Monday, September 7, 2009

Gwynne Dyer's "The Gods of Our Fathers"

This is an interesting video on the creation of patriarchy from the perspective of women's history. It is not readily available (although I haven't checked the National Film Board of Canada site, which is uploading some amazing things for streaming), and I am creating this so that it can be watched from one place. It uses the example of Egypt to describe a possible scenario for the development of patriarchy and its relationship to militarism. It should be watched after (or before, I suppose) reading Gerda Lerner's The Creation of Patriarchy.

These are just the credits!!

The Gods of our Fathers, written and narrated by Gwynne Dyer and directed by Anne Henderson, was released by the National Film Board of Canada in 1994. More information can be found at (You can actually buy it for $20 & the whole series - 5 documentaries for 80$ - I think)

Monday, August 17, 2009

We become less and less "unique" everyday

The Aquatic Ape Theory only went up Saturday. Should see some viewers over the next little while. It is a fascinating theory that makes a lot of sense to a lot of people. The more we learn about sea mammals, the more they seem like us. The AAT will, I think, have more and more researchers looking at the possiblities that we were far more aquatic in our origins than we now think.

We have had to redefine what constitutes culture over the last hundred years. Are we more like chimpanzees or are we more like whales in our social organization? The following is a link to a CBC podcast from the June 27, 2009 edititon of Quirks and Quarks. Once I get the hang of uploading audios, I put the podcast here. In the meantime enjoy the CBC podcast (and go look at other things on Quirks and Quarks!)
Watching Giants:

The following is a link to Dr. Elin Kelsey's website. She is the an oceanic researcher and the author of Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales

As humans, we are finding ourselves far less unique than we once thought!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Aquatic Ape Theory

The following is 5 parts of a BBC documentary on the Aquatic Ape Theory. It discusses an alternatives theory to the idea that our most ancient ancestors developed on the same line as the great apes, chimpanzees, etc.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What Dawkins Doesn't Understand

Today I am going to write about the one thing that bothers me about Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I loved the book but if he needs to truly argue that religion is child abuse, then he cannot so blithely dismiss the impact of sexual abuse on children raised in Christian environments.

The absolute power of the Christian god is embedded in Christian children from their birth. Whatever that particular god structure is, it is consistently reinforced by their parents, their church communities and sometimes their school systems.

Dawkins wouldn't disagree with this, but when he uses an example of a one time experience of sexual assault by a priest (described as "yukky" by the woman recounting it) to point out that psychological damage is far more damaging, he is does a massive disservice not only to those abused in a Christian context but, of all things, to his own argument that religion is child abuse. Dawkins just doesn't really get it when it comes to the impact of sexual abuse of children in a religious context. Perhaps he needs to see Deliver Us From Evil ( Or perhaps he needs to read Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France. He migh then get some idea, albeit secondhand of just what kind of damage the combination of religion and sexual abuse can cause.

There are two possible reasons for his dismissal. The first is that that it never really happened to him and he is therefore making a false generalization from his own experience and people who have had "minimal" experience of sexual abuse (these do exist - and it is a far cry from what I and millions of other children were subjected to). He quite clearly does not know anyone who has been devastated by the sexual abuse which includes all of the other forms of abuse that can knowingly be inflicted on children. The second possibility is that perhaps it did happen to him and he has never had to look at it. In other words, he has successfully managed to live a life without running into a situation that will cause him to have flashback or emotional crisis.