Archive for the ‘ Atheism ’ Category

I Did An Experiment

Let me start by apologizing. I did an experiment. My previous post, rather than presenting my thoughts on a topic, simply stated one perspective on a problem much bigger than the perspective would allow. I did this with the thought in mind that my followers are generally quite thoughtful and intelligent and as a result I should see at least a couple other perspectives on the same problem. I was right. Each perspective showed we humans as one of the four blind men holding on to part of an elephant and describing what it must be.

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Perspective is everything. The problems of humanity, the dramas of our species, very seldom change. Sure, there is a change in the props on the set and perhaps the demographics of the audience but the plays remain the same as they have been for hundreds of thousands of year or longer. Fear drives us. Without it we’d happily gorge ourselves, raise children, and die. We’d never give a thought to anything else. The one thing that makes us human; the defining attribute of humanity … is fear. Yes, fear. Fear for our food, fear for our children, fear for our freedoms, fear for our happiness, fear for our lives, fear for our existence. Fear is everything to humans.

What does that have to do with the video and the post? That video illustrates one counter point perspective on a big fear, xenophobia. Fear of those that are different. We humans have a very long history of not celebrating differences. Multiculturalism does not work exactly because you cannot mix multiple xenophobic cultures and hope to find a pasteurized common culture at the end. They will clash and one will become dominant. This _is_ human nature or the nature of the human species. One can spend hours arguing for the esoteric or ideals of altruism but in the end we have to admit that this is how humanity works. It is what made humanity the most dangerous species on this planet and what will make us the most dangerous species in this galaxy.

I recently commented that the war between the states was not about emancipation, rather it was about federation over states rights and ‘manifest destiny’ over isolationist views. That war, atrocious as it was, remains very important in that there were three sides: north, south, and antipathy. One dominated and the world was changed forever. Now we have the EU, NATO, North America, United Nations, BRIC countries, remnants of the British Empire and so on. Do you see a trend? The world is like a school yard playground and people are choosing sides. They will clash, one will dominate, and the species will continue on in the ‘new’ political paradigm. That civil war will have to be fought again and again until we are one people, one community, one group. The mechanics of this political mechanism will never allow us to create equality because true equality is the dismantling of the very mechanisms that make us successful. And we wonder what happened to the Neanderthals!

In my opinion the one hope that we have is to begin celebrating differences and to use our resources to empower the individual rather than the group. When the focus is on the individual and not the culture then value and importance is placed on the individual rather than the culture or the politics or the ideology. Should we make heroes of individuals? Not really. I’m talking more about socialism through individual empowerment. To empower each individual requires a socialist perspective. Yeah, I know, socialism is a dirty word for many. So what does that mean?

SOCIALISM: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

See that word community there? If we replace them with the words ‘human species’ things change drastically. The community is no longer individual cultures but the species itself. Contributors to the world stage are no longer states or countries but individuals. I don’t think it is too late for us to empower individuals through socialist protections of those individuals and society itself.

[[ I was going to put a picture here of tribal hatred but when you look at what Google serves up it is a short lesson in humanity. There is no representative picture of tribal hatred there is only every picture ever made of humanity. ]]

Yes, I’m very aware that treating all as equal will give rise to a raucous noise of ideas and desires and wants by the many people. Currently we filter those through a strainer we normally like to call culture. In fact, culture is a set of values and rules we use to strain out anything that does not fit our generalized and accepted ideals. That’s all that culture is. If you move one person from one culture to another they adapt to the new culture.

The video argues against treating all boys the same, and worse treating all boys the same as girls. It does not stop to say that treating all girls the same is bad also. The perspective of the speaker is the harm done to boys but the problem is that we are trying to treat all people the same, like brown shirts of WWII Germany. The speaker’s perspective was not that we should treat boys as individuals with individual responsibility to society but that we shouldn’t treat them all the same and expect them to be like girls. The speaker only addresses a small tip of a large iceberg. Even in a single class you can’t classify all girls the same – they are different! GASP

The political ideals that treat us all with labels are dangerous in this modern time. (religion, feminism, political parties and so on) They are dangerous because they promote the ideal that our value is based on culture and what other people think of us. People tend to rebel against this kind of thinking. They check out mentally, stop being productive, stop helping others. They can’t conform to the values demanded by the culture. Whether the culture is that of feminism or conservative politics etc. it alienates some even as it invigorates others. The divisiveness of group think in humans will always end with one group dominating and the other group(s) disappearing. You can rewrite that a bit to arrive at a theoretical formula for equality. When you do you’ll find that feminism as a group ironically cannot create equality for all. They can’t even support equality for all. I may seem to be picking on feminism but it seems topical these days. The very same can be said of any religious sect. Let’s take Islamic State as a quick example. They are not even going to try to create equality. They very honestly want to be the dominant ideology on the planet. We will all be alive to see their demise because there are so many other groups that cannot tolerate such thinking outside of their own halls of power.

One commenter went to great lengths to point out the problem with statistics. I appreciate that. Labels eliminate the outliers and exceptions. Labels eliminate the individual just as statistics are used to do most of the time.

Though the video tries to tell us that boys are being harmed I have to say that if equality is really the goal, any viewer should realize the video is showing us how we are all harmed when we fail to recognize the individual and treat everyone as a label. In this perspective it is boys that are harmed but what damage will that do later in life when they become fathers and husbands? We are all harmed by inequality, every kind or form of it. No group or political agenda can create equality. It has to come from each of us in how we treat others for that is the only way to change culture permanently. Only when we have a culture of equality will we be able to filter out what is not equality. This is an egg and chicken problem, for certain. A conundrum that can only be answered by asking the right questions and calling out those that ask the wrong ones.

We must take our self worth from personal values not those of society or community or even worse the government we didn’t pick. Individual value is the only path to equality under the law. Those that do not teach this have missed the point entirely. My value is not what you think of me, not what the government thinks of me, not what the universe thinks of me. My value is what I think of me. I am an individual. Until most other humans are also individuals under the law and in the culture – well, we can only function as a label. Labels compete with one another until there is dominance and victory. Individuals are more likely to show empathy than groups. Mob rules and all that.

Think. Be an individual. Teach children to be individuals.

 

What _IS_ Injustice?

Without any introduction, please view this video

The reason that there are more male over-achievers is the same reason that there are more male serial killers. Men will excel at something, mediocre is not the thing men do. There can be and are many reasons for this situation. Men do not follow the bell curve in most comparisons. They generally fall at one end or the other, not in the middle. There is a reason for this and I’m not going to tell you what it is. I want you to think about it. I want you to think about all the men that find themselves not in the top 10% and what they must contend with in life. Even as I strive to be a renaissance man of sorts I know that I’m not on the very high end and not at the low end. I’ve known this for a long time. I’m above average but for men – this doesn’t count. I’m not Alexander the Great and I’m not Jack the Ripper. I’m nobody. The world doesn’t hate me and the world doesn’t love me. The world doesn’t care about me. As a man that leaves me with few choices and a big tax burden. I was born this way. Born screwed. I’m fortunate enough to have gone to school before the horrors described in this video. Still, life is what it is and I have to live with it. I won’t get special treatment. I won’t get special dispensation. I won’t get anything that I don’t earn or steal myself. I think that society has forgotten this about our culture. We’ve focussed on the wrong things for too long. Now more innocents get to pay for other people’s mistakes and greed.

Just saying

Racists, Bigots, Multicultural … Out On A Limb

I shouldn’t have to show you pictures of or tell you about Charleston, McKinney, Baltimore, and other places which have been in the news lately. As proven by thousands of blog posts and news broadcasts there are a many opinions about what is wrong and why it is wrong and why the other group who is complaining is wrong.

The fundamentalists told us the mass killings in schools was because there was no god allowed in schools, now they tell us that it’s the gay agenda that got the Charleston 9 killed. Everyone is busy blaming everyone and everything else as the cause of the violence, hatred, and … well… humans being humans.

We hear a lot about how feminists think society should be or at least what they think is wrong. Blacks tell us what they think is wrong. Each political party tells us what they think is wrong. In fact there is an endless stream of people and groups that are more than willing to tell the rest of us what is wrong with the world today, or society, or that other country etc.

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I have my own ideas about who is to blame and what groups we could do without. My unspoken knee-jerk reactions would make vehement fundamentalists look like babes in cradles should I let them fester and act on them. I’m not here to talk about those or such from other people. In fact I’m not here to talk in this post other than to ask a simple question of all who read this.

What does a society without racism, bigotry, cultural hatred and similar items look like? Maybe you’ve only thought what it would be like without violent cops. Maybe you’ve only thought of what it would be like without gender inequality. Maybe you’ve only thought about what it would be like with equality under the law for all people. No matter what your pet project is I want to know what you think a society would look like that did not have hatred, racism, bigotry, fundamentalism, gender inequality, sexual orientation discrimination and so on. What would that world or country look like?

Between this current world we live in and the utopian world I’ve asked about, what are the low hanging fruits that we can work together to start us on that path to the world without the worst parts of humanity?

Go on, I want to hear it in the comments. I want to know what we are supposed to do to fix the giant fucking mess we humans have made of life and living. I want to hear how we fix it not what is wrong with it.

So tell us, what does a ‘perfect’ world look like? How does it work? Where would you fit in that world? Where would McKinney cops fit in that world? Where would former racists (of every color) fit in that world?

I know many may read this. Some may even click the like button. What I really want is to hear what a ‘perfect’ society would be like. Let’s have that discussion here.

Something Rather Than Nothing … What Would Moses Say?

This might simply be a side note on an otherwise huge debate regarding the subject of this post but I would like to share a few thoughts about that

That video shows imagery which were built from actual photographs taken by space craft that we humans have sent out into the solar system. Apparently a creator god made Ceres too.  Go on, watch that video again. There is a dwarf planet in our solar system that looks just like this (nearly). Why did it need to be created? Why did it need to be pummelled with asteroids so many times. Why would it need to have water on it? What was the creator’s plan for this rock that might have more fresh water than Earth does.

Ceres is not the only body begging these questions.

If you read the holy books of Earth’s religions none of them address this. None of them predicted humans getting up close photographs of these space bodies or even landing craft on them. Since the dawn of modern science we have been living beyond the grasp of anything in those holy books. You may be reading this post on your phone, even watching the video on your phone. In your hand is more technology than could even be dreamed of in the stories of the holy books.

What is the creator god’s position on bioethics? Is it okay to eat meat grown in a lab? Is it okay to grow new body parts and then graft them on to our bodies? Is it okay to augment our bodies to make them better than his supposed design? Is it okay for us to change our diets to improve our cognitive abilities? Is it okay to use nuclear energy to provide energy for the survival of humans? There are thousands more questions that the holy books cannot and will not answer. Everything that any believer has to say about the modern world is simply interpretation to try to make it fit into the ideals of the ancient world. I’d be willing to bet that if we had a time machine nobody would go back to 500 bce to bring someone to this day to work on cars, and with good reason. Why do we keep bringing books from that time to our current day thinking they will fix our problems? I know that was not the best analogy but the point stands.

What would be Moses’ take on images of Ceres or Pluto? Could or should we expect anything cogent if he could answer?

What do you think Moses would make of our technology, the technology that we take for granted?

In Progress … Please Wait

A lot of believers spend a great deal of time worshipping their deity of choice. You know the one, the deity their parents handed down to them like an old bicycle from grandpa. That religious belief takes a lot of effort. They are in church once, twice, maybe more times per week.

The math quickly: 16 waking hours times 7 is 112 waking hours per week. If you take away 3 (18.75%) hours per day for meals and meal related things we’re down to 91. Let’s say we spend an hour per day (6.25%) on hygienic activities. Basic survival means we spend 50% of our lives doing mandatory things as a kind of average value.That’s 12 hours per day to stay alive and leaves us 84 hours per week for other stuff.

That doesn’t count the hours spent each week at work or travelling to and from work. It takes 50% of our time to simply keep breathing. Of the other 50% we have about 9 hours per day 5 days a week for work as a sort of minimum. That drops our 84 hours to 39 on average, less for a great many people.

To get a calculation, let’s say the religious believer goes to a meeting building 3 times per week. Preparation, travel, and meeting time (I’m guessing) take up the better part of 4.5 hours or 13.5 hours per week.

13.5 hours is 34.62% of our available time, on average.

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Where there is a choice, believers (arguably) spend more than 1/3 of their disposable time worshipping their ‘deity of choice’. Now let’s add in daily prayer and other events such as bible study and discussion etc. It can quickly and easily become 50% of their disposable time. That would leave them 19.5 hours per week to do things other than survive, work, and worship. Average television time for Americans is around 3 hours per day (ref) , and that drops the disposable time to a negative value. I didn’t count household chores etc. You can use the link to adjust the values to see where the time goes.

So where do the religious folk get their worshipping time from? If religion was an app on your phone, it’d be too busy to be useful.

 

 

I’m Tired Of This Bullshit

Here it is, watch the full glory of it, then let’s talk about it. I have some experience with McKinney Texas. Full disclosure, I live in McKinney.

Nobody got tased, nobody was shot, there were no riot police, nobody was beaten. There are no signs of abusive physical behavior.

I know about McKinney Texas. It ranks in the top ten places to live for as many years. These people (black and white and hispanic) are among the most coddled people on the planet. The live in one of the best places of one of the best countries on the entire planet. You might argue but it would be pointless. These people have the lives of the most privileged on the planet. The poor people in McKinney Texas are hispanic. These black people involved live in very affluent neighborhoods. This is one of the last places you will see white on black crime or even black on anything crime. There is no crime in McKinney Texas except for personal property theft/damage. It is nearly utopian in many ways. These people are coddled and treated as though they deserve it.

That is not to say that nobody in McKinney ever has a bad opinion or ever gets hard done by. It is to say that McKinney _IS_ one of the top 5 places in the top country to live on this planet and that doesn’t happen with racist cops running loose. Kids are kids. They aren’t always very smart. In the video you see some actually running from cops. This action is NEVER a good idea. If you simply talk to them they will not have reason to worry or handcuff you or detain you. The video shows the police acting very civil toward anyone not being uncooperative.

You can find videos of several people telling the world (including the girls cousin) that this is not about race. It’s about teens behaving badly and showing zero respect for the police. I have met and talked to several of the police officers here. They are genuinely nice people even if their view of the world is skewed necessarily by their job responsibilities.

Toward the end of the video you see that the cop is not holding her down. He did so only as long as it was needed. I won’t argue that he did not appear or seem aggressive but I don’t think he reacted more than was called for in the situation. He was called to the scene because a fight was reported… actual violence was what he was there to respond to.

It does not matter what color you are. If you want to run your mouth and show disrespect to a man amped up on adrenaline with a gun then bad things can happen. Watch how many people were told to simply go away or go home and did not listen.

Being that I live in McKinney I know that this party was not just at the pool. It started the night before. There were drugs involved (big deal, meh) and sex among the teens and all the reckless party stuff you can imagine goes with end of school antics. The real problem is that these teens (color does not matter here) showed no respect for the community, other people, security, or the cops. What do you think is going to happen when you mouth off at a policeman? That policeman will do what he is trained to do… control the situation in order to protect others. That fucking stupid teen girl ran her mouth off at a man with a gun and a butt load of adrenaline. She should be arrested just for being stupid.

There is no race problem in McKinney. My friends are free and feel free to talk about racial issues. My friends and neighbors are a different color than me, my golf buddies are a different color than me. There are no race problems in McKinney Texas except for the problem of some few individuals wanting to call this a race problem. It isn’t. This is just teens showing no respect for anyone and getting taught a lesson in how to communicate with police officers.

The community of McKinney Texas is quite an awesome and good community. It has built a community based on diversity through equal treatment. The biggest problem that I’ve seen is drug use in the high schools. There is very little crime, very little racial anything. To think this is a racial incident is to completely NOT know McKinney Texas.

Why Praying Is Hard

It used to be easy for me when I believed that it did something useful. Then I wondered why an omniscient creator god needed to hear from me to guide his perfect plan. Then I wondered why his perfect plan included so much pain and suffering in the world. Then I learned statistics.

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On any given day there will be a sizable portion of the population of which it can be said “it sucks to be you.” It’s hard to remember that when it’s my day to have a sucky life. These days are the ones that I used to pray about. It never did any good. Sometimes, drinking few fingers of Scotch and playing with my dogs makes it better. Some days there is nothing for it but a few aspirin and more sleep than normal.

In the end, no matter what your philosophical position is, none of us have it all figured out. Some days or weeks just suck, badly.
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When that happens, I try to meditate, relax, remind myself that it will pass because it will pass. I’m not talking about first world problems or fears about imaginary things. I’m talking about real life that grabs me and shakes me and won’t let go till I somehow figure out how to solve the problem. Without a solution at hand it often enough feels like a good scotch and some tearful moments will fix things. Perhaps even an attempt to ignore them will do it. Sadly, nothing like that really works.

Instead of prayer I sit and talk with myself. Amazingly there is a sound thinking part of me willing to have the conversation. I complain and that other part of me tells me it’s just one of those days so buck up sunshine, till you do something nothing will change. It would be nice to have a skydaddy that would fix it all for me but there is none. Even when I pretended there was, it was me that did all the hard work.
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If I can do this anyone can. I’m juggling 153 things at once and I just want to put some of them down. No such luck. I just have to soldier on. Writing this is not helping me do any of them but it is allowing me to have that internal conversation that I need. Do a few more things tonight, wake up, shower, do some more of them. Keep doing that till there is room to breathe or sleep. That is all I have. It’s the only plan I’ve got. The weight on my shoulders will not go away till I shed it myself. Praying would not fix it. In fact, praying would be no more effective than me writing this post.

That’s how this nihilist anti-theist does it.

How do you deal with shitty days?

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