Archive for July 19th, 2009
Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter have severed their ties with Southern Baptist Convention. Why would they do this, after a six-decade long affiliation with the SBC? It’s because the SBC cherry-picked the Bible for the purposes of arguing:
that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
What are the consequences of this disparagement of women?
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.
The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.
I’ve repeatedly written about Geoffrey Miller based on the many provocative ideas presented in his earlier book, The Mating Mind. (e.g., see my earlier post, “Killer High Heels“). A gifted and entertaining writer, Miller is also an evolutionary psychologist. His forte is hauling his scientific theories out into the real world in order to persuade us that we didn’t really understand some of the things that seemed most familiar to us.
In his new book, Spent, Miller asks why we continuously buy all that stuff that we don’t really need? Miller’s answer is twofold. Yes, human animals have been physically and psychologically honed over the eons this to crave certain types of things over others to further their chances at survival and reproduction. That’s only half the answer, however. We must also consider “marketing,” which is
The most important invention of the past two millennia because it is the only revolution that has ever succeeded in bringing real economic power to the people. . . . it is the power to make our means of production transform the natural world into a playground for human passions.
Is the modern version of marketing a good thing or a bad thing? The answer is yes.
On the upside it promises a golden age in which social institutions and markets are systematically organized on the basis of strong purple research to maximize human happiness. What science did for perception, marketing promises to do for production: it tests intuition and insight against empirical fact area market research uses mostly the same empirical tools as experimental psychology, but with larger research budgets, better-defined questions, more representative samples of people, and more social impact.
Here is a July 2009 interview of Geoffrey Miller by Geraldyne Doogue of the Australian Broadcast Network:
Most of us are quite familiar with the downside of marketing. It encourages us to buy things we don’t really need. But marketing doesn’t merely clutter up our houses and garages; it corrupts our souls:
I’ve never shot a gun in my life. I stumbled onto this Benelli shotgun commercial, and I couldn’t help but watch it all the way through. Amazing . . . This man is the shooting equivalent of Tiger Woods (and I found his slice/hook demo especially jaw dropping).
As one of the YouTube comments notes: “On the day zombies come to life, I want him on my side.”