Tag Archives: science

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.

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.

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?

No Sin

NoSinR

No Sin

Words like sin, evil or morality are often resisted by atheists, who are apt to see them as something that, like the god named God, has no demonstrated existence. The common good seems easily discerned, enough so that adults accept it for the most part. We all recognize good and bad behavior and most of us could describe it with little effort; those who can’t will agree or disagree with others’ descriptions with ease. How does that happen?

Sin, evil, morality, values, principles are words. Words mean things to those who read and hear them. The conversation becomes lopsided when one side refuses to recognize terms the other side spouts with impunity. Sin and evil are powerful words, poignant with churchly suggestions of ethereal meddling. Secular people ought to love them and revel in the powerful expressions they enable, but we resist. Why?

The reasons, I think, are threefold: Conflation, resistance to metaphors, and the incomplete picture of existence most people have, thanks to the archaic dogma normal to our cultures.

  1. Conflation: the mixing together of secular and supernatural concerns is an unfortunate byproduct of religion that guarantees that most religious “knowledge” is erroneous.

  2. Metaphors: picture-words can be accurately used or made to lead others astray. It seems like blasphemy against the idea of atheism to refuse this powerful tool to defend against constant attacks by those using religion to shield their political agendas.

  3. 4-d existence: We can present events and processes as 4-dimensional existences because a complete picture requires a display of their time-lines. Understanding anything anything as 4-dimensional grants acknowledgment of its existence. It does not deny anything about ourselves, but requires that we be shown as a complex assemblage of events and processes, each running its own course.

  4. We need to update our dispersal of knowledge; the public’s information and misinformation about science is now absorbed, rather than taught, from such sources as advertising, movies, politicians, games and the like, which bodes ill against a correct common awareness of facts from which the average person can benefit. No one will do a web search for something of which they are unaware.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Modest Doubt

modest doubt

Modest Doubt

Doubt drives science to achieve its highest standards, but still gets preached against from behind pulpits all over this land. Where doubt is made a principle in one practice, gets lauded by such as the great Shakespeare, yet demonized by ranting tyrants and soft-voiced persuaders alike, no wonder we have become such a mixed-up crowd. By perpetuating the forces of divisiveness while using faith as a key, huckster preachers and politicians have divided America against itself. The river of progress we once enjoyed has filled with logs and ice. Now frozen in place, the stymied waters no longer wash the fruits American enterprise so easily on to their destinations.

Enterprise finagled this onto itself by seeking largess without limits, by tangling politics with religion and denying the Constitution’s reasoned strictures against that. Two rows of theater seats face each other on a rented floor, where enterprise confronts an audience of its accusers. “Why should we not seek that?” enterprise demands to know, its hands on its hips to show it will not like any answer it hears. “Whatever wealth we gain will be spent on fine goods and trickle down to the entrepreneurs and the workers who make them. What could possibly be wrong with that?”

We take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Where do we begin? Someone speaks up: “There are too few of you to support the many of us with even the most lavish and wastrel of lifestyles. Knowing that makes us doubt what you claim.”

Enterprise puffs itself into an arrogant stance. “Are you calling me a liar? I’ll have you know our kind makes a habit of investing in new ideas of all kinds. It’s what keeps the economy going.” With that said, he folds his arms over his belly and looks as if he dares someone to disagree with him.

So, someone does: “It’s bad manners to call someone any name, no matter how perfectly the name fits. I will only say that your investments are made in other countries, while our people give up looking for work and our own country falls into ruins.”

Enterprise glares at her, then leans forward, as if to better focus on a facial blemish. “You see fit to tell me how to control my finances and run my business?”

Swallowing hard, she leans forward to stare hard at his face, then drops her focus to pretend she’s trying hard to see inside his shirt. Blushing when he realizes what she’s getting at, he feigns a cough and quickly settles back in his seat. “If you run a crooked business,” she tells him, “then, yes, I’ll advise you that’s wrong. If any of that four-trillion dollars the super-rich are said to have hoarded away is yours, I will say it is more right to donate it to our government, or invest it in our country, or gamble it away in a casino, than to bribe judges and legislators with donations, and so contribute to the corruption of our democracy. To have that much money stored away to serve no other purpose than the doing of evil makes it very clear how you do not need it. Besides …”

“So, that’s what you’re after!” Obviously excited, enterprise leaped from its seat, only to be stopped by armed guards that had been hired to protect itself. The two giants kept it away from her, only to have it slip free and hide behind a podium mounted on a raised platform that served as a stage. We can hear its excited breathing over the speakers and know it has gained access to the sound system. “Do you see this, my good people? She is jealous. She says we have too much money. She says we don’t need it all, that we should give it all away. Why would anyone in her right mind think we’d want to do that?”

The two burly giants have crept up onto enterprise and, in stern fashion, have marched him back to his seat, and now stand behind him, one at each shoulder. The woman whose oration he interrupted now stands, refers to hastily scribbled notes. She knows better than to reinforce any of his words by repeating them, and that she must not let him lead her away from her topic. “What I had said was that it would be far better to give four-trillion dollars to our country than to use it for evil purposes.

“Science designates humanity as a social species because we tend to live in clusters and maintain close proximities with others of our species. We fare better in groups than as loners. Neighbors watch after neighbors, neighborhoods watch after the community, making sure everybody has provisions and a place of shelter, the sick are cared for, and no one feels endangered by disease, thieves, murderers as much as could be managed. That is the way it once was, the way our species developed, even though some groups were better at it than others.

“With that behind us, when you cut me off, I was about to mention how your hoarded money contributes to a scarcity of dollars, which, in turn, makes it next to impossible for average people to get a mortgage for a home. Scarce money contributes to high interest rates, which raises the cost of doing business, and in its own turn, that raises prices, which puts pressure on employers to raise wages and adds another cost spiral to the mix.”

She sat down before her echoes died. Enterprise knew it was not the real culprit, that it had been an unwitting player in a game aimed at takeover of America’s government. Impossible? We have already been quietly pronounced an oligarchy, a nation controlled by a small group. The dismantling of our government has already begun with the targeting of innocuous-seeming projects and bureaus and will continue with the major structures after it gets too far gone to stop.

Colligion: Science for Everybody

Colligion

 

Colligion

Today’s sign is the best Scientific Method flow chart I have drawn so far. (I pat my own back for not giving up.) Although science is a secular pursuit, and not specifically atheistic, the chart deals with the crux of what it means to be an atheist. I coined the term, Colligion, from the word ‘colligation’, which refers to the act of sorting information into a logical order.

Despite our many differences, if atheists share a common agenda, this is it: We want to understand our existence; we want to get it right, and we know how. Think of Colligion as the polar opposite of religion: faith (religion) is its own evidence, credulity often internalized past the point of ridiculous. Look at the conflicting absence of verisimilitude that begot. As does science, Colligion would build an external framework of evidence using the scientific method, without skipping important steps necessary to maintain accuracy. Science has done the preliminary work for colligious people and demonstrated its multifaceted power and rectitude through its byproduct, technology. Science as an enterprise has become entrapped by the commercial giants and governments who provide funds according to their own interests. The result is artificially aged gadgets, gimmicks and baubles, medical advances and automation, stuff for sale but not for human betterment.

Why should we care about that? That’s another way of asking, “What’s in it for me?” Entrepreneurs take risks, aware that their rewards may be poverty or riches, from either of which they expect to survive to try again. Those atheists inclined to take risks were most likely beheaded centuries ago, so left no heirs to carry on. Nature seeks to maintain balance, however, and is likely to have filled the vacuum that victims of genocide left empty.

A more peaceful human population will only result from unforced agreement about what the basic rules of life must be, and enforced practice of those rules. Conformity agreed upon by an intelligent population educated in the processes of critical thinking and the methods of science would achieve that, after a long span of time. It would be forced to compete with the two major religions with creed-driven aspirations to achieve dominance. Both of those suffer from multiple sectarian fractures, with only the most war faring factions seeming capable of attracting new recruits. Life under whichever of that kind of religion offers no promises of peaceful well-being for those they would deem heretical.

What’s in it for you is the opportunity to prevent that from happening by taking quick action. The world has become dangerous for peace-loving people. The internet offers a handy, effective way to learn and understand the scientific method and critical thinking, and then teach them to others. Science apparently cannot defend itself against enemies swiftly gaining power in nations whose citizens misunderstand it due to propaganda and encultured ignorance. Citizens can enlighten other citizens if the enlighteners themselves first learn to demonstrate how science works, learn to correct the arguments used against it, and how to demonstrate the errors, fallacies and lies inherent to those arguments.

Colligion is not “just another religion.” It is people learning science, learning about science, learning to understand and defend science, and to appreciate the simple beauty and immense power inherent to its process. It is about people acting on their own and where they are to dispel bad science and information and feed facts back into the loop. But, first, we have to assure ourselves we know how to recognize them. Put the flowchart to work on your own behalf. Befriend your local science teachers. Find which field of science most interests you, join your local library, borrow books, and discover then study that. Remember that demonstrable evidence is your friend, words are not evidence but can instruct you where to find evidence, and that engaging in this mission will teach you a lot about yourself.