People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
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25-01-2013, 11:20 AM
People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
Whenever I watch religious debates, theists often come up with an argument against evolution pointing out that eliminating people with disabilities is a consequence of the "fittest to survive" as they do (not) understand it. Of course this is not the case, but it's easy to fall for it if one is not informed enough.
I have a disability myself, which would fall under disabilities and I would be on the theist's list to be eliminated by evolution. But how does religion actually deal with disability? My parents weren't very religious, I was rather treated normal, which made me quite of a fighter. Yet religious people around me would rather be pitiful towards me, insist that I must be an unhappy person. And when god comes into play, it is either a punishment for whatever or some sort of a test for whatever. None of these views are helpful or creditable in any way, apart from a god who isn't there in the first place.

However, on the atheist end, I'm able to tell where someone like me would stand. One thing has caught my eye when I was browsing through this forum, at some point there was a discussion whether people with disabilities have right to live or not (sorry, I'm too lazy to find the link right now Wink), but it was a bit disturbing, as I would quite likely be on the most-wanted list. My point of view is that everybody should be supported and guided as much as it's needed so everyone becomes the best that they can be, as independent as possible, as happy as possible, as strong as possible and, most importantly, learn as much as possible, from life, failures and successes, take as much responsibility for one's own actions and keep fighting.

The main problem I see on both sides is that people can't relate to it and would then assume how they think people with disabilities are supposed to be, act, live. They can't be blamed for not being able to relate, they simply can't just like people with disabilities will never know how it is to be "normal". But all the interpretations and implications is a different story, and if views are as I have mentioned above, there's a long way to go. Thoughts?

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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25-01-2013, 11:37 AM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
My experience with people who have a disability is that many of them are more "fit" than many others who have no disability.

The point about survival of the fittest comes again from people who don't understand that evolution is very very long process. It doesn't occur over a single generation or even a few. At any point in time, people with disabilities can be born so evolution would certainly not eliminate them even if they truly were less "fit".

And pxlgirl, judging by your post, you seem quite "fit" to me.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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25-01-2013, 11:40 AM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2013 11:51 AM by Vera.)
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
First of all Hug

Second of all, that thread was started by an extremely stupid (possibly 13-year-old) troll. Pay it no heed.

Third of all, there is no "normal". Or at least, not completely "normal", some are closer to the norm (if there is one, and I can't say I think there is), others - less close. Humans (and all living beings for that matter) are not perfect, never have been and never will be. A lot of "disabilities" result in extreme giftedness in other areas. This is not saying that we shouldn't keep trying to eradicate those disabilities that can be eradicated - but by eradicating the cause for them, not those affected by them (and by this I mean even before they're born).

Also, you're obviously a better person than me - that fact that someone doesn't have a disability, is no excuse for not being able to relate, or least try to. We all like to brag how empathetic we are, but for many it only works with those who are just like them. In other words, not empathy, but egotism.

EDIT: But yeah, few things are as obnoxious as religionists' self-righteous claim that an illness, misfortune, what have you, is punishment from god (or karma, or some other abhorrent vile thing).

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderĂ²."
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25-01-2013, 12:51 PM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
Pxlgirl, you are awesome and strong. I have a good friend who is disabled, and he is smart, funny, and works hard. Medical science and technology enable him and others with disability or disease, to lead a normal life whereas in times past this would not have been possible. Religion didn't enable, for example, diabetics to take insulin and live long lives, science did. Evolution does not preclude advancements that help our quality of life.

Anyone who says that is god's punishment or bad karma is an insensitive idiot. First, they don't know that is the case because there is no proof. Second, why would they say that? To make themselves feel superior? I can only guess as to why people say things like that.

Godless in the Magnolia State
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25-01-2013, 03:54 PM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
Man I love Darwin. And man do I get cheesed when people don't understand him.

Impulse, just FYI, evolution can occur very rapidly.

Most people mistake fitness for strength or toughness or badassery or some such swill. Like tough guys win or might makes right of some crap. BS. The sloth, for all intents and purposes, is fucking useless lol. But it's incredibly fit. Fitness has to do with having the highest aggregate of adaptive traits.

But the thing most people fuck up is that adaptivity is not an absolute. It is entirely determined by two factors:
1 - Environment
2 - Time

A trait is adaptive only in a given environment. For example, gills are hella adaptive underwater, but fucking useless on dry land. So the idea that any given disability is maladaptive as an absolute is an absurdity.

Also, it's only adaptive in that environment at a given point in time, that is to say, within a specific temporal context. Being a dinosaur was boss until that whole thermonuclear asteroid explosion thing. Then it was a death sentence. So sure, being born without arms and legs to nomadic hunter-gatherers in 20 000 BCE may have been maladaptive. But that doesn't mean that it's maladaptive now.

The final thing that people fuck up is that genes aren't alone. They are in competition with memes. Sometimes they compete, sometimes they co-evolve. In the case of many disabilities, there are memetic traits that make the disability adaptive. Wheelchair ramps, surgeries, eyeglasses, crutches, physiotherapy and of course, cultural norms and legislation that normalise disabilities and support people with them. For example, you can't refuse to hire someone with a disability.

So someone can be born today with a very severe disability and be perfectly fit. That's not a circumvention of Darwin, that's proof of Darwin!

Ironically, the only way that being disabled would be maladaptive would be if these Darwin misunderstanding Theists declared that the disabled should be killed, like fatwa style or something.

As for those that don't understand what it's like, disabilities are one of the primary dimensions of diversity (like age, sex, skin colour). The primary dimensions cannot be changed (well, some disabilities can be healed, but you know what I mean). So some people are going to have prejudice towards the disabled. The only real remedy is love and exposure.

So you just keep on keepin on PX and fuck em if they can't take a joke Cool

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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25-01-2013, 04:06 PM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
What Vera said. Word for word!


Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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25-01-2013, 07:18 PM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
I would echo what others have said about the notion of "survival of the fittest" being completely misunderstood for one thing. There are many ways to be fit. Look at Stephen Hawking. Sure, in a zombie apocalypse, he'd be eaten, but short of that, he's one of the most influential thinkers of our time. Beyond fit compared to most humans alive right now.

I also have a (mild) disability. There are certain limitations that I have as a result, but who doesn't have limitations, right?

One of my favorite examples of evolution and fit survival is that of a certain type of frog (bull frog of some type I think...its been a while since i read about this, so apologies if i don't get it perfect). Scientists found that there were two types of males that were equally successful mating with females. One was the typical burly man giant tough-guy frog who would fight with other tough guy males to win the chance to be with the female. Then there was the really skinny, nerd, sneaky male that would sneak in and mate with the female while the other males were beating each other up.

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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25-01-2013, 07:42 PM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
Ditto to all. And normal what's that.

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26-01-2013, 02:23 AM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
Wow, I'm really thankful for all your comments so far, it is really refreshing to hear something positive for a change. Don't get me wrong, I can cope with my disability (it's not the only minority group I am belonging to - and crash down every stereotype they come along with), but other people's reactions can raise eyebrows at times or even annoy the shit out of me, depending of the stupidity level of their comments.

I totally agree with what you all said about the term "normal", it doesn't exist in real life, although you might get a glimpse of a prototype of this normality in commercials and ads.

As far as evolution goes, Ghost had a point. Just like in the frog example, each individual has their own traits and techniques to survive. And the fact that so called disabled people are here, means that they were fit enough to be alive here and now.

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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26-01-2013, 03:07 AM
RE: People with disabilities on both sides of the fence
In addition to what Vera said...

Most folks here are atheists. This means the thing they have in common is they don't have a belief in a god. That's the only unifying belief. Still yet there are other reilgious and non-religious folks who don't even adhere to the atheist label. There are ignorant 'evolutionists', maybe even atheists who beleive evolution is wrong (or at least our understanding is flawed), and in this case there are trolls masquerading as atheists. In any event don't fall into the trap of 'someone in x group said something offensive/stupid therefore it is an offensive/stupid group'. This is a place where freedom to say anything you want is encouraged so long as it isn't a link or image of nude humans, threats, or spam. That being said even intelligent people are bound to say something stupid on occasion.

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