Tag Archives: politics

Politics

The closest thing to religion that we have going for us is politics. That may be because the church once ran the whole thing. Between the Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, they had a couple thousand years or more to set things up that way. Opinions are in the forefront; facts have no bearing on anything. People vote against their own best interests because they have been trained that way. Right-wing politics and the church are in collusion to influence how people choose from the time of their birth on. The church works to influence how people think so they will not lose their grip on humanity. I am not talking about the Catholic Church, I am talking about the whole of Christianity in the West, and Islam in the East. Church by any other name is still a church.

Humanity is just now waking up to facts. The fact that there are facts is still new to us, even after a couple hundred years of our being able to recognize them. In some aspects of our thinking, we still don’t recognize them and don’t grant them any importance. We have been trained to shun them, to deny reality, to insist without recognition that our imaginations rule. Politicians collude with religion to limit education wherever possible. In the deep south of the United States, the effect is the strongest. Wherever poverty rules, the effect is the strongest. In those areas, religion is the main source of any kind of knowledge. Knowledge that is about fairy tales and imaginary beings endangers those who have been trained to attach them to reality. What ever trouble finds them will be blamed on something else, never the root cause. The politicians and the religions will keep their clean hands with no one the wiser.

Humanity seems trapped in this scenario, as tightly as a vice could hold it. Religions will die and evolve, just as do people, only to be replaced by different-seeming varieties. They are, after all, created by people, as the saying goes, in our own image. That must be why, even in our fear of them, we so admire them for their despicableness. Even the most adaptable of humans, after all, must answer to nature in all ways. Does that mean that we, in our desire to maintain religion as a feature of our existence, must call nature God and train scientists to become priests?

What most influences your vote? Do you trust the god named God to look after its own interests while you take care of your own? Or, did you cast another vote against yourself without really knowing why? You have until the next election to think about this and decide if you have really made the best choices.

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.

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.

Credibility

credibilityb

Credibility

Human beings may be social animals, but we must undergo a lot of training before we master the required skills. The rapidly fluxing change of expectations running through the passing flow of generations, plus the increasing intimacy of antagonistic cultures crowding together as our world grows smaller, makes us strangers to each other as our horizons widen until our focus becomes fixed on distant points.

Although essential to the social process, credibility suffers and trust wanes as the pool of people with whom we can feel truly intimate grows ever more shallow. Maybe most people will never notice this effect and will want to argue about it. Maybe they just haven’t lived long enough.

While fast approaching the ninth decade of my life, I’ve been privileged to notice and think about a lot of things. As an old man I won’t expect these words to glean much serious consideration, but, there are still people of high integrity who will read and understand, so I will go on.

Whether or not people agree with you, maintaining credibility demonstrates high integrity:

  • Your existence demonstrates verisimilitude—

    • Your reputation is impeccable. You pay your bills. People trust you. You don’t play games with their accounts when people owe you money, nor sell off their accounts to increase profits or lessen losses at others’ expense. You always give fair measure.

    • You can be called upon to show the truth. Evidence is your friend. Absence of evidence is reason enough for doubt and disbelief under the law and in life.

    • You feel no need to pressure people about their beliefs:

      • No need for defensive explanations. Apologia acts as a stand-in for reality for when something doesn’t make sense. You don’t hold still for apologetic reasoning; when something seems off, you look for the truth and evidence.

      • No need for name calling. You don’t see why well-behaved people are called heathens, infidels, heretics, pariahs, blasphemer, reprobate, profane, nor all the other put-down names used for those who believe differently. You see such tactics as intentionally divisive.

      • No need for personal attacks. You that name-calling and physical abuse are not the only forms of personal attacks, and that this column amounts to only a partial list.

      • No need for gas-lighting, an especially egregious form of common attack wherein one person attempts to gain control of another’s thinking by reducing self-confidence.

      • No need for Gish-Galloping. That motor-mouthing to stomp on an opponent’s response is unfair during debates seems irrelevant to practitioners of it does not mean they are as smart as they think. While it stays true that some people enjoy being fooled, and others will root for their favorite no matter what, people are getting wise. Such tactics are used to hide something. They may gain few new converts.

      • No need for back stabbing. The spectacle continues with attempts to poison people’s opinions against someone else. People of high integrity feel no need to tell anything but the truth about others; they suffer no spurring to sully reputations for their own advancement or any reason except to tell the truth.

      • No need for conflation. Where one word has multiple definitions, it is easy to slip from one meaning to another for the sake of winning an argument, by treating all the meanings as one and confounding an opponent. A person of high integrity regards cheating as a malicious form of personal attack to avoid.

      • No need for one-upsmanship. People of high integrity will see interpersonal discussions as a potential information resource. They will not see them as competitions, but as a chance to gain and impart ideas and knowledge.

      • No need for weekly belief-reinforcement. People of high integrity, those who value their personal trustworthiness, know that unsupported beliefs diminish over time and lose their importance. Reality supports reality, while fairy tales get abandoned in childhood if given no support.

      • No need for stress induced by a need to continue justifying indoctrinated errors against all of their challengers. As a person of high integrity, you want to know the truth and nothing less will do. You already know the only path to truth runs through evidence to keep you straight; that without real evidence you have only your emotions to guide you; following your emotions will lead to belief in anything that appeals to you, and that is not apt to be truthful.

So, Smartass, where do I find evidence, and how do I tell the real from the fake​?

To watch evidence at work, find a criminal court in session and spend a few hours (or days) watching the process. Anything relevant to science depends on evidence to gain approval and development funds. Reports in the magazines aimed at popularizing science seldom delve very deeply into the actual processes, but may provide “learn more” links or footnotes, as will science-related websites, that will lead you as far as you care to go into most topics.

In fewer words, evidence should be evident on the page; you shouldn’t need to search for it, but, since you are reading this online, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and a host of others are waiting with dangling tongues for you to click on them. Just choose a word of interest, click to highlight it, hold down [ctrl] while pressing [c] to copy it, get your browser running and paste it into the search bar. Click on the blinking cursor, hold down [shift] while pressing [ins] and then press [enter] after lifting your finger off the [ins] key. Don’t hold me responsible for whomever labeled the keys on your computer.

So, that leaves “How do I tell the real from the fake?

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Moralizing

Moralizing

Moralizing

There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me … that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?” —Senator Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona, Congressional Record, September 16, 1981.

Humans, being social, improve their fitness through cooperation with other people. Even if survival of the fittest were taken as a basis for morals, it would imply treating other people well. From http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA002.html

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782)

Morality in religion is about doing what has been declared necessary to appease a god. Secular considerations involve relationships and social behaviors, usually as set up by a central authority. Neither is satisfactory for very long due to doctrine creep and avoidance of evidence. Doctrine creep occurs when religion, due to the normal prodding of viral memes, seeks to insert its edicts into the law, and when commercial interests seek to use religion to influence the lawmaking process. Avoidance of evidence occurs in all those cases, and when laws result from opinions, simple offenses, “what might happen if…”, conflated associations, or other vestiges of vested interests, fear, threat, deal-making, inappropriate influence, or a long list of other items of potential harm or imbalance. Only by acting in honest accord with objective evidence can government maintain rectitude. Calling science a religion does nothing to change that fact.

In general, laws that are moral have no justifiable interest in the private interactions in which people engage unless it can show how harm or loss has occurred in each case, or in identical previous cases where the accuser can demonstrate an identical nature. Otherwise, they originate in religion or religiously held opinions, without the certification of evidence. Innocuous acts, blasphemy, choosing other than the majority’s religion, hate speech against ideas (not people), whatever might offend somebody, what could go awry but never has been shown how, ought always first be recognized as beneficial to a society and to never make harmless minorities into victims of overzealous lawmakers. Acts done against people (including hate speech) which induce loss or harm, to paraphrase Jefferson, ought to be the government’s only licit concern about us.

Those same lawmakers spend untellable hours, effort, and public money figuring together how to mesh moral edicts that originate in religion into law to put the power of government enforcement behind them. Suspect must include all laws against private actions involving no one else, bedroom behavior, laws about sexuality, dress and undress, or no dress, faux nipples, body hair, et al…

What must be made more apparent is that some laws wisely mitigate against acts known to induce private damage that will lead to public expense, but enforce them unwisely. Unhealthy food habits, constant drunkenness, overindulgence of all kinds, make obvious examples of that. Does arresting those who become their own victims seem like the best way to deal with them?—or should we continue to just let them suffer until the inevitable occurs? Might it not be best to simply steer them toward effective self-help? What, then, about those who cannot, or will not, be helped?

Maybe we should impose a moratorium on the creation of new laws, and put the legislators to work at unwriting or rewriting the bad laws they have already created, and enforce some standards all laws they’d keep or create thereafter must meet:

  • The Wall of Separation must not be bridged by government or religion:
    • No more favoritism;
    • No more freedom from taxes;
    • No more tax-free real estate;
  • Recognized standard of ethics must be upheld;
  • Banish lobbyists; they do more harm than good;
  • Bills must be considered individually—
    • No more riders;
  • Moral laws must be restricted to:
    • Protection of children from predators;
    • Define what constitutes harm done to others, cite supporting science; act on that according to evidence;
    • Define what constitutes loss caused to others, cite supporting science; act on that according to evidence
    • Apprehensions, opinions, expectations, fears of what could, may, might, etc happen do not constitute evidence; laws created without objective evidence to justify their need should be considered void (I would suggest holding such laws in an abeyance queue identified as “Awaiting Evidence.”

Now, while pondering that, think: We call the United States a constitutional nation because we have a constitution. Those who represent us in government, and we ourselves, have mistreated our constitution by acting as if it is a roadblock against our freedoms when we had shady business to conduct, or as too unimportant to care about when we failed to call out when others beat a path around it. Maybe we wrongly supported those paths and caused misery to others guilty only of disagreement. Such mistreatment appears evident from near to the beginning, with expression of a desire for paid clergy at meetings. Agreement about exactly when tax freedom for religious institutions began seems rare, from “very early on” to 1894 when income taxes began.

Funding to enforce illicit laws nationwide since the beginning must add up to a huge fortune. Add to that the cost of religion’s free ride, and ask yourself, “Why, other than being guilted into it, did our founders grant tax freedom to organizations they freely criticized as unproductive provokers of social turmoil?”

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Meme Evolution

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Meme Evolution: from grunts to words

Memes are most easily understood as ideas that people want to copy and share. This chart of Abrahamic memes is as accurate as I could make it with limited resources. I revised it once and will do so again when verified errors are brought to my attention.

That religion memes developed right along with written language should make sense, as language must be copied and shared to make conversations possible. Writing adds the sense of vision to word of mouth stories and makes them more memorable and accurately repeatable, and, so, provides a benefit for people who cannot read. Those who could read probably told closer to the same version to their listeners, which increased believability and acceptance by appearing to provide verification. Writing also made fiction more believable, and propaganda easier to spread, and religions became political tools.

Modern religions did not suddenly appear fully developed in their present form. They evolved by borrowing ideas from older religions, then stealing or slaughtering their adherents. Religious memes evolved as people around the world fought to develop the “best” possible religion in each area.

This chart depicts the development of the meme that has lately been called ‘Abrahamism’ from simple tokenism into the four ecclesiastical threads still ongoing. The timeline for this chart starts at the bottom and runs upward.  The original thread called Christianity seems to have almost died out and its name to have been confiscated by Catholicism and Protestantism, and, later in the United States, by most candidates for political offices. These are dangerous times in this world.