About the Presumption about Shapes and Genomes

Thoughts about the last post, A Presumption – Is it true or False? which assumed that a preference for a given shape is stored in the genome, are far ranging. Many arguments don’t address the genome-memory presumption; rather the responses provide evidence that would allow the presumption to be true or false.

Mariner lists different ideas submitted by readers, responding to cogent arguments. Many responses from readers were edited for length. The mariner’s response is in italics.

  • About the Presumption about Shapes and Genomes. This is more evidence that aliens visited Earth in prehistoric times.May or may not be relevant; did visiting aliens morph our genomes to prefer certain shapes or sizes?
  • Primitive cultures did not need the sky to explain their theology; they worshiped what they saw in nature. One might ask why low round shapes dominated religious edifices in a region that has several large mountain ranges with Mount Ararat topping out at 17,000 feet. Did the genome prefer round shapes?
  • It wasn’t until the Iron Age that humans had the materials to build upward. A good assumption in its own right – linking religious shapes to emerging paleontological skills. What decided what the shape would be – a genome or a committee?
  • The American Indian worshipped Mother Earth, a view of which was limited to the horizon – a circular view that influenced them in their religion. A good metaphor. Circles are everywhere in American Indian culture. Did the Indian genome prefer circles?
  • The genome drives everything. In birds especially, instinct predetermines nest shapes, height and building materials; plumage is an ingrained judgment to make decisions about mating, etc. Free will is not as prevalent as humans would like to think. I vote for the genome. A strong argument. The mariner considered birds as well. Do birds have a religious culture – the other side of the presumption?

The presumption is much ado about little. The human brain is a montage of experience, genetic instruction and external reality as humans interpret it. Completing the puzzle or not won’t change anything or mean anything. It’s just a puzzle.

Still, by following one’s thoughts, there are many side streets that help the brain stay supple and alert. For example, there is an old pop-psych quiz about preferred shapes: One is asked which of four shapes is most appealing – a circle, a square, a triangle or a squiggly line? Purportedly, a personality that chooses the circle likes things to be simpatico, undisturbed and pleasant; the person that picks the square likes things to be orderly, secure and well defined; the person that prefers the triangle is comfortable with change, conflict and existential attitudes. Finally, the one who picks the squiggly line is artistic, comfortable with surrealistic solutions, and dislikes redundancy. Which do you prefer?

4-shapesIn the end, does a personality select the edifice shape?

Is widespread use by others of an original religious shape simply practical and the simplest path?

In Washington D.C., edifices abound. Consider the Washington Monument, Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the Viet Nam Memorial. Which chose, the architect, the committee, the religion, or a shape preference in our genome?

Could it be all of the above?

Ancient Mariner

2 thoughts on “About the Presumption about Shapes and Genomes

  1. I must comment on this. First of all about the statement that it wasn’t until the Iron Age that man had the materials to build up. Not quite sure what this meant, but it’s certainly not accurate at least for England. Consider Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, England. It’s a neolithic monument, roughly 4000 years old, the tallest man-made mound in Europe and one of the largest in the world. the iron age didn’t begin until 800 BC in England. Also some anecdotal evidence re the genome and ancestral memories. I have always thought myself a bit weird because I loved cloudy, overcast, often drizzly weather. The first time I arrived in England, I knew I was home. the weather there was just what I loved. I firmly believe that this is some ancient memory of my family, which originated in northern England and was of Viking ancestry, somehow passed down through the DNA.

    • The Blog of the Ancient Mariner has a fine reader group capable of scholarly vetting. None of the replies to the presumption were vetted. Thanks, Robert. Nevertheless, The mariner always will forgive general comments from readers when material has good intent and, in spirit at least, makes a point. In the mariner’s research, he found that an early temple in the Xia dynasty 2000 BC and an early temple in both Aztec and Maya religious edifices used an external stair to the top and the same angle of ascent. They all were made of stone; the Xia edifice was painted – the only true difference. Perhaps Robert’s geographical imprint preferring England survived the industrial age – or maybe he just doesn’t like hot sunny weather… Is not liking hot sunny weather, speaking in genomic terms, a genome-directed preference?

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