” uniting Muslims.

No animals, not even our nearest relatives the chimpanzees, can do this, argues Bloch. Instead, he says, they’re restricted to the mundane and Machiavellian social interactions of everyday life, of sparring every day with contemporaries for status and resources.

Frankly, I think Bloch has been smoking a bit too much whacky weed.

But he says our ancestors proved this belief in the living and dead from art on cave walls and burials that include artifacts suggesting belief in an afterlife and by implication the “transcendental social”.

The gems of wisdom we can pick up from the Internet.

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Go ahead: Make my day!

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 I don’t know why I like this product.

After reading about food shortages, an economy that is fast sinking into the crapper and crime rising in the streets, I guess my survivalist instinct is kicking in.

I want to own the new Leatherman K502x & K503x; my “machismo” screams for it.

Can opener, bottle opener, bit driver (with six screw bit tips), even a carabiner clip.

The hidden carabiner is neat. It stays hidden until you need it, nesting with other components to save space. Then a simple thumb action is all that is required to hang the Leatherman knife on a backpack, rope or belt loop. Plus, it locks into place so attachment is easy.

The carabiner also acts as a bottle opener.

Full features of the K502x and K503x:

Blade opening: Thumb stud
Blade material: 154CM
Lock mechanism: Lockback
Closed length: 4.5?
Open length: 7.6?
Blade length: 3.1?
Weight: 7.2 oz., 204 grams
Blade grind: CNC flat
Blade style: Straight edge (k502x), combination straight and serrated (k503x)
Blade finish: Polished and ground
Handle material: Glass-filled nylon with rubber overmold, stainless steel bolsters
Included Bits:
Phillips #1 & #2
Screwdriver 3/16? & 1/4?
Screwdriver 1/8? x Torx #15

Hey, don’t kill that frog! I have an ulcer.

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Ok, I know you are thinking I’ve gone completely mad.

But, according to a new book “Sustaining Life”, published by Oxford University, a new generation of antibiotics, new treatments for thinning bone disease and kidney failure, and new cancer treatments may all stand to be lost unless the world acts to reverse the present alarming rate of biodiversity loss.

Continue reading “Hey, don’t kill that frog! I have an ulcer.”

Check your browser or PayPal may lock you out!

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Do you use PayPal?

What browser do you use?

If you don’t know – you’d better check ‘cause PayPal has announced that it will soon block browsers that don’t include anti-phising features.

Continue reading “Check your browser or PayPal may lock you out!”

Excuse me miss, would you like a chocolate bar?

Valentine’s Day has passed and so has April Fool’s Day. But I ain’t pull’in your leg when I tell you that a survey conducted by Infosecurity Europe of 576 office workers found that women were far more likely to give away their computer passwords to total strangers masquerading as market researches in exchange for a chocolate bar as an incentive for filling in a survey.

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The survey was part of a social engineering exercise to raise awareness about information security. It was conducted outside Liverpool Street Station in the City of London.

This year’s survey results were significantly better than in previous years. In 2007 64% of people were prepared to give away their passwords for a chocolate bar, this year it had dropped to just 21%.

The researchers also asked the office workers for their dates of birth to validate that they had carried out the survey – 61% revealed their date of birth. Another slightly worrying fact discovered by researchers was that over half the people questioned use the same password for EVERYTHING (ATM banking, Internet, etc.).

Workers were also asked about their use of passwords at work, half said that they knew their colleagues passwords and when asked if they would give their passwords to someone who phoned and said they were from the IT department, 58% said they would. .

“This research shows that it’s pretty simple for a perpetrator to gain access to information that is restricted by having a chat around the coffee machine or pretending to be from the IT department,” said Claire Sellick, Event Director, Infosecurity Europe. “This type of social engineering technique is often used by hackers targeting a specific organization with valuable data or assets such as a government department or a bank.”

The survey was carried out as part of the run up to Information Security Awareness week which starts on the 21st April.

So everyone, moral of the story is, don’t give away your password to ANYONE, don’t use the same password and guys, next time you want, ugh, a little something from your girlfriend, offer her a chocolate bar.

The Whackness: Re-living 1994

Its hard posting movie stuff on StuffWeLike – while we know something about our readership, we never know if stuff WE like, is stuff YOU like.

 ‘The Whackness’, a Sony Pictures Classic Release, caught my attention because it has a universal theme we ALL like (or not) getting laid and getting high!

Continue reading “The Whackness: Re-living 1994”