Tag Archives: education

Why Science Works

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Why Does Science Work?

Why Does Religion Fail?

This graphic, thanks to uncountable people from whose tutelage it grew, has turned into one of my favorite creations. It answers both questions in one whack, but only for those who understand it. Understanding arrives after a bit of easy study, which involves choosing a starting point at the top and following a finger down, stopping at any intersections to read and make a choice. All the trails lead to different destinations, some dependent on choices made along the way.

Natural Science does not practice science in the same manner as Religious Science, as the graphic depicts. Natural Science requires demonstration and verification. Religion asks, “How can I prove this?” Natural Science asks, “How can I test this idea?” and “How can I verify my findings?”

Scientific objectivity requires one of the many questions related to “What if…?” that were known as ‘the Five W’s Plus H’ where I went to school nigh ¾ of a century ago. Even here, the processes are different. Natural Science takes an active approach to gain its version of WHO/WHAT/WHERE/WHY/WHEN and HOW. Who all were involved? What was your premise? Why did you want to know that/think it is true? Where and when were the research and testing done? What did you learn? How do you verify that?

Religion chooses a passive or historical approach. Good. Much useful information can be gained from history, but would be better served without the bias religion dishes out with it. Research, much the same as for Natural Science, involves searching through literature for pertinent information. Maybe.

If religion cannot find its answers in the scriptures, it settles for apologia, whether within its creed or freshly written. It cannot look to the natural for answers because its claims are in the supernatural, a guarded place so well hidden away no one can find even a verifiable hint to show to others. It expects natural science to shy away from that and claims that science has no right to interfere in religious matters. Natural scientists should insist that religions should have no right to interfere in subjects that are the province of objective nature and put a stop to all the caterwauling.

All that may be well and good, were natural science given the same privilege to indoctrinate as enjoyed by religion, through notable parents schooled in its methods since birth, neighborhoods with clinics close at hand where children and adults could freely and privately browse books of science and seek advice from specially trained librarians. Such places could hold meetings where information of interest to secular people could be exchanged, speakers from afar or from the neighborhood could give lessons about science, its practices, new discoveries and theories, and anything else of secular interest. Such nonreligious clergy may eventually be known as secular priests, provided they could show their qualifications and manner of expertise in some fashion similar to commercial religions’ methods. Religion, of course, could not keep its tax-free status without those secular units also sharing that vital privilege.

In direct competition on a fair playing field, even without religion’s bluster, facility with metaphor, and threats of retaliation, natural science would no longer suffer a handicap. Its ability to demonstrate with hands-on statements that ordinary citizens could try, could make its basic truths apparent to one and all. An ability to pass the plate at meetings would offer secular congregants means to support their speakers’ efforts to inform a truth-starved society on all the subjects wherein good, trustworthy information has been so absent they stay unaware of it in the bleak conditions that prevail now.

As pointed out in an earlier post, it is the way that abeyance gets applied to untrustworthy information that puts science ahead when assessing information. The principle of defeasibility does not exist to religious concerns, wherein if you get accused of a sin/crime/evil thoughts, you are guilty however well you can establish innocence. You are guilty because you were suspected. The state will demand its tithe no matter how well you can prove your mother needs immediate medical care. You cannot claim your inheritance even though you are living in an overturned dumpster and need an operation that will enable you to return to your job. Be glad you are living under what is left of a secular system of law, where justice still often prevails, evidence is still required for trials, and the onus is on the accuser to establish your guilt by providing good evidence. That is what a secular scientific approach with an intent to serve justice means to you.

True, natural science takes far longer than religion to reach a conclusion. Religions can decide something fateful in as few as just a couple of minutes. Objective science can often take years. Objective science sometimes has an irritating tendency to change its mind, and to admit it may have been wrong. Religious science is never wrong. It is also seldom correct. The one making a claim in any American court is required to show evidence enough to go to trial where that evidence will be tested. Those opposing the claim, and those assessing the claim, remain duty-bound to doubt the claim for so long as their doubt is reasonable. Agnostics, take note. Wise atheists have reasonable doubt. All atheists are not wise; all religious people are not stupid, intolerant, and/or insensitive.

Natural science, a secular institution, works that same way, following the same principles as law, the opposite of religious practice. It speaks to why the person steeped in religion finds science to be so inscrutable, and why they believe it is science’s duty to prove a god’s nonexistence. It is always the duty of a claimant to remove all reasonable doubt regarding a claim—of guilt, of a presence at any commission of a crime, of existence of their favorite god. The claimant’s objective is to remove doubt that a claim is true. It seems silly to think the doubter has anything to prove. The claimant’s message is doubt’s subject. Without evidence, the message is meaningless and wisdom dictates a skeptical response and abeyance. It should end there until good evidence comes from the claimant, a demand the accosted doubter must make before discussing any further dependent issues.

So, now that you know what a secular process requires, you may be able to understand why faith and belief in any information unsupported by evidence can be attributed to religion, for faith in what was said is the hallmark nature of religion. Think of all the ideas you take for granted are true. To itemize them would be to describe your temporal religion. It doesn’t need to be about gods, as some recognized religions exist in a godless form. That would be a good exercise that could provoke many insights. Most of us are unaware, beyond what we learned in school, of from where most of our information came. TV ads, magazines, billboards, passers-by, friends and more, plaster our brains with so much information we cannot verify but a small portion. Our brains filter out good information we may have not understood while we dealt with other things, and so let misunderstood bad information go into the data-bank. From that point on, we head for trouble as related good information gets refused and bad information that matches up with the previously accepted bad stuff builds to influence future thinking.

A large portion of that may not have much impact on your life, as it may be about things you seldom deal with or in which you have little interest. All of it is entirely natural and nothing to feel ashamed about. We all need to question our own selves before we get judgmental against others, and work to keep our own houses in order before we get buried in the gathering detritus. This could explain the noteworthy lean toward conservatism observed in older people.

An example of temporal religion can be observed in groups of atheists and agnostics, specifically in their tendency to argue over various points of contention. We all have temporal religion in our lives (Temporal: of or relating to earthly life; lay or secular rather than clerical or sacred). Some of us won’t admit to unsupported beliefs and still spend hours arguing about politics and philosophies. Here’s an idea: Discover what objective factual evidence supports your pet ‘theories’ and present that while challenging your opponents to present theirs. Learn that what people have in common is more abundant and far more important than all our differences.

(“.”)

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

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Values

Values

Values are, of course, about what we regard as important in our relationships with others. Values arise from important ideas attached to reciprocity, sharing, cooperating, honesty, factuality, responsibility, integrity, justice, credibility, empathy, compassion, reputation, fairness, kindness, dignity, tolerance and verisimilitude. Morality is about how we apply those ideas, and similar others, within our social interactions. (My Values, verse 11 in the book, NOTES TO MYSELF (AN ATHEIST’S PERSONAL BIBLE), available from Amazon.

Whatever Christianists claim about atheist amorality, immorality, or complete absence of moral guidance, those secular words, and the ideas they represent, were not combed from the Ten Commandments, the other different Ten Commandments, nor from any useful instructions anywhere in my King James Bible.

They are not ‘commandments’, but carry within our understanding of their meanings the commands to be applied and the consequences we may face for shirking. Nature is, of course, not a god but a guide, so we learn thru experience, wise parental instruction, warnings and, in a nod to hedonism, thru pain. Let us evaluate the list as Merriam-Webster defines it:

reciprocity: the King Of The Hill, reciprocity teaches us how to deal with and treat each other in kind. To stray away from “kind” is not reciprocal. As soon as you notice a decoying tactic, call it out: “That has nothing of relevance to the topic. Intentional or not, that sort of tactic gets used to lure an opponent away from a dangerous subject. It is very effective because most people watching us don’t have a clue about rules of debate. But, now they have been alerted, and will be watching to see how many times I let you sneak one past me.

1 : the quality or state of being reciprocal; mutual dependence, action, or influence.

Date 1766

Derived rule: Those who tell lies may well have justifiable lies told about themselves. Those who teach love may themselves be loved. But, they who preach love and practice hatred will be despised. We make friends by helping people to feel good, and enemies by causing bad feelings. We learn while watching others what we can expect from them; others learn while watching us.

Sharing:

Date: 1590

transitive verb
1 : to divide and distribute in shares : APPORTION — usually used with out <shared out the land among his heirs>
2 a : to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others b : to have in common <they share a passion for opera>
3 : to grant or give a share in — often used with with <shared the last of her water with us>
4 : to tell (as thoughts, feelings, or experiences) to others — often used with with.
intransitive verb
1 : to have a share — used with in <we all shared in the fruits of our labor>
2 : to apportion and take shares of something
3 : to talk about one’s thoughts, feelings, or experiences with others
—a list of synonyms will often convey more understanding than any dictionary.
synonyms SHARE, PARTICIPATE, PARTAKE mean to have, get, or use in common with another or others. SHARE usually implies that one as the original holder grants to another the partial use, enjoyment, or possession of a thing <shared my toys with the others>. PARTICIPATE implies a having or taking part in an undertaking, activity, or discussion <participated in sports>. PARTAKE implies accepting or acquiring a share especially of food or drink <partook freely of the refreshments>.

Derived rule: While modern humans tend to regard sharing as a contributor to loss and cost, failure to find a role for reciprocity makes sharing an unbalanced activity. The increased stress that has resulted requires that we learn to live fully balanced lives for health’s sake.

cooperation:

Date: 14th century

1 : the action of cooperating : common effort
2 : association of persons for common benefit

Derived rule: cooperation exemplifies the application of reciprocity.

honesty:

Date: 14th century

1 obsolete
2 a : fairness and straightforwardness of conduct b : adherence to the facts : SINCERITY
synonyms HONESTY, HONOR, INTEGRITY, PROBITY mean uprightness of character or action. HONESTY implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way. HONOR suggests an active or anxious regard for the standards of one’s profession, calling, or position. INTEGRITY implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. PROBITY implies tried and proven honesty or integrity.

Derived rule: avoiding corruption in our dealings with others, always requiring the same from them, will enhance your good name, but one slip can undo years of effort, often for all our remaining years.

factualness:

Date: circa 1834

1 : of or relating to facts <a factual error>
2 : restricted to or based on fact <a factual statement>
Since all the dictionary did was point to “fact”, we’ll take the hint:

fact:

Date: 15th century

1 :obsolete
2 archaic : PERFORMANCE, DOING
3 : the quality of being actual : ACTUALITY <a question of fact hinges on evidence>
4 a : something that has actual existence <space exploration is now a fact> b : an actual occurrence <prove the fact of damage>
5 : a piece of information presented as having objective reality
in fact : in truth

Derived rule: since facts pertain to information about reality/actuality, and we commonly recognize the three forms of information as lies, opinion, and facts, we must stay mindful to accept and trust only information from trustworthy sources.

responsibility:

Date: 1771

1 : the quality or state of being responsible : as a : moral, legal, or mental accountability b : RELIABILITY, TRUSTWORTHINESS
2 : something for which one is responsible : BURDEN <has neglected his responsibilities>>>><

Derived rule: the burden of proof lies in the arms of those who make positive assertions, for they can can lie, lie, lie, and lie with the Devil without that barrier against injustice.

Integrity:

Date: 14th century

1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS
synonyms see HONESTY.

Derived rule: to maintain high integrity is the only way to earn others’ trust.

Justice:

Date: 12th century

1 NA
2 a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : RIGHTEOUSNESS c : the quality of conforming to law
3 : conformity to truth, fact, or reason : CORRECTNESS

Derived rule: The principle of equality is based on the idea that all citizens deserve fair treatment under the law. We must carry that practice forward, under the same reasoning, to our treatment of each other for protection against loss of our rights.

credibility:

Date: 1594

1 : the quality or power of inspiring belief <an account lacking in credibility>
2 : capacity for belief <strains her reader’s credibilityTimes Literary Supplement>

Derived rule: to gain and maintain credibility, practice those traits that develop integrity.

empathy

Date: 1850

1 NA
2 : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this

Derived rule: Having our own feelings enables us to imagine the suffering we see others enduring. Empathy then works with compassion to prod us, often at some risk, to offer help. We all know we will eventually need help and “pay it forward”.

compassion:

Date: 14th century

: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it
synonyms see PITY

reputation:

Date: 14th century

1 a : overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general b : recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability <has the reputation of being clever>
2 : a place in public esteem or regard : good name <trying to protect his reputation>

Derived rule: a reputation that takes years to attain can be lost in seconds through hasty or thoughtless actions.

fairness:

Date before 12th century

1-5 NA
6 a : marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism <a very fair person to do business with> b (1) : conforming with the established rules : ALLOWED (2) : consonant with merit or importance : DUE <a fair share> c : open to legitimate pursuit, attack, or ridicule <fair game>
7-11 NA
synonyms FAIR, JUST, EQUITABLE, IMPARTIAL, UNBIASED, DISPASSIONATE, OBJECTIVE mean free from favor toward either or any side. FAIR implies an elimination of one’s own feelings, prejudices, and desires so as to achieve a proper balance of conflicting interests <a fair decision>. JUST implies an exact following of a standard of what is right and proper <a just settlement of territorial claims>. EQUITABLE implies a less rigorous standard than JUST and usually suggests equal treatment of all concerned <the equitable distribution of the property>. IMPARTIAL stresses an absence of favor or prejudice <an impartial third party>. UNBIASED implies even more strongly an absence of all prejudice <your unbiased opinion>. DISPASSIONATE suggests freedom from the influence of strong feeling and often implies cool or even cold judgment <a dispassionate summation of the facts>. OBJECTIVE stresses a tendency to view events or persons as apart from oneself and one’s own interest or feelings <I can’t be objective about my own child>. synonyms see in addition BEAUTIFUL. NA

Derived rule: a reciprocal rule of fairness would acknowledge that others expect us to behave the way we think they should, limited by shared parameters. More common, however, is the expectation that visitors should conform to established standards wherever they go. That is the fairest option, and wise travelers will know they have the greater foreknowledge of where they will appear, and the greater ease of adjustment. That makes the latter the fair choice, with invading armies and missionaries the only apparent exceptions.

kindness:

Date: 13th century

1 : a kind deed : FAVOR
2 a : the quality or state of being kind b archaic : AFFECTION

Derived rule: we must be kind to others to expect them to be kind to us.

dignity:

Date: 13th century

1 : the quality or state of being worthy…
Derived rule: Maintain your dignity; respect that of others.

tolerance:

1 : the capacity to bear something unpleasant, painful, or difficult <had always had a high tolerance to pain>
Synonyms endurance, stamina, toleration
Antonyms intolerance
Synonyms FORBEARANCE 2, clemency, indulgence, lenience, leniency, mercifulness, toleration
Related Words liberality, liberalness, open-mindedness, permissiveness
Contrasted Words narrow-mindedness; prejudice; dogmatism; bigotry
Antonyms intolerance

Derived rule: Intolerance begets intolerance, and shows reciprocity to be a natural rule.

verisimilitude:

the appearance of truth; the quality of seeming to be true.

Date: circa 1576

1 : the quality or state of being verisimilar
2 : something verisimilar:

Date 1681

1 : having the appearance of truth : PROBABLE
Derived rule: maintain verisimilitude by following the trails of verifiable evidence wherever possible, being first to acknowledge your own ignorance, and staying within the range and scope of your knowledge. When others use arguments of questionable merit to lure you into uncertain grounds, tell them, “That’s outside the range of my studies”; then “I don’t see how that is possible. Explain it for me, please.” Always be polite. With some smarts and diligence on your part, those who come to argue will lead you to become the best kind of fully rounded atheist.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Opinions

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Opinions

As the old wisdom decrees, opinions are like assholes; everybody has one, and they need to keep it to themselves. What old wisdom overlooks is the relief of letting it go and the satisfaction from dumping on somebody who was asking for it, after too long of holding your breath.

Opinions serve two important purposes, both as teaching tools for anyone wise enough (and brave enough) to learn to use them. They most commonly find roles as defensive tools, whether against someone we have offended, a teacher struggling to clarify a misunderstood point, a proselytizing predator howling at your heels, or anyone asserting something with which we disagree.

Even predators can learn by applying the second purpose toward the achievement of their own betterment. While the stings and burns of battle still rage and the heat of it still warms your brain, now is a good time to reflect on the process just undertaken, while still fresh in memory. Predator and intended prey will consider their answers for the same list of questions, plus some of their own:

  • Might I owe my opponent(s) an apology? Nobody will gain true knowledge from name calling, accusations, nor any other form of personal comments.

  • Did I engage in that to proselytize? —to exchange information? —to ask (a) question(s)?

  • Did I intend to learn something? —or tell something about which nobody asked?

We get poorly educated about rules for effective argument or thinking. Most of us have no idea why such topics should be hers as though we have the greatest expertise in that topic. Some may be, but why argue if you can’t convince, and will not learn.

No Clone

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No Clone

Despite what many profess to believe, humans are a social animal. We are an animal, a mammal, and our species survived because of our ancestors who learned to work in groups for their mutual benefit. Today, we call that ‘teamwork’. Some mislabel it as ‘Liberalism’.

Our ancestors lived in family groups known as ‘tribes’ gathered around a central leader. As populations increased, that scenario became more complex but the basic centralized format still remains in a variety of configurations, all of which pose dangers to careless citizens. Those who configure the original setup will be looking after their own interests and making emotional appeals to gather support. Later interest groups will follow that example to push support for their pet agendas.

I can use my own country, the U.S.A., as the perfect example. This nation began with a Bill of Rights inserted into its Constitution, but supported slavery of black people. That example of gross injustice initiated the civil war that brought it to its end.

An idea supported by many religious groups at the start, freedom of religion has seen the definition of ‘religion’ elevate from simple belief and escalate to specify the worship of (a) god, and to enable corporations to act as people even with no way to arrest an entire corporation and hold it accountable as an individual. Even atheists hold simple fervent beliefs. Many people risk arrest to pursue harmless practices made illegal because they offend other people’s induced compunctions.

None of us got to choose what traumas our elders forced onto us the first ten years of our lives, nor the circumstances into which we were reared. The state of dress or undress in which our forebears maintained us, plus our innate natures, add up to unintended indoctrination at the beginning of our lives, at the most critical time during which the information we absorbed like sponges will determine what we will and won’t believe for the rest of our lives. We absorbed information at every chance encounter, during every exposure to something new. The smarter our brain, the more detailed the information we absorb, the better reinforced it becomes by later information, the harder it gets for dis-confirming information to find a home in the pool.

We should not hate each other over the natural way our brains work, for that’s about all it amounts to. Blame history, not parents, not individuals, for what people believe.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

 

Nobility

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Nobility

Whether or not regarded as an irksome chore, to endeavor upon the task of improving oneself can be a rewarding and necessary lifetime pursuit.

Rewarding? Yes. Each accomplishment that makes you feel better about yourself—that focuses ​on your brighter future—that alerts others about your effort—that puts you into the company of others making a similar endeavor—who will impart new insights about your own goals, new ideas and planning. Beware new friends you make. They might steal your good ideas before you realize their value. Shhhh, quiet…

Necessary? Yes. If you’re not advancing and improving, you are decaying and falling into obsolescence. That’s just Nature at work. Those who get ahead are those who keep moving; those who get run over are those who stood still.

Irksome? No, getting caught unprepared, getting overlooked, getting left behind are what’s irksome. Find your dream vocation, master that, and put yourself into position to go for it. Sounds simple? It can take years that you can endure or enjoy, your choice. Attitude matters. If you find find your choices irksome, that is a sign they are wrong for you. Find new dreams and choose again.

Lifetime? Yes. Once you discover a pursuit that pleases and engages you, you will want to develop your skills to the peak of your capabilities. Don’t be surprised to discover new worlds of possibilities will open up a new array of choices to your awareness, that were previously beyond your reach. If you find one tempting, go for it. You won’t be the first famous person to change careers midway.

But, what if you’re just a common, ordinary schmuck like me, who’s perfectly happy with life the way it is? When the end of your time comes, whom else do you have to impress than your own self? I am neither wealthy nor famous , I learned many things too late to apply them, but I have learned to keep one woman happy and live to a grand old age. I have met others I might have liked as much, but none that that I could love more. Take that as advice, and this: If you are happy, keep doing what you have going now.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Ethical Hedonism

EthicalHedonism

Ethical Hedonism

Although many try to lean close to Epicurus, wisdom would call for Ethical Hedonism to be updated to stay with our current knowledge, and then receive constant refinement to maintain its inherent integrity. It is, of course, a philosophy and not a religion.

Early advocates of hedonism may have had the right idea if we consider the limited knowledge of their time. The ethical hedonism that got swamped in the public mind by commercialism and zealous propaganda could use some help from modern science to restate its case, and to reclaim its rightful place as the predominant secular philosophy to develop a reasonable defense for atheism, humanism and secularism in general, and the predictive powers of science in particular.

Anybody familiar at all with bicycling will realize the importance of balanced stability to the cyclist’s well being. Even as expressed in early attempts to develop it by Epicurus, hedonism goes far beyond mere pleasure and pain. Thanks to modern science, hedonists can now apply to themselves the idea that the maintenance of balance permeates existence, that nature works toward balanced stability even in such major processes as ecology, evolution, the building of a universe, and every minor feature of it. That Nature does so through the destruction of unbalancing objects and processes in a “may the best one win” fashion is evident without much study. Hedonism is about more than the balance between pleasure and pain, therefore, since it can now be shown how loss of balance can negatively affect all forms of life in nearly every way, and even that which does not live. The universe looks designed? It should. Billions of years of balancing actions should produce that result.

All of those agents of naturalism seem to present a generally covert picture of support for hedonism’s ethical views with little awareness of what a modern, developed hedonism would have to say in their behalf. It seems that secular students of nature gain an innate awareness of that message, but find it hard to express in any meaningful way, mainly because the makeup of our modern cultures inhibits them from overcoming a lifetime of propaganda to gain that kind of knowledge on their own. They surely are not offered courses in it at any schools. They would surely and blindly begin by exploring the over-publicized aspect, pleasure, and never discover the importance of banance on their own.

They may, driven by impulse, gain some experience of the pleasure part, and so end up with some experience of the pain portion, but will not acquire the knowledge that will enable them to make accurate philosophical connections. Most people will never hear such words as ataraxia, eudemonia, disequilibrium, homeostasis, homeorhesis, let alone ever understand their meanings enough to realize their implications to themselves and their behavior. They will never get to read the thoughts of great proponents of hedonism like Epicurus, Hume, or Thomas Jefferson, nor about the gently raging debates spurred by such detractors as Pliney or Socrates. Their cultural and political beliefs will deny them the right to know that, and they will suffer the resultant ignorance as surely as any form of unbalance will induce suffering to a living being.

Picture this: the artificially developed sense of morality that we get coached about from the beginnings of our lives causes us to go through life as though on a right-leaning bicycle, upon which we must raise ourselves up from its seat to lean far enough left to maintain its balance. Political history shows us that if we lean right to match the bicycle, it will dump us. We will shed our blood for that political stance, and risk injury and loss of property. Look at the mess all the recent right-leaning folks have caused in our USA, and are continuing to cause because of their inability to learn from hard experience. There is no relief from guilt, either, for those whose lean leftward was induced by the divisive stance taken by their opponents. To act in contrary response rather than originate new trends and solutions to overcome the pervasive problems invading our world, only places their state of unbalance into opposing disequilibrium.

To a right-leaning person, even the most perfectly balanced, vertically upright stance will appear to be leaning to the left. The same as any political body, a leaning bicycle will travel in circles in an effort to maintain equilibrium, whichever way it tilts. What are the implications of that? A balanced bicycle will maintain an upright stance and undergo straightforward motion. Likewise, a balanced universe will have all its components traveling in such a manner that will limit their interference one against another. Unbalance caused by a rock traveling in an interfering direction will be met by calamity enough so that balance will be restored. Life itself results from a balanced state in an environment that will enable it to arise. Unbalance at any stage will endanger that process, as human beings are almost too slowly beginning to become aware.

Now, you may be cringing at such imbecilic examples, and if so, then heed this demand: Think of any situation involving any component of reality wherein a state of balance is not required, or else does not naturally, eventually result through some process tending toward equilibrium. A sign mounted at the top of a tall post stays up because all the forces involved in it are in balance. Lose some aspect of that complicated set of agents, and the sign will immediately topple. The same is true of a tree, a ship on the ocean, a building of any height on land. A cancer patient is the ultimate human example of unbalanced processes. All the doctors’ efforts go to a semblance of restoration of balance. Failure means the termination of them all for that one individual.

You breathe air while on your bicycle, your breaths coming in pants to match the effort of climbing a hill. You will lose weight if the calories your body consumes while riding that vehicle are not equaled by the contents of your meals. You will gain weight if your meals exceed the calories burned by your daily activities. You will maintain your healthiest body by balancing your intake of nourishment with what you expend, or else suffer the consequences.

Your body also makes other demands of you for its maintenance. Prejudice of any origin interferes with our considerations about some of of those demands by demanding of us to deny our animal natures. Commercial hedonism interferes in an opposite direction by demanding our involvement in a gluttonous way that considers pursuit of pleasure as an end in itself without considering any of the consequences. The consequences of extremism in either direction result from the unbalanced conditions that results from their application.

We are a lazy animal, for the most part. Much of the technology of recent development tends to support that foolish laziness, and maybe inspired much of it. We work at jobs we hate just to pay for that technology, and do little to develop and promote our own innate talents and interests. Unaware of the diseased futures most of us face, we choose the easy path offered by our social structures and pray to our gods that we will somehow avoid the tortured ends we see occurring to dying members of our previous generations. Such unrighteous prayers will be denied. Nature will answer to her forces that demand balance. Like those who drink poison will be poisoned, few will escape the consequences of stress by which our laziness gets maintained.

Those gods to whom we pray result from our intellectual laziness, enforced by the fact that we cannot learn too much about certain subjects before our gods get called into question and then deposed. Our laziness demands that we avoid such a route, and our religious leaders have even created injunctions of sorts against such knowledge. Disingenuous mesmerism cannot be supported by skepticism, but requires artless, naive, gullible trust in our self-appointed mentors, so much so that we label it faith and declare their stories true because we —or they—have said so. When nature demands for balance to be restored, we will bend under the forces she applies so that our self-chosen ignorance lowers our station amongst humanity, our physical effort will struggle to equal what we have failed to gain through the application of our minds to the art of living and the maintenance of balance that we failed to learn.

 It is the inclusion of balance as a requirement for moral living that completes hedonism and makes it an ethical statement applicable at all levels of any society. It applies not just to individual persons, but even moreso to groups, the actions of any of which can enhance or diminish the quality of life for numerous people in one swoop.

Think of a group of bicyclists riding along a highway, acting in complete accord, and their effects not only upon themselves, but upon others beyond their group, who may perceive and appreciate a kind of harmonious beauty. Aggressive refusal to give up space on a lane may lead to collisions among the cars attempting to get past them. Accidents with such vehicles will likely result in injury and death to at least some of the bicyclists, and offers a scenario not unlike the conditions found in modern societies all around the globe, wherein the refusal of give and take results in all kinds of violence as nature attempts to maintain stability by imposing balancing forces where required.

We fight against nature when we fight each other, and induce pain where hugs are required to balance relationships. We tend to offer pain where pain exists already. We have killed and injured each other by the millions over a span of time that surpasses the recording of history, and will as likely as not continue doing so in the future, just for that very same reason.

We, who ride bicycles, know the importance of balance and the consequences of failure to maintain it. We are seldom aware of our pursuit as being hedonic, but are aware of how the joy of it can bring us pleasure, and the strengthening burn of our muscles can enhance the joys we can share with others who ride with us. We know we will lose balance sometimes, and that we are then faced with a choice: to blame our injuries onto our bicycles, or to recognize that we toppled over because we became unbalanced. We face those same choices in all categories of life’s activities, and must face them with the same attention to balance or suffer the consequences.

Brewing Arguments

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Brewing Arguments

Whomever you are, wherever you go, whatever you believe, some pushy person will worm it out of you however quiet you stay. I am quite forward because I want to get their barrage of arguments over with (yes, I know, “wishful thinking”) while I learn whom I have to look out for, whom to avoid, and who deserves my trust. They, meanwhile, are doing the same thing.

The indoctrinated nature of religion, plus the indemonstrable nature of most beliefs, plus that most human knowledge is expressed in the form of beliefs tells us that most of what people “know” is only their opinions. That makes it clear that, if they speak the same language and they are so inclined, any two people in the world could find something to argue about and any crowd could erupt into a spreading brawl. That very seldom happens. Why?

That our species is a social animal works some ways for us and some ways against us holds the key:

  1. For us goes the factuality of evolution, wherein cooperative people got protected and loners got eaten.

  2. For us, the top-heavy development of the prefrontal lobe of the brain enabled us to outsmart and outwit predators who wanted to include humans in their diet.

  3. For us, that same top-heavy brain enabled the development of language, and with that the passing on of wisdom that increased through the generations. Language also acted as a defense tool that enabled grunts and howls to evolve into precise shouted instructions, and, eventually, the development of radio enabled instructions to be issued from outside the danger zone.

    As described in older and wiser times, good and evil are only the masks behind which the good hides to become evil and the bad hides to become good. So:

  1. Against us is not whether evolution is or is not just science fiction, it is the fact that everything evolves, for better or worse. That differences of opinions lead to arguments likely induced a demand for sameness that led early hominids to develop religions to get some peace and quietude. That apparently offered a temporary solution that ended with the scourge called monotheism.

  2. Against us, that brain we so heartily praise finds it hard to distinguish between fact and fiction and has no built-in principles for guidance. Dupe it at a very early age and that misinformation will be misguiding young minds for generations.

  3. Against us goes the nature of memes, wherein indoctrinated beliefs insist on occupying every potential host. The nature of such memes puts pressure, built into the memes, on hosts they’ve already invaded to attack dissident hosts with (historically) everything from mental and physical abuse thru tortured death.

  4. Against us will be ignorant, frightened humans dwelling amidst all all manner of threats, real and imagined. Threats of little substance of which innocents can be accused out of hatred will earn them undeserved vile-sounding labels for daring to disagree with commonplace ideology.

Personal attacks have no justifiable basis in any setting, but are disingenuous weapons for picking fights, gas-lighting opponents, derailing from a losing topic, and more—all of which mark the attacker as a cheater, and as the person/people on the wrong side of a disagreement.

No one should want that, but very few people are aware there is a right and wrong way to settle a disagreement. Most couldn’t care less, even though people world-wide are killing each other over their opinions. Most people with whom I speak consider argumentation a potentially stultifying subject not worth the dreary hours to master it. It seems like a small segment of the population act the part of eggers, teasers and trolls and consider it only a game. It’s not. A better attitude all around would yield a better, less dangerous world.

A better attitude requires everyone engaged in disputes to recognize that only convincing evidence can dispel doubt as to which side is correct, and that absence of evidence on both sides requires the pitting of opinion against opinion. All unsupported opinions are put forth with an equal value of null, which is why they can only be settled by enforcement. The most dangerous opinions are built of powder and fluff with only words to support them. The origin of the most volatile disputes, such opinions deserve only avoidance. Wiley fluffers will redefine words, change context to conflate the topic, gas-light and Gish-Gallop to gain the upper hand, and attack you with ad hominems and name calling to define you as a person of questionable value. He/She/It has no interest in you beyond getting in some practice at pitching a con. Don’t give in to an urge to respond; rather than feed them, let their evil practices wilt from lack of nourishment. If you must respond, use this as a model:

  • You seem like a person of extraordinary intelligence. But, since I do not believe in fairy tales and have no interest in them, I will not discuss them with you.

Despite the natural drive of social animals to seek commonality we all live in different bodies and must care for our own circumstances. Those who would make us into clones will fail to end the arguments because of that, even among actual clones.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.