Tag Archives: evidence

Love

Love

Love only becomes meaningful by demonstration.

If you have to brag about loving people, you’re not demonstrating it.

If you have to brag about God’s love for people, God’s not demonstrating it.

My words. I will not ask you to believe them. Most of us are astute enough to recognize when love is absent. We are most of us astute enough to recognize when we are confronted by hatred. Whether religious or atheist, we are poorly served by displays of hatred, and edified by displays of love directed toward us. Whether Christian or atheist, we read the signs and attempt to understand the intentions of those who approach us. If we are mistaught or inexperienced, we may misunderstand and read them wrong. We read as hatred attempts to foist onto us opinions unaccompanied by evidence. No matter what we believe, we are alike in that. Also, we commonly understand attempts to preach to us without first asking our permission to be hatred. Common to us also is our way of understanding displays of love. Showing respect is accepted as love. The ability to disagree without devolving into enmity is a loving trait.

If we could develop a meter to measure love and hate, we would label the midpoint between love and hate as apathy. That is the most of what God demonstrates in our lives, as in the kind of God the deists believe in. The impression that God does not exist, as the atheists would have it, arrives from the total lack of valid evidence in support of it. That someone wrote a book 2-or 3000 years ago is meaningless without any new developments in addition. Rather than frivolous, the demand for evidence follows precedents set by law, science, and any investigatory practice. To proclaim faith as its own evidence is the same as saying faith has no evidence. Results of praying linger close to statistical expectations as if there is no God. There can be only one legitimate reason for the total lack of evidence to support the existence of a god named God.

Abeyance

Reposted from Hedonix of December 3, 2013

Abeyance

Lloyd H. Whitling

Hang it up. Put it back on the shelf. Keep it in cold storage. Give it a rest until we see a reason for it. Abeyance…

If you study only all you’ve been handed, you will never learn anything that goes beyond that. You will never feel the joy of making your own discoveries. You’ll have only old stories to tell children already much wiser than you.

Over the past two or three centuries, depending on what we would choose for a starting point, science has been slowly building and refining a pool of knowledge. During that time, it has also refined and established a method for determining and verifying by how much we can depend upon a piece of information, its reasons for denying truth for other pieces of information, and why some other pieces of information accepted as true should not be believed.

During recent decades, that pool of knowledge has accelerated into a pond. Science still has an ocean full of lakes to go, but that does not mean we do not need to keep on, nor will not benefit from, applying that method to our individual existences. After eventual banishment of unfounded beliefs, will our world truly crumble into rampant sensualism? Will a universal application of well-understood science prevent that from happening—or, is what we have now to guide us the best we can ever do?

If there be truth to the often-expressed notion that science cannot make moral statements, it likely is true that there will never be a better world for human habitation. We cannot forget, however, the scientific method was never used to approve that statement. For people to believe it while untested makes of it a religious statement about “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Untested, it may not be true, or may be partly true but mostly misleading. It must be tested so we can know, and steer a proper course in harmony with the result. We can learn to trust it over the course of time, as increasing amounts of gathered data, as always, lead to refinement, until we (or, our heirs) get to compare life in some later times with ours. Will we or they laugh at our current duplicity? I will insist this: If applying science to morality results in a mess, it is set up to correct itself. It is the nature of religion that it will not. Religion will hide in every hole it finds, and hang in each hole until science finds a plug. The value of religion to humanity is not the possession of any truths. It serves the world by challenging science and forcing it to stay honest and, as much as possible, complete.

I was not raised to think the way any of that suggests. My folks would have felt proud of all the religious-right sons of (I so hate to sully my image of dogs that I will say) Satan that are running our country now. What changed? I believe my interest in writing, combined with the religious arguments in which my parents seemed to stay involved, caused me to rescue myself. Starting with the religious arguments, no one can ever claim I lacked interest. I started to read everything I could find, until it dawned on me that everybody seemed able to prove anything they wanted from their scriptures. I began to understand how God and Satan could switch places in people’s minds with no one ever the wiser. The only people who could show me what to believe were the scientists I eventually read about.

Yes, there is an element of doubt inherent to science. That is a good thing that allows for informational refinement. That element to enable a tuning-up process should no more be disparaged for science than for musicians. Think of musicians not allowed to tune their instruments, and you will soon have the conditions inherent to religion— people soon starting their own bands (new sects) just so they can re-tune, then having a blast with it until the inevitable detuning occurs. Rather than doubt, I now see it as being able to know a good thing that may later lead to knowledge of something even better. Hey, I can allow myself to stay in tune, now!—and I have standards of comparisons so that I can stay in tune. I only have to remember that not everything written about science is scientific.

The religious don’t see it that way. They see that element of doubt as a weakness they can latch onto so they can keep themselves convinced of their own failing sense of rectitude. That may be one reason why they search the Internet for arguments. They feel desperate, it appears, for a handle by which they can lift up their wilting belief, hoping against hope that it won’t die before Jesus comes back to rescue them. They don’t see the verse in their own scripts that tells them that day has come and gone. They don’t want to hear how the promise went unkept.

The religious call us fools, immoral, evil perverts with no moral compass, filled with anger. We may be fools, but only because we give them our attention, as if we give no thought to things when they’re not around pissing us off. Yes, it is their common inclination to reason with the gut that makes them so irritating to us. They proclaim something scientific, when that claim has passed muster with nothing more than their scriptures. They talk about hypotheses as though they may be indefeasible without realizing we commonly have no interest in them until someone can make testable predictions about them. They seem oblivious that so many people have tried variations of the same routine on every opportunity to present itself that we feel underwhelmed (a cliche, yes, but appropriate for a cliche situation). You! You are not the first to so approach us. Our parents and/or our neighbors beat you by most of our years.

Conditions found in the middle East give me my personal take on morality. It cannot be set in stone by centralized self-appointed authorities without doing great harm. Over time, the authority squeezes harder and tighter as new, more painful and unjustifiable edicts increase its grip while its subjects struggle to stay alive. Look at conditions in the middle east where that is normal and enforcement too often leads to death of an innocent victim and freedom for the guilty. Morality is a servant of Justice. That is not justice. That is injustice! To treat religious edicts as though they have already gone through science’s process of validation leads to the enforcement of sham laws based on them, a dangerous situation the rise of which we are seeing in our own country. Fascism is not just a Republican buzz-word. Dominionism is not just an idle threat. You would not like life under them any more than would most of us.

True morality is a province of responsible empathetic individuals. Living in a “righteous and good manner” is what keeps us all out of jail. The last statistics I found showed atheists to be, PER CAPITA, less than 1% of prison populations. That is what comes of mixing religion with governance, and of treating speculative hypotheses as though they have been proved. What good is a hypothesis if it gets you into trouble by leading you to moral edicts that fail? Why bother with all the trouble taken to hide religion behind rhetoric when the numbers show how it will fail you? It is as easy to call Satan “God” and mistake that entity for Allah, Yahweh, or whomever, because you have no way of recognition. You would be far better served to simply watch what happens to other people and learn from that.

Most arguers accusing atheists of ‘fundamentalism’ and ‘denying God’ leave out the one important element that DAs use to determine if cases are ready to be tried, that makes science the powerful tool it has become, and justifies the naturalistic atheist position. It is the matter of abeyance, derived from the defeasibility principle. A scientist may believe his hypothesis will pass all tests. A DA may be convinced the accused deserves to serve a long sentence for a heinous act. To serve the cause of justice, which we all want, abeyance requires unsupported hypotheses and accusations to be set aside and to not be acted upon until sufficient evidence can be gathered. Conjecture and speculation for which no evidence exists, and for which no testable predictions can be expressed, are considered to be frivolous, meaningless, irrelevant, dangerous to truth and justice.

I have lived a long life filled with people pushing a ‘god’ notion and have learned some things that warn me of slavery, intolerance and centralism. That means that my autonomy is being targeted. Someone is setting up a circumstance where they can grant authority to a central power so they can manage my sense of responsibility for the results of my choices in life, and such people act as toadies for that cause. Worse, they want to usurp my right to choose sensibly by introducing priests (by all the labels that apply) into the mix, who feel bound to serve their frivolously derived god named (God, Allah, Satan, the other 15000) by guessing at what It wants the same way they guessed that their version of It exists.

We already have a central authority, where the Almighty’s handiworkers have been making inroads since this country’s inception. We are embroiled in the middle East because of it. We have problems in our cities that can be (and have been) attributed to it. We have an unjust system of taxation because of it, and it will get worse before enough people awaken to the root cause and rise up against it. Look at what is happening in the middle East now. Look at Syria. Worse than that could happen here because of people pushing this conjectured existence into government. Do we want that evil here? My opinion is “No! Let them complain about persecution. They work hard to get it, then, when it comes, they don’t like it.”

Can you in all honesty, imagine a god as jealous, bloodthirsty and demanding as the one described in the Bible staying so completely absent from its flock? As all-powerful as it is said to be, I would expect to hear a ‘round-the-world deafening growl every so often. It would definitely make itself heard and put a stop to all these yay-hoots giving Satan all the credit and causing all those good-intentioned converts to be bound for Hell. I surely don’t envision a god so dumb as to let that kind of people do its talking, when the real, actual thing could scare Hell right out of me just by letting me hear it sigh. I would be at its service immediately after cleaning up the mess.

The only testable rules of right and wrong are learned from nature. The only demonstrable reason for ethics and morality is found in other people. We will praise each other for doing good and right, and warn each other when we see bad and wrong in our midst. We will sue people who do us harm. We don’t need priests to set down rules about those things, nor to form a court to determine reprisals and restitutions. Like any other animal, we can do that ourselves because we know what hurts, what deserves blame, what deserves praise, what constitutes loss, and what makes justice. Gods and priests serve no purpose in that, and only get in the way of its free practice. We need a government that works for the common good, not against it.

We also know how to determine the sources of many decrees about morality, the nature of the causes such decrees might serve, and do well understand what it leads to. Our USA is suffering in its sleep because of that now. It is the adverse of the freedom our leaders constantly tout. We don’t need more of that in our lives. You don’t need it in your life. Study freely with an aim to learn what atheism and hedonism really means away from churches and other commercial enterprises. Don’t try to sneak in what deserves nothing more than abeyance. Too many of us have already had that up to here. We have no reason to adopt such beliefs, and you have no reason for hanging on to them.

scimethod800x600

Why Science Works

scimethod800x600

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.

Oppression

Oppression

The lot of a not quite smart animal just bright enough to pick the least hazardous path toward the future, oppression builds as societies age and politicians wrestle to gain power and control. America has apparently reached an age where the importance of watchfulness is important. Of paramount importance, of course, is to know what to look for and why.

The typical atheist’s regard for religion is despisement. I believe that results from misapprehension of the ties between religion, politics, and the never-ending struggle for power and control. The misapprehension is not just an American failing, it is worldwide. It originates in the mind games the rich and powerful play against all the layers of humanity they consider to be “beneath” them. They may have been born with that status already in place but they still shit the same as you, and need to wipe the same way, too. Their status rises from our acceptance, their own, plus whatever blood may have been shed or deals have been made to buy it. That is true across the board, for the wealthy, religions, and politicians, with few exceptions.

A more correct view of religion would show it, politicians, the greedy rich, and every form of priest, unburdening our pockets of everything of value we may once have hidden there. Never take me at just my word. Listen to, and analyze, their every word. Don’t choose gullibility. Practice healthy skepticism. Ask questions and Google for answers. What would it look like for him to be lying?– telling the truth?– the opposite of the truth? What do I have for verification? How did I learn to trust that source?

We oppress ourselves as much by believing false information as by every other means. Not every politician, rich or religious person, banker, priest, preacher or rabbi harbors dishonest aims. Most may, in fact, be known to uphold the highest of scruples. Observe to learn: what do your leaders harp on? Do they express worry about their followers backsliding or jumping ship? If your initial indoctrination was much the same as theirs, it will be harder for you to spot the holes in their logic. Of what do they accuse people? An old saying warns us, “for every finger pointed in accusation, four point at the accuser.” It is hard to think one’s own side might be wrong in any way, but nobody is perfect. Check: which side is pointing fingers? Do they have facts on their side?— or do they depend on rabble-rousers to stir emotions in their crowds while offering little of substance.

Nature

Nature

Nature

I will acknowledge a fondness for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

(“But, that is about something that’s not real.”)

I won’t argue against that. What role the Flying Spaghetti Monster can play for everybody is as a stand in for testing other beliefs. If whatever can be said about the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not also true about the belief being tested, that belief could be true.

It doesn’t work all that well because people lie to defend their own beliefs. What I do accept as true, however, is nature occupying the position of final authority.

(“But, nature is not a god.”)

That’s true, and I never claimed that. It’s also true that some people consider nature as the Supreme Being.

(“Isn’t that the same as what you just now said?”)

It could be so, if there were an entity involved. There’s none.

(“There is always God.”)

No one has ever brought forth evidence to support any kind of such claims

(“Who made the trees, the beautiful flowers, the grass? That’s evidence for God.”)

It works better as an argument for nature. Anyway, which god are you talking about?

(“I am sure you know the god who gave Moses the Ten Commandments is the only god.”)

So, you are talking about the god named God? No, I didn’t know that about her.

(“God is a ‘him’, I’ll have you know.”)

Back when gods were many and each tribe and village had their own, the female form was prominent. Are you proposing your god underwent a sex change?

(“Don’t be ridiculous.”)

It was your idea. There are statues all over the world for evidence.

(“Those aren’t gods.”)

Maybe not to you, but their history is still known by some natives.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

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.

Our Own Eyes

OwnEyesR

Our Own Eyes

There are different levels of belief that vary from fully-on starstruck gullible certainty to the extreme opposite in disbelief. Atheists with whom I have discussed religious issues tended to regard belief as something that stands alone, irrelevant to anything else. No one ever mentioned a relationship with any other words. No one at all hinted that belief and disbelief are the two extreme conditions of acceptance involving a continuum between related ideas rattling around in our brains, with abeyance as a center position. That’s the scientific method at work.

Maybe it’s too hard to acknowledge that religious and atheist people share an interest in the same things. Or, maybe it’s too much easier for both sides to see each other, and themselves, with dogs’ eyes as in a black and white world, where acceptance or rejection are always total and complete. Pay attention to the world around you and the people in it. Take off your judgmental lenses and just watch and listen. You will soon see that’s not the way things work, except for liars. Those waffles in your fickle, vacillating heart have afflicted the multitudes. Relax and take solace in your normalcy.

My point with this message is, none of us are perfect, and rarely, if ever, will any two people exactly mesh on all their beliefs and disbeliefs. It may shock you to learn there are believers who disbelieve some things; and there are atheists who do believe some things, even if they do believe they don’t. The important point at which this message aims is that is that those people on all sides of any issue —of those who would not be found guilty of politicizing an issue —if they are not actual frauds and hypocrites —actually believe in whatever they believe.

Democracy was developed to permit and enhance debate among its citizens, but we get poorly taught on how to go about it. And, so, we follow the only examples we have, those set the politicians and politicizers. We don’t know to stick to the issues, so we resort to personal attacks and disparage each other and our candidates, instead. We don’t recognize decoys, and so we end up distracted by those introduced by an opponent while tossing fistfuls of our own into the frey. We get so far off track we can’t find our way back onto the original road. We end up on a lesser topic than we began with and wonder why, and how we got so lost.

It is easy. One or both of you don’t want the other side to win and leads the other away from the topic. Feeling defensive in unexpected territory, the other follows the challenger’s lead by taking the bait. Wanting to appear strong, knowing, innocent and right, does not prevent anyone from making this common error.

It is helpful to learn the tactics most likely to be used against you in an argument. It could be even more helpful to assess debates by what they accomplished rather than their entertainment value. But, we won’t. We all are human beings. None of us are perfect. All of us are some ways different. And, that’s the best thing about us. Why not love that?