Issac Bonewitz (correction, Isaac Bonewits) died after ‘a short struggle with cancer’.

If you don’t know who Issac Bonewitz is, that’s not necessarily a surprise, for he represents an earlier more idyllic time in the study of the art form of intentional religion.

(I mispelled his name – my apologies, spelling is a personal weakness. His name was Isaac Bonewits. I leave my original mispelling as evidence of my error.)

I would say that much of the work that he ended up doing was “silly, but necessary”. Someone had to act out those intentional religion and recreated religion ideas, and he got the job.

He was a religion geek of the first order. And there are worse things to be, on this planet and in this life.

I regard his books more as curiosities and cultural artifacts than as anything that it’s important to read, but it wouldn’t hurt you to read them if you come across them, and you have any interest in the whole pagan neopagan conscious religion thing.

2 comments to Issac Bonewitz (correction, Isaac Bonewits) died after ‘a short struggle with cancer’.

  • Really? A son is left without a father, a wife without a husband, friends are bereft, and you consider this an appropriate thing to throw up on the web for them to find? Some people, even his critics, thought it proper to leave condolences as well.

    At least have the decency to spell his name right. If that’s too much for you, you could correct the first name. Or the last name. Either one.

  • Bill

    Hello Deborah, to you, because this is deeply personal, profound, and tragic, I give my sincere condolences.

    Death comes for us all, and I think of death a bit differently than most, so for me expressing condolences is not my usual response to the death of a thinker.

    I am mispelling his name, and will correct it, but leave my original spelling as well.

    I met Isaac a few times. I always hoped he would get the chance to do some final analysis of his intentional religion experiments.

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His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.

“Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” Professor Crabtree says.

“The basis for my wager comes from new developments in genetics, anthropology, and neurobiology that make a clear prediction that our intellectual and emotional abilities are genetically surprisingly fragile,” he says.


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