After all, since this is my site, I guess I can develop it any way I choose! In any case, Mr. Coon at Humanist Magazine’s site made a thoughtful reply to my first comment there, and implied we continue the discussion. So here is my response to him…and I do hope readers here will link over and read the whole thing, including his original article: http://thehumanist.com/commentary/god-done-lately
And since I can’t spend significant time writing in both places, I again post and excerpt of my comment here in lieu of a new post. It does present a coherent idea on their own:
“…as I noted, I’m afraid many would see me as a pessimist and, perhaps, not a true humanist, given that I hold little real hope for our species (or, to be honest, for our civilization) over the long term…
…But regarding your dual concepts of evolutionary and cultural evolution: I understand your intent but where I disagree is with thinking the two are comparable. In my (again, non-expert opinion) cultural evolution is rapid because it derives from ideas (and perhaps circumstances and a people’s reaction to them). Biological evolution, on the other hand, is far slower for the most part, and generally takes many generations…and it is constrained and shaped by the very instinctual drives (tribalism, xenophobia, fear and flight, anger and perhaps violence, gender differences on many levels, individual survival, etc). And it only takes a single generational gap to lose a culture and all the progress of generations.
In short, I think the civilization we hold so dear is a microscopically thin veneer over our baser drives that have yet to disappear. I have a friend who has calculated the estimated generations that have passed since the dawn of history, and it is surprisingly few. Thus, while it might seem odd, I am drawn to a comparison of dogs and cats: Most of the wildness (though by no means all) has been bred out of dogs, so they bond well and integrate into human life. Cats, on the other hand, are far more detached, and have a far greater tendency to go feral. They are only domesticated to a certain degree, and any individual cat will easily revert to wildness more easily than dogs. This is well-documented in wildlife circles. Between the two, I see humans as cats.
What I would like to see (and perhaps you can point me to someone) is a psychologist or a branch of psychological study that deeply addresses human instinctual drives as a means of understanding us. And, in like manner, a field of diplomatic endeavor or political science that begins to explore solutions to conflicts from this perspective. Perhaps some thus far unexamined solutions might arise out of this different perspective.”