February 2018

Getting Ready for Darwin Day 2018

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The Other Side of the Story

The Israeli Occupation of the West Bank has gone on for over fifty years and has become the status-quo. Peace talks are not happening, and Israel is satisfied to keep millions of Palestinians living under military law. This Occupation could not happen without US approval. We are protecting the Israelis both by giving them over 3 billion a year in tax payer money and by vetoing measures in the UN Security Council meant to censure Israel. The US government and the media are not telling the public the whole story. The death rate in the Occupied territories is 96% Palestinian and 4% Israelis killed. Genocide, racial profiling and ethnic cleansing are War Crimes.

—Barbara Taylor

The Law of Survival of a Species

I was pretty stressed when I saw both of my daughters use the metoo# hash tag when it began circulating; there were also too many lady friends and acquaintances for my comfort. I wondered what I could have done differently, what I could have taught them while they were growing up? It occurs to me that the simplest answer might be found in basic biology.

I traveled to Denver with a booster club in 1975 to watch the Salt Lake Golden Eagles hockey team clinch their division. We stayed in a hotel with the team; we had an entire floor and there was a huge victory celebration after the game. I witnessed four or five females, who were in committed relationships, offer their own special congratulations to Eagles players. I saw firsthand the mechanism of Survival of a Species. The concept is that female animals are attracted to Alpha males, the females instinctively believe that it is likely that genetic material from alphas makes their own progeny more likely to survive than would with regular males’ offspring.

Another example is Monica Lewinski, she stated that she was “madly in love” with Bill Clinton; it is more likely that the animal in her madly coveted sperm from the most powerful male in the world. She acted as a female animal instead of a woman (human) just as Clinton acted as a male animal rather than a man (human.)

Society is currently grappling with the concept of respect for women; I haven’t heard evolutionary biology mentioned in any discussions yet and I think that this is a very important consideration. I believe that we can and should realize that there is a distinction between animals and humans—it is what makes us human. Humans are, on a basic level, animals but I like to think that humans have grown beyond our simple, basic animal instincts. However, ignoring our inherent animal nature is foolish and may be an important root of the problem everyone is trying to solve now. Powerful (alpha) males exist and they attract more females that average males. When we do not acknowledge this fact the human part of our makeup does not bubble to the surface. I believe that this concept of the distinction between (man/male) and (woman/female) is very important to the way we prepare our children to enter society.

Young people venturing away from the family hearth experience one of the most exciting times in life; they feel unfettered freedom and make their own choices for the first times in their lives. Young women need to understand that the primitive females in their bodies can mask the human qualities of some males that they are attracted to. Analogously, strong males need to realize that just because many females are attracted to them, they do not have intimate physical rights to any woman they are attracted to. If young people are aware of these forces they have a chance to push a pause button, yes that other person is amazing and the feelings going on inside me are exciting and feel so good; but am I sure that this is the right person for me? Maybe, but could it hurt to wait until tomorrow and meet for lunch? If everything is genuine then things will progress, and this really could be the right person for me. The human part of me should have input into this decision and have the authority to overrule my animal component within.

It is not easy to override powerful biological instincts, but I think if we all work on preferring to use our human traits whenever there is a conflict with primitive animal choices that the world will be a better place for everybody.

—Wayne Wilson

President’s Message

Because there was no newsletter last month, this is my first opportunity to say happy new year. So, happy new year. Now that it is February, that means that instead of a general meeting, it is time for or annual Darwin Day celebration. This year board member Dr. Craig Wilkinson has taken the lead in planning the event and we thank him for that. I won’t say much about the event as there will be an announcement elsewhere in the newsletter. But please do attend and bring a friend.

This month my message will be mostly about chapter business. For quite some time now the board of directors has been concerned with the slow decline in membership and a drop off in attendance at meetings. The board is considering various ways to address the chapters problems or needs. There were a couple of problems we have known for a while, Thursday meetings and evening meetings. I know driving at night is a problem that some have told me keep them from coming to our meetings. So, we have decided to start the process of change by switching to a weekend afternoon schedule. This means that we will not be meeting at the Unitarian much anymore, being that the church itself has the weekend use of the facilities understandably tied up. Also, we will be going to a bi-monthly schedule. No meeting January, March, May, July, September, November. If attendance improves or we decide to add something to the schedule like a bus excursion or the like, events can be easily added. This schedule change also means that the newsletter will be bi-monthly. Finding venues will be the biggest new challenge for the chapter, but I think moving it around a little won’t be a problem. Perhaps we can find a venue more centrally located in the valley. If anyone has suggestions as to venues please let us know and we would also love to hear from chapter members with suggestion for improving Humanists of Utah.

The voice of humanism and its aspirations need to be broadened in this trying political times and not allowed to decline or be weakened. I hope our efforts to improve Humanists of Utah will help us to be part of the humanist voice which is very much needed.

This year is the last year of my presidency of the Humanists of Utah. I’ve been the president for a lot of years, and it’s time for a change. Its been an honor to be president and I plan to stay on as a regular board member. But I want to be free of “running things” so to speak. Plus, becoming a regular member will allow me to do what I would like to do, and that is to concentrate on the planning of our special events like Darwin Day, our BBC, possible bus excursions and so on. One last thing, the American Humanist Association is holding its Annual Conference in May this year at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. Board Member Wayne Wilson and myself will be attending and it would be great if some of you attended also. This will be my fourth conference, once in Amhurst, New York, once in Portland, Oregon and once in Las Angeles, California. They were all excellent with interesting speakers and sessions and a lot of likeminded people to meet. Plus being as close as Las Vegas eliminates the high cost of flying back east or elsewhere. So please give it some thought.

That’s about it for now. Hope to see you at our Darwin Day celebration.

—Robert Lane
President, HoU

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