August 27, 2008

David Yeagley’s Abysmal Ignorance of Science

from the Bad Eagle journal

It always amazes me, the pontificator preaching up a storm of fire and brimstone over issues that are rather meaningless. It just goes to show how little David Yeagley really comprehends of modern science. So while the piano doctor digs up scriptural fossils to defend his outmoded ideals, scriptural myths bearing almost no relation to reality of life (beyond the apparent human ‘myth-making’ impulses), he gives us two clear evidences that Yeagley does not understand the basic facts of life.

First, Yeagley seems to labor under the delusion that people are “by nature” predisposed to violence and to not care for each other. Yeagley believes that people left to their own devices will succumb to some ‘primitive’ notion of “animalistic” behavior that is cruel and mean. This mistaken assumption is unsupported by evolutionary science however. Altruism is one of the driving factors in the evolution of all mammals, achieving a great level of speciation in human beings in fact.

YEAGLEY — “The human mind is a solipsistic thing, by nature. Selfish, self-oriented, self-idolizing, scared, and as a result, greedy, hording, aggressive toward others, careless of others... This is all nature, I do believe. Only deeper values, when taught, or even if learned the hard way, can help the condition. The right religion can help... It's something we're told by someone else, someone older, who's been there first” (March 2007).
When Yeagley rants on about the need for “religion” or “deeper values” to “help” the condition of altruism (above), he is absolutely not understanding the basic evolution of mammals in general, and humanbeings in particular. Inbred into us, through millions of years of evolutionary process is a drive to ‘be nice’ to each other, it is the way we have survived and is one of the genetic factors that enabled our continued evolution from earlier species.

To put it another way, we may have long died out as a species, if not for our intensely strong genetically ingrained predisposition toward cooperation, mutual altruism, even love if you want to use that term. In other words, evolution has provided us with a basic desire to care for each other, and evolution has not only achieved this result in humans, but has surpassed itself by extension beyond our species.

It is easy to see (outside of our species, but within another species), for example, that wild wolves care for other wolves. Wild animals (not domesticated) care for each other, and this is true across many species. But what is fantastic about humanity is that as a species, we show a quick readiness to show altruistic behavior beyond (outside of) our own species. We care for non-humans as much as we do for others of our own tribe. If another species is hurt, we go out of our way to care for the creature, and feel genuine sadness at the unfortunate circumstance.

Evolution has made us this way of course, we are altruistic and largely moral creatures by nature, whether we culturally have any religion or not. In fact, one has only to look at the (non-religious and unprompted) altruism of atheists to quickly see that religion is not a necessary prerequisite for genuine caring and good morals. David Yeagley is wrong about his “low” idea of nature, and the inherent predisposition toward being mean; I am nearly certain that Yeagley simply spouts this nonfactual rhetoric to justify his own tendencies toward segregation and, well, being mean.

A group is said to be a “species” when those creatures have the ability to interbreed. A “race” is actually a subcategory of species, in that other (less-important) differences are present, but the ability to breed is still present. Actually, according to the science of genetics and the evolutionary history of the human genome, we are almost nearly all genetically similar to each other, all of our races without exception. To reiterate this, humans are more alike than different on the genetic level, and our “differences” at the level of race are insignificant for evolutionary processes.

This means that we do have differences, of course, but we are more different as INDIVIDUALS than we are racially or genetically different at the species level. As individuals within the same race we are more different from each other, than we are beyond our own race where we are actually really alike. Racially we are not very ‘different’ at all, it’s only as “individuals” that we see some differences, across all of the races.

Evolutionary Fact: There is greater diversity between us as individuals, than there is across our different races. And we know, therefore, that evolutionary altruism is shared genetically by all races — not just the races that Yeagley mistakenly thinks belong to a 'higher order.' Molecular science has disproved Yeagley's genetic assertions.

And secondly, David Yeagley does not understand evolutionary science regarding speciation, and the types of sexual variation resulting from the natural world. There are species which procreate with themselves, although that sort of messes up the scientific definition of species as being able to breed ‘with others’ in the same group. But homosexuality is created at the level of the genomes with their coded proteins that direct the processes of growing any individual.

Though homosexual individuals may not breed with each other as a closed group, they are the product of nature, “God’s nature” if you are so religiously inclined. The homosexual group is not a race, nor a species, but a group only as a subset of individuals with a particular protein makeup in their genetic code. X and Y chromosomes are directing the growth of body parts, appendages, and so on, and they also create a recipe for sexual orientation. Being homosexual is a nature-made reality, a “God ordained” reality (again) if you are religiously inclined.

Scientifically, being gay is not an illness nor a disease, but simply "nature" at the level of individual gene selection, unlike altruism which is present in all of us as a species. Though Yeagley, apparently with his nose buried in the scripts of long dead patriarchs, is all too willing to turn a blind eye toward these obvious facts.

With his anti-Indian, anti-minority, rants of white supremacy, Yeagley is merely digging up the fossils of buried feelings of inferiority and insecurity in an ever-changing world. The evolving world frightens little david.
YEAGLEY — “Never mind the real agenda of homosexuality, the recruitment of children. It isn't about homosexuals wanting equal rights. It's about homosexuals wanting to see more homosexuals. They disguise the 'malignancy' of their nature. They simply try to describe themselves in everyone else's terms, to appear normal, in the name of "equality." But that's not the end of it. (Would that it were.) This is only a step in the progress of the disease” (May 2004).
Though one might have some sympathy for Yeagley’s scary plight, that should be no reason to coddle the idea that the world must stay put in it’s ignorant misogyny, racism, sexism and religious dogma of segregation and warmongering. No, it is far better to discover and embrace the truth, and learn the facts of history, evolution, scientific reasoning, ever appreciating the wondrous nature of our changing lives.

Yeagley simply does not know how to appreciate “change,” and he seems not to be the altruistic type that nature intended him to be. But there is hope for the rest of us. And I’m glad to see that the “traditional” groups of American Indians are not cowering under the limited conceits of neocon Christianity, and are standing proud for the rights and citizenship of the “two spirited” ones (who live in every tribe across the country). Indians have a long history of respecting, even admiring gay folks, and I am sincerely happy to see this turn of events in Oregon:

Kitzen Branting (wearing red top) and
Jeni Branting plan to be married under
a new law adopted by the Coquille Tribe.
They are recognized as domestic
partners in Washington and will be
married in the Plankhouse (behind
them) on the Coquille reservation
next May.

COOS BAY — Kitzen and Jeni Branting have been in a committed lesbian relationship since high school and plan to get legally married in Oregon next spring. Yes, in Oregon.

True, voters amended the state Constitution constitution in 2004 to allow marriage only between only a man and a woman. And Congress outlawed gay marriage more than a decade ago.
But Kitzen Branting, 25, is a member of the Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast.

As a federally recognized sovereign nation, the tribe is not bound by the Oregon's Constitution. The tribe recently adopted a law that recognizes same-sex marriage and extends to gay and lesbian partners, at least one of whom must be a Coquille, all tribal benefits of marriage.

The Coquilles (which tribal leaders prefer to pronounce KO-kwell) are probably the first tribe in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, says Brian Gilley, a University of Vermont anthropology professor and author of the book, "Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country."

Many Native American tribes historically accepted same-sex relationships... Native Americans are "sensitive to discrimination of any kind," says Tanner. "For our tribe, we want people to walk in the shoes of other people and learn to respect differences. Through that, we think we build a stronger community."

The new law establishes tribal rules for recognizing marriage, whether for gay or heterosexual couples... The culture committee reviewed tribal history and concluded "same-sex domestic relations were accepted with no exclusions from tribal citizenship, the community, auspices or
spiritual activities," reported Jack Lenox, the committee chairman... all but two members of the council and a majority of 14 people who testified in a public hearing supported it, tribal leaders said. "I think it is going to have a very positive impact on this tribe," Tanner says. (Bill Graves)