struggles for existence



by John Hartung, Foreign Policy Journal, September 4, 2014

THE GIST: If people have evolved by natural selection, such that gods are inventions of people instead of people being inventions of gods, it follows that gods are subject to being designed to help us achieve both our highest and our lowest aspirations ... by both our most moral and our most immoral means. At the low end, deception, usury, theft, enslavement, rape, murder and genocide are promoted by the god of The Bible as modus operandi of Zionism. The Passover story and its lopsided reception are instructive in this regard because they show how an existential foundation of moral behavior among people who worship one god can obligate immoral behavior toward people who worship a different god. That kind of in-group morality festers at the crux of the most deplorable aspects of Israeli and American foreign policy. A better existential foundation is proffered.

documentMoses For #MeToo

by John Hartung

Sexual abuse is as old as men’s concern about paternity — the risk that a man’s putative child may not be his biological child. Many rules for assuring paternity are codified in The Bible. One of those rules is that raping virgins is less problematic than raping non-virgins. Virgins cannot be in an early stage of pregnancy, so they cannot give birth to children fathered by victims of genocide when mass rape results in offspring. Moses was keenly aware of this cuckold conundrum, so he precluded the problem by ordering his troops to slaughter all non-virgin Midianite women:

documentHow Brain Shutdown Explains Core Support for Trump and Clinton

by John Hartung

We’ve evolved a capacity to circumvent rational and independent thinking to maintain social bonds, which explains core support for Trump and Clinton. What a choice! More than 150 million natural-born citizens old enough to be President of the United States and we winnowed it down to these two extraordinary candidates—extraordinary in so many important ways. Donald Peaches Trump vs. Hillary Cream Clinton ... how did we get so lucky?

documentCancer might be a failed response to renegade mitochondria

by John Hartung

Given a hundred to a thousand mitochondria per cell, each with prokaryotic ‘naked’ DNA that is highly susceptible to muta- tion without repair (see Penta et al., 2001; Verschoor, 2013 for review), cells containing both wild type and mutant mitochondria (heteroplasmic cells, see Wallace and Chalkia, 2013 for review) may be generated every few minutes, if not every few seconds, in organisms that have more than a trillion cells.

documentWho Deceived Colin Powell?

by John Hartung

If Powell had discovered that he was given a bogus translation in 2003, we might not be facing a devastated Middle East and ISIS today.

documentOn Burning People Alive

by John Hartung

When we revile ISIS, we should remember the magnitude of our own massive premeditated murders and our own original sins.

documentWhy Do So Many Muslims Act Like Barbarians?

by John Hartung

Barbarism is not in the Koran. We, the sophisticated barbarians, have driven them to barbarity.

documentChastity, Fidelity and Conquest: Biblical Rules for Women and War

by John Hartung

Oxford University Press has published this article as the 5th chapter of The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide and War (available at Amazon). "Chastity, Fidelity and Conquest" warns the world at large, and Israelis in particular, about the likely consequences of pursuing Zionism over the next 40 years.

documentLOVE THY NEIGHBOR: The evolution of in-group morality

by John Hartung

The world's major religions espouse a moral code that includes injunctions against murder, theft, and lying - or so conventional 19th- and 20th-century Western wisdom would have it. Evidence put forth here argues that this convention is a conceit which does not apply to the West's own religious foundations.

documentPROSPECTS FOR EXISTENCE: Morality and Genetic Engineering

by John Hartung

"Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running away from it, but in combating it." -- Thomas Henry Huxley, Evolution and Ethics

documentRAPE: Biblical Roots Of The Long Leash On Men

by John Hartung

If a man is executed for rape, the cost side of his cost/benefit equation is his entire future reproductive success. Nevertheless, a propensity to rape when the chance of being punished is negligible would be naturally selected. Estimating the cost of rape can require extensive knowledge about a potential victim's family, prevailing laws, and the probability of getting caught. In the absence of relevant guidelines, decision thresholds for rape can only be reached at the extremes — i.e., when it is clearly safe, and when it is clearly too dangerous.

As is the case with so many of life's quandaries, the Holy Bible provides guidelines for rape. The ramifications of these rules were detailed by the Sages of the Talmud and codified by Maimonides. Unfortunately, biblical guidelines for rape, and the attitudes toward women which they entail, remain an important part of our cultural legacy.

documentShiksa: Biblical Roots of Racism

by John Hartung

Most of us would agree that a distinction should be maintained between Gentiles who fall in love with Jews and Gentiles who haul them off to concentration camps. But Rabbi Epharim Z. Buchwald has a special insight in this regard -- the net effect is indistinguishable, and it's the bottom line that counts.

documentThe Message of Evolution

by John Hartung

Did you ever imagine that everything stops existing when you close your eyes - and is recreated just as you open them? It helps to be about 3 years old and stuck on a bench in a silent place where people are praying. Perhaps you can even remember shutting your eyes very tightly — to make sure that everything was gone — then trying to open them quickly and suddenly enough to catch a glimpse of the void.

documentDECEIVING DOWN: Conjectures on the Management of Subordinate Status

by John Hartung

The hypothesis here is that people use self-deception to lower their self-esteem when it is to their advantage to be satisfied with a position that they would otherwise perceive as unfair. Consider a man whose job is lower ranking than he knows he deserves. If he has no hope of advancement he may eventually, through self-deception, convince himself that he is commensurate with his job's status. Instead of seeing himself as too good for his job, this form of self-deception will enable him to reconcile the disparity between his self-image and his reality.

documentEusocial Coprophagous Diploids - Who is Reproducing?

by John Hartung

Troyer (1984) has put forth the insightful hypothesis that sociality among herbivores who digest plant structural tissue has been given impetus by the close contact required to exchange obligate gut symbionts.

documentThe Final Settlement

by John Hartung (Palestine Times, October 1997)

Netanyahu's objectives for a Final Settlement with the Palestinians were recently described by Uzi Benziman: "to annex at least 50 percent of the West Bank (the Jordan Valley, the old Green Line, Gush Etzion and greater Jerusalem); to allow the Palestinian Authority no more than the status of a quasi-state (like Puerto Rico or Andora) without arms or an army; to continue controlling its borders and airspace; to be able to limit its immigration and its access to Israeli [sic] water resources; to leave most of the Israeli settlements under Israeli sovereignty; and to continue Israeli control over both parts of Jerusalem, while possibly granting some status to an Arab entity over the Temple Mount mosques" (HA'ARETZ, September 21).

documentKNOW YOUR ENEMY: Netanyahu

by John Hartung (Palestine Times, November 1997)

On October 6th a JERUSALEM POST editorial charged that Netanyahu is "characterized by impulsiveness, poor judgement and faulty decision-making."

documentThou Shalt Not Kill Whom?

by John Hartung (Palestine Times, December 1997)

Zionism comes from the bowels of the Bible. In a display of chutzpah even more galling than the Balfour Declaration, the first Zionists invented a god who commanded them to commit genocide.

documentWhose Lord?

by John Hartung (Palestine Times, January 1998)

Two annual rituals were performed last month in America. On December 12th the United States joined Israel to vote against Palestinian self-determination in a United Nations resolution that passed 160-2. And on December 25th, Americans celebrated Christmas.

documentTHE VIRTUES OF VIOLENCE AGAINST PROPERTY: Advice for The New Intifadah

by John Hartung (Palestine Times, February 1998)

Any Palestinian who thinks that killing tens, or hundreds, or even thousands of Jewish children will stop the Crusade of Zionism should remember Ben-Gurion's words.

documentTaking Aim and Buying Time

by John Hartung (Palestine Times, March 1998)

Imagine being the Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces. You just spent $800,000,000 getting three aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of soldiers ready to attack Iraq, but you have one outstanding problem: targeting.

Adjust font size: small font large font

John Hartung is a Professor of Anesthesiology at the State University of New York. He served as the Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology from 1989 through 2017

His Ph.D. is in anthropology from Harvard. About half of Dr. Hartung's publications are in social science, with the rest in medicine (Curriculum Vitae).

Snail Mail:
SUNY Brooklyn - box 6
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203-2098

Phone: 718-270-1880